Tuesday, January 5, 2010

How Sola Scriptura, Scripture Alone Came to Be

A brief word at the beginning of each post will help keep the purpose of these posts in mind as this blog goes forward. If you haven’t read the introductory post, I suggest that you take the time to do it before reading on. I am keeping the posts short so that they can be quickly read and digested. It is my hope that you will reflect on these articles and put them to the test. When you encounter something that seems contrary to everything you have been taught or know to be true…remember the assignment….smile…be a Berean. This is the most important thing to do; test it and see if what I am saying is true by scripture in context

In the last post we looked at how overriding, controlling ideas and beliefs form the way we practice our faith. This is especially true of the doctrine of scripture. Consequently, the doctrine of scripture plays a vital role in formulating the rest of the complete doctrinal framework.

Since the Reformation, the overriding controlling idea for most all, if not all of evangelical Christianity is Sola Scriptura, scripture alone. Actually, there were five sola’s of the reformation. They all were directly related to how salvation comes to an individual. Was one saved because of their good standing membership in the church or, was the method of salvation different? The reformers decided that it was based on five factors. The factors determining salvation were as follows:
  • Grace alone
  • Faith alone
  • Christ alone
  • Scripture alone
  • Glory to God alone
They were written in latin and became known as sola gratia, sola fide, Solo Christo, sola scriptura and, Soli Deo Gloria. The teaching of the church, i.e., the Roman Catholic Church and, for that matter the various Orthodox Churches was that salvation as found in proper membership in the church and only in the church.


Sola scriptura became an important component in proving that the church was abusing its power in granting salvation solely on membership in good standing. The reformers would never have thought of making scripture alone the final authority in all faith and practice. They were still deeply invested in the apostles teaching as it had been handed down over the century’s in the form of church doctrine.

This church doctrine was a body of written decisions and rulings decided by various church counsels. There are many aspects of this body of doctrine. There are the creeds that developed from the early counsels. The reformers did not leave all of these in favor of sola scriptura. In other words, they held on to the church traditions in most cases.

The reformation was directed at correcting the abuses that the church was enacting upon the people. I say the people and not its members because all of the people were in the church and affected by the abuses. They included paying indulgences for the salvation of dead relatives. The church was corrupt and used the church teaching to scare people into donating to the church. Essentially the church kept the people in bondage to it.

Over the next few posts we will look at sola scriptura and how it developed past what it was intended for. Also, we will see the rationale for the apostolic succession aspect of church doctrine and, will be able to see that perhaps there needs to be some additional sola’s and a new reformation. This blog is moving on methodically and though it may sometimes seemed to be bogged down, I can assure you that it is hearded toward a better faith and practice; One that is in keeping with a God who is defined as love.  As Always, I welcome all comments and discussions.

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