46 Patrick Boatman May 28, 01:52 AM
I whole heartedly agree with your “Prima Scriptura” stance. I would go so far as to say that is the stance of the New Testament writers as well.
The writers of the NT were’nt a Sola Scriptura crowd. Paul references Jewish tradition, which he validates and expands upon in 1 Cor 10 when he talks of the rock that followed Israel. Paul quotes gentile philosophers (Titus, the comment about Cretans comes to mind, among other quotes) when making his points at times, even preaching to the throng on Mars hill by quoting pagan religious texts. The book of Jude quotes apocryphal texts to make a point (the argument over Moses’ body). When we set a standard of Sola Scriptura we are actually setting a different standard than the writers of scripture adhered to. If a document or person quotes philosophers, pagan religious texts, and religious traditions to make it’s points, it can’t really be called Sola Scriptura, can it? Can I do those things and call myself Sola Scriptura? :)
Sola Scriptura itself is an extrabiblical tradition.
Another note is that if one listens and considers when someone says something is “biblical” in a Sola Scriptura sense what they more often than not mean is that it is consistent with their interpretation of scripture (be it personal or traditional). If something is not explicitly stated in scripture, but is rather inferred based upon scripture then it is interpretation, a process that happens in the mind of the interpreter. Whether that inference is accurate or not is secondary to the fact that the cognitive process of interpretation does not carry the authoritative weight that scripture does. Some people, quite innocently and naively, equate their interpretation of scripture with scripture, then mistake a disagreement with their interpretation with a disagreement with scripture.
Hopefully that was at least somewhat coherent. The tiny window one types in makes it hard to check for logical continuity. :)
47 rick May 29, 02:41 AM
I’m not sure what Patrick is talking about but it is not Sola Scriptura. There is nothing that prevents a preacher from quoting the Beatles or Bob Dylan or Desmond Tutu in a sermon. As long as new doctrine is not being expressed and that it does not contradict the scriptures and that it is not placed on the same level as the revealed word.
Here’s what Sola Scriptura is: Sola scriptura is the doctrine that the Bible is the only infallible or inerrant authority for Christian faith, and that it contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, Sola Scriptura demands that no doctrine is to be admitted or confessed that is not found directly or logically within Scripture. However, Sola Scriptura is not a denial of other authorities governing Christian life and devotion. Rather, it simply demands that all other authorities are subordinate to, and are to be corrected by, the written word of God. Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today.
48 James May 29, 03:09 AM
Amen, Rick. I find it interesting that no one has replied/debated you. Solid truth will do that I guess. It’s funny how “high intellect” can really become a stumbling block when dealing with a relatively simple truth. I love Jesus!!! Hangest thou in there everyone, just don’t hangest yourself!
49 James May 29, 03:17 AM
Oh, I almost forgot….I also know why I love Jesus! Blessings.
50 Patrick Boatman May 29, 03:32 AM
Both Jude and 1 Cor 10 include information from extrabiblical sources, an apocryphal book and Jewish tradition that “is not found directly or logically within Scripture” treating the events described as real events, but having no support other than the extrabiblical sources, to make their doctrinal point. They fail your test of Sola Scriptura.
Secondly, your inclusion of the term “logically” makes the mistake of equating an inference with Scripture. Logical inference is an operation that takes place in your (or whoever wrote your definition) head and is not scripture. Even if the thinker is brilliant, the inferences is not Scripture. It mistakes interpretation for the Scripture itself. And 30,000 Protestant denominations and growing is a fairly good indication that different people infer differently.
Thirdly, your appeal to “foundational” and “formal principle”s of protestantism is an appeal to tradition that I simply don’t find compelling. (nope, I’m not RC)
51 rick May 29, 06:01 AM
Patrick: The Bible is an original document composed of remembered accounts, spoken sermons, the Sayings of Quoleth, Solomons songs, Davids poems, Pharoh’s comments, Greek plays, popular songs, quotes from satan, quotes from books that are not now existant, the finger of God, Hebrew commentaries and many other sources. It has 66 authors (if not more) and was all inspired by the Holy Spirit. Once the canon was complete the authors admonished us to not add or take away a word. Jesus said “For truly I tell you, until the sky and earth pass away and perish, not one smallest letter nor one little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] will pass from the Law until all things [it foreshadows] are accomplished.” I think John Calvin and Martin Luther and the reformers were smart enough to figure that out. That has nothing to do with the principal of Sola Scriptura.
(BTW, I can’t imagine Brian McLaren agreeing that the smallest letter or little hook [identifying certain Hebrew letters] of hebrew scripture is critically important)
That’s not my definition of Sola Scriptura, it is Wikipedia’s. I suppose I could have quoted a number of others. The author is saying that if we can’t logically infer a doctrine from the text then one should not give it creedence. For example, the trinity is a logical inference. Leprachauns are not. The point of Sola Scriptura is that we don’t give equal weight to the Koran and we don’t give equal weight to traditions such as selling indulgences. Emergents like Tony Jones and Brian McLaren want to say that we can never really know the truth of the Bible completely therefore everyone’s opinions are equally valid and should be respected. Whereas I believe that if you are advocating worshipping angels I can appeal to the Bible to determine whether the practice is valid. The fact that it may be an old tradition would not sway me. The RC church rules by absolute papal authority. I suppose Papal authority is an alternative to denominations. Another way to look at denominations is that diversity is healthy and that they add flavor.
“Sola scriptura was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by the Reformers and is a formal principle of Protestantism today.” I am not making an appeal, this is just a statement of fact. A historian making an observation.
OK. So you are not a protestant.
53 Patrick Boatman May 29, 08:49 AM
yes, I’m fully aware of the way the Bible has been cobbled together over it’s history. I think you would agree that it didn’t get faxed from heaven, similar to the Islamic view of the Qur’an. It was written by people. People that apparently used a different standard of what can be used in the formation of one’s beliefs. The did use extra-biblical materials and considered them authoritative. You’ve set up a standard of what God can use that they would fail.
On the “jots and tittles”, it might be interesting to find out if they were present in the oldest manuscripts, before vowel points were added to the text. But that is another matter all together. :)
I’m not Brian Mclaren, nor am I Tony Jones. If you want to talk to them, that would be fine. As for me, I will speak for me, about the issues previously discussed, rather than get into a discussion about personalities.
On Sola Scriptura… the moment one has begun to use logic (to which I am not opposed, but would rather advocate for) one has moved beyond the text into one’s own mind and therefore gone beyond the text and away from Sola Scriptura. When one uses logic, inference, it takes place in the mind, which does not carry the same weight as Scripture. The moment anyone says anything that is not a specific quote of the text one has moved away from Sola Scriptura. In fact, I would assert the very process of translating scripture (which I have no problem with, but would advocate) moves beyond Sola Scriptura because the process of translation require interpretation. Reading a text that is not in the original language takes one outside Sola Scriptura.
Next point, to assert one believes in Sola Scriptura is to affirm a tradition, therefore making the assertion a performative contradiction. The very affirmation negates the affirmation.
Doctrines are comprised (accurately or inaccurately) of dots connected in one’s head, outside the text. For example, the doctrine of the Trinity (which I believe and affirm) is reached by just such a process of inference/logic. An interesting twist on this is that unless everyone in your congregation can specifically line by line cite the scriptures (the process aside) to support the Trinity, the believe it based upon tradition. So, many people in your congregation most probably believe an inference (not Sola Scriptura) based upon a tradition (not Sola Scriptura). Don’t get me wrong, I have no problem with that, but it is not Sola Scriptura.
Prima Scriptura puts scripture, the Bible in particular, first in the process of navigating faith. It does not “give equal weight to the Koran” or “give equal weight to traditions such as selling indulgences”. If this is your understanding of Prima Scriptura, then you misunderstand.
On Jones and McLaren… whereas they probably do think we can’t know the meaning of the Bible exhaustively, as do I, your statements of “everyone’s opinions are equally valid” does not follow. I’ve read or heard nothing from either indicating such a stance. It is however a common misrepresentation/misunderstanding of the “emergent” position. You might try looking into the difference between infinite (anything goes) and tranfinite (a bounded set with internal variation). Even at that, this is dragging personalities into the discussion. They can speak for themselves. You’re stuck speaking to me. :)
I am not arguing against the existence of denominations, I am simply pointing to them as pretty compelling evidence that the process of inference is not infallible. Not everyone can be “right” about everything, and have so much variation.
54 Patrick Boatman May 29, 08:59 AM
Crapnoid! I mistyped… it should be transfinite, not tranfinite.
57 Joe White May 29, 08:16 PM
Patrick Boatman wrote:
“On Sola Scriptura… the moment one has begun to use logic (to which I am not opposed, but would rather advocate for) one has moved beyond the text into one’s own mind and therefore gone beyond the text and away from Sola Scriptura.”
This is a caricature of Sola Scriptura, not the real thing.
Patrick, if you want to reject Sola Scriptura, reject the real deal, not your strawman.
58 Patrick Boatman May 29, 08:44 PM
Joe… I’m addressing issues that are typically ignored because they are inconvenient.
The cognitive process that is interpretation exists whether or not one is comfortable with it. If Sola Scriptura was really “scripture only” then everyone that espoused it would agree on all issues. It is a misnomer. It only really makes sense in a universe that doesn’t exist. One in which one, anyone, can just read the text and KNOW what it means. In the universe that does exist, everyone that KNOWS, unfortunately KNOWS something different than the next guy.
“I know that most men, including those at ease with
problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept
even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such
as would oblige them to admit the falsity of
conclusions which they have delighted in explaining to
colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others,
and which they have woven, thread by thread into the
fabric of their lives.”
60 rick May 29, 11:26 PM
Patrick, you are getting lost here. God can compose scripture any way He wishes and once He does we are obligated to study it, memorize it, repeat it to our children, not add or take away from it and pay attention to every jot and title no matter how He composed it. Agreed? Just because God composed scripture from a variety of sources does not give you license today to pick and choose traditions and elevate them to the level of scripture (or as you put it, use extra-biblical materials and consider them authoritative) or to reject any scripture that you have deemed, mere tradition and not inspired. Agreed?
“All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” 2Timothy
“Above all, you must realize that no prophecy in Scripture ever came from the prophet’s own understanding, or from human initiative. No, those prophets were moved by the Holy Spirit, and they spoke from God.” 2 Peter
“Then Jesus said to them, “You foolish people! You find it so hard to believe all that the prophets wrote in the Scriptures.”
“Then Jesus took them through the writings of Moses and all the prophets, explaining from all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” Luke
“Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.” Matthew
“Then he said, “You skillfully sidestep God’s law in order to hold on to your own tradition.” Mark
“Then the devil took him to the holy city, Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, “If you are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, ‘He will order his angels to protect you. And they will hold you up with their hands so you won’t even hurt your foot on a stone.’ Jesus responded, “The Scriptures also say, ‘You must not test the Lord your God.”
(Jesus used a logical inference here and established a hermeneutical principal that scripture comments on itself and can be comprehended)
“This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him—speaking of these things in all of his letters. Some of his comments are hard to understand, and those who are ignorant and unstable have twisted his letters to mean something quite different, just as they do with other parts of Scripture.” 2 Peter.
You are getting lost in epistemology. Your issue is not just with logical inferences, because everything that we read and see is mediated by our brain, our culture etc. Your problem is a technical one of how do we know what we know, or epistemology. Logic is woven into everything we read and understand. However, just because we know in part or understand in part does not remove from us the obligation to be obedient to what we understand. Nor does it negate the fact that there is truth in the bible that can be known. Just because we can never exhaustively and perfectly know a thing doesn’t mean we are not obligated to read, believe and obey. We are expected to wrestle with scripture using our God-Imaged logical ability to arrive at an implicit and singular meaning of scripture. If we have any error it is because we do not know the scriptures, as Jesus said.
Why do you have a problem with the principal that “the Bible is the only infallible or inerrant authority for Christian faith, and that it contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, Sola Scriptura demands that no doctrine is to be admitted or confessed that is not found directly or logically within Scripture.”
Do you have another tradition or book that is more reliable than the Bible? If so, we’d like to know. Is the Bible in error? What authority did you use to arrive at that conclusion? Do you have some other Christian doctrines that you’ve arrived at in a text outside the Bible? We’d like to know.
61 Patrick Boatman May 30, 12:23 AM
“Why do you have a problem with the principal that “the Bible is the only infallible or inerrant authority for Christian faith, and that it contains all knowledge necessary for salvation and holiness. Consequently, Sola Scriptura demands that no doctrine is to be admitted or confessed that is not found directly or logically within Scripture.” ”
First off, the article is about Sola Scriptura, not infallibility. Secondly, that is a tradition ABOUT (I don’t mean to be perceived as yelling, just want to emphasize the word) the Bible. Notice the above statement is not scripture, it is a statement about scripture based on inference, and is therefore a traditon. I’m not willing to accept your particular tradition. Not acknowledging something as a tradition does not make it cease to be a tradition. You continue to mistake (a common mistake) your interpretation for scripture. The statement above is not scripture.
Nice block of quotes. I have no problem with anything they say.
Here’s an interesting juxtaposition
“God can compose scripture any way He wishes” … Rick
“This is what our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you with the wisdom God gave him”… Scripture.
I’m gonna go with scripture’s description of itself rather than your description of it.
Yes, I do think that Scripture God-Breathed, just like God breathed into Adam, Jesus breathed on the disciples, the breath of God brought beasts to life in Hebrew literature.
Yes, Jesus did appear to use logic in making connections, and I once again (having never argued once against it) would affirm the use of logic. That is not Sola Scriptura. Logic (as a human operation) is fallible (It CAN fail). Rejection of a human interpretive matrix, yours in particular, is not rejection of scripture.
Your arguments are imbedded with multiple inferences and traditions that are not acknowledged as things that occur outside of the text. I do not accept your interpretation of the text. I do not accept your traditions about the text. I do accept the text in the context of what the text says about itself. Failure to accept your interpretation and tradition is not a failure to accept the text.
Your questions about infallibility are off topic. You’re questions about me and my particular doctrinal beliefs are off topic. This article and chain of response is about Sola Scriptura, not me, not Brian Mclaren, not Tony Jones, not infallibility, not about relativism (which I reject). You’re beginning to change the subject and I have no desire to keep shifting premises when a previous premise doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. That could go on for ever. :-)
62 Joe White My 30, 12:30 AM
Patrick Boatman wrote:
“The cognitive process that is interpretation exists whether or not one is comfortable with it. If Sola Scriptura was really “scripture only” then everyone that espoused it would agree on all issues.”
That’s akin to saying ‘if the scripture were true, everyone would believe it’.
63 Patrick Boatman May 30, 12:35 AM
Sorry, that was incredibly tortured logic on your part. Talk about a strawman.
If you’re gonna go there, have fun. I’m out because this has ceased to be rational dialogue. Have fun arguing against the imaginary me. The real me is going somewhere else.
64 Patrick Boatman May 30, 12:45 AM
That being said, i will probably cut and paste this dialogue to my blog. It’s been a while since I’ve posted something substantial there.
65 rick May 30, 01:20 AM
Patrick: Sorry. I was trying to stick with the definition of Sola Scriptura which describes the Bible as infallible or innerrant. Those were rhetorical questions at the end, not personal. Each one was based on a point contained in the definition of Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura is only a principal, not scripture. But I believe it is a principal that Jesus and the writers of the new testament seem to promote (that’s why the scipture quotes). Sorry for monopolizing space on this issue. You may be right, and I may be wrong but it’s fun to learn. I will be quiet now. God Bless you.
66 Patrick Boatman May 30, 01:26 AM
Rick, my bad. I failed to distinguish between you and Joe White. He’s the one arguing against an imaginary me.
Even at that I’m gonna step away too. God Bless. :)
Monday, June 1, 2009
Lots of excuses, no good reasons.
I've got to get back to this. For the last few months I haven't done jack on this thing. Even before I essentially stopped all together I hadn't posted anything of substance for quite a while.
Well, I've essentially been addicted to my damned X-Box 360 (note the box to the right of this post. I may well strip that from the blog in the not too distant future). I've been X-Box free for about 2 weeks now and am contemplating selling it outright. Not wasting brain cells in front of the machine has afforded me substantially more time to read.
Also, my wife accidently cooked her Macbook a couple of months ago, so I'm sharing my 'puter now. My blogging is essentially something I do while I'm doing other things during the course of an evening. Well, I just don't have the free form time to do that anymore. We're working on a possible solution to this, but that is quite possibly months off still.
Meanwhile, back on the ranch...
A couple of days ago I was involved in an exchange on Sola Scriptura on Emergent Village's website. Here is the thread. I'm going to cut and paste my first comment and all the relevant responses there after. I'm going to post in an unedited format, with all typos included. It was tempting to clean it up, but I don't want to change someone else's words and I don't want clean mine up and leave someone else's dirty. So, here it is.