Friday, January 17, 2014

Finding sola Scriptura

I recently read the following statement by a Catholic apologist:
"Protestant apologists are cre­ative and tire­less in their efforts to find sola scrip­tura in the Bible."
This is deceptive. It illustrates the circular fact that the answer you get reflects the question you ask. Ask the wrong question, get the wrong answer.
To see what this goes awry, let's take a comparison. Suppose a tourist made the following complaint:
"I went to Ashville to see the Biltmore. I even bought a ticket. But try I as might, I never saw the Biltmore. The tour guide took us through room after room, but I could never find the Biltmore. I peered into closets: not there! I peered into cupboards: not there! I peered into cabinets, bureaus, and desk drawers: not there! Where was the Biltmore?"
The fallacy lies is assuming that the Biltmore is located inside the Biltmore. That if you look in the right closet or drawer, that's where you will find it–tucked away. 
Even though the Biltmore is all around him, both inside and outside, our befuddle tourist can't see it because he doesn't know what to look for. The Biltmore isn't in the Biltmore. Rather, the Biltmore is the Biltmore. It's the whole package–inside and out.  
Why assume that sola scriptura is only true if you can find sola scriptura in the Bible? What if sola scriptura simply is the Bible? Sola scripture isn't merely a matter of what the Bible says, but what the Bible is. The Bible is the record of God's public revelation to and for the church. 
And that stands in contrast to non-revelation. There is no additional public revelation we can turn to for infallible guidance. Scripture is set apart, not only by what it is, but by the absence of anything comparable to Scripture. By what is not revelation. The Bible itself draws an antithetical contrast between true and false prophecy. Scripture is demarcated both by what it is as well as by what is not Scripture. 
Christianity is a revealed religion. So divine revelation is the supreme source of doctrinal and ethical guidance. 
We can still use fallible sources of information, but they lack the same authority. And we judge them by that higher authority. 

1 comment:

  1. Very good; the illustration of the Biltmore was a good one.