Sola Scriptura

I, too, have scoffed at the Catholic Church’s emphasis on Tradition as a source of divine revelation equal to the Bible.

“God gave us the Bible, we don’t need the Pope… etc.” I’ve heard it all. I’ve said it all. And these are just my first ponderings on how Sola Scriptura is actually practiced by Protestants today…

From what I’ve experienced, the reality is that few Protestants actually live Sola Scriptura out in practice. Everyone believes that God still directly communicates with us today through the Holy Spirit (excepting cessationists, I suppose.) You might easily hear a Protestant tell a fellow believer that God has given them a word to share… or a prophesy, or something someone feels led to say that is meant to be part of God’s direction in another person or one’s own life. Protestants easily believe that God speaks through the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit sometimes uses other people to speak… and there are checks and balances in place to make sure that what someone believes is a word from God isn’t contradictory to scripture.

Protestant pastors, too, will draw on interprative sources from other theologians to help them unpack scripture in a sermon. Very rarely, if ever, do they make a disclaimer that the lens they are viewing a particular passage from is “This Author’s” lens. Or, gives the congregation the caveat that all we have are these words from scripture as our authority, and that the thoughts they are expounding are actually Pastor So and So’s thoughts from this book, and that’s how we are interpeting things, but you can’t put that Pastor’s thoughts on the same level as scripture. No- they view the scripture from a certain perspective, and share their thoughts authoritatively to the congregation.

Protestants leave room for adding to this book through prophecy and words from God to other believers…

But if we, as Protestants go there… if we go that far, it isn’t that much farther at all to say that the Catholic belief in divine revelation through the unwritten Word… the idea of “Word of God Alone” instead of “Scripture Alone” is anything different than what Protestants in practice, do as well. But on a much more informal level, and therefore perhaps at a level that is more prone to error. The “Holy Spirit” could often be cited in the Protestant church as giving 2 people 2 very completely different and clear words on the exact same topic. But that’s another entry…

P.S. This is the link to my further thinkings on the topic of Tradition and Sola Scriptura.



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