Monday, November 06, 2017

So Long, Sola: Convenient Evangelical Sola Scriptura

I'm sola scriptura.  I'm contending almost all evangelicals now just use sola scriptura.  They throw down the sola scriptura card without actually being sola scriptura.  It's hot to say that you are sola scriptura, sola anything.  Amazon prime has sola banners to hang up front your theater shaped worship center.

For a Protestant to say he's sola is to provide his historical bonafides.  He at least attaches himself to the Reformation, even if Roman Catholicism goes back to the Edict of Milan.  It's his trajectory to gravitas, even if he's superficial and self-serving.  However, if you're really sola scriptura, you got to look at what it means.  You might read the Westminster Confession from the 17th century, which says (1.6):
The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
Most evangelicals can't know or judge about anything that the Bible doesn't say and he calls that sola scriptura.  Look at certain statements in the confession.

One, this part:  "by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture."  Two, also this one, "there are some circumstances . . . which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed."  I have called this, truth in the real world.  A major attack on truth is lying about the meaning of things.  Scripture has become irrelevant to many basic decisions in life by an unwillingness to understand using the means that scripture says we have to discern outside of scripture.  Everything in life can be guided, led, and judged by scripture, so sola scriptura.

My number one go-to example is the Bible doesn't say, "Thou shalt not smoke crack-pipes."  Societal norms seem to be where evangelicals will apply scripture using the necessary means God has provided in the real world.  Everyone needs more than what is so obvious.  Calling a kettle black doesn't win the discernment gizmo from the cracker jacks box.

Scripture teaches and assumes other things other than scripture.  Arguments from scripture can't be made without something not in scripture.  Scripture is irrelevant before its ink dries with the present spin on sola scriptura.  Crazy's got to be crazy.  Ugly is as ugly is.  More than swastikas are bad.

To be honest, I don't think what I'm decrying will stop.  Rock and rap will continue to be called worship.  A butch hair-cut will still pass as feminine.  Sunday School teachers shall have optic green highlights.  Forget church dress.  Nothing will be sacred.  God doesn't even have to be God anymore.  The only ones in trouble will be those who apply scripture to about anything.  Just bake the cake.  Eat it too.

God cares. That's probably not enough.


Lance said...

Fluid constructionism has going on within Evangelicalism, and now Fundamentalism, for about thirty years. Their "God" is evolving and their interpretation of Scripture according to cultural nuances is the reason. Sola Scriptura is nothing more than empty words for them because they do not have an Epistemology that is solely Scriptural. They say they do, but are not even aware of how far they have drifted from the Scriptures. They have lost their connection to Hermeneutics. Their Epistemology is a hodgepodge of the integration of psychobabble and mystic Ecumenicism. They have let their anchor to Scripture slip and they are adrift and carried about by every wind of doctrine.

Tyler Robbins said...

Lance - thanks for being so specific, pointed and concrete with your comments. I really appreciate how you so clearly explained what you're referring to, and avoided vague generalities and generic accusations. It helps.

Kent - what prompted you to write this? Is there a situation, or issue, that you have in mind?

Bill Hardecker said...

"So long Scriptura"...that is funny. I mean the term, not the facts. I guess you could say that about grace, etc. so long gratia, so long fide, so long Christus, and so long Deo Gloria. I was reading an article by NPR news how that Luther popularized adding hopps to beer by his consumption of it in protest to the Catholic church, and thus changed how some beer-drinkers drink. Could it be that the "New Calvinists" aren't really as innovative in their morals as purported by themselves or others? Well, any wany, so long for now. HA!

Jim Peet said...

The Lance Ketchum comment really clarified the issue for me!

Jim Peet said...

On Sharper Iron here


Edward said...

I think if we understand Scripture as the FINAL authority where it speaks, we are wise. We make judgments based upon the wisdom we develop from Scripture, and they are probably most often good judgments -- but not always. They are fallible.

Where this leaves us, essentially, is being clear where the Scriptures speak clearly, but humbly presenting our judgments (and the logic or application of Scriptural principles through which we interpolate) for our brothers and sisters with varying levels of confidence. When church boards or denominations make a decision, for example, they are hopefully seeking the mind of God. But their decision cannot be final in the way the Scriptures are final. Yet we need these less-than-infallible authorities to fill in the many cracks.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Mainly thinking about sola scriptura in its present state in light of Oct 31, 2017 (1517). It's something that has been bouncing around in my brain for awhile. Something is definitely wrong, and we shouldn't act like there isn't. The adults in the room are muted by a sola scriptura card that is not sola scriptura.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Your comment is comment of the year, at least the decade. I at least know where you stand now. Ironic in the truest sense.

Are you afraid of Bert? You seem to be. Or are you in lock step with him.

Tyler Robbins said...

What comment are you referring to? If you're referring to my remark about Ketchum's comment, I think it's incoherent and innane. I have no idea what he's talking about.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Just tell him its incoherent and inane. You were incoherent. I was incoherent. Incoherence is abounding. My post wasn't incoherent though, but that is what people want, including Bert.