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The Shape of Sola Scriptura Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1885767745 ISBN-10: 1885767749

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The Shape of Sola Scriptura + Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume III: The Writings of the Church Fathers Affirming the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura. + Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume II: An Historical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 364 pages
  • Publisher: Canon Press (April 18, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1885767749
  • ISBN-13: 978-1885767745
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #119,973 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The issue of sola Scriptura is not an abstract problem relevant only to the sixteenth-century Reformation, but one that poses increasingly more serious consequences for contemporary Christianity. This work by Keith Mathison is the finest and most comprehensive treatment of the matter I've seen. I highly recommend it to all who embrace the authority of sacred Scripture. --R.C. Sproul (Chairman and President, Ligonier Ministries)

About the Author

Keith A. Mathison received his Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. He is author of Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? and Postmillennialism: An Eschatology of Hope.

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Customer Reviews

Overall, very helpful book.
P. J. Porvaznik
If Mathison is telling us that scripture should be interpreted by tradition, then does that not mean these doctrines are scriptural?
Mr. Paul A. Ackermann
With this book, Dr. Mathison has cleared away much of the confusion concerning the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scripture.
John T. Phillips

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Robert Huffstedtler VINE VOICE on October 30, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am not in a position to speak to how well this book functions as an entry in the debate between Protestants and Roman Catholics over the nature and authority of tradition, as I haven't kept up with either side of the argument much in the last few years. In any case, judging from his stated intent in the introduction, Mathison is not seeking to directly engage parties on the other side - rather his goal is to inform Protestants about the debate and to clear away their misunderstandings about what sola scriptura actually is.
In the process of doing this, he necessarily engages the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox views, especially as offered by Sungenis and Schmemann. Mathison recognises that the word "tradition" is being used equivocally, and appeals to Obermann's distinction between two views of tradition to offer a better way forward.
Tradition I, which he asserts is the position of the fathers and the early Reformation, holds that there is an authoritative tradition, sometimes called the Rule of Faith, about what scripture teaches and how it is to be interpreted. Tradition II, which he says is the teaching of Tridentine Catholicism holds that tradition is instead parallel to scripture and has its own content regarding doctrine and practice. Mathison expands on this by identifying a Tradition-0, or solo scriptura, view, which is that taught by the radical reformers, and which has become the dominant view in American evangelicalism. In this view, the authority of the church is denigrated, and each person interprets scripture autonomously.
Having identified this view, he then demonstrates that many criticisms from Roman Catholic apologists are directed at it, rather than the traditional Protestant view.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. M. Williams on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am working on issues in hermeneutics and came to this book as a constant recommendation. It really is a definitive, must read, first book in the field of sola scriptura.

Breezy style, even to the point of being a little choppy. Excellent references, nice bibliography make it a tool to put into the hands of anyone interested in the issues of tradition and Scripture. He uses H. Oberman's tradition 0,1,2,3 as a systematic entry point into the various ideas, which is an excellent way to remember as well as structure the discussion.

I found it a little repetitive, the central chapters on the church and roman & eastern critiques a little slow, so i would certainly start from the back with this book:

chapter 8- Critique of Evangelical Doctrine

and chapter 9-Doctrine of Sola Scriptura

are the two key chapters, next is chapter 3-Martin Luther and John Calvin.....

It is not a hard read, i'd see no problem with giving it to high school students who had the motivation to read and understand their church's doctrine. It is probably a little long for an adult education class, but a few key chapters are certainly a good idea.

I wouldn't stop my education on these issues with this book, but i would just as certainly start it here.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John T. Phillips on June 6, 2001
Format: Paperback
With this book, Dr. Mathison has cleared away much of the confusion concerning the Reformation doctrine of Sola Scripture. Too often apologists from the Roman, Eastern and Protestants churches have debated a false concept of Sola Scriptura. Finally, the doctrine has been clarified and all disputants can point to a definition that will bring greater clarity to the discussion. In this book, he begins by establishing the history of Scriptures place in the church. Traveling from the Bereans in the New Testament through the Early Fathers, Mathison presents a compelling case for the authority of the Bible in determining all doctrinal conflicts. He quotes from the magesterial reformers to show that Sola Scriptura was not new and that they were returning to something that had been lost in the church. He also shows how Protestants have lost the meaning of the doctrine and have embraced a doctrine that would not be recognized by Luther or Calvin. This is a book that should be read by all Christians so that once again the Church can return to the authority of the Scriptures and a hermeneutic that can solve many of our conflicts, if we will only listen.
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22 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Geoffrey S. Robinson on July 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
I do not wish to resay what previous reviewers have said. Needless to say, this book is about clarifying the relationship between Scritpture and tradition; clarifying what sola scriptura actually is, saving the doctrine from Rome and from modern evangelicals in a balanced, historical perspective.
Mr. Mathison has done the church quite a service. For those who hate the authority of the church and for those who elevate the church above Scripture, this will not be a popular book. It will produce a lot of dialogue, I hope, but it won't sit well.
The book is methodical in its historical overview of the role of Scripture. Many things will become apparant from this book: 1) Sola Scriptura or Tradition I(as it is in the book) is the early church's position 2) numerous (and I mean numerous) examples of the fallibility of infallible Roman Catholicism are on display in this book. Rome is ruled by the magesterium of the moment. Since they are assumed to be infallible, they cannot be corrected. Even though any reasonable unbiased person can see that some of their current positions are not ones the church has held in the past. Although, in the end, it is admitted that Rome is part of the visible church. 3) The individualistic notions in modern evangelicalism is really really bad. Too much of the Anabaptists and not enough of the Reformers.
Along the way, Mr. Mathison deals with objections and raises many issues. This is highly deserving of his five stars. It is time to place Scripture, tradition, and the church in its proper and historical place. Towards that end, we should pray. And towards that end, I highly recommend this book.
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