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The Shape of Sola Scriptura Paperback – April 18, 2001

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

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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: 0.8 x 5.9 x 9 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: #284,034 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

This book was very informative.
joel
Does that not mean that the ECF used the "rule of faith" to correctly find these doctrines in scripture?
Mr. Paul A. Ackermann
The Reformers held to the ancillary view of tradition not to the coincidence/Tradition I view.
Brian Collins

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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Collins on April 12, 2012
Format: Paperback
A. N. S. Lane's article "Scripture, Tradition and Church: An Historical Survey," Vox Evangelica 9 (1975): 37-55 is perhaps the best brief survey of views about Scripture and Tradition in the church. He documents several views: the coincidence view (Oberman's/Mathison's Tradition I), the supplementary view (Oberman's/Mathison's Tradition II.), the ancillary view, and the unfolding view. The Reformers held to the ancillary view of tradition not to the coincidence/Tradition I view.

Mathison explicitly rejects Lane's categories, saying, "The reason that his criticism [of Oberman] fails, however, is simply due to the fact that the early Church's view contained elements of the `ancillary' view, and the Reformers' position contained elements of the `coincidence' view." Ibid., 86, n. 13. It is difficult to discern what Mathison means by "elements" of the various views outlined by Lane. What are these elements, and how do they relate to one another? To prove that the Reformers basically held to the coincidental view, Mathison must prove that the Reformers grant to the rule of faith the authority of right interpretation. The only support Mathison presents for this claim, however, is a quotation from Alister McGrath that does not interact directly with the primary sources, a quotation from T. H. L. Parker to the effect that Calvin maintained the "Nicaeno-Constantinopolitan Creed," and a reference to the preface of the Institutes in which Calvin claims the fathers better support the Reformation against Rome.

But Calvin held to the deliverances of the early church councils on the Trinity and the Son because he found their teachings grounded in Scripture.
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