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The Shape of Sola Scriptura
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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.Read more ›
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.
Sola Scriptura, on the other hand, as talked about by the Reformers, held to nothing of the sort. They believed that Scripture should be studied in conjunction with the rest of the community of the Saints, especially those Early Church Fathers who helped develop the Creeds of Nicaea and Chalcedon.
Keith Mathison defines Sola Scriptura this way:
"The Scripture is to be interpreted by the Church within the hermeneutical context of the regula fidei or rule of faith. The rule of faith has found written expression in the ecumenical creeds of the Church. The Nicene Creed and the definition of Chalcedon are the creedal confessions of all orthodox Christians and serve as the doctrinal boundaries of orthodox Christianity" (p. 337).
Mathison points out in his book that what most Christians believe today is not Sola Scriptura, but Solo Scriptura, and I think I agree with him. However, by definition, Solo Scriptura is an impossible belief. This is what I was trying to say in my previous post. Just to take one example.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A tour-de-force that traces the ancient, historic and Reformed articulations of sola scriptura and contrasts them with commonly held evangelical misconceptions of the... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Kevin Carroll
Mathisons book is the best criticism of Roman Catholicism I have seen, I cant recommend it more highly.Published 16 months ago by whatever
Exactly what I was looking for. A history of how we got Scripture and who decided what and what was not Scripture.Published on December 24, 2013 by John Gibson
Sola Scriptura ("Scripture alone") was one of the slogans of the Reformation. According to Mathison, it is the idea that the Bible alone is the ultimate source of authority. Read morePublished on October 5, 2013 by John Dekker
You can not claim the teachings of the Church Fathers if you take text bytes and formulate them into a book. Read morePublished on July 28, 2013 by Orthodox Book Club
A lot of Protestants are Solo Scriptura. They misunderstand it to be Sola Scriptura. This is the best corrective for the Protestants on Sola Scriptura in print in my opinion. Read morePublished on January 25, 2013 by J. Stewart
If you're interested in the sola scriptura debate, this is a must read. Matthison first identifies sola scriptura with the conception of the relationship between tradition and... Read morePublished on August 20, 2012 by Michael A. Taylor
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... Read morePublished on April 12, 2012 by Brian Collins