Skip to comments.Is Sola Scriptura Anglican?
Posted on 08/04/2006 6:24:28 PM PDT by sionnsar
This thread could get "interesting."
Good point! Let's throw on a little kindling:
"The issue was between two forces. On the one hand was the instinct which we all have within us, that Europe is Catholic, must live as Catholic, or must die; that in the anarchic religious rebellion was peril of death to our art, our culture, to that from which they proceed, our religious vision. On the other had arisen an intense, fierce, increasing hatred against the Mass, the Blessed Sacrament, the whole transcendental scheme; a hatred such that all who felt it were, in spite of a myriad differences, in common alliance. That hatred fed upon an original popular indignation against the corruption of the clergy, and especially against their financial claims. But the hatred was far older than any such late medieval trouble; it was as old as the presence of the Catholic Church in this world."
----- Hilaire Belloc, HOW THE REFORMATION HAPPENED, p. 90
Is that an infallible revealed truth statement by the author?
This assertion does not carry the corollary; that God has limited his revelation to the scriptures. One can both hold firmly to sola scriptura and at the same time believe that God speaks through the Church, the councils, holy tradition, nature, reason etc.
In other words, sola scriptura does not assert that the scriptures are the only source of revelation. It does assert that the scriptures are the only infallible source of revelation. Therefore, because it is the only infallible source of revelation, the bible is the sole norm by which all other authoritative norms are normed. Another way to say this is to say that because the bible is the lone infallible source, tradition and reason must be judged in light of the scriptures....
Much appreciate the thread, sionnsar. Not sure I fully agree with the distinction between the "reformed" and the "radical reformers", but on the whole this is IMO an excellent introduction to the topic.
The Anglican model of authority is Scripture, Tradition, and Reason and is called the 'three-legged stool' meaning that one won't fall off track if one rests upon those three in concert.
Even Anglicans in the past of the most Evangelical sort would not have insisted on sola scriptura because they knew well that in the early days of the Church the only Scripture was the Hebrew Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus were handed down (tradere) orally to succeeding generations i.e., Tradition with a capital T.
Of course, Holy Scripture itself says this:
1 Timothy 3:14-15 Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God's household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.
The pillar and foundation of truth is the Church of the living God not the Holy Bible.
You also may wish to read Tract 90 of the Anglican Tractarians as it is an interpretation of the 39 Articles of Religion generally held by Anglo-Catholics. Of course, no one subscribes to the 39 Articles in The Episcopal Church, Inc. And I mean that literally. It is not a requirement as it is in the Anglican Church of Ireland for example.
Great article--says the main thing that has moved me from conservative Presbyterian circles to conservative Anglican ones.
It isn't mentioned by name, but the "Puritan regulative principle" a hot topic still amoung PCA (Presbyterian Church in America, the largest conservative Presby. body) OPC (Orthodox Presbyterian Church), the ARP (Associate Reformed Presbyterians (oldest of the Presbyterian bodies, mainly in the Southeast) is this idea that nothing can be done in worship without specific sanction given it in the Bible.
This contra the Lutheran and Anglican (and more moderate Reformed) idea, stated in this article, that in worship, as in all of life, one is open to new things, but nothing may be in contradition to the scriptures.
In my opinion, the Puritan regulative principle is where we get modern baptist ideas (since you cannot (directly) find infant (or sprinkling) baptism in the bible--hence they say we cannot do it). Better for magisterial Protestants, is we cannot find prohibition for infant baptism--and it does fit in the pattern of Old Covenant circumcision...so we allow it.
Speaking as one yet Reformed in theology, but changing denominations to Anglican, I appreciate and agree with the Suprema Scriptura position (perhaps a more understandable term than Sola Scriptura, and how the magisterial reformers understood that phrase...), and the Lutheran/Anglcian take on the regulative principle in worship. The Puritans were still fighting wars with the Catholics (literally) and you cannot prove a Puritan regulative principle from scripture, or supporting (and lower in authority) traditions.
What did Hooker actually say about the "three legged stool?"
"What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto is whatsoever any man can necessarily conclude by force of reason; after these the voice of the Church succeedeth." (Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Book V, Chapter 8, Section 2)
Hence the "three legged stool" is more like a three stone column, with scipture alone as the sole foundation stone, and reason then tradition resting on it.
The priority and supremacy is clearly recognized as scripture first, then reason, and lastly tradition--all in submission to God's certain word.
The so-called "three legged stool" has been used as a club over and over again by the revisionist liberals to justify their deviant-defiant disobedience of scripture.
***It isn't mentioned by name, but the "Puritan regulative principle" a hot topic still amoung PCA***
I'm overseas so I'm not seeing a lot about the regulative principle. Is it a denomination wide debate or more of a local issue? From where I am it seems that the hot issue right now is the New Perspectives on Paul.
Even if one accepts the principle of Scripture Alone, there remains the problem that Scripture is often confusing and contradictory. And where it is, the Scripture gives authority to the apostles of the Church to settle it. Of course, the apostles did not resolve all of those confusing issues, and God didn't make them immortal.
Some argue that Scripture is never contradictory or confusing, if "properly" understood. This is a dodge. "Proper" understanding in such cases invariably means "what I think it says", and that does not lead to a consistent moral faith but towards fracture and strife.
If we take Jesus seriously in Scripture, he wants us unified. If we refuse to assign a final arbitrator in the Church to these vexed issues of Scripture, then we cannot remain unified. So, why is it that the things that vex US is allowed to be permission to divide the Church and override the SCRIPTURAL admonition of Jesus to unity? There is not a principle of disunity in Scripture.
The identical problem arises in secular law. The Constitution of the US says what it says, but it is often unclear how it is to be applied to a given situation. To resolve that matter, we have the Supreme Court. The Constitution does not anywhere contain the words "judicial review" and establish the Supreme Court as the final say on what the Constitution MEANS in vexed questions, but without such an authority every man is his own law, or we are simply ruled by force...or the country falls apart (take your pick).
The authority of the Supreme Court is implicit in the Constitution.
The authority of the Church is more explicit in the Gospels and the Epistles.
But wherever you have that authority, you will have people who don't like a given decision. Schism and secession have been the recourse of those who cannot abide the decisions of the authority. But the result hasn't created a new basis of authority.
Historically speaking the problem arises when the Supreme Court ceases to interpret the constition in accordance with the original intent of the authors. When that happens the Court ceases to apply law and begins to create law, many times contradicting the constitution itself.
The same thing happens in the Church...hence the Reformation
From Kendall Harmon in the last:
First, Richard Hooker never spoke about a stool with three legs. The correct quote is: "What Scripture doth plainly deliver, to that the first place both of credit and obedience is due; the next whereunto, is what any man can necessarily conclude by force of Reason; after this, the voice of the church succeedeth" (Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity, Vol. 5). It ought to get our curiosity up that Hooker not only doesn't use the image of the stool, but when he discusses the threesome at all it is in a different order than nearly all of those who claim the existence of such a stool.
I'm not a member of the PCA, but in seminary with a lot of PCAers, and you're probably right that the New Perspectives on Paul are the most "hot" topic right now.
However, in other than the most conservative Presbyterian circles, no one seems to have ever heard of the regulative principle of worship...and that is what I meant (in the big picture) that the regulative principle is still an important issue to the PCA. To the EPC, and certainly the PCUSA, it is a non-issue. Evangelicals in the PCUSA have much bigger fish to fry.
In Anglican circles, even the most conservative, naturally is isn't an issue at all--as Anglicanism rejected Puritanism 300+ years ago.
"Historically speaking the problem arises when the Supreme Court ceases to interpret the constition in accordance with the original intent of the authors. When that happens the Court ceases to apply law and begins to create law, many times contradicting the constitution itself.
The same thing happens in the Church...hence the Reformation"
But how do we know what the "original intent" of the authors is?
It is difficult enough to discern the intent of living, breathing persons standing in the same room. The Constitution, the Bible, and the writings of the early Church fathers say what they say. But what they say is often confusing or contradictory.
Generally what happens is that whatever one's strongly-held personal beliefs are on any subject is just as strongly believed to have been the original intent of the authors, sacred or temporal. There is no problem having strongly held beliefs. The mischief starts when one mistakes one's own intuitive understanding of something with the "intent" of men long dead.
With the Supreme Court, of course, we are dealing with mere politics, and the checks and balances on the power of the Court are ultimately political.
But with the Church, there is no clear institutional check-and-balance, and certainly no clear biblical one. And so it comes down to a matter of faith as to whether one believes that God provided for a resolution mechanism in the Church itself, with the Church possessing the final "Power of the Keys, to loose and to bind", that Jesus certainly gave to St. Peter, or if one believes that the final authority of Peter died with Peter.
This one does. I agree with your thinking on this totally.
Oops, guess this wasn't YOUR thinking! I agree with the author's thinking! :-)
I have no problem at all with the first part of your statement--that the Church pocesses interpretive right to understand the authoritative Holy Scriptures, given it by Christ, and empowered in that by the Holy Spirit. However, that one province of the original five Church provinces, hundreds of years after Peter died first interpreted that the keys were his alone, and that they themselves, since they had Peter's bones, were the inheritors of some emporer-like authority (funny how bishops in a city like Rome would think that, eh?) that never shows up in the accounts of St. Peter in the book of Acts (nor in the early history of the Church catholic)--THIS is the sticking point. That 4/5 of the original Church catholic rejected this, and 500 years later, some 1/3 of the schismatic province rejected it as well should, I think, give followers of Rome pause.
If Peter were not the receptor of the keys, rather the whole Church catholic unified is, than the history of the last 1000 years makes sense, if sadly so.
Most of the distinctly Roman Catholic doctrines Protestants find most objectionable were developed under very powerful, corrupt and worldy medieval popes and curia--who seemed to rely very little, if at all, on the guidance of the Holy Spirit through scripture.
When one studies Church history it very much appears a scholar named Heiko Obermann was correct in saying the "reformation" by the Roman church came first, between AD 1000 and 1500, and Protestants merely reacted with a "counter-reformation"--trying, often fitfully for sure, to bring things back to the first millenia pattern.
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