Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sola Scriptura and the Priesthood of All Believers

Two heretical doctrines, at least from a Catholic Standpoint. Yet 500,000 modern Protestants stick to them like glue.

There's been a ton of problems with the arrogant belief that God speaks directly to a given individual- this is cult-land after all- without a touchstone of *rational* thought.

And worse yet, Islam is beginning to imitate the same mistake, in Bin Laden's Wahabbist doctrine of Sola Jihad- the requirement of any believer to commit himself to violence when justice is threatened.

They say you can see a false teaching by it's fruits- and certainly, the fruits of the spirit of the Reformation have been anything other than a Holy Spirit. I contend that absent of a strong hierarchy and strong tradition, a religion that relies *ONLY* on a priesthood of believers is like a science that has no peer reviewed journals- it can only produce biased bunk.


ConceptJunkie said...


If Sola Scriptura made any sense, then wouldn't the people who practice that belief all agree? On anything? Ever?

It seems to suffer from the delusion that everyone is smart enough to look at Scripture and figure out exactly what it means. Now some things are obvious, like "Thou shalt not kill"... or is it?

Some things clearly are not and the idea that you only need your Bible a comfy chair and some time to understand the breadth and depth of God's word is naive at best and dangerous at worst.

Should everyone do that? Absolutely. I attend Eucharistic Adoration every week and they provide some good reading material in the Church, including the Pope's "Jesus of Nazareth" which I've almost finished. Superb book, although I think it gets overly dense in some places... and this is from someone who tends like "dense". It occurred to me however, that among the many great books by saints and theologians there is no Bible. Now most of these books, like Pope Benedict's, are steeped in Scripture, but that the Scripture itself is missing bothers me a bit. Maybe the assumption is everyone has his own copy, which is surely true.

Anyhow, while there's a danger of not putting enough emphasis on Scripture, there is another danger of putting too much emphasis on it, to the point, in my opinion, that it becomes a form of idolatry. It's a bizarre idea, yes, and I wouldn't accuse all or most Protestants, even the Sola ones, of succumbing to that, but it is obvious to me that some do.

The very same people who shun visual representations of Our Lord or His Saints as idolatry will enshrine a verbal representation of Him and His Word. How is that really any different? Aren't they really two versions of the same thing, which if revered properly, are useful, and even essential to our spiritual growth and understanding of the Almighty.

To me Sola Scriptura is like communism: it could only work if everyone is already perfect.

Ted Seeber said...

This originally came from a standpoint of a discussion I was having on facebook with Protestant relatives- including one who is ready to abandon Sola Scriptura, but not ready to accept the idea of a hierarchy to replace it.

There was a time when the assumption that everybody had a copy wasn't true- some of the Saint's writings from that time will contain full quotes instead of just a reference. Augustine's "City of God" does so- it was actually written before there WAS a Bible, when Scripture was a library instead of a book.

I agree with you on the subject of certain fundamentalist evangelicals turning the book into an idol. I've actually had a few of them in recent discussions refer to it as The Word of God (when John Chapter 1 clearly gives that title to Christ) and actually having WISDOM (which in our system, requires a thinking brain, not a book).

Nationalistic communism (or I'm beginning to think, in this post September 2008 world- any economic system bigger than a city) yep- sola scriptura requires human beings to be perfect. Something that just ain't possible in this world.

Creative Commons License
Oustside The Asylum by Ted Seeber is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at http://outsidetheaustisticasylum.blogspot.com.