Rethinking My Beliefs about God Apart From Traditional Christianity

Sola Scriptura?

In Reformation Era, The Bible on November 14, 2010 at 7:22 pm

From what I understand, sola scriptura was necessary for a time and culture in church history in which church tradition and human authority, such as the papacy, were equal authorities along with the Bible. The reformers sought to do away with those other mediators, although they only ended up enforcing church tradition and replacing the pope or bishop with the pastor.

Even Martin Luther exalted the teaching pastor as “one who speaks as God” so that he did not truly promote sola scriptura, but basically succeeded in wrapping the entire church institution in a new package – separate but the same.

Most people who believe in sola scriptura today also believe in the authority of church tradition and church pastors. To remove one of these from their pedestal is essentially to remove all of them. By saying that the Bible is our ultimate authority, we are actually saying that the specific interpretation taught by a specific church denomination is also our authority. If the Bible is our authority, then which translation and interpretation are we implying? Churches cannot even agree upon what should be included in the canon of scripture. And translations rely heavily upon interpretation just to publish a Bible.

Do any of us even take this “authority” very seriously? Do we stop and think about just who we rely upon to understand the truth? Who/what is our authority and who/what should be our authority? Is it church tradition, a few teachers within that church division and a “traditional” interpretation? (I think we would be surprised how much traditional interpretations disagree and contradict each other, while still holding to some of the same fundamental church traditions. Baptism is a good example.)

Let’s say that the Bible really does contain all we need to know about the truth, as far as intellectual knowledge is concerned, that is. sola scriptura claims that all other authorities are subordinate to the Bible. Okay, for the sake of argument, let’s say this is also true. What does the Bible actually say about the authority or in other words, the source of truth?

It says that the *Spirit* will lead us into all truth. These words, more or less, came from the mouth of the Christ so that those who believe that Christ is our authority should even be satisfied with this answer.

I do not believe that Christ was the original source of truth, but the messenger of truth, the grand vessel of the Spirit of God. Who or what was his source or authority of truth? The Spirit of God. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation, or the Spirit of the word of God. The Bible is not the word of God, but another messenger. We have many messengers of God’s truth. Can God’s word or God’s truth be confined to a single vessel? I think that is as absurd as saying you can only find air in a jar.

The truth comes from the Spirit. The Spirit dwells within us. So we were created to know truth from within us. We can trust our God-created heart and minds to know the truth when we hear it and know a lie when we hear it. Sure, we will need to experience this life in order to grow in it, but to say that the source of life comes from mere ink and pages or from a single great man, even the greatest Man, is to confine the Spirit within that Man to only Him.

This greatest of all men gave us this same Spirit, so that we can each discern the truth within us. This is not an authority that rules over us in which we are slaves or subjects to it, but one that sets us free. In this sense, I will gladly subject myself to this authority above all other authorities, and will subject all of these other supposed authorities, such as the Bible, to this one – the Holy Spirit, which is God Himself, and who, amazingly, dwells in me


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