Sola Scriptura from and Orthodox perspective

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Yes, Paul is telling Timothy to transmit the teaching he has given to him, but he also is saying that this teaching should be committed to faithful men. Both the teaching and the men are important. It is clear from Titus 1:5 that Paul wanted Titus to ordain other men as presbyter.

I enjoy your insight.
We have those. For us, the office in question in Titus 1, 1 Tim 3:1-7, and Acts 20 is the same office with three aspects: episkopos, presbeuteros, and poimen -- bishop, elder, shepherd. Acts 20 and 1 Peter 5:1-2 show all three aspects referring to the same office. We believe this office is only over a local, autonomous congregation with the only central authority being Christ.

The bishop/overseer aspect is about authority over the congregation which they have to deal with discipline and make executive decisions necessary for the ordered operation of the congregation. Elder/presbyter is the wisdom of an experienced guide (which is why Mormon "elders" are somewhat amusing), and the shepherd is about feeding them spiritual food necessary for growth and protecting them from outsiders meaning to do them harm (e.g. false teachers). The authority of the elders does not extend outside of scriptures, they must meet all qualifications given in Titus and Timothy, and there must be a plurality who are equal in their authority over each congregation. We believe this is the Biblical pattern to the extent that even some of the Apostles also held the office of Elder (Acts 15; 1 Peter 5).

Again, I'm not analyzing your faith, I'm just explaining how the church of Christ understands things. I don't believe anything I've said is outside the authority of scriptures so far. 😁

P.S. My dad was an elder of our congregation for almost 20 years.
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
Thanks for you response!
Same here. ☺️
My question would be this, what about when there was no written word? Christ ascended into Heaven lets say 30/33 AD and the first book of the New Testament was not written until 55 AD, give or take a couple of years. How did Christians learn the faith between these two dates? Sure, Old Testament Scriptures were read/sung, we know this, but no Gospels.

I appreciate your perspective and hope to hear from you again!
It was transmitted orally. And since the one church of the one Lord God only has one faith the role of the OT and the living witnesses were among the means of verifying the Apostolic witness.
 

ziapueblo

Active member
Again, I'm not analyzing your faith, I'm just explaining how the church of Christ understands things. I don't believe anything I've said is outside the authority of scriptures so far. 😁
I understand you explaining the Church of Christ's position. I enjoy learning what other Christian traditions teach :)

P.S. My dad was an elder of our congregation for almost 20 years.
You had mentioned it earlier. That's great!
 

Maxtar

Active member
When we Orthodox speak of Tradition along side Scripture is our Liturgical worship, the Councils, the Creed and the Fathers.
Folks like Rich put you folks in the same boat as us. The EO Church is not a Sola Scriptura believing Church and your biblical interpretation is wrong according to them.
 

Maxtar

Active member
My opinion is that "All Scripture is God-breathed note and is valuable for teaching, for reproving, for correcting, for training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be fully competent, thoroughly equipped for every good work." 2 Tim 3:16,17 WPNT
That said, there are teachings that are profitable. As to Traditions, I have no problem with written traditions, those which can be compared to scripture - effectively the same as teachings. However, the RCC has "oral traditions" which remain unknown until they are trotted out to support some hithertofore unknown doctrine. This is no better than an open canon!
The belief's of the EO Church are basically the same as us Catholics, so you can't give them a pass and at the same time castigate us once again as you just did here.
 

rakovsky

Active member
The Orthodox Church is a Conciliar Church where Ecumenical Councils are the highest decisionmaking body. We don't have a Council saying that Ecumenical Councils are infallible, but it's a common idea among EOs. At one point in John 10:35 we read Jesus' statement that the Scripture cannot be broken ("If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;"), and maybe that means that the Bible is infallible. The idea of Biblical infallibility and the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils doesn't seem to be as solid an idea as in the Catholic Church (or Biblical infallibility for Protestants), but it seems a common idea in the EO Church that the Bible and Ecumenical Councils are infallible, at least somehow, like in their main ideas.

What is different about the Catholic idea is that the Catholic idea goes that the Pope is infallible when he speaks on behalf of the church and the church accepts his statements, and the Catholic Magisterium is infallible when the bishops all accept it.

The classic Protestant idea following Luther's explicit statements on the topic and the Lutheran Formula of Concord are that the Bible is the "only" "rule" and "authority" on all teachings, hence the term Sola Scriptura. Luther was explicit on this point, and it was not just a matter of using the Bible Plus Tradition like the Anglican tradition has it. Luther's theory is reasonably disprovable as a matter of logic because the Bible never says that the Bible is the only rule and authority on all teachings. It makes statements like the Scripture cannot be broken, but not statements like "There is no other authority to use in addition to the Bible in deciding on doctrines."
 

Theophilos

Active member
The Orthodox Church is a Conciliar Church where Ecumenical Councils are the highest decisionmaking body. We don't have a Council saying that Ecumenical Councils are infallible, but it's a common idea among EOs. At one point in John 10:35 we read Jesus' statement that the Scripture cannot be broken ("If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;"), and maybe that means that the Bible is infallible. The idea of Biblical infallibility and the infallibility of Ecumenical Councils doesn't seem to be as solid an idea as in the Catholic Church (or Biblical infallibility for Protestants), but it seems a common idea in the EO Church that the Bible and Ecumenical Councils are infallible, at least somehow, like in their main ideas.

What is different about the Catholic idea is that the Catholic idea goes that the Pope is infallible when he speaks on behalf of the church and the church accepts his statements, and the Catholic Magisterium is infallible when the bishops all accept it.

The classic Protestant idea following Luther's explicit statements on the topic and the Lutheran Formula of Concord are that the Bible is the "only" "rule" and "authority" on all teachings, hence the term Sola Scriptura. Luther was explicit on this point, and it was not just a matter of using the Bible Plus Tradition like the Anglican tradition has it. Luther's theory is reasonably disprovable as a matter of logic because the Bible never says that the Bible is the only rule and authority on all teachings. It makes statements like the Scripture cannot be broken, but not statements like "There is no other authority to use in addition to the Bible in deciding on doctrines."
Good points.

If the apostles had taught sola scriptura, then the Septuagint would still be the sole basis of scriptures. The New Testament did not exist in it current form for about 300 years after the time of the apostles, and it took several centuries more until the 27-book canon was accepted throughout the Church.
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
Good points.

If the apostles had taught sola scriptura, then the Septuagint would still be the sole basis of scriptures. The New Testament did not exist in it current form for about 300 years after the time of the apostles, and it took several centuries more until the 27-book canon was accepted throughout the Church.
Except that they considered their own writing scriptures, knowing they were inspired (2 Peter 3:16) so this conclusion is incorrect.
 

Carbon

Well-known member
I would argue that Protestants are divided over a whole bunch of things and it isn't the scripture's fault. I believe that division comes from personal desires and perhaps too much reliance on leadership to do the believing for them.
It's obvious that many Catholics are divided on many things as well. I'd say this comes from a personal desire as well as their priests.
At risk of hurting feelings, most of them have not made their faith their own.
How does one make their faith their own?
They believe based on another's faith for them.
Isn't that what the Rc's do?
I am not Protestant, though, so I can only speak of them as one on the outside looking in.
Maybe you should ask a protestant?
 

Carbon

Well-known member
While there are superficial differences, functionally I see no difference. Both teach things that are outside of what the scriptures actually teach following the doctrines of men (Matt. 15:9).

One of the biggest problems I have with these and with other Protestants or even those who embrace the concept of denominationalism is that they acknowledge that they all have different doctrines and religious practices, yet they all embrace one another as part of the same body.
That is kinda odd. Would you point out a few in particular? Especially the ones who embrace all others as part of the body?
Thanks.

One denomination teaches that men are selected individually by God to be saved or lost before time began, another teaches that man has true free will and responds freely to God's gospel call.
Correct. I would think the RCC is on the side with those who have free will and can freely respond to the call?
Yet they embrace one another as saved.
Why?
One teaches that baptism (in its many varied forms) saves - such as the Lutherans
Just Lutherans, or are there others?
- and another that baptism is an outward sign to men that one has already been saved - Baptists.
They do believe once one is saved they must be baptized and only by submersion.

Since I was baptized RC, as an infant, to many it's not legit.
One teaches that baptism is for infants and another that it is for those who have reached an accountable age.
Yep.
One teaches that rock bands are acceptable worship to God, another teaches only a piano, and others that mechanical instruments are sinful.
Interesting.

They all have different organizational structures, different manuals, creeds, confessions of faith, and other external sources of authority, secondary in most cases, but authority nonetheless.
True.

Their worship differs. One is millennialist, another is amillennialist, another is preterist believing that Catholicism/Rome is the great whore.
That's Eschatology.

All these different doctrine are mutually exclusive and distinct. They are not small matters of individual discernment such as Romans 12 presents. We are not talking about whether Christians should be pacifists or are authorized to carry a sword. We are not talking about the order of worship on Sunday morning or whether it should be one cup or many when we partake of communion. These are major, significant, basic doctrines. Worship, organization, salvation, church identity. They all disagree, they are all identifiable by their unique collection of doctrines, yet they all embrace each other as the same church. It is mind-blowing to me that they don't see this.
Explain a bit?
Jesus built one church. It has one faith, teaches one baptism, has one kurios. Deviations from this are not just simple opinions, they are man's arrogance, another gospel, another baptism, man becoming his own master instead of submitting to the will of God.
So, none of them may have baptism correct?

Denominationalism is not just agreeing to disagree and oh well, we all believe and that's what's important. Denominationalism is an embracing of division in what they claim is the Lord's church and that is, in itself, sinful.
The RCC Church said this would happen.

In the above specific examples, some are right about some things but wrong about other things.
I think it's important if you would point a couple of these out.
That's not the point. The point is that they differ on doctrinal issues yet they all think this is okay and that they are all still part of some larger organization. The picture they present is a Jesus mutant with one head and many hundreds, if not thousands, of bodies.
Hmmm, interesting. Would you point out a couple of these doctrines?

The one that eliminates most of those man-made churches immediately from contention as the church Jesus built...is what it takes to be saved. Anyone who teaches that you can be saved by a dead faith (faith alone), by the same kind of faith demons have, is teaching a devil's doctrine.
What kind of faith do you think demons have? And how does it compare?
And which doctrine or doctrines are of demons?

So I'd start there then work my way through the other issues mentioned until only one church is left. That one? The one that teaches all and only what the Bible teaches? That's the one Jesus built. That's the one I want to be a part of because it and it alone is the bride of Christ, the body of the saved, the kingdom of Heaven.

In Truth and Love.
Which you say is the RCC?
 

BJ Bear

Well-known member
If the apostles had taught sola scriptura, then the Septuagint would still be the sole basis of scriptures.
The Apostles did practice Scripture alone is lord and master over all other writings, otherwise, there would be no NT. They wrote of the fulfillment of Scripture rather than appeal to other writings, or to some other unwritten tradition, to overturn the Tanakh.
The New Testament did not exist in it current form for about 300 years after the time of the apostles, and it took several centuries more until the 27-book canon was accepted throughout the Church.
Not that the assertion above is true but the one faith of the one church of the one Lord God isn't dependent upon the number of books received as canonical, otherwise, for example, you would be claiming that Adam was of a lesser or different faith than Moses; Moses was of a lesser or different faith than James; James was of a lesser or different faith than Peter; Peter was of a lesser or different faith than John.
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
It's obvious that many Catholics are divided on many things as well. I'd say this comes from a personal desire as well as their priests.
I don't disagree.
How does one make their faith their own?
What I mean by this is when a child is raised by parents of a particular faith system, they believe what they believe mainly because that's what their parents believe. They haven't really ever challenged those beliefs, examined them on their own merits, and said "I believe these because they are true, not because that's what my parents/favorite teacher/preacher/etc. has always believed and taught".
Isn't that what the Rc's do?
I believe that's what a lot of people do regardless of faith system.
Maybe you should ask a protestant?
I've talked to them for thirty years, but I've never been one. Never will be. So I will only know what I know of them from the outside. :)
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
That is kinda odd. Would you point out a few in particular? Especially the ones who embrace all others as part of the body?
Thanks.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you want me to point out. Doctrines? Denominations? Would you elaborate on what you are asking a bit more? Thanks.
Correct. I would think the RCC is on the side with those who have free will and can freely respond to the call?
I believe so, yes.
I don't know why. It seems to me that such mutually exclusive doctrines would preclude them from accepting one another. It is illogical to me. If someone believes that all men were preselected by God before time began and another believes that man has free will and all who choose to follow God's plan of salvation are saved, how can they be in fellowship or think that the other one is part of the body of the saved while disagreeing on such a fundamental doctrine?
Just Lutherans, or are there others?
There are others.
They do believe once one is saved they must be baptized and only by submersion.
It is no more a NT immersion than swimming. If you aren't going under the water for the right reason, you aren't obeying God, you're just getting wet.
Since I was baptized RC, as an infant, to many it's not legit.
And yet they will still call you saved as long as you just believe. A serious inconsistency.
Yep.

Interesting.


True.


That's Eschatology.
Yup.
Explain a bit?
Jesus founded one church. He presented it with instructions through the inspired writers of the New Testament, gave them a pattern for salvation, for worship, for organization, for doctrine. That one church is identifiable by having all and only those things that Jesus taught about His one church. Churches who teach different things on salvation, for example, can't both be the one church Jesus built. At least one of them is wrong, a man made fake that people are joining and thinking they are saved when in fact they are not. And yet so many of them teach so many different things but all say that each other are going to Heaven, that it doesn't matter which church you belong to (even though Christ died for only one, His Bride). It's like they are blind to what the concept of the church really is. Christ is not a polygamist.
So, none of them may have baptism correct?
Christ taught specific things about baptism in the NT. Anyone who teaches different, doesn't have it correct. They are teaching man's ideas on baptism. The church Jesus built, the one He died for, the one that is His Bride? That church understands the nature and purpose of baptism correctly, implements it properly.
The RCC Church said this would happen.
Ironically, since they are the first division from the original church about 300 years after it was founded.
I think it's important if you would point a couple of these out.
Talking about what doctrines the denominations get correct? Okay.

There are a number of denominations that teach free will is real and not just simulated.
There are a number of denominations that teach that we are to worship with congregational a capella singing.
There are a number of denominations that teach we are to worship each first day of the week, particularly to partake of the Lord's Supper.
There are a number of denominations that teach only men may have positions of authority within the church.
There are a number of denominations that teach (though less so that actually practice) that the Bible is the only authority in spiritual matters.
There are a number of denominations that teach that the office of Apostle was for the first period only, for the purpose of establishing the church and was not an office that had successors.
There are a number of denominations that teach that local congregations should be autonomous in terms of earthly authority and only united under Christ.
There are a number of denominations that teach that faith, repentance, and confession are necessary for salvation.
There are a number of denominations that teach that once someone becomes a Christian, they can rebel against God and be lost again.

I hope this is what you were asking me to point out.
Hmmm, interesting. Would you point out a couple of these doctrines?
Just read the list above and then consider the opposite of that. :)
What kind of faith do you think demons have? And how does it compare?
And which doctrine or doctrines are of demons?
I believe demons have a faith that is based in knowing the truth about Jesus, even to the point of confessing who He is (Matt. 8:29), but without obedience to the gospel plan of salvation. They know who Jesus is, know what is coming for them, and yet they refuse to obey Jesus as King, submit to His will. Their faith, their knowledge and trust in who Jesus is and what He is is not coupled with obedience.

Those who say they are saved by faith alone are saved by faith that is not coupled with obedience. They are saved by a faith that knows Christ, trusts Christ is who He is, will do what He says, but a faith says I don't have to obey before God saves me, my belief is enough. I don't actually have to submit to do, to act, according to God's commands before He saves me.

Both faiths are dead because of this lack of obedience, lack of submission. It's dead because it's alone, separated from obedience. Its the same kind of faith.

Doctrines of demons are any doctrines that are contrary to the doctrines of Christ. If Christ says through the inspired writer "baptism does also now save you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ" then the demonic doctrine is "baptism doesn't save you". If Christ says that a man is made free from sin when he obeys from the heart that pattern of doctrine God gave him then the demonic doctrine says you are saved before and without obedience. If Christ says that "not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord will enter into the kingdom, but he that does the will of my Father which is in Heaven", then the demonic doctrine is "you don't have to do anything to enter the kingdom and in fact, you can't do anything to enter the kingdom". Anything that teaches something other than what the Bible teaches is a doctrine of demons.
Which you say is the RCC?
Heh, no, not at all. I believe it is the church of Christ. (You can see a lot of what I'm talking about over in that forum.)

I hope that answers all your questions. If I missed anything, please let me know.

In Truth and Love.
 

Theophilos

Active member
Except that they considered their own writing scriptures, knowing they were inspired (2 Peter 3:16) so this conclusion is incorrect.
Yes, the author of 2 Peter considered letters from Paul to be scripture. Of course there is no list of accepted letters, and 2 Peter is silent on the rest of the New Testament including its own status as scripture.

Several early church fathers expressed doubts about the authorship of 2 Peter, and it was one of the last books accepted into the canon. In the Eastern Church, 2 Peter (along with 2 John, 3 John, Jude, Revelation) was not included in Syriac New Testament until the seventh century.

For Orthodox and Catholic Christians, the question of the the authorship is not relevant to whether the book is scripture, but Orthodox and Catholics do not have a doctrine of sola scriptura.

What basis is there to accept the 2 Peter in the New Testament other than the tradition of the Church?
 

Kade Rystalmane

Well-known member
What basis is there to accept the 2 Peter in the New Testament other than the tradition of the Church?
It's harmony with the rest of scripture as a whole. I grant 100% more weight to the internal evidence than I do the external. The way 2 Peter fits with the rest of scripture and with its own internal consistency demands its authenticity as inspited writ. I see no evidence against worth considering.
 

nomrom

Member
Why do we believe in God, the most Holy Trinity, the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because of a verse written in Scripture? Orthodox Christians believe these things because of the witness of the early Church. What was the witness of the early Church? Of course, first and foremost, their martyrdom. Christians who died for Jesus, the anointed one, in the most horrific ways possible. Second, the apostolic Tradition of the Church. What is apostolic Tradition? St. Irenaeus, an early Bishop born in Smyrna cira 130 A.D., wrote in his famous work Against Heresies, "As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same." It is what is handed down, paradosis in Greek, meaning a handing down or over, a tradition. Tradition comes in two forms as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions (paradosis) which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

I have been curious about forum members views on Sola Scriptura. From my understanding, Sola Scriptura is that the Bible and the Bible alone are all a Christian needs in order to find doctrine, teaching, etc. No other sources than Scripture. This idea comes from Martin Luther. He wrote, ". . . A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.…Neither the Church nor the pope can establish articles of faith. These must come from Scripture. For the sake of Scripture we should reject pope and councils . . ." Of course I understand Martin Luther is writing in protest of the Catholic Church, for he mentions the Pope of Rome, yet, the words, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council." Luther also writes, "I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council." It seems to me that he is saying "I am so sure that I have discovered true Christianity in my reading of Scripture that nothing will shake my opinion."

Am I wrong to think this? If sos, what is Sola Scriptura and what is it that I do not understand about it? What does it mean? I open and honestly as an Orthodox Christian ask this question.

We Orthodox, of course, do not believe that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient. Orthodox believe that we must have a lens in which to interpret the Sacred Text and that lens is our Liturgical worship, the councils of the Church and writings of the early Fathers of the Church.

It is not my intent to convince others or even to say that the Orthodox Church absolutely right (this is of course what I believe) and everyone else is wrong. This is just the Orthodox perspective.

Thanks,
The problem with the Sola’s is that they are not biblical. There is not a single verse of Scripture that says Scripture itself is the only authority. Not even one. But what does the Scriptures say about the Scriptures themselves? All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction and righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3-17). God incarnate and the Holy Spirit in the Church are God’s self-revelation. Scripture is the record of that revelation and the root from which tradition grows. So, the bible does say that the Scriptures are given by divine inspiration. It does say that they are profitable, they are useful for teaching and correction and without them we are not equipped and not furnished to do good works. But it does not say Scripture alone anywhere. So, I would say it fails its own test.

We cannot recognize the Bible as the only authority and here is why. Because the bible has to be interpreted. If Scripture is the main source for revelation of Christian doctrine, reason is the main instrument for grasping, understanding, developing, and applying such doctrine. Scripture does not interpret itself. Its meaning is not self-evident. Reason is needed to understand and interpret anything, including scripture.

The bible does not just stand alone. It is given within a context. And the context I would argue is the Church itself. The Church compiled the scriptures, the Church preserved the scriptures and the Church interprets the scriptures. The same Church that defined the Holy Trinity, the human and divine natures of Christ, is the same Church that compiled the scriptures that we enjoy every day.

Tradition of the Church also has a kind of practical priority, because tradition summarizes the reasonable interpretation of Scripture by the many ages of the Church that have gone before us. Scripture cannot properly be separated from tradition and allowed to stand alone, not least because it was the inspired Church which decided which books should be included in Scripture and which not. Tradition, in other words, defined what is authentic Scripture and what is not. Without tradition both the content and the interpretation of Scripture will be thrown into radical doubt. Without tradition, broadly defined to include the worshipping life of the Church, Scripture has no context and is a mere, dead text.

And the Church are really the Bishops in union with all of us in the body. We come to the scriptures together. Its just not the clergy, laity or isolated individuals. It is the Church as a whole that receives the scriptures and interprets the scriptures. The Church has a calling. The individual people (laity) has a calling to protect the faith. Not just the hierarchy, everyone has to content for the faith.

The authority of the bible is undoubted. We believe in the authority of scripture. All of our traditions just amplify scripture. They manifest the meaning of scripture but they do not contradict scripture. So, all the pieces of tradition; the scriptures, the writings of holy church fathers, the iconography, the architecture to the ascetical works of monks and nuns that have been recorded. All of these things are part of a mosaic, all showing us the same picture. They don’t contradict each other. We don’t view the scriptures in isolation. Our interpretation of the scripture, agrees with the other aspects of holy tradition and the other aspects of holy tradition have to agrees with the scriptures. There cannot be a scenario of having to choose between the scripture versus the tradition.

This is one of the main reasons why there are so many divisions going on in the Christian world. They interpret things differently and set up their own church. You see this in a lot of non-denominational churches and street preachers. The problem is that you have every individual picking the bible apart and coming up with their own way of belief. They are personally interpreting the scriptures on their own. The Apostle Peter said no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. The holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So, the scriptures are not privately interpreted. The Church is guided by the Spirit and that is why if you look at the history of the Church, you can see an unbroken continuity from the Apostles, where we have not deviated from the faith once delivered to the Saints. But, if you compare that to Protestantism, within a few hundred years, we have 33,000 different versions of Christianity all competing with each other and contradicting each other. Someone might say, “Well I know that my interpretation is correct because the spirit is leading me”. The Spirit is not going to lead one-man way one way and another man a different way.

Some Protestant sects regard the Bible as the source from which every one may draw his own conclusions as to the truth. What has been held in all ages by the greatest teachers counts for little, if anything, in the way of authority. According to this view, every man becomes his own interpreter of the Bible, which so used may cease to be the word of God and may become the word of man. The necessary result of such private interpretation of the Scriptures is, that an endless variety of explanations may be given as to the meaning of God's word. This is one
form of error concerning the ascertaining of the truth.

We see this a lot in many Churches that claim they know the truth. One church claims this is the truth and another church will claim a different truth and they end up contradicting each other. Would God be a God of contradictions? The answer is no. God is not a God of confusion!

You can look at the church and you will see it’s been led down a single path for 2,000 years and we haven’t changed the faith, we have not added to the faith and we have not subtracted from the faith, because it is all precious and we want to preserve all of it. And it’s only by the grace of God living in the Church that it is preserved. So, we give Him the glory.
 

YeshuaFan

Well-known member
The problem with the Sola’s is that they are not biblical. There is not a single verse of Scripture that says Scripture itself is the only authority. Not even one. But what does the Scriptures say about the Scriptures themselves? All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction and righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3-17). God incarnate and the Holy Spirit in the Church are God’s self-revelation. Scripture is the record of that revelation and the root from which tradition grows. So, the bible does say that the Scriptures are given by divine inspiration. It does say that they are profitable, they are useful for teaching and correction and without them we are not equipped and not furnished to do good works. But it does not say Scripture alone anywhere. So, I would say it fails its own test.

We cannot recognize the Bible as the only authority and here is why. Because the bible has to be interpreted. If Scripture is the main source for revelation of Christian doctrine, reason is the main instrument for grasping, understanding, developing, and applying such doctrine. Scripture does not interpret itself. Its meaning is not self-evident. Reason is needed to understand and interpret anything, including scripture.

The bible does not just stand alone. It is given within a context. And the context I would argue is the Church itself. The Church compiled the scriptures, the Church preserved the scriptures and the Church interprets the scriptures. The same Church that defined the Holy Trinity, the human and divine natures of Christ, is the same Church that compiled the scriptures that we enjoy every day.

Tradition of the Church also has a kind of practical priority, because tradition summarizes the reasonable interpretation of Scripture by the many ages of the Church that have gone before us. Scripture cannot properly be separated from tradition and allowed to stand alone, not least because it was the inspired Church which decided which books should be included in Scripture and which not. Tradition, in other words, defined what is authentic Scripture and what is not. Without tradition both the content and the interpretation of Scripture will be thrown into radical doubt. Without tradition, broadly defined to include the worshipping life of the Church, Scripture has no context and is a mere, dead text.

And the Church are really the Bishops in union with all of us in the body. We come to the scriptures together. Its just not the clergy, laity or isolated individuals. It is the Church as a whole that receives the scriptures and interprets the scriptures. The Church has a calling. The individual people (laity) has a calling to protect the faith. Not just the hierarchy, everyone has to content for the faith.

The authority of the bible is undoubted. We believe in the authority of scripture. All of our traditions just amplify scripture. They manifest the meaning of scripture but they do not contradict scripture. So, all the pieces of tradition; the scriptures, the writings of holy church fathers, the iconography, the architecture to the ascetical works of monks and nuns that have been recorded. All of these things are part of a mosaic, all showing us the same picture. They don’t contradict each other. We don’t view the scriptures in isolation. Our interpretation of the scripture, agrees with the other aspects of holy tradition and the other aspects of holy tradition have to agrees with the scriptures. There cannot be a scenario of having to choose between the scripture versus the tradition.

This is one of the main reasons why there are so many divisions going on in the Christian world. They interpret things differently and set up their own church. You see this in a lot of non-denominational churches and street preachers. The problem is that you have every individual picking the bible apart and coming up with their own way of belief. They are personally interpreting the scriptures on their own. The Apostle Peter said no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. The holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So, the scriptures are not privately interpreted. The Church is guided by the Spirit and that is why if you look at the history of the Church, you can see an unbroken continuity from the Apostles, where we have not deviated from the faith once delivered to the Saints. But, if you compare that to Protestantism, within a few hundred years, we have 33,000 different versions of Christianity all competing with each other and contradicting each other. Someone might say, “Well I know that my interpretation is correct because the spirit is leading me”. The Spirit is not going to lead one-man way one way and another man a different way.

Some Protestant sects regard the Bible as the source from which every one may draw his own conclusions as to the truth. What has been held in all ages by the greatest teachers counts for little, if anything, in the way of authority. According to this view, every man becomes his own interpreter of the Bible, which so used may cease to be the word of God and may become the word of man. The necessary result of such private interpretation of the Scriptures is, that an endless variety of explanations may be given as to the meaning of God's word. This is one
form of error concerning the ascertaining of the truth.

We see this a lot in many Churches that claim they know the truth. One church claims this is the truth and another church will claim a different truth and they end up contradicting each other. Would God be a God of contradictions? The answer is no. God is not a God of confusion!

You can look at the church and you will see it’s been led down a single path for 2,000 years and we haven’t changed the faith, we have not added to the faith and we have not subtracted from the faith, because it is all precious and we want to preserve all of it. And it’s only by the grace of God living in the Church that it is preserved. So, we give Him the glory.
The OT Prophets all affirmed that the Word of the Lord itself was inspired and true, as did Jesus and His Apostles, as they alone are the source for all doctrines and practices!
 

nomrom

Member
The OT Prophets all affirmed that the Word of the Lord itself was inspired and true, as did Jesus and His Apostles, as they alone are the source for all doctrines and practices!
A particular teaching is most likely to be true to Scripture, Reason and Tradition, if it is ancient and has been widely received and taught, not just by this Church or that, but by a consensus of Churches through time and space. Particularly clear examples of consensus teaching are the doctrinal definitions of the ancient Ecumenical Councils which met to fight heresy (Wrong Belief). The most reliable teachings are those that are and have been taught by the Church dispersed through the world in a succession reaching back to the Apostles and their immediate successors.



But what does the Scriptures say about the Scriptures themselves? All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for correction, for instruction and righteousness. That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3-17). God incarnate and the Holy Spirit in the Church are God’s self-revelation. Scripture is the record of that revelation and the root from which tradition grows. So, the bible does say that the Scriptures are given by divine inspiration. It does say that they are profitable, they are useful for teaching and correction and without them we are not equipped and not furnished to do good works. But it does not say Scripture alone anywhere. So, I would say it fails its own test.



The problem is that you have every individual picking the bible apart and coming up with their own way of belief. They are personally interpreting the scriptures on their own. This is how the Christians Sects and Cults were created. The Apostle Peter said no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. The holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. So, the scriptures are not privately interpreted. The Church is guided by the Spirit and that is why if you look at the history of the Church, you can see an unbroken continuity from the Apostles, where we have not deviated from the faith once delivered to the Saints. But, if you compare that to Protestantism, within a few hundred years, we have 40,000 different versions of Christianity all competing with each other and contradicting each other. Someone might say, “Well I know that my interpretation is correct because the spirit is leading me”. The Spirit is not going to lead one-man way one way and another man a different way.
 

Hark

Well-known member
Why do we believe in God, the most Holy Trinity, the divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ? Because of a verse written in Scripture? Orthodox Christians believe these things because of the witness of the early Church. What was the witness of the early Church? Of course, first and foremost, their martyrdom. Christians who died for Jesus, the anointed one, in the most horrific ways possible. Second, the apostolic Tradition of the Church. What is apostolic Tradition? St. Irenaeus, an early Bishop born in Smyrna cira 130 A.D., wrote in his famous work Against Heresies, "As I said before, the Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although she is disseminated throughout the whole world, yet guarded it, as if she occupied but one house. She likewise believes these things just as if she had but one soul and one and the same heart; and harmoniously she proclaims them and teaches them and hands them down, as if she possessed but one mouth. For, while the languages of the world are diverse, nevertheless, the authority of the tradition is one and the same." It is what is handed down, paradosis in Greek, meaning a handing down or over, a tradition. Tradition comes in two forms as seen in 2 Thessalonians 2:15, "So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions (paradosis) which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter."

I have been curious about forum members views on Sola Scriptura. From my understanding, Sola Scriptura is that the Bible and the Bible alone are all a Christian needs in order to find doctrine, teaching, etc. No other sources than Scripture. This idea comes from Martin Luther. He wrote, ". . . A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council without it.…Neither the Church nor the pope can establish articles of faith. These must come from Scripture. For the sake of Scripture we should reject pope and councils . . ." Of course I understand Martin Luther is writing in protest of the Catholic Church, for he mentions the Pope of Rome, yet, the words, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or a council." Luther also writes, "I will confidently confess what appears to me to be true, whether it has been asserted by a Catholic or a heretic, whether it has been approved or reproved by a council." It seems to me that he is saying "I am so sure that I have discovered true Christianity in my reading of Scripture that nothing will shake my opinion."

Am I wrong to think this? If sos, what is Sola Scriptura and what is it that I do not understand about it? What does it mean? I open and honestly as an Orthodox Christian ask this question.

We Orthodox, of course, do not believe that the Bible and the Bible alone is sufficient. Orthodox believe that we must have a lens in which to interpret the Sacred Text and that lens is our Liturgical worship, the councils of the Church and writings of the early Fathers of the Church.

It is not my intent to convince others or even to say that the Orthodox Church absolutely right (this is of course what I believe) and everyone else is wrong. This is just the Orthodox perspective.

Thanks,
I agree with Zia in everything, and also add this quote:

"Someone may ask, is not the canon of Scripture sufficient for everything, and why should we add to it the authority of Tradition? It is because not everyone understands the Scriptures in the same way, but one explains them this way and another that way, so that it is possible to get from them as many thoughts as there are heads. Therefore it is necessary to be guided by the understanding of the Church. What is tradition? It is that which has been understood by everyone, everywhere and at all times - that which you have received, and not that which you have thought up. So then, our job is not to lead the faith where we wish it to go, but to follow it where it leads, and not to give that which is our own to our heirs, but to guard that which has been given to us."
-- Saint Vincent of Lerins
"Church" traditions are taught from scripture and therefore cannot go against scripture. When tradition is claimed to be from scripture, but other scripture opposes it, then that is a sure fire way to know that church tradition was not the traditions taught originally from scripture.
 
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