Sola scriptura

Sola Scriptura (Latin: by scripture alone) is a theological doctrine held by some Christian denominations that the Christian scriptures are the sole infallible rule of faith and practice.

While the scriptures' meaning is mediated through many kinds of secondary authority, such as the ordinary teaching offices of a denominated church, the ecumenical creeds, the councils of the catholic church, and so on - sola scriptura, on the other hand, rejects any original infallible authority other than the Bible. In this view, all secondary authority is derived from the authority of the scriptures and is therefore subject to reform when compared to the teaching of the Bible. Church councils, preachers, Bible commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach.

Sola scriptura is a formal principle of many Protestant Christian denominations, and one of the five solae. It was a foundational doctrinal principle of the Protestant Reformation held by many of the Reformers, who taught that authentication of scripture is governed by the discernible excellence of the text as well as the personal witness of the Holy Spirit to the heart of each man. Some evangelical and Baptist denominations state the doctrine of sola scriptura more strongly: scripture is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine.[1]

By contrast, Anglicanism and Methodism, also considered forms of Protestantism, uphold the doctrine of prima scriptura,[2][3] with scripture being illumined by tradition, reason, and in Methodism, experience as well, thus completing the four sides of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral.[4] The Eastern Orthodox Church holds that to "accept the books of the canon is also to accept the ongoing Spirit-led authority of the church's tradition, which recognizes, interprets, worships, and corrects itself by the witness of Holy Scripture".[5] The Catholic Church regards the apostolic preaching and writing (referred to as tradition and scripture respectively) as equal since they believe that many of their traditions also came from the Apostles. The Catholic Church describes this as "one common source ... with two distinct modes of transmission",[6] while some Protestant authors call it "a dual source of revelation".[7]


Martin Luther by Cranach-restoration
Sola scriptura was one of the main theological beliefs that Martin Luther proclaimed against the Catholic Church during the Protestant Reformation

Sola scriptura is one of the five solae, considered by some Protestant groups to be the theological pillars of the Reformation.[8] The key implication of the principle is that interpretations and applications of the scriptures do not have the same authority as the scriptures themselves; hence, the ecclesiastical authority is viewed as subject to correction by the scriptures, even by an individual member of the church.

Martin Luther said, "a simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it". The intention of the Reformation was to correct what he asserted to be the errors of the Catholic Church by appeal to the uniqueness of the Bible's textual authority. Catholic doctrine is based in sacred tradition, as well as scripture. Sola scriptura meant rejecting the infallible authority given to the magisterium to interpret both scripture and tradition.[9]

Sola scriptura, however, does not ignore Christian history, tradition, or the church when seeking to understand the Bible. Rather, it sees the church as the Bible's interpreter, the regula fidei (embodied in the ecumenical creeds) as the interpretive context, and scripture as the only final authority in matters of faith and practice.[10] As Luther said, "The true rule is this: God's Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so."[11]

Characteristics in Lutheranism

Lutheranism teaches that the Bible of the Old and New Testaments is the only divinely inspired book and the only source of divinely revealed knowledge.[a] Scripture alone is the formal principle of the faith in Lutheranism, the final authority for all matters of faith and morals because of its inspiration, authority, clarity, efficacy, and sufficiency.[12]


Lutheranism teaches that the Bible does not merely contain the Word of God, but every word of it is, because of verbal inspiration, the word of God.[13][14] Most Lutheran traditions acknowledge that understanding scriptures is complex given that the Bible contains a collection of manuscripts and manuscript fragments that were written and collected over thousands of years. For example, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America teaches that "Lutheran Christians believe that the story of God’s steadfast love and mercy in Jesus is the heart and center of what the Scriptures have to say."[15]

As Lutherans confess in the Nicene Creed, the Holy Spirit "spoke through the prophets". The Apology of the Augsburg Confession identifies "Holy Scripture" with the Word of God[16] and calls the Holy Spirit the author of the Bible.[17] Because of this, Lutherans confess in the Formula of Concord, "we receive and embrace with our whole heart the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the pure, clear fountain of Israel".[18] The apocryphal books were not written by the prophets, by inspiration; they contain errors,[19] were never included in the Palestinian Canon that Jesus used,[20] and therefore are not a part of scripture.[21] The prophetic and apostolic scriptures are said by the Lutheran church to be authentic as written by the prophets and apostles, and that a correct translation of their writings is God's Word because it has the same meaning as the original Biblical Hebrew and Koine Greek.[21] A mistranslation is not God's word, and no human authority can invest it with divine authority.[21]

"I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach..."[22] This illustration is from the title page of Luther's Bible.

Divine authority

Scripture, regarded as the word of God, carries the full authority of God in Lutheranism: every single statement of the Bible calls for instant, unqualified and unrestricted acceptance.[23][24] Every doctrine of the Bible is the teaching of God and therefore requires full agreement.[25][26] Every promise of the Bible calls for unshakable trust in its fulfillment;[27][28] every command of the Bible is the directive of God himself and therefore demands willing observance.[29]

What is said here of "every statement of the Bible" does not represent the faith of all Lutherans: a 2001 survey showed that 72 percent of members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America do not accept that everything in the Bible is literal, but that it may contain scientific or historical errors or describe events symbolically.[30]


Lutheranism teaches that the Bible presents all doctrines and commands of the Christian faith clearly;[31][32] that God's word is freely accessible to every reader or hearer of ordinary intelligence, without requiring any special education.[33] It also teaches that readers must understand the language God's word is presented in, and not be so preoccupied by contrary thoughts so as to prevent understanding.[33] It teaches that, consequently, no one needs to wait for any clergy, and pope, scholar, or ecumenical council to explain the real meaning of any part of the Bible.[34]

Luther's translation of the Bible, from 1534, with four books placed after those Luther considered, "the true and certain chief books of the New Testament"[35]


Lutheranism teaches that scripture is united with the power of the Holy Spirit and with it, not only demands, but also creates the acceptance of its teaching.[33] This teaching produces faith and obedience. Scripture is not a dead letter, but rather, the power of the Holy Spirit is inherent in it.[36] Scripture does not compel a mere intellectual assent to its doctrine, resting on logical argumentation, but rather it creates the living agreement of faith.[37] The Smalcald Articles affirm, "in those things which concern the spoken, outward Word, we must firmly hold that God grants His Spirit or grace to no one, except through or with the preceding outward Word".[38]


Lutheranism teaches that The Bible contains everything that one needs to know in order to obtain salvation and to live a Christian life.[34][39] There are no deficiencies in scripture that need to be filled with by tradition, pronouncements of the Pope, new revelations, or present-day development of doctrine.[40]

Characteristics in the Reformed faith

The Westminster Confession of Faith spoke of the use of "the ordinary means" (such as turning to pastors and teachers) for reaching an understanding of what is contained in scripture and is necessary to know:

Chapter 1, Section VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all; yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed, for salvation, are so clearly propounded and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.

Prima scriptura

John Wesley memorial Aldersgate
In the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, experience is an additional source of authority. Pictured is a memorial to John Wesley's own experience of the New Birth and Assurance.

Sola scriptura may be contrasted with prima scriptura, which holds that, besides canonical scripture, there are other guides for what a believer should believe, and how he or she should live. Examples of this include the general revelation in creation, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else. Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will, that do not originate from canonized scripture, are in a second place, perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures.

Two Christian denominations that uphold the position of prima scriptura are Anglicanism and Methodism.[b][2][41] In the Anglican tradition, scripture, tradition, and reason form the "Anglican triad" or "three-legged stool", formulated by the Anglican theologian Richard Hooker.[42] With respect to the Methodist tradition, A Dictionary for United Methodists states:

Building on the Anglican theological tradition, Wesley added a fourth emphasis, experience. The resulting four components or "sides" of the [Wesleyan] quadrilateral are (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience. For United Methodists, Scripture is considered the primary source and standard for Christian doctrine. Tradition is experience and the witness of development and growth of the faith through the past centuries and in many nations and cultures. Experience is the individual's understanding and appropriating of the faith in the light of his or her own life. Through reason the individual Christian brings to bear on the Christian faith discerning and cogent thought. These four elements taken together bring the individual Christian to a mature and fulfilling understanding of the Christian faith and the required response of worship and service.[43]

Sola scriptura rejects any original infallible authority, other than the Bible. In this view, all secondary authority is derived from the authority of the scriptures and is therefore subject to reform when compared to the teaching of the Bible. Church councils, preachers, biblical commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach.

Singular authority of scripture

The idea of the singular authority of scripture is the motivation behind much of the Protestant effort to translate the Bible into vernacular languages and distribute it widely. Protestants generally believe each Christian should read the Bible for themselves and evaluate what they have been taught on the basis of it. In the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Church, both of which teach that authoritative doctrine can also come from tradition, have been more active in translating them as well as the Bible into the vernacular languages. Contrary to a common polemic of the Reformation, many German translations of the bible existed before Martin Luther.[44] Traditions of these non-Protestant churches include the Bible, patristic, conciliar, and liturgical texts. Prior to the Protestant movement, hundreds of vernacular translations of the Bible and liturgical materials were translated throughout the preceding sixteen centuries. Some Bible translations such as the Geneva Bible included annotations and commentary that were anti-Roman Catholic. Before the Protestant Reformation, Latin was almost exclusively utilized in Latin Rite Catholic Churches, but was understood by only the most literate.

According to sola scriptura, the church does not speak infallibly in its traditions, but only in scripture. John Wesley stated in the 18th century, "In all cases, the Church is to be judged by the Scripture, not the Scripture by the Church."[45] For this reason, sola scriptura is called the formal cause or principle of the Reformation.

Protestants argue that the scriptures are guaranteed to remain true to their divine source—and thus, only insofar as the church retains scriptural faith is it assured of God's favour. They further assert that, if the church were to fall away from faith through scripture (a possibility Roman Catholics deny but Protestants affirm), its authority would be negated. Therefore, early Protestants argued for eliminating traditions and doctrines they believed were based on distortions of scripture, or were contrary to the Bible—but that the Roman Catholic Church considered scripturally-based aspects of the Christian faith, such as transubstantiation John 6:51, the doctrine of purgatory 1 Cor 3:15 Luke 12:59 Matthew 12:32, the veneration of images or icons Numbers 21:8, and especially the doctrine that the Pope in Rome is the head of the church on earth (Papal supremacy) John 21:17.[46]

Sola scriptura is a doctrine that is not, in the words of the Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6 "expressly set down in Scripture". However, the Confession claims that it passes the second test of being part of "the whole counsel of God" because it is "deduced from Scripture" "by good and necessary consequence", citing passages such as Isaiah 8:20: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Jesus is also typically understood by Protestants as expressly nullifying unscriptural traditions in the (Jewish) church, when he says, for example in Mark 7:13: "thus making void the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And many such things you do."

Scripture and sacred tradition

The Catholic Church, from which Protestants broke away, and against which they directed these arguments, did not see scripture and the sacred tradition of the faith as different sources of authority, but that scripture was handed down as part of sacred tradition (see 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Timothy 2:2). Accepted traditions were also perceived by the church as cohesive in nature. The proper interpretation of the scriptures was seen as part of the faith of the church and seen indeed as the manner in which biblical authority was upheld (see Book of Acts 15:28–29). The meaning of scripture was seen as proven from the faith universally held in the churches (see Phil. 2:1, Acts 4:32), and the correctness of that universal faith was seen as proven from the scriptures and apostolic sacred tradition (see 2 Thes. 2:15, 2 Thes. 3:6, 1 Corinthians 11:2). The Biblical canon itself was thus viewed by the church as part of the church's tradition, as defined by its leadership and acknowledged by its laity.

The Catholic Dei verbum and the papal encyclicals Providentissimus Deus by Pope Leo XIII and Divino afflante Spiritu by Pope Pius XII set out Catholic teaching on tradition versus individual interpretation.[47][48]

The Catholic Church teaches that Christ entrusted the preaching of the Gospel to the apostles, who handed it on orally and in writing, and according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time. This living transmission, accomplished in the Holy Spirit, is called Tradition, since it is distinct from Sacred Scripture, though closely connected to it."[49] "Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture make up a single sacred deposit of the Word of God in which, as in a mirror, the pilgrim Church contemplates God, the source of all her riches."[50] For the Eastern Orthodox too, "the Holy Bible forms a part of Holy Tradition, but does not lie outside of it. One would be in error to suppose that Scripture and Tradition are two separate and distinct sources of Christian Faith, as some do, since there is, in reality, only one source; and the Holy Bible exists and found its formulation within Tradition".[51]

Catholics apply to apostolic tradition many of the qualities that evangelicals and other Protestants apply to scripture alone. For example, the 1978 Evangelical declaration Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, states:

We affirm that inspiration was the work in which God by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us His Word. The origin of Scripture is divine. The mode of divine inspiration remains largely a mystery to us. We deny that inspiration can be reduced to human insight, or to heightened states of consciousness of any kind.[52]

Since the Catholic Church professes that apostolic tradition and scripture are both the word of God, Catholics can affirm that many of these propositions apply equally well to tradition: It is the work of the Holy Spirit, which cannot be reduced to human insight or heightened consciousness.

This ties in with the question of what constitutes apostolic tradition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that this tradition is given "by the apostles who handed on, by the spoken word of their preaching, by the example they gave, by the institutions they established, what they themselves had received - whether from the lips of Christ, from his way of life and his works, or whether they had learned it at the prompting of the Holy Spirit".[53] This description, while leaving room for debate and refinement, offers sufficient guidelines for evaluating which Catholic teachings are part of the apostolic tradition and which teachings come from later centuries.

Despite these guidelines there is plenty of confusion on the matter among both Catholics and non-Catholics. This confusion can be seen in those who quote the work Catholic researcher James Keenan to claim that the doctrines given by apostolic tradition have changed. What Keenan actually said is that not only are there "claims of inconsistency, contradiction and even incoherence" in the church's moral teaching tradition but that "continuity with the tradition itself is not the truth guarantor of any particular teaching". He elucidates this by stating that Bernard Hoose "found that claims to a continuous teaching" by the Catholic Church "on matters of life and death, sexuality, and even crime and punishment were simply not true". Keenan makes the case that not all traditions come from the Apostles; not that there are no traditions that come from the Apostles. He also adds that Mark Jordan "examined seven medieval texts on homosexuality", found them disconnected and inconsistent, and concluded that "tradition's teaching [on the subject is] incoherent". This refers to medieval tradition and not to apostolic tradition. Keenan, however, says that studies of "manualists" such as John T. Noonan Jr. has demonstrated that, "despite claims to the contrary, manualists were co-operators in the necessary historical development of the moral tradition". Noonan, according to Keenan, has provided a new way of viewing at "areas where the Church not only changed, but shamefully did not".[54]


Following the Protestant churches' separation from the Roman Catholic Church, the relatively new idea of sola scriptura came under serious critique by the Catholic and Orthodox Christians. In his The Shape of Sola Scriptura (2001), the Reformed Christian writer Keith A. Mathison mentions several recent examples of such critics.[c] In response, Mathison distinguishes what he considers to be the true doctrine of sola scriptura from the "subjective and individualistic version" of the doctrine that most Protestants have adopted.[56]

The American Roman Catholic author and television presenter Patrick Madrid wrote that sola scriptura is self-referentially incoherent, as the Bible itself does not teach sola scriptura, and therefore the belief that the scriptures are the only source of Christian belief is self-contradicting given that it cannot be supported without extra-scriptural doctrine.[57]

In the 2008 book Catholicism and Science, the authors Peter M. J. Hess and Paul Allen wrote that sola scriptura is "inherently divisive", citing the Marburg Colloquy where Martin Luther and Huldrych Zwingli debated the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist on scriptural grounds but were unable to reach agreement on Sacramental Union. Hess and Allen argue that, when scripture is seen as the only source of infallible teaching, its interpretation is subject to fallible interpretation, and without an infallible interpreter, a certainty of Christian belief is not possible.[58]

The Roman Catholic Encyclopedia of Theology notes that, since the 27 books that make up the New Testament canon of scripture are not based on a scriptural list that authenticates them to be inspired, their legitimacy would be impossible to distinguish with certainty without appealing to another infallible source, such as the magisterium of the Catholic Church, which some have suggested assembled and authenticated this list at the Synod of Rome in AD 382 (although there is considerable debate surrounding this claim).[59] Before this, a compiled and authenticated Bible as it is now known did not yet exist.[60]

The American Roman Catholic writer Dave Armstrong wrote that there are several examples of Jesus and his Apostles accepting oral and extrabiblical tradition in the New Testament:[61]

  • The reference to "He shall be called a Nazarene" cannot be found in the Old Testament, yet it was "spoken by the prophets" (Matthew 2:23). This prophecy, which is considered to be "God's word", was passed down orally rather than through scripture.
  • In Matthew 23:2–3, Jesus teaches that the scribes and Pharisees have a legitimate, binding authority based "on Moses' seat", but this phrase or idea cannot be found anywhere in the Old Testament. It is found in the (originally oral) Mishnah, which teaches a sort of "teaching succession" from Moses.
  • In 1 Corinthians 10:4, Paul the Apostle refers to a rock that "followed" the Jews through the Sinai wilderness. The Old Testament says nothing about such miraculous movement. But, this critic writes, rabbinic tradition does.
  • "As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses" (2 Timothy 3:8). These two men cannot be found in the related Old Testament passage (cf. Exodus 7:8ff.) or anywhere else in the Old Testament.
  • In the Epistle of Jude 9, a dispute is mentioned between the Archangel Michael and Satan over Moses' body, which is not mentioned elsewhere in the Bible, and is drawn from oral Jewish tradition.
  • In the Epistle of James 5:17, when recounting the prayers of Elijah described in 1 Kings 17, a lack of rain for three years is mentioned, which is absent from the passage in 1 Kings.

Armstrong argues that since Jesus and the Apostles acknowledge authoritative Jewish oral tradition, Christians can therefore not dispute oral tradition's legitimacy and authority. However, according to scripture, Jesus also challenges some Jewish oral tradition. Therefore Christians, on that basis, can dispute some of that tradition's authority, since they hold that Jesus' authority is greater.


Sola scriptura continues as a doctrinal commitment of conservative branches and offshoots of the Lutheran churches, Reformed churches, and Baptist churches as well as of other Protestants, especially those who describe themselves with the slogan "Bible-believing".

See also


  1. ^ For the traditional Lutheran view of the Bible, see Graebner 1910, pp. 3ff. For an overview of the doctrine of verbal inspiration in Lutheranism, see Lueker, Poellot & Jackson 2000b.
  2. ^ On the Anglican view of authority, Richard H. Schmidt wrote:

    A favorite, if overworked, image among Anglicans is that of the three-legged stool, which stands only when all three legs are in place, as a visual way to think of the Anglican view of authority. We acknowledge three sources of authority, and we manage not to fall down when all three are in place. The first and most important of these is the Bible. The Articles of Religion, a Reformation-era statement of Anglican views on questions of the day, says that the Bible "containeth all things necessary to salvation", so that nothing not found in the Bible is to be required as an article of faith.[41]

  3. ^ Namely, Mathison cited Robert A. Sungenis, author of Not by Scripture Alone: A Catholic Critique of the Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Santa Barbara: Queenship Publishing Co., 1997); Mark Shea, author of By What Authority? (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, 1996); Clark Carlton, The Way: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Catholic Church (Salisbury, Massachusetts: Regina Orthodox Press, 1997); Patrick Madrid (editor), Surprised by Truth (San Diego: Basilica Press, 1994); Scott Hahn and Kimberley Hahn, Rome, Sweet Home (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993); David Currie, Born Fundamentalist. Born Again Catholic (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993); and Peter Gilquist (editor), Coming Home: Why Protestant Clergy Are Becoming Orthodox (Ben Lomond, California: Conciliar Press, 1992).[55]



  1. ^ What Does Sola Scriptura Mean? 2015
  2. ^ a b "Methodist Beliefs: In What Ways Are Lutherans Different from United Methodists?". Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. Archived from the original on 22 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  3. ^ Humphrey 2013, p. 16.
  4. ^ Schmidt 2002, p. 15; Waltz 1991.
  5. ^ Nassif 2004, p. 65.
  6. ^ "Catechism of the Catholic Church, 80-81".
  7. ^ Johnson & Webber 1993, p. 43.
  8. ^ Horton, Michael (1994). "The Crisis of Evangelical Christianity: Reformation Essentials". Modern Reformation. Vol. 3 no. 2. Archived from the original on 31 July 2008. Retrieved 10 July 2008.
  9. ^ Flinn 2007, pp. 431–433.
  10. ^ Mathison 2001, p. 23.
  11. ^ Martin Luther, Smalcald Articles II, 15.
  12. ^ Engelder et al. 1934, p. 29; Graebner 1910, pp. 7ff.
  13. ^ Engelder et al. 1934, p. 26.
  14. ^ 2 Timothy 3:16, 1 Corinthians 2:13, 1 Thessalonians 2:13, Romans 3:2, 2 Peter 1:21, 2 Samuel 23:2, Hebrews 1:1, John 10:35, John 16:13, John 17:17
  15. ^ "Scriptures, Creeds, Confessions". Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
  16. ^ "God's Word, or Holy Scripture" from the Apology of the Augsburg Confession, Article II, of Original Sin
  17. ^ "the Scripture of the Holy Ghost". Apology to the Augsburg Confession, Preface, 9
  18. ^ "The Solid Declaration of the Formula of Concord".
  19. ^ (Tobit 6, 71; 2 Macc. 12, 43 f.; 14, 411),
  20. ^ Lueker, Poellot & Jackson 2000a.
  21. ^ a b c Engelder et al. 1934, p. 27.
  22. ^ Revelation 14:6
  23. ^ Engelder et al. 1934, p. 27; Graebner 1910, pp. 8–9.
  24. ^ Matthew 4:3, Luke 4:3, Genesis 3:1, John 10:35, Luke 24:25, Psalm 119:140, Psalm 119:167
  25. ^ Graebner 1910, pp. 8–10.
  26. ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:15, Luke 24:25-27, Luke 16:29-31, 2 Timothy 3:15-17, Jeremiah 8:9, Jeremiah 23:26, Isaiah 8:19-20, 1 Corinthians 14:37, Galatians 1:8, Acts 17:11, Acts 15:14-15
  27. ^ Graebner 1910, pp. 8–9.
  28. ^ 2 Thessalonians 2:13, 2 Corinthians 1:20, Titus 1:2-3, 2 Thessalonians 2:15, 2 Peter 1:19
  29. ^ Graebner 1910, pp. 8–11.
  30. ^ "Bible: Literal or Inspired". The Lutheran. Archived from the original on 4 November 2012. Retrieved 13 October 2012.
  31. ^ Engelder et al. 1934, p. 29; Graebner 1910, pp. 11–12.
  32. ^ Psalm 19:8, Psalm 119:105, Psalm 119:130, 2 Timothy 3:15, Deuteronomy 30:11, 2 Peter 1:19, Ephesians 3:3-4, John 8:31-32, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, John 8:43-47, 2 Peter 3:15-16
  33. ^ a b c Graebner 1910, p. 11.
  34. ^ a b Engelder et al. 1934, p. 28.
  35. ^ "Luther's Antilegomena".
  36. ^ Graebner 1910, pp. 11–12.
  37. ^ Graebner 1910, p. 12.
  38. ^ "Smalcald Articles - Book of Concord".
  39. ^ 2 Timothy 3:15-17, John 5:39, John 17:20, Psalm 19:7-8
  40. ^ Graebner 1910, p. 13.
  41. ^ a b Schmidt 2002, p. 15.
  42. ^ Lewis 2001, p. 138; Schmidt 2002, p. 15.
  43. ^ Waltz 1991.
  44. ^ Bible translations into German#Pre-Lutheran German Bibles
  45. ^ "The Works of the Rev. John Wesley".
  46. ^ Catechism of the Catholics Church
  47. ^ Scott Windsor Sr. "Qui Locutus: Sola Scriptura Self Refuting". Retrieved 19 January 2010.
  48. ^ Archived January 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  49. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 75-78
  50. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 97
  51. ^ Orthodox Outreach, "Holy Tradition"
  52. ^ "Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Article VII". Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals. Archived from the original on 1 November 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  53. ^ Catechism of the Catholic Church, 76
  54. ^ Keenan 2010, pp. 45–46.
  55. ^ Mathison 2001, p. 13.
  56. ^ Mathison 2001, pp. 13–14.
  57. ^ Madrid 2012, pp. 4–6.
  58. ^ Hess & Allen 2008, pp. 28–29.
  59. ^ Burkitt 1913.
  60. ^ Neuenzeit 1975, p. 172.
  61. ^ Armstrong 2004, pp. 43–44.


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Neuenzeit, Paul (1975). "Canon of Scripture". In Rahner, Karl (ed.). Encyclopedia of Theology: A Concise Sacramentum Mundi. London: Burns & Oates (published 1999). ISBN 978-0-86012-006-3.
Schmidt, Richard H. (2002). Glorious Companions: Five Centuries of Anglican Spirituality. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8028-2222-2.
Waltz, Alan K. (1991). A Dictionary for United Methodists. Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press.

External links

Affair of the Sausages

The Affair of the Sausages (1522) was the event that sparked the Reformation in Zürich. Huldrych Zwingli, pastor of Grossmünster in Zurich, Switzerland, spearheaded the event by publicly speaking in favor of eating sausage during the Lenten fast. Zwingli defended this action in a sermon called Von Erkiesen und Freiheit der Speisen (Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods), in which he argued, from the basis of Martin Luther's doctrine of sola scriptura, that "Christians are free to fast or not to fast because the Bible does not prohibit the eating of meat during Lent."


In Christianity, cessationism is the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as speaking in tongues, prophecy and healing ceased with the apostolic age. This is generally opposed to continuationism, which teaches that the Holy Spirit may bestow the spiritual gifts on persons other than the original twelve apostles at any time. Cessationists believe that when the Old Testament canon closed at Malachi, for the next 400 years until John the Baptist, the gifts had ceased. Similarly, when the New Testament canon closed the gifts ceased.

Cessationism versus continuationism

Cessationism versus continuationism is a Christian theological dispute concerned with the question whether the charismatic gifts are currently in operation.

Historically, the Catholic, Lutheran, Methodist, Moravian, and Pentecostal traditions of Christianity have been continuationist while the Continental Reformed and Presbyterian traditions have been cessationist.

Collin Leijenaar

Collin Leijenaar is the drummer for progressive rock/metal bands Affector, Dusk, Dilemma, Kayak and the former live drummer for Neal Morse.

Criticism of Protestantism

Criticism of Protestantism covers critiques and questions raised about Protestantism, the Christian tradition which arose out of the Reformation. While critics praise Protestantism's Christ-centered and Bible-centered faith, Protestantism is faced with criticism mainly from the Catholic Church and some Orthodox Churches, although Protestant denominations have also engaged in self-critique and criticized one another.The Catholic biblical critique asserts that the Sola scriptura principle of Lutheran and Reformed Churches is inaccurate according to the Catholic doctrine.

While Catholic tradition agrees with Protestantism that faith, not works, is necessary for "initial" justification, some contemporary Protestant Scholars such as N.T. Wright affirm that both faith and works are necessary for justification. Catholic critics also challenge the historicity of the Great Apostasy, a premise of the Protestant Reformation.

Five solae

The five solae (from Latin, sola, lit. "alone"; occasionally Anglicized to five solas) of the Protestant Reformation are a foundational set of principles held by theologians and clergy to be central to the doctrine of salvation as taught by the Lutheran and Reformed branches of Protestantism. Each sola represents a key belief in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. These Reformers claimed that the Catholic Church, especially its head, the Pope, had usurped divine attributes or qualities for the Church and its hierarchy.

Leipzig Debate

The Leipzig Debate (German: Leipziger Disputation) was a theological disputation originally between Andreas Karlstadt, Martin Luther, and Johann Eck. Karlstadt, dean of the Wittenberg theological faculty, felt he had to defend Luther against Eck's critical commentary on the 95 theses. So he challenged Johann Eck, a professor of theology at Ingolstadt university, to a public debate concerning the doctrines of free will and grace. The Leipzig Debate took place in June and July 1519 at Pleissenburg Castle in Leipzig, Germany. Its purpose was to discuss Martin Luther's teachings, and was initiated and conducted in the presence of George, Duke of Saxony, an opponent of Luther. Eck, considered the master debater in Germany, was concerned about clerical abuses, but his life's work had been dedicated to the defence of Catholic teachings and combating heresy.Eck invited Luther to join the debate, and when Luther arrived in July he and Eck expanded the terms of the debate to include matters such as the existence of purgatory, the sale of indulgences, the need for and methods of penance, and the legitimacy of papal authority. Eck's debating skills led to Luther's open admissions of heresy in order to not be defeated. Luther declared that sola scriptura (scripture alone) was the basis of Christian belief, that the Pope had no power as he was not mentioned in the Bible, and condemned the sale of indulgences to the laity to reduce their time in purgatory, as there was no mention of purgatory in the Bible. Also, Luther's position on burning heretics (during the debate this was in reference to Jan Huss was later summarized as "Haereticos comburi est contra voluntatem Spiritus" (It is contrary to the Spirit to burn heretics) as one of the statements specifically censured in Exsurge Domine.The debate led Pope Leo X to censor Luther and threaten him with excommunication from the Catholic Church in his June 1520 papal bull, Exsurge Domine, which banned Luther's views from being preached or written. There was much opposition to the bull, especially in north west Germany where sympathies for Luther were strongest.

A joint verdict on the outcome of the debate was to be issued by the University of Erfurt and the University of Paris, but the theological faculty of Erfurt recused itself. The faculty in Paris delivered a negative verdict on Luther's writings in 1521, but made no direct reference to the debate in Leipzig itself.

Let's Polka

Let's Polka is a collection of Neal Morse, Shmenge Morse, and Richard Morse doing polka along with some Christmas music and Sola Scriptura demos. This is the tenth release in the Neal Morse Inner Circle series.

Live (Spock's Beard album)

Live is a DVD and 2-CD set released by American progressive rock band Spock's Beard. The two versions are only available separately.

It is a live album that features the entire concert played by the band at Zoetermeer, Netherlands, on May 25, 2007. It is also the second live album released by the band after the departure of Neal Morse, and is the first one recorded for DVD without the presence of the band's former frontman. Morse recorded his own live album Sola Scriptura and Beyond at the same venue the following night Spock's Beard recorded this album.

Release dates were varied: June 13, 2008 for Austria, Germany, Switzerland, June 16, 2008 for the rest of Europe and June 24, 2008 for North America.

Mirjam Bikker

Mirjam H. Bikker (born September 8, 1982 in Gouda) is a Dutch politician of the ChristianUnion (ChristenUnie). Since June 9, 2015, she has been a member of the Senate.

Bikker studied law at Utrecht University, and specialized in constitutional and administrative law. As a student she was also chair woman of Sola Scriptura, a local student society belonging to the reformed CSFR. From 2006 to 2013, she was a member of the municipal council of the city of Utrecht, and also fraction leader. In 2007, she got national attention by protesting against a woman in a golden bikini on a big poster in the center of Utrecht. From 2008 to 2010, and also from 2013 to 2015, she was a policy assistant to the ChristianUnion fraction in the House of Representatives.

Mirjam Bikker is married, has two children and lives in Utrecht. She is a member of the Protestant Church in the Netherlands (PKN).

Neal Morse

Neal Morse (born August 2, 1960) is an American singer, multi-instrumentalist, bandleader and progressive rock composer based in Nashville, Tennessee. In 1992, he formed the progressive rock band Spock's Beard with his brother Alan and released an album which was moderately successful. In 1999, he joined former Dream Theater co-founder Mike Portnoy, Flower Kings' Roine Stolt and Marillion's Pete Trewavas to form the super-group Transatlantic. In 2002, Neal Morse became a born again Christian, left Spock's Beard and began a Christian rock solo career, releasing many progressive rock concept albums about his new religious faith. In the meantime, he continued to play with Transatlantic and formed three new bands with Portnoy, Yellow Matter Custard, Flying Colors and The Neal Morse Band.

Prima scriptura

Prima scriptura is the Christian doctrine that canonized scripture is "first" or "above all" other sources of divine revelation. Implicitly, this view acknowledges that, besides canonical scripture, there are other guides for what a believer should believe and how he should live, such as the created order, traditions, charismatic gifts, mystical insight, angelic visitations, conscience, common sense, the views of experts, the spirit of the times or something else. Prima scriptura suggests that ways of knowing or understanding God and his will that do not originate from canonized scripture are perhaps helpful in interpreting that scripture, but testable by the canon and correctable by it, if they seem to contradict the scriptures.

Reformed Church in the United States

The Reformed Church in the United States (RCUS) is a Protestant Christian denomination in the United States. The present RCUS is a conservative, Calvinist denomination. It affirms the principles of the Reformation: Sola scriptura (Scripture alone), Solo Christo (Christ alone), Sola gratia (Grace alone), Sola fide (Faith alone), and Soli Deo gloria (Glory to God alone). The RCUS is most heavily concentrated in California, Colorado, and South Dakota.

Regulative principle of worship

The regulative principle of worship is a Christian doctrine, held by some Calvinists and Anabaptists, that God commands churches to conduct public services of worship using certain distinct elements affirmatively found in scripture, and conversely, that God prohibits any and all other practices in public worship. The doctrine further determines these affirmed elements to be those set forth in scripture by express commands or examples, or if not expressed, those which are implied logically by good and necessary consequence. The regulative principle thus provides a governing concept of worship as obedience to God, identifies the set of specific practical elements constituting obedient worship, and identifies and excludes disobedient practices.

The regulative principle of worship is held, practiced, and vigorously maintained by conservative Reformed churches, the Restoration Movement, and other conservative Protestant denominations. Historic confessional standards stating the doctrine include the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Heidelberg Catechism, the Belgic Confession, and the London Baptist Confession of Faith.The regulative principle contrasts with the normative principle of worship, which teaches that whatever is not prohibited in scripture is permitted in worship, as long as it is agreeable to the peace and unity of the Church. In short, there must be agreement with the general practice of the Church and no prohibition in scripture for whatever is done in worship.

The normative principle of worship is the generally accepted approach to worship practiced by Anglicans, Lutherans, Evangelicals, and Methodists.A broader sense of the term "regulative principle" is occasionally cited on matters other than worship, for example, to constrain designs of church government to scriptural elements. When applied broadly the term becomes indistinct from the principle of sola scriptura.

Sacred tradition

Sacred tradition, or holy tradition, is a theological term used in some Christian traditions, primarily those claiming apostolic succession, such as the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Assyrian, and Anglican traditions, to refer to the foundation of the doctrinal and spiritual authority of the Christian Church and of the Bible.

Christians believe that the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles were preserved in the scriptures as well as by word of mouth and were handed on. This perpetual handing on of the tradition is called the "Living Tradition"; it is believed to be the faithful and constant transmission of the teachings of the Apostles from one generation to the next. That "includes everything which contributes towards the sanctity of life and increase in faith of the People of God; and so the Church, in her teaching, life and worship [the Creeds, the Sacraments, the Magisterium, and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass], perpetuates and hands on to all generations all that she herself is, all that she believes." The Deposit of Faith (Latin: fidei depositum) refers to the entirety of divine revelation. According to Roman Catholic theology, two sources of revelation which constitute a single "Deposit of Faith", meaning that the entirety of divine revelation and the Deposit of Faith is transmitted to successive generations in scripture and sacred tradition (through the teaching authority and interpretation of the Church's Magisterium (which consists of the Church's bishops, in union with the Pope), typically proceeding synods and ecumenical councils).

In Eastern Orthodox theology, Holy Tradition is the inspired revelation of God and catholic teaching (Greek katholikos, "according to the whole") of the Church, not an independent source of dogmatic authority to be regarded as a supplement to biblical revelation. Tradition is rather understood as the fullness of divine truth proclaimed in the scriptures, preserved by the apostolic bishops and expressed in the life of the Church through such things as the Divine Liturgy and the Holy Mysteries (Eucharist, baptism, marriage, etc.), the Creed and other doctrinal definitions of the First seven ecumenical councils, canonical Christian iconography, and the sanctified lives of godly men and women.

According to the Christian theological understanding of these Churches, scripture is the written part of this larger tradition, recording (albeit sometimes through the work of individual authors) the community's experience of God or more specifically of Jesus. Thus, the Bible must be interpreted within the context of sacred tradition and within the community of the church. That is in contrast to many Protestant traditions, which teach that the Bible alone is a sufficient basis for all Christian teaching (a position known as sola scriptura).

Sola Scriptura (album)

Sola Scriptura (Latin for "by scripture alone") is a 2007 Christian progressive rock concept album by multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse (his sixth studio album) about the life of the German theologian Martin Luther.

Performers on the record include Morse (vocals, keyboards, and guitar), Mike Portnoy (ex-Dream Theater) on drums, Randy George (Ajalon) on bass guitar, and Paul Gilbert (Racer X and Mr. Big) on guitar on the tracks "Upon the Door," "Do You Know My Name?" and "Two Down, One to Go."

Sola scriptura (disambiguation)

Sola scriptura may refer to:

Sola scriptura, theological concept

Sola Scriptura (album), Neal Morse album

Sola Scriptura (student society), Dutch reformed student society

Sola Scriptura & Beyond (DVD), Neal Morse DVD

Swiss Brethren

The Swiss Brethren are a branch of Anabaptism that started in Zürich, spread to nearby cities and towns, and then was exported to neighboring countries. Today's Swiss Mennonite Conference can be traced to the Swiss Brethren.

In 1525, Felix Manz, Conrad Grebel, George Blaurock and other radical evangelical reformers broke from Ulrich Zwingli and formed a new group because they felt reforms were not moving fast enough.Rejection of infant baptism was a distinguishing belief of the Swiss Brethren. On the basis of Sola scriptura doctrine, the Swiss Brethren declared that since the Bible does not mention infant baptism, it should not be practiced by the church. This belief was subsequently refuted by Ulrich Zwingli. Consequently, there was a public dispute, in which the council affirmed Zwingli's position. This solidified the Swiss Brethren and resulted in their persecution by all other reformers as well as the Catholic Church.

Because of persecution by the authorities, many Swiss Brethren moved from Switzerland to neighboring countries. The Swiss Brethren became known as Mennonites after the division of 1693, a disagreement between groups led by Jacob Amman and Hans Reist. Many of the Mennonites in France, Southern Germany, the Netherlands and North America, as well as most Amish descend from the Swiss Brethren.

The Shape of Sola Scriptura

The Shape of Sola Scriptura is a 2001 book by Reformed Christian theologian Keith Mathison. Mathison traces the development of sola scriptura from the early church to the present. He views the Protestant Reformation as a time of recovery of the doctrine that had been under assault from the fourth century. He argues that relativism and individualism permeate present-day teaching on the subject, and that widespread misunderstanding of the doctrine of sola scriptura has been eroding the church from within. This, in Mathison's view, has led to conversions from Protestantism to other religions, and has undermined the relationship among Scripture, church tradition, and individual believers as set forth by the early church and restated by the Magisterial Reformers.

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