Saturday, December 14, 2013
The sources of sola Scriptura. . .
“No doctrine concerning the divine and saving mysteries of the faith, however trivial, may be taught without the backing of the holy Scriptures. We must not let ourselves be drawn aside by mere persuasion and cleverness of speech. Do not even give absolute belief to me, the one who tells you these things, unless you receive proof from the divine Scriptures of what I teach. For the faith that brings us salvation acquires its force, not from fallible reasonings, but from what can be proved out of the holy Scriptures.” Catechetical Lectures 4:17.
The Reformation sola insisted that the all doctrine, the church and its traditions are to be subject to Scripture, and not the other way around. Far from being a radical invention, in the earliest days of the written canon, this was already what was believed and confessed -- Scripture is the norma normans. Scripture sits in judgement over that which can or must be believed. This is the ancient position of catholicity and not some modern idea at all.
What is the great and grave temptation, however, is to violate the Reformation and Lutheran understanding of tradition and to go beyond the distinction of Scripture's position over tradition to make Scripture an enemy of tradition. It is less Scripture plus tradition than it is Scripture, surrounded always by a believing community who passed down to their children orthodox ears to hear the Word of the Lord.