The Standard Above All Standards: The Protestant Doctrine of Sola Scriptura (Seminary Papers)

(The following is my term paper for Introduction to Pastoral and Theological Studies at Reformed Theological Seminary, submitted Spring 2020. Formatting not retained.)

At the climax of the Diet of Worms in 1521, Martin Luther stood in defiance of Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire and Pope Leo X of the Roman Catholic Church. Pressured to recant his teachings on justification by faith alone, his belief that it was possible for popes and councils to err, and all his other teachings based on his published works, Luther uttered the famous phrase, “Here I stand; I can do no other”, sealing his fate and the fate of the Protestant Reformation. But this phrase, now a popular phrase of courage and boldness, is not all Luther said in this pivotal moment; Luther preceded this statement by saying, “Unless I am convinced by Sacred Scripture or by evident reason, I will not recant. My conscience is held captive to the Word of God, and to go against conscience is neither right nor safe.” 

To modern ears, Luther is not saying anything new or controversial, but to Luther’s audience, these words were revolutionary. Luther is describing a belief that would become a core belief for his reformation and for Christians for the next five hundred years and counting. This belief, known as Sola Scriptura, is often mischaracterized and misunderstood, but liberating and empowering when rightly defined and understood. This paper will argue the claim that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, in additionally to being biblically and theologically sound, also restores and rehabilitates the role of tradition in the Christian life and gives us incredible freedom and liberty as a result.

Sola Scriptura Defined

In order to demonstrate that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura restores and rehabilitates the use of tradition and gives us great liberty and freedom as Christians, the doctrine must first be defined and defended biblically and theologically. The phrase “Sola Scriptura” literally means “Scripture alone”, and while this phrase conveys truth in itself, it does not give the complete picture of what the doctrine teaches. 

For the purposes of this paper, Sola Scriptura will be defined as “the Bible alone, the revealed written Word of God, is the final infallible authority for doctrine and practice and is a determining norm over all human opinions and church creeds and traditions.[1] This definition can be broken down into three different claims, beginning with the nature of the Bible itself (“the Bible alone [is] the revealed written Word of God”), the nature of the authority of the Bible (“the final infallible authority for doctrine and practice”), and the relationship of the Bible to other authorities (“a determining norm over all human opinions and church creeds and traditions”). These three claims encompass the breadth of Sola Scriptura and it’s implications for revelation, authority,

At the heart of the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is the question of revelation: how, and what ways, has God communicated and revealed himself to us? The first claim of Sola Scriptura in this definition (“the Bible alone [is] the revealed written Word of God”) is a statement about the nature of special revelation, or “divine self-disclosure to and through certain persons that brings about human salvation.”[2] This is in contrast with general revelation, which “only gives ‘general’ or ‘indirect’ information about God, including the fact of God’s existence and that God is powerful” and is “available to all humankind, in contrast to the divine self-disclosure that God revealed to certain persons.”[3]

Although Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox Christians generally agree on the nature of the Bible, the next claim of Sola Scriptura brings the Protestant position into sharp clarity and controversy. Protestants believe the “the Bible alone, the revealed written Word of God, is the final infallible authority for doctrine and practice”, and this is where the Protestant position on Scripture and special revelation significantly diverges from Catholicism and Orthodoxy. All three agree that Scripture is an infallible source of special revelation, but “the question was this: is the Bible the only infallible source of special revelation?[4]

For both Catholicism and Orthodoxy, there are two sources of special revelation: sacred Scripture, and sacred Tradition. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, then, are bound closely together, and communicate one with the other. For both of them, flowing out from the same divine well-spring, come together in some fashion to form one thing, and move towards the same goal.[5] In his book The Orthodox Faith, Protopresbyter Thomas Hopko teaches that “the Bible is the main written source of divine doctrine since God Himself inspired its writing by His Holy Spirit”, but teaches in a previous section that “Tradition is the very life of the Church itself as it is inspired and guided by the Holy Spirit.”[6] Despite nuances and differences between the two positions, Catholic and Orthodox Christians believe, against the Protestants, that Scripture is not the only infallible source of special revelation. Scripture and Tradition together are two equal and infallible sources of special revelation.

Does that mean that Protestants do not acknowledge tradition as an authority, or any other authorities beside Scripture? Not at all! The third claim of Sola Scriptura directly answers this question by saying the Bible is “a determining norm over all human opinions and church creeds and traditions.” Contrary to many modern understandings of Sola Scriptura (sadly, even among Protestants), the Reformers did not jettison other standards of authority or the writings of church fathers and theologians when they advocated Sola Scriptura. Not only did the Reformers embrace the tradition of the church in the councils and fathers (where they did not contradict or add to Scripture), they would create lesser standards of authority for their own movements, such as the Augsburg Confession and Book of Concord for Lutheranism, the Westminster Standards for Calvinism/Reformed theology, and the Book of Common Prayer for Anglicanism.

The difference between the Protestant position on tradition and the Catholic and Orthodox position is seen in two ways. The first difference, as mentioned above, is that the Protestant position does regard tradition (however it is understood) as being a source of divine revelation. However, this does not mean they cannot be lesser, subordinate standards of authority. As Michael Horton notes, 

“No less than the ancient and medieval church did the Reformers view the ecumenical creeds as “the rule [kanôn] of faith.” In fact, they appealed in painstaking detail to citations from the church fathers in support of their claim that the church has no intrinsic authority to prescribe articles of faith or commands to be followed. However, they held that creeds and councils have a secondary authority, binding believers only because they are summaries of Scripture as the final rule for faith and practice.[7]

Horton touches on the second difference between the Protestant position on tradition, and it concerns the relationship between revelation and the church. Both the Catholic and Orthodox churches believe the transmission and interpretation of revelation, which includes both Scripture and tradition, belongs to the church.[8] As the owner and manager of both streams of revelation, the church creates the canon of Scripture, and bind the conscience of believers to rules for faith and practice from tradition. The Protestant position, as embodied by Sola Scriptura, reverses the relationship between revelation and the church, teaching that canon of Scripture creates the church, which then receives and recognizes the canon of Scripture. Because Scripture creates the church, the church can bind the conscience of believers from Scripture, but not from tradition, because tradition is not a source of divine revelation.[9] Only where creeds, councils, and fathers agree with Scripture can they be used as secondary authorities, and where there is a conflict, the Westminster Confession of Faith declares that “the supreme Judge, by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.[10]

Biblical Support for Sola Scriptura

Sola Scriptura teaches that the Bible alone is the only source of divine revelation, that it is the final infallible authority of faith and practice, and is the norm by which we assess lesser authorities in the church. This is a theologically robust position that this paper barely scratches the surface of. However, can this position be demonstrated from Scripture? Does the Bible teach what Sola Scriptura claims about the Bible? 

For the purposes of this paper, two groups of passages will be examined, one that focuses on the identity of divine revelation and one that focuses on the existence of tradition and its relationship with Scripture. These passages are not the only passages in Scripture that are relevant for Sola Scriptura, nor will they be discussed as thoroughly or exhaustively as they could be, but cumulatively they show that the position of Sola Scriptura is a biblically defendable position.

First, what does Scripture have to about the identity of divine revelation? 2 Timothy 3:15 teaches that as a child Timothy was “acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” These “sacred writings” would’ve been the 39 books of the Old Testament, which Paul then goes on to claim that “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”[11] Not only are these sacred writings useful and profitable for a variety of purposes, they are distinctly described as being “breathed out by God”. In 2nd Peter 3:16, the apostle Peter explicitly identifies some of Paul’s letters as being Scriptures, indicating that other writings beyond the Old Testament occupied the same status as being “breathed out by God.” Although a discussion on the formation of the New Testament canon and the inspiration of Scripture itself is beyond the scope of this paper, it must be noted that Scripture refers to itself and other Scriptures as having it’s origination in God.

With regard to these divine Scriptures, how are they to be handled? Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32, and Revelation 22:18-19 indicate that God’s word must be believed and obeyed in it’s entirety, without addition or subtraction from what God has said. Deuteronomy 12:32 in particular teaches that “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” The immediate context of “everything that I command you” is the commandments of the Law in the Mosaic Covenant, but if the Law is “breathed out by God” and God has “breathed out” other commandments and teachings to believe and obey, then it follows that everything that is “breathed out” by God must be obeyed and believed, and not added to or subtracted from. Similar warnings earlier in Deuteronomy and Revelation have immediate contexts of their own, but reinforce this conclusion that anything God has “breathed out” is to be believed and obeyed.

An obvious conclusion that follows is that whatever is not “breathed out” by God ought not be added to what has been “breathed out” by God, and whatever is not added to what is “breathed out” by God ought not be treated with the same degree of attention and respect. In all the passages of Scripture that speak about the nature of divine revelation, not once does Scripture speak of tradition the same way it speaks of writings that come from God; in fact, Scripture often does the opposite, which is what the next group of passages will address.

The first, and perhaps most important, passage to consider is Matthew 15:1-9, which recounts an episode where Jesus confronts the Pharisees after they rebuke his disciples for “not following the tradition of the elders.” Jesus’ response is straightforward: “And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?” He continues by saying, 

“For God commanded, ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘Whoever reviles father or mother must surely die.’ But you say, ‘If anyone tells his father or his mother, “What you would have gained from me is given to God,” he need not honor his father.’ So for the sake of your tradition you have made void the word of God.”

Jesus acknowledges that tradition exists, but that this tradition does not have the same authority as the commandment of God, and that God’s commandment overrides and corrects any tradition that contradicts or subverts what God commands. As the passage continues, Jesus quotes the prophet Isaiah in condemnation of the Pharisees for “teaching as doctrines the commandments of men”, indicating that the Pharisees are in sin for elevating their tradition to the same level as commandments that come from God. The implications of this passage are significant: not only does Jesus speak of tradition as being inherently lesser than divine Scripture, Jesus uses divine Scripture to correct and override tradition, demonstrating the relationship between Scripture and tradition outlined in the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.

Another passage to consider is Matthew 4:1-11, the account of the temptation of Jesus. For each of Satan’s temptations, Jesus responds with “It is written” and by quoting Scripture. There are several insights to gained from this narrative. Not only did Jesus believe and demonstrate the the divinely inspired Scripture were sufficient by themselves to overcome sin and temptation, Jesus also uses Scripture to correct distorted and twisted uses of Scripture itself! If a doctrine or practice is built upon a spurious or erroneous interpretation of Scripture, the correction to that doctrine is not found in extra-biblical tradition, but in Scripture itself. In dealing with temptation, Jesus demonstrates that Scripture is the final, infallible authority for matters of faith and practice, even ones that have their origin in Scripture itself.

Objections to Sola Scriptura

Although the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is biblically and theologically sound, it is not without its fair share of objections. This paper will not examine every objection that has been raised against Sola Scriptura, but will address two objections based on the relationship between divine Scripture and tradition.

The first objection to Sola Scriptura is that the Bible is difficult to understand, and so it needs an external interpreter to make sense of it. For Catholic and Orthodox Christians, this external interpreter is the Church, who interprets Scripture and tradition together and prescribes doctrine for faith and practice. Using an analogy from the Constitution and the Supreme Court, Dave Armstrong of Catholic Answers claims, 

“The U.S. Constitution, like the Bible, is not sufficient in and of itself to resolve differing interpretations. Judges and courts are necessary, and their decrees are legally binding. . . .The only conclusion we can reach from the Bible is what we call the “three-legged stool”: Bible, Church, and Tradition are all necessary to arrive at truth. If you knock out any leg of a three-legged stool, it collapses.”[12]

Other variations of this objection include the claim that Protestants supplied their own traditions and interpreters to make sense of Scripture because it was unclear; as Lawrence Farley claims, “Classic Protestantism, while rejecting the Pope and the traditions he embodied, were quick to produce their own lenses through which to read the Bible—lenses such as the Augsburg Confession, the Westminster Confession, and the Dordrecht Confession.”[13] No matter how the objection is formed, the focus is the same: the Bible is not clear on what it teaches, and something other than the Bible must help make sense of the Bible.

This objection mischaracterizes the claim of Sola Scriptura by inserting an additional presupposition into the idea that Scripture is the final authority for doctrine and practice. Advocates of Sola Scriptura have never claimed that all of Scripture is clear and easy to understand because it is the divinely inspired word of God; in fact, most Reformed confessions explicitly say the opposite. However, what advocates of Sola Scriptura have maintained from the beginning is that because Scripture is divine revelation, matters pertaining to divine revelation – namely, our sinfulness and need for salvation in Jesus Christ – are clearly revealed and easily understood in Scripture, even if other parts are not. As W. Robert Godfrey explains, “The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible with enough clarity that the ordinary believer can find them there and understand.”[14]This idea, known as the perspicuity (or clarity) of Scripture, is an important implication of Sola Scriptura, and essential to a proper understanding of Sola Scriptura does – and does not – claim.

A second objection to Sola Scriptura is not taught in the Bible, but is instead a novel idea introduced in the 16thcentury by the Protestant Reformers in their dispute with the Catholic Church. As Ken Hensley of The Coming Home Network claims, “sola Scriptura isn’t something most Protestants embrace because they can see it as actually “taught” in the pages of the New Testament; it’s something they embrace because they no longer believe in the existence of an authoritative Church.”[15] There is often as tacit assumption that this idea cannot be found in the teachings of the Fathers or in church tradition, and that if it had been there, the Church would’ve long acknowledged it. 

The biblical foundations for Sola Scriptura were covered in the first section of this paper, but is it true that the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a 16th century historical innovation? While it can be said that Sola Scriptura did not become a mature, fully developed position until the 16th century, it cannot be said that the core idea of Sola Scriptura is absent from church tradition.[16] In fact, two of the biggest titans of Catholic theology – St. Augustine and St. Aquinas – both acknowledge that Scripture occupies the highest position of authority in determining doctrine and practice. Augustine remarks that “It is to the canonical Scriptures alone that I am bound to yield such implicit subjection as to follow their teaching, without admitting the slightest suspicion that in them any mistake or any statement intended to mislead could find a place”,[17]and Aquinas is even more explicit: “Only those books of Scripture which are called canonical have I learned to hold in such honor as to believe their authors have not erred in any way in writing them.”[18] Other statements from Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius of Alexandria reveal that the Catholic Church’s interpretation of tradition on this subject is not as uniform as they claim.[19]

Both objections listed here are based on church tradition as interpreted by the Catholic Church, which often claims that tradition is necessary to help make Scripture clear (the first objection) or that the church has faithfully and expertly understood the tradition they’ve claimed to have received (the second objection). The average Protestant often has little to no familiarity with this tradition, and are overwhelmed or impressed by the Church’s ability to wield citations and references to fathers, creeds, and councils as though church tradition is easy to understand or clear in it’s teaching. This is not the case. This paper has purposefully left the word “tradition” undefined because, as W. Robert Godfrey notes, the word “tradition” is notoriously difficult to define and has a wide range of meanings, and there is disagreement even within the Catholic church about what actually belongs to “tradition” and what does not.[20] As for the impression that tradition is clearer than Scripture and that the Church has expertly understood the tradition they claim to have received, Michael Horton casts doubt on this when he writes, 

Rome’s contention has been that Scripture itself is difficult to understand, especially by laypeople, and that it therefore requires an infallible interpreter. Historically, it is difficult to justify the claim that Rome’s teachings are clearer or more internally consistent than Scripture itself. In fact, the church’s teachings—even those it requires belief in for salvation—fill a library of volumes, with pronouncements so detailed and technical that a layperson hardly knows where to begin. Doubtless, this fact contributed to the doctrine of implicit faith—believing whatever the church teaches, even if one is not aware of it.[21]

Although there are many objections to Sola Scriptura, and some of those objections deserve serious consideration, objections to Sola Scriptura based on the importance of tradition, or the necessity of the Church’s ability to interpret tradition and scripture together, are objections that assume the truthfulness of many of the claims of the Catholic church, and ought to be treated carefully. 

Practical Applications of Sola Scriptura

All of the Solas of the Reformation have practical implications for the Christian life, but the practical implications for Sola Scriptura are perhaps the broadest and widest of all the Solas. Because Scripture is the final infallible authority for faith and practice, tradition cannot bind our conscious to beliefs and practices Scripture does not teach or command. This paper will close by examining three practical benefits that come from the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, all of which stem from the claim that Scripture is the only source of divine revelation.

The first practical benefit, already hinted at in the previous section, is that because of Sola Scriptura, we are free from being forced or compelled to believe or obey anything beyond the teachings and commands of Scripture. Although we may still be compelled to submit to certain lesser authorities, such as our pastors, elders, or denominational confessional documents, that authority is subject to Scripture’s authority, and no lesser source of authority, including the ancient tradition of the church, can compel us to believe or practice anything contrary to or in addition to Scripture.

Naturally, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura is a doctrine most often brought up when discussing Catholicism and Orthodoxy, but Sola Scriptura is relevant even within Protestantism as well. Modern Charismatic or Independent Fundamentalist Baptist denominations often require additional beliefs and practices of it’s members not based on Scripture, but upon the prescription of pastors and teachers who wield considerable influence with the charisma or heavy-handedness. Because of Sola Scriptura, tradition of any kind – whether the Catholic tradition or the tradition of a denomination or the tradition prescribed by a pastor or teacher – is exempt from the authority of Scripture, and potentially the correction of Scripture.

The second practical benefit is the inverse of first benefit: because our consciences are not bound to believe in the tradition of the church or any other lesser authority, this frees us to engage boldly and confidently with voices of the past and voices of different tradition, knowing that Scripture stands above the opinions of men and councils and has the authority to correct them. Just as the magisterial Reformers were well versed in the writings of the fathers and the councils and submitted their writings to Scripture, modern Protestants ought to imitate a similar example in showing that tradition is still valuable and useful to the Christian life when used properly. As Carl Beckwith notes, “The scriptures alone establish the articles of faith, never the words of the Fathers. At the same time, the writings of the Fathers provide indispensable insights on Scripture and establish proper patterns of speech that clarify, guard, and defend the scriptures.”[22]

The doctrine of Sola Scripture frees us from subscription to tradition and frees us to explore tradition to gain the insight and wisdom previous generations of pastors, martyrs, theologians, apologists, monks, and professors have offered to us. Regrettably, however, most Reformed Protestants have little to no familiarity with the works of Patristic and Medieval theologians, and the works of the Reformers are viewed suspiciously by those who do not agree with Reformed theology. This fuels the Catholic and Orthodox charge that Sola Scriptura encourages a me-and-my-Bible-only approach to Scripture, rendering the Scriptures as the only authority instead of the final authority over lesser authorities. Sola Scriptura does not advocate reading the Bible in isolation from the communion of the saints; instead, it recognizes the communion of saints submits to the authority of the Word across all space and time. Modern Protestants should take advantage of this freedom to learn and grow from the “living faith of the dead”[23] under the authority of Scripture.

The third practical benefit of Sola Scriptura is that we can have full and complete confidence in our preaching and evangelism because the Scriptures are not only clear on what must be believed for salvation, but because the Scriptures are divinely inspired by God and the means through which God speaks directly to us. We do not need to prove the authority or inspiration of Scripture through human reasoning or study; as John Calvin notes, “For as God alone is a fit witness of himself in his Word, so also the Word will not find acceptance in men’s hearts before it is sealed by the inward testimony of the Spirit. The same Spirit, therefore, who has spoken through the mouths of the prophets must penetrate into our hearts to persuade us that they faithfully proclaimed what had been divinely commanded.”[24]

If the same Spirit who spoke through the prophets is the same Spirit who bears witnesses to the truthfulness of the Word of God in our hearts, then we are free from having to manipulate, coerce, deceive, or strong-arm anyone to believe the Scriptures. We do not have to preach perfect sermons, or be charismatic evangelists, or omniscient apologists, in order for the Scriptures to save souls; the Lord himself does this through the very revelation he inspired and gave to us. In fact, it is because God is mighty to save through his Word that we ought to conduct ourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that we might testify to the power of the Word of God. As Karl Böhmer summarized, “This precisely is our confidence: that God’s word itself saves, and that this happens wherever the word of God is proclaimed. Therefore, we need to take care to proclaim it in truth and purity, so that it can do its work.”[25]

Bibliography

Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, n.d.

Armstrong, Dave. “A Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura.” Catholic Answers. Last modified March 5, 2020. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/a-quick-ten-step-refutation-of-sola-scriptura.

Beckwith, Carl L. “Sola Scriptura, the Fathers, and the Church: Arguments from the Lutheran Reformers.” Criswell Theological Review 16. (2019): 49–66. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAiGW7190916000735&site=ehost-live.

Böhmer, Karl Edwin. “Sola Gratia — Sola Fide — Sola Scriptura.” Logia 27. (2018): 19–22. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAn4340924&site=ehost-live.

Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019.

Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. Vol. 1. The Library of Christian Classics. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.

Farley, Lawrence. “The Consensus of the Fathers.” Orthodox Church in America. Last modified January 27, 2016. https://www.oca.org/reflections/fr.-lawrence-farley/the-consensus-of-the-fathers.

Godfrey, W. Robert. “Chapter One: What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?” in Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009.

Grenz, Stanley, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

Hensley, Ken. “Is Sola Scriptura Scriptural? Part III: Circular Reasoning.” The Coming Home Network. Last modified April 9, 2018. https://chnetwork.org/2018/02/27/sola-scriptura-scriptural-part-iii-circular-reasoning/.

Hopko, Thomas. Orthodox Faith. Yonkers: St VladimirS Seminary. 2016

Horton, Michael. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011.

Pelikan, Jaroslav. The Vindication of Tradition: 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities (1984), p. 65.

Samples, Kenneth Richard. “Responding to Objections to Sola Scriptura.” White Horse Inn. Last modified June 15, 2017. https://www.whitehorseinn.org/2017/06/countdown-to-reformation-day-responding-to-objections-to-sola-scriptura/.

Schaff, Philip, ed. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series.  Vol. 1, The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin with a Sketch of His Life and Work. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886.

Sproul, R. C. What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016.

Westminster Assembly. The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition. Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851.

White, James. “Chapter Two: Sola Scriptura and the Early Church” in Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009.

Woodbridge, John D. “Sola Scriptura: Original Intent, Historical Development, and Import for Christian Living.” Presbyterion 44 (2018): 4–24. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAn4320904&site=ehost-live.


[1] Woodbridge, John D. “Sola Scriptura: Original Intent, Historical Development, and Import for Christian Living.” Presbyterion 44 (2018): 4–24. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAn4320904&site=ehost-live.

[2] Grenz, Stanley, David Guretzki, and Cherith Fee Nordling. Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999.

[3] Ibid. 

[4] Sproul, R. C. What Is Reformed Theology?: Understanding the Basics. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2016, 51

[5] Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019.

[6] Hopko, Thomas. 2016. Orthodox Faith. Yonkers: St VladimirS Seminary.

[7] Horton, Michael. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011, 193.

[8] Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana. 2019.

Hopko, Thomas. Orthodox Faith. Yonkers: St VladimirS Seminary. 2016

[9] Horton, Michael. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011, 189-191.

[10] Westminster Assembly. The Westminster Confession of Faith: Edinburgh Edition. Philadelphia: William S. Young, 1851.

[11] 2 Timothy 3:16 (ESV)

[12] Armstrong, Dave. “A Quick Ten-Step Refutation of Sola Scriptura.” Catholic Answers. Last modified March 5, 2020. https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/a-quick-ten-step-refutation-of-sola-scriptura.

[13] Farley, Lawrence. “The Consensus of the Fathers.” Orthodox Church in America. Last modified January 27, 2016. https://www.oca.org/reflections/fr.-lawrence-farley/the-consensus-of-the-fathers.

[14] Godfrey, W. Robert. “Chapter One: What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?” In Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible, edited by Don Kistler. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009, 2.

[15] Hensley, Ken. “Is Sola Scriptura Scriptural? Part III: Circular Reasoning.” The Coming Home Network. Last modified April 9, 2018. https://chnetwork.org/2018/02/27/sola-scriptura-scriptural-part-iii-circular-reasoning/.

[16] Samples, Kenneth Richard. “Responding to Objections to Sola Scriptura.” White Horse Inn. Last modified June 15, 2017. https://www.whitehorseinn.org/2017/06/countdown-to-reformation-day-responding-to-objections-to-sola-scriptura/.

[17] Schaff, Philip, ed. A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series.  Vol. 1, The Confessions and Letters of St. Augustin with a Sketch of His Life and Work. Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886,

[18] Aquinas, Thomas. Summa Theologica. Translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, n.d.

[19] White, James. “Chapter Two: Sola Scriptura and the Early Church.” in Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009, 17-22.

[20] Godfrey, W. Robert. “Chapter One: What Do We Mean by Sola Scriptura?” in Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position on the Bible. Lake Mary, FL: Reformation Trust Publishing, 2009, 6.

[21] Horton, Michael. The Christian Faith: A Systematic Theology for Pilgrims on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011, 195.

[22] Beckwith, Carl L. 2019. “Sola Scriptura, the Fathers, and the Church: Arguments from the Lutheran Reformers.” Criswell Theological Review 16 (2019): 49–66. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAiGW7190916000735&site=ehost-live.

[23] Pelikan, Jaroslav The Vindication of Tradition: 1983 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, 1984, 65.

[24] Calvin, John. Institutes of the Christian Religion & 2. Edited by John T. McNeill. Translated by Ford Lewis Battles. Vol. 1. The Library of Christian Classics. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2011.

[25] Böhmer, Karl Edwin. 2018. “Sola Gratia — Sola Fide — Sola Scriptura.” Logia 27 (3): 19–22. http://search.ebscohost.com.rts.idm.oclc.org/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lsdar&AN=ATLAn4340924&site=ehost-live.

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