Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Russ Smith on the purpose of Sola Scriptura

I was reading my fellow parishioner Russ Smith's blog Jack of Clubs, and found the following excellent paragraph:

"The most important thing to remember about Sola Scriptura is that its purpose is the liberty of the Christian. We see this in Aritcle VI [of the Thirty-Nine Articles] in the provision that whatever is not found in scripture "is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the faith". The concern of the reformers was not to state an abstract epistemological principle, but to correct a specific abuse that had crept up in the church. Too often in evangelical and reformed churches this principle is seen as an end in itself; as if the purpose of worshipping God were to avoid any unbiblical practices, rather than the other way around. This back-door pharisaism is particularly ironic because it uses the very principle that ought to free us from fear as a source of anxiety -- the haunting fear that we might do something that isn't found in the Bible."

Russ' point strikes me as correct. Sola Scriptura is meant to be a liberating principle that frees us to obey the Lord. It was definitely not intended to be a tool with which those who are impossible to please may disrupt the peace of the established Church of God. You can read Russ' entire article here.

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