Sola Scriptura is not Solo Scriptura
â€œAlthough tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If upon reading a particular passage you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two-thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.â€ â€“ R. C. Sproul
â€œThe best way to guard a true interpretation of Scripture, the Reformers insisted, was neither to naively embrace the infallibility of tradition, or the infallibility of the individual, but to recognize the communal interpretation of Scripture. The best way to ensure faithfulness to the text is to read it together, not only with the churches of our own time and place, but with the wider â€˜communion of saintsâ€™ down through the age.â€ â€“ Michael Horton, â€œWhat Still Keeps Us Apart?â€
â€œSola Scripturaâ€ is not the same as â€œSolo Scripturaâ€. A proper understanding of â€œSola Scripturaâ€ will not lead to an individualistic, â€œme and my Bible in the woodsâ€ approach to Bible interpretation. Because of Christâ€™s gifts to the Church through the centuries, we have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants.
On this theme, I loved reading Phil Johnsonâ€™s response (some time back) to a questioner at his Pyromaniacs blog site who asked:
Your identity as a â€œBaptistâ€; your endless quotations from Charles Spurgeon; your faithful devotion to John MacArthur; and especially your willingness to call yourself a â€œCalvinistâ€ are all huge red flags that tell me something is seriously wrong with your theology. Why do you teach a system of doctrine that is named after a mere man? Why are you following human teachers instead of going to the Bible alone? After all, 1 John 2:27 says, â€œThe anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you.â€ We ought to go to Scripture alone to establish our doctrine! The truth is in Godâ€™s Holy word, not in any theological system or theology textbook developed by mere men. Isnâ€™t that principle what the Reformation was originally about? Sola Scriptura? Didnâ€™t even Calvin himself go to Scripture for the truth instead of reading other men? I believe that if Calvin himself wrote for this blog, he would point people to the truth in Godâ€™s Holy word, not to a theology developed by some other man.
Phil's response can be found here. - JS