Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Book Review: 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura

Another nail in the coffin of the foundational Protestant dogma

Sola scriptura is dead, or at least is undead, a zombie still stalking the darkened hallways of Protestantism. Many well-meaning Protestant Christians don’t see the zombie-dogma for what it is; instead, they choose to see it as a being of light. My friend Dave Armstrong has returned to blow the old decrepit sola scriptura monsters one at a time in his latest work, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura.
Let’s recall the definition of the sola scriptura dogma – yes, it is a dogma – as understood by Norman Geisler, a recognized Protestant authority Dave quotes in his work:
By sola scriptura orthodox Protestants mean that Scripture alone is the primary and absolute source of authority, the final court of appeal, for all doctrine and practice (faith and morals)… (p.16)
Geisler, and authorities Dave quotes, further explain that other authorities exist, but that these are of secondary importance. Geisler also defends what he calls the perspicuity of Holy Writ, which means that anyone can understand the basic truths of Scripture: the plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things, Geisler states. (p.17). As a true analyst, Dave separated the sola scriptura dogma into its constituents claims, found out its contents, examined its individual parts, and studied the structure of sola scriptura as whole. He found them defective and insufficient to expound and explain the full spectrum of Christian claims.
Dave kills the sola scriptura zombie by selecting 100 verses from Scripture contradicting this central Protestant claim. I guess he selected 100 verses because the number “100” gives the reader a sense of exhaustive answer and completion, not because there are only 100 verses that should make all sincere Protestant Christian at least uncomfortable with the teaching. In fact, Dave is the author of another related work, 501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority? 501 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura: Is the Bible the Only Infallible Authority?, which is useful if you need another 401 arguments to kill the sola scriptura zombie dead.
 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura is a distillation of the 501 Biblical Arguments… in a more manageable, less overwhelming fashion for the beginning reader. It’s 133 pages in length and divided into two parts. In Part 1 Dave discusses the binding authority of Tradition, as substantiated in Scripture, and in Part 2 he discusses the binding authority of the Church, again from Scripture. The result must be uncontestable to the sincere Protestant Christian as well as eye opening to the full range of deeds and wonders the Incarnation of the Word of God brought to history.
Will the sola scriptura zombie really die after Dave’s work? This is a senseless question because the zombie is already dead. It’s kept ambulating by strings pulled from the most diehard of its followers. Those strings must be cut by the individual, sincere Protestant Christian himself. Dave Armstrong’s work, 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura not only blows the zombie of sola scriptura away, he also provides the scissors to cut the strings.