This blog records my transition from the Churches of Christ to Eastern Orthodoxy.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Sola Scriptura and the Early Church

All my Protestant inclinations tell me to cling dearly to Sola Scriptura and reject all forms of spiritual authority which try to make the Bible a mere co-authority (or really, a sub-authority) with church tradition.

And yet, my Restoration-Principle inclinations tell me to look to the early church to see how they did things and to mimick them.

So what do you do with the doctrine of Sola Scriptura when the early church didn't even have the NT? They had the OT, they had the Apostles, and they had miraculous gifts of the Spirit (some of which were means of access to special revelation). Can we claim they had something analogous to the idea of Sola Scriptura? Or is what they had nothing like our idea of Sola Scriptura?

I think we can point out that the early church did use written revelation as authoritative--they read the OT, and they received letters from NT writers and even circulated these among congregations. I think we can point out that they limited themselves to sources that were inspired--the OT, the oral teaching of the Apostles, the letters that NT writers wrote, and the revelatory gifts of the Spirit are all arguably infallible sources of information. Are these similarities enough to say that the Protestant idea of Sola Scriptura is justifiable even by the Restoration-Principle? Is more needed? Or is Sola Scriptura simply incompatible with the Restoration-Principle?

No comments:

Unique Users