This is another email i wrote. i was trying to explain to someone problems i was seeing with holding to Sola Scriptura and wanting to restore or imitate the early church:
(A) Each congregation of the apostolic church likely didn't possess or use 'The 27' for probably some time after all 27 were written (in other words, even after John penned Revelation and The 27 were in circulation, i take it as likely that each individual congregation still didn't possess all of them for some years after that at least). (B) The early church was not Sola Scriptura (they couldn't have been; The 27 weren't yet completed). (C) Even early churches that had a certain number (or even all if we're consider post-first-century) of the 27 still didn't *function* as Sola Scriptura churches. In other words, the books they did possess did not function as their sole authority for faith and practice. (D) We can't rely upon Sola Scriptura in order to determine whether Sola Scriptura is true, appropriate, etc. (That's not to say there are no internal or inter-27 evidence, but internal evidence alone may very well justify other alleged-revelation we would not accept--proving that we can't be Sola-Scripturists when coming to Sola Scriptura.) (E) Carthage did not rely upon The 27 themselves in order to determine the canonical status of The 27. There were factors and criteria outside the 27 themselves that played a role in determining canonical status. (A) - (E) suggest to me two things: (AE1) That if we aim to restore or imitate the early church's authority structure or the way that scripture functioned in the early church's authority structure, then we won't hold to Sola Scriptura. (AE2) If we aim to restore or imitate the early church's authority structure or the way that scripture functioned in the early church, then we ought to try to imitate/adopt the features of the early church's authority scheme that served as the context in which scripture functioned. It's (AE2) that i'm not convinced we do in the CoC. i see that at least functionally, we're Sola Scriptura. So it makes me wonder if major changes need to take place, if i should attempt to make such changes, or if i should leave the CoC altogether in order to pursue fellowship with some group that does comport with the project suggested by (AE2).