Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Sola Scriptura

It's a slogan that means 'Bible alone', and when a bunch of people in the sixteenth century wanted to attack Roman Catholicism and everything it stood for, this was one of the slogans they seized on to make their meaning clear.

[Quick switch into police tense, with thanks to Matt for pointing it out]

So you've got your Bible, and it's the sole authority in the life of the Christian, and it's saying that the sole (which means only) way to get right with God is to trust solely in Christ alone.

Then allegedly these Roman Catholic cardinals and popes run up, and attempt to bash the victim over the head with a hessian bag containing a number of heavy traditions. Then, according to witnesses, they're there demanding money from the victim and suddenly they're threatening him that if he doesn't pay up that he's going to get sent to purgatory.

So the victim, according to the witnesses, is telling them to leave in fairly strong language, and apparently they've taken the man, tied him to a stake and they're pouring fluid from a tin can onto him. Anyway he's screaming for help and these other previous victims of the Roman church run up, they're beating off these cardinals and they're telling the feller that you can just ignore these traditions. Because it's the Bible alone that a man's got to trust, and when he does trust the Bible, Bob's his uncle and God's his Father and it doesn't even matter if he gets burned at the stake, the Roman church can't do him any harm, because he's been saved by Christ alone, through grace alone, through faith alone.

Then they're running off shouting 'Soli Deo Gloria', having set the man free, and these cardinals and popes are running around screaming blue murder.

So we've arrived at the scene a bit late and we're keen to talk to anyone who has information about a man wearing a white pointy hat with a cross on it, and carrying a shepherd's crook. We've got a couple of witnesses telling us he's of Middle Eastern or Mediterranean appearance, and speaks with an Italian accent.

All of which is to say that 'Sola Scriptura' is an attack on false human traditions, and it's perverse, not to mention inverse, to take a blunt instrument like this and use it as an opportunity to defend the use of Bible commentaries and the study of church history. Not unlike using a blunderbuss in an attempt to take out a thimble sized target at 450 metres. The wrong thimble-sized target, when the target the blunderbuss was intended for is standing next to you wearing a white pointy hat and speaking with an Italian accent.

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