Sola Scriptura Refuted at the Sources

An Article by Scott Windsor

Introduction

So many times the Catholic apologist, defending the Church's position of authority is confronted by the Protestant argument of sola scriptura (Latin for "Scripture alone" or "Scripture only"). Whereas it is the position of the "apologist" to "defend," at times a "good offense is necessary for a good defense." This is one of those times. Catholics must be able to show the invalidity of sola scriptura. Two of the chief complaints of the Protestant apologists is that the Catholic neither understands the teaching of sola scriptura, nor does he properly represent the teaching. It is my goal through this article to use primary sources of the Protestant teaching(s) and then refute these teachings - or allow them to refute themselves (which they often do).

Primary sources cited by Protestants and used in this article are:

From the "Epitome of the Formula of Concord"

(subheading)
Comprehensive Summary, Rule and Norm
According to which all dogmas should be judged,
and the erroneous teachings [controversies]that have
occurred should be decided and explained in a Christian way.

1. We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with [all] teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written Ps. 119, 105: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1, 8.

sw: First off we must "enlighten" the reader that Psalms 119:105 (118:105 in Catholic editions) only mentions "Thy Word" and does not stipulate whether that "Word" is written or spoken. Likewise, Galations 1:8 refers to the gospel that is "preached" - not to a written gospel! It would be an anachronism to insist upon this to be a "written gospel," for at the time St. Paul wrote to the Galations most, if not all the Gospels had not been written yet! If we look objectively at St. Paul's words here, he clearly refers to the oral tradition of preaching the gospel. Neither of these verses can be used to support "sola scriptura" - for neither of them refer to the written Word of God.

sw: So, bearing in mind that we cannot use the out-of-context scripture references here - we must question the confession that demands we "believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard...are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testament." That "standard" is not taught in Scripture, so if that standard is not taught in Scripture, then logically a teaching that demands "all dogmas with [all] teachers" are to be held to what is contained in the Scriptures, must be rejected. The sola scriptura of the Book of Concord is self-refuting.


From the Belgic Confession of the Reformed:

Article 2: The Means by Which We Know God We know him by two means: First, by the creation, preservation, and government of the universe, since that universe is before our eyes like a beautiful book in which all creatures, great and small, are as letters to make us ponder the invisible things of God: his eternal power and his divinity, as the apostle Paul says in Romans 1:20. All these things are enough to convict men and to leave them without excuse. Second, he makes himself known to us more openly by his holy and divine Word, as much as we need in this life, for his glory and for the salvation of his own.

sw: Article 2 here flatly denies "sola" scriptura, for it says we know God by TWO MEANS! So much for "sola!" The first method of knowing God is through our own senses and our minds ponder the invisible things of God. The second method is through His holy and divine Word.

Article 3: The Written Word of God
We confess that this Word of God was not sent nor delivered by the will of men, but that holy men of God spoke, being moved by the Holy Spirit, as Peter says.^1 Afterwards our God-- because of the special care he has for us and our salvation-- commanded his servants, the prophets and apostles, to commit this revealed Word to writing. He himself wrote with his own finger the two tables of the law. Therefore we call such writings holy and divine Scriptures. ^1 2 Pet. 1:21

sw: This is all well and good about the testimony of what Scripture is - but it doesn't tell us what Scripture DOES, and certainly doesn't even mention "sola."

Article 4: The Canonical Books
We include in the Holy Scripture the two volumes of the Old and New Testaments. They are canonical books with which there can be no quarrel at all. (Then lists the Protestant canon).

sw: So, where IN Scripture do we find this canonical list? We don't. This is an extra scriptura teaching.

Article 7: The Sufficiency of Scripture
We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it. For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one-- even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says--^2 ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God,^3 this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.
Therefore we must not consider human writings-- no matter how holy their authors may have been-- equal to the divine writings; nor may we put custom, nor the majority, nor age, nor the passage of time or persons, nor councils, decrees, or official decisions above the truth of God, for truth is above everything else.
For all human beings are liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself.
Therefore we reject with all our hearts everything that does not agree with this infallible rule, as we are taught to do by the apostles when they say, "Test the spirits to see if they are of God,"^4 and also, "If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house."^5
(Notes: ^2 Gal. 1:8 ^3 Deut. 12:32; Rev. 22:18-19 ^4 1 John 4:1 ^5 2 John 10)

sw: Well, here is the strongest argument in this confession used by Protestants who adhere to this confession. Let us look at it again - it is teaching "sufficiency" - not "sola!" Let us break this one down:

1) We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely

sw: Where do the Holy Scriptures themselves say they contain "the will of God completely?" Quite simply, they don't. This is not a teaching found IN the Holy Scriptures, so it is itself an "extra scriptura" teaching.

2) and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it.

sw: Catholics do not argue against the sufficiency of Scripture - only against "Scripture alone."

3) For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one-- even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says--^2 ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. (^2 refers to Galations 1:8).

sw: Galations 1:8 says: "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel to you other than which we have preached to you, let him be anathema." Nothing here about Scripture! That's about "preaching" or the "oral" teaching!

4) For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God,^3 this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects. (^3 refers us to Deuteronomy 12:32 and Revelation 22:18-19).

sw: Well, interestingly enough - there is no "Deuteronomy 12:32" - however, it seems 13:1 is what is referred to here: 13:1 - "Every command that I enjoin on you, you shall be careful to observe, neither adding to it nor subtracting from it." Does this say "written command" or does it refer to "every command" (whether written or oral)? Whomever includes this footnote for support must be "adding to" this command, for it is not limited to what is inscripturated.

sw: Revelation 22:18-19 - "I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book. If anyone shall add to them, God will add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if anyone shall take away from the words of this prophecy, God will take away his portion from the tree of life, and from the holy city, and from the things that are written in this book." Again, context is important here. The context of these two verses is "this book," meaning "The Book of Revelation" (or "The Apocalypse of St. John the Apostle"). "The Bible," as we know it, was NOT assembled into a "book" form for quite some time. It would not be until the end of the 4th Century that the Church would finalize the canon for the Christian Church, which would later be made a dogmatic definition, after the Protestants attempted to remove several books from the Christian canon.

sw: Clearly this section from this confession is misguided, and the use of out-of-context quotes that do not even support what the confession is attempting to say destroys the credibility of the confession. The rest of this section is based on the false premise already exposed. The objective reader clearly must reject this.

sw: Again, Catholics do NOT deny the sufficiency of Scripture, we deny the false teaching, invented by men of the 16th Century that claim the Scriptures are the sole rule of faith (sola regula fide).

sw: One more thought, if "...all human beings are liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself," then why are we to trust the teaching in this Belgic Confession? Is this not written by such men, who are "liars by nature and more vain than vanity itself?"

So much for the Belgic Confession.


Thirty-Nine Articles (Anglican)

Article 6: VI. Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation. Holy Scripture containeth all things necessary to salvation: so that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith, or be thought requisite or necessary to salvation. In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.

Let us break this down:
1) Holy Scripture contains all things necessary to salvation.
sw: Fair enough. The Catholic Church would not deny that through the reading of the Scriptures one would find it sufficient enough to bring one to belief in Jesus Christ and ultimately to salvation. The Church does not deny that the Scriptures are _A_ good source, only that the Scriptures are the _ONLY_ (or sola) source.

2) So that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of Faith, or be though requisite to salvation.
sw: OK, this brings us to the commonly echoed challenge to sola scriptura - if the teaching cannot be found in Scripture, then one who adheres to sola scriptura should reject it, right? Well, this very teaching is NOT found in Scripture! Nowhere do the Scriptures teach they are to be the "sole rule of faith" (sola regula fide) - so based on this premise of the Anglican _Thirty-Nine Articles_, sola scriptura is self-refuting.

3) In the name of the Holy Scripture we do understand those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament, of whose authority was never any doubt in the Church.
sw: Well, again the problem cited in #2 - nowhere "within" the Scriptures do we find a list telling us what would constitute "those canonical Books of the Old and New Testament." Since it cannot be read therein nor proved thereby - there is no infallible way of knowing exactly what constitutes the Scriptures. So, the very existence of a "Canon of Sacred Scripture" is an "extra scriptura" teaching.

sw: So here we have it - the Anglican definition for sola scriptura is definitely found to be lacking - and even an invalid statement. No one should accept this as an article of their faith.


Westminster Confession of Faith

An added discussion took place on Sept. 10, 2003 in #CathApol between "BigScott" and "Jason1646" that (uneditted) discussion can be seen by: clicking here. Jason pointed out that I had left out a key part of the WCF, so I will address that now.

I. Although the light of nature, and the works of creation and providence do so far manifest the goodness, wisdom, and power of God, as to leave men unexcusable;[1] yet are they not sufficient to give that knowledge of God, and of his will, which is necessary unto salvation.[2] Therefore it pleased the Lord, at sundry times, and in divers manners, to reveal himself, and to declare that his will unto his church;[3] and afterwards, for the better preserving and propagating of the truth, and for the more sure establishment and comfort of the church against the corruption of the flesh, and the malice of Satan and of the world, to commit the same wholly unto writing:[4] which maketh the Holy Scripture to be most necessary;[5] those former ways of Godís revealing his will unto his people being now ceased.[6]
Jason's point was that I didn't include this part that said "those former ways of God's revealing his will unto his people being now ceased." My question was:
<BigScott> where do we find, in scripture, that God has ceased revealing his Will to His people?
To this Jason answered, to the effect that private revelation is not part of the Articles of Faith (as we call them) thus he rejects such. I asked further:

<BigScott> but, just because something is not part of the Articles of Faith does not make it untrue or false.
<BigScott> and once the Church has authenticated a private revelation, we can accept it as truth - even if it has no bearing on our salvation, it is still an acceptable belief.
<BigScott> and the Church has the authority to authenticate such private revelations.
<BigScott> and takes said authority from the Scriptures themselves.
(snip)
<BigScott> Is His Will not continually revealed to His People through the instrument He established/built for His People? (the Church)
<BigScott> what is God's Will regarding artificial fertilization of human embryos? Of cloning? Of birth control?
<BigScott> are these not moral issues that affect God's People, here and now?
<BigScott> Yet, the Scriptures are silent on such issues.
<BigScott> with regard to birth control, many forms can be considered abortificants, thus equivalent to murder, but several other forms (barrier methods) are not abortificants.
<BigScott> btw- 100 years ago, virtually ALL of Protestantism stood side-by-side with Catholicism on birth control and abortion - but many/most Protestant communities now accept some forms of abortion and nearly all forms of birth control.
<BigScott> interesting, eh? Has God's Will "changed" in the last 100 years?

After about 20 minutes of silence, Jason parted the channel, with no response to this. I remain respectfully open to hearing a response to the above statements. Find me in the #CathApol Chatroom or contact me through one of the email lists that I moderate.

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[9]

sw: And whom are we to receive the Scriptures from? What body of Christians gathered the manuscripts and put them into canons of Old and New Testaments? How do we know, infallibly so, that the books that were assembled are indeed the canon? Did they miss some? Are some included that should not be? How do we, infallibly, know this?

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[10] And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of manís salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.[11]

sw: So, "the full discovery of it (Scripture) makes it the only way of man's salvation?" So, when for nearly 400 years the Church had not yet "fully discovered it," what did those first Christians rely on? Consider the fact that it would be anywhere from 30-60 years before the New Testament was written - if Scripture is the only way of man's salvation, what did the first Christians do? Consider also that the vast majority of all Christians prior to the invention of the printing press were functionally illiterate. If it were possible to hand them a "Bible" prior to this invention, they would not have understood a word of it, much less "fully discover" it.

sw: The basic question here is, "how do we know the Bible is the Word of God?" Those that do not allow that the Church had the authority to declare the Canon of Sacred Scripture generally respond (circularly) "We know it is the Word of God, because it is God breathed, (theopneustos)." And how do you know the Scriptures you have are theopneustos? "Because they say so." (The WCF itself makes this unsupported claim in section IV, quoted above). So, because a document "claims" to be God-breathed, ipso facto, it is? The point here is, as any objective student of history must acknowledge, the Church established the Canon of Sacred Scripture. The Church, in council, decided which books belong and which ones do not. The Church is an outside authority that did indeed decide upon the Canon of Sacred Scripture.

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, manís salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:[13] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[14]

sw: The Catholic does not contest the material sufficiency of Scripture. The Scriptures contain enough information to bring a man to salvation. This section actually denies sola scriptura as the sole rule of faith in acknowledging "there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and the government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence..." So, the WCF has allowed for a second regula fide in "the light of nature and Christian prudence," and this second authority is "always to be observed."

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.[16]

sw: Section VII contradicts 2 Peter 3:16! St. Peter clearly states that the unlearned and the unstable would find some Scriptures hard to understand and to interpret them alone (sola scriptura) they do so "unto their own destruction." Another obvious contradiction to this section is evidenced in other groups that have interpretted Scripture wrongly and have developed their own churches - yet still claim to be Christian. Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses both claim to be Christian and base their beliefs on their interpretation of the Scriptures. If we accept the teaching that "not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them," then we must accept the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses interpretations of Scripture to be just as valid as the Baptist or Lutheran (and many others) interpretation. Why should we accept the Baptist view over any other? How about the Lutheran view? How about the Anglican view?

Footnotes from Westminster Confession:

[1] Romans 2:14-15. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another. Romans 1:19-20. Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath showed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse. Psalm 19:1-3. The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Romans 1:32. Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them. Romans 2:1 Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things.

Nowhere in these references is a denial of the Church's Authority, in fact it goes so far as to say that The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. There is no speech nor language, where their voice is not heard. Nothing about the "written" word of God here, in fact it is the spoken word of God that speaks through nature. Without getting lost in some New Age tangent here, the very reference sited here denies sola scriptura.

[2] 1 Corinthians 1:21. For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Corinthians 2:13-14. Which things also we speak, not in the words which manís wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Again, this reference brings out "preaching" and "teaching" with no mention of "writing" or a limitation to what is written. It doesn't even take one who is spiritually discerned to figure that one out!

[3] Hebrews 1:1. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets.

This does not say that God spoke through the writings of the prophets, though that certainly was one of the ways utilized. Again, we don't see a "sola" limitation here, just an out of context Scripture reference.

[4] Proverbs 22:19-21. That thy trust may be in the LORD, I have made known to thee this day, even to thee. Have not I written to thee excellent things in counsels and knowledge, That I might make thee know the certainty of the words of truth; that thou mightest answer the words of truth to them that send unto thee? Luke 1:3-4. It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, That thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed. Romans 15:4. For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Matthew 4:4, 7, 10. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.... Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.... Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. Isaiah 8:19, 20. And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead?... To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Finally, we have some mention of writing but we have no restriction to only that which is written. Again, the question must be asked, "Is God's Word limited solely to that which was written?" Even those who affirm sola scriptura would not be so foolish to limit God in such a manner.

[5] 2 Timothy 3:15. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.

  1. No Catholic denies that the Holy Scriptures are able to make one wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus - but that doesn't say "sola" - does it? No, it doesn't.
  2. Again, is God limited to just the written word of prophecy? Are we really supposed to limit God in that manner? Protestants that adhere to sola scriptura must limit God, for either we are limited to the written word only, or God lives through His Church that He built, and we can turn to His Church for guidance and instruction on matters not taught in Scripture.

[6] Hebrews 1:1-2. God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.

This is the same reference in footnote [3], see comment above.

[9] 2 Peter 1:19, 21. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts.... For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. 2 Timothy 3:16. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. 1 John 5:9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. 1 Thessalonians 2:13. For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

  1. 2 Peter 1:19,21 - Catholics do not deny that Scripture comes from God.
  2. 2 Timothy 3:16 - This verse speaks to the material sufficiency of Scripture, not to sola.
  3. 1 John 5:9 - This does not say the "testimony" or "witness" of God is limited to the written form - nor does it confirm what would possibly constitute the written (or verbal) form.
  4. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 - Please read on to v. 15: "So then, brethren, stand firm, and hold to the teachings that you have learned, whether by word or by letter of ours." Verse 15 is a denial of sola scriptura, for we are to "stand firm" on the teachings, whether it is written or spoken!

[10] 1 Timothy 3:15. But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

It is quite ironic that this verse is cited at all. First off, it has nothing to do with the context of that paragraph where we find footnote 10. Secondly, this verse is often cited by Catholics to support the fact that it is the Church that is the pillar and ground of truth - as confirmed by the Scriptures! Amazing!

[11] 1 John 2:20, 27. But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.... But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. John 16:13-14. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Isaiah 59:21. As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the LORD; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seedís seed, saith the LORD, from henceforth and for ever.

  1. 1 John 2:20,27 - If anything, these verses support the Apostolic succession of annointing successors to follow them and to teach what they have taught. We don't see any reference about anything written here.
  2. John 16:13-14 - Again, this speaks of nothing written, but moreso that the Holy Spirit would come to them and teach them into all truth, and it does not mention anything about "writing" but "speaking" and "hearing."
  3. 1 Corinthians 2:10-12 - Again, no mention of written word.
  4. Isaiah 59:12 - Again, no mention of anything written, only that it would be passed down, "from henceforth, forever."

[12] 2 Timothy 3:15-17. And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. Galatians 1:8-9. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. 2 Thessalonians 2:2. That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

  1. 2 Timothy 3:15-17 - This verse talks of the material sufficiency. Catholics have no problem with this concept.
  2. Galatians 1:8-9 - It must be coming abundantly clear by this point in your reading, that Protestantism, in its many forms, has brought along with it several definitions of sola scriptura. We have seen several different forms in this very article. Some in close agreement, others don't agree at all. Now, since this doctrine was not taught in Scripture, not practiced by Jesus and Not practiced by the Apostles, not even HEARD of for some 1500 years - who is preaching a different gospel?
  3. 2 Thessalonians 2:2 - Again, this verse brings up both "word" (as in spoken) and "letter" as in written. This verse cannot be used to support sola scripture - it denies "sola."

[13] John 6:45. It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.

  1. John 6:45 - There is no denial that the prophets speak of the coming Messiah, but this verse is not limiting itself to just what is written in the prophets! This verse tells us that those who "hear" and "learn" will come to Him. Again, this is not supportive of sola scriptura.
  2. 1 Corinthians 2:9-12 - This verse begins with the phrase "as it is written" and goes on to tell us that "as it is written" we have received something else, namely the Holy Spirit, to guide us and lead us "to know the things that are freely given to us of God." This sounds more supportive of the Church as guided by the Paraclete being what we have as the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim 3:15).

[14] 1 Corinthians 11:13-14. Judge in yourselves: is it comely that a woman pray unto God uncovered? Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? 1 Corinthians 14:26, 40. How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.... Let all things be done decently and in order.

  1. 1 Corinthians 11:13-14 - I find it interesting here that this verse is cited in reference to Section VI, which says certain things must always be observed. In these verses it says a woman's head must be covered when she prays, yet this is not practiced in most (virtually all) Protestant denominations. Sadly, this practice has fallen out of the commonplace at many Catholic parishes as well, with the exception of some of the more Traditional parishes. Still, we have Scripture in the New Testament saying women should cover their head when they pray - on what authority has this been overturned?
  2. 1 Corinthians 14:26, 40 - This is something Catholics and Protestants alike should agree on.

[15] 2 Peter 3:16. As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things: in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

Again, it is ironic that this verse is used in support for it says the unlearned and unstable would find Scriptures hard to understand and would interpret to their own destruction, how does this support sola scriptura? If anything, this verse screams for the Church, as led by the Holy Spirit, to guide us - especially the unlearned and unstable.

[16] Psalm 119:105, 130. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto the simple.

Here again we find this verse makes no mention of "written" in reference to "thy words." I don't think anyone denies that God's Word is not always restricted to what is written


In conclusion, I have taken four of the most basic confessions of Protestantism, quoted verbatim their teaching on sola scriptura. The objective reader must come away from this reading seeing how lacking the foundational level of sola scriptura is, if not realizing the outright lie that sola scriptura is. Scripture does not teach sola scriptura, so that sola facto (fact alone) should convince anyone that sola scriptura is a false teaching, a teaching that was invented by men some time after the Scriptures were recorded. Since we do not find the teaching within the written Word of God - anyone adhering to a teaching that demands the sole rule of faith are the Scriptures must reject the rule itself.

In JMJ,
Scott Windsor<<<


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