RESOURCE: Fathers professing sola scriptura

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Toma, Jun 8, 2012.

  1. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    This is the sort of subject where we can flourish with brotherly charity and Christian good will. It relates directly to the idea of sola scriptura: whether we follow the Presbyterian "regulative principle" of worship or the Anglican "normative principle".

    Was the Eucharist the central act of worship in any Anglican church before the last 170 years? I've heard from The Hackney Hub and others that the usual Sunday service was Mattins+Litany+Ante-Communion for the longest time. Making the Eucharist the center of all worship is very interesting, given the lack of it from, say, the 1700s-1840.

    Confession (open, public, to a priest of the Church) is absolutely essential, and all the Fathers adhere to it in their understanding of John 20.

    Holy Week is a tradition of man, but it is certainly at least as old as the 300s, and edifies us without any idolatry! :)

    The Gloria was after Communion from 1552-1979. I dare say that's a very long and solid tradition, but the 1979 ideal of the Gloria looks back to the 500s-1552 ideal of the Mass, which is also a very long tradition! In the end it doesn't matter so much, because as I said before, moving the Gloria from before the Epistle/Gospel to after Communion was just one of those "no Catholicism for me, please" moments.

    Vestments are so tricky.. at least you can tell a man's churchmanship from his chasuble or lack thereof! :p We had the long surplice, tippet, cope, and miter retained for hundreds of years without Anglo-Catholicism. Is the Chasuble indelibly associated with anti-Scriptural propitiatory-sacrifice-in-the-Eucharist ideas? Maybe in some minds...

    All this diversity is explosive for someone whose baptismal Church (Rome) demands absolute uniformity on every subject. A Mass isn't valid in canon law if you don't have at least two candles lit around the altar. The chasuble is so tied up with sacrifice theology that I've heard Catholics wonder if the Mass is a true Mass without the chasuble. I've served at the altar of two large Catholic parishes, and the strict, nervous need to follow the traditions of canon law was very strong.

    This is why I wished to go right to the Bible for everything (or at least everything salvific), after having found these Fathers' quotes. The great Fathers were so sweetly Anglican in their latitude-giving mindset, except when it came to heresy. They stimulate us not only to learn, but to love strongly.

    Yes, we must rejoice in the Lord always! Say grace in your heart before typing a response, before eating a muffin, before painting a picture, before listening to a symphony, before going for a walk... and before wrangling with frustrating, abstruse people who claim the lofty title of Christian for ourselves!
     
  2. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Remembrance,
    I am sensing in your posts, that wounds from your experience in the Catholic Church are still very fresh and painful. I can identify with this, having gone through my own ordeal in leaving the Southern Baptist Church. I left wounded and hurt; and it took a long time to recover and forgive the hateful things that were said and done to me. I made a lot of mistakes trying to work through all of that; and I definitely feel your pain.

    As an Anglican, you can't really get "rid of all Catholic influence," which I understand is your first impulse as you are leaving the Catholic Church.

    Keep in mind that King Henry VIII broke with Rome primarily because the Pope wouldn't sanction an Annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Some historians believe Thomas Cromwell pushed Henry's break from Rome, and Cromwell was supported by Thomas Cranmer, who was appointed Archbishop of Canterbury after Wareham (quick source example: http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/break_rome.htm). Given Rome's serious need of reformation, the break would probably have happened at some point anyway. The power and politics of that period are really very complicated.

    So, initially, England was Catholic without a Pope. Protestant influences did eventually enter the Church of England. The Anglican pendulum (of which I often speak) began to swing back and forth between Catholicism and Protestantism---depending on the Monarch in power and the politics and influences at any given point in history.

    The result became known as the "Middle Way." I believe that Anglicanism is the best of Catholicism mixed with the best of Protestantism. There are some Eastern Orthodox influences as well, which are visible in my current Episcopal Parish.

    I am Anglo Catholic in believe and practice, as is my Episcopal Parish. However, "Anglo Catholic" is not found in the name of our Episcopal Church. Our Parish is not in some separate "party." I am as much an Anglican as the most Reformed Anglican. I simply followed that "pendulum" back to our Catholic roots.

    I think it is important for you, since you are still searching, to ask as many questions as you can of Anglicans from the full spectrum; and decide if Anglicanism is right for you.

    If you are more inclined to accept the 5 Solas of the Reformation, you may be happier in a Lutheran Church. However, you may find Anglicans who are Reformed to that degree. I just haven't met any yet. That doesn't mean that don't exist. There are many Anglicans all over the world; and there is a great deal of diversity in beliefs.

    So, I'm not going to be hard on you, even though you did say some things that were a bit offensive.

    You have my prayers for your continued journey; and I'll be glad to answer any questions you throw my way. :)

    Peace,
    Anna
     
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  3. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Anna, thank you for recognising how difficult the change is for us refugees from the "Infallible Churches". These quotes of the Fathers contradict our deepest convictions. Anglicans being diverse makes no sense to a Roman, who says "of course! that's the result of having no Pope: everyone just believes what he wants" - it's true, yet in an ironically positive way?

    How can a Roman understand, without learning of the loving kindness that must rest in the heart of an Anglican, tolerating such diversity? When we see that the Church Fathers professed what is now the Anglican Article VI, our brains spin. As Roman culture rotates around its understanding of an infallible, unified Hierarchy, so (we think), Anglican culture probably revolves around its entirely down->up system; a system that, we concluded, must come out of Sola scriptura naturally. Messy!

    Carrying all our assumptions, we trudge away from the Tiber, sad and lonely, only to see Anglicans who swing incense, pray to the saints, and seem to long for the very Roman Communion which we just concluded is in the wrong. It is as deeply offensive to our sense of defeat, as our sudden displays of strong emotion about you ACs corrupting the protestant faith are offensive to you! More apologies are due to you, after such an interior maelstrom of conflicts and convictions.

    Which term do you use for your hermeneutic as an Anglo-Catholic? You are uncomfortable with "Sola Scriptura", yet the Church Fathers agree with Luther, who (I think) came up with this doctrine. It is very interesting that you were a Baptist, and reacted so sharply as to become Anglo-Catholic, the precise opposite of Baptists. This is exactly what I am going through, in rejecting all the Roman smells & bells for evangelical Anglicanism! Perhaps there is a deep human psychology at work. :)

    We refugees from the "Infallible" churches come to Anglicanism mostly because of a lack of alternatives. We are looking for the one, true, institutional Church of Christ. How can we find that in Lutheranism, which is (I've heard) slowly disowning its episcopal polity? How can it be found in the Presbyterian polities, which are small-scale by nature? How can it be found in the non-denominational churches, who don't even have communion with their next-door-neighbours, let alone Canterbury?

    Anglicanism is the only option people like us have, seeing the rank modernism in Catholicism (thanks Adam :p), the splits of smaller churches, and the decay of Christianity everywhere, contrasting it with the firm episcopal polity of the Fathers. There is no where else to go but Anglicanism, only to find Anglicans being uncomfortable with the term "Sola Scriptura". It's very distressing, though it is really no excuse for being offensive.

    Part of the "Infallible Church" mindset is that there must be only one denomination, the Church: Rome for papists, and the Constantinople/Alexandria/Jerusalem/Antioch/Moscow axis for the Orthodox. Anything outside those is not even Christian, to them! Here in Anglicanism and Lutheranism, however, you have the complete opposite: latitude.

    Which one is the most biblical, and thus true? That is the question I am attempting to answer by posting and discussing these quotes of the great Christian Fathers. They just sound so protestant.

    Your mercy is appreciated. :)
     
  4. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Remembrance,

    First of all "my party" is the Anglican Church in the Anglican Communion, period. There is no other "party" or affiliation. I attend an Episcopal Church. Our sign out front does not contain the word Anglo Catholic. There's no need for that.

    As a Christian, I long for union with all of Christendom. We are all part of the Mystical Body of Christ. That doesn't mean that I long to be a Catholic in Communion with Rome. If that were the case, I would "swim the Tiber," as they say.

    I do not find Scriptural or historical evidence to support the Pope's claim to authority over all of Christendom or for his claim to infallibility. I will not "submit religious mind and will to the Roman Pontiff" as required of all Catholics (Lumen Gentium.) There are certain beliefs and doctrines that I cannot accept.

    However, Catholic and Orthodox history is part of the "DNA" of nearly every part of Christendom. There is no good reason to abandon all Christian practices that came before Luther nailed his "ninety-five theses" to the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, or to abandon all that came before King Henry VIII broke with Rome. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

    I read Anglican authors, and Orthodox authors, and Catholic authors, and Protestant authors. So, I see nothing wrong in quoting information from a Catholic website. We should rejoice in our points of agreement. Whenever we quote one another; we are, in a small way, celebrating that which we have in common.

    So, when you hear Anglican bells upon Consecration of the Sacrament; or see Anglican Priests clothed in vestments swinging incense or chanting parts of the Liturgy of the Eucharist; or see Anglicans genuflect; or kneel at the rail to receive the Holy Eucharist-----we are carrying on a long history of Christian Liturgy and Worship.

    I had a conversation with the Rabi of a local Jewish Temple, who greeted me so warmly. When I told him I attended the Episcopal Church, the Rabi said, "I knew there was a reason I liked you. You're Episcopalian. We have a lot in common in the way we worship." So, Catholics are not the only ones to see similarities in the way Anglicans worship.

    The thing that bothers me is that you----acknowledging that you are still in the Catholic Church and you have not been Received into an Anglican Church---are criticizing Anglicans on an Anglican Forum. Do you not realize that might be stepping over the line, when it comes to charitable discussion?

    Anna
     
  5. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Remembrance,
    There is quite an irony in these statements. You say that you wish to go to the Bible for everything "salvic"; but you are searching and quoting the Church Fathers in an attempt to prove that this is what you should do. You cannot prove Scripture alone using Scripture; and the Scripture alone approach goes against the 39 Articles as I've pointed out before:
    Peace and blessings,
    Anna
     
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  6. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    We desire that which is shared with the other Apostolic churches. We don't desire emulation of the Roman Catholic Church. We don't need membership within its ranks, as our Church is Apostolic too. When a good thing is abused, we correct the abuse rather than abandon the thing. Anglicans, like Lutherans, didn't "throw the baby out with the bathwater" during the Reformation (does anyone else say that, or is it a purely American thing?). We can ask the Saints to pray for us, and we can offer incense to the Lord with our prayers; and we're not doing these things merely because Roman Catholics also do them. We have perfectly good reasons that date back to the earliest days of the Church. But our shared Catholic practices are not dogmatized or forced on our parishioners. They're intended to enrich our spiritual lives, not to make people uncomfortable (or to make them think that we're wanna-be Romans).
     
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  7. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Dear Anna, it seems like we're going around in circles now! :p I affirm the 39 articles. I have only had a lay-person as a witness to Anglicanism so far, as I have been afraid of the consequences of going publicly to an Anglican pastor. My fear of the future overtakes everything... there are some problems which just cannot be helped... it is shameful to mention them here.

    We have reached a point of misunderstanding. When I say "sola scriptura", I mean that doctrine which is contained in the sixth Article of Religion. It says that whatever cannot be shown or proven (i.e. by the Fathers) out of the Scriptures is not necessary for belief unto salvation; thus, purgatory, veneration of relics, etc., go out the window. That should put an end to our "disagreement", no? :)

    Perhaps I have little to rejoice in, seeing the diplomacy of ecumenism put on by bishops and theologians everywhere. Whatever little we do have in common is made nothing by the long, bloody history of the things we disagree upon. I simply don't have any faith that we all will unite before the last day. So many "new evangelisation" techniques, so many ecumenical dialogues, and what have we got to show for it? It can be wrong to hope for things that cannot be.

    There is some warming of the cold atmosphere, but when will Rome lay papal claims aside, or when will Orthodoxy admit that "holy" traditions may be fictional? The Scripture alone is unvarying, unlike our emotional reasonings and our endlessly-varying traditions. Though our reason may falter, there is always someone else around, inspired by the Holy Ghost, to help us, or perhaps we are there to help them. What Article VI really objects to is the idea that there are bishops or hierarchs who have infallibility by virtue of their office, and that things not in Scripture may be given as requisite-for-salvation when they are not.

    We can speak about reading writers who aren't of our denomination, but what does it matter? What's the point of all this, when they add purgatory etc., to inspired scripture? Even if Anglicans won't use the phrase "sola scriptura" to describe the contents of Article VI, Rome and the Orthodox still find the content of the Article itself heretical. Shouldn't we be proud that Article VI so agrees with the early Church & Fathers, rather than shy away from that title, 'Sola scriptura', which has become so divisive? The Lord Jesus was divisive enough.

    The most difficult part of this is being seen as Catholic attacking Anglicans, when I am not. I have nothing against evangelical Anglicans, for example. :p Spiritually I have left Rome, but due to mitigating circumstances I am prevented from entering the Anglican Communion. My heart is in Canterbury... is there error in asking question? Perhaps you will be offended by my manner, yet I do not intend offense (and I heartily do not!), but offense is taken; so, I'm afraid that's just the nature of truth. Truth hurts me a lot, and it felt offensive when I read it in the Bible as an atheist.

    We Christians are not here to be polite! Good manners and politeness are fine, but if they hinder clarity about facts, they must be done away with. That's what I think anyway... maybe as I grow I will calm down... :)

    We can't ask the saints to pray for us. That is my conviction. Your conviction is that we can! Now, where do we go? Tradition? The earliest traditions of praying to saints are limited to praying at the tombs of martyrs (Augustine and Chrysostom both mention praying to the martyrs, in fairness). The words "the communion of saints" are not in the Apostles' Creed as commented upon by Rufinus and Augustine. They were added later. Why?

    This is an issue where we must go to scripture, surely. It's a good practical application of what all those Fathers were so vehement in demanding. They exhort us, but they cannot create truth. :think:

    EDIT: I apologise for causing so much offense and frustration... I think I'll just leave the anglican forums alone while I delve properly into the truth.
     
  8. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    But another place we can go is to our Church's liturgies and practices. We're not saying that they're infallible, but we can say that they are consistent with 2000 years of faithful teaching. We accept the authority of the Church's bishops. We recognize the biblical faithfulness of our liturgies in the BCP. And, no matter what changes occurred to creeds over time, we use a Creed that contains the communion of saints. It is the authorized, recognized form.

    Specific issues like saintly intercession require their own thread, so I won't go further with it here (just mentioned it because it had already been brought up as an example). But in Anglicanism, lex orandi, lex credendi is our way of life. The way we pray and worship is the best indicator of what we believe. This is true for parishes, provinces, and Anglicans as a whole. The way we pray and worship is rooted in Scripture, informed by Scripture, and consistent with Scripture. We don't look at the seeming tension or dissonance as a bad thing, even though it can appear challenging on the surface. Difference of ceremony is more common than pure, unfiltered, enormous difference of belief among our churches.

    Of course, if we adhere to lex orandi, lex credendi, difference of ceremony would indicate difference of emphasis. It can even indicate true theological difference. But we don't consider these differences to be breakers of fellowship. This is a good thing. It means that we can learn from Wesleyan Anglicans, Calvinist Anglicans, and Catholic Anglicans. Because we have things in common with the RCC and the EO, we can learn from them as well. There are things to learn from Lutherans and Presbyterians. We recognize that the same Spirit is at work among other Christians. Since we see Him at work with other kinds of Anglicans, we know that we can learn from other kinds of Christians as well. We have multiple traditions at work in our own Church; why not learn from the best that He has risen up throughout the ages?

    But even in doing so, we return to our liturgies, prayers, and practices as the best indicators of who we are as Anglicans. And they are understood to be - and already defined as - consistent with Scripture. That's good enough for me; I don't need to prove it to myself.
     
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  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    How did this thread become about what the Sola Scriptura means, what we ought to believe, etc? Isn't the thread title pretty clear: whether the the Church Fathers believed in sola scriptura, i.e. not our own view?
     
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  10. Adam Warlock

    Adam Warlock Well-Known Member

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    Do whatever seems to be in your spiritual best interest, but know that I was never offended or frustrated. Just trying to answer questions. Some of us aren't what you expected, so just trying to clear things up that might have seemed murky or confusing.
     
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  11. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    One can state facts and beliefs in a charitable way. No truth will be lost in doing so. After all, we are called to love one another.

    I would hate to see you leave the forums, when you are in a period of questioning. Ask all the questions you want to ask about the Anglican faith. There are plenty of Anglicans here who will gladly answer your questions, myself included.

    I just ask that you don't hold your assumptions about what you think Anglicanism is, or what you think Anglicanism should be, above what we, as Anglicans, say that Anglicanism is---if that makes sense (I'm really tired.)

    Peace,
    Anna
     
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  12. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Thank you for the support and patience, Miss Anna. :) I appreciate the loving attempt to conform to our blessed Saviour. I shall strive to do the same.

    Let's just be clear: I am an evangelical Anglican in spirit as it stands. I intend to be received into the Communion within the next 3 or 4 months. Please pray for me, that I may be assisted by the Holy Ghost in understanding the true relation of Scripture to Tradition. I shall do the same for you, with the power of Christ's command to love one another. That's all it's about.

    Now, let us both have a bit of amusement... the first two chapters of Augustine's treatise against the Fundamental Epistle of the Manichaeans are entitled, respectively:

    "To Heal Heretics is Better than to Destroy Them", and
    "Why the Manichees Should be More Gently Dealt With."

    We're all heretics in that we constantly fall from the perfection God wishes us to live. Let's not make the choice to sin and be against one another, but to study the tradition of truth in all due diligence! :D
     
  13. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Then you shall have my prayers.:) And as I said, I'll be happy to answer any questions you have.
    Peace and blessings,
    Anna
     
  14. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    In this case, maybe we should petition the moderators to wipe this slate clean, leaving the O.P. alone with its quotes. We can have further RESOURCE posts here, or maybe in "Anglican History", for Apostolic Succession, etc. :) Let's see.
     
  15. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Without a clear definition of Sola Scriptura, how would you know if the posted quotes of the ECF's supported it? I've heard and read so many different definitions of Sola Scriptura. The most common one is Scripture alone. In the Southern Baptist Churches I attended for most of my 57 years, Sola Scriptura means Scripture alone, period.The fight over the definition of Sola Scriptura lead to the creation of Solo Scriptura, which is really Sola Scriptura in its strictest sense. If you do a few Internet searches on the two, you will see what I mean.

    When I read Anglican authors who say they embrace Sola Scriptura, they usually define it to include Tradition, not Scripture alone. Remembrance has his own definitions going. I asked for his sources for those definitions to better understand his point of view, but none have been provided. Hopefully he will have some time to provide them.

    Peace,
    Anna
     
  16. Scottish Monk

    Scottish Monk Well-Known Member

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  17. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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  18. Toma

    Toma Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I have defined what is meant by Sola scriptura: the contents of Article VI of the Thirty-Nine. :)

    May I ask which authors you've read that conflate Sola scriptura with tradition? To what degree do they do so? Just the name of a book will do. I can't wait to delve into it properly! It's very fascinating, and learning things that lead unto salvation is never a chore.
     
  19. Anna Scott

    Anna Scott Well-Known Member

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    Remembrance,
    Article VI does not contain the phrase Sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura must be defined before it can be applied to Article VI; and even though some Anglicans may apply Sola Scriptura to Article VI; there is no universal definition of Sola Scriptura understood within all of Christendom.

    Article 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. . . ."

    What you will find in the following article, is an example of the Anglican view of connection between Scripture and Tradition and also the confusion between Sola Scriptura and Solo Scriptura. Even within this one article; what one author calls Sola Scriptura, the other author says is really Solo Scriptura. IOW, there is not a clear universal definition of Sola Scriptura.

    For example, Sola Scriptura means something different for Baptists than what it means for Anglicans.

    You will find Anglicans who claim Sola Scripture, but you have to consider their definition of the phrase.

    Anglicanism and "Sola Scriptura"
    From August 24, 2004: Thoughts about the Anglican view of Scripture
    As I have indicated in the past, I do not see “sola scriptura” as being something to be avoided, and it is my belief that the concept we sometimes see being denounced as “sola scriptura” is actually “solo scriptura”, where believers are expected to read the Bible and form their beliefs without really considering, perhaps, what their fellow believers in ages past had held as the Truth. The true expression of sola scriptura does consider the traditions of the Church in doctrinal formulations; Keith A. Mathison has explored the difference between solo and sola scriptura in his excellent work, The Shape of Sola Scriptura.
    Link: http://forums.anglican.net/threads/resource-fathers-professing-sola-scriptura.176/page-3#post-1822

    In the same article:
    From April 2, 2004: Sola Scriptura vs. solo Scriptura
    There is another new Anglican blog, Pontifications, which I think is worthwhile reading; I will be adding a link to the Pontificator shortly. But he has a post titled No More Bible Reading! where he discussed sola Scriptura:
    After the historical meaning is determined, to the extent that such determination is possible, the Christian interpreter must still take the further step of determining its canonical or Scriptural meaning. This meaning, or meanings, can only be discerned by a community that has been reborn in the Spirit and discipled in the practices of charity, self-denial, repentance, prayer, confession, and Eucharist.
    This is why the Protestant principle of sola scriptura is inherently unworkable. It divorces the Bible from the only community that is capable of interpreting it as the Bible.
    Link: http://forums.anglican.net/threads/resource-fathers-professing-sola-scriptura.176/page-3#post-1822

    This is only one example. I'm not vouching for the author, I'm simply giving you an example. You can do an Internet search and you will find many opinions on the definition of Sola Scriptura, even among Anglicans.

    Just to be clear: I'm not denying that Scripture contains all that is necessary for salvation; I'm simply saying that Sola Sciptura is a confusing phrase that means different things to different Christians.

    So, instead of saying, I believe in Sola Scriptura (knowing there is no universal definition for this phrase); I would say, I believe Scripture contains all things necessary for salvation; and that Tradition plays a role in our interpretation of Holy Scripture. I'm not denying the role of the Holy Spirit to illuminate Holy Scripture for Christians; and I'm not saying Tradition is to be held equal to or higher than Scripture.

    Also, see my post #4 on Stalwart's thread, Hackney Hub article: the three-legged 'stool' of Scripture, Tradition, and Reason. Link: http://forums.anglican.net/threads/...scripture-tradition-and-reason.177/#post-1820.

    In the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that." :D

    Peace and blessings on our Lord's Day,
    Anna







     
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  20. Sean611

    Sean611 Well-Known Member

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    Here is a question:

    What did the early Church Fathers/Apostles rely on before the Holy Bible was compiled by the Catholic Church?