Defining Sola Scriptura correctly.
It means just what it says, the bible alone!
Is your church a "Pseudo-Sola Scriptura" church?
Beware of both anti-sola Scriptura churches and Pseudo-Sola Scriptura churches

Click to View

 Sola Scriptura home page

Click to ViewTop ten list of why the Roman Catholic and Orthodox take the wrong view of tradition

A. Defining Sola Scriptura: "Bible Only"

  1. Latin: "Sola" = Alone
  2. Latin: "Scriptura" = Scriptures
  3. Latin: "Sola Scriptura" = Bible Only
  4. Greek: "Anti" = (Anti-Sola Scriptura) "against, opposite or opposed to using the Bible only
  5. Greek: "Pseudo" = (Pseudo-Sola Scriptura) "Apparently similar, counterfeit, pretended, spurious, false" They claim to use the Bible only, but in fact do not!

B. Sola Scriptura means:

  1. The Bible alone without creeds. (ie Apostles creed, Nicene creed.)
  2. The Bible alone without councils. (ie Ecumenical Councils.)
  3. The Bible alone without church canons. (ie Canons of Dort.)
  4. The Bible alone without statements of faith. (most churches create one.)
  5. The Bible alone without oral tradition. (unless it is found in the Bible.)
  6. The Bible alone without church tradition. (unless it is found in the Bible.)
  7. The Bible alone without a "church interpreter". (Catholic, Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses all say only the church can correctly interpret the Bible, not the individual.)
  8. The Bible alone without individual illumination of the Holy Spirit. (Evangelicals, Baptists, Charismatics and Calvinists believe they are personally guided by the Holy Spirit to correctly interpret the Bible.)
  9. The Bible alone without modern day prophecy and inspiration. (Pentecostal, Charismatic and most of the 19th century cults, (Mormons, Seventh-day Adventists) all claimed to have living prophets.)

C. Pseudo-Sola Scriptura churches

  1. Catholics, Orthodox, Jehovah's Witnesses claim an infallible organization.
  2. Pentecostals and Charismatics claim infallible pastors. (inspiration)
  3. Evangelicals, Baptists and Calvinists claim infallible individuals. (Illumination of the Holy Spirit)
  4. Sola Scriptura Scriptura: Fallible Christians claim an infallible book!

D. Sola Scriptura and the infallible book!

  1. Sola Scriptura rejects the false doctrine of infallible church organizations, pastors and individuals and claims only the Bible is infallible... and we best start reading it to know exactly what it says!
  2. While Catholics claim and infallible organizations, Charismatics claim infallible pastors, Baptists claim infallible individuals, Christians claim an infallible book.
  3. Beware of Pseudo-Sola Scriptura churches
  4. Sola Scriptura means just what it says: the bible alone!

D. Many claim Sola Scriptura but in practice deny it by using creeds

  1. If your church claims to use the Bible only, but uses creeds, they are not sola Scriptura Scriptura, even if they claim they are!
  2.  Click to ViewClassic Reformers like Keith A. Mathison complains that Christians have altered the definition of "sola Scriptura" and seek to restore the definition back to the way their founder, Calvin defined it. While Mathison wants "his boy" (Calvin) to be the standard by which all others are judged, we skip over Calvin back to the Bible itself and the earliest apostolic Fathers who did not use written creeds as universal standards of doctrine.

E. Beware of anti-sola Scriptura churches

Click to ViewA list of Anti-sola Scriptura churches:

  1. All Roman Catholic family of churches
  2. All Eastern Greek Orthodox family of churches

F. Beware of Pseudo-Sola Scriptura churches

Click to ViewA list of Pseudo-Sola Scriptura churches:

  1. Any church that claims to speak in tongues. (Charismatics and Pentecostals
  2. Most TV preachers.
  3. Any church that believes in Evangelicals, Baptists
  4. All Reform churches, (Dutch Reformed, Christian Reformed, Classical Reformed) because they not only believe in personal illumination of the Holy Spirit, but also accept the Nicene creed as inspired.
  5. All Calvinist churches that adhere to John Calvin. (personal illumination of the Holy Spirit)

G. Various types of churches who reject sola Scriptura:

  1. Ecclesiastically Illuminated, Traditionalist, Creedalists: Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches maintain that the scriptures can only be interpreted in light of what the current church organization proclaims. The scriptures are not understandable by the common man in the pew and that the Holy Spirit communicates with the organization to correctly understand truth. Extra-Biblical, oral tradition doctrines are seen as equal to scripture itself. These churches are heavy users of creeds. In buffet style, they pick and chose which doctrines of the apostolic fathers they feel are authoritative, while rejecting others.
  2. Click to ViewQuotes:
    "But the appeal to antiquity is both a treason and a heresy. It is a treason because it rejects the Divine voice of the Church at this hour, and a heresy because it denies that voice to be Divine. How can we know what antiquity was except through the Church? ... I may say in strict truth that the Church has no antiquity. It rests upon its own supernatural and perpetual consciousness. ... The only Divine evidence to us of what was primitive is the witness and voice of the Church at this hour." (Henry Edward Manning, The Temporal Mission of the Holy Ghost: Or Reason and Revelation, 1865, p 227-228)
    "The idea that the Scriptures are self-interpreting is patently absurd. It assumes a degree of absolute objectivity that would make the most ardent positivist cringe with embarrassment. ... this is exactly what the doctrine of sola Scriptura assumes: a bare text that somehow imposes its meaning on the reader." (THE WAY: What Every Protestant Should Know About the Orthodox Church, Clark Carlton, 1997, p 100)
  3. Ecclesiastically Illuminated, Anti-Traditionalists, Creedalists: Jehovah's Witnesses, like Catholics believe only the leaders of the church (ie. the Governing Body who write the Watchtower magazine) can understand scripture. The common "slave class" Jehovah's Witness (the ones who knock on your door) cannot understand scripture themselves apart from what the Watchtower says. Like Catholics, they believe the Holy Spirit guides the organization to understand the Bible. Yet unlike the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches, Jehovah's Witnesses generally reject all traditions and creeds as false doctrine. While Jehovah's Witnesses reject the historic creeds, the Watchtower magazine itself, is their creed, which is updated on a weekly basis, as the Holy Spirit brings "new light" to a blind people.
  4. Click to ViewQuotes:
    "The Bible cannot be properly understood without Jehovah's visible organization in mind." (Watchtower, Oct 1, 1967, pg. 587)
    "He does not impart his holy spirit and understanding and appreciation of his Word apart from his visible organization." (Watchtower, July 1, 1965, pg. 391)
    "Only this organization functions for Jehovah's purpose and to his praise. To it alone God's Sacred Word, the Bible, is not a sealed book." (The Watchtower; 7/1/1973, p 402)
    "We all need help to understand the Bible, and we cannot find the scriptural guidance we need outside the 'faithful and discreet slave' organization.'" (Watchtower, February 15, 1981, p.19)
    "Avoid independent thinking...questioning the counsel that is provided by God's visible organization." ... "Fight against independent thinking." (Watchtower, Jan. 15, 1983 pg. 22, 27)
    "The evidence of the holy spirit in the quality and content of the writings published by the Watchtower Society (Watchtower magazine) should be the thing that satisfies, that convinces, together with a comparison of these things with the inspired Word of God, the Holy Scriptures." (Watchtower, Oct. 1, 1959, p. 607-608)
  5. Ecclesiastically & Inward Witness Illuminated, Creedalists: Most Protestant churches (Baptist, Reformed, Pentecostal, Calvinist, Presbyterian) believe the Bible cannot be understood without the direct illumination of the Holy Spirit to guide the individual to the correct interpretation. Yet, like Catholics, they also believe the Holy Spirit guides the corporate church to correct understanding of truth. All these churches heavily endorse the use of creeds, both historic and modern which they believe to be "functionally equivalent" to scripture. Some say their creeds are revelations of the Holy Spirit, while others would deny this, yet all believe creeds are an acid test of orthodoxy. We call these churches "pseudo sola Scriptura" organizations because although they claim to use the Bible only, they certainly do not in practice since they use creeds, believe the Bible is not understandable apart from the illumination of the Holy Spirit, both in the individual and the corporate church.
  6. Click to ViewQuotes:
    "It is only within the Church that we find Scripture interpreted rightly, and it is only within the Church that we find the gospel." (The Shape Of Sola Scriptura, Keith A. Mathison, Reformed Protestant, 2001, p 268)
    "the Holy Spirit is promised to guide the people of God into the knowledge of the truth, and therefore that which they, under the teaching of the Spirit, agree in believing must be true." (Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology, Presbyterian Calvinist, 1873, 1:113)
    "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" (Westminster Confession of faith, 6:6)
    "The ecumenical creeds represent the hermeneutical consensus already reached by the Church. They declare the basic essential truths which have been confessed by all Christians from the first days of the Church until today. They represent that which the entire Church has seen in Scripture. ... if the Holy Spirit has been promised to guide the Church into the knowledge of the truth of Scripture; if the entire Church for thousands of years confesses to being taught by the Spirit the same essential truths in Scripture, then it follows that those truths are what Scripture says." (The Shape Of Sola Scriptura, Keith A. Mathison, Reformed Protestant, 2001, p 280)
    The Holy Spirit is the ultimate criterion of truth, but He bears witness to the truth through this reciprocal relationship between Christian Scripture, the Christian Church, and the Christian creed. Each of these three relates to the other two in a unique way. The Scripture is the Spirit-inspired Word of God that bears witness to the truth of the regula fidei and bears witness to the identity of the Church. (The Shape Of Sola Scriptura, Keith A. Mathison, Reformed Protestant, 2001, p 267)
  7. Inward Witness Anti-Creedalists: Although the views of Sebastian Franck, 1499 - 1542 AD, did not endure, he is an interesting example of a man who saw the flaws of Protestant churches. Initially a Lutheran pastor, he rejected all creeds, councils and traditions, and taught that God communicates with individuals without the help of human institutions through the personal illumination of the Holy Spirit. Franck said the Bible "is a book sealed with seven seals which none can open unless he has the key of David, which is the illumination of the Spirit." ... "Foolish Ambrose, Augustine, Jerome, Gregory-of whom not one even knew the Lord, so help me God, nor was sent by God to teach. Rather, they were all apostles of Antichrist." (Sebastian Franck, 1530 AD) Frank also rejected the almost universally held idea that the corporate church was guided by the Holy Spirit. We observe that had Franck eliminated the final evil (illumination of the Spirit) he would have been one of the first to restore the true sola Scriptura of the early church and the apostolic fathers.

H. Genuine Scriptura churches

Click to View

TRUTH: Sola Scriptura:

  1. "that by revelation there was made known to me the mystery, as I wrote before in brief. By referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit" Ephesians 3:3-5
  2. "For we write nothing else to you than what you read and understand, and I hope you will understand until the end" 2 Corinthians 1:13
  3. "from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." 2 Timothy 3:15

This is the truth. The scriptures, being written by the Holy Spirit, are understandable by every man on the planet in the same way a common newspaper is. We reject the idea that the Holy Spirit prevents non-believers from understanding the Bible, until they are illuminated. Give a list every verse in the Bible on a single topic to 100 people and they will all agree. This, in fact, is how our thousands of churches all over the world operate and we have no central organization, no organization larger than the local church. We use no creeds, catechisms or statements of faith. Oral tradition doesn't bring about unity because the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches both claim they have oral tradition yet their doctrines are so different, they are not even in fellowship (communion) with each other. The fact they also both claim "apostolic succession" yet differ powerfully refutes any such notion. Appealing to creeds, as a rule of faith brings one into irreconcilable contradiction both with the Bible and between the various creeds themselves. The inward illumination of the Holy Spirit to understand scripture is proven a false doctrine because the Holy Spirit is not going to reveal different doctrines to different people. Those who believe in the inward illumination of the Holy Spirit are therefore self-deceived into thinking that whatever they believe, is truth, because the Holy Spirit led them to that belief. Our view is that scripture alone, is the only way unity can be attained world wide.

  1. We view scripture itself as our only creed and statements of faith.
  2. We use no man-made creeds, catechisms, statements of faith.
  3. Reject all councils and canons not because they contain error, but because they compete with the authority of the Bible. We reject the "apostles creed" even though we agree with it, because it is not needed, since we have the Bible itself!
  4. Accept scripture is a complete inspired revelation from God in order to determine all essential matters of faith, liturgy and worship.
  5. Strongly believe God was smart enough that He could write the Bible in such a way, so as to be understood when read.
  6. We believe that, who God created man, wrote the Bible in such a way, so that man would be able to understand the Bible unaided. It is ridiculous to for Catholic traditionalists, to write a book to prove we cannot understand the divinely authored Bible ourselves, while expecting us to understand their humanly authored book itself.
  7. We believe it is insulting to God to think that Catholic and Orthodox defenders can write a book and be understood by the common man unaided, but God cannot write the Bible and be understood unaided.
  8. We believe it is insulting to God to think that "personal illumination" defenders can write a book and be understood by the common man unaided by the Holy Spirit, but God cannot write the Bible and be understood unaided.
  9. We utterly reject the idea that only the church organization (which is nothing more than a few fallible men at the top) can understand the Bible.
  10. We utterly reject as false doctrine that the Holy Spirit directly illuminates each individual into a correct understanding of the Bible. Such a doctrine is not taught in scripture. If it were true, then why do the "Pseudo-Sola Scriptura" churches that claim such "personal illumination" differ as greatly in their doctrine, as the "Anti-Sola Scriptura" do in regards to their tradition.

Click to ViewClick here to locate a genuine sola Scriptura church in your own home town.

Sola Scriptura vs. Infallibility

In the table below you can see the way different non-sola Scriptura churches claim their doctrine is correct and their general view of scripture.

Denomination

Is
Organization Infallible?

Are
Leaders Infallible?

Is
Individual Infallible?

Unaided
Personal
Interpretation?

Bible
All-Sufficient?

Bible
Corrupted?

Continuing revelation?

Doctrinal Development?

Written
Extra-biblical Authority?

Unwritten
Extra-biblical Authority?

Truth: Sola Scriptura

No

1 Tim 4:1
OT captivity, crucifixion

No

Gal 2:11
Lam 2:14
Jer 29:8

No

Col 2:18
Ezek 13:1-7

Yes

Eph 3:3

Yes

2 Pe 1:3

No

1 Peter 1:23

No

Jude 3

No

Gal 1:6

None

1 Cor 4:6

None

Mt 7:21

Catholic

Yes

Yes: Pope and successors

No

No:

Organiz Needed

No

No

Yes

Yes

Fathers, Tradition

none

Mormon

Yes

Yes: Joseph Smith and successors

Yes: HS guides

No: HS needed

No

Yes

(BoM not corrupted)

Yes

Yes

Book of Mormon

HS confirms feelings

Jehovah's Witness

Yes

Yes: Governing Body

Yes: HS guides

No: Organiz needed

Yes

Yes, except for NWT

Yes

Yes

Watchtower

HS confirms feelings

Seventh-day Adventist

Yes

Yes: Ellen White

No

No: HS needed

Yes

No

Yes

No

White's 10,000 pages

HS confirms feelings

Pentecostal & Calvinistic

Indirectly through HS guiding leaders

Yes: Pastor/ Prophets

Yes: HS guides

No: HS needed

Yes

No

Yes

No

Creeds, catechisms, statements of faith

HS confirms feelings

Calvinistic non-Pentecostal

Indirectly through HS guiding to that church

Yes: but in no way different from non-leaders

Yes: HS guides

No: HS needed

Yes

No

No

No

Creeds, catechisms, statements of faith

HS confirms feelings

Wesleyan- Armenian

Indirectly through HS guiding to that church

Yes: All leaders have "entire sanctification"

Yes: "entire sanctification"

No: HS needed

Yes

No

No

No

Creeds, catechisms, statements of faith

HS confirms feelings

 

Click to ViewClick here to locate a genuine sola Scriptura church in your own home town.

 by Steve Rudd

 Click to View

Click to View

Go To Start: WWW.BIBLE.CA