Wednesday, May 19, 2010

death of sola

I do not think we are on the verge of the death of sola Scriptura nor should we be. I'd like to tease out the following written by a prolific emerg* voice.

The end of Sola Scriptura actually means that we are coming to terms with our limitations to get it right. It means we’re realizing that we have to listen to community, science, imagination, history AND the Bible to create a more robust picture. Because as broken human beings we sometimes get it wrong.

Aside from misunderstanding what sola Scriptura is, the author makes some errors is simple logic and himself demonstrates fallenness. The emerg* feels enlightened because he realizes that our ability to reason is somehow limited. Of course in an effort to be cutting edge and new, it is missed that this is an old concept - even a key tenant of the dreaded Calvinism, i.e., Total Depravity or better said, Radical Depravity. Even our minds are affected by the fall. We didn't need the emerg* to teach us that. With that said, rather than turn more toward Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit, the emerg* author turns us toward "community, science, imagination, history" as equal. This is only possible in the emerg* mind because of the failure to understand the real problem with man, that is, sin. So it's interesting on one hand the emerg* sees a problem with our limited minds but on the other hand sees the answer in sources that do not deal with sin. In addition, if our mind is unable to see and conclude clearly, what is it that "community, science, imagination, history" has to offer that Scripture does not? How will we be better informed by considering these? The bottom line is that emerg* thinking itself exemplifies the problem of fallen man. They reason their way away from the God of the Bible.

Where does some of this errant thinking come from? It has recently been popularized by Phyllis Tickle, author of The Great Emergence. A different emerg* author writes proudly of her book:

The erosion of the authority of sola scriptura will have been in 4 stages: the end of slavery as a biblically justified practice, the acknowledgement of the reality of divorce and that those who suffer it might find total restitution in the eyes of God, the ascendancy of woman to ministry, and finally (and as yet incomplete), an acceptance of homosexuals into the Church. Added to this she includes the Pentecostal and Charismatic renewals (the Vineyard movement getting special mention) in which the Holy Spirit played an increased role in questions of Authority.

Speaking of muddled thinking! This paragraph makes no sense, it mixes apples with oranges with chairs ... and, because something (i.e., slavery) was wrongly defended using Scripture (and by the way, many were also against slavery because of Scripture) doesn't make everything one wants to list ok. On the contrary, this paragraph reads as the sad story of God giving one over to a depraved mind (Rom 1.18ff).

It also saddens me to see the tradition I'm proud to be as part of (The Vineyard) as misconstrued to involved in this fallen thinking. To set the record straight, we do not equate revelation by the Holy Spirit to individuals to be authoritative as Scripture is. Scripture are all the words of God that He has given for the entire human race and as such are sola Scriptura, i.e., our final authority.

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