Jeremiah Flaga My thoughts and experiences on programming, life, atbp.

Why do protestants and/or evangelical Christians believe in Sola Scriptura?

During his lectures on “The Reformation and Fundamentalism History” at Malaybalay, Bukidnon last October 2016, Dr. Phil Kamibayashiyama said that if asked why we, evengelical or fundamentalist Christians, believe in Sola Scriptura, a good answer would be like that of Luther’s:

“… I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the Word of God …”

— Martin Luther

(Note: Some Christians are celebrating the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation this year, 2017)

These are taken from the book “Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther” by Roland Bainton

(from Chapter 5)

“I am not so audacious that for the sake of a single obscure and ambiguous decretal of a human pope I would recede from so many and such clear testimonies of divine Scripture. For, as one of the canon lawyers has said, ‘in a matter of faith not only is a council above a pope but any one of the faithful, if armed with better authority and reason.’

The cardinal reminded Luther that Scripture has itself to be interpreted. The pope is the interpreter. The pope is above a council, above Scripture, above everything in the Church. “His Holiness abuses Scripture,” retorted Luther. “I deny that he is above Scripture.” The cardinal flared up and bellowed that Luther should leave and never come back unless he was ready to say, “Revoco” — “I recant.”

(from Chapter 10)

Eck replied: “Martin, you have not sufficiently distinguished your works. The earlier were bad and the latter worse. Your plea to be heard from Scripture is the one always made by heretics. You do nothing but renew the errors of Wyclif and Hus. How will the Jews, how will the Turks, exult to hear Christians discussing whether they have been wrong all these years! Martin, how can you assume that you are the only one to understand the sense of Scripture? Would you put your judgment above that of so many famous men and claim that you know more than they all? You have no right to call into question the most holy orthodox faith, instituted by Christ the perfect lawgiver, proclaimed throughout the world by the apostles, sealed by the red blood of the martyrs, confirmed by the sacred councils, defined by the Church in which all our fathers believed until death and gave to us as an inheritance, and which now we are forbidden by the pope and the emperor to discuss lest there be no end of debate. I ask you, Martin — answer candidly and without horns — do you or do you not repudiate your books and the errors which they contain?”

Luther replied, “Since then Your Majesty and your lordships desire a simple reply, I will answer without horns and without teeth. Unless I am convicted by Scripture and plain reason — I do not accept the authority of popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other — my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything, for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

More on Luther

If you are interested, you can read a summary of Martin Luther’s life here.

Also, it’s interesting that Luther, like all of us (I believe), had some, what we consider, faults.

Also interesting is this excerpt from “Luther’s Living Legacy: What has Luther left to us, 500 years later?”

Christian History: If Luther were alive today, what would he be writing theses about?

Martin Marty: Every historian says we can’t answer that kind of question, and then every historian answers it!

We have to remember that every historical figure is, in one sense, inaccessible to the modern world. Historian Heiko Oberman reminds us that Luther lived in a different world — a world of witches and unstoppable plagues. So it’s not easy to grab somebody out of his or her context.

That said, we can have some fun hazarding guesses. There’s no more consistent strand in Luther from 1513 [when he begins lecturing on the Bible] to 1546 [when he dies] than the gospel of forgiveness. That theme still isn’t heeded well.

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