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Author Topic: A thought on Sola Scriptura V. Holy Tradition  (Read 1707 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: August 24, 2010, 02:53:51 PM »

What is the difference really? Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

Being a Protestant for several years, I was very cautious when I looked at Orthodoxy as I wanted see if it taught 'un-Biblical' beliefs. From what I have found all Orthodox Christian teaching is in concert with Scripture.  So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

Meanwhile I would ask our SS Protestant friends why they so often say "I just follow the Bible" when in fact they really believe their respective doctrine of the Bible, using words like 'context'.

So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?
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« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2010, 03:17:50 PM »

What is the difference really? Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

Being a Protestant for several years, I was very cautious when I looked at Orthodoxy as I wanted see if it taught 'un-Biblical' beliefs. From what I have found all Orthodox Christian teaching is in concert with Scripture.  So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

Meanwhile I would ask our SS Protestant friends why they so often say "I just follow the Bible" when in fact they really believe their respective doctrine of the Bible, using words like 'context'.

So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?

Just because everything we believe and practice is in concert with the Scriptures doesn't mean that it's all found explicitly in the Scriptures, which is what sola scriptura has come to mean for many Protestants.
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« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2010, 03:42:16 PM »

Sola Scritura, or Scriture Alone, is a dangerous doctrine.  The Scritures need a common interpretation.  Without that, we have the thousands of Protestant denominations, each interpreting the Scripture on their own.  The doctine of our Faith can be thought of as a Trinity.  Scripture is the word of God revealed to us, the Fathers are the correct interpretation of the Scritpures, and the Lives of the Saints are the Scriptures in motion.  In fact, I have often heard the Lives of the Saints called "The Continuation of the Acts of the Apostles", just as we could consider the writings of the Fathers as a "Continuation of the Holy Epistle".  This rich collection of Truth, the majority of it outside of Scripture, but interpreting Scripture, is what separates us from the Protestants, and for that matter, the Latin Church.  In the one, they have a Pope to interpret the Scripture.  In the other, each man is his own Pope.
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« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2010, 03:51:26 PM »

I think the issue comes more from the understanding of where authority comes from and who possesses it.

Sola Scriptura Protestants believe that authority flows from the Bible. The Bible is what everything must be judged by. If a given theology or practice is not in the Bible, it is questionable at best or prohibited at worst.

Whereas with Orthodoxy, the Bible is certainly authoritative, but it is so because it is part of the greater Holy Tradition. And everything in Holy Tradition checks and balances everything else. The Bible agrees with the Fathers, the divine services agree with the Icons, etc etc. When all of Holy Tradition is taken into account, it's impossible to stray. Heresy comes when part of Tradition is ignored in favor of something else. Holy Tradition is self-regulating.

The Bible was designed as a part—if not a cornerstone—of Holy Tradition. But it is not inherently self-regulating. 30,000+ different interpretations of the Bible prove that. So the Bible cannot stand on its own.

This is just a theory, but I personally think this is exacerbated in America especially, due to our form of government. To draw an analogy: in the US everything is beholden to the Constitution. To Protestants, the Bible is sort of the Constitution of the church, from which all authority flows and to which everything must explicitly conform. Meanwhile the Orthodox Church operates a lot more like a monarchy such as the UK, for instance, with a greater dependence on custom and so forth. The UK has no constitution per se; the entire life of the UK's government operations for the last 1000+ years is the "constitution" (at least as I understand it; I am an American after all). That difference in mindset may explain why religion has evolved like it has in the US.
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« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2010, 03:58:04 PM »

Sola Scritura, or Scriture Alone, is a dangerous doctrine.  The Scritures need a common interpretation.  Without that, we have the thousands of Protestant denominations, each interpreting the Scripture on their own.  The doctine of our Faith can be thought of as a Trinity.  Scripture is the word of God revealed to us, the Fathers are the correct interpretation of the Scritpures, and the Lives of the Saints are the Scriptures in motion.  In fact, I have often heard the Lives of the Saints called "The Continuation of the Acts of the Apostles", just as we could consider the writings of the Fathers as a "Continuation of the Holy Epistle".  This rich collection of Truth, the majority of it outside of Scripture, but interpreting Scripture, is what separates us from the Protestants, and for that matter, the Latin Church.  In the one, they have a Pope to interpret the Scripture.  In the other, each man is his own Pope.

sola scriptura, properly "translated" doesn't mean "scripture alone."  It means "scripture says what I say it says, even if I am the first person in two thousand years to say it says X."

Of course everything the Orthodox Church teaches is in concdert with the Bible, as the Church wrote it to express her Faith.  But you have to have that Faith to read it.  Gray's Anatomy describes the human body, but trying to make the human body from it is the work of Frankenstein. And Frankenstein makes as poor a theologian as he does a doctor.
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« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2010, 08:29:09 PM »

Because we feel bound to a certain period of post-Apostolic Church Tradition and they do not.
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« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2010, 08:57:25 PM »

I've also discovered that Protestants don't always adhere to SS,example: when they evangelize, or proselytize,whichever,they dis-regard SS,meaning they may say they are just leading someone to Christ,but in truth they want the person they are evangelizing to embrace the teachings of their perspective denomination,if they were trully honest with themselves and with SS. They would simply tell them to come to Christ,give them a Bible,and tell them to read it,and whatever the Holy Spirit tells them to believe,then they can attend a  church that embraces those beliefs.
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« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2010, 09:03:09 PM »

What is the difference really? Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

Being a Protestant for several years, I was very cautious when I looked at Orthodoxy as I wanted see if it taught 'un-Biblical' beliefs. From what I have found all Orthodox Christian teaching is in concert with Scripture.  So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

Meanwhile I would ask our SS Protestant friends why they so often say "I just follow the Bible" when in fact they really believe their respective doctrine of the Bible, using words like 'context'.

So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?


The Orthodox Church has a high view of both Scripture and The Church. Protestants have a high view of Scripture and a low view of The Church.
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« Reply #8 on: August 27, 2010, 09:04:57 PM »

What is the difference really? Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

Being a Protestant for several years, I was very cautious when I looked at Orthodoxy as I wanted see if it taught 'un-Biblical' beliefs. From what I have found all Orthodox Christian teaching is in concert with Scripture.  So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

Meanwhile I would ask our SS Protestant friends why they so often say "I just follow the Bible" when in fact they really believe their respective doctrine of the Bible, using words like 'context'.

So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?


The Orthodox Church has a high view of both Scripture and The Church. Protestants have a high view of Scripture and a low view of The Church.
And yet Protestants follow traditions that are not in the Bible such as explicit Easter and Christmas celebrations, and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday. If scripture is the ultimate source of authority, and scripture gives authority to the church, then the church has authority. As I recall, Lutheranism has the attitude of if it does not contradict scripture, then why not?
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2010, 09:11:38 PM »

What is the difference really? Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

Being a Protestant for several years, I was very cautious when I looked at Orthodoxy as I wanted see if it taught 'un-Biblical' beliefs. From what I have found all Orthodox Christian teaching is in concert with Scripture.  So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

Meanwhile I would ask our SS Protestant friends why they so often say "I just follow the Bible" when in fact they really believe their respective doctrine of the Bible, using words like 'context'.

So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?


The Orthodox Church has a high view of both Scripture and The Church. Protestants have a high view of Scripture and a low view of The Church.
And yet Protestants follow traditions that are not in the Bible such as explicit Easter and Christmas celebrations, and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday. If scripture is the ultimate source of authority, and scripture gives authority to the church, then the church has authority. As I recall, Lutheranism has the attitude of if it does not contradict scripture, then why not?
Many Protestant churches have effectively banned Easter and Christmas. Meanwhile some churches other than SDA have criticized Sunday worship
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2010, 09:51:39 PM »

Many Protestant churches have effectively banned Easter and Christmas.
Where is a jaw drop smiley when you need it? I have hardly heard of such a thing, and I have attended or visited a dozen churches in my life. I'm guessing most of these are post-reformation protestants?

Meanwhile some churches other than SDA have criticized Sunday worship
I've only heard of a few doing that. I was just discussing this with a Baptist friend who thought that a Saturday service was wrong.
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2010, 10:11:47 PM »

Many Protestant churches have effectively banned Easter and Christmas.
Where is a jaw drop smiley when you need it? I have hardly heard of such a thing, and I have attended or visited a dozen churches in my life. I'm guessing most of these are post-reformation protestants?


Well, the Puritans started it, and imported it into America when they came over on the Mayflower.  Since that time there have always been a few Protestant sects in America that will either outright ban Christmas and Easter or at the very least downplay it as much as possible.  And you get one or two scattered individuals in some of the more Radical Protestant denominations (Baptists, Pentecostals, etc) who will talk about "pagan practices brought into the church by them Catholics" every time the holiday season comes around.
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2010, 07:55:46 PM »

The comparison to the Constitution can be carried further. As the Constitution needs to be viewed in context, with the writings of our country's founding fathers, the Bible also needs the writings of the Church Fathers for meaning and context.
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2010, 08:57:32 PM »

and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday.

*Ducks head in*

There are a number of references in Acts, the Epistles, and the early Christian documents to gathering on the first day of the week (what we call Sunday) for the Eucharist / Agape meal.  The Apostles even gathered in the Upper Room on the 1st Day of the Week following the Crucifixion, when Jesus appeared in their midst.  Sunday is a well-established Biblical and Traditional day for communal worship and Communion.
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« Reply #14 on: December 08, 2010, 09:41:18 PM »

and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday.

*Ducks head in*

There are a number of references in Acts, the Epistles, and the early Christian documents to gathering on the first day of the week (what we call Sunday) for the Eucharist / Agape meal.  The Apostles even gathered in the Upper Room on the 1st Day of the Week following the Crucifixion, when Jesus appeared in their midst.  Sunday is a well-established Biblical and Traditional day for communal worship and Communion.
True, and yet I have understood that the Seventh Day is still the Sabbath. Therefore the flippant criticism Seventh Day proponents (Seventh Day Adventists namely) try to throw at us sinks faster than a house built on sand.
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« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2010, 10:04:53 PM »

and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday.

*Ducks head in*

There are a number of references in Acts, the Epistles, and the early Christian documents to gathering on the first day of the week (what we call Sunday) for the Eucharist / Agape meal.  The Apostles even gathered in the Upper Room on the 1st Day of the Week following the Crucifixion, when Jesus appeared in their midst.  Sunday is a well-established Biblical and Traditional day for communal worship and Communion.
True, and yet I have understood that the Seventh Day is still the Sabbath. Therefore the flippant criticism Seventh Day proponents (Seventh Day Adventists namely) try to throw at us sinks faster than a house built on sand.

Right - the Sabbath was the 7th day of creation / of the week, and is still referred to as such in Greek ("Savvato").  Sunday/1st Day/Lord's Day/8th Day (of Creation, after the Resurrection) didn't move the Sabbath, just preempted its privileges (e.g. specified day of communal worship, etc.).

(Aside: I still love that "weekend" in Greek is "Savvato-Kyriako," which theoretically is "Saturday-Sunday," but is literally, "Sabbath-Lords."  I wish that all our weekends were dedicated in that way: 1 day to absolute rest/family, and 1 day to worship.)
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 12:25:52 AM »

A. What is the difference really?  C. Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

B. So, my question to the Orthodox is "Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

D. So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all (gasp!!! Smiley) ?


Great questions.  I hope you won't mind yet another response in addition to the great responses you've already gotten?  I've taken the liberty to assign a letter to each question and will attempt to answer each alphabetically. 

A. What is the difference really?

 The phrase 'Sola Scriptura' can mean several things depending upon which Protestant denomination you ask.  The thread that runs through all the different understandings is basically that when it comes to questions about Christianity, all answers can be found in the sixty-six books of the Protestant bible because of it's infallibility.  One need only to probe further to see that this is a self-defeating proposition.  By contrast, The Orthodox Church views the Bible as only part of Holy Tradition. This is in no way meant to take away the importance of the Holy Bible, but only puts it in it's proper place.  An analogy would be taking a restaurant's menu and saying, "All I need to understand about this restaurant can be found in this menu!"  A good deal can be answered by looking at a restaurant's menu, but obviously not everything.  Hey, I didn't say this was a good analogy.  Tongue

B. Why do we reject 'sola-scriptura' as a title?

 Because it doesn't make any sense to an Orthodox Christian.  If the Holy Bible is but part of Holy Tradition, then attempting to seek answers only from the Holy Bible would entail one ending up with an erroneous answer.  Witness the over 24,000 different Protestant denominations as a case in point.

C. Is it possible both camps intentionally talk past each other for reasons of pride and disinterest in the other side's teachings?

 We're all sinners, so absolutely.

D. So I guess my main question is are we really Sola Scriptura after all?

 This would be impossible.
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« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 07:07:49 AM »

Sola Scritura, or Scriture Alone, is a dangerous doctrine.  The Scritures need a common interpretation.  Without that, we have the thousands of Protestant denominations, each interpreting the Scripture on their own.  The doctine of our Faith can be thought of as a Trinity.  Scripture is the word of God revealed to us, the Fathers are the correct interpretation of the Scritpures, and the Lives of the Saints are the Scriptures in motion.  In fact, I have often heard the Lives of the Saints called "The Continuation of the Acts of the Apostles", just as we could consider the writings of the Fathers as a "Continuation of the Holy Epistle".  This rich collection of Truth, the majority of it outside of Scripture, but interpreting Scripture, is what separates us from the Protestants, and for that matter, the Latin Church.  In the one, they have a Pope to interpret the Scripture.  In the other, each man is his own Pope.

sola scriptura, properly "translated" doesn't mean "scripture alone."  It means "scripture says what I say it says, even if I am the first person in two thousand years to say it says X."

Of course everything the Orthodox Church teaches is in concdert with the Bible, as the Church wrote it to express her Faith.  But you have to have that Faith to read it.  Gray's Anatomy describes the human body, but trying to make the human body from it is the work of Frankenstein. And Frankenstein makes as poor a theologian as he does a doctor.


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« Reply #18 on: December 09, 2010, 04:21:39 PM »

and I don't recall reading that church should be done on Sunday.

*Ducks head in*

There are a number of references in Acts, the Epistles, and the early Christian documents to gathering on the first day of the week (what we call Sunday) for the Eucharist / Agape meal.  The Apostles even gathered in the Upper Room on the 1st Day of the Week following the Crucifixion, when Jesus appeared in their midst.  Sunday is a well-established Biblical and Traditional day for communal worship and Communion.
True, and yet I have understood that the Seventh Day is still the Sabbath. Therefore the flippant criticism Seventh Day proponents (Seventh Day Adventists namely) try to throw at us sinks faster than a house built on sand.

Right - the Sabbath was the 7th day of creation / of the week, and is still referred to as such in Greek ("Savvato").  Sunday/1st Day/Lord's Day/8th Day (of Creation, after the Resurrection) didn't move the Sabbath, just preempted its privileges (e.g. specified day of communal worship, etc.).

(Aside: I still love that "weekend" in Greek is "Savvato-Kyriako," which theoretically is "Saturday-Sunday," but is literally, "Sabbath-Lords."  I wish that all our weekends were dedicated in that way: 1 day to absolute rest/family, and 1 day to worship.)

For comparison in Church Slavonic , Saturday is 'Subbotu'. I am far from a linguist, but it clearly is derived from the Greek.
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« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2010, 04:23:03 PM »

Isn't 'subbotu' an accusative?
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