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Author Topic: What is Sola Scriptura?  (Read 12714 times) Average Rating: 0
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« Reply #180 on: June 03, 2011, 08:45:23 PM »

I'm a little confused about the difference between the core theory of sola scriptura and what Orthodoxy teaches because what certain Protestants have explained to be the meaning of sola scriptura is actually quite like what I have heard about the Orthodox understanding of Tradition.
Yeah, some Protestants, myself included sometimes, use a form of the Laurentian Canon to delineate the bounds of acceptable doctrine. For example, there is a heresy making the rounds in Protestant and especially Emergent Church circles which calls itself "full" or "consistent" preterism. All Scriptural prophecy was fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, but where it differs with orthodox or "partial" preterism is in the belief that Christ will never return bodily to judge the living and dead, the resurrection body is a spiritual one in Heaven and this current world will go on forever. I know some Protestants who reject this doctrine, no matter how plausible it might seem from Scripture (though they do not in fact see it as plausible) because the church has never confessed it historically.

I've also personally applied such a method as to why I will never be an Open Theist even though their arguments tempt me at times.

So in this way the broad consensus of the church sets limits on what Scripture can be interpreted to mean. I'm more and more becoming convinced this is an untenable position, but there it is.

I'm familiar with what's going on in the full/hyper-preterist protestant world. But just know that what you call "orthodox preterism" is not universal to all traditions. With some exceptions it is mostly limited to the Reformed protestant world.

The Eschatology of the Christian East is not necessarily the same as the Reformed protestant world. And so what they might call "orthodox" or acceptable won't always be what we will call Orthodox and acceptable.

 I just wanted you to know. Also, what do you mean by ...."I'm more and more becoming convinced this is an untenable position"?

Everything has it's own contexts and limitations. There is no one size fits all rule that will solve every problem and every issue. And so we need multiple rules in our tool box.
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« Reply #181 on: June 03, 2011, 09:07:59 PM »

I understand, but with Sola scriptura, the emphasis is on Scripture only . That is wrong.

You know, it seems as if there were times when Martin Luther used the Solo Scriptura approach against Rome, but other times when dealing with other protestants like the revolt of the poor in Germany in where he had the Government slaughter them, as well as the feud with the Anabaptists, well, he seemed to have used a more Sola Scriptura approach in where they are allowed to use other sources of authority outside Scripture. Now they will see these authorities as being subordinate to Scripture, but I can see how both Solo as well as Sola Scriptura was used.


Zwingli seems to be another person who seemed to have used a Solo Scriptura approach when arguing against Rome, but used a Sola Scriptura approach when it came to some of his followers who thought he was being inconsistent in regards to the issue of infant Baptism. They would soon break from him for what they thought was an inconsistency on his part and they would forever be known as Anabaptists.

And so, I don't see Solo Scriptura as strictly being a Restorationist protestant view.


John Calvin is one of the protestant Reformers that seemed more consistent in the Sola Scriptura area.

But who knows, maybe I'm wrong with what I'm seeing.
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« Reply #182 on: June 03, 2011, 09:19:15 PM »

Sola Scriptura is the sorta Scriptura position that Scriptura is all you needah.
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« Reply #183 on: June 03, 2011, 11:23:02 PM »

...Yes - and no. Our Lord commanded us to be baptised, and to break bread "in remembrance of me." I am not aware that he explained "how it works" or commanded us to understand how it works. Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether it is ever valid to baptise infants, and thinking only of when you baptise converts from another religion or none after they come to faith in Christ - we are both doing what the Lord commanded, baptising them in the triune name. Whatever God does in the life and soul of an "illuminand" I believe he does (assuming the illuminand is sincere). I would not say that "it doesn't work" for you, because you understand it wrongly - nor vice versa for us. Obviously it is better to understand as clearly as we can; but I do not think it is the cerebral understanding of baptismal doctrine which validates the sacrament - else the Romans to whom Paul wrote would not have benefited from their baptism, for they had obviously not grasped it full meaning.

Mutatis mutandis, I would say the same about the Eucharist.

How do I get all the text of my posts into the window on this computer, as on the other one I use?
You're using Internet Explorer 8, aren't you? Use any other browser, and you most likely won't have this problem.
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« Reply #184 on: June 04, 2011, 03:05:48 AM »


I'm familiar with what's going on in the full/hyper-preterist protestant world. But just know that what you call "orthodox preterism" is not universal to all traditions. With some exceptions it is mostly limited to the Reformed protestant world.
Ok, noted.


Also, what do you mean by ...."I'm more and more becoming convinced this is an untenable position"?
I mean that I don't think it's really sola scriptura. It essentially makes tradition one's stopping point. If one is going to use that, why not just go the whole hog and join the EO/OO or RC? As has been pointed out above, prima scriptura probably isn't all that alien to this approach anyway.

I guess I just don't buy the solo-sola distinction anymore, ultimately. The latter collapses into the former once you start being consistent. Maybe I should just join the Church of Christ  laugh.
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« Reply #185 on: June 04, 2011, 03:10:19 AM »

Quote
I'm with you from about the late-100s on. It's that immediately post-Apostolic grey area I see which gives me pause (though even if I don't become Orthodox, I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran based on St. Ignatius of Antioch).

What did Saint Ignatius say about Bishops?
Where the bishop is, there is the Church and the Eucharist must be celebrated by the bishop (or presumably, by appointed delegates). Schism with one's bishop constitutes leaving the Church.

Those are the ones I remember.

So you wanted to be a Scandinavian Lutheran?




Remember, you did say "I'm strongly thinking of going Lutheran"


Does the German Lutheran tradition have bishops?
I could have sworn they did. Well, color me stupid  laugh.

As you can see, I guess I'm just all over the map...
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« Reply #186 on: June 04, 2011, 03:13:07 AM »

Some will also say "the only final authority on christian morals and doctrine."
This. I struggle with inerrancy.
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« Reply #187 on: June 04, 2011, 03:37:08 AM »


I'm not following your logic.  I assume you're referring to Ephesians 2:19-22?

Quote
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

I don't think this says what you seem to be claiming it says.

I was thinking of that one and 1 Cor. 3:11. The NT metaphor of the foundation is used several times. It seems to me that permanence and one-timeness is a big part of it. Now, if we're talking about replacing dead Apostles like what was done with Judas, then no problem. This what I thought the idea of Apostolic Succession was implying. But if the Apostles are expanding their own ranks, then it seems like this is a re-laying of the foundation.


That still misses the point -- even if it were only for 10 years.  Or 5.  Or 2 months.  How do you deal with the issue of the gap between when the last Apostle died and when the Scriptures were, as you say, "coalesced?"
The first century was very oral tradition oriented with writing only as a secondary method of passing down teaching, especially among the Jews. The NT itself shows there was authoritative oral tradition. Before the NT was completely written down, each church had the kerygma as preserved in the memory of its elders in addition to the writings available.

Ah, but the Church says they are demonstrated Scripturally.  Or do you mean that the Scriptures teach that one may hold to error and still remain in the Church, to whom Christ said "make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to hold to everything I have commanded you....."?
Does not your own Church recognize theolougumena (sp)?

I think you have the issue of authority mixed up.  Do you have any basis in that text to believe Jesus was speaking of authority in the Church versus living a holy life in Him?

Miracles in the Church are not limited to bishops.  In fact, a great, great number of the Saints in the Church, including those who performed great miracles, were not bishops.  If this were not so, my wife and 3 daughters would not have Patron Saints (or, alternatively, would have to take male Patron Saints).  That doesn't change the fact that Christ set up His Church through the Apostles.  And historically, the call to those who would do good works, miracles, live holy lives, etc. in Him is to join the Church, not remain apart from her.  There is no evidence in that text that those casting out demons were teaching falsely, only that they did not "follow" the Apostles.  There is likewise no additional evidence to tell us what became of those men.

But there is AMPLE evidence in the Scriptures as to how the Church was formed.  See in Acts 2:42-46 how the early Church formed around the Eucharist.  See in Acts 8 how in Samaria the Church heard the Gospel had reached that city and she SENT Peter and John to them.  See how in Acts 11 the Church of Antioch was founded.  See in Acts 14 how Paul and Barnabas "appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting," and then "commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed."  And, as I have already noted, see how the circumcision issue was handled in Acts 15.  See how the Holy Spirit was promised to the Apostles in John 16 and the power of absolution given to the same in John 20?  

This isn't over and against Scripture, or apart from it.  This IS Scripture.  Now, if the question is "can someone be apart from the Canonical Church and be saved," I believe I have answered that.  But if the question is "how does the New Testament and the Church described in the New Testament say one is to be saved," I have to point to the Church and say "right here."
I don't have an answer for this...
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« Reply #188 on: June 04, 2011, 09:25:56 AM »


I'm not following your logic.  I assume you're referring to Ephesians 2:19-22?

Quote
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.

I don't think this says what you seem to be claiming it says.

I was thinking of that one and 1 Cor. 3:11. The NT metaphor of the foundation is used several times. It seems to me that permanence and one-timeness is a big part of it. Now, if we're talking about replacing dead Apostles like what was done with Judas, then no problem. This what I thought the idea of Apostolic Succession was implying. But if the Apostles are expanding their own ranks, then it seems like this is a re-laying of the foundation.

I'm not sure 1 Cor. 3 helps either if the view is "the Apostles are the foundation and that foundation can never be relaid."

Quote
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This seems to make Christ the foundation, not the Apostles, and in the above example the foundation was the "Apostles and prophets" with Christ "the chief cornerstone."  I think reading these too literally results in them contradicting each other, and I'd suggest perhaps we should read them in their context and in light of the point St. Paul is making with each letter.

In neither event are the Apostles "expanding their ranks."  Rather, they are establishing an Apostolic office -- NOT a new office of Apostle, but the Apostolic office of overseer or bishop.  And in doing so, they hand picked their successors (or, in some cases, ratified the selection of the local Church who picked an overseer in their absence, but in all cases the Apostles were involved in the bishop's election).  And it's not all that neat and clean -- I acknowledge that.  The point, however, is that the Church picked up and moved on with this understanding, and the Didache and St. Ignatius and St. Clement and no small number of other early Church writers confirm this explicitly.  The bishop is the center of the Church. 

Now, one can say "well the Bible doesn't say that," and in an explicit sense this is true.  But the Church that produced the Bible does say that and we don't divide those two things. 

If I were being crass, I would state it thusly:  "you cannot have our Bible without our bishops."

Quote
The first century was very oral tradition oriented with writing only as a secondary method of passing down teaching, especially among the Jews. The NT itself shows there was authoritative oral tradition. Before the NT was completely written down, each church had the kerygma as preserved in the memory of its elders in addition to the writings available.

Exactly -- the Holy Tradition.  This is the very point I was making.  No one had memorized the New Testament Scriptures.  But the Church had received the doctrine nonetheless.

Quote
Does not your own Church recognize theolougumena (sp)?

Of course.  We don't consider the Sacraments, as one example, to be theologoumena.  
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« Reply #189 on: June 04, 2011, 01:15:04 PM »

I struggle with inerrancy.

Inerrancy is a red herring. (I don't mean you intended it to be such.) As I understand it, inerrancy is a fairly recent doctrine which grew up as a reaction to two 19th century events: (a) the formal promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility (1872, if I recall aright), and (b) the growth and spreading influence of "higher criticism" (Liberal theology etc) especially from about 1860. The belief (which goes back at least as far as Wyclif and probably a good deal further) that the OT and NT are inspired by God and are sufficient and supreme for defining doctrine and morals is in no way dependent upon inerrancy, nor does it require inerrancy as a necessary corollary. Indeed, I am reliably told that inerrancy is currently a minor position among Evangelicals. By all means let it be debated; but on a thread about the sufficiency of scripture it serves only to muddy the waters, or as an interesting tangent.
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« Reply #190 on: June 04, 2011, 01:43:20 PM »

in America Evangelicals are not united on knowing what the Essentials are. Some may even question if the doctrine of the Trinity should be viewed as an Essential ... we may not know how things are in the UK, but we sure know what it's like in America.

We learn from "The Screwtape Letters" (and our own observations!) that our Enemy has a very active, skilful and subtle linguistic department, and is a master of confusion. Yes, the word Evangelical has been hijacked, and it is no longer possible to be sure what someone means when he is described as an Evangelical. The secular media are a particular source of this confusion. The idea of a unitarian Evangelical is oxymoronic, but you are right - there are people who are happy to call themselves both unitarian and Pentecostal, for example. I try to use the word with its classic meaning, and we are probably more horrified than even you are by people who call themselves Evangelical but have in fact devised or accepted entirely new meanings for the word.
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« Reply #191 on: June 04, 2011, 08:26:56 PM »

I struggle with inerrancy.

Inerrancy is a red herring. (I don't mean you intended it to be such.) As I understand it, inerrancy is a fairly recent doctrine which grew up as a reaction to two 19th century events: (a) the formal promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility (1872, if I recall aright), and (b) the growth and spreading influence of "higher criticism" (Liberal theology etc) especially from about 1860. The belief (which goes back at least as far as Wyclif and probably a good deal further) that the OT and NT are inspired by God and are sufficient and supreme for defining doctrine and morals is in no way dependent upon inerrancy, nor does it require inerrancy as a necessary corollary. Indeed, I am reliably told that inerrancy is currently a minor position among Evangelicals. By all means let it be debated; but on a thread about the sufficiency of scripture it serves only to muddy the waters, or as an interesting tangent.
Yeah, you're probably right.

I didn't bring it up for the debate, but just in answer to jnorm's asking for clarification. I agree it's not needed for sola scriptura.
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« Reply #192 on: June 04, 2011, 09:22:17 PM »


I'm not sure 1 Cor. 3 helps either if the view is "the Apostles are the foundation and that foundation can never be relaid."

Quote
For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, you are God’s building. According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.

This seems to make Christ the foundation, not the Apostles, and in the above example the foundation was the "Apostles and prophets" with Christ "the chief cornerstone."  I think reading these too literally results in them contradicting each other, and I'd suggest perhaps we should read them in their context and in light of the point St. Paul is making with each letter.
I don't think it would be a contradiction. In the Ephesians passage Christ is the cornerstone and at any rate the Apostles being the foundation could always be seen as an expression of Christ as the true foundation.

But... maybe you're right that I'm mincing two unrelated metaphors.

In neither event are the Apostles "expanding their ranks."  Rather, they are establishing an Apostolic office -- NOT a new office of Apostle, but the Apostolic office of overseer or bishop.  And in doing so, they hand picked their successors (or, in some cases, ratified the selection of the local Church who picked an overseer in their absence, but in all cases the Apostles were involved in the bishop's election).  And it's not all that neat and clean -- I acknowledge that.  The point, however, is that the Church picked up and moved on with this understanding, and the Didache and St. Ignatius and St. Clement and no small number of other early Church writers confirm this explicitly.  The bishop is the center of the Church.
How is being in an Apostolic Office different from being an Apostle?

The first century was very oral tradition oriented with writing only as a secondary method of passing down teaching, especially among the Jews. The NT itself shows there was authoritative oral tradition. Before the NT was completely written down, each church had the kerygma as preserved in the memory of its elders in addition to the writings available.

Exactly -- the Holy Tradition.  This is the very point I was making.  No one had memorized the New Testament Scriptures.  But the Church had received the doctrine nonetheless.
I guess that brings me back to my original difficulty with were to put the end marker of which traditions are authoritative  laugh.

Of course.  We don't consider the Sacraments, as one example, to be theologoumena.
But what if they were? Orthodox and Protestants often seem to wind up talking past each other precisely because we have these different understandings of what essential doctrines are.
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« Reply #193 on: June 04, 2011, 10:15:26 PM »

How is being in an Apostolic Office different from being an Apostle?

I'm not being clear -- I apologize.

An office of Apostolic origin -- i.e., the Apostles began the practice of ordaining bishops to carry on the Good News, just as Jesus sent the Twelve.  They had His authority, the bishops have theirs, etc.

Quote
I guess that brings me back to my original difficulty with were to put the end marker of which traditions are authoritative  laugh.

No traditions are authoritative. The Church is authoritative, and she preserved the Holy Tradition as the Apostles gave it to her.

Quote
But what if they were? Orthodox and Protestants often seem to wind up talking past each other precisely because we have these different understandings of what essential doctrines are.

I honestly don't know how to answer the first question without being flippant.  But my first thought was "if a frog had wings......"

As to the follow-up statement, Orthodox and Protestants talk past each other in most instances because they are speaking different languages and coming from very different places.  It's not so much a different understanding of essential doctrines (there is that, mind you), but it's more that there is a vast gulf of misunderstanding about what fundamental doctrines like atonement, sin, death, the resurrection, etc. mean.  How they are interpreted.  What the philosophical categories are and how they are applied.  What the anthropology is.  As hard as it was for me coming from a Lutheran background and having so much in common with the Orthodox worldview, I can't imagine coming from an Evangelical background.  The Orthodox can -- literally -- say one thing and Protestants hear another.  Then Orthodox look at the Protestants like "what?"  And the Protestants are horrified that the Orthodox said something that doesn't fit their worldview, but fits perfectly within an Orthodox worldview.

Part of the problem is that Orthodoxy never really had to deal with Medieval Catholicism.  Another part is Protestantism is basically a reactionary movement against Medieval Catholicism (painting with a broad brush here, but I can't think of a Protestant movement other than MAYBE high Church Anglicanism that doesn't fit this mold, and some would quibble with me excluding Anglicans).  I don't really know the answer either.  I do know this -- I heard from more than one person as we considered converting that the Orthodox believe we are saved by the merits of our own good works.  That our soteriology is fundamentally Pelagian.  Etc.  And I didn't have to attend more than 2 or 3 Divine Liturgies to know that was a bunch of bull.  It wasn't their fault -- they meant well, and they were merely reciting what they heard.  But actually attending Orthodox services made it very, very clear this wasn't what was being taught at all.  That's just one example, but I think it's a good one because it's so fundamentally opposed to Protestant notions of salvation to have good works as a significant part of the picture that when Protestants hear us talking about good works and how we have to do them and how fundamental they are to our salvation, they assume we mean that our good works merit salvation.  

They don't realize that it's not "faith" that's missing from the equation, but "merits."
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« Reply #194 on: June 04, 2011, 10:41:21 PM »


I'm not being clear -- I apologize.

An office of Apostolic origin -- i.e., the Apostles began the practice of ordaining bishops to carry on the Good News, just as Jesus sent the Twelve.  They had His authority, the bishops have theirs, etc.
Oh. Ok, then that makes sense. It's just like how the Apostles confirmed the first seven deacons.

No traditions are authoritative. The Church is authoritative, and she preserved the Holy Tradition as the Apostles gave it to her.
Ah.

So, the main way this differs from the Roman Magesterium in that the statements are less precisely defined?

I honestly don't know how to answer the first question without being flippant.  But my first thought was "if a frog had wings......"
Sorry. It's just some Orthodox I've talked to have looked at me like I have four heads when I've queried whether things like the Real Presence have to be essential doctrine.

As to the follow-up statement, Orthodox and Protestants talk past each other in most instances because they are speaking different languages and coming from very different places.  It's not so much a different understanding of essential doctrines (there is that, mind you), but it's more that there is a vast gulf of misunderstanding about what fundamental doctrines like atonement, sin, death, the resurrection, etc. mean.  How they are interpreted.  What the philosophical categories are and how they are applied.  What the anthropology is.  As hard as it was for me coming from a Lutheran background and having so much in common with the Orthodox worldview, I can't imagine coming from an Evangelical background.  The Orthodox can -- literally -- say one thing and Protestants hear another.  Then Orthodox look at the Protestants like "what?"  And the Protestants are horrified that the Orthodox said something that doesn't fit their worldview, but fits perfectly within an Orthodox worldview.
Yeah. The differences have been hard to wrap my head around. I need to begin going to liturgy soon, I think.  laugh

Part of the problem is that Orthodoxy never really had to deal with Medieval Catholicism.  Another part is Protestantism is basically a reactionary movement against Medieval Catholicism (painting with a broad brush here, but I can't think of a Protestant movement other than MAYBE high Church Anglicanism that doesn't fit this mold, and some would quibble with me excluding Anglicans).  I don't really know the answer either.  I do know this -- I heard from more than one person as we considered converting that the Orthodox believe we are saved by the merits of our own good works.  That our soteriology is fundamentally Pelagian.  Etc.  And I didn't have to attend more than 2 or 3 Divine Liturgies to know that was a bunch of bull.  It wasn't their fault -- they meant well, and they were merely reciting what they heard.  But actually attending Orthodox services made it very, very clear this wasn't what was being taught at all.  That's just one example, but I think it's a good one because it's so fundamentally opposed to Protestant notions of salvation to have good works as a significant part of the picture that when Protestants hear us talking about good works and how we have to do them and how fundamental they are to our salvation, they assume we mean that our good works merit salvation.  

They don't realize that it's not "faith" that's missing from the equation, but "merits."
Oddly enough, I don't have much of a problem with Orthodox salvation (aside from assurance issues), perhaps because I find it so similar to the Assembly of God view I was exposed to in my youth.

I more struggle with the minority evangelical view known as "Free Grace" which eschews the need for any obedience at all for salvation, so maybe one that level I do think in terms of "earning it" *shrug*.
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« Reply #195 on: June 04, 2011, 10:51:13 PM »

So, the main way this differs from the Roman Magesterium in that the statements are less precisely defined?

I don't know much about the Roman Magesterium, so I'll have to defer to one of our Catholic friends on that one.

I think it's more symbiotic than I phrased it -- the Tradition can conform the Church where the Church begins to veer from the Tradition, and this has happened, but in the end, it's the Church that draws the erring back to the Tradition.  The reason I said "no tradition is authoritative" is that a tradition cannot exercise any authority.  People have to do that, and the Church is where the people with the authority reside.

Quote
Oddly enough, I don't have much of a problem with Orthodox salvation (aside from assurance issues), perhaps because I find it so similar to the Assembly of God view I was exposed to in my youth.

I more struggle with the minority evangelical view known as "Free Grace" which eschews the need for any obedience at all for salvation, so maybe one that level I do think in terms of "earning it" *shrug*.

I turned a pretty big corner in all of this when I realized that obedience is required for salvation not because God needs for me to be obedient so He can save me, but because *I* need to be obedient in order to live out my life in Christ that God has given me.  And not because God is counting merits up, but because obedience is what is good for my soul in an existential sense.  Like eating broccoli or baked fish instead of bacon cheeseburgers and fries.  The latter taste better, but the former are what my body needs to be whole and healthy.  Obedience to the works of the Law are like that in Orthodoxy.  They are healthy food for the soul.  They are not ways in which God decides we're behaving well enough to get into heaven.  Instead, they are what the Christian life looks like -- they are how unity in Christ is actually put into practice.  They are good habits that make us healthier and fitter and better in a very real, existential sense.

And just as I cheat on my diet, I fall far short of the mark in doing good works, so if it were a merits contest, I'd be losing miserably.  Thank God it's not!
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« Reply #196 on: June 04, 2011, 11:01:33 PM »

I don't know much about the Roman Magesterium, so I'll have to defer to one of our Catholic friends on that one.
Ok.

I think it's more symbiotic than I phrased it -- the Tradition can conform the Church where the Church begins to veer from the Tradition, and this has happened, but in the end, it's the Church that draws the erring back to the Tradition.  The reason I said "no tradition is authoritative" is that a tradition cannot exercise any authority.  People have to do that, and the Church is where the people with the authority reside.
Alright.

I turned a pretty big corner in all of this when I realized that obedience is required for salvation not because God needs for me to be obedient so He can save me, but because *I* need to be obedient in order to live out my life in Christ that God has given me.  And not because God is counting merits up, but because obedience is what is good for my soul in an existential sense.  Like eating broccoli or baked fish instead of bacon cheeseburgers and fries.  The latter taste better, but the former are what my body needs to be whole and healthy.  Obedience to the works of the Law are like that in Orthodoxy.  They are healthy food for the soul.  They are not ways in which God decides we're behaving well enough to get into heaven.  Instead, they are what the Christian life looks like -- they are how unity in Christ is actually put into practice.  They are good habits that make us healthier and fitter and better in a very real, existential sense.
And since Orthodox salvation is all about being healed of salvation, I suppose one could say that life in Christ is in a sense Heaven.

And just as I cheat on my diet, I fall far short of the mark in doing good works, so if it were a merits contest, I'd be losing miserably.  Thank God it's not!
Amen to that!
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« Reply #197 on: June 04, 2011, 11:13:02 PM »

And since Orthodox salvation is all about being healed of salvation, I suppose one could say that life in Christ is in a sense Heaven.

I don't think that's inaccurate.  Union with Christ is the idea.  Heaven is living out eternity in communion with Christ. 

If anyone wants to correct me on that I'll certainly stand corrected, but that's basically how I understand it.
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« Reply #198 on: June 04, 2011, 11:26:31 PM »

And since Orthodox salvation is all about being healed of salvation, I suppose one could say that life in Christ is in a sense Heaven.

I don't think that's inaccurate.  Union with Christ is the idea.  Heaven is living out eternity in communion with Christ. 

If anyone wants to correct me on that I'll certainly stand corrected, but that's basically how I understand it.
Sorry, that was what I what I was trying to convey. Getting closer to Christ, growing in Him and His community. That's what it means to approach a sort of Heavenly life, if that makes sense.
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« Reply #199 on: June 05, 2011, 01:19:22 AM »

I struggle with inerrancy.

Inerrancy is a red herring. (I don't mean you intended it to be such.) As I understand it, inerrancy is a fairly recent doctrine which grew up as a reaction to two 19th century events: (a) the formal promulgation of the doctrine of papal infallibility (1872, if I recall aright), and (b) the growth and spreading influence of "higher criticism" (Liberal theology etc) especially from about 1860. The belief (which goes back at least as far as Wyclif and probably a good deal further) that the OT and NT are inspired by God and are sufficient and supreme for defining doctrine and morals is in no way dependent upon inerrancy, nor does it require inerrancy as a necessary corollary. Indeed, I am reliably told that inerrancy is currently a minor position among Evangelicals. By all means let it be debated; but on a thread about the sufficiency of scripture it serves only to muddy the waters, or as an interesting tangent.

It's not seen as a minor issue among conservative Evangelicals in America. I don't know if the UK ever experienced the split between liberal and Conservative Evangelicals in the late 19th century to early 20th century. But that split is what caused the fundamentalist movement in the States. Modern conservative American Evangelicals are the children and grandchildren of the protestant fundamentalists. And so, no no! In America it is a major issue among conservative Evangelicals.
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« Reply #200 on: June 05, 2011, 01:24:30 AM »

Their kids are not as in to it as the current generation of American clergy imo. Peter Enns has made quite a splash among the more intellectual. Rob Bell and the Emergents are casting a large shadow too.
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« Reply #201 on: June 05, 2011, 01:37:29 AM »

Their kids are not as in to it as the current generation of American clergy imo. Peter Enns has made quite a splash among the more intellectual. Rob Bell and the Emergents are casting a large shadow too.

True! I guess it depends on what circle of younger Evangelical one is in, for the ones I am still in contact with, the names you just mentioned are bad words. They are pretty much demonized.
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« Reply #202 on: June 05, 2011, 02:08:21 AM »

Ah yes, The Angry Young Calvinists... forgot about that demographic.

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« Reply #203 on: June 05, 2011, 08:15:40 AM »

Actually, that's not in the Bible
By John Blake, CNN

http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2011/06/05/thats-not-in-the-bible/

... often the milkmaid, the cobbler - and the NFL coach - start creating biblical passages without the guidance of biblical experts ...
... Not only do they get the interpretation wrong, but very often end up quoting verses that really aren’t there ...

Okay doesn't define Sola Scripture, but reminds of many in the US that profess beliefs of Sola Scripture.

Seems to quote an apologetic of sorts, but he doesn't mention the Church Fathers, and instead talks of biblical experts.
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« Reply #204 on: June 07, 2011, 12:02:29 PM »

Put better, perhaps (because I don't want to be misunderstood as claiming the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures when in fact I believe the opposite),

Could you elaborate on that? Why don't you think that the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures?
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« Reply #205 on: June 07, 2011, 01:18:13 PM »

Put better, perhaps (because I don't want to be misunderstood as claiming the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures when in fact I believe the opposite),

Could you elaborate on that? Why don't you think that the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures?

I think they do in a sense -- what I was getting at in that post is it's not the Fathers themselves, but the Apostolic doctrine they are preserving that is important.  They don't make the Scriptures say what they want them to say, but rather they reveal the Scriptures to say that which the Apostles taught them.

I do agree that they "shed light" on the Scriptures, but it is the light of the Apostolic doctrine, not their own private interpretation, that is key.
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« Reply #206 on: June 08, 2011, 01:13:51 PM »

Put better, perhaps (because I don't want to be misunderstood as claiming the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures when in fact I believe the opposite),

Could you elaborate on that? Why don't you think that the patristic Fathers somehow illumine the Scriptures?

I think they do in a sense -- what I was getting at in that post is it's not the Fathers themselves, but the Apostolic doctrine they are preserving that is important.  They don't make the Scriptures say what they want them to say, but rather they reveal the Scriptures to say that which the Apostles taught them.

I do agree that they "shed light" on the Scriptures, but it is the light of the Apostolic doctrine, not their own private interpretation, that is key.

Thanks.  Smiley
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« Reply #207 on: June 09, 2011, 10:24:26 AM »

It [inerrancy]'s not seen as a minor issue among conservative Evangelicals in America. I don't know if the UK ... In America it is a major issue among conservative Evangelicals.

You are quite right. It is a major issue for Conservative Evangelicals here in Britain too; there is a whole denomination largely founded on it, which includes (on other issues) Calvinists, Arminians, Pentecostals, Conservative Evangelicals, probably even a few pædobaptists, mission halls, antinomians, sabbatarians and so on - as if the most important doctrine of all is one's view of inspiration, which (in their statement of belief) precedes anything about God, Christ, man, sin, salvation or whatever. But I find it hard to understand why inerrancy is such a major issue in their minds and so central to the structure of their religion, seeing there have been Evangelicals and revivals long before Inerrancy was ever defined. Many of them probably wouldn't wish to be called Fundamentalists, but I believe you are right in linking the two in some way or other, although (if my patchy knolwedge of Church History serves me aright) The Fundamentals were published in the 1920s, and Inerrancy didn't come to the fore till some decades after that. In fact, as far as I am aware, The Fundamentals are not Fundamentalist. Such is the way with theological evolution and terminology: someone has said that Nestorius wasn't Nestorian, and I have even heard it said the Calvin wasn't a Calvinist (but that the Beza fomalised the present Calvinist system). Heigh ho! Religion's a funny thing  Wink.
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« Reply #208 on: June 14, 2011, 05:21:16 PM »

I turned a pretty big corner in all of this when I realized that obedience is required for salvation not because God needs for me to be obedient so He can save me, but because *I* need to be obedient in order to live out my life in Christ that God has given me.  And not because God is counting merits up, but because obedience is what is good for my soul in an existential sense.  Like eating broccoli or baked fish instead of bacon cheeseburgers and fries.  The latter taste better, but the former are what my body needs to be whole and healthy.  Obedience to the works of the Law are like that in Orthodoxy.  They are healthy food for the soul.  They are not ways in which God decides we're behaving well enough to get into heaven.  Instead, they are what the Christian life looks like -- they are how unity in Christ is actually put into practice.  They are good habits that make us healthier and fitter and better in a very real, existential sense.

And just as I cheat on my diet, I fall far short of the mark in doing good works, so if it were a merits contest, I'd be losing miserably.  Thank God it's not!

Excellent post!
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« Reply #209 on: June 15, 2011, 01:24:04 AM »

A good 4 part series about the issue.

http://orthodoxbridge.com/?p=96 (Contra Sola Scriptura)
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« Reply #210 on: June 15, 2011, 05:27:31 AM »

Is orthodoxbridge different from heterodoxbridge? Is it anything like Contract? How does the bidding work?
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« Reply #211 on: June 15, 2011, 05:10:40 PM »

Ah yes, The Angry Young Calvinists... forgot about that demographic.

"There is one God, and John MacCarthur is His Prophet."


Or John Piper, or RC Sproul....  Grin
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« Reply #212 on: June 18, 2011, 03:21:59 AM »

Is orthodoxbridge different from heterodoxbridge? Is it anything like Contract? How does the bidding work?

I could be wrong, but I think the person over the website is a former Calvinist who wants to have a peaceful dialogue with the protestant Reformed. And so it's called OrthodoxBridge.
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« Reply #213 on: June 18, 2011, 04:10:25 AM »

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« Reply #214 on: June 18, 2011, 09:21:52 AM »

All the Churches you read about in Bible, Except Church of Rome have a history, and by reading that history we find them in Eastern orthodox Church today.

Church tradition is not thin air, is the 1 billion historical valid documents that protestantism chooses to throw to the window.

See, some Protestantism groups saw that Sola scriptura is not good and they don't respect it either by giving credit to St John Chrysostom and creeds.

anyhow, sola Scriptura say we test everything by Bible. Ok test Protestantism by the Bible.Show me whnere Martin Luther and Reformation is in the Bible? It is not so Protestantism is invalid through the rules it supports. The sad part is that they renounced to food for eternal life, end they are not even aware of this.

Sola Scriptura means only Bible. It means take 1 billion historical documents about Christianity and Early Church, take Bible from them and throw everything out of window. Then if something is not in the Bible use your imagination. Because imagination vary, there are 30000 Protestant denominations.

Allow me please to use, Sola Herodotus in telling how Columbus discovered America.

Columbus took 7 Portavions with 300 turbojets and they come to America. Then they spotted an Amerindian Passenger plane and understood that they are close to a new land. Why are you laughing? This is protestantism and you can not combate me because how Columbus discovered New Land is not in Herodotus, the only document I recognize. everything else I already throw out of the window.

Pasadi,
Please try as best you can to mention the "1 billion" documents vindicating Orthodoxy
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« Reply #215 on: July 10, 2011, 12:34:46 AM »

Maybe not 1 billion maybe 1 billion maybe more than 1 billion , however enough to show the truth of Eastern orthodox Church.Well, lets start with Holy Liturgy of Apostle James believed to be written in year 60 and describing what Christians did on Sunday. This Liturgy is celebrated in several days in some Eastern Orthodox Churches even today. This is vindication of Eastern Orthodox Church and if the Church established by Jesus has failed, then it should have come back since we have the same Holy Liturgy TODAY centered on giving food for eternal life.Holy Liturgy is missing in many protestant denominations that claim adherence to Early christianity. and these denominations claim that Words or Nothing is enough for eternal life. I don't want to speak against this belief but this was not the belief of Apostles, that wrote Holy liturgies centered on eternal life. Why would Holy Liturgy of Apostle and Evangelist Mark be not considered in a Protestant Church and people come with stories ....

Iconoclasm was denounced as error and many icons including the ones painted by Apostle Luke are witness to errors of Protestantism. So protestantism does not give you the faith of Apostles in regard with icons and Holy Communion for eternal life, which are huge together with confession, then why would someone remain to Protestantism? Why would someone believe he should trust a man, Johny instead of Apostles in regard to eternal life and why would someone consider that he does not deserve best in regard with eternal life. Some denominations jump over the fence renouncing baptism and sending people, good people to Hell. Strange enough some people are in love with Religions that send them to hell, of course in this life. I can go on by seeing that Holy Liturgy of Apostle James has prayers for the departed, another thing Protestantism has renounced and shows that prortestantism is not the belief of Apostles in this aspect too. So in Eastern orthodoxy Church and people are praying for you even if people are in hell and they can take you out while in protestantism is bye bye grandma and grandpa you are on your own. Nobody including Church will not pray for you because of wrong teaching. In the end, it is hard to go to heaven in eastern orthodox Church and it is harder in protestantism, almost impossible in some denominations renouncing baptism. Why add weight to something that is already hard to carry? Lets say you have a hard trip to do and you have two Maps, a Map named Orthodox where molst roads are there and the destination is right so a true Map and another Map named Protestant where half or more roads are missing and some are false, saying they lead you to Chicago and you would find yourself in Sacramento. would you choose Orthodox Map , the Orthodox Map with truth or a lying Protestant Map? How about inr eal life for most important trip you have to do?
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« Reply #216 on: July 10, 2011, 01:14:15 AM »

^ Pasadi, this thread is about the specific error of sola scriptura. Now, do you have anything to contribute that speaks specifically to the discussion of sola scriptura? The above rant on why Protestants should become Orthodox certainly doesn't do that.

Yes, I am speaking as a moderator, since you seem to enjoy engaging in this disruptive practice of hijacking threads to repeat your particular anti-Protestant rant. Please work to keep threads on topic.
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« Reply #217 on: July 29, 2011, 11:02:00 AM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.
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« Reply #218 on: July 29, 2011, 11:51:55 AM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

While admitting that the primary doctrines and framework of Christian theology were "once delivered to the saints" in the Apostolic age, I think there is also the idea that things didn't stop there. God's hand was seen as being involved when some things continued to change (liturgy, etc.) over time. God's hand was also thought to be guiding the Church as a whole, often through the voice of individual fathers, into a more explicit understanding of the faith. That "there never was a time when Jesus was not" was not a 4th century invention, but it needed to be explicitly said at that particular time so that those who believed wrongly would have no excuse. So though the years various people were pointed to as having spoken the truth: not as authorities in themselves, but as worthy of being listened to because they were witnessing to the truth. So down through the ages the Church considered not just what the Scripture said, or what delivered oral tradition said, but also how this or that person (e.g., St Cyril, or St. Leo) understood it, and how they might help the rest of the Church to understand it.
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« Reply #219 on: July 29, 2011, 11:59:38 AM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.

I largely agree. It is my understanding that reference to the Church Fathers is in large part trying to get at the heart of the understanding of Scripture; what did the first people to read the Scripture think, and why they thought some were legit (4 Gospels) and others false (Gospel of Thomas)
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« Reply #220 on: July 29, 2011, 11:14:01 PM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.

The Fathers incessantly appeal to the authority of earlier Fathers.

Take a look at the recent threads re the formulation at Chalcedon and see how the Fathers of the Copts, Armenians and Syriacs went out of their way to say that their Christology was no different to that of St Cyril and how the Fathers of the Imperial Church did exactly the same.

Go back even further to the so-called "Apostolic Fathers" and see just how little they quote the scripture: they almost exclusively rely on the reception of the faith from the Apostles as the source of their authority to preach.

There's no doubt that many Fathers just pick up a chapter of the Scripture and go straight to the task of interpreting it, but that does not mean they are doing so in a vacuum with no regard for the Apostolic tradition. I think perhaps you are oversimplifying what the Fathers are doing.
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« Reply #221 on: July 29, 2011, 11:15:28 PM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.

I largely agree. It is my understanding that reference to the Church Fathers is in large part trying to get at the heart of the understanding of Scripture; what did the first people to read the Scripture think, and why they thought some were legit (4 Gospels) and others false (Gospel of Thomas)

How can the Scriptures be the source of the authority of the Fathers when the Fathers felt perfectly qualified to proclaim which books were/are or were/are not Scipture?
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« Reply #222 on: July 29, 2011, 11:44:13 PM »

Well scripture was an authority for the fathers, but clearly it was not the only authority, that much is clear.
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« Reply #223 on: July 29, 2011, 11:48:58 PM »

Well scripture was an authority for the fathers, but clearly it was not the only authority, that much is clear.

The Scriptures are authoritative because they crystallise the Apostolic tradition. The writings which do not are not classed as Scripture.

There is only one source of authority in Orthodox Christianity.
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« Reply #224 on: July 29, 2011, 11:53:32 PM »

One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.

I largely agree. It is my understanding that reference to the Church Fathers is in large part trying to get at the heart of the understanding of Scripture; what did the first people to read the Scripture think, and why they thought some were legit (4 Gospels) and others false (Gospel of Thomas)

How can the Scriptures be the source of the authority of the Fathers when the Fathers felt perfectly qualified to proclaim which books were/are or were/are not Scipture?
Because the Scriptures have a mystical authority that compelled the Fathers to recognize and submit to them?
One thing I don't understand is if the Church Fathers are an independent authority, where do we find one Father quoting another as the authority on some subject? Yes, we find appeals to unwritten tradition beginning with St. Basil but isn't the assumption that these are traditions from the Apostles?

It seems like the Fathers mainly just exegete Scripture themselves.


I know this sometimes comes up in Protestant polemics, but I don't know to answer it. Sorry.
The Fathers incessantly appeal to the authority of earlier Fathers.

Take a look at the recent threads re the formulation at Chalcedon and see how the Fathers of the Copts, Armenians and Syriacs went out of their way to say that their Christology was no different to that of St Cyril and how the Fathers of the Imperial Church did exactly the same.
I acknowledge that by this point people were quoting the Fathers as authorities. I'm interested in earlier Fathers. Sorry if this was unclear.
Go back even further to the so-called "Apostolic Fathers" and see just how little they quote the scripture: they almost exclusively rely on the reception of the faith from the Apostles as the source of their authority to preach.
Saint Clement of Rome constantly refers to the OT, but otherwise yes they do always go back to Apostolic Tradition, but much of this Tradition is little different from that which made it into the NT.

This is a far cry from saying authors hundreds of years after the Apostles are invested with their own authority or that something like triple immersion or the sinlessness of the Theotokos would be taught by Jesus and then just never mentioned for a couple of centuries.

There's no doubt that many Fathers just pick up a chapter of the Scripture and go straight to the task of interpreting it, but that does not mean they are doing so in a vacuum with no regard for the Apostolic tradition.
Perhaps.
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Tags: sola scriptura 
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