Please be reminded that this is "hot topics for debate" area. If it gets under your skin what I post, please forgive me and just ignore this. I'm trying to incite not only debate to see all sides of the issue and opinions, but also to seek answers that I personally have.
Sola scriptura from what I have seen becomes a convenient label of sorts. It is a label often put on to others by "Catholics" including EO, OO, and RC most often to those in protestant faiths. Oftentimes the issues that a protestant could bring up, an answer is thrown back at them including a "sola scriptura" label. Often others involved in the debate, that have come to understand "sola scriptura" to be a negative connotation or label, will hold the person's questions or remarks in an invalid understanding.
I've personally been on both sides of this, not only labeled with sola scriptura, but have also labeled others as practicing sola scriptura. I do know fully that it happens often. I do not entirely understand the label and why it is applied, especially when the scriptures or commands from God are seemingly disobeyed, contorted, bent, by an understanding or tradition.
Though the church may be living and breathing, would it be acceptable ever for the direct commands of God, or the commands of the apostles and Paul to be twisted, bent, or compromised in any way?
Let me throw out an example, in particular, of many Eastern Orthodox Christians (seeing that this is an EO forum).
In 1 Corinthians 11, it speaks of women covering their heads while praying. MANY Eastern Orthodox churches DO have women covering their heads during services. Some EO churches that I've seen (both Greek and OCA) it was kind of a voluntary thing during church. The ROCOR churches that I've seen, all women cover their heads during services. So here is a command that is obviously thwarted or bent depending on jurisdiction, tradition, etc., though the apostle Paul noted for women to cover their heads when praying. The fluidity of this command doesn't exist in practice through jurisdictions (even in communion with each other), though it did in the early stages of the church. In fact, I have yet to see an icon without a woman with her head covered.
The Apostle Paul goes on to say to the Thessolonians (1 Thessolonians 5:17) to "Pray without ceasing".
By this a person can easily see that women would have their heads always covered since they are to pray without ceasing and also when they pray they should have their heads covered. This is practiced by nuns, but NOT often by lay women.
The argument could be made "The women do not follow the scriptures, or the way the early apostles saw fit for the beginnings of the church".
If a protestant or any other person were to address this to the EO church members, OO church members, or RC church members, often the label of sola scriptura would be placed upon this person because they didn't take into account the church outside of the scriptures. Often the source would be a writing from some theologian, outright hatred, persecution, or finger pointing at the individual making the inquiry or debate.
The person labeled with sola scriptura would respond to the responses (be it written like here on a forum, or orally) with "well, is it there or is it not? I see it right here, the apostle said it" etc. "Here are the scriptures again, so why can't you follow the scriptures.... Read the scriptures.... No wait read the scriptures." The responses by the "Catholics" are often "you don't get it, we don't do it that way and the church does it this way because we can".
So basically this either leads me to three conclusions:
1) That "labeling" one as sola scriptura is a simple method of dismissing and individual or the scriptures they present, because they either knowingly are disobeying the scripture and wish to excuse themselves, have a form of cognitive dissonance wishing to accept the scriptures but it is easier to shun it off with a negative label, or need an easy way to cop out of something they can't argue against.
2) The church and its traditions through the centuries, really can change the practices and even the commands of God or apostles (depending on the argument made). Often through the writings of theologians or opinions of bishops or local traditions.
3) Both 1 & 2
I may be mistaken in these 3 conclusions....
Anybody care to discuss, or expand on what I was saying about head coverings, the variance in the EO church on head coverings and how the non-uniformity exists (excused?) when the scriptures speak to us for doing so?
Should those in the EO church be more based in the scriptures on head coverings rather than allowing traditions or local styles to influence them or peer pressure them to disobey the commands? (One could also argue 1 Timothy 2:9 where gold is worn by many laypeople in EO, or a bishop photographed with a $$$ watch) Do we pass these things off as sola scriptura and cite traditions, writings of theologians, etc.?
Or really do we just say "it's okay we are Orthodox and if the community is fine with it, bishop is fine with it, priest is fine with it, then I am fine with it - even if it is written in the scripture which differs".
The sola scriptura issue is very confusing to me, as I believe that a church that is a true stronghold to Christianity, should follow the scriptures and practices of or Lord and savior Jesus Christ exactly, and the practices of the early Christians as accurately as possible not only to preserve tradition, but to avoid distortion. Is my logic wrong here? Or does growth, culture, and time allow us to bend what was once the originality?
Let me disclaim-
I'm not picking on EO here even though it sounds like it (mainly because this is an EO forum and want to address to the majority). But RC's and TONS of protestants, in fact, protestants by the BOATLOAD who mainly would be the ones labeled sola scripturist, DO NOT wear head coverings at all, tons of gold, and flashy stuff... OK yeah Benny Hinn's toupee is NOT flashy, but the armani suits - perhaps, but the big fat gold chunk on his finger is pretty flashy. (I see much more obedience by the EO in these scriptures, but not entirely and often not in fluidity of those in communion which is concerning)
Appreciate all insight.