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I've noticed there seem to be two types of Christians on this site, those that favor sola-scriptura and those that don't.

What is the basis of not believing sola-scriptura?

Sola-scriptura is Latin for "by scripture alone" it is the slogan used by early protestants to indicate their believe that the Bible contains all knowledge necessary for salvation.

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I think sola-scriptura is an appropriate tag anyway. –  Flimzy Aug 31 '11 at 5:36
Related: christianity.stackexchange.com/questions/2/… –  a_hardin Sep 20 '11 at 15:03
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3 Answers

The teachings of the Scripture of the time of Jesus (the Torah) was the only Scripture that they had then. All other teachings, by Jesus and by His disciples, were orally transmitted. The saints of the Church hadn't even started to write things down, compiling the Gospel accounts as we know it, until years after Jesus' death, when they realized that He wasn't returning within their lifetimes. And, before Jesus' time, back in the days of the Prophets, the Law was passed down orally, before ever getting written down by someone later on. In this way, adhering to a non-Sola Scriptura view (which actually predates Sola Scriptura, historically), is how Christianity (and Judaism before it) always operated.

You could say that in this way, there is a Biblical basis for operating non-Sola Scriptura, because the Bible clearly describes the faith being passed down in that manner. And if you believe that Jesus lives on through the Church, just as the Jews believed in the prophets, then I think it's pretty rational to do so in this manner. If you try and look, there isn't really a hard line or date where you can say "OK, from here on out, no new insights can be gathered--all that could ever be True has been written, and there is nothing more for us to figure out". In fact, I believe that the Church will forever be learning and growing deeper in understanding of God. He has been slowly revealing Himself more and more throughout the millenia, and so there is no reason to think that God stopped at some point.

In short, I guess you could say that it's traditional to not be Sola Scriptura, and that might sound like an odd reason at first glance, but I think it's precisely the point. The Church traditionally was not Sola Scriptura for centuries, and so that's why it might continue to this day.

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The basis is that you run into a self-referentiality problem trying to figure out what the Bible says about itself. There was no such thing as "the Bible" when it was being written. Not even the concept of "writing the Bible" existed, the way we think of writing books today, because the Bible isn't a book; it's a collection of several individual books. Each book was its own work that (originally) stood on its own, and they weren't compiled into a collection until centuries after the last of them was written. So if you're looking for a biblical doctrine that says "only the Bible can be considered authoritative," you won't find any such thing, because you can't.

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But the NT refers to the OT as "the scriptures" doesn't it? –  leeand00 Aug 31 '11 at 5:55
The Christian religions that teach non-sola-scriptura have some basis for their belief... –  leeand00 Aug 31 '11 at 5:57
A given book however can make a categorical claim that, for instance "The Word of God" is authoritative, and also provide criteria by which "The Word of God" can be identified. If the other books of "the Bible" meet those criteria, regardless of when they were written or compiled, then the claim could be contained within "The Bible" and logically consistent at the same time. –  Flimzy Aug 31 '11 at 6:04
I'm not saying this is the case, I'm just saying that the fact "The Bible" didn't exist at the time of its was writing is not, alone, sufficient to prove that it can't make such a claim. –  Flimzy Aug 31 '11 at 6:07
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  1. It's a heresy (i.e. a hetrodox teaching condemned by the Catholic Church), to change from not believing in it, to believing in it would make you a heretic. (not an argument, but a very important reason for not believing)
  2. The Bible is the complete source of public revelation, but we are permitted to believe private revelation, which has the approval of a Bishop (apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima, Lourdes, Guadalupe, Kibeho, Akita, etc). Protestants would find this to be 'extra-scriptura'
  3. Papal / Magisterial infallibility is pretty pointless if nothing they teach on faith and morals could be extra-biblical. Two of the four Marian Dogmas are about events before and after the Gospels (Immaculate Conception of Mary and Assumption of Mary).
  4. The Natural Law, the philosophy of the Doctors of the Church (Augustine and Aquinas), mainly extends from the teaching of Aristotle. Catholics believe that we get to know God through reason alone and that we can know quite a bit more through reason alone too.
  5. The Eucharist is the source and summit of our faith. The Church is the Mother of the Bible, We believe Jesus comes to us in the Eucharist, we can worship Him directly and commune with Him fully.
  6. Besides the bible, we have 2 other pillars which make up the one Faith. Magisterial Teaching (The teaching of the Pope in communion with the Bishops) and Sacred Tradition (all the stuff nobody thinks anyone believes anymore)
  7. There are also the 7 Sacraments, which are the invisible realities made real with the help of the Clergy and the Faithful. Baptism, Matrimony, The Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, Anointing of the Sick, and Reconcilliation (Confession). The sacraments are all thourghouly biblical but more an extension of traditional apostolic Christianity than detailed biblical edicts.

However, there is no basis for contradicting the bible or any Divine Law. So the argument I'm trying to make here is not that 'Scriptura' is bad or wrong or even insufficient to gain salvation. I'm just saying that 'Sola Scriptura' is insufficient to understand what is meant by the 'Fullness of Truth', which can only be found in the Catholic Church.

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Could you rephrase your first point? Because, frankly, I don't get what you're saying. What is the heresy? –  Jürgen A. Erhard Sep 20 '11 at 21:37
Did that first point ever get edited? The heresy still doesn't make sense to me. –  JustinY May 7 '12 at 3:08
@JustinY I must have missed that comment. The heresy is in believing something contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura is definitely opposed to Catholic teaching. –  Peter Turner May 7 '12 at 13:03
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