Take the 2-minute tour ×
Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I asked this question a while ago Sola Scriptura to the max and was told that everyone believed Sola Scriptura to the point of excluding everything else. Today I was told I was not properly representing Sola Scriptura because I said trinitarianism and partialism are both not literally in the scripture and therefore fallible as concepts of men perhaps or perhaps not drawn from the scripture. Here: Is the Triune God Family?

Sola Scriptura does imply you accept some indirect inferences about the scripture but it does not make demands on which ones they are as far as I know.

Sola scriptura rejects any original infallible authority, other than the Bible. In this view, all secondary authority is derived from the authority of the Scriptures and is therefore subject to reform when compared to the teaching of the Bible. Church councils, preachers, biblical commentators, private revelation, or even a message allegedly from an angel or an apostle are not an original authority alongside the Bible in the sola scriptura approach.

I see no Sola Scriptura or Bible literalist requirement for being triniterian or partialist or thinking that either concepts are "authoritative". The Bible literalist combined with a Sola Scriptura believes the Bible and nothing else save select inferences. Is there some set of doctrins you must agree on to be Sola Scriptura and Bible literalist? I'm not asking about other groups or the majority of sola scriptura and the majority of Bible literalist.

share|improve this question

closed as unclear what you're asking by Mr. Bultitude, fredsbend, curiousdannii, Matt Gutting, El'endia Starman Apr 8 at 20:00

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

Perhaps it would help you to know that sola scriptura's origins are found in Martin Luther when he broke from the claims of authority the Catholic church had given itself alongside that of the Bible. (Of course you already know this.) These who believe in sola scriptura are rejecting the idea that a church body or other body has just as much authority regarding spiritual matters as God's Word. Frankly, it's hard to make sense of your question regarding trinitarian or partialists thinking in light of this view of sola scriptura. –  Steve Jul 21 '13 at 14:13
possible duplicate of Sola Scriptura to the max –  Jim G. Jun 18 '14 at 2:25
@JimG. Not a duplicate. Please read the whole question not just titles. Answers to these questions would not be interchangeable. –  Caleb Jun 18 '14 at 7:16

1 Answer 1

The term sola scriptura is a reference to the ultimate authoritative reference used. It does not say anything about the validity or invalidity of any particular statement or the general use of language. The very people who during the Protestant Reformation (re)started insisting on the use of Scripture as the ultimate authority in all matters of doctrine also wrote volumes of their own explaining what they believed the Scriptures to teach and how they applied to various situations. The term "sola scriptura" is itself not found in the Bible; it is just a handy moniker that we give to refer to a particular school of thought. The only context for which it is a valid identifier is a statement about who or what a group looks to as its authority. It does not in itself denote any particular position on any other issue. For example a Baptist and a Presbyterian would both claim Sola Scriptura, but they would each identify a different system of church government as being prescribed in the Bible.

The term Bible literalist is actually relatively meaningless. Theoretically it would refer to a specific kind of hermeneutic, but that hermeneutic doesn't have a well enough defined set of rules to be useful in identifying a particular doctrinal framework. There are dozens of traditions that claim that their interpretations of Scripture are "literal", but they literally come to opposite conclusions about their meaning. At best, use of the term tells you something about the thought process of how a specific group understands their own methods, but it doesn't really tell you anything about what their actual beliefs are.

In either event both terms can be applied to a large assortment of different traditions, not all of which are in agreement on any particular issue. It is very difficult to make any generalizations of the sort "Sola Scriptura adherents believe X" or "Bible literalists believe Y" and have those generalizations be broadly true. In fact they will almost always be inaccurate. Instead such statements should identify the particular tradition for which the belief is actually asserted.

The other way to explain this has to do with logic. Given that:

A is a subset of C
B is a subset of C
A believes X

It would be invalid to assert that that "C believes X". Some of them do, but A is only a subset and other subsets such as B may not.

share|improve this answer

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.