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The Latin phrase Sola Scriptura means “by Scripture alone.” I understand that the phrase Nuda or Solo Scriptura means “Scripture alone.” There is a subtle but important difference and this is what I want to explore.

Sola Scriptura was a key principle of the Reformation. It asserts that Scripture alone is the supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. Reformers such as Luther and Calvin established that Scripture is the highest authority, but they also upheld the subordinate importance of historical creeds and confessions.

Early church fathers, such as Augustine and Athanasius, affirmed the authority of Scripture while also contributing to theological debate that allowed the church to address heretical doctrines and clarify foundational Christian beliefs.

Nuda, or Solo Scriptura upholds Scripture as the only authority, dismissing historical creeds, confessions, and biblical traditions as useless and nonbinding. My understanding is that advocates of Nuda or Solo Scriptura believe that the Bible should be interpreted apart from any external authority or influence, including the Apostles’ Creed, for example, or the Nicene Creed or the Westminster Catechism.

My question is this: What Christian denominations stand by Nuda or Solo Scriptura and what do they have to say about established creeds and confessions?

EDIT: I appreciate the suggestion that most Protestant denominations accept many of the older creeds. But some denominations reject them. My question asks if there are any such Christian denominations and, if so, why do they reject creeds such as the Apostles/Nicene and Athanasian, etc.

NOTE: I am asking about Nuda or Solo Scriptura, not Sola Scriptura.

The answer to this question delves into Nuda/Solo Scripture and is worth reading: What denominations apply the doctrine Nuda Scriptura?

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    The Southern Baptists just rejected a motion to officially affirm the Nicene Creed, so there should be lots of explanations of their arguments.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 15 at 10:21
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    @Lesley I think it would be a mistake to scope it to non-trinitarians. Solo scriptura seems to be most taught by some fringe Protestant groups.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 16 at 7:47
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    @curiousdannii "The Southern Baptists just rejected a motion to officially affirm the Nicene Creed" Wow, that's huge. Found a news article about it here from a Baptist-friendly press. Quite worrisome how the SBC messengers were more receptive to US pledge of allegiance "creed" than a historic catholic (with a small 'c') creed. Commented Jun 16 at 20:45
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    @Lesley Yes, it seems "Nuda Scriptura" and "Solo Scriptura" refers to the same thing. But your question is more explicit with regards to the creeds. Commented Jun 18 at 17:09
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    see my answer and link re nuda scriptura or bare scripture.
    – SLM
    Commented Jun 19 at 16:07

2 Answers 2

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Solo scriptura or bare scripture is basically an extension or revisionist "cleaning" of sola scriptura. Solo means scripture alone, ignoring input or guidance from tradition, church fathers, and councils. Sola also places the Bible as supreme as to salvific information, but will still consider our heritage.

One motivation for Solo teaching/view was church unity (see link above). The problem became which scripture, which canon (66 or 73 or more books)?

Another issue arose of whose interpretation is true and correct? Or does it matter since believers are all brothers/sisters.

Solo also led to the Restoration movement on the idea that the early church, following traditions of men, fell away from the truth fairly early on. See for one example the letter of Firmillian to Cyprian regarding baptism questions (I know, ironic to cite something in support that is rejected out of hand, but I'm not a Soloist).

At the same time, the assertion has arose that those who began teaching Solo were fringe heretics (those outside the Bible and our tradition (note not Tradition as some teach putting their Tradition on par with the Bible)). Fringe Soloists has led to more factions. And of course, it raises all of the other questions (whose canon, whose interpretation, once established, what of their tradition (why accept yours, but not ours))?

So, who follows Solo?

According to the first citation, not many. Plymouth Brethren and some Evangelicals. Could LDS or JW be included? Perhaps in their rejection of tradition and inclusion of their Works/Interpretations.

They would assert that the church fell away very early. That the subsequent councils and decrees were man-made. They must be rejected.

The Restoration Movement following in the Stone-Campbell path assert many of the same issues and some solutions.

One Body, but we fail at that

Creeds divide

Tradition divides

Use Bible alone

Use Bible names (Church of Christ, etc), not people names (Lutherans, etc), not locations (Church at Rome, etc).

So, Sola and Solo went along together, until they didn't. But the hope of One Body still exists.

Hope this helps.

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Churches of Christ typically have a belief statement that says they only follow the word of God, and not any creed of man. The following is an excerpt from the McKinney Texas Central church of Christ "About Us" statement:

"The McKinney Central Church of Christ is simply a group of Christians following the Word of God. We do not follow any creed of man or any other doctrine but Gods. ...What we believe and practice is solely base on the authority from heaven. Not man or creed, just God. (Source: https://mckinneycentralcofc.com/)

Many of the Baptist churches in the US adopt a belief statement issued by the Southern Baptist Convention in 2000 that says they "try" all creeds against the word of God.

"The Holy Bible was written by men divinely inspired and is God’s revelation of Himself to man. It is a perfect treasure of divine instruction. It has God for its author, salvation for its end, and truth, without any mixture of error, for its matter. Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy. It reveals the principles by which God judges us, and therefore is, and will remain to the end of the world, the true center of Christian union, and the supreme standard by which all human conduct, creeds, and religious opinions should be tried...." (Source: https://bfm.sbc.net/bfm2000/)

Many of the Methodist churches in the US have a Confession of Faith adopted from the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Chruch - 2016 that states in part:

"We believe the Holy Bible, Old and New Testaments, reveals the Word of God so far as it is necessary for our salvation. It is to be received through the Holy Spirit as the true rule and guide for faith and practice. Whatever is not revealed in or established by the Holy Scriptures is not to be made an article of faith nor is it to be taught as essential to salvation." (Source: https://www.umc.org/en/content/confession-of-faith)

This appears to rule out creeds of men, except or unless they deem a particular creed not essential to salvation.

The other Protestant denominations have similar belief statements while leaving that loophole of "not essential to salvation" and many will make the claim that they are "inclusive" which seems to discard certain of God's word.

The churches of Christ are the strictest "solo scriptura" belief statements of the Protestant churches I have examined. Most of them, however, are using God's word in their own way to teach their version of what His scriptures say. And, so many Protestant denominations have been influenced by centuries of Catholic teaching, and the writings of "church fathers" that they continue to preach and teach doctrines of men as though they are the word of God. It is very difficult to find a congregation these days that do not have these preconceived and taught biases of the traditions of man.

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    With regard to the Methodist, the phrase "whatever is not revealed in OR ESTABLISHED BY the Holy Scriptures" leaves open the recognition that the ancient creeds have been, are and can be established from Holy Scripture. In this they seem to say the same as the C of E which accepts the creeds, not because they were authoritively decreed by ancient councils, but because they can be established from Holy Scripture. SO this phrase "or established by" may be more significant than meetsthe eye.
    – davidlol
    Commented Jun 16 at 20:07
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    That SBC statement sounds like a classic expression of sola scriptura, not solo scriptura.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 16 at 21:26
  • It is really inappropriate to say "solo scriptura" to mean scripture alone. The Latin word "solo" is a musical term for a performance by one musician or singer. The meaning of "sola scriptura" is by scripture alone. I am not sure how "solo scriptura" came to be confused this way. And, tho ppl claim that their creeds are derived or established from scripture is dicey. Too many creeds are simply a method of using scripture to support beliefs & doctrines that are taken out of context & are not taught by scripture.
    – Gina
    Commented Jun 17 at 8:27
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    I don't know how it came to be confused either, but in any case, the question is about solo scriptura (a hybrid Latin-English term), not sola scriptura.
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Jun 17 at 8:39

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