I am sorry. I spent my writing time today on Facebook, and am simply spent. So instead of writing something special for the blog, I decided to copy and paste my conversation. Wow, am I lazy. Without further ado, here you go.
“I so deeply appreciate your openness and sensibility in your discussion. I can see very clearly how deep your faith in Christ is, and I am edifiied by it. It is so easy to get caught in the “I’m right and you’re wrong” mentality, and I am impressed that you haven’t fallen into that trap. May God contiune to bless you.
The trouble is, the doctrine of Sola Scriptura does not do what you describe. It does not check our teaching against a solid norm. Let me explain.
Here are you and I, two intellegent people, who are in awe of God, and in love with Jesus Christ. We both have every desire to remain faithful to Him, and want to live our lives as closely to His directions as possible. And yet, when we look to the scriptures to guide our conversation, instead of whole hearted agreement, we find dissention. Instead of clasping each others palms, and calling each other to head out and spread the Gospel with the same acccord, we instead end up in petty squabbles.
This cannot be what Christ intended. Christ earnestly prayed that we would be one, undivided. And for 1500 years, that is exactly how it was, until Luther nailed his protest to the church door. For 1500 years, the Church preserved its tradition, and with that tradition, the scriptures that supported it and edified that belief.
Look again at your quote from Galatians 1:8-9. Paul calls us to not depart from the gospel he had preached to them. And yet, no Gospel had yet been written. That is because the gospel is not words on a page, but a living, breathing faith handed down from one man to another, kept in line by the living memory of its collective people, most especially in the apostles and their successors. The bible is more precious than gold, but only when held in tandem with the tradition of that people, the Church.
You see, this Church was and is the vehicle for the gospel to move throughout the world. It was so in the first centuries before the bible came to be, and it is so now. This “Church of the living God, the Pillar, and Foundation of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15) is where we must bring our questions about scripture, lest we fall away from that gospel into dissention.
Look at the history of the protestant church since this division, and what you see is divison and dissagreement spreading like wildfire. Thousands of churches have cropped up all around, each with their own take on just what the scriptures mean. This is not the “oneness” that Christ asked of us, and it is born of not having that sure norm that Galatians speaks of.
Notice that I am not saying that the Church is perfect, far from it. Jesus said the Kingdom would be like a field of wheat, with weeds sown into it in the night. Clearly, this is not heaven He is speaking of, as there can be no weeds in heaven. Yes, there have been bad leaders, and many of them have done bad things. There are weeds in the wheat, but that will be separted by Christ at the end, so we need not be too concerned with that now. What is important, is while many in the Church have been unfaithful, the teaching of the Church has never been. Now I’m not talking about a idioic pronouncment here, or a pope saying something stupid there, but the functional dogma of the Church has remained unchanged, clarified at times (Trinity doctrine for example), but unchanged.
Nowhere in all of the first 1500 years of our faith in Christ has there been the idea that the scripture has everything we need to know. This is frankly, a brand new idea in the larger scheme of things, and all I have to do is look at the results of that belief, to know the fruit it bears is the fruit of division.”
Phew, I clearly talk too much.