"Sola Scriptura" The Rule of Scripture in the Norming of Dogma

Josiah

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The Definition:


The Rule of Scripture is the practice of embracing Scripture as the rule ("straight edge") - canon ("measuring stick") - norma normans (the norm that norms) as it is called in epistemology, as we examine and evaluate the positions (especially doctrines) among us.


Here is the official, historic, verbatim definition: "The Scriptures are and should remain the sole rule in the norming of all doctrine among us" (Lutheran Formula of Concord, Solid Declaration, 9). This is the definition I will use in this thread. One can argue and claim that "Sola Scriptura" is the preference of fish tacos over hamburgers, but that is not the historic or official meaning.




What it IS:

1. An embrace of accountability for the doctrines among us (especially those in dispute).

2. An embrace of norming (the process of examining positions for truth, correctness, validity).

3. An embrace of the black-and-white words in Scripture as the best, most sound rule/canon/norma normans for US to USE for THIS process.



What it is NOT:

1. A teaching that all revelation or truth is found in Scripture. It's not a teaching at all, it is the PRACTICE of using Scripture as the rule in the norming of doctrines. Scripture itself says that "the heavens declare the glory of God" but our visual reception of the stars is not used as the norma normans for the evaluation of doctrines among us in the practice of Sola Scriptura.

2. A teaching that Scripture is "finished." Nor a teaching on what is and is not Scripture. It's not a teaching at all. While probably all that practice Sola Scripture agree with all others that God seems to have inscribed His last book around 100 AD and doens't seem to be adding any more books, the Rule of Scripture was just as "valid" in 1400 BC when Scripture consisted of just two stone tablets as it is today - only the corpus of Scripture is larger, that has no impact on the practice of embracing it as the rule/canon/norma normans in our evaluation of doctrines among us. The Rule of Scripture embraces the Scripture that is.

3. Hermeneutics. The Rule of Scripture has to do with WHAT is the most sound rule/canon/norma normans for the evaluation of the doctrines among us, it is not a hermeneutical principle. Obviously that Scripture needs to be interpreted, but that's a different subject or another day and thread. The Rule of Scripture has to do with norming, not interpreting. It is NOT the practice that MY feeling about what God SHOULD have stated in Scripture as I myself currently interpret things is the rule and norm. It subjects all the various feelings about things to the words of Scripture. Sola Scriptura does NOT employ invisible words.

4. Arbitration. Obviously, some process of determining whether the doctrine under review "measures up" (arbitration) to the "measuring stick" (the canon) is often needed. But this is also beyond the scope here; the Rule of Scripture is the embrace of Scripture AS that canon, it does not address the issue of HOW it is best determined if a position "measures up" to that canon.




An illustration:


Let's say Dave and Fred are neighbors. They decided that they will hire a contractor to build a brick wall on their property line, six feet tall. Dave and Fred hire Bob the Builder. He agrees to build the wall on the property line - six feet tall.

Bob is now done. He claims the wall is six feet tall. Does it matter? If it doesn't, if his work and claim are entirely, completely irrelevant - then, nope - truth doesn't matter. And can just ignore what he said and did (don't matter). OR we can consider that of the nearly 7 billion people in the world, there is ONE who is incapable of being wrong about measurements - and that ONE is Bob the Builder, claims ONE - Bob the Builder. IF Bob the Builder alone is right about what he alone claims about he alone here, it's pretty much a waste of time to wonder if what he said about this is true or not. But, IF truth matters and IF Bob the Builder will permit accountability (perhaps because he is confident the wall IS six feet tall), then we have the issue of accountability: Is the wall what we desire and what Bob the Builder claims it is?

If so, we just embraced norming. Norming is the process of determining correctness of the positions among us. For example, Bob claiming the wall is 6 feet tall. Is that correct? Addressing that question is norming.


Norming typically involves a norm: WHAT will serve as the rule (straight edge) or canon (measuring stick) - WHAT will be embraced by all parties involved in the normative process that is the reliable standard, the plumbline. Perhaps in the case of Fred and Dave, they embrace a standard Sears Measuring Tape. They both have one, Bob does too. Dave, Fred and Bob consider their carpenter's Sears Measuring Tape as reliable for this purpose, it's OBJECTIVE (all 3 men can read the numbers), it's UNALTERABLE (none of the 3 can change what the tape says) and it's OUTSIDE and ABOVE and BEYOND all 3 parties. Using that could be called "The Rule of the Measuring Tape." The Sears Measuring Tape would be the "canon" (the word means 'measuring stick') for this normative process.


Why Scripture?


In epistemology (regardless of discipline), the most sound norma normans is usually regarded as the most objective, most knowable by all and alterable by none, the most universally embraced by all parties as reliable for this purpose. My degree is in physics. Our norma normans is math and repeatable, objective, laborative evidence. Me saying, "what I think is the norm for what I think" will be instantly disregarded as evidential since it's circular. I would need to evidence and substantiate my view with a norm fully OUTSIDE and ABOVE and BEYOND me - something objective and knowable. This is what The Handbook of the Catholic Faith proclaims (page 136), "The Bible is the very words of God and no greater assurance of credence can be given. The Bible was inspired by God. Exactly what does that mean? It means that God Himself is the Author of the Bible. God inspired the penmen to write as He wished.... the authority of the Bible flows directly from the Author of the Bible who is God; it is authoritative because the Author is." Those that accept the Rule of Scripture tend to agree. It's embrace as the most sound Rule flows from our common embrace of Scripture as the inscriptured words of God for God is the ultimate authority.

The embrace of Scripture as the written words of God is among the most historic, ecumenical, universal embraces in all of Christianity. We see this as reliable, dependable, authoritative - it as a very, very, broad and deep embrace as such - typically among all parties involved in the evaluation. (See the illustration above).

It is knowable by all and alterable by none. We can all see the very words of Romans 3:25 for example, they are black letters on a white page - knowable! And they are unalterable. I can't change what is on the page in Romans 3:25, nor can any other; what is is.

It is regarded as authoritative and reliable. It is knowable by all and alterable by none. Those that reject the Rule of Scripture in norming ( the RCC and LDS, for example ) have no better alternative (something more inspired, more inerrant, more ecumenically/historically embraced by all parties, more objectively knowable, more unalterable), they have no alternative that is clearly more sound for this purpose among us.

To simply embrace the teachings of self (sometimes denominational "tradition" or "confession") as the rule/canon is simply self looking in the mirror at self - self almost always reveals self. In communist Cuba, Castro agrees with Castro - it has nothing whatsoever to do with whether Castro is correct. We need a Rule outside, beyond, above self.




Why do some persons and denominations and cults so passionately reject this practice?


Those that reject the Rule of Scripture in norming tend to do so not because they reject Scripture or have an alternative that is MORE inerrant, MORE the inscripturated words of God, MORE reliable, MORE objectively knowable, MORE unalterable, MORE ecumenically embraced as authoriative. Rather the rejection tends to be because each rejects accountability (and thus norming and any norm in such) in the sole, singular, exclusive, particular, unique case of self alone. From The Handbook of the Catholic Faith (page 151), "When the Catholic is asked for the substantiation for his belief, the correct answer is: From the teaching authority. This authority consists of the bishops of The Catholic Church in connection with the Catholic Pope in Rome. The faithful are thus freed from the typically Protestant question of 'is it true' and instead rests in quiet confidence that whatever the Catholic Church teaches is the teaching of Jesus Himself since Jesus said, 'whoever hears you hears me'." So says self for self alone.

Others simply hold that THEIR current, personal "interpretation" of Scripture is above Scripture itself. Their interpretation "trumps" Scripture. Thus, if one argues that "in" means "out" then the reality that Scripture says "out" becomes irrelevant, what SELF currently says is MEANT supercedes what is stated. Self becomes the norma normans. For those who insist self alone is simply smarter or better than Scripture, then this practice will be rejected.





- Josiah





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Particular

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Josiah, when push comes to shove, you practice sola lutherana, not sola scriptura. The rule of scripture gets a backseat to the rule of tradition and concord.
But, thanks for posting this long article that no one has posted on until now.
 

Josiah

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Josiah, when push comes to shove, you practice sola lutherana, not sola scriptura. The rule of scripture gets a backseat to the rule of tradition and concord.

What you or I DO is irrelevant to this thread.

But you are wrong, I'm very embracing of this practice and in conversations with you, I've found you are quite consistent in largely ignoring the words of Scripture that I provide to you (verbatim, black-and-white ones that Sola Scriptura requires) and you instead insist that what YOU FEEL God MEANT to say (just didn't) is the rule - you are constantly asking questions about what I think/feel while ignoring what God specifically, clearly, often, verbatim STATES in the black-and-white words that Sola Scriptura directs us to. You do this with all the unique, new inventions of radical Calvinism, although on other topics, you are much more accepting of what God states.

But again, the issue of this thread is the Rule of Scripture; that disputed dogmas are ruled by the words found in the Bible ... NOT by how a tiny number of latter-day radical Calvinists feel that God should have said in direct contradiction to what He actually did and not the "answers" you yourself give to the questions you yourself ask.


Back to the topic.




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Particular

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What you or I DO is irrelevant to this thread.

But you are wrong, I'm very embracing of this practice and in conversations with you, I've found you are quite consistent in largely ignoring the words of Scripture that I provide to you (verbatim, black-and-white ones that Sola Scriptura requires) and you instead insist that what YOU FEEL God MEANT to say (just didn't) is the rule - you are constantly asking questions about what I think/feel while ignoring what God specifically, clearly, often, verbatim STATES in the black-and-white words that Sola Scriptura directs us to. You do this with all the unique, new inventions of radical Calvinism, although on other topics, you are much more accepting of what God states.

But again, the issue of this thread is the Rule of Scripture; that disputed dogmas are ruled by the words found in the Bible ... NOT by how a tiny number of latter-day radical Calvinists feel that God should have said in direct contradiction to what He actually did and not the "answers" you yourself give to the questions you yourself ask.


Back to the topic.




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The topic is just you spewing your opinion from your sola lutherana point of view.
 

Lazy Suesun

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Josiah, when push comes to shove, you practice sola lutherana, not sola scriptura. The rule of scripture gets a backseat to the rule of tradition and concord.
But, thanks for posting this long article that no one has posted on until now.
Wow, that's quite an indictment.
Going on that line, couldn't the same charge be levied against any member of any denomination?
 

Particular

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Wow, that's quite an indictment.
Going on that line, couldn't the same charge be levied against any member of any denomination?
Only if a member of a denomination supported their denominational tradition over God's word.
On multiple issues, Josiah has held the denominational tradition over and above what the Bible expresses. For example, Josiah holds to salvation by infant baptism as a means of God extending grace. This position cannot be found by holding to Sola Scriptura. It can only be extrapolated by inference and philosophy via tradition.
 

Josiah

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Josiah holds to salvation by infant baptism as a means of God extending grace.

"Baptism now saves you."
Those are the black-and-white, verbatim, literal, objective words of the Bible.
Sola Scriptura notes the objective, knowable, written words found in the Bible.
You don't. You often hold that the word of the Bible should be the opposite of what they actually are.

Now, we could ARBITRATE if that upholds that Baptism is a means of grace but that's another issue for another day, Sola Scriptura isn't about hermeneutics or arbitration.


On Baptism, actually, you have no clue what I hold in this regard because you've provided ZERO evidence that you've read what I've said on this. You just keep repeating your new Anabaptist denominational tradition about Baptism - over and over and over and over and over - like a broken record, just your denomination's new tradition, endlessly. Without even ONE Scripture to support it, NOTHING that says "Thou canst not baptize anyone under the age of you-won't-be-told." NOTHING that says, "Thou canst NOT baptize any who hath not proven they hath first recited the Sinner's Prayer and adequately partici[pated in an Altar Call." NOTHING that states, "Thou art mandated to dunk every cell of the receipents body under water or God is rendered impotent." Not one verse to support even one of your new denomination tradition you parrot over and and over and over and over and over. Just the endless parroting your new Anabaptist tradition, as if your parroting the tradition with not one Scripture that says it makes it true.




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Lazy Suesun

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Only if a member of a denomination supported their denominational tradition over God's word.
On multiple issues, Josiah has held the denominational tradition over and above what the Bible expresses. For example, Josiah holds to salvation by infant baptism as a means of God extending grace. This position cannot be found by holding to Sola Scriptura. It can only be extrapolated by inference and philosophy via tradition.
Thank you for your detailed answer. :)
 
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