09 June, 2009

Was Luther pleased with his new doctrine of Sola Scriptura?

Protestants claim that Scripture is the “supreme” rule of faith; it may surprise them that I do not disagree with that statement. What I do disagree with most strongly is when one says that it is the sole rule of faith as most modernist “Sola Scriptura” advocates claim. Note, I said modernist, as Martin Luther did not share the same view as many claiming “Sola Scriptura” do today, in regards to the Scriptural understanding. Luther believed that Biblical understanding is a partnership between the scholar and the lay person and that it was to be taught in community instead of each person believing themselves to be a theologian. Here is what Fr. Martin Luther said:

"This one will not hear of Baptism, and that one denies the sacrament, another puts a world between this and the last day: some teach that Christ is not God, some say this, some say that: there are as many sects and creeds as there are heads. No yokel is so rude but when he has dreams and fancies, he thinks himself inspired by the Holy Ghost and must be a prophet" De Wette III, 61. quoted in O'Hare, THE FACTS ABOUT LUTHER, 208.

"Noblemen, townsmen, peasants, all classes understand the Evangelium better than I or St. Paul; they are now wise and think themselves more learned than all the ministers." Walch XIV, 1360. quoted in O'Hare, Ibid, 209.

"We concede -- as we must -- that so much of what they [the Catholic Church] say is true: that the papacy has God's word and the office of the apostles, and that we have received Holy Scriptures, Baptism, the Sacrament, and the pulpit from them. What would we know of these if it were not for them?" Sermon on the gospel of St. John, chaps. 14 - 16 (1537), in vol. 24 of LUTHER'S WORKS, St. Louis, Mo.: Concordia, 1961, 304

By the time Fr. Martin Luther made these quotes Ulrich Zwingli had already “thrown the baby out with the bathwater” by denying the presence of Jesus in the Eucharist, essentially forbidding Christ from protestant worship. There were already schisms and vile disagreements over the most basic of Christian beliefs and the identity of Christianity was changing by these reformers on the whims of eisegesical whimsy and exegetical error. The fact is that Luther’s lamentations were prophetic, realizing that the Church had maintained Sacred Tradition and that his movement was sliding down a slippery slope of apostasy in exponentially increasing proportions.

The truth is, as Vatican II states that sacred Tradition and Sacred Scriptures flow from the same wellspring, which is Christ, they are unified and culminate to the same end. If one wishes to follow biblical teaching about the “rule of faith”, it is Scripture and apostolic tradition as interpreted by the living teaching authority of the Church from which comes the oral teaching of Jesus and the apostles and the authority of interpretation given to the Church.

In Christ
Fr. Joseph

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