Category Archives: Reformed Theology

Keith Mathison on Why Evangelicals Must Recover sola Scriptura

The Evangelical church has not awakened readily to a fact that many Roman Catholic apologists have been quick to notice. The simple fact of the matter is this: the modern Evangelical doctrine of Scripture-solo Scriptura-is self-contradictory and fundamentally absurd. If applied consistently it is fatal to Christianity. A growing number of Evangelicals are realizing this, and because they have been told that solo Scriptura is the Reformation and Protestant doctrine, they are flocking to Rome and Constantinople in an attempt to maintain a coherent faith.If Evangelical Protestantism is to survive, if it is to regain its calling, it must reject the essentially man-centered doctrine of solo Scriptura. The Evangelical church cannot call Christendom to reform and to a return to apostolic Christianity by rejecting one of the fundamental tenets of apostolic Christianity. Why should we expect or even want those within Roman Catholicism or Eastern Orthodoxy to reject institutional autonomy in favor of individual autonomy? Solo scriptura cannot result in anything other than doctrinal chaos.Instead of advocating chaos, the Evangelical church must regain an understanding of the Reformation doctrine of sola Scriptura, which is essentially nothing more than the early Church’s doctrine of Scripture and tradition framed within a different historical context. The Church must affirm that Scripture is the sole, final, and infallible norm of faith and practice. And the Church must affirm that Scripture is to be interpreted in and by the communion of saints within the theological context of the rule of faith. Only by rejecting all forms of autonomy, institutional or individual, can any branch of the Church be in obedience to Jesus Christ the Lord. (Keith Mathison, The Shape of Sola Scriptura [Moscow, ID: Canon, 2001], pp.346-47)