On sola scriptura

First, I would really recommend the book - Shape of Sola Scriptura.
Recommending a non-canonical book at this point carries no irony. It's true that at one level we are submitting to the church's authority regarding what Scripture is canonical and what isn't. This does NOT deny sola scriptura. It does deny the modern distortion of SOLO scriptura. This says there is NO authority besides Scripture. There is a legit church authority, but it doesn't entail denying sola Scriptura. Scripture is the ultimate authority but we should also listen carefully to how the church interprets Scripture. It's like we are 19, the church is our mother, and the Word is our Father. Hopefully they say the same thing, but occasionally they don't, and then hopefully mom defers to dad. When she doesn't and insists on her way, there's a functional divorce, which has resulted in Rome and Orthodoxy, in my book. The 19 year old is stuck having to sort it out himself. Sola Scriptura does not cause division. Churches who insist on having absolute authority do. Rome excommunicating Luther was the point of division, not Luther arguing too much, or leaving Rome, which he didn't until they kicked him out. Another way of saying this is that Protestants aren't the sectarians. Rome and EOO are. Leaving the truth and following corruption is the problem, not refusing to follow those who do.

My fear is that in seeing legit church authority to which to submit, we think Scripture is thus subordinate to the church, which is by no means true. The church recognizes what is already true - which writings are canonical. It does not make them so. In the same way, the church is very helpful in interpreting Scripture - many helpful commentators, etc - but the church can't decree an interpretation of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, or the veneration of icons. It doesn't create truth but recognizes what's in Scripture.

There are real Christians in the Roman and Orthodox churches. I go as far as to call them churches. Unsound churches. Erring brethren. (I think this is similar to Rome's wording about Protestants.) But Protestants who leave Protestantism to go to them seriously endanger their souls, leaving clearer truth for error. Both churches functionally teach (by what they ask of adherents more than by their words) that faith is not solely in Christ, but in the church, veneration of Mary or icons, etc. So it is not easy for them to trust Christ alone, following the church.

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