Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.
Introduction Sola scriptura is arguably the most foundational point of disagreement underlying the nearly five-hundred year rift between Catholic and Protestant Christians. In this way, they argue, sola scriptura is largely responsible not only for the separation of Protestants from the Catholic Church, but also for the vast number of schisms between Protestants.
The overall structure of our article is as follows. One primary reason, according to Mathison, is that the divisions and disagreements between Christians undermine the credibility of Christians and the gospel.
One of the most obvious facts facing any intelligent person who has been a Christian for more than a few days is the reality of multitudes of conflicting interpretations of Scripture.
Is there any way to ever resolve the hermeneutical chaos and anarchy that exists within the Protestant church largely as a result of its adoption of radical individualism?
Most Protestants do not seem to have taken this question seriously enough if they have considered it at all. If we proclaim to the unbelieving world that we have the one true and final revelation from God, why should they listen to us if we cannot agree about what that revelation actually says?
Jesus prayed for the disciples that they would be one John And why did He pray for this unity? The world is supposed to be hearing the Church preach the gospel of Christ, but the world is instead hearing an endless cacophony of conflicting and contradictory assertions by those who claim to be the Church of Christ.
This is the heart of the hermeneutical problem we face in the Church today.
Almost every Christian who has wrestled with theological questions has encountered the problem of competing interpretations of Scripture.
Each man will claim that the other is in error, but by what ultimate authority do they typically make such a judgment? How then do we discern which interpretation is correct? The typical modern Evangelical solution to this problem is to tell the inquirer to examine the arguments on both sides and decide which of them is closest to the teaching of Scripture.
Yet in reality, all that occurs is that one Christian measures the scriptural interpretations of other Christians against the standard of his own scriptural interpretation. Rather than placing the final authority in Scripture as it intends to do, this concept of Scripture places the final authority in the reason and judgment of each individual believer.
The result is the relativism, subjectivism, and theological chaos that we see in modern Evangelicalism today. According to Mathison, the answer is no: All appeals to Scripture are appeals to interpretations of Scripture. The only real question is: People with differing interpretations of Scripture cannot set a Bible on a table and ask it to resolve their differences.
In order for the Scripture to function as an authority, it must be read and interpreted by someone.
Because they fail to appreciate this fact, Mathison charges that: Ultimately the interpretation of Scripture becomes individualistic with no possibility for the resolution of differences. The problem is that there are differing interpretations of Scripture, and Christians are told that these can be resolved by a simple appeal to Scripture.
The only question is: When we are faced with conflicting interpretations of Scripture, we cannot set a Bible on a table and ask it to resolve our difference of opinion as if it were a Ouija board. In order for Scripture to serve as an authority at all, it must be read, exegeted, and interpreted by somebody.
Otherwise, irreconcilable hermeneutical disputes can only end in division, as each faction has no recourse but to separate. And these divisions are contrary to the will of Christ who prays in John 17 that all His followers would be one, so that the world would see that the Father sent the Son.
These divisions are also contrary to the command of the Apostle Paul, who exhorts us that there be no divisions among us.Individual Assurance of Learning Exercise 1 Individual Assignment 1.
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