"Let unity, the greatest good of all goods, be your preoccupation." - St. Ignatius of Antioch (Letter to St. Polycarp)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Solo Scriptura, Sola Scriptura, and the Question of Interpretive Authority

According to Keith Mathison, over the last one hundred and fifty years Evangelicalism has replaced sola scriptura, according to which Scripture is the only infallible ecclesial authority, with solo scriptura, the notion that Scripture is the only ecclesial authority. The direct implication of solo scriptura is that each person is his own ultimate interpretive authority. Solo scriptura is, according to Mathison, an unbiblical position; proponents of sola scriptura should uphold the claim that Scripture is the only infallible authority, but should repudiate any position according to which individual Christians are the ultimate arbiters of Scriptural truth. In this article Neal Judisch and I argue that there is no principled difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura with respect to the holder of ultimate interpretive authority, and that a return to apostolic succession is the only way to avoid the untoward consequences to which both solo scriptura and sola scriptura lead. (Continue reading)