Sola scriptura and Solo scriptura

solo scriptura .jpgIt seems I’m not as much of a theological miscreant as I thought. I’ve been dropping in on discussions on the difference between sola scriptura and solo scriptura and, while being initially inclined to interpret the latter as a Star Wars meme, my subsequent understanding is that solo scriptura is pig latin for more modern distortions of the old Reformation slogan, sola scriptura.

In essence, while both sola scriptura and solo scriptura place scripture in a veto position above tradition, the latter refers to approaches that go way beyond what the Protestant Reformers intended, denying any need for any reference to tradition when interpreting scripture. I found the summary of Jeremy Myers of some help, especially his explanation that solo scriptura is “the idea that we can learn all matters about faith and practice using the Bible alone, plus nothing else. If a group or person studies the Bible, and they think they have found some truth, doctrine, or practice in Scripture, then they should believe or practice this idea, whether or not it was ever believed or practiced previously in the history of the church.”

Now, I may come up with novel interpretations and practices from my reading of the Bible at times, but it’s rarely without at least consulting the wider church tradition and seeking to follow it in substance if not in style. And, as should be obvious to any long term reader of mine, I see context as essential for correct interpretation of any text. I am highly suspicious of any interpretation of a bible passage that ignores the wider cultural and literary context, and ancient tradition can give us important clues for that context.

Indeed, if anything I go further and often triangulate between the major Christian traditions – Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant – emphasizing what they hold in common beyond all the petty and not so petty divisions. Tradition is far from valueless even though it’s not without its faults. I suppose that places me as a definite advocate of sola scriptura over solo scriptura for all my eclecticism. Innovate, yes. But ignore the past, no.

 

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