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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Why Be Catholic: An Exercise for Evangelicals

Why Be Catholic: An Exercise for Evangelicals: "* By Jim Akin.

  • If sola Scriptura were God’s plan for how people should form their theology, then it would be something the average Christian could feasily implement. Otherwise sola Scriptura would simply be something for the Christian elite, the Christian illuminati, and it should not be used by the common masses, who would have no hope of putting it into practice. They should not try to implement sola Scriptura, for they would certainly go wrong, but instead should listen only to the sola Scriptura elite for their information about what the "Bible only" says.

  • Unfortunately, sola Scriptura presupposes or assumes a number of things. If it is to be used by the average Christian in world then some basic requirements have to be met:

  • * Unfortunately, sola Scriptura presupposes or assumes a number of things. If it is to be used by the average Christian in world then some basic requirements have to be met:
  • The existence of the printing press: Without this, there is no way one can make enough Bibles for people to do the kind of in-depth study needed to form theology.
  • The universal distribution of Bibles: Merely having one’s hands on a Bible for a short time does not give time for adequate study, reflection, and testing of ideas. One needs a personal copy of the Bible. In practice, this means that there must be a lot of free cash in circulation, for no printer is going to take 10,000 chickens for an order of 1,000 Bibles.
  • Universal literacy: Merely hearing Scripture read is not enough to do the detailed reading and re-reading and word studies one needs to be a competent exegete. One must be able to read for oneself, because it people do not have access to someone to spend their time reading the Bible to outloud and looking up passages for them whenever they want a Bible study.
  • Easy universal possession/access to scholarly support materials: Without commentaries, language tools, etc., any attempt to do serious theology is going to go hopelessly off course. So if the average Christian in world history is going to do serious theology, he must either own or have easy access to good scholarly support materials.
  • Universal possession of adequate leisure time for study: It does no good to have all the tools for Bible study if one must spend all one’s time working in the fields trying to eek out a starvation diet for oneself and one’s family. One must have sufficient leisure time to do serious, in-depth Bible study.
  • Universal nutrition: Though it isn’t pleasant to think about, people’s brains just don’t work right if they aren’t nourished properly. Children who are malnourished grow up to have all kinds of cognitive problems. If you want people to think right, you have to feed them right. And so if you want the average Christian to be able to figure out whether we should still have tongues today or whether we should expect a pre-tribulational rapture (matters Scripture certainly is not indifferent on), then you have to get the average Christian adequate nutrition.
  • Universal education in critical thinking skills: Not only do you have to feed people, you also have to train them to recognize good arguments from bad, to spot logical fallacies, to weigh evidence, and to test propositions from multiple points of view. All of this means that, in order to responsibly do theology, the average Christian would have to have a solid training in critical thinking skills before he could be turned loose on Scripture.



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    4 comments:

    Tracy said...

    Excellent Elena, I really enjoy Jim Akin!!

    Perplexity said...

    If sola Scriptura were God’s plan for how people should form their theology, then it would be something the average Christian could feasily implement. Otherwise sola Scriptura would simply be something for the Christian elite, the Christian illuminati, and it should not be used by the common masses, who would have no hope of putting it into practice. They should not try to implement sola Scriptura, for they would certainly go wrong, but instead should listen only to the sola Scriptura elite for their information about what the "Bible only" says.\

    Isn't that, in a sense, what some people do anyway? They believe they have some divine ability to interpret the bible better than anyone else? That they know better; that they "see" what others don't? And, since they know so much, you should listen to them and not interpret it on your own?

    Discussions about Pagan traditions (Christmas, Easter, etc), head coverings, dresses vs pants, wifely responsibilities...isn't that all based on interpretation, and expressed in a manner that suggests that if you do differently, you have interpreted incorrectly?

    Barbara C. said...

    It just reinforces that the true father of the Protestant Reformation was not Luther or Calvin or Zwingli, but Johannes Gutenberg.

    I also like to blame Eli Whitney for the American Civil War.;-)

    Sal said...

    Just for fun, I asked my dh, a retired librarian, if he could think of any reasons why there couldn't have been a system of people copying out the Bible for distribution during the Dark and Middle Ages.
    "I thought there was- monks in monasteries."
    "No, ordinary people."
    His reasons: high illiteracy rate, lack of Bibles to copy, scarcity of materials, time and opportunity.

    One of the problems with the 'parallel Bible churches' theory is that perhaps the people who hold it are imposing their own 'event horizon' on history. without an accurate understanding of what life then was really like, this is easy to do. And I'm not suggesting that it's deliberate- I think it's mostly an unconscious failure of imagination.