Over at PPT, on the post Why Deathbed Terror is a Reformed Family Tradition there’s been a little exchange in the comments which results finally in me taking the stance below. Its immediately an answer to this question:
What did Jesus Christ do that is salvific? What did He do that redeems and justifies?
(This is something I was planning on posted here anywhere.)
Not just his death but also his teachings. Its what everyone other than the Gnostics believed prior to Augustine. It also caused controversy on the question of whether Christ’s ministry was nothing more than a one-year march from Nazareth to Jerusalem to die (as the Gnostics claimed) or whether it was at least a three year ministry of equipping the apostles to, as Jesus tells them in the great commission, “teach all things I have commanded you.” This is another area where Protestantism has failed.
Sola Scriptura in the sense of just picking up some paraphrase like the NIV or even a formal equivalence translation like the KJV and thinking you can understand it correctly with ZERO knowledge of church history, of the history of the interpretation of the text, of acceptance of doctrine, and of the very formation of the canon. People who think the Bible dropped from heaven leather-bound as one book can’t interpret the Bible to save their lives. You don’t have to go to seminary to learn any of this history either. Especially not today, with ccel.org housing all of Philip Schaff’s collection of English translations of the so-called “church fathers,” with wikipedia, with google books. And no I’m not endowing the “church fathers” with authority like the Catholics. On the contrary, I’m rescinding the authority they gave Augustine. Augustine was the turning point in church history from Christianity to Gnosticism, so a knowledge of what was believed in the first 3 centuries is indispensable to understanding the Bible.
Sola Scriptura = wrong. Scripture + common sense + knowledge of church history = right.
Sola Fide = wrong. Faith + obedience to Jesus = right.
Sola Gracia = wrong. Jesus’ death + revelation + freewill + faith + repentance + obedience + grace = right.
Its high time to awake from the Pauline slumber and quit adding “only” after everything.
Grace only implies that we do nothing in salvation; but we must.
Faith alone implies that morality doesn’t matter to God; but that would make God into Satan.
Sola Scriptura implies that understanding how the canon was formed doesn’t matter; just accept the finished product as infallible and inerrant without question no matter where it comes from or how corrupt it might be.
And ironically, Sola Scripture also implies that the modern presuppositions (inherited from Augustine) which are used in interpreting the Bible in line with the Catholic and Protestant creeds are not to be questioned; just accept them and tow the ‘orthodox’ line without questioning them on the basis of the history of the first 3 centuries of the church.
None of that makes any sense.