Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Refuting Sola Scriptura In Under 20 Seconds

The shocking truth about Sola Scriptura, all in a brief video clip.

What shocking truths are in this clip?

(1) SS defender White admits that people in Jesus' day did not practice sola scriptura.

(2) White admits that the apostles did not practice sola scriptura.

Now the attitude with which this clip is presented is that this truth about SS is somehow a falsifier of SS. But do these objections by themselves kill the witch?

Before turning to the answer, what is the proper definition of SS?

Sola Scriptura --- scripture is the only infallible rule of faith for the Christian.

Let's add some comments, which will be obvious in nature, though it appears that certain zealous Romanist apologists can still benefit from obvious statements.

(a) What the people did in Jesus' day, by itself, has no logical bearing on the question, for the simple reasoning that the premise Person X did Y by itself does not imply Person Z should do Y. [Y denotes SS, Z stands for you or me.]

Therefore, White's admission of (1) and (2) doesn't have logical bearing on the question. This is a basic category mistake: how people thought in the old days is compared or viewed as normative to some degree with regards to how people today should think. If White's admission of (1) and (2) allows one to deduce that SS is false, it certainly isn't an obvious deduction, let alone one that can be disposed of in a little video snippet.

Now perhaps there exists an argument for linking the behavior of those in the past with those of us today, which argument makes White's admission of (1) and (2) damaging or inconsistent with SS. But such an argument is lacking in the video clip. By putting forth this little snippet in a triumphalistic tone, the Roman apologist acts as if an argument making this connection doesn't matter. This lack of an argument certainly won't bother one who is looking for Roman cheerleading, but it will bother anybody who is worried about the logical import of the question.

(b) Let us assume the negations of (1) and (2), supposing instead that the people in Jesus' day as well as the apostles followed SS. Would these two statements, by themselves, be positive evidence for the position that SS is true?

Not really, for the solvent in (a) can equally be applied here. Just as I mentioned that one can't argue that the apostles did X implies that believers today should do X without an argument specific to the situation, the acid burns both ways. Even if we accept the negations of (1) and (2) for the sake of argument, this neither bolsters the case, for then we're again lacking an argument that the behavior of the apostles and people in Jesus' day is somehow by itself normative for us today.

We conclude that even if White were to deny (1) and (2) in the snippet, he wouldn't make the case for SS any stronger than what it is, whether already weak or already strong.

(c) Let us note too that SS is a statement about what Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, the mystery author of Hebrews, Jude, and Peter wrote, namely, that what they wrote is the sole infallible rule of faith. Whether or not Paul followed SS is logically immaterial to the question as strictly worded. The question isn't a sociological one or a question about [say] Peter's behavior. The question is simply about the status of their writings. If there is an argument that logically links their actions to how we view their writings, then by all means let the Roman apologists present it.


The admission of (1) and (2) by White have no negative evidentiary value against SS without some sort of linking argument that deals specifically with the situation. And, even if White denied (1) and (2), his case for SS would not be bolstered, for then he would need some linking argument. Therefore, (1) and (2), by themselves, have no logical bearing on the question of whether SS is true.

Questions (1) and (2) when presented by themselves are therefore juicy little red herrings that can be filed in the "Inane Objections to SS" file next to other like herrings such as "SS isn't found in the Bible" and "30,000 Protestant denominations shows that SS is false." And, once again, we note that the clip is presented in a triumphalistic tone, as if, by golly, the Romanists really have the goods on SS and have the shocking video proof of it!

So the clip is much ado about nothing. But, in the end, the questions sound good, and that is warrant enough for certain Roman Catholics and their paint-by-numbers apologetics.


Blogger centuri0n said...

PP --

I think you used a too-brief definition of SS.

I could be wrong.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005 12:47:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

What's lacking? Please advise.


Wednesday, June 01, 2005 3:10:00 PM  

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