Apologetics

Is Scripture Sufficient without the Church?

by Steve Ray on July 26, 2015

Lenny writes to Beau:

Hi Beau, you mention “that Scripture is sufficient to teach us.” There is a problem with your statement is this; it is not in the Bible.  Nowhere does it say that we should follow Scripture alone “Sola Scriptura” or that it is all sufficient.   Isn’t it interesting “Sola Scriptura” (Bible alone), which is believed to be Biblical by many people is not even in the Bible!

The moment someone believes “Bible alone,” they already believe a concept not found in the Bible.  And those who believe “Bible Alone” reject the authority of the Church, a concept found in the Bible.  “Bible alone” is one of three pillars of the Protestant Reformation.   The problem is that it is self-refuting, because the moment you believe it, you already believe something not in the Bible.  And so “Sola Scriptura” crumbles under its own weight.

Let me relate to you a story.  I was talking to a couple of people from the Milwaukee Church of Christ.  He pointed out to me a verse in 2nd Timothy.  “All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2nd Tm 3:16).  And so he said the Bible is it and I agreed the Bible is it.  So he said, let’s go on.  And I said fine, but before we do, I think we should also follow the Church.
 
He became a little irritated with me and he said, we just went through this and you agreed the Bible is it.  And so I asked him what he thought the pillar and foundation of truth was.  He said, the Bible!  I informed him, he was incorrect because the Bible says the Church is the pillar and foundation of truth; “You should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the CHURCH OF THE LIVING GOD, the pillar and foundation of truth.  
 
I wasn’t being disingenuous when I said the Bible is it.  I believe this totally so long as we believe it (the Bible) totally.  And the Bible tells us to listen to the Church so it must be included in order to follow the whole Bible.   This is the 2nd reason “Sola Scriptura” is wrong, it ignores all the passages that give the Church real authority.  
 
Again your statement “that Scripture is sufficient to teach us” is not Biblical.  However, had you included the Church in your statement it would have been correct.   The concept of “Sola Scriptura” is a Protestant understanding but it is rejected by many Protestants today because it is not Biblical.

By the way what church do you belong to?  Is it 7th day Baptist or Adventist or say Pentecostal?   Usually it’s like pulling teeth to get an Evangelical to say the name of their Church and where they are coming from.  I get the impression that they are embarrassed.  They make less than complimentary statements about the Catholic Church all the while they are reluctant to mention where they are coming from.  And I might add, there are Evangelicals who are not into the Catholic bashing business.  Some of them are my friends.

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Read my article about Mary, typology and reading the Bible with the Fathers of the Church and the Visitation. It was published in Catholic Answers Magazine.

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