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sola scriptura or prima scriptura

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  • sola scriptura or prima scriptura

    The First of the Thee Solas of Traditional Reformed Theology

    Outline
    Introduction
    sola scriptura
    prima scriptura & Post Script
    Word of God
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    Introduction

    The early Reformed theologians wrote in Latin just as did the theologians of the Roman Catholic Church, Latin being the official language of Roman Catholicism. Some doctrinal terms are always (or should be) referred to by the Latin terms because the translation into English looses some of the important meaning. Correctly understanding what the Reformers meant requires reading their theological and doctrinal writings at least in English but preferably in Latin. It is mistake to think a term can be understood by the English meaning alone and a much greater mistake to speak theologically about such a term just from its meaning in English. Scripture alone is in this category of terms.
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    sola scriptura

    Sola Scriptura, or "scripture alone" (literally: "by scripture alone"), is upheld by Lutheran and Reformed theologies and asserts that scripture must govern over church traditions and interpretations which are themselves held to be subject to scripture. All church traditions, creeds, and teachings must be in unity with the teachings of scripture as the divinely inspired Word of God. Scripture alone is a key belief in the Lutheran and Reformed traditions in contradistinction to the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. These Reformers claimed that the Catholic Church, especially its head, the Pope, had usurped divine attributes or qualities for the Church and its hierarchy.
    Sola Scriptura asserts that the Bible can and is to be interpreted through itself, with one area of Scripture being useful for interpreting others. This principle is largely based on 2 Timothy 3:16, which says, "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." That scripture can interpret itself is a means by which to show the unity of Scripture as a whole. As all doctrines are formed via scriptural understandings, all doctrines must be found to align with Scripture and as such are then subject to scripture before the believer can begin to apply them.
    This particular sola is sometimes called the formal principle of the Reformation, since it is the source and norm of the material cause or principle, the gospel of Jesus Christ that is received sola fide ("through faith alone") sola gratia (by God's favor or "grace alone").
    A formal principle tends to be texts or revered leaders of the religion, while a material principle is its central teaching.
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    prima scriptura

    Methodist theology, on the other hand, enshrines prima scriptura in its theological concept of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which holds that Sacred Tradition, Reason and Experience are sources of Christian dogma, but are subordinate to Sacred Scripture, which is the primary authority.
    Historically, this difference between other Protestant separatist origins stems from the roots of Methodism being different than those of Reformed theology. The separatist origins of the Reformed theology tradition are doctrinal protests (Protestant) against those of the Roman Catholic doctrines.
    On the other hand, the roots of Methodism is pruned from the Anglican tradition (Church of England) which separated from the Roman Catholic Church over the issue of the domestic union of King Henry VIII in 1534 and not over Roman Catholic doctrines. Thereby, the Church of England and Methodism retained doctrinal aspects of Roman Catholicism. The Methodists are associated less with Roman Catholicism than the Anglican Church in that their origin does stem over doctrinal issues with the Anglican Church. Methodism did not originate so much from a denominational schism but as a gradual parting of ways over a half century from 1784 into the second decade of the 19th century. John Wesley died (1791) an Anglican Priest.

    Post Script

    Please do not grasp this as anything negative about John Wesley or the Methodist Church because, if you do, Saint Peter will not find your name among the invited guests at the wedding feasts.
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    Word of God:

    Understanding Scripture as the Divinely Inspired Word of God in the Reformed Tradition

    The adjective (sola) and the noun (scriptura) are in the ablative case rather than in the nominative case. This distinction is made to indicate that the Bible does not stand alone apart from God, but rather that it is the instrument of God by which he reveals himself for salvation through faith in Christ (solus Christus or solo Christo).
    Importance of the Ablative Case in Understanding the Term Word of God

    In Latin grammar, the ablative case is one of the six cases of nouns. Traditionally, it is the sixth case. It has forms and functions as instrumental, and locative. It expresses concepts similar to those of the English prepositions from; with, by; and in, at.
    The ablative case of sola scriptura means that scripture, as the Word of God, means scripture is from God and by God. Through the reading of Word of God where believers commune with God. For the prepositions in and at, scripture alone means the Word of God is where God has revealed himself.

    Understood as presented through Reformed theology, the Latin term sola scriptura refers to the divinely inspired Word of God as just described rather than being in the normative case which might erroneously be understood to mean the Word of God is God.
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