Originally posted by Solly in the thread "The Scriptures do not surrender their meaning by the bare text" on July 19th 2006:
Shouldn't the context of this discussion be first of all the clash of Luther with the Roman Catholic church?
To wit, Luther, a distinguished teacher of theology and leader of men, could not see how the Roman teaching on indulgences at the time squared with scripture, and that in fact it was a distortion of the gospel. He called for a debate, as was customary at the time, in the manner of the time: his 95 theses are nothing more than a call for debate. The RC refused. The RC dug in their heels. Whether they were in heresy or not, the RC was certainly corrupt in important areas, being compromised with politics. Luther, a teacher of scripture, knew of only one standard above all to which to turn; scripture. It's all very well going on about the Fathers this and the Fathers that, but Origen and Tertullian were heretics, the EO advise caution over Augustine, and never sainted him to my knowledge. that one man could decide doctrine became the sticking point, because even the councils weren't working properly. THIS is the context of the idea of sola scripture, to which the Anglicans replied with their famous quadrilateral.
Protestants have gone too far, fueled by modernism, that each man can understand scripture alone. Theologians like Barth and von Balthasar are adamant about the ecclesial origin of doctrine and theology, but always semper reformanda. The RC not only would not reform in practice or theology, it retreated into Tridentine Catholcism, in opposition to the pluralism that existed before Luther and Calvin. Likewise the Protestants retreated into their own scholasticism. the protestants became almost as bad as the RC, entering politics too, as in Calvin. Result; the 30 year war, and the Enlightenment, and the secularisation of the West.
Let's stop fighting the battles of 500 years ago. Read Barth, read Zizioulas, read Balthasar; don't posture.
As for the EO. Zizioulas is leading debate on the filioque, and gets hate websites set up about him. You guys can be just as bad; village priests are persecuting evangelicals in the Balkans and Greece, and Russia.
Outside of that Church, one cannot be sure of what one has read in the Bible, outside of the Church. One may think he has "gotten" it, perhaps even that he has received revelation by the Holy Spirit Himself. But that is pride. At the moment he is so sure of his interpretation, whether through natural reason or supernatural revelation, that is when he is most likely being deceived.
The Scriptures must be read by the Church, through the Church, and for the Church. Without the Church, the Scriptures (by themselves) will lead the reader to all sorts of heresies.
The question this raises is who decides who is the Church. The RC's rely on the apostolic succession. So for them the Prots are in schism. The EO consider the RC in schism, but the RC's excommunicated the EO at the same time as the EO did it to the RC. Calvin etc considered themsleves in the mainstream, albeit with a heavy Augustinian slant. Calvin oft quoted the Fathers. They were reforming the church, not leaving it. The Anglicans thought the same too. they saw the erros and the bad practice, and sought to clean things up. As it happens, the result of the Refomration was the Counter reformation, in which the RC DID clean things up, and now we have JP II and Benedict XVI. Not possible without Luther I would submit. Pastors, not Dictators.