Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Review: Dave Armstrong's '100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura'
Let me just begin by saying first that I'm a big fan of Dave Armstrong's work. One of the first Catholic apologetics books I bought and read was Armstrong's A Biblical Defense of Catholicism. I was immediately drawn in by the title; it appealed to two loves of mine: the Bible, and my Catholic faith. And let me say something about something about Dave Armstrong: he's the kind of Catholic apologist that I aspire to be like: pithy in his deliveries, no bells or whistles yet filled with a humble zeal and conviction. From me to you, I highly recommend you read his other works and check out his blog for lots of great writing and material.
Before diving into this review, a quick run-down on what Sola Scripture is:
"Sola Scriptura" is Latin for "scripture alone" and - as the name would suggest - refers to an understanding that the Bible is the only/sole infallible source of authority for learning and developing the Christian faith and contains all that is necessary for salvation. The so called "doctrine" of Sola Scriptura can be attributed to Martin Luther whom, as Christians should know, heralded the Protestant Reformation and after rejecting the authority of the Catholic Church, went to the Bible and the Bible alone as the only infallible authority on the Christian faith and comprehending the means for salvation. There are, however, problems with Sola Scriptura in theory, in practice, historically, and biblically.
It's one thing to point the problems with Sola Scriptura in theory, practice, and from the point of history, but to do so using the Bible? How can you do that? Dave Armstrong, in his book 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura does just that by - as the title suggests - presents 100 arguments using the Bible that make a very strong case against Sola Scriptura. Sure, there may be passages in the Bible that appear to support the doctrine of Sola Scriptura, but even as Catholics we understand that in order to comprehend what the intended meaning behind the passage may be, we must appeal to the scriptures in their fullness and to sacred tradition (bolded for emphasis):
"Hence there exists a close connection and communication between sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture. For both of them, flowing from the same divine wellspring, in a certain way merge into a unity and tend toward the same end. For Sacred Scripture is the word of God inasmuch as it is consigned to writing under the inspiration of the divine Spirit, while sacred tradition takes the word of God entrusted by Christ the Lord and the Holy Spirit to the Apostles, and hands it on to their successors in its full purity, so that led by the light of the Spirit of truth, they may in proclaiming it preserve this word of God faithfully, explain it, and make it more widely known. Consequently it is not from Sacred Scripture alone that the Church draws her certainty about everything which has been revealed. Therefore both sacred tradition and Sacred Scripture are to be accepted and venerated with the same sense of loyalty and reverence." - Dei Verbum, par. 9
"But, since Holy Scripture must be read and interpreted in the sacred spirit in which it was written, no less serious attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture if the meaning of the sacred texts is to be correctly worked out." - Dei Verbum, par. 12
Armstrong's 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura provides the reader with an arsenal of arguments which render the foundations of Sola Scriptura to sand. Armstrong does this with his 100 micro-cuts performed in three acts (plus a conclusory statement):
Part 1: The Binding Authority of Tradition
Part 2: The Binding Authority of the Church
Part 3: Counter-Arguments against Alleged Sola Scriptura Prooftexts
Each part is sectioned and numbered making the book both easy to read and an excellent quick reference tool. This is a book you can read in a few sittings from cover to cover at your own pace, or to refer to on a need basis if, for example, you're looking for quick answers to objections from a "Sola Scriptura-ist". Armstrong has ensured that whatever your need is from 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura, it is catered to in a succinct and edifying manner.
You will feel empowered by this book, and not because of any warm, fuzzy feeling you'll get by flicking through each page and filling mind with rock solid counter-arguments to Sola Scriptura, no, but because 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura is so accessible, you'll feel ever more confident studying the arguments presented by Armstrong and discover a deeper appreciation for the Sacred Scriptures and the very important role they play in the Church's teachings and Tradition.
100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura is a must have book and would make a great addition to any bookshelf. If you're into Catholic literature or just want to brush up on your apologetics, then Armstrong's 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura is the best place to start. There might also be that Evangelical or fundamentalist friend you're thinking of whom staunchly believes in Sola Scriptura. If they're so confident in Sola Scriptura, then what have they got to lose by reading 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura? It would also make a great stocking filler for this Christmas. Be bold; buy yourself a copy and a copy for a friend and catechise yourselves in tandem.
Armstrong's 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura is - and I'll go this far - the most important Catholic apologetics work to be published this year and in recent times because it answers a simple yet confounding question that separates us from most of our Protestant brethren: Why not the Bible alone?
Do yourself a favour and get this book; invest in knowledge!
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So where can you get a copy of 100 Biblical Arguments Against Sola Scriptura?
The first place you should go to is Dave Armstrong's main book page where you can browse his current catalogue and learn more about his other publications. Alternatively, you may follow this link to special offer currently running on Armstrong's site where he is offering 10 of his titles (in digital E-PUB and PDF format) in a value-for-money package deal. If you're not interested in purchasing one of Armstrong's books at this time but would like to make a contribution towards his apostolate, then please follow this link where you can learn more about the awesome work Armstrong does and why we need to support apologists/authors like him in order for them to continue providing us with top-notch Catholic literature.
Please prayerfully consider supporting Dave Armstrong.