Nov 16, 2009

Individual Liberty

In the debate over "sola scriptura" there is one often missed a priori truth behind it. The individual is solely responsible for his own salvation, and no man, or group of men, has absolute power over the individual. Individuals are addressed as if they have the sole authority over their own soul's salvation.

" out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Phill. 2: 12)

The individual is called upon to believe in God by means of divine revelation. He is not called upon to believe in the uninspired opinions of men or groups of men, relative to that revelation. Each person is duty bound to become "fully persuaded in his own mind." (Rom. 14: 5)

"Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy: for by faith ye stand." (II Cor. 1: 21 KJV)

Even the apostle Paul refused to become a lord or tyrant over the faith of the individual Christian. Yet, the Catholic, in his attack against "sola scriptura," does this very thing. He insists that the "church," or "pope," or "magisterium," has absolute authority over the individual's conscience. He tells the individual that he should trust the "church" to interpret revelation for him, as though the individual who has the Holy Spirit is unable to understand it himself.

"Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge." (I Cor. 14: 29)

Paul believed that the individual Christian has the right, privilege, and duty to judge the truthfulness of a person's preaching or commentary on scripture. They are able to "judge" the message, just as the Bereans.

"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." (Acts 17: 11)

Obviously these Berean believers were not of the Catholic mindset. They did not believe in the "authority of oral tradition," but in the sole authority of the word of God, and of their individual ability, through the Holy Ghost, to "judge" the veracity of what even the apostles spoke.

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