I am a Protestant evangelical, even though I’m not anti-Roman Catholic, nor do I like a negative labeling. But I’m not with the Reformers in using the phrase: sola scriptura. I get what they were getting at. We must appeal to scripture, God’s word, as far as the basis for our understanding of God in Jesus, of life. Nevertheless in practice no one has ever lived that out. What I mean is that scripture is not just a text, even living, which we draw from, apart from other factors necessarily involved in life.
The Wesleyan quadrilateral of scripture followed by tradition, reason and experience I find not only appealing, but helpful in understanding how God’s truth in Jesus comes to be understood. God is our authority, no less. And scripture is the “norming norm.” So that one way to term my position would be prima scriptura. Or that scripture holds priority, but along with that God speaks through tradition, reason and experience. That somehow that word of God in scripture is worked out and understood in that mix. There’s much more to be said on that.
But the point I want to make here is that one’s own life is a part of this. Often my posts relate to something which has been occurring to me recently, or something impressed on me through life, the day before.
What informs that is scripture, to be sure. We think scripture alone, but actually the Spirit who gave scripture, even through the church we could say, or through servants of God, also gives the church insight together on its meaning. We don’t do well when we want to emphasize private readings. Not that the Spirit doesn’t guide us individually. But we’ll do better to be open to the Spirit’s guiding of us together in Jesus. In fact, to a certain extent that is essential.
At the same time “always reforming” is likewise important. The Spirit will be giving fresh ways of seeing God’s revelation in Jesus. In fact in a sense we stand on the shoulders of those who have preceded us. Oftentimes they are creative thinkers, and we do well to learn from them without accepting all they say. But we have a better view so to speak through them.
God’s revelation in Jesus given in scripture is for life no less. Tradition as in the church, along with reason: we are rational beings, are always involved, and should never be dismissed. Experience in part here means God’s revelation worked out in our lives. By the Spirit. And together in Jesus for the world.