Some thoughts on Scripture in Lutheranism

In Lutheran theology, Scripture has primacy. But what does that mean? What, exaxtly, is meant by what some call sola Scriptura? To understand that, we need to ask what that sola is in reference to. To do so, I will start with some points made by Thomist philosopher Edward Feser in a post on philosopher Paul Feyerabend’s thoughts on empiricism and sola Scriptura. There, he points out that there are serious problems with, at least an ‘unsophisticated’ or ‘fundamentalist’ doctrine of sola Scriptura. He compares it to the empiricism of the 17th century; the view that reduced experience to just some ‘basic’ components – saying «there is currently a reddish patch in the center of my field of vision» instead of «this apple is stale.» Read the entire article.

Feser’s points out that the (larger) context of experience into which we read (or experience) something is «the sum total of what is observed under normal circumstances (bright daylight; senses in good order; undisturbed and alert observer) and what is then described in some ordinary idiom that is understood by all» and where the thing experienced is interpreted in light of «tradition» or «preconceived opinion.»[1] Feyerabend, says Feser, is taking as his starting point, an early Jesuit critique of sola Scriptura, and notes that «(a) scripture alone can never tell you what counts as scripture, (b) scripture alone cannot tell you how to interpret scripture, and (c) scripture alone cannot give us a procedure for deriving consequences from scripture, applying it to new circumstances, and the like.» Feser elaborates on this, and I want to highlight two passages:

This larger context — tradition and Magisterium — is analogous to the larger context within which both common sense and Aristotelianism understand “experience.” Experience, for common sense and for the Aristotelian, includes not just sense data — color patches, tactile impressions, etc. — but also the rich conceptual content in terms of which we ordinarily describe experience, the immediate memories that provide context for present experience, and so forth. Just as modern empiricism abstracts all this away and leaves us with desiccated sense contents as what is purportedly just “given,” so too does sola scriptura abstract away tradition and Magisterium and present (what it claims to be) scripture as if it were just given. And just as the resulting experiential “given” is too thin to tell us anything — including what counts as “given” — so too is scripture divorced from its larger context unable to tell us even what counts as scripture. The modern empiricist inevitably, and inconsistently, surreptitiously appeals to something beyond (what he claims to be) experience in order to tell us what counts as “experience.” And the sola scriptura advocate inevitably, and inconsistently, surreptitiously appeals to something beyond scripture in order to tell us what scripture is.

(…)

[There] is a crucial feature of the sola scriptura and early modern empiricist positions that makes them open to the Jesuit/Feyerabend attack, but which the Catholic and Aristotelian positions lack — namely, commitment to a “myth of the given,” as it has come to be called in discussions of empiricism. In the case of early modern empiricism, the myth in question is the supposition that there is some basic level of sensory experiences whose significance is somehow built-in and graspable apart from any wider conceptual and epistemological context (as opposed to being intelligible only in light of a body of theory, or a tradition, or the practices of a linguistic community, or what have you). Aristotelian epistemology not only does not commit itself to such a “given,” it denies that there is one. In the case of sola scriptura, the myth is the supposition that there is a text whose exact contents and meaning are somehow evident from the text itself and thus knowable apart from any wider conceptual and epistemological context (as opposed to being intelligible only in light of a larger tradition of which the text is itself a part, or an authoritative interpreter, or what have you). The Catholic position not only does not commit itself to such a scriptural “given,” it denies that there is one.

This is very interesting post, and Feser is good at describing what often goes under the term sola Scriptura in modern (evangelical or reformed) theology. He does not, however, describe the original view of the Lutheran reformers. In a follow up post to his Feyerabend post, Feser answers a Reformed critique of that original post. There, he states that «sola scriptura tells us that scripture alone suffices to tell us what we need to know in matters of faith and morals.» While that is a true characterisation of certain evangelical and fundamentalist views of Scripture, it is not an entirely true characterisation of the Lutheran view. What is often described as the ‘scripture principle’ of the Reformation is not found in the earliest Lutheran writings,[2] but we do find it in Luther’s Smalcald Articles (of 1537) and in the Formula of Concord (of 1577). In the former document, Luther points out that «it will not do to frame articles of faith from the works or words of the holy Fathers. … The rule is: The Word of God shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel.»[3] And in the latter it is quite explicitly stated, in the introduction to the Epitome (the summary part of the Formula of Concord):[4]

We believe, teach, and confess that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with [all] teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and of the New Testament alone, as it is written Ps. 119:105: Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path. And St. Paul: Though an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, let him be accursed, Gal. 1:8.

Other writings, however, of ancient or modern teachers, whatever name they bear, must not be regarded as equal to the Holy Scriptures, but all of them together be subjected to them, and should not be received otherwise or further than as witnesses, [which are to show] in what manner after the time of the apostles, and at what places, this [pure] doctrine of the prophets and apostles was preserved.

As this shows us, the role of the adjective or adverb sola is not a rejection of Church teaching or Tradition (‘dogmas’) or of persons with the authority to teach (‘teachers’), but a confirmation that both are subject to Scripture, and that Scripture is the only rule that can rule all other rules or rulers. In Lutheran theology, we thus distinguish between Scripture as norma normans (or norma normans non normata, the norm which norms, rules, or regulates other norms) and tradition, in particular the creeds and symbols, as norma normata (the norms which are normed, ruled, or regulated by Scripture).[5] Feser writes, in a second follow up-post, that the difference between (his representation of) sola Scriptura and the Roman Catholic position «is not fundamentally about how many texts there are. Rather, the Catholic position is that it can’t all be just texts in the first place. Rather, we have to be able to get outside of texts, to persons who have the authority to tell us what the texts mean.» But that is not really a problem for the classic Lutheran position (or even the classic Reformed one).

Reformed scholar Keith A. Mathison maintains that the view of the early Church, and the view of the Reformers, is what we might describe as Feser’s ‘natural’ view. (Mathison, of course, is not writing in response to Feser.) He maintains that for the early Church the «sole source of divine revelation and the authoritative doctrinal norm was understood to be the Old Testament together with the Apostolic doctrine, which itself had been put into writing in the New Testament,» and that this revelation «was to be interpreted in and by the church within the context of the regula fidei (‘rule of faith’),» i.e. Tradition. This seems curiously close to Feser’s position, and it is what late Reformed scholar Heiko Oberman identified as ‘Tradition 1’ (in distinction from ‘Tradition 0,’ where neither the Church nor Tradition has any authority, and ‘Tradition 2,’ where Tradition is also a source of revelation, alongside Scripture). For a Roman Catholic critique of Mathison, see here.

I believe we do have a problem of terminology here. As we see from the Formula of Concord, when we say sola Scriptura, we do not mean that Scripture stands alone, as what Feser might call a ‘given.’ Sola Scriptura does not mean that Tradition is bad or irrelevant. If it was, then much of the content of Confessio Augustana is irrelevant, as the Fathers and Canons are frequently cited. In the Lutheran tradition, sola Scriptura means, as Mathison points out, and as we see in the Formula of Concord, that Scripture is the highest ‘rule’ which ‘rules’ Tradition (‘dogmas’) and the persons who have been given authority to teach (‘teachers’). Someone must be charged with its interpretation. But that office doesn’t stand above Scripture, but is its servant, as a supreme court judge doesn’t stand above the constitution but serves and upholds it. In many ways, Scripture is like a constitution. Not that it is (merely) a juridical document. The comparison refers to status, not content. The status of Scripture in relation to Tradition (large T) is analogous to the status of a state’s constitution in relation to its other laws. The constitution has primacy in relation to other laws (which can all be binding), and Scripture has primacy in relation to Tradition (which can also be binding). Or in other words; Scripture is norma normans, Tradition is norma normata. To use modern terminology, the Lutheran position, known historically as sola Scriptura,[6] would better be described as prima Scriptura. This doesn’t mean, of course, that Scripture (or a constitution) is straightforward or easy to interpret. As I note above, we need to distinguish between the ‘scripture principle’ of the Reformation on the one hand, and our view (and interpretation) of Scripture on the other.

And this is, incidentally, very close to the position of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum, to the position of pope St. John Paul II, in his encyclical Ut Unum Sint, and the position of Joseph Ratzinger/pope (em.) Benedict XVI. In Dei Verbum, we see this in paragraph 10, describing the Magisterium:

This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.

In paragaph 79 of Ut Unum Sint, John Paul II identifies five areas «in need of fuller study before a true consensus of faith can be achieved.» These areas are (emphasis added):

1) the relationship between Sacred Scripture, as the highest authority in matters of faith, and Sacred Tradition, as indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God; 2) the Eucharist, as the Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ, an offering of praise to the Father, the sacrificial memorial and Real Presence of Christ and the sanctifying outpouring of the Holy Spirit; 3) Ordination, as a Sacrament, to the threefold ministry of the episcopate, presbyterate and diaconate; 4) the Magisterium of the Church, entrusted to the Pope and the Bishops in communion with him, understood as a responsibility and an authority exercised in the name of Christ for teaching and safeguarding the faith; 5) the Virgin Mary, as Mother of God and Icon of the Church, the spiritual Mother who intercedes for Christ’s disciples and for all humanity.

What we see here is that John Paul II states that Scripture is «the highest authority in matters of faith,» and that its relation to Tradition is «indispensable to the interpretation of the Word of God.» We find this also in Ratzinger (pope Benedict XVI). He fleshes this out in detail in, amongst other works, in the article «Standards for Preaching the Gospel Today,»[7] and in his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Verbum Domini. In the former, Ratzinger says that Scripture, Tradition, the Magisterium, and the concrete, contextual faith of the faithful depend on each other, but that primacy belongs first to Scripture, then to Tradition (focusing on the Creeds and Dogmas), then to the Magisterium (the servant of Scripture and Tradition), and then to the concrete faith as it is lived out in the dioceses and parishes. One key passage comes on page 38: «[T]he Bible has such an absolutely unique normative importance because it alone is really the sole book of the Church as Church.» And in the latter, he cites a crucially important image from Dei Verbum, that the «study of the sacred page,» i.e. Scripture, «should be, as it were, the very soul of theology.» The soul has primacy over the body, but it cannot survive or exist in actuality without it. Likewise, Scripture has primacy over (the living) Tradition, but cannot survive or exist in actuality without it.

We need, again, to see this in analogy to the constitution of a nation or a state. The constitution has primacy, and every law must be read in light of it. Yet that doesn’t mean that the lawmaker (God in this analogy) cannot, directly or through agents, posit new, binding laws, and it doesn’t mean he cannot task someone with the duty, and right, to uphold, interpret, and enforce the constitution and the other laws.

But again it must be pointed out, with Dei Verbum, that the teaching office «is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.»

And this is, of course, also the same principles used in the Lutheran understanding of sola Scriptura (or prima Scriptura, to be more exact). Scripture is the norm which norms, rules, or regulates other norms (norma normans non normata); Tradition (with emphasis on Creeds and Dogmas, and also on liturgy and Canon Law) are norms which are normed, ruled, or regulated by Scripture (norma normata); the ordained priesthood, with the bishops as leaders, has the task to preach and interpret that which has been handed over (Confessio Augustana 14, 28); and this has to be lived out in the context of the faithful’s own lives.

Feser’s critique is valid as a response to much of what we find in evangelical theology. I don’t think that it hits its mark, however, with regards to classic Lutheran theology. In fact, his concluding remarks is basically the classic Lutheran position:

If either the Catholic position or the Aristotelian one “posit[ed] a foundation representable as a text,” then they would be open to the Jesuit/Feyerabend objection. But that is precisely what they do not do. The Aristotelian epistemological view does not conceive of “experience” in terms of a sensory “given.” And the Catholic position does not merely posit a larger text or set of texts (one that would add the deuterocanonicals, statements found in the Church Fathers, decrees of various councils, etc.). The trouble with texts is that you can never ask them what exactly they include, or what they mean, or how they are to be applied. But you can ask such questions of an authoritative interpreter who stands outside the texts. And such an interpreter — in the form of an institutional Church — is exactly what the Catholic position posits.

The important thing to remember, however, is that an interpreter is just that; an interpreter. He must interpret what is written, and see it in light of the tradition. He cannot just posit whatever he wants. He must present us with what the text actually says.

Notes:

[1] Feser is here quoting Feyerabend’s essay «Classical Empiricism,» in Problems of Empiricism, vol. 2: Philosophical Papers (Cambridge University Press, 1985): 35.37.

[2] The earliest Lutheran writings, by which is meant writings that in some sense was writings of the Lutheran community, not just of their respective authors, include Confessio Augustana or Luther’s Small Catechism (which, together with the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed (or the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed), and the Athanasian Creed. These form the core of the Lutheran confessions, and they are the only confessional documents binding in the Church of Norway, of which I am part.

[3] Smalcald Articles, II:II:15, cf. Gal 1:8.

[4] Cf. the parts on the rule and norm in the Church in the introduction to the Solid Declaration (the comprehensive part of the Formula of Concord), 1-3.

[5] It should be noted that this scripture principle tells us nothing about the inspiration of Scripture, or how Scripture is to be interpreted. That belongs to the ‘view’ of Scripture, but the ‘scripture principle’ of the Reformation is open to different view of what Scripture is.

[6] Even this is misleading. The term sola Scriptura came later.

[7] Chapter 2, pp.26-39, in Dogma and Preaching.

Nokre tankar omkring Skrift og Tradisjon

Eg identifiserer meg med, og har ‘medlemskap’ i den høgkyrkjelege og katolske delen av Den norske kyrkja.[1] Med dette i bakhovudet vil eg i dag skrive litt om tilhøvet mellom Skrift og Tradisjon. Utgangspunktet for dette innlegget er at eg kom ein artikkel av Arthur Berg, der han skriv om dette tilhøvet i ein (lågkyrkjeleg) protestantisk setting.[2] Berg identifiserte seg med den meir lågkyrkjelege lutherske bedehustradisjonen (i grenselandet mellom luthersk og reformert tenking),[3] og skriv ut frå det bibelsynet som har vore, og er, rådande der. Han tek utgangspunkt i det reformatoriske skriftprinsippet:

Det reformatoriske skriftprinsippet segjer at ein rett og sann teologi ikkje må byggja på nokon enn den som kan lesast ut av dei profetiske og apostoliske skriftene i Det gamle og Det nye testamentet. For der har Gud openberra seg for oss og gjort sin vilje kjend.[4]

Berg held fram med å poengtere at “[d]enne overtydingi er gamal i kyrkja,” og viser til eit sitat av Augustin: “Trui rikkast dersom autoriteten åt dei heilage skriftene rikkast.”[5] Berg hevder at det var ei så stor semje i oldkyrkja omkring dette ‘reformatoriske skriftprinsippet’ “at det ikkje trongst klåre og medvitne definisjonar,”[6] men at ein etter kvart trong dette fordi skriftprinsippet i Den katolske kyrkja vart “meir og meir utmagra og blodfattig” framover mot reformasjonen.[7] På grunn av dette kom det andre prinsipp inn og tevla med skriftprinsippet slik at ein etter kvart måtte ‘setta ned foten.’ Grunnen var at det ikkje måtte vere tvil om læra, og dersom Skrifta var uklår måtte ein lese den i kyrkja. Ein gave då tradisjonen “heimstadrett i kyrkja.”[8]

Berg kjem med ei rekkje historiske påstandar her, og eg kan ikkje gå inn på dei alle. Og dette innlegget er mitt syn på tilhøvet mellom Skrift og Tradisjon. Det eg vil gå inn på, er Berg si tolking av Augustin. Augustin seier altså: “Trui rikkast dersom autoriteten åt dei heilage skriftene rikkast.”[9] Spørsmålet vi må stilla oss her, er dette: Kva meiner Augustin med ‘autoriteten’ her? Visar han til ein ibuande autoritet (at skrifta sjølv er ein autoritet), eller viser han til ein autoritet utanfor Skrifta, ein autoritet (utanom Gud) som held Skrifta oppe? Reint lingvistisk vil eg hevde at det er det siste. Sjølv om det er vanleg å seie at ein tekst har autoritet, så er det meir rett å seie at teksten er autoritativ. Personar har autoritet, tekstar er autoritative.

Men lat oss sjå på konteksten for utsegnet. Eg har ikkje tilgang til Luthardts tekst, og er heller ikkje særleg god på tysk, så eg må ‘ta til takke med’ Philip Schaff si engelske utgåve.[10] Lat meg sitere heile kaptitlet (på engelsk):

For if he takes up rashly a meaning which the author whom he is reading did not intend, he often falls in with other statements which he cannot harmonize with this meaning. And if he admits that these statements are true and certain, then it follows that the meaning he had put upon the former passage cannot be the true one: and so it comes to pass, one can hardly tell how, that, out of love for his own opinion, he begins to feel more angry with Scripture than he is with himself. And if he should once permit that evil to creep in, it will utterly destroy him. “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”[11] Now faith will totter if the authority of Scripture begin to shake. And then, if faith totter, love itself will grow cold. For if a man has fallen from faith, he must necessarily also fall from love; for he cannot love what he does not believe to exist. But if he both believes and loves, then through good works, and through diligent attention to the precepts of morality, he comes to hope also that he shall attain the object of his love. And so these are the three things to which all knowledge and all prophecy are subservient: faith, hope, love.[12]

Det ser ut som at Berg har lest dette nokså laust. Vi ser at den trua det er snakk om (den som kan rikkast) er den individuelle trua til den som les, og som tolkar Bibelen feil. Det ser meir ut for meg at Augustin åtvarar mot det skriftprinsippet Berg argumenterer for; at Augustin ikkje ser det slik at vi kan lese bibelteksten åleine, men må lese den rett. Vi kan også sjå på andre tekstar av Augustin. Å lese Augustin-sitatet i kontekst betyr ikkje berre å lese det i den umiddelbere samanhengen det står i (det same kapitlet, den same boka, det same skriftet), men å lese det i lys av Augustins forfattar som heilskap, hans corpus.[13] Men vi treng ikkje gå så langt. Litt seinare i skriftet skriv Augustin:

[A] man who is resting upon faith, hope and love, and who keeps a firm hold upon these, does not need the Scriptures except for the purpose of instructing others. Accordingly, many live without copies of the Scriptures, even in solitude, on the strength of these three graces. So that in their case, I think, the saying is already fulfilled: “Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.”[14] Yet by means of these instruments (as they may be called), so great an edifice of faith and love has been built up in them, that, holding to what is perfect, they do not seek for what is only in part perfect—of course, I mean, so far as is possible in this life; for, in comparison with the future life, the life of no just and holy man is perfect here. Therefore the apostle says: “Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these hree;but the greatest of these is charity:”[15] because, when a man shall have reached the eternal world, while the other two graces will fail, love will remain greater and more assured.[16]

Vi ser her at Augustin ikkje ser trongen for Skrifta dersom ein lever eit rett liv, og har den rette lære. Dette er kanskje ikkje eit argument mot det reformatoriske skriftprinsippet i seg sjølv, men det står i ein sterk kontrast til det lågkyrkjelege synet at ein er fortapt om ein ikkje kan lese Skrifta som kristen. (Dette synet er, naturleg nok, ikkje spesielt utbreiddt i kulturar med ein stor andel personar som ikkje kan lese og skrive.) Men korleis kan vi sjå samanhengen mellom skrift og tradisjon?

Det fyrste vi må spørje oss, er dette: Kor har vi Skrifta frå? Både (høg- og lågkyrkjelege) protestantar, ortodokse, romersk-katolske, etc. meiner at Gud er den som står bak Skrifta som hennar fyrste prinsipp. Han har inspirert forfattarane av Skrifta. Men korleis veit vi at Gud har insprert desse Skriftene, og ingen andre (på same måte)? Vi kan ikkje gå til Skrifta sjølv. Ingen av desse seier rett fram at dei er inspirerte, og dette ville i seg sjølv også vore sirkulært.[17] Nokre vil kanskje vise til 2Tim 3:16-17. Her fylgjer teksten etter 1938-omsetjinga: “Heile skrifti er innanda av Gud og er gagnlege til lærdom, til yvertyding, til rettleiding, til uppseding i rettferd, so gudsmennesket kann verta fullkome, dugleg til all god gjerning.” Her ser vi at ein har tolka uttrykket πᾶσα γραφὴ (pasa grafæ) i tydinga ‘heile skrifta’ i bestemt form. I den nye omsetjinga frå 2011 står det derimot: “Alle skrifter som er innanda av Gud…” Her ser vi at ein ikkje har forstått dette som eit bestemt uttrykk, men som eit generelt uttrykk om skrifter som er innanda av Gud. Hovudpoenget med verset er ikkje Skrifta i seg sjølv. (Den var jo ikkje skrive ferdig på dette tidspunktet, og Paulus viser her primært til GT, jf. 2Tim 3:15.) Hovudpoenget er heller at dei skriftene som er innanda av Gud, og som vi kan identifisere i bestemt form eintal som Skrifta,[18] er “gagnlege til opplæring, til formaning, til rettleiing, til oppseding i rettferd, så det menneske som høyrer Gud til, kan verta som det skal, dugande til all god gjerning.” (NY2011)

Ein kan med utgangspunkt i 2Tim 3:16 seie at det finst éi samling med skrifter som vi (1) kan hevde består av skrifter som er inspirete (‘innanda’) av Gud, og (2) kan identifisere i bestemt form eintal som Skrifta. Men det står ingenting i dei versa kva skrifter dette inneber. Skrifta gjev oss aldri ei ‘bokliste.’ Vi må difor kunna stole på at kyrkja valte rett skrifter, for å kunna ha kunnskap om kva Skrifta er. Eg trur det er dette vi må lese inn i Augustins sitat: “Trui rikkast dersom autoriteten åt dei heilage skriftene rikkast.”[19] Eg trur vi må lese ‘autoriteten’ her som den autoriteten Kyrkja har. Og det er nettopp i denne samanhengen vi kjem inn på tilhøvet mellom Skrift og Tradisjon.

Ein bør merke seg at eg skriv Tradisjon med stor T. Grunnen til dette er at ein kan skilje mellom Tradisjonar — lære som er overlevert, tradert, frå dei fyrste kristne[20] — og tradisjonar — kva mat ein et på julaftan, kva klede som er festklede i ein gitt kultur, etc. Men kva er Tradisjon, kva er ortodoks lære? For det fyrste vil eg hevde at eit skilje mellom Skrift og Tradisjon (noko som ligg implisitt i spørsmålet om tilhøvet mellom desse) er litt misvisande. I streng forstand er Skrifta ein del av Tradisjonen. Ho har vorte overlevert, tradert, frå dei fyrste kristne. Ein bør heller spørje seg om korleis ein skal sjå for seg tihøvet mellom Skrifta og dei utanombibelske læremessige delane av Kyrkja sin Tradisjon.

Men kva er ortodoks lære? Er den berre mi tolking av Skrifta, slik at ‘ortodoks lære’ er alt som samsvarar med mi lesing? Eg trur ikkje dette held, og korleis kan vi vite at akkurat mi, og ikkje ei anna, lesing er den rette? Protestantar må spørje seg sjølv: Kven har autoritet? Eg skal ikkje skrive meir her og no, men vonar at dette kan skape litt debatt. Eg kjem nok tilbake til temaet etter kvart.

Noter:

[1] For å sjå korleis eg definerer det katolske, sjå dei fylgjande to innlegga; “Catholicus Norvegicus” og “Katolsk-luthersk einskap?” Der legg eg ut grunnane til å bruke omgrepet ‘katolsk’ i ein høgkyrkjeleg luthersk setting. Sjå også introduksjonssida mi. Med ‘medlemskap’ meiner eg mitt medlemskap (og dels aktive deltaking) i organisasjonen Kyrkjeleg fornying.

[2] Arthur Berg, “Skrift og tradisjon i protestantismen” i: På Ordets grunn: Festskrift til professor dr. theol. Carl Fr. Wisløff på 70-årsdagen 31. desember 1978, red., Steinar Hunnestad, et.al. (Oslo: Luther 1978), s.22-31.

[3] Sjå Nynorsk Wikipedia, bokmåls-Wikipedia og Store norske leksikon.

[4] Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22.

[5] Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22, jf. De doctrina Christiania 1:37, sitert etter Luthardt, Kompendium der Dogmatik (4. oppl., Leipzig 1873), s.256.

[6] Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22.

[7] Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22.

[8] Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22.

[9] De doctrina Christiania 1:37, sitert etter Luthardt, Kompendium der Dogmatik (4. oppl., Leipzig 1873), s.256 (Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22).

[10] Philip Schaff (red.), Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, vol. 2. Second series (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publishers 1995, org. 1887), s.513-597. [Henta 20. desember 2012.]

[11] Jf. 2Kor 5:7.

[12] De doctrina Christiania 1:37 (Schaff, op.cit, 1995, s.533).

[13] For ei god gjennomgang av denne konteksttenkinga, sjå Nicholas Rescher, Philosophical reasoning (Oxford: Blackwell 2001), s.57-76, spesielt s.71-73.

[14] Jf. 1Kor 13:8.

[15] Jf. 1Kor 13:13.

[16] De doctrina Christiania 1:39 (Schaff, op.cit, 1995, s.534).

[17] Dvs. at Skrifta er inspirert fordi Skrifta hevder å vere inspirert, og at Skrifta hevder å vere inspirert fordi Skrifta er inspirert.

[18] Det skal seiast at πᾶσα γραφὴ (pasa grafæ) står i eintal.

[19] De doctrina Christiania 1:37, sitert etter Luthardt, Kompendium der Dogmatik (4. oppl., Leipzig 1873), s.256 (Berg, op.cit, 1978, s.22).

[20] Jf. 2Tess 2:15; Jud 3.

Augustin om Kyrkja og Skrifta

Tenkte at eg berre ville ta eit sitat i dag, det er Augustin som seier dette om Kyrkja og Skrifta:

For my part, I should not believe the gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church.

Kjelde: Augustine, “Against the Epistle of Manichæus Called Fundamental” 5,6. I: Augustin, The Writings Against the Manichaeans and Against the Donatists. Edited by Philip Schaff. Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, s. 159 Lenke til pdf-fil [Henta: 28.01.2010]

Ufeilbarleiken og Den kyrkjelege Tradisjon

I mange diskusjonar har eg høyrt dette argumentet: «Den katolske kyrja seier at paven er ufeilbarleg, og difor er den ei feil kyrkje.»

Vel, dette — saman med messeofferet — er truleg det mest misforståtte med den katolske lære. Det første ein må vise, er kva ein legg i at paven — er rettare sagt hans embete — er ufeilbarleg. Lat meg sitere frå faktasidene til Den Katolske Kyrkja i Noreg:

Det faktum av paven innehar kirkens øverste læreembete og at hans ord regnes som “ufeilbarlig” når han klargjør og presiserer viktige trossannheter i kirken har ført til mange misforståelser. Mange tror at dette betyr at paven som person er ufeilbarlig og uten synd. Det er selvfølgelig helt feil. Paven er et helt alminnelig menneske med alle de svakheter, feil og synder som alle andre mennesker har. Det er ikke paven som person som er ufeilbarlig, men kirken ved paveembetet når han uttaler seg “ex cathedra” (fra kateteret) i viktige lærespørsmål. Men ingen pave kan uttale seg ex cathedra ut fra eget forgodtbefinnende. Når han gjør det, (noe som forøvrig skjer meget sjelden), er det for å presisere og klargjøre en trossannhet (som det f.eks. kan ha vært strid om i lengre tid.) Pavens uttalelse må da være i full overenstemmelse med Bibelen og Kirkens tradisjon slik den har eksistert i snart 2000 år.

Deretter må vi presisere kva «Tradisjonen» er. I Joh 16:13a seier Kristus:

Men når han kjem, Sanningsanden, skal han leia dykk fram til heile sanninga.

I følgje den danske teologen/presten Grundtvig er Tradisjonen — slik vi ser det i det siterte verset — «Heilagandens liv i Kyrkja». Sjølve «hovudopenberringa» er over, men kyrkjas forståing av Den er ikkje ferdig enno. Dømer på «ting» som ein har blitt «leia fram til», er Inkarnasjonen, Treeininga og Bibelens bøker. Dette er Tradisjon.

Bibelens bøker (kanon) er ei frukt av Andens verke i forfattarane av Bibelens bøker og i dei som bestemte Kanon. Viss vi skal stole på at Bibelen er Bibelen — då må vi også tru at Gud beskytta paven mot feil i andre spørsmål også. Og sidan dette er frå Gud — og ikkje ut frå pavens eigne fromleiksgrad — så er det jo Gud som får æra. Viss ein sa at Gud beskytta Lukas mot å skrive feil, ville dette vere ei opphøging av Lukas eller av Gud?

Poenget mitt er: viss ein skal stole på kva som er Bibelens bøker, kvifor skal vi då forkaste «alt anna» i den kyrkjelege Tradisjon?

— Kjetil Kringlebotten