Sunday, 17 May 2015

Only the scripture and the scriptures only

Sola Scriptura, Scriptura Sola—“priesthood of all believers}
Only the scripture and the scriptures only

            Phyllis Tickle’s “The Great Emergence” teaches us the history of
Christianity through the need of change in order to bring about the change itself. She retells the story of the Reformation when what was being challenged was a clear and general understanding of who or what is to be used as the arbitrator of correct belief, action and control.  The question almost immediately answered by avid followers as only the scripture; the scripture only and the priesthood of all believers. This led however for the need of universal literacy and with it the interpretations of what is read. But what we might also note is that during this time the printing press was invented which caused many to have books and articles in their hands for the first time. These told the latest news  but also stories of people’s lives which influenced people’s thoughts, reactions and responses to what was being shared including their faith. And of course, was the church capable of being wrong to teach otherwise? Yes!
During this Reformation period these changes separated churches because the people wanted and needed to understand their new world. It was not flat, they could sail west or south and found new civilizations. But what caused most concern is that the church was already transmuted into something very different. Protestantism  itself broke into other factions with their own hierarchy, leadership and teachings. Due to the emergence of a new world and all its potential, the church changed.
Tickle argues that we are now 500 years later and a new is again emerging. A new world which in seconds news about earthquakes, baby births and even individual situations close to home are shared for all to know. Yet the church somehow is not fully grasping this- yes the scriptures are shared to all who believe, but what is needed now is that this task be done in innovative ways. What withstood time is no longer viable but do we still wish it the same as before?

Only Scripture- priesthood of all believers. These are the basis for Protestant Reform. This means that the Bible is foundational for our understanding of God. It also means that everyone has equal access to God, if they have faith. The teachings of the church are not to be ritually based, but actions are to be reflective of the One whom we worship.
What is your idea of the Protestant Reform and the role of Scripture and that all believe and are able
God we praise you for our historical churches and how at one time this was common understanding of who we were and how we worshiped you. We understand that your love is unconditional- never changing in this- yet we have changed because of your grace and love shown to us in Jesus. Enable us to expres our need for your church family and how worshiping you with heart and mind is key to our faith development. Be with us we pray in our churches- across denominations and around the world. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Phyllis Tickle The Great Emergence:How Christianity is Changing and Why. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books,2008. Chapter 3

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