Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position On The Bible
Edited By: Don Kistler
Contributors: Joel R. Beeke, Sinclair B. Ferguson, W. Robert Godfrey, Ray Lanning, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Derek W. H. Thomas and James White
Sola Scriptura is an excellent book. This is essentially an apologetic against the erroneous claims of the Roman Catholic Church on Scripture. Very theologically rich. Very well written. It also does a great job of not getting off topic by exalting secondary issues as though they were essentials in the debate the book is addressing (which if you read theology you know theologians often have a bad habit of doing). If your not used to reading (or just don’t like to read) theology books you probably won’t enjoy this one a great deal. Also, if you a Catholic who is highly sensitive to the Church of Rome being criticized you also won’t enjoy it (though I wonder why someone fitting that description would even pick up a boo entitled Sola Sciptura: The Protestant Position On The Bible).
In chapter one W. Robert Godfrey gives a clear definition of what is meant by “Sola Scriptura” and competently contrasts and defends it against the erroneous views of the Roman Catholic Church on Scripture.
In chapter two James White shows what the early Church fathers believed in regard to the doctrine of Scripture and defends this against the claims that the Church of Rome has made about what the early Christians taught and believed regarding Scripture and tradition.
In chapter three R.C. Sproul presents a terrific synopsis on the issue of the canon of Scripture. He briefly deals with issues such as the sufficiency of the canon, the Protestant vs Catholic views, reductionism and more. Dealing with these issues on both history and the contemporary Church. I’d love to see this chapter expanded into a whole book of it’s own.
In chapter four Derek W. H. Thomas gives a brief overview of the authority of The Bible. He deals primarily with The Bible’s view of itself and ultimately concludes that we should view The Bible in the same way as Jesus.
In chapter five John MacArthur discusses the sufficiency of Scripture. That is, that no other revelation is needed or exists. He primarily focuses on the alleged revelation from the Roman Catholic Church through their traditions that they exalt to equal and even above The Bible. He does a great job of defending the Protestant position using The Bible itself. This against the claims of Rome which he clearly lays out and refutes. This chapter lives up to the high standard of John MacArthur’s other writings.
In chapter six Sinclair B. Ferguson attempts to demonstrate what he describes as the interpretive gulf between Protestants who adhere to Scripture alone and Catholics who blend Scripture with tradition. The chapter starts out with some excellent history of the issue from the Reformation to today but from there feels a little scattered. I can understand what Ferguson was attempting but feel the chapter was mildly disorganized. Most likely it was do to the lack of space in that he was only contributing a single chapter on the subject so everything was somewhat crunched which gave it an all-over-the-place feel.
In chapter seven Joel R. Beeke and Ray B. Lanning give the applicational portion of the book. This chapter is on sanctification. More specifically, the sanctifying nature of The Bible. They deal with how God sanctifies the Christian through the Scriptures and active steps the Christian should take to be transformed through the Word of God. They go on to discuss this in a Church atmosphere by addressing the preaching of the Word, hearing of the Word and singing of the Word. They then close with an overview of the fruits of this transformation brought through the Scriptures.
Terrific read. I unwaveringly recommend this book.
Thank you to Reformation Trust Publishing who provided for free the book that was the topic of this review.