In the combox, # 441 – at “Called to Communion” -
Bryan Cross responded to Turretinfan's excellent questioning and it is here where Bryan became more explicit in his "organic natural necessity" of ideas argument.
. . .
One of those other kinds of necessity is called ‘natural necessity’ (necessitas naturalis). For example, that an acorn becomes an oak tree is not a logical necessity, but it is a natural necessity, even though many contingencies could prevent this particular acorn from becoming an oak tree. Given the ordinary conditions, the acorn would naturally become an oak tree. That is the natural end of an acorn, given its nature, and it will necessarily move toward that end, unless other factors interfere. (In that respect, the result does not follow in just the same way a conclusion follows by necessity from premises in a deductive argument.) So likewise, the results of sola/solo (described by Mathison) follow from it over time by natural necessity, because of what it is by nature (i.e. each individual retaining ultimate interpretive authority).
Turretinfan's excellent questioning exposed this hole in Bryan Cross’ argument.
1. The analogy is hard to prove that ideas produce something by nature necessarily from their essence as if they were DNA or organic material.
2. Other Sociological/political/cultural factors in history. (see below)
3. The free choices of people – whatever one’s view is – the Augustinian/Luther/Calvin/Edwards view that men are free to act without coercion from the outside according to their desires, but those desires are in bondage to sinful motives, always tainted by sin in some way until God frees the will in regeneration. (John 8:34; John 1:13; 3:1-8; 6:44; Acts 16:14; Ephesians 2:1-4) The other view is the Libertarian free will view; that man has the moral ability to choose good over evil, even without the special grace of regeneration. Whatever one’s view is, the article is still leaving out that factor. The Reformation was a reaction against Sola Ecclesia and the false doctrines of indulgences and the lack of basing teachings and practices on the Scriptures, and the neglect and eclipse of the doctrine of justification by faith alone in Romans and Galatians. By Cross’ reasoning, one could argue that the Reformation and Sola Scriptura came naturally and organically from Sola Ecclesia and Apostolic Succession, but this is not true. A reaction to a philosophy or idea is not the natural consequences in the sense of organic material like a seed or fertilized egg, but it is a consequence in the sense of historical reality and fact. It was a reaction against the Roman Catholic Church; and mere fact and reality of history.
2. Other Sociological/political/cultural factors in history. Solo Scriptura has increased because of the increase of other factors, (not organically or naturally from Sola Scriptura); but mostly from the political freedoms (separation of church and state), increased affluence and literacy, the collapse of the feudal system; the collapse of the states unified with the Pope and the founding of separate political countries in
“Calling solo scriptura the "true nature"[Fn9] of sola scriptura in the sense of being the practical outworking of it, runs into the problems above. To the extent that people accept "free will" it is tough to ascribe the outworking to the ideology apart from the people. The revitalization of sola scriptura during the time of the Reformation [Fn10] was also accompanied by a number of other sociological factors and the rise of a number of ideologies (such as views on personal liberty and equality) and influences (increased affluence and literacy) that are hard to link to specific causes.
. . . The combination of a collapse of feudalism in favor of more democratic forms of government, together with a rise in literacy, can at least intuitively explain a general increase both in lack of respect for authority (both civil and ecclesial) and an increase in confidence in one's own abilities (if one is an illiterate serf one may not feel as qualified to interpret Scripture as if one is a merchant who can read and write in three languages).
In fact, while it is difficult to attribute weight to various forces, those forces on their face have more explanatory power with respect to the changes seen in the Reformation and post-Reformation period in terms of attitude toward authority than does sola scriptura, as such - since sola scriptura has to do with infallible authority, not authority in general.
In summary, Turretinfan writes:
The assertion that solo scriptura proceeds by natural necessity from sola scriptura hasn't been established but merely asserted. It would be difficult, if not impossible, to demonstrate nature necessity with respect to an ideology, particularly because it involves mixing human beings and the ideas.
The alleged consequences don't actually seem to be tied to sola scriptura in any concrete way. In fact, it seems that to tie the consequences to sola scriptura the deck must be stacked against sola scriptura by creating a multi-church abstraction to compare to a single church. Similarly, the arguments presented to deny that the creeds (or whatever) have any real authority are demonstrably wrong in that they would imply that any subordinate authority is not a real authority.
With respect, most of the criticisms of the article seem to be missed, such as the criticism that the article fails to address the trade-offs of the Roman Catholic system. The cost of avoiding anarchy to Hobbes was tyranny. He thought it was worth it, but most folks today disagree. At any rate, one must at least consider the trade-offs before one can conclude in favor of an alternative.”