Our seventh argument is taken from 1 Thess. ii. 13, where Paul addresses the Thessalonians thus: "We give thanks to God always, because that, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but (as it is in truth), the word of God [Greek text omitted] which also worketh effectually in you that believe." From this place I argue thus: If the Thessalonians, when they only heard Paul, received the doctrine of scripture as divine, and so embraced it, then, without the judgment of the church, the scripture ought to have a divine authority with us. But the former is true; for the Thessalonians had then heard of no prophecy or testimony of any church, but had only received the word from the lips of Paul: therefore also the latter. Ambrose writes thus upon that place: "They received the word with such devotion as to prove that they understood it to be the word of God." But whence could they understand it to be such? Certainly from the doctrine itself, and the testimony of the Holy Spirit; not from the authority of any church, or of the apostle himself. For what church could persuade the Thessalonians by the weight of its testimony to receive Paul, or assent to his discourses as divine? The apostle himself was unknown to them, and had nowhere any authority but on account of that doctrine, the minister and herald of which he was. Therefore, the doctrine itself gained for him all his credit and authority...So Acts xvii. 11, the Bereans, when they heard Paul, examined his teaching not by the judgment of the church, but by the standard of the scripture itself. It appears, therefore, that scripture of itself, without the testimony and authority of the church, hath a divine, canonical and authentic authority even in respect of us.
Friday, August 13, 2010
Whitaker's Seventh Argument
Whitaker's seventh argument in defense of Sola Scriptura needs no additional commentary: