Sola Scriptura is one of the hare brained ideas that Martin Luther came up with that simply has to go. Sola Scriptura means “scripture alone.” It was one of the ideas Luther came up with to counter what he saw as the defectiveness of the Roman Catholic (and subsequently Anglican) practice of honoring both scripture and tradition (with Anglicans adding the third leg of reason to the equation).
Much of the Protestant world imagines they are sola scriptura Christians, but I can prove that’s not the case. If you are a “sola scriptura” Christian (and if you are a conservative Christian reading my blog please contact me – I’d love to buy you lunch) reading this I have a little quiz for you.
1. How many Kings visited the baby Jesus with Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh? [None, they were astrologers. Kings is part of the tradition that evolved from a mistranslation.]
2. Where did they come from? [Not from the east. The star was in the eastern sky. The notion that the were “We Three Kings of Orient” is from a song, and a tradition – not scripture.]
3. What was their ethnicity? [Most likely Jewish. Again, the Orient business is from a song, not the Bible.]
If that’s not enough, let’s take a look at the home nativity scene. If you’ve got anything more than a starter kit, you probably have things in there – like chickens, for example – that couldn’t possibly have been around the biblical manger. If you’ve ever seen a Fontanini display in a store around the holidays, you know that they offer enough people and animals to put in their nativity scenes to fill your local college football stadium. And the little drummer boy, don’t even get me started on him because as a child he gave me nightmares.
My point is that we all incorporate traditions into our belief systems – and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. Tradition offers a richness to our stories and our celebrations, they serve to fill in the blanks and are actually an aid to devotion, not a hindrance. So relax – and forget about all of that sola scriptura nonsense.