Heinrich Bullinger, Sola Scriptura, and the Catholicity of the Reformation

Reformissio

One of the most pervasive misunderstandings of the Protestant doctrine and practice of sola Scriptura is that such a notion is naive at best and dangerous at worse because it essentially opens the door to any number of contradictory interpretations of Scripture. In other words, to many Roman Catholic ears, sola Scriptura simply sounds like “anything goes” or “everyone’s own understanding of Scripture”. Nothing, however, could be further from the truth. Sola Scriptura is not “solo” or “nuda” Scriptura, as though the Protestant Reformation eliminated all authority in the church with the sole exception of the Bible. Rather, sola Scriptura, correctly understood, entails a reordering of authority into their proper relations. Recognizing that Scripture is the means by which, in Calvin’s words, “God himself speaks in person” to his church, the Reformers acknowledged Scripture as possessing a level of authority higher than that of all other church authorities. At…

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