“A simple lay person armed with scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it.”
How highly controversial! Scripture alone is enough. Scripture is self-authenticating, clear, its own interpreter, and sufficient as the final authority of Christian beliefs. The idea is that whoever bases their faith on scripture, whoever seeks guidance and answers in scripture, doesn’t need anything or anyone else and will never be disappointed.
This concept of scripture alone or sola scriptura was introduced by the same man who said those words in the beginning of this article: Martin Luther, the German reformer who saw so many flaws in the Catholic Church of the 15th century that he simply had to speak against it. His idea that scripture alone stands in the center of an individual’s striving for and learning about God was eagerly adopted by many and eventually also by the younger evangelical denominations in the United States. To this day it is a key principal of many conservative Baptist and Lutheran churches and all those who call themselves “bible-believing”. I firmly believe that indeed, the bible is God’s love letter to us, his children and all the guidance and nudges we need to come closer to this love are right there in scripture. So yes, I call myself bible-believing.
Wait. How can a progressive Christian who is living in a same-sex marriage be bible-believing? How can someone like me adopt the same term as conservative Christians? Do I believe that my sexuality is wrong, that my wife is an abomination? Of course not. Then why does my hand not tremble when I write: “I believe in the bible.”?