Sola Scriptura, Roman Catholicism, and the Quest for Certainty

I have been having some struggles with the doctrine of sola scriptura & private interpretation. The issue I’m running into is whether the Bible alone is actually sufficient to come to answers on primary (or what I view as primary) doctrines.

For instance, for several years I have been unable to come to any conclusive answer about what communion “is” (real presence, symbolic etc.). One can try to exegete as best as possible, use early church writings etc, but at the end of the day, it seems that it boils down to one’s best guess of what Jesus meant by “This is my body.” Luther, Calvin, Zwingli all had their own best guesses that differed from each other. Given that communion is a command of Jesus, the variety of viable opinions in Protestantism on how to practice/think about communion makes me feel that I will never be able to achieve any sense of certainty that I am even obeying Jesus’ command correctly or interpreting him correctly.

This same issue has been popping up for other doctrines, such as whether sacraments impart grace or not, is remarriage adultery etc.

At this point in my questioning, it is seeming to me that Protestantism, in framing Christianity by the Solas, is necessarily forced to subjectivize/be non-conclusive about matters that Protestants say are of secondary importance (communion, divorce etc) but may actually be of first importance.

This perceived “insufficiency” of fairly unanimously defining more crucial doctrines by Scripture alone is leaning me towards a Catholic position. On a practical level, I’m feeling that if I were to remain a Protestant, I would be piecing my religion together with no reasonable sense of assurance that I’m in the right ballpark, rather than accepting something revealed (ie. Catholicism) wholesale.

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Why Does Revelation Use So Much Symbolism?

Why does the Book of Revelation use so much symbolism? Some reasons might perhaps include: to hide its meaning from outsiders, to describe the ineffable, to point out the inner reality of what’s being described, and so on. Are these correct? What other purposes might there be for the symbolism in Revelation? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

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Theopolis Podcast: The Tenth Word (Ten Words)

Peter Leithart and I conclude the Theopolis podcast series on the Ten Words, with an episode upon the tenth word—you shall not covet. Within it we explore the significance of the commandment and how it affords us a new vantage point from which we can see all of the others.

You can follow the Theopolis podcast on SoundcloudiTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above. If you would like to leave a question for us to answer, please do so on our Curious Cat page.

Daily Quiet Time

Evangelicals have been enamored with the “quiet time” of daily Bible reading and prayer, but it often seems to be focused on reading a chapter quickly, avoiding eisegesis as best as possible, and then praying through a short list. Do you have any thoughts on the typical approach to “quiet times”? Is “devotional” reading of Scripture different for you than other times you read scripture during the day? How does that connect to prayer? Thanks for your thoughts.

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Theopolis Podcast: The Ninth Word (Ten Words)

Peter Leithart and I continue the latest Theopolis podcast series on the Ten Words, focusing this week upon the ninth word—you shall not bear false witness. Within it we discuss the often neglected broader meaning of this commandment and deal with the morality of lying.

You can follow the Theopolis podcast on SoundcloudiTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above. If you would like to leave a question for us to answer, please do so on our Curious Cat page.

Theopolis Podcast: The Eighth Word (Ten Words)

Peter Leithart and I continue the latest Theopolis podcast series on the Ten Words, focusing this week upon the eighth word—you shall not steal. Within it we discuss issues related to the meaning and true recognition of property.

You can follow the Theopolis podcast on SoundcloudiTunes, and on most podcast apps. You can read show notes over on the Theopolis podcast website. You can also see past episodes I have contributed to by clicking the ‘Theopolis Podcast’ link in the bar above. If you would like to leave a question for us to answer, please do so on our Curious Cat page.