Saturday, June 11, 2011

Frame on Sola Scriptura

Here’s a word from John Frame about sola Scriptura in writing about the Regulative Principle of worship.

Nobody has ever claimed that Scripture is sufficient for every detail of life. Scripture is sufficient, not as an encyclopedia of laws or facts, but as the Word of God. To say that Scripture is sufficient (in public worship or elsewhere) is simply to say that Scripture contains all the divine words that we need. Scripture is sufficient for the civil magistrate, not by telling him exactly how much to collect in taxes, but in giving him all the divine norms he needs to make his decisions. [Frame is responding to T. David Gordon in his reference to taxation.]

People violate sola Scriptura, not by asserting that there are truths to be found outside of Scripture, but by claiming that there are extra-biblical words that have the same authority as Scripture, or higher. Those who believe in sola Scriptura hold that no extra-Scriptural words have divine authority, and therefore supreme authority. People violate the principle when they claim that their ideas, their norms, their political philosophy, their view of taxation, etc., have authority equal to or greater than Scripture.*

From A Fresh Look at the Regulative Principle.


Scott Aniol said...

This is good in a discussion about how the Bible addresses all of life, but the problem is that Frame has completely redefined The Regulative Principle. For him, all of life, not just corporate worship, is governed by the RP, but this has caused him to soften the principle to the point that it is indistinguishable from the general principle of Sola Scriptura. The problem is that he has failed to recognize the difference between all of life and corporate worship, the biggest distinction being the issue of liberty of conscience. The RPW as it was originally understood protects liberty of conscience in corporate gatherings. Frame's redefinition of the principle renders it pretty worthless on that front.

So this discussion is great as long as it is not talking about corporate worship. Otherwise, I agree completely!

Larry said...

Thanks Scott.

My original draft had a paragraph about Frame's view of the RP being disputed in reformed circles (and others, I suppose), but I deleted it and decided just to let this stand on its own for now.

NG said...

Scott, I'd imagine that you don't argue that the RP must be added to what Scripture has given us in order to regulate our corporate worship (that would be ironically self-defeating). So how do you escape that tension?