What is the best way to understand and live out the Protestant affirmation of the authority of Scripture (sola scriptura) and the priesthood of all believers? How can these affirmations shape us to be faithful disciples and congregations of Jesus Christ? Is the principle of sola scriptura inescapably divisive in the church? What about the Protestant affirmation of the priesthood of all believers – does it inevitably lead to every Christian being their own church of one?
The third and final talk given by Professor Kevin Vanhoozer at the 3rd Theology Conference of the Fellowship Community in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) explores these questions and more. In “The Church as Communion of the Saints: The Importance of Catholicity for Sola Scriptura,” Vanhoozer offers understandings of sola scriptura and the priesthood of all believers that highlight their importance for our life together in Jesus Christ. In this year of observance of the 500th anniversary of the start of the Reformation, Vanhoozer affirms basic Protestant commitments while also calling us to a catholic commitment to share in a common conversation with all followers of Jesus Christ about Scripture and what it calls us to do and believe.
What are the common objections to sola scriptura expressed by Professor Vanhoozer?
What role can tradition have in our interpretation of Scripture?
Disciple-making is a theme of Professor Vanhoozer’s lecture. It was also a focus of the Fellowship Community’s National Gathering earlier this year. What do you find most helpful in Professor Vanhoozer’s exploration of the disciple-making power of sola scriptura?
Professor Vanhoozer offers a variety of ways to understand denominations and their role in the life of the church. What parts of his discussion do you find helpful for understanding denominations (both your own denomination, and other denominations)?
What is “table talk” unity? Where do you find “table talk” about interpreting Scripture? What would a presbytery or congregation be like if it practiced “table talk” in interpreting Scripture?