A Reformation Confession

I’d just like to take this opportunity to say, for those who are wondering, that yes, I adhere to what are often called the “formal” and “material” principles of the Reformation.

I hold that the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament (and not the Apocrypha) are the sole infallible rule of faith. This does not mean they are the only rule of faith, period, but they are the sole infallible rule of faith. Other rules of faith exist, such as creeds and conciliar documents, but they are fallible. I don’t necessarily hold to what is frequently called “the grammatical-historical” method of hermeneutics, but this should not be confused with sola Scriptura. The two are different issues.

I also hold that justification is by faith alone, but that that faith is a faith which is never alone. Note that this is not the same thing as holding, as some Protestant polemicists apparently do, that justification is by believing in justification by faith alone, so that, say, someone who does not see his way clear to hold to the Protestant doctrine is for that reason an unregenerate person, and a Church which cannot see its way clear to hold to the Protestant doctrine is for that reason a false and anti-Christian Church teaching a false Gospel.

Yes, friends, I adhere to the Reformation solas firmly and wholeheartedly. Just because I don’t militantly practice fire-and-brimstone polemics against Rome the way that a lot of Protestants do, just because I hope for eventual reconciliation with my Catholic brothers, just because I don’t believe that the Reformation was the centerpoint of all Christian history and the standard by which the orthodoxy of everything else must be judged, just because I don’t reduce all of the Christian life down to evangelism and apologetics, doesn’t mean I can be fairly charged with undermining the Reformation.

Careful distinctions need to be made, and I hope you, the reader, will work with me to make them.

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