There is a glaring problem with the “Protestant view” of reading the Scriptures in isolation–how does one resolve differing disputing views of the Scriptures? We have only one explicit example of this in the Scriptures themselves, which is a council of the Elders and Apostles of the Church in Acts 15. At the time, Christians asked whether Gentiles needed to follow the Law and become Jews to be saved. They disagreed over applications of the Old Testament and could not simply convince each other which interpretation was correct. The problem was resolved in a meeting of the whole Church worldwide.

This begs the question, why do those who hold to Sola Scriptura not follow the Bible on this point? Whenever we Protestants disagree with a doctrine, we start a schism and establish our own church (or vote with our feet and find one that suits us.) This is the exact opposite of what the Bible actually shows. In Acts 15, the issue is deliberated by those rightfully in authority and then when a decision is made, it is binding upon the churches.

None of this means that councils can add new teachings to the Scriptures. Rather, having a council is the Biblical means of settling doctrinal disputes. Orthodox have continued to hold councils and synods to solve such disputes and as a result have avoided the sheer degree of fragmentation over doctrine that has existed in Protestantism thus far. This is probably because Orthodoxy follows the Biblical mode of solving doctrinal disputes. The fact that Protestantism does not reveals serious hypocrisy when it is claimed the Bible Alone is the Christian’s authority.

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