“The Scriptures contain all things necessary for salvation; so that whatever is not read in it can not be proved by it, it must not be demanded of any person who is believed as an article of Faith or judged as required or necessary for salvation. By the name of Sacred Scriptures we understand the canonical Books of the Old and New Testaments, from whose authority there was never any doubt in the Church. The books commonly called “The Apocrypha,” are not part of the Canonical Scriptures; and therefore should not be used to establish any doctrine; nor should they be read publicly in the Church. We receive and count by canonical all the New Testament Books, as commonly received “(From Scripture, 39 Articles of Religion)
The positive principle of Sola Scriptura in the 39 Articles of Religion, by Rev. Marcelo Lemos.
The first aspect of Sola Scriptura in Anglicanism is its positive principle. We affirm that Scripture is complete and sufficient because “it contains all things necessary for salvation.” It means that we ultimately do not need anything other than the Scriptures to serve God, or to be saved. We do not need the tradition of the Church, nor modern prophets and apostles, nor things like these.
Here we need some clarification. I am not saying that the Tradition of the Church, for example, or theological work, are disposable. I do not even say that they are unnecessary things. It is necessary, to properly understand what I say, to qualify what we mean. Needed for what? As a foundation of faith, only the Scriptures are necessary. On the other hand, theology, tradition and other tools may be needed to help dialogue between Church and modernity, Church and past, Church and future, and so on.
The Protestant Reformation, which broke out in the days of the monk Martin Luther, denounced the Church of Rome by adding numerous pernicious traditions to the simple message of the Gospel. Luther and the other Reformers began to call the Church to the principle of Sola Scriptura. They rightly said that the Bible alone is sufficient for the salvation of man. The Anglican Church has embraced, and has the mission to follow this same theological principle today. This same ideal gave birth to all the evangelical churches of the world, although today many have succumbed to new human relationships, doctrines and customs. Even traditional churches, including some Anglican churches, have already abandoned the Sufficiency of Scripture.
Since we embrace the Sufficiency of the Scriptures, does this mean that in Anglicanism we despise the tradition of the Church automatically? Quite the opposite! We even take advantage of what good the tradition and the history of the Church can offer us. However, the highest authority in the Anglican Church has always been, and always must be, the Word of Christ revealed in the Bible, for the Apostle Paul said: “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for rebuke , for correction, for education in righteousness, so that the man of God may be perfectly enabled for every good work “(2 Timothy 3: 16-17).