Scripture Alone was the theme of a two-day event at the Presbyterian College, October 30 to 31, 2015. It was co-sponsored by the College as part of its 150th Anniversary celebrations, and the Presbyterian Church in Canada Committee on History as part of the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation.
On the first day, Dr. Edith Humphrey of the Pittsburgh Theological Seminary gave the L.W. Anderson Lectures in which she surveyed the various ways Christians have understood the relationship between scripture, church tradition, reason and experience. Dr. Humphrey outlined the Reformed or Protestant view, as well as that of the Anglican, Roman Catholic and Orthodox traditions. She offered a critique of the traditional Protestant position of Sola Scriptura, and argued for Prima Scriptura instead. In this view, Scripture is seen as part of tradition, yet always takes precedence over tradition, reason and experience. This is especially relevant in today’s church since often experience is seen as trumping all else. Dr. Humphrey’s presentation was warm and joyous and punctuated by her leading us in praise on the keyboard.
The next day began with a lecture on Sola Scriptura: A Baptismal Defense by Roland De Vries, the newly installed Director of Pastoral Studies of the Presbyterian College. He focused on baptism as union with Christ, and explored the way that our experience of baptism drives us to seek understanding of our identity in Christ. Our baptism precedes our engagement with the scriptures and sends us to the scriptures to answer that age-old question: “Who am I?”
The Reverend Jennifer Cameron of St. Columba Presbyterian Church, Belleville, Ontario then spoke on the authority of the Bible in the life of the Christian and in the church. It was refreshing to hear this often academically treated subject discussed from a purely pastoral perspective.
A thought-provoking panel discussion was included in the programme, featuring pastors and scholars from the Montreal area who represented several different traditions. This panel provided an illuminating mix of academic and pastoral perspectives on Scripture, as well as moving personal testimonies to God feeding his people through his Word.
written by the Rev. John Vaudry, Minister of First Presbyterian Church, Pembroke, ON.
Audio-video recordings of the lectures are accessible via the links below:
William F. Orr Professor of New Testament, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
- “Scripture and the Company She Keeps”
- “Why Prima Scriptura”
Lecture by the Rev. Dr. Roland De Vries
Director of Pastoral Studies, Presbyterian College
Lecture by the Rev. Jennifer Cameron
Minister, St. Columba Presbyterian Church, Belleville Ontario.
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 1
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 2
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 3
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 4
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 5
Scripture and the Company She Keeps: Part 6 – Conclusion
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 1
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 2
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 3
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 4
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 5
Why Prima Scriptura: Part 6
“Sola Scriptura: A Baptismal Defense?”
“Sola Scriptura and Ministry”