“A: Which would best preserve God’s truth?”
1) If it was simply a question of which would best preserve truth, I could think of several better options for us than either of the two views. God could speak to all people individually and tell each what he wants on a continual basis. The next best thing is for an angel to come down from heaven with the full canon in the form of golden tablets. The writing could be recent, without a doubt from God and something all in the precision of the modern day could respect and better preserve.
If I were to take the above views seriously, how might one counter such wild ideas? It seems the best option would be to use the evidence available to us. To look at the reasons we have for thinking X preserves truth or is, at the very least, most reliable.
In my understanding, the “would” question ought to give way to “What is.” In other words, I am asking, “What do we have to work with?” Now, based off of the data available to us, which view of authority is most backed up? This last statement concerns the second step and is to be considered after a common method is established.
A’s Possible and Present (these are the critiques I have received) Critiques:
“B: What reasons do we have for thinking “X” best preserves God’s truth?”
1) You are promoting a naturalistic methodology.
2) You would not be able to know whether or not you have a complete canon. The Word of God may not be complete or could possibly have ideas or books that do not belong there. It seems the only way to insure the preservation of God’s word would be for the existence of an infallible Church.
A. This critique was given in light of the “reasons” provided. While those reasons may or may not be adequate, that should be decided once a common method is agreed upon (the person and I were working "together" on a project).
B. My method does not deny supernatural significance nor does it claim scientific laws are adequate in accounting for all phenomena. My method does however assume, as does A's method, that God has preserved His truth. That is, God has preserved what is necessary for our faith and growth in Him. Given that this is the case, I am looking at the framework in which He operated.
A. Does my view give me the degree of certainty I would like? No, it does not. However, if I were to use A's method, I could easily embrace anything I felt would get me to my goal as demonstrated in my first critique.
B. This critique may give off the illusion of a devastating blow. That is, until one realizes the critique cuts both ways and remains an annoyance for both Protestants and Eastern Orthodox. This will be covered in more detail later.
Response Wrap Up:
Both Orthodox and Protestants can have faith that God set the stage for His truth to be preserved. Now let’s look at this stage and consider which direction the evidence leads. Faith in God’s goodness and overarching plan as well as indication of the reliability of Scripture has led me to conclude that Sola Scriptura is the best option unless such a thing as Church infallibility can be defined, found in contradiction with my view and demonstrated to be the case.