The Other Paul
REVIEW SERIES - The Obfuscation of Scripture
I have just received my copy of Casey J. Chalk's The Obscurity of Scripture - Disputing Sola Scriptura and the Protestant Notion of Biblical Perspicuity. I have read through large portions of it thus far and consider it to be worthy of a critical review series, as it represents the summit of the current Romanist case against the perspicuity of scripture as forwarded by the Reformation (and the early church, as my review of chapter 9 will show). Each part of this series will go through one or multiple chapters of the book (depending on their connectedness and how much they contain that requires a critical response).
I consider this series to be a necessary resource for believers today as this book has clearly been assembled as a new standard work for the anti-perspicuity camp, and thus has great potential to upset or upend the faith of many unlearned Protestants. I hope for this series to be a far reaching companion resource that decisively corrects the fundamental claims of this book, thus reinforcing the faith of Protestants across the confessions and perhaps even causing Romanists to reconsider their denial of scripture's clarity and, God willing, their Romanism.
The importance of defending scripture's perspicuity on matters of faith cannot be understated. First, it is true, and thus the ultimate reason for my defending it (as it is simply illogical - sinful even - to defend something for its own sake without regard for its truth). Secondly, since it is true, it strikes at the heart of the claim of the imperial churches to a carta blanche authority over scripture's interpretation, such that - as the counter reformer Ignatius of Loyola stated most clearly - what seems to me white I will believe black, if the Church so declares. This here is what is at stake; the right of everyone from bishops, to lower church leaders, and laymen to be so impacted by divine testimony as to be able to recognise error in the teaching of hierarchies and rightly speak against it.
Therefore, the spirit of this review will follow that of the great saint and bishop of Ephesus, Polycrates, who resisted the tyranny of Rome in the late 2nd century with the following words:
And I too, Polycrates, the least of all of you, live according to the tradition of my relatives, some of whom I have followed. Seven of them were bishops and I am the eighth, and my relatives have always kept the day when the people discarded the leaven. Therefore, my brothers, I who have lived sixty-five years in the Lord and conferred with brethren from all parts of the world and have studied all of Holy Scripture, am not afraid of threats, for men better than I have said, "We must obey God rather than men." [Acts 5:29]
~ Polycates' letter to Rome, cited in Eusebius' Ecclesiastical History, 5.24
As each part is published, it will be listed in order here.