A 19th Century Moravian Synod declared, :The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are and shall remain the only source and rule of our Doctrine, Faith, and Practice.” This is very close to the Reformed principal of Sola Scriptura, the Scripture Alone.
By contrast John Wesley proposed a Quadrilateral of Faith, or four warrants of authority 1. Scripture (always primary) , 2. Tradition (meaning the Church and its tradition), 3. Reason, and 4. Experience.
Who is right, Wesley or the Moravians? Well, it turns out that both are right, for the Bible itself recognizes all four sides of Wesley’s Quadrilateral. In today’s lessons, Psalm 19, recognizes Scripture when it declares, “The Law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple.” And it recognizes Reason, when it declares, “The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament declares God’s handiwork, day to day pours forth speech; night to night declares wisdom.” Read carefully, Philippians 3 affirms both the Tradition that profoundly affected St. Paul’s life and teaching, and his Experience of Jesus Christ which completely altered his understanding of that tradition.
That’s four for four: Scripture, Tradition, Reason, and Experience. Let’s examine these four warrants of authority. Continue reading