By Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong
In my eternal and perpetually disappointing search for Protestants who actually try to make a serious rational defense of the Protestant doctrine of sola Scriptura from Scripture itself, I have now (almost desperate to find something; anything!) arrived at William Goode (1801-1868): an English evangelical Anglican. His relevant work is, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, originally two volumes in 1842, and then revised and enlarged to three volumes in 1853. I have located them online (Vol. 1 / Vol. II / Vol. III), and of course they are in the public domain.
Recently, I was crushed yet again when I discovered that David T. King, despite the title of his book (A Biblical Defense of the Reformation Principle of Sola Scriptura), did not make such a case from Scripture, apart from a few (very weakly argued) instances, which I replied to.
I've already done an 18-part reply to the work of William Whitaker, a highly-touted 16th century advocate of sola Scriptura. No doubt this will be a book at some future date: my replies to both Whitaker and Goode [see later note below].
As we would expect, Goode, like Whitaker -- both Protestant "champions" over against the lowly, wicked papists -- , receives glowing accolades from today's Protestants (particularly the fringe anti-Catholic ones) who follow sola Scriptura, and/or seek to justify it themselves:
But of all the treatments dealing with sola Scriptura, the work of William Goode, The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice, has never been surpassed. (David T. King, ibid. , p. 17)
. . . classical works on . . . sola scriptura, such as William Whitaker’s late 16th century classic, Disputations on Holy Scripture, or William Goode’s mid 19th century work, Divine Rule of Faith and Practice. (James White, blog post, 8-18-10)
I heartily commend to your reading William Goode's The Divine Rule of Faith and Practice . . . a genuinely scholarly work on sola scriptura. . . . Everywhere I turn, William Goode is referenced in the literature. (D. Phillip Veitch, Anglican message board, 3-20-09)
I will be examining these volumes specifically to see how Goode makes his case from Scripture. That is my sole interest. I will offer up rebuttals to any significant biblical argument that actually deals with the heart and stated definition or essence of sola Scriptura: the notion that only Scripture is the sole infallible guide for the Christian: to the exclusion of an infallible tradition or infallible Church (the latter two notions both accepted by Catholics). I have no interest in arguments for inspiration or material sufficiency or other relative side issues, because Catholics already agree with those.
The five installments of this series are listed below:
Reply to William Goode, Contra Sola Scriptura, Part 1 (Definitions and Premises; Ezekiel 3)
Part 2 (Concession That the Bible Contains No Precise Statement of SS; OT Jews Accepted SS?; Jesus vs. Tradition?)
Part 3 (Oral Tradition in the NT; Fathers vs. Tradition?)
Part 4 (Goode Denies the Infallibility of the Church; Is the Bible Its Own Judge, Minus the Church?)
Part 5 (Perspicuity; Goode's Logic & Standards for All Doctrines [Minus SS] Self-Destruct)
As I hinted at above, I have decided to create a new book about sola Scriptura, incorporating my replies to Goode, with earlier ones responding to William Whitaker; adding additional material, mostly about sola Scriptura "prooftexts" used by Protestants. The title of the book is Pillars of Sola Scriptura: Replies to Whitaker, Goode, & Biblical “Proofs” for “Bible Alone”. As currently conceived, it contains 26 chapters: 15 devoted to Whitaker, five for Goode, and six additional ones, including a detailed, lengthy reply to Keith A. Mathison: widely renowned as the best and most sophisticated defender of sola Scriptura today. I'm not sure when it will come out, due to various factors, but eventually it will in one way or another.
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