Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 2)

Last week, I posted the first of a two-part response to a recent Pew study which claimed that modern Protestants sound more like Catholics when it comes to issues like sola scriptura and sola fide.

While modern Protestants certainly have some significant theological weak spots, I pushed back against the results of this study on the grounds that the questions being asked were fundamentally misleading.  Indeed, the theological descriptions of the Protestant (and Catholic!) positions were flat out wrong.

Having already dealt with the sola scriptura issue in the prior post, we now turn to the issue of sola fide.  Here is the summary of the Pew survey …

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Are Protestants Closer to Catholics than Martin Luther? A Response to the Recent Pew Study (Part 1)

Mark Twain once quipped, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.”

Ah statistics.  They can be very helpful. Or very misleading.  And much of it depends on how the questions are asked.

Last week it was announced that a new Pew foundation study demonstrated that modern Protestants are a lot less like Martin Luther and a lot more like Roman Catholics than people might think.

When it comes to the two main issues of sola scriptura (Scripture alone) and sola fide (faith alone) apparently Protestants aren’t so Protestant after all.  The study conclusions state:

For example, nearly half of U.S. Protestants today (46%) say faith alone

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Are Christians Intolerant Haters? Lessons from the Church of the Second Century

As you now know, my book on the second century has just been released in the UK: Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church (SPCK, 2017).  It will be released in the US with IVP Academic in the Spring.

Since it has been released, folks have been asking how this book connects to the modern church.  In other words, can we learn anything from the Christians of the second century that may help us in our current cultural moment?  Absolutely.  Here are a few lessons to consider.…

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A Curious Example of Early Christian Devotion to Scripture

I have argued in numerous places–articles, blog posts, books–that Scripture played a central role in the life of early Christians.  They not only read and preached from these books, but they copied and distributed them in great numbers.

An additional (and rather curious) example of the role of Scripture in early Christianity was the phenomenon of the miniature codex.  From the time of the third century, and especially in the fourth and fifth centuries, Christians began to create these little “pocket Bibles” that contained portions of Scripture and sometimes even held multiple scriptural books (e.g., see my analysis of P.Ant. 12).

The early Christians probably used the miniature …

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