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Sola Scriptura Can’t Definitively Refute Christological Heresy

Sola Scriptura Can’t Definitively Refute Christological Heresy June 14, 2020

The Sad Case of Evangelical Apologist and Philosopher Dr. William Lane Craig and Monothelitism

[originally posted on 10-22-17 on my Facebook page]

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I noted recently (for the second time) that Dr. William Lane Craig, an [ostensibly Protestant] apologist and atheist debater, is a Monothelite heretic (the belief that Christ had only one will, rather than a human will and Divine Will).

I also made comments about how this relates to the Protestant rule of faith: sola Scriptura:

The Protestant appeals to his own (sometimes heretical) interpretation of Scripture, which for him trumps any apostolic tradition of the Church; thumbing his nose even at (Craig’s phrase) “Nicene orthodoxy.”

It’s a prime example of how sola Scriptura can lead to heresy (has no final answer against it): even very serious heresy involving the theology of God: theology proper, and Christology. This is what can and does happen by denying the infallibility of the Church and ecumenical councils.

Then I had an encounter with a Protestant friend, Dustin Buck Lattimore (words in blue below), which, to me, perfectly illustrated the Protestant problem and conundrum just outlined:

William Lane Craig is a heretic?

Yes; according to Catholicism, Orthodoxy, and most Protestants. Life is strange, isn’t it? But this is what sola Scriptura makes possible. The individual can simply decide that ecumenical councils (and I would say, the Bible) aren’t sufficient to solve the issue, and go their own way. It’s what Luther did. Dr. Craig has followed the same methodology and has come out a Monothelite heretic.

Okay, I’ve done some research, and he certainly is a heretic by Catholic and Orthodox standards, but not necessarily by Protestant standards. I’ve read his own account of the matter, and I can’t say that I disagree: at least not with the reasoning that even councils must be submitted to Scripture, and his view is at least a plausible interpretation of Scripture.

As always, I reject the premise that Sola Scriptura leads inexorably to theological relativism, but that’s a different conversation.

Exactly. Like I said, the individual Protestant has the final say. If he thinks Scripture teaches something, and thinks that the Holy Spirit confirms it in his heart, no one can tell him otherwise, because only Scripture is the infallible authority. “Here I stand” etc. “Scripture and plain reason . . .” In this case, by most theological standards, it’s rank heresy.

Arianism is rank heresy. Monothelitism is, if anything, a minor heresy like Calvinism. Perhaps in error (and that’s up for debate, in our camp at least), but not damnable.

Anything to do with Christology is pretty serious business.

I agree that it’s serious business. I also think it’s business with ambiguous scriptural evidence; and Sola Scriptura is the rule we play by, just as papal/conciliar decrees are y’alls standard.

Dr. Craig provided no biblical arguments for his position. Orthodox Christianity can provide plenty. See my paper:

William Lane Craig’s Christological Errors (Monothelitism +) [+ Biblical Evidence Against Monothelitism (Denial of Jesus’ Possession of Both Human and Divine Wills) ] [7-31-10 + 9-7-13 + 1-30-14]

I’m not a convinced monothelitist, for the record.

I don’t see, in all these verses, a refutation of the proposition that Christ had one will, which He always submitted to the will of the father.

Okay. You claim the Bible for yourself, and claim we only go by “papal/conciliar decrees” (which is untrue. We follow a “three-legged stool” rule of faith: Scripture + Tradition + Authoritative Church). I’ve just given you a ton of Scripture (did you think I had none?). I’m still awaiting even one Bible verse that teaches otherwise.

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Photo credit: Dr. William Lane Craig: Official Press Release Photo from ReasonableFaith.org (3-13-14) [Wikimedia Commons /  Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license]

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