The story I’ve linked to below is about a young woman named Rachael Slick who was raised in a devoutly Christian family. Rachael has since apostatized and left the faith. She is now an atheist. I feel for this girl as she describes being caught in a biblical conundrum that eventually destroyed her faith. She now says that the Bible lied to her. This is the natural outcome of Sola Scriptura, or the doctrine defended by many Protestant sects holding that the Bible is the sole source of Christian teaching.
We don’t believe in Sola Scriptura in the Eastern Orthodox Christian Churches. We believe that the Bible was written and compiled by human hands under heavenly inspiration. We can say this with authority because it is our book, we wrote it. We convened the councils that compiled and vetted all the books that form the Holy Bible used by the entire Christian world. It’s the same Bible used by all the Protestant denominations, the Evangelicals and the Roman Catholic Church. Those councils were all convened when there was only one Christian Church and it was Orthodox, so when we speak about the Holy Bible we do so with authority. It’s our book. Nonetheless, we don’t teach that the Bible is the sole source of Christian teaching. You would not expect to take a university degree by simply reading the textbook. You would expect to receive guidance by studying at the feet of a master on the subject who can expound on all the complexities of the subject matter. The Desert Fathers, those early desert dwelling monks and ascetics, as well as the early bishops, martyrs, and saints created and left behind a huge number of writings and spiritual guidance that help us to interpret biblical scripture in the correct context and to apply it in our daily lives.
The history of the Orthodox Church goes back almost 2,000 years to Christ’s apostles who dispersed to the four corners of the Earth to become our first bishops. The first Protestant church appeared on the scene only in the Middle Ages. Many of the western denominations simply ignore the collected wisdom from the early church fathers, but can’t easily explain away the gap between Christ’s Ascension and the formation of their own sects and denominations centuries later. Did nothing noteworthy happen in Christian history during all those previous centuries? All the answers are out there for those who are willing to seek them. In the meantime Rachael is still in need of our prayers. May God save and protect her.