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Sola Scriptura

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(Last Updated:  11 Oct 2007 )

The doctrine of Sola Scriptura asserts that the Bible is the only rule of faith and practice for the Christian religion.  It's one of the cornerstones of Protestantism.  This page contains links to articles which examine this doctrine from a Catholic perspective.

How Many Denominations are There?

Note that some of the articles linked to above highlight the fact that the principle of sola scriptura has led to a plethora of Protestant denominations. Some of the articles cite figures of between 20,000 and 30,000 for the number of different Protestant denominations. I'm pretty sure I've never used these figures as I think they are inflated and based on a misreading of a key primary source (David B. Barrett, Oxford World Christian Encyclopedia, 1982) or on secondary sources that have similarly misread Barrett (e.g. Reid et al's Dictionary of Christianity in America, 1991; or Fahlbusch et al's Encyclopedia of Christianity). The real number in my opinion is probably something between 200 and a thousand. This is a long way short of the 20,000+ number that one still finds in some Catholic apologetics literature (which in my opinion shouldn't be used), but the strength of the objection still stands in that it is also very different from the unity that Jesus willed for his people to have.

For more information on the issue of the number of denominations, see the following:

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