Disputations on Holy Scripture

by William Whitaker

In keeping with their ministry, Soli Deo Gloria Publishers have given us another classic of Christian literature. William Whitaker (1547-1595) lived in England during the reign of Elizabeth I. Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, for not altogether holy reasons, replaced the official Roman Catholic Church and established his own English (Anglican) Church. This tumultuous period was characterized by bitter controversy between these two churches.

William Whitaker was one powerful spokesman for the Protestant faith. His lectures and writings took strong issue with "the papacy," his term for the Roman Catholic Church. Disputations on Holy Scripture attacked the Roman Catholic Church's view of Scripture. Taking the view that Scripture spoke to the individual through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Whitaker denounced the Roman view that the church alone could interpret Scripture. Scripture alone, Whitaker contended, was the final guide for faith and practice.

Utilizing Scripture, logic, and the testimony of the church fathers, the author defends the books of the Old and New Testament that have been generally accepted. The Apocrypha, he argues, are not part of the accepted canon. Furthermore, the laity can profit spiritually by study of the Scriptures. The church does not have to interpret Scripture for the individual. Unlike the Roman Church, Protestants held that individual Christians should have access to Holy Scripture in their vernacular.

Modern readers may consider the Whitaker's writing style verbose and sometimes stilted, but this book is a veritable gold mine of spiritual instruction. Those who take the time to read slowly and ruminate on the author's presentation will undoubtedly be instructed and blessed.