Turn on Christian radio anywhere in the United States and see how long it takes before someone declares that “Scripture clearly teaches [fill in the blank].” There’s a reason for that, and it has to do with the very origins of Protestant Christianity more than five hundred years ago.

The Protestant Reformation coalesced around five core doctrines: sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, and soli Deo gloria. But another founding principle served as bedrock for all of them: the doctrine of clarity, or perspicuity. According to this doctrine, which was upheld in various forms by all the major Reformers and remains central to Protestantism today, the Bible is clear enough so that any Christian, relying on the Holy Spirit, will be able to determine at least what is necessary for salvation, if not much more. 

The Obscurity of Scripture: Disputing Sola Scriptura and the Protestant Notion of Biblical Perspicuity catalogues and analyzes the historical, theological, and philosophical dimensions of perspicuity and finds the doctrine not only confused but erroneous, destructive, and self-defeating. The Obscurity of Scripture exposes the hopeless dead ends of clarity and, through a consideration of Catholic teaching on the Bible, offers the only way out.

 

Casey J. Chalk holds degrees in History and Teaching from the University of Virginia and a Master’s Degree in Theology from the Notre Dame Graduate School of Theology at Christendom College. He serves as an editor or regular contributor for many publications, including The New Oxford Review, The Federalist, Crisis Magazine, The American Conservative, and The Spectator. He is the author of The Persecuted: True Stories of Courageous Christians Living Their Faith in Muslim Lands. Casey, his wife and their five children live in his native Northern Virginia.

 

“With clear prose and authentically Christian insight, Casey J. Chalk invites his readers to reconsider their understanding of the Bible and the Church—and, consequently, their relationship with the Eternal Word. This is a book that I will recommend to friends both Protestant and Catholic.”

Fr. Cajetan Cuddy, O.P.
Instructor of Systematic and Moral Theology,
Dominican House of Studies

 

“This book by Casey Chalk is a stunning achievement, filled with balanced judgment and lucid style. Chalk’s sophisticated biblical, theological, and philosophical treatment of the doctrine of clarity, otherwise known as perspicuity, provides an extraordinary opportunity for ecumenical exchange between Catholics and Evangelical Protestants. . . . This is a must-read book.”

Eduardo J. Echeverria, Ph.D., S.T.L.
Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology, Graduate School of Theology,
Sacred Heart Major Seminary

 

“Casey Chalk turns a keen analytical eye on a fundamental question that lies beneath so many disagreements between Protestant and Catholic Christians: is Scripture clear on everything, some things, or even anything? Making his case through a wide range of theological, philosophical, historical, and sociological analyses, he provides a compelling answer to that question, offering a light much needed in ecumenical conversations.”

Paul Thigpen
Author of The Biblical Names of Jesus:
Beautiful, Powerful Portraits of Christ

 

“This book is essential reading for anyone who accepts the formal sufficiency of Sacred Scripture or who is wrestling with the implications that disagreement over the interpretation of biblical texts has for ecclesial unity. Chalk makes the case for the necessity of recourse to the Church’s living Tradition—encompassing the patristic reception of the Bible and the Church’s pastoral teaching authority—not only for establishing the canon but also for the sound interpretation of Scripture.”

R. J. Matava
Associate Professor and Dean, Notre Dame Graduate School, Christendom College

 

“Chalk’s book patiently walks the reader through one of the fundamental doctrines that divide Catholics and Protestants: the perspicuity of Scripture. This work carefully charts the historical, ecclesiological, and theological issues implicit in this foundational disagreement. The author has done a service in charitably disputing with Protestants using their own words. This is a highly readable and useful introduction to this critical issue.”

Donald S. Prudlo
Warren Professor of Catholic Studies, The University of Tulsa

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320

Publish Date

2023

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5.5" x 8.5"

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The Obscurity in Scripture: Disputing Sola Scriptura and the Protestant Notion of Biblical Perspicuity

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