Note from CM: In the light of Reformation Day and the beginning of the year-long celebration of the Ref’s 500th anniversary, we will present some articles this week on Reformation themes.
Michael Spencer, whose views about Protestantism and Catholicism developed and changed a great deal over the years of his writing, once said that the Reformation, “while tragic and sad, was and remains a sad, tragic necessity.”
While I basically agree with that statement, it doesn’t mean that all the formulations that came out of the Reformation have ultimately proven helpful. In an article at RNS, for example, Jacob Lupfer says this about the doctrine of “sola scriptura” —
Luther’s “sola scriptura” — “Scripture alone!” — is the essential Protestant rallying cry. Yet it is highly problematic, requiring a rejection of the church that Jesus built on Peter in favor of a book that was canonized centuries later and subject to endless unresolved and unresolvable conflicts of interpretation.
Sola scriptura unleashed innumerable fights over which interpretations will prevail in churches and institutions. This has led to an endless proliferation of sects and denominations.
Today’s post of an interview first given here at IM in 2010, takes a metaphorical look at this teaching and suggests some of the problems attending it.
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Reporter: Hello, today I’m with William Sola, great, great, great grandson of Jack Sola, founder of the Sola Bakery Company. Thanks for joining us today, Mr. Sola.
Sola: My pleasure.
Reporter: You are the latest in a long line of Solas to have inherited the Sola Bakery business. if I understand correctly, your company is now being run in quite a different way than it was in the past. Can you tell us about that?
Sola: That’s right. we operate strictly on a franchise basis now — you tell us you want to run a Sola Bakery, we verify that you’re a believer in the Sola name, and boom! there you go, you can run your own Sola Bakery.
Reporter: How do you go about helping these franchise owners get started in business?
Sola: We give them the book.
Reporter: The book?
Sola: That’s right, the Sola Bakery book.
Reporter: I assume that this book contains all the directions one would need to get a bakery going — specific steps for setting up a business, company policies, the unique Sola recipes, all of that?
Sola: No, not really. The book is more like a history of Jack Sola and his family. It lays out his roots, the background of why he started the bakery, and then tells about his life, his sayings, and especially the sacrifices he made to start the first Sola Bakery. It also tells the exciting story of the early growth of the business, and several letters that the first company managers wrote to bakeries around the area to help them with their specific problems. Oh, you can find bits and pieces of various recipes in there, and fragments of policies and procedures. but mostly, it’s the story of Jack Sola and what he created.
Reporter: It doesn’t contain specific company policies and the actual recipes for baking Sola products? How then do you maintain quality control? How do you make sure one Sola cake is like another Sola cake?
Sola: We don’t care too much about quality control or consistency. We pretty much just give new owners the book and let them go. They’re on their own then. We think the book contains enough principles to keep them straight and faithful to the spirit of our founder, but they are free to develop their own recipes and run the business any way they want. This has led to a whole new, exciting era in Sola Bakery history, and we are celebrating it with our new slogan.
Reporter: And what is that?
Sola: “SOLA BAKERIES: A SURPRISE IN EVERY BOX.”
Reporter: Oh my. But, doesn’t that confuse people? Doesn’t it bother you that people don’t really know what to expect when they buy a product from a Sola Bakery? And what if they get something really bad, or even harmful?
Sola: Actually, we like it that people don’t know what to expect — it adds an air of spontaneity and excitement that we think is great! Here at headquarters, we just say, “LET THEM EAT CAKE!” and then wait to hear the thrilling reports from the field. If a customer isn’t satisfied with her local Sola Bakery, we figure there are enough other franchises in the area. We don’t care if she tries them all until she’s satisfied.
Reporter: So, the “Sola” name really doesn’t indicate what kind of a product you’re going to get.
Sola: That’s right. What we can guarantee is that it will be a “Sola” cake, no more, no less. Beyond that, it’s up for grabs. And we like it that way.
Reporter: And there you have it — William Sola, President of Sola Bakeries, telling us that, when it comes to Sola Bakeries and Sola cakes, it’s a surprise in every box.
Good night, and GOOD LUCK.