We've had an appeal to tag your questions with the denomination you're asking about and I have complained several times about the tag. But it occurred to me that this tag might be an attempt to define a coherent doctrinal framework. Instead of asking what a modern denomination teaches about a subject, the frames the question against the backdrop of the earliest church documents: the New Testament.

Is this the intent of the tag? Can the tag be re-purposed to function as a denomination designation? Can we create a synonym that is more evocative of what we intend when we use the tag?


3 Answers 3


I think Biblical-Basis should stand on its own.

(Correct me if I'm wrong here.)

From what I understand, the issue of looking for something from a denominational perspective stems from the fact that we must, absolutely, keep the questions answerable, objectively, and definitively. We do not want our answers to devolve into a war of opinions where the most popular view "wins".

Asking "What do Catholics teach about Baptism by immersion", for example is objectively, definitively answerable. (I'm not sure exactly what the answer would be, but there is a definite answer that can be supported and backed up with actual Catholic doctrine.

That's the value of asking from a denominational perspective.

Now, when it comes to Biblical-Basis questions, take the following two questions:

  • "Is keeping the Law necessary to make it to Heaven?"
  • "Is there a Biblical basis for the belief that obedience to the Law is necessary for salvation?"

The first one is wide open to interpretation. It's a question of Truth (and we all know where I come in on those.)

The second one, however, is not a question of Truth. It's simply asking "Based on Scripture, can an argument be made for xxx". And the answer is "yes. An argument can be made." We could quote Matthew 7:21 and others.

Clearly, there is a Biblical Basis for such a belief. Likewise, there is a Biblical Basis for the polar opposite belief - that salvation is of Grace through faith, and not of works, lest any man should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The fact that there is a Biblical basis for the polar opposite view/doctrine does not invalidate the fact that there is a Biblical basis for the first.

From my perspective, the Biblical-Basis tag is meant for questions like this. To bring those questions that would be "Truthy" in line with the site standards. It's not equivalent to "Sola Scriptura". "Sola Scriptura" should be used for questions about the well-defined doctrine of Sola Scriptura. It's also not equivalent to Restorationism. Restorationism is about a doctrinal framework based on Sola Scriptura. This is different.

Biblical-Basis questions can be used to guide participants to phrase their questions in such a way that meet the site guidelines without referencing a specific denominational viewpoint, or doctrinal explanation.

IMNSHO, the Biblical-Basis tag should remain as a separate, distinct tag for this purpose. It has value on the same level as the denominational tags.

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    Excellent. I've edited the tag wiki to reflect the idea that it's on the level of a denomination tag. Feel free to expand on that. Dec 19, 2012 at 17:19
  • I agree that biblical basis is what many people want in an answer. Most people are not actually interested in what LDS thinks about this or what reformed thinks about that, but because they think one group has a trustworthy biblical basis, then they care for that reason, or don't care for the same reason. Many ideas that have a biblical basis are held by almost all theological frameworks so no other tag might be suitable.
    – Mike
    Dec 22, 2012 at 15:42
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    So, you feel the tag should be used to indicate a request for some biblical justification for denomination X's (and possibly Y and Z's) belief B? Or, does this open up the possibility of saying, "I believe B. Does the bible support this personal belief of mine?"
    – svidgen
    Dec 24, 2012 at 4:39
  • @svidgen - I'd say the former. The latter leads straight down that slippery slope. Good question, and I'm glad you brought it up! Dec 27, 2012 at 2:59
  • "Is there a Biblical basis for the belief that...?" Is still a truth question. JW find biblical basis for the belief that Christ was the archangel, other factions that self identify as Christian do not.
    – Andrew
    Jul 6, 2014 at 15:55
  • I note that my recent comment on this question/answer has been removed. I rest my case. Feb 17, 2017 at 4:57
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    It should not be "Is there a biblical basis for," which is still a matter of opinion: for any particular doctrine, some denominations will say yes, and others will say no. Rather, it should be "What is the biblical basis for." That is not a matter of opinion, but asks what basis in the Bible those who support that belief do, or could, use to support it biblically. Feb 17, 2017 at 10:11
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    @LeeWoofenden Indeed, and site conventions have changed since this post such that "is there a basis" questions are not generally allowed anymore.
    – curiousdannii Mod
    Feb 17, 2017 at 11:41

We should rename to

In answering questions here, I've run across the term "Christian primitivism" while researching specific beliefs on Wikipedia. The term has fairly wide application and not everyone who asks a question will be comfortable with the label. But I believe the goal of such questions is to short-circuit the teaching of any particular denomination and "get back to basics". "Restorationism" will probably be better accepted by the general, C.SE community since the purpose of asking a question about the Biblical basis for a particular belief is an attempt to restore our understanding of what the church believed about these issues at the time of the New Testament.

Many Christians hold the Bible as the ultimate source of Truth (and I'm among them) so asking about the Biblical basis that supports a doctrine turns out to be (for many people) a shorthand for finding Truth. We have, I take it, agreed that we are not in the business of discovering the Truth, but rather our goal is to explore the systems of belief that Christians have held over the years. Renaming this tag could go a long way toward reinforcing that understanding.

  • Personally I would never use the tag restorationsism as I have never heard of the word before.
    – Mike
    Dec 22, 2012 at 9:28
  • @Mike I learned it from a friend who belongs to a restorationist church. It was an eye opener to learn of that movement/faith tradition. Feb 17, 2017 at 4:59

I think we could rename it because whatever the Truth of the answer is, it's certainly not a question that appeals to Sacred Tradition.

In any event, Sola Scriptura makes sense to me, not as a doctrine, but as a way of saying, "I want to see if I can prove in a non-philosophical way without appeals to tradition."

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    Since there are already 9 questions about the doctrine of Sola Scriptura I think that would create an ambiguous tag. What about scripturalism instead? Dec 17, 2012 at 20:43
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    I dunno, ask a sola scriptura question get a sola scriptura answer makes about as much sense as tagging catholicism to me. But then again, I don't actually know what sola scriptura is
    – Peter Turner Mod
    Dec 18, 2012 at 12:27
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    @PeterTurner I think we should probably reserve sola-scriptura for discussion of the doctrine and it's history. However, Jon's suggestion of scripturalism might be on to something
    – wax eagle
    Dec 18, 2012 at 15:55

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