I really don’t understand how we can reject the first churches, which had fathers who were appointed and trained by the apostles. For example, what about the Synod of Hippo and the Third Council of Carthage? Could you explain how “Sola scriptura” is reasonable and why these additional books should be rejected?
We adhere only to the 66 books of the Bible. Therefore, while we have disagreements with Luther, we would agree with him on his doctrine of sola scriptura, i.e., Scripture alone. While we may refer to additional books as secondary witnesses or for historical reasons, we do not view them as Scripture or inspired. This includes the Jewish and Christian Apocrypha along with the Apostolic Fathers, those men who are believed to have followed the apostles.
There are several literary problems with the Apostolic Fathers. One, it’s hard to confirm the authorship of many of the books from the timeframe. In many cases, tradition alone ascribes authorship. Second, in some cases, the authors clearly deviate from Scripture. For example, the book of Barnabas, which claims Barnabas as its author without proof, teaches that the Old Testament was not for Israel, but for the church. Consequently, it allegorizes many of the commandments and concepts in the Old Testament. We also see elements of church tradition already within the Didache, also known as The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles. For instance, it describes the Eucharist, a tradition that likely originated with the Passover. Other examples of Apostolic Fathers include Clement, Ignatius, and Polycarp. While we can glean important historical facts and see how certain beliefs may have developed, we should not look toward these writings as inspired. Regarding the Synod of Hippo and the Third Council of Carthage, these occurred in 393 CE and 397 CE, respectively, and were convened centuries after the apostles.