Sola Scriptura: Authority of Scripture
Sunday, March 19, 2017
We live in a society of competing “truth” claims, pluralism and relativism within a post-Christian culture, and the attacks on the importance and integrity of the Bible both from within and outside today’s church.
What or Whom has real authority in my life and in the life of this church?
The Apostle Paul says, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
(2 Timothy 4:16-17, p. 843)
Sola Scriptura is from the Latin sola, having the idea of “alone,” “ground,” “base,” and the word scriptura meaning “writings”—referring to the Scriptures.
If Scripture is “God-breathed,” then it is not man-breathed, and, although it was penned by men, those “men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.”
(2 Peter 1:21, p. 860)
Sola scriptura means that Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian.
- For hundreds of years the Roman Catholic Church had made its traditions superior in authority to the Bible
- This resulted in many practices that were in fact contradictory to the Bible
- Some examples are prayer to saints and/or Mary, the immaculate conception, transubstantiation, infant baptism, indulgences, and papal authority
Martin Luther (founder of the Lutheran Church and one of the key leaders of the Protestant Reformation) was publicly rebuking the Catholic Church for its unbiblical teachings. The Catholic Church threatened Martin Luther with excommunication (and death) if he did not recant. Martin Luther’s reply was, “Unless therefore I am convinced by the testimony of Scripture, or by the clearest reasoning, unless I am persuaded by means of the passages I have quoted, and unless they thus render my conscience bound by the Word of God, I cannot and will not retract, for it is unsafe for a Christian to speak against his conscience. Here I stand, I can do no other; may God help me! Amen!”
- Secular culture has authority over one’s life and the church
- Truth is ultimately defined by our culture
Cultural Marxism: Dominant in our universities, main stream media, and other social institutions. The gradual process of destroying all traditions, languages, religions, individuality, government, family, law and order in order to re-assemble society in the future as a communist utopia. This utopia will have no notion of gender, traditions, morality, god or even family or the state.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ.” (Colossians 2:8, p. 834)
The sufficiency of Scripture is under attack today, and, sadly, that attack comes far too often in our own churches. Management techniques, worldly methods of drawing crowds, entertainment, extra-biblical revelations, mysticism, and some forms of psychological counselling all declare that the Bible and its precepts are not adequate for the Christian life.
Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice and I know them and they follow me.”
(John 10:27, p. 760)
As Christ Followers we are to read, study and put into practice God’s Word.