Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Solo Scriptura

I want to begin this segment of "Ponderings" with a confession.  I have often failed to live up to the standards Scripture holds for a follower of Christ.  I find myself rationalizing and even justifying my sin. However, I know that I have an Advocate with the Father who convicts me and leads me in confession and repentance.  And while there can be no justification for sin, I rest in the veracity of His Word.  I often marvel that God continues to use such a weak person as I am, but I take solace in His Word that when I confess my sin, He is faith and just to forgive that sin and cleanse me from all unrighteousness.  It is upon the basis of that forgiveness and cleansing that I continue to preach, sing, write, and witness.  It has nothing to do with any inherent "goodness."

I believe the Bible is "God's Word."  It is not a book containing words about God.  It is His revelation of Himself to man.  That conviction is a faith position and what keeps me focused upon Him and His plan, even after I go through a time when I'm distracted by the world's attractions.  I pray that each Genuine Believer will learn that God's Word is sufficient for living effectively and victoriously in this and any age.

The five "Solas" of the reformation are generally affirmed by contemporary Evangelicals.  However, the effective application of these truths often seem to belie that belief.  Should genuine revival be once again experienced, the church must purposely, and deliberately, examine practice in light of these five basics all must believe in order to call herself Christian.

The foundation upon which every doctrine of the Christian faith stands is "Sola Scriptura."  While reading recently from a Catholic theologian's arguments against this doctrine, I was once again impressed that Roman Catholicism stands completely on the fallacious belief in "Apostolic Succession," which claims that each Pope is the lone extant apostle and that his utterings, ex cathedra,  have the weight of apostolic authority, co-equal with Scripture. 

Evangelicals, and until the last few years, Protestants in general, understood the fallacy of that position.  "Solo Scriptura" has, in fact, been called the formal principle of the Reformation.  They understood that the misinterpretation of Scripture and elevation of tradition gave rise to the "Dark Ages," and evangelical abandonment of this doctrine today in order to provide a "meaningful emotional experience" is no less harmful than was that of the bishops of the fourth and fifth centuries.

Secular humanism's philosophical inroads into society through mandated early childhood education has diminished the respect for Holy Scripture, and wrought an emphasis upon quantity rather than quality in contemporary churches.   The result is that competition for those with a bent toward "religion" requires more and more extensive weekly presentations in order to attract a larger and more diverse following. 

Should "Solo Scriptura," or the complete sufficiency of Scripture in order to accomplish God's plan be enough, the entire nature of evangelicalism would change dramatically.  God's purpose of "seeking and saving" a people whose bent is not toward religion by telling them the "Good News" would be sufficient.  However, few seem to believe the sufficiency of proclaiming that while all men everywhere are born the enemy of God, God has sent His Son into the world that the world might be saved, not in order to condemn the world, but in order that a world condemned already might be saved. The preponderance of Evangelicals are too immersed in the numerical church growth movement to believe that the Bible's simple plan will work today.
One man has said that Evangelicals are simply "keepers of the aquarium," shifting fish from one tank to another.  That happens when man made devices and techniques are utilized to attract people to a fellowship, with no corresponding change in one's lifestyle other than church attendance.  These church hoppers are constantly looking for the next new thing, or most entertaining group. 

Once the members are attracted, seldom is systematic Scripture study the basis for spiritual growth.  Encounter groups based more on psychology and and psychiatry are seemingly more often used than is Scripture.  In fact, personal guided Scripture study seems to have almost disappeared, even among the fundamentalist groups.

More and more "Solo Scriptura" is being replaced with extra-biblical signs and miracles which seem to supersede Scripture.  "Experiential religion" carries much more weight in many circles than does the clear teaching of God's Word.  An "it seems to me religion" is rapidly replacing the "Scripture Teaches" Christianity of days gone by.   At one time, the phrase "God said it, that settles it, whether or not I believe it," was the watchword of Christianity, but alas, I fear the situational ethics of secular humanism has obliterated this tenet.

James Montgomery Boice in his book, "Whatever Happened to The Gospel of Grace," wrote the following:
"Unfortunately, it is possible to believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and practice, as many if not all evangelicals claim to do, and still effectually to repudiate it because we think that it does not work today and are convinced that other things need to be brought in to accomplish what the Bible cannot do.
My prayer is that God will raise up an army of followers who will  look to Scripture and trust God's Word to be sufficient in all matters upon which it touches.  I do not despair for I'm certain God has reserved unto Himself multitudes who have not yet bowed a knee to the prince of this world system. 

No comments: