Psalm: Coram Deo – Weekly Meeting, Week 5

Psalm 46

This Psalm was written in the context of war; Jerusalem was under dire threat. Here, the Psalter urged us to trust God and to have confidence in Him during difficult times and in any situations that we are facing. It is repeated several times in the refrain: the Lord Almighty is with us.

Psalm 46 can be divided into 3 parts.

1) V1-3 God is exalted in the earthquake.

When you know your God, and you have a fear of the Lord, you no longer fear anything else. “an ever-present help in trouble” implies that our experience of God’s help in the past helps us to not fear because we believe that He will help us just like He has in the past.

2) V4-7 God is exalted in the city.

Here, the Psalter talks about man-made disasters like wars. The city of God is secured, not because her walls are strong but because God is within her.

3) V8-11 God is exalted in all the earth

In these verses, the Lord is described as a warrior, bringing peace by destroying the destroyers.

The Lord Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. If God be in our hearts, by his word dwelling richly in us, we shall be established, we shall be helped; let us trust and not be afraid.

Psalm: Coram Deo – Weekly Meeting, Week 3

In this week’s meeting, we visited one of the most important Psalms, which is Psalm 19. Here, we are again reminded of Coram Deo.

Specifically Psalm, the biblical faith isn’t only about our spiritual life.

Most of the time, when we talk about the Christian faith, we reduce it to an area concerning only our spiritual lives. We make a distinction between our spiritual life and secular life. So what is the spiritual life? It includes the “churchy” activities we do such as bible study, reading the bible, prayer meetings, worshipping at church, etc. How about the secular life? It involves our daily weekday activities in university, work, and leisure time. In other words, the secular life is anything apart from the spiritual life. However, according to the bible, such distinction does not exist. The bible does not teach us that some aspects of our life are spiritual and some are secular. Every aspect of this life is spiritual. Everything is done in the presence of God. God is sovereign over every aspect of our lives, be it church, university, government, relationships between parents and child, etc.

Therefore, our life is either secular or spiritual. A spiritual life is a godly life, whereas a secular life is a worldly life.

God created human being and nature, and is thus sovereign above all. Humans are able to understand nature but nature is not able to understand humans.

Are humans then able to understand God? The only way humans can understand God is by God revealing Himself to us. How does He reveal Himself to us? (i) general revelation (ii) special revelation. There are three big divisions in Psalm 19. Verse 1-6 talks about God’s general revelation.

In verses 1-6, God reveals Himself to us through His creations. All his creations proclaim His glory. No one will dispute the fact that nature is beautiful. But due to the corruption of humans’ hearts by sin, some deny the existence of God and thus not everyone will agree on creation.

That is why God gave us special revelation (v7-11), which consists of the written word of God and the Word who became flesh: Jesus Christ. General revelation is not sufficient due to the presence of sin. As John Calvin said it, sin is like the sickness of the eye.

If you pay attention closely, verses 7-11 contain six parallel sentences and every sentence refers to God as Lord. In the general revelation, the psalmist refers to God as God. Here, he used Lord. This is because Lord is the covenant name, and only His children use it. Also, the word Lord is always in the same position, depicting poetry at its best and reflecting and revealing the perfection of God’s words.

Verses 10 and 11 talk about the meditation of the psalmist, which contemplated on how valuable the word of God is (cf. Psalm 119) and verses 12-14 talk about the believers’ responses.

In summary, Psalm 19 started with the heavens and skies, and finished with one person before God, teaching us that we should live our entire lives in the presence of God according to His word.

Psalm: Coram Deo – Weekly Meeting, Week 1

Coram Deo

Psalm 1

Coram Deo. This is the topic that will be discussed in REF this semester. What does it mean? Coram means “in the face of” or “in the presence of”, and Deo means God. Together, Coram Deo means “in the face of God, in all aspects of our life”. It covers all aspects of life and is not restricted to only the church, our prayers or our fellowship with each other. He should be the most eminent one in our life.

Martin Luther once said that Psalm is the mirror of our hearts. The book of Psalms contains many emotions, and this is because it is a book about humans. Psalms contains many metaphors. For example, a righteous man is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season. What does it mean for a righteous man to be like a tree planted by streams of water? We could picture him to be firm, stable, mature, fruitful, and prosperous. Another example of a common metaphor found in the bible is used to describe God as king. It means God is powerful; He rules over us, He is sovereign, wise, resourceful, glorious and just.

God uses metaphors concerning the things that we encounter in our everyday life (i.e., king) to help us understand Him. This is because He is the only God and there is none like Him that can be used as a reference to describe Him. But why don’t we describe Him using adjectives such as “cruel, dictator, has many wives, fat, abusive”? These are the adjectives which describe many of the typical kings that we have/had in this world, both in the present and in the past. Apart from that, we also learn, through these metaphors, the true definition of every aspect of our life based on God’s standard. Men are corrupted by sin. Culture is like the air that we breathe. It is embedded in us. It is like fish swimming in the water; they wouldn’t feel wet, just as we wouldn’t realise that we are living a life that is corrupted by sin. Thus, we have to, based on God’s standards, critically question the secular society that we live in, where everybody accepts everything so easily.

In Psalm chapter 1, we can see that there are 2 kinds of people and two different ways of life that lead to two different fates; the way of the righteous and the way of the wicked. In verse 1, the psalmist rejects the totality of evil. He describes the Christian life as a life that is “counter cultural”, because everything is affected by sin in this world. We can see in verse 1 that a righteous man does not think like the wicked does. Not only does he not walk with them, he also does not stand in the way of sinners and will not sit in the company of the sinners. From “walk” to “stand” to “sit”, we can see a progress of conformity to the world. To sum it up, despite a lot of peer pressure, a righteous man will not let himself be influenced by other people and conform to the wicked patterns of this world.

In contrary to verse 1, verse 2 is written in a more positive light. A righteous man does not only “meditate” but he also “delights in the words of God” (the Psalmist also writes in Psalm 19 that the word of God is more precious than gold and sweeter than honey). To “meditate day and night” implies that the word of God becomes the focus of our life. It is equivalent to constantly thinking about something at every moment. Verse 3 then continues to describe what a righteous man is like; “tree by streams of water” and “yields fruits”.

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Compared to the righteous man, we see in verse 4 that the wicked is rootless and useless, like “chaff that the wind drives away”. In Psalms 92:12-15, we can see that the righteous will still bear fruit in old age, and they will stay fresh and green. There are only 2 kinds of people in old age — full of integrity or full of despair. Verse 5 and 6 show the fate of these 2 kinds of people. God intimately and continually watches over the righteous, and they will be preserved until the day of judgement. But this is not so for the wicked, for they will be cut off. These verses serve not only as a warning for the Israelites in those days, but also for non-churchgoers and for us, His chosen people, despite not being Israelites in the biological or geographical sense.

The assembly of the righteous in Christ will be saved (v5), but the way of the wicked will perish. May we always be filled by the presence of God and be moulded to be more like Him.

REF End of Semester 2 (2015) Outing

We are having our outing next week! YAAAY!!

We are having this outing to collaborate together with REF Monash University so the members of REF of both universities can get to know each other and by knowing each other we can build and help our fellow brothers and sisters. We will be doing fun activities both in Monash campus (Clayton) and UniMelb campus (Parkville) to familiarise ourselves with both campuses. There will be activities which will require brains and brawns and certain skills which may prove useful to improve your social skills but cooperation will be key in our activities. It will be relaxing as the main aim for this outing is fellowship but the activities will be great and unpredictable!

For those of you who live in the city (or its surrounding), please gather at Flinders Street Station by 9am, but for those who don’t live in the city and/or want to go to the Clayton campus directly, please be there by 10am. For more details, please contact Fernan or Jason (phone number on the poster). Please register to Fernan if you want to join the outing.

We hope you guys can come and have fun with us, and for those who are still having their exam(s), we wish you all the best and glorify God with your results! 🙂

Thank you!

REF OUTING EDITED

SOLI DEO GLORIA (Sem 2 – Week 12 Summary)

“If you find yourself with a desire that no experience in this world can satisfy, then the most probable explanation is that you were made for another world.” – C. S. Lewis

Soli deo Gloria is a Latin term for Glory to God alone.

What does glory to God alone mean? Simply put, it means that whatever we do in our lives should ultimately be for the glory of God. Now, that sounds simple and is not too difficult to understand, isn’t it?

Do you however, know that it is not only what humans do which glorify God, but all that God does is also for His own glory? Yes, it is true, you could see it for yourself in Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-13. From these verses, we can see that our salvation is not the ultimate purpose of God’s doing. It is penultimate, meaning the second to the ultimate. The ultimate purpose is for His glory. This indeed is not a very common thought that people have and many often find this concept strange and stumble upon it.

Why is that so? The reason is obvious – we don’t like people who draw attention to themselves and who are constantly seeking compliments or praises. The bible itself refrains us from being proud, and doing things with the goal of glorifying our own names. We are in fact taught to be humble. So why did God say that everything we do is for His glory alone and why is it that all God does is also for His own glory? Even C. S. Lewis, before converting into a Christian, stumbled upon this concept and wrote that, “It seems to me that God is a woman who lives on others’ compliments, insecure, and deems self worthy only when praised.” Erik Reece, the writer of An American Gospel, also had trouble accepting and understanding this concept. He said, “Who is this man? He is a stranger and we don’t know him, and yet he said, “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me”. Who is this egomaniac, how could he say that we should love him more than the people closest to us?”

God says that He is the God of love. But how is it possible that He loves us when everything He does is ultimately for His own glory? One way to comprehend this concept is by looking at the words of Augustine:

“You (God) have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless, until they can find rest in you.”

This implies that we have been created for Him. Hence, when God tells us to glorify Him, it is good news for us. Why? Just imagine witnessing something beautiful or enjoying something great (taking in a beautiful scenery, eating delicious food, reading a great book), and yet not being allowed to express how you feel? Isn’t shouting out praises and expressing our awe, admiration, and joy the natural thing to do? And doesn’t doing these complete our joy? God has made us for Himself and put inside us a longing to reach out to Him. Thus, when we enjoy God – His presence, His love, His being, His blessings – and thus glorify, worship, and praise Him, we are actually doing it not only for God’s glory, but also for the fulfilment of our own joy and longings and for our own good.

“God is more glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.” – John Piper

SOLUS CHRISTUS (WEEK 10 SEM 2 SUMMARY)

Solus Christus (meaning Christ alone).We are justified by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone

– Ephesians 1: 3-14

– Our saviour has to be both man and God; throughout history, there is only one person who is both man and God, Jesus Christ. If Jesus Christ is only man, he is a sinner and cannot be raised from the dead. In addition, he has to be born not according to the will of a man or woman; therefore, he must be supernaturally born. If he is only God, God would not be able to justify sinners as God cannot die or be condemned for the sins of human beings. When he is truly man, he is then able to die representing sinners and also to be raised from the dead (only for those who believe). Only in Christ, he is the only way for sinners to be justified.

– In Christ alone: how can we receive what he had done when he died on the cross? We can only receive when we are united in Christ. We are united with him in faith alone by grace alone. Only through the work of the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit gives us faith and unites us in Christ.

– Several aspects of salvation that Christ hath graciously given believers who have faith in him: redemption, reconciliation, sanctification, glorification, conversion (which includes repentance and faith), regeneration (Holy Spirit regenerate those who are in Him, giving a new life in Christ) → this can only be received for those who are united in Christ.

How can we be united in Christ? (Ephesians 1: 3-14)

  • God always elect/predestined us in Christ. 
  • It is also important to understand that God did not decide first to save his people from their sin and then later to bring in Christ to execute the salvation. 
  •  Everything we receive: spiritual blessings, inheritance, and salvation it is only in Christ. 
  • Christ is the fulfilment of the whole bible. Rituals, covenants, recorded disciples, prophets, apostles mentioned in the Old Testament; Christ is the peak of the fulfilment, which is often implicitly expressed in the writings of the Old Testament.  

2 Corinthians 4:6 New International Version (NIV)

6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s glory displayed in the face of Christ.

Regarding the bible verse from 2 Corinthians 4:6, there were 3 major cultures that collided in the 1st century. The first was the Jewish culture; the Jews persistently looked for light/enlightenment. The Greeks were famous for their philosophers and philosophies; therefore, they were concerned about knowledge, they looked for wisdom. The final culture would be the Roman’s and they were concerned about glory and honour. All three (light, knowledge and glory) are portrayed in Christ alone.

Semester Break Fellowship Gathering

Hello, everyone,

We have an event coming up next week! YAAY!

We will be having a fellowship gathering. Our fellowship gathering will involve watching a movie, playing trivia games, sharing our experiences and having dinner together with the purpose of much needed stress relief and to strengthen our bond as fellow Christians. Through this gathering we will have the opportunity to get to know each other and learn new things about each other. The movie will be relaxing yet eye opening. Our trivia games will be loads of fun and the winner will receive a prize! To add on to things we will be providing dinner and snacks for everyone so please do come if you are interested and register to the people responsible.

There will be a fee of $3 for REF members and $5 for non-REF members.

For more information, please contact Fernan (+61435005901) or Jordan (+61416437099)

We hope to see you there 🙂

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SOLA FIDE (SEM 2 – WEEK 8 SUMMARY)

In Romans 4:3-5 and 18-24, Paul referred back to Genesis chapter 15 (specifically v16) the promise from God to Abram (later called Abraham) “Abram believed the LORD, and he credited it to him as righteousness.” Abram realised that (and God also knows) there is no hope in bearing a child for both he and his wife were already old (“Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead – since he was about a hundred years old – and the Sarah’s womb was also deadRom 4:19), but he had faith that with god’s power and grace, He is able to even change “no hope” to “hope”.

So what does it mean by justification by grace alone?

  1. It is a gift “to the one who does not work” (Rom 4:5a)

From the last sharing about Sola Gratia, we learned that work is being put and compared alongside with grace, and now, work can also be put together and discussed with faith. For us, that “did not work” but trust God, it is truly by grace alone, through faith alone that we are justified. We did not work for it, we did not earn it, “so that no one can boast” (Eph 2:8-9)

  1. It is to the “ungodly” or wicked ones

It is not because that we are righteous, or holy that we are being justified. Paul clearly said this in the bible that He justified those that are wicked and ungodly (Rom 3:5).

But here comes the problem, if we look at what King Solomon wrote in Proverbs 17:15Acquitting the guilty and condemning the innocent – the LORD detests them both.”, what Paul mentioned here seems to contradict with what Solomon had wrote. As we can see clearly from Romans 5:8but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” So which one is correct? Why are there contradictions?

Firstly we need to know what “Faith” means. Faith connects us to Christ. But faith is not our own righteousness, it is the instrument that connects us to the righteousness which is IN CHRIST. We are justified because the Father sees the righteousness in us that is in Christ Jesus (which are connected through faith).

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There is an illustration which can help you to understand more of this. If we turn on the tap, there is water flowing, filling up our cups. So where did the water come from? Is it from the pipe? The water source is from the reservoir, faith is the pipe. Faith is not our righteousness, the righteousness is in Christ (reservoir), and faith (pipe) alone connects us (the wicked & ungodly) to the source of his righteousness. Faith cannot be our righteousness because that would be works, and that it is from works that we earned the righteousness, and it is no longer grace. How can we be with Him? It is through faith alone.

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  1. “His faith counted as righteous”

So how does our faith be counted as righteous?

An illustration explains this very well. Here is another illustration by Join Piper (but be reminded that there is no perfect analogy to everything, this illustration cannot fully describe this case but nonetheless it can help us to understand).

A dad asked his son to clean his room before he goes to school and if he does not see a clean room before he comes back from work, the son would not be able to watch the football match tonight. But as usual the son got caught up with all the works and games and forgot to clean the room. When the dad came back, he saw that the room was not cleaned and so he helped the son to clean the room and now the room is clean, it is perfect. And when the son came back and saw the clean room he realised that he forgot to clean the room and he turned to the dad and admitted and confessed to his dad and he accepted the consequence that he will not be able to watch the football match today. But now the room is clean (although not cleaned by himself), the Father said, “Because you have confessed with a contrite heart and that now the room is clean, I allow you to watch the match tonight.” As described in Philippians 3:9…not having a righteousness of my own that ones from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith”. The righteousness is imputed to us.

We see in the bible that whenever there are verses about “justified by faith”, the Greek original text is “διὰ πίστεως” (through faith), but never “διὰ πίστιν” (on the account of faith).

It is not anything that we did or will do justify us, it is not from our works. It is by grace alone through faith alone that we are justified by Him. Abraham just believed, the only thing that he did was to realise that he cannot do it by himself. There is nothing in him or that he does can make him righteous.

 

Q1: Where does the faith come from?

It is a gift. (Eph 2:8-9) And how can we get the gift? It is up to the giver. It is His sovereignty and His grace alone that we can believe in Him. However perfect we can share the gospel to somebody, however persuasive is our speech, however hard we pray, we can never change God, it is up to God that whether He will give the gift. For them to reject the gift is their won responsibility, but to accept the gift is by His grace. However note that prayer DOES change things, but prayer never change God.

Q2: The “faith” in other religions.

The faith in us makes us unite with Christ, we are in Christ, and Christ is in us. It is called the “mystical union”. It is not mystic, but mysterious. It is like there is a bucket sunk in the well, the bucket is in the water, and the water is in the bucket. There is nothing like this in other religions.

Q3: What about Muslims and Jews that believe in the “same” YWH as Christians?

If anyone rejects Christ, the faith is already different, there is already a difference to the God we are believing. We believe in the trinity of The Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit. We believe in different God, the faith is totally different. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’” (Jn 14:6). If they reject Christ, they can’t even reach the Father.

SOLA GRATIA (SEM 2 – WEEK 6 SUMMARY)

This week we discussed another pillar of the reformation, Sola Gratia (meaning by grace alone), but before we get into that, let us first shortly recap what we have learned about Sola Scriptura, which literally means by Scripture alone. Two weeks ago, we established two major causes of the divide between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants, the “formal” cause and the “material” cause. Today we will focus more on the “material” cause of this dispute, “How can one be saved?”, or “How can one be justified with God?”.

Let us first open our Bibles on Ephesians 2:1-9
In regards to a relationship between an individual and God. The assumption: we are not right with God because of our sin. Sin separates us from God. We are by nature object of God’s wrath. His eyes are too pure to look at evil and we are sinners. There is an unbridgeable gap between the Holy God (having no darkness in him) and us (who have fallen into the darkness of sin). Martin Luther had always confessed the sins he had done; however, this did not solve everything. After confessing his sins, he would leave the church and even before he reached home, he would feel guilt from his sins and promptly returned back to church. The pastor would tell him to go back home but he refused. His heart finally found rest when he read the book of Romans and Galatians. From reading the book of Romans and Galatians, Martin Luther concluded that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, and in Christ alone, this gave him peace.
Paul wrote letters to the church of Galatians because the church taught the public that one can not be saved unless he/she is circumcised under the law of Moses. Paul argued fiercely (in Galatians 3: 6-14) that no one could be saved by observing the law and that they can only be saved by grace alone, through faith alone in Christ alone. This leads to a question:

Why can’t we be justified by observing the law?



-First of all, it is simply impossible:

Because of the impotence of the law. The law (eg. 10 commandments) by itself cannot give life. God commanded us to obey these commands, but we cannot be justified through these laws, for their purpose is to prove that all humankind are guilty for they would have broken the law whichever way they lived. The Law is said to be like a mirror. It’s importance lies in showing that your face is dirty, but the mirror cannot clean your face. However, this does not imply that the mirror is insignificant. Without it, you would never know that your face is unclean. This “mirror” makes us realise that we are sinful, to show and remind ourselves that we are unclean. The law then, is there to convict that you are sinful because you have been breaking the law.

The impotence of the law-keeper/ law-doer; If you want to be justified by observing the law you have to do everything it says; which is utterly impossible. Everyone in this world has definitely broken the law of God. The ten commandments are impossible to obey and additionally, these laws are linked meaning that when an individual breaks one of the commandments, he/she would have broken all of it as well. An example is the commandment, ‘Do not steal’; this would mean never to steal anything anyone else has, including the time that God has given you for you to do good things for his glory and if you do not use it wisely say, sleeping for too long or procrastinating, then you have stolen God’s time and you have broken one of His commandments (Also breaking the commandment of obeying your parents as you have also wasted their time and money as well). It is a chain reaction in breaking every one of the commandment. Imagine a leaking bucket. How many holes must be present on the bucket for it to be called a leaking bucket? How big must the hole be? One hole and even the smallest hole would make the bucket a leaking bucket.
– Also, it is illegitimate:

God never intended for us to be saved by works (Galatians 3:6). Only by having faith and believing in God, Abraham was counted to be righteous for his faith. And because of his great love for us, we were made alive in Christ Jesus.
Some sections from the Westminster Larger Catechism speak of this:

Q. 70. What is justification? 

A. Justification is an act of God’s free grace unto sinners, in which he pardoneth all their sins, accept and accounted their persons righteous in his sight; not for anything wrought in them, or done by them, by only for the perfect obedience and full satisfaction of Christ, by God imputed to them, and received by faith alone.
Q. 71. How is justification an act of God’s free grace?

A. Although Christ, by his obedience and death, did make a proper, real, and full satisfaction to God’s justice in the behalf of them that are justified; yet inasmuch as God accepteth the satisfaction from a surety, which he might have demanded of them, and did provide this surety, his own only Son, imputing his righteousness to them, and requiring nothing of them for their justification but faith, which also is his gift, their justification is to them of free grace

Why is justification by grace alone? There are 4 reasons to this:

(a) God provided Christ

(b) God accepted Christ’s satisfaction (The redemption that came by Jesus Christ on the cross)

(c) God imputes to us Christ’s righteousness

(d) God requires nothing of us but faith, which is His gift to us (faith itself is His gift for us)
Christ bore our sins and the wrath of God. Christ’s righteousness is being imputed to us; that is why we are justified through faith alone and his grace alone through Christ Jesus.

The law of God is His expression, the law is holy and righteous, the law is there to as if say: I condemn you but you must go to Christ and only through Him you can satisfy the law. When God justifies us, our relationship with God is different, then the law is good and precious. We then understand that the law is his Holy Expression. Galatians 3:10 “For all who rely on works of the law are “under a curse; for it is written, cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.”
Let us also look at Galatians 5: 13-15. It says that we are free from the law, as we are all justified by God. However, we are also free FOR the law. (1) + (2) are tied to one another, it can not be separated. We are free not to indulge in sin but free to obey his law because his law is more precious than gold, sweeter than honey.
How can we see that his law is more precious than gold, sweeter than honey?

The key to understand God’s love on the cross, is to also understand that He loves us more than anything. Once you understand, this prompts us to love Him. Thus, it won’t be hard to obey Him.

If you love someone you’d do anything, even if it’s impossible to accomplish. There is a difference between a slave that is doing everything that the master asks out of sheer obedience and a wife who is doing everything that her husband asks out of love and respect. There is a difference in motivation even if the task is similar. The wife does it like to do it because she loves her family. The slave hates to do it and sees it as an obligation.

“The key is love; if you understand God’s love, you will follow his commandments as it is not difficult. Love gives you strength and pushes all boundaries. If you love somebody any work he/she asks, you would see that as reasonable and your emotions would say that work is desirable and your will will say it is doable.

SOLA SCRIPTURA (SEM 2 – WEEK 4 SUMMARY)

This week’s topic was on sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone). The need for people to understand how vital the doctrine of sola Scriptura to the Christian faith did not only exist long time ago, but also now. 

Gary David Comstock, Protestant Chaplain at Wesleyan University, and William M. Kent are among those many Christian leaders who knew and did not deny that the Bible states that the practice of homosexuality is wrong. Therefore, in order to say that the practice of homosexuality is acceptable, they casted off some parts of the Bible and subjected them to the cultural context of that time.
This raised the question as to who/what has the final authority? Is it the bible? Could it be our experience? Or could it be our current knowledge?

There has been a dispute between the Roman Catholic Church and the Reformed Church as to what or who has the final authority. The Roman Catholic Church argued that the church fathers had made the decision regarding the 66 books in the Bible and so the Bible was founded by the Church. Hence, they presented the argument that both the Scripture and traditions hold the final authority. The Reformers however, were strongly against that claim and declared that it was the Bible that formed the foundation of the Church; there is actually a big difference between the Church recognizing the Bible’s authority and the Church creating the Bible’s authority.

The Reformation is thus frequently described as a movement that revolved around two pivotal issues. The so-called “material” cause was the debate over sola Fide (“justification by faith alone”). The “formal” cause was the issue of sola Scriptura, that the Bible and the Bible alone has the authority to bind the conscience of the believer. 
In order to understand clearer regarding the implication of sola Scriptura, let us turn our bible to Psalm 19:1-11.
The Reformers agreed that there are two kinds of divine revelation:

General revelation (v1-6) – God’s beautiful creation of nature and its wonders, which are revealed to everyone.

Special revelation (v7-9) – God’s words (the Scripture) which is revealed to only God’s children.

The content of the special revelation is God himself, and also the history of redemption, which we could only understand by reading and understanding the Word of God—the Bible. Everybody could see and appreciate God’s general revelation. However, why can’t everyone see that everything (general revelation) proclaims the glory of God? Romans 1:18-32 provides us with an answer to this question: sin. Sin has corrupted our hearts and minds, resulting in us not being able to see the glory of God. Thus, it is only by God’s grace alone, and through His special revelation, which is the Bible, that we could realize and comprehend that there is a creator who made and sustains all creations.

 2 Timothy 3:16-17

All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

The Scripture has the final authority above all else. Many had gone through hardships and obstacles in translating the Bible into various languages over the world. Let us appreciate what the Reformers have fought and struggled for and not take the Word of God for granted. Let the Bible be the authority over our faith and life.
-Della Averill