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.