Home > Bible, Comment, Quotes > The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 2

The ‘Word of God’ and quotes from Reformers via social media Pt 2

In my last post I discussed a strange phenomenon or development which occurred while I was driving over the road last year, namely: that many on social media which call themselves Christians, have developed an antipathy for the Words of God. You can read my last post here.

Today, I would like to discuss point 2 of what I normally post on social media, which is:

2. Quotes from Reformers, creeds, confessions, and men who are for the more part theologically sound in the things of God

I have found, after I came off the road, that quotes which used to generate a lot of attention, rarely draw any attention at all now. I say they rarely draw any attention at all now, however, I have found that when those calling themselves Christians, comment on them; it is usually to say something negative. So my discussion of this strange phenome-non will center on two points:

First. Why have Christians, especially Reformed Christians stopped reading quotes from men who have come before us or creeds and confessions?

Secondly. Why does the only attention they draw is a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

First. It seems to me that men have given up the great teachers who have come before us. I have had one Pastor tell me, “I do not care to study Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Dagg, Pink, or Spurgeon. I learn through reading scripture by myself.”

It is true, that we are to read scripture. I highly recommend that everyone pull out the Bible and give it a read. Start at Genesis and work your way to Revelation and then start over. However, the Pastor who told me that he only learns by reading scripture himself works 65 plus hours a week. There isn’t much time left to read the Bible, study it in context, and prepare his sermons appropriately. Now I am not knocking working in order to support your family, but as a man who stands in the pulpit, I would rather drive an older vehicle, live in a smaller house, and wear used clothes than to neglect the study of God in order to feed God’s sheep.

This Pastor has committed at least two errors in his study of the things of God:

1st. As heirs of the Protestant Reformation we do not cry, solo Scriptura, but sola Scriptura.

Solo Scriptura basically means ‘just me and my Bible.’ One can get well aquainted with the scriptures by studying one’s Bible by themselves, however, since we all approach scripture with certain biases, then we will never come to the right interpretation, except we be taught.

A good course in hermeneutics will aide the student of scripture to rightly interpret the text. For instance: We all can read the morning paper and the interpretation of what is in it comes spontaneously because we live in the era of the events taking place, of which we are reading. This is not so with the Bible. There is a huge gap between the interpreter of scripture and the text of which he is interpreting. Hermeneutics helps to bridge this gap by applying rules to what we are studying. Hermeneutics isn’t only used with respect to the Bible, but with all pieces of ancient literature. Since there is a time separation between us and what is in the Bible, then there is a historical gap; in that our culture is different, there is a cultural gap; in that the original text was in another language than our own, there is a linguistic gap; in that the documents originated in another country, there is a geographical gap and a biological gap. In that usually a totally different attitude towards life and the universe exists in the text it can be said that there is a philosophical gap. The last could relate to how the universe was put together or who put it together.

Solo Scriptura has lead to many erroneous doctrines, not to mention many cults who call themselves Christians. All one would have to do is look at the doctrines of cults like: The Jehovah’s Witnesses, Christian Science, and Mormonism to recognize that one is not supposed to approach the study of scripture with a ‘just me and my Bible’ attitude.

The battle cry of the Reformation, however, was sola Scriptura and basically means that scripture is sufficient as our supreme authority in all spiritual matters. It means that all truth necessary for our salvation and spiritual life is taught either explicitly or implicitly in scripture. However, this view does not overlook tradition. I realize that the word ‘tradition’ has some bad connotations attached to it because of the Roman Catholic Church’s view of tradition, however, when the Protestant Reformers spoke of tradition they spoke of something entirely different than what the Roman Catholic Church meant.

Reformed Theology shares much in common with other communions of historic Christianity. The sixteenth-century Reformers were not interested in creating a new religion. They were interested, not in innovation, but renovation. Though they rejected tradition as a source of divine revelation, nevertheless they did not despise the entire scope of Christian tradition. They believed that the Church had learned much in her history and therefore embraced the doctrines articulated and formulated by the great ecumenical councils, including the doctrine of the Trinity and of Christ’s person and work formulated at the Council of Nicea in 325 and of Chalcedon in 451.

To close this point: We are not called to live as a hermit and hide in a cave somewhere with just our Bibles and study scripture on our own.

2nd. This Pastor has also rejected the gifts of God. God’s Word says:

Eph 4:11-14 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive…

These men of God were gifts unto the Church. Whereas Ephesians 4:8 states this: “Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” These gifts were given for the edifying of the body of Christ, that we might grow in Christ and not be children who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine. Therefore, Christ taught the apostles, the apostles taught the Churches, which elders sprung from, and those elders taught other elders. Much of what Luther and Calvin knew concerning the proper interpretation of scripture came from Augustine, Bernard, Hilary, and many others.

Therefore, to reject the study of men who have gone before us, is to reject the gifts God has given to the Church. It seems to me that some think that they have grown so much, as to not need to be taught anything new. When I state, ‘taught something new,’ I do not mean a new novel or original doctrine, but mean that as long as we are in this body we are always learning concerning the things of God. Once we get to heaven all knowledge will not be given to us for we are not omniscient, but we will always be learning the things concerning God. So this is the primary reason I see that many now pass over quotes from men who have gone before us and that is because many think that they have outgrown studying the things concerning God through men who have gone before us or through the gifts Christ has given to the Church.

I do not want to make this post to long, so I will close here and pick back up next week with:

Secondly. Why does the only attention my quotes from men who came before us or my quotes from creeds and confessions draw is only a negative comment, instead of reading them in context?

Tell me what you think, in the comment section below, of why there has been a distaste for the study of the things of God.

  1. May 4, 2020 at 9:37 am

    Excellent!

  1. May 18, 2020 at 4:10 am

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