Posts Tagged ‘Scripture Alone’

The Wednesday Word…What does that Mean? (Part 4) Sola Scriptura

“We’re not just dogmatic about this, we’re bulldog-matic. Sola Scripture (Scripture alone) is a non-negotiable” (Dr. Steven Lawson).

The teaching of Scripture alone refers to the sufficiency of Scripture as our supreme authority in all matters of faith and practice. Sola Scriptura was another great rallying cry of the Reformation. For centuries the Papal Communion had declared its traditions to be superior in authority to the Bible. This resulted in many practices that were horribly contradictory to the Scripture. For example

Prayer to the saints,

Prayer to Mary,

The Immaculate Conception,


Baptismal regeneration,

The supremacy and authority of the Pope.

The Bible alone is our ultimate authority—not the Pope, not traditions, not church councils, not subjective feelings, but Scripture alone. Therefore, if any teachings differ from Scripture, they are to be judged by the Bible and rejected, rather than vice versa.

The Bible is the final authority, that’s what we mean by Sola Scriptura.

The Reformers believed the Bible to be their final authority. Likewise, we believe that it is the final court of appeal on all doctrinal and moral matters. All Popes and Councils are fallible. The Bible alone is infallible.

At the Diet of Worms (AD 1521), when called on to renounce his supposed errors. Martin Luther replied,

“Unless I am convinced by testimonies of Scripture or by evident reason ..for I believe neither the Pope nor Councils alone since it is established that they have often erred and contradicted themselves-I am the prisoner of the Scriptures cited by me, and my conscience has been taken captive by the Word of God. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen.”

This is Sola Scriptura.

Our opponents, however, insist that the Bible nowhere teaches Sola Scriptura. This is nonsense! Although no one verse declares Sola Scriptura, the Bible clearly states “All scripture is given by inspiration of God … 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

The Greek word for “inspired” describes ships sails filled, being carried along over the seas. Our scriptures are quite literally God breathed!

Since God is the author of the Scriptures, we can be confident that any teaching which is at variance with the truth of His Word is wrong.

This is Sola Scriptura.

Every Scripture is the product of the Spirit’s work. He inspired the Bible writers and gave them His words. And even though God’s Word and the scribe’s personality were in some way intertwined, every Word came from God Himself.

This is Sola Scriptura.

We must, therefore, either recognize the divine origin of the Bible or deny it. However, if we deny the Bible as being the very Word of God, we deny the fact that what the Bible says, God says. We will then eventually deny the reliability of the glorious promises of the Word and will soon deny salvation by grace alone and other precious truths. We will then be like a rudderless ship on its way to disaster.

Jesus held to the authority of Scripture.

Finally, let us look to the Master. He was a man of the Scriptures. Three times, in the wilderness, He was tempted by the Devil, and each time He boldly replied “IT IS WRITTEN” (Matthew 4:1-11).

Also, consider these sayings of His;“And Jesus answering said unto them, “Do ye not therefore err because you know not the scriptures, neither the power of God?” (Mark 12:24).

“The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him” (Matthew 26:24)

“Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?” Matthew (21:42)

“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify of Me” (John 5:39)

“But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?” (Matthew 26:54)

“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Jesus believed in the authority of Scripture.

So do I!

And that’s the Gospel Truth!

Miles Mckee 


Addressing Continuationist Arguments from 1 Corinthians 14

by Eric Davis

Last week we posted an article which argued that the idea of a heavenly prayer language is untenable based on Jesus’ command concerning prayer in Matthew 6:7. Additional questions arise on the issue concerning Paul’s teaching in 1 Corinthians 14.

For example, some continuationists claim for the existence of two different types of tongue gifts. The argument claims that there is one gift in Acts 2 and another in 1 Corinthians 14. Among others, Nate Busenitz has demonstrated that this position is unsound from Scripture.




Read the entire article here.

Battalogeo & a Heavenly Prayer Language

March 9, 2017 1 comment

by Eric Davis

I remember the first few times hearing about a heavenly prayer language. Some called it praying, or speaking, in tongues. Not long after coming to faith in Christ, a group of friends took me to a few meetings where this would be happening. We gathered in homes, the forest, and a local church to experience these supposed, Holy-Spirit-induced prayers. What I witnessed was fairly similar: various individuals caught in a trance-like state, speaking, or praying (I wasn’t sure), out loud using non-language noises in somewhat of a repeated fashion. The prayers/noises sounded something like, “Hasha-batta, kala-hasha, nashta-kala, hasha-batta..”

Subsequent to that, others reported that they were having similar experiences during private prayer to God. They said that the Holy Spirit gave them an ability to pray in non-language sounds as a means of infusing their prayers, and encouraged me to seek this out. About one year later, I observed some of the same, a supposed Holy-Spirit-infused prayer language, while attending one of the largest, and most well-known charismatic churches in the nation. These were some of my first experiences with this prayer language phenomena. I soon discovered that it is a widely practiced phenomena (in various forms) both inside and outside Christendom.

I, like many, began to ask: Is this prayer phenomena in Scripture? And, if so, what does Scripture say about it?




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Expository Preaching—The Antidote to Anemic Worship

by Albert Mohler

Evangelical Christians have been especially attentive to worship in recent years, sparking a renaissance of thought and conversation on what worship really is and how it should be done. Even if this renewed interest has unfortunately resulted in what some have called the “worship wars” in some churches, it seems that what A. W. Tozer once called the “missing jewel” of evangelical worship is being recovered.

Nevertheless, if most evangelicals would quickly agree that worship is central to the life of the church, there would be no consensus to an unavoidable question: What is central to Christian worship? Historically, the more liturgical churches have argued that the sacraments form the heart of Christian worship. These churches….





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A Softer Prosperity Gospel: More Common Than You Think

By David Schrock

While evangelicals have traditionally decried the prosperity gospel in its “hard” form, there is a softer form of this teaching that is all too common among us.[1] Often undetected by Bible-believing Christians, it assumes the gospel and leads its adherents to focus on things like financial planning, diet and exercise, and strategies for self-improvement. In contrast to the hard prosperity gospel, which offers miraculous and immediate health and wealth, this softer, subtler variety challenges believers to break through to the blessed life by means of the latest pastor-prescribed technique.

Of course, matters of personal stewardship such as money, health, and leadership skills should be woven into a whole-Bible theology of Christian discipleship. The trouble comes when Christians, and especially pastors, place greater emphasis on these secondary matters. What we choose to preach or listen to says much about what we value. And what I see among some evangelicals is a willingness to prioritize the lesser matters of the law over the weightier mercies of the gospel.




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The Household Baptisms Of The New Testament

by David Cason

I. Preliminary Considerations

If the great debate over who should be baptized could be distilled into one question, it would be this:

Should only those who personally profess gospel faith be baptized, or should the children of those professing believers be baptized as well?1

When an argument is made for the latter, paedobaptist2 view, an appeal is inevitably made to those instances in the New Testament when a “household” is said to have been baptized. Since all agree that every other recorded instance of baptism is that of a professing believer, the interpretation of these texts is crucial. Only in these “household” passages can the paedobaptist allege that the Scriptures record the actual baptism of the non-confessing child of a believer (or, put more carefully, the baptism of one party on the basis of another’s faith). A close exegetical examination of those passages is therefore desirable.3

If they evidence a difference from the other recorded New Testament baptisms, or exegetically connect with the Old Testament concept of household circumcision4 , much legitimate ground is gained in the argument for infant baptism. But, if the texts in question fail to yield such evidence, the argument for the practice of infant baptism will have been dealt a substantial blow.

Understanding the pivotal importance of these verses, it is worthwhile to consider briefly some simple interpretive principles which apply to the exposition of the Word. Scripture is the interpreter of Scripture. The clear passages of Scripture must be allowed to interpret the dark, and the complete passages to interpret the elliptical. There exist in Scripture both detailed and abbreviated accounts of these “household” baptisms. It is neither sound nor admissible for the paedobaptist to use the shorter accounts in such a way as to bring them into conflict with the fuller narratives.6 This implies, naturally, that the passages must be exegeted. It is entirely inadmissible, though common enough in practice, to merely reference such passages as conclusive proof texts, or to dismiss anti-paedobaptist arguments with a casual wave of the word “house” or “household,” without looking at what the verses actually record.7 With these ground rules in mind, we turn to the Scriptural narratives.

Download the pdf here.

1 This is a modern way of putting the question. It ought to be stated, Should only those who profess gospel faith be baptized, or should those subject to that professed believer’s household authority be baptized as well? But because this more accurate phrasing seriously damages the paedobaptist argument in the modern world, the question is rarely framed in this more logically (and biblically) consistent fashion.

2 paedobaptist – one who advocates infant baptism

3 And yet, it is this close exegetical examination which is almost never present in paedobaptist apologetic. For example, James Bannerman, in his crucial and exhaustive work on the Presbyterian view of the church, spends 26 pages giving what amounts to a purely theological argument for infant membership in the covenant. He disposes of the household baptism passages in less than two pages, never undertaking an actual exegesis of any. Despite the lack of careful analysis, he does not hesitate to cite the verses as absolute and final testimony in favor of infant baptism, with overstatement that borders on the fantastic. He writes, “…nothing more is necessary, in regard to the practice of the Primitive Church in the matter of infant baptism, than to refer to the frequent and almost constant mention of the Baptism of ‘households’ and ‘families,’ in which it is morally certain that there must have been infant members….Such expressions as these, interpreted in the light of the previous undoubted practice of the Jewish Church, can admit of only one meaning….Under the circumstances of the Apostolic Church, the repeated mention of household or family Baptism is itself decisive evidence of the practice by which infants were baptized.” (Bannerman, James, The Church of Christ, 2:92-93).

Samuel Miller is carried away in similar fashion, but for Miller, two pages is two too many. After merely adducing three “household” passages, and admitting that there is no proof of actual infant baptism in any of them, he nonetheless offers them as a kind of impregnable defense. Miller writes “Now, though we are not certain that there were young children in any of these families, it is highly probable there were. At any rate, the great principle of family baptism of receiving all the younger members of households on the faith of their domestic head, seems to be plainly and decisively established. This furnishes ground on which the advocate of infant baptism may stand with unwavering confidence.” (Miller, Samuel, Infant Baptism Scriptural and Reasonable). Miller also exemplifies the characteristic misstatement of the question described in footnote 1 above.

John Calvin, after a discussion marked most by the number and diversity of its ad personam attacks on those who question the doctrine of infant baptism, dispenses with all the household passages in a single sentence. He writes, “For although this is not expressly narrated by the Evangelists, yet as they are not expressly excluded when mention is made of any baptized family, (Acts 16:15, 32), what man of sense will argue from this that they were not baptized?” (Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book IV, Chapter 16.8).

4 E.g. Genesis 17:23

5 This is not a controversial doctrine. It is standard Reformation interpretive practice. The principle is so widely recognized that it was made a matter of confessional bond by the Puritan authors of the Westminster documents. “The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of and Scripture (which is not manifold, but one) it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 1:10).

6 Again, this is hardly an extreme notion. Every Calvinist regularly uses the “Scripture with Scripture” methodology when explaining the meaning of the word “world” in the various passages concerning the extent of the atonement. And no sound interpreter would say that the more limited narratives in the Gospel of Mark control the interpretation of the longer accounts given in Luke or Matthew.

7 This is the interpretive norm in paedobaptist treatments. See footnote 3 for some notable examples.

Disclaimer: I am not familiar with David Cason, therefore a link to this article does not mean that I endorse everything he believes or teaches concerning doctrine. However, linking to this article means that I believe he has rightly exegeted the “household baptism” texts over and against the paedobaptists interpretation of said text.

Is the Existence of the NT Canon Incompatible with Claims of New Revelation?

January 12, 2016 1 comment

By Michael Kruger

“God has spoken to me.”

There are few statements that will shut down debate more quickly than this one. If Christians disagree over a doctrine, a practice, or an idea, then the trump card is always “God has spoken to me” about that. End of discussion.

But, the history of the church (not to mention the Scriptures themselves) demonstrates that such claims of private, direct revelation are highly problematic. Of course, this doesn’t mean that God doesn’t speak to people. The Scripture is packed with examples of this. But, these were typically individuals with a unique calling (e.g., prophet or apostle), or who functioned at unique times in redemptive history (e.g., the early church in Acts).

After the first century was over, and the apostles had died, the church largely rejected the idea that any ol’ person could step forward and claim to have direct revelation from God. This reality is probably best exemplified in the early Christian debate over Montanism.

Montanism was a second-century movement whose leader Montanus claimed to receive direct revelation from God. In addition, two of his “prophetesses,” Priscilla and Maximilla also claimed to receive such revelation. Such revelations were often accompanied by strange behavior. When Montanus had these revelations, “[He] became obsessed, and suddenly fell into frenzy and convulsions. He began to be ecstatic and to speak and to talk strangely” (Hist. Eccl. 5.16.7).




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