Saturday, September 27, 2014

When God's Word (the Bible) Is Not Enough

It is unspeakably sad, and in practice debilitating, to see professedly-Bible believing Christians and churches grow increasingly discontent and dissatisfied with the God-breathed words of Holy Scripture, to maintain their faith and devotion, turning to purported words from the Lord from those who speak “visions from their own mind, not from the mouth of the Lord.” (Jeremiah 23:16; compare verses 16:31). Historically, Christians (especially evangelicals) have been sure that in the Spirit-inspired words of the Bible, we have all we need for life and godliness. But that consensus and conviction is in decline today among churches which have not actually altered a single sentence in their doctrinal statements, including their ‘official’ beliefs about the Bible.

J.I. Packer summarizes the historic orthodox belief: " is impossible to give too much weight to the fact that Jesus, who was himself God speaking, would have consistently viewed the words of his Bible as God speaking and should have lived his life and fulfilled his vocation of teaching and suffering in direct and conscious obedience to what was written. Now, in effect, from his throne he tells all who would be his disciples that they must learn from him and follow his example at this point and submit to becoming disciples of the canonical Scriptures. His authority and the authority of the Scriptures upon us are one.

"What then should we do? We should look to the Holy Spirit, who inspired the biblical text and who authenticates it to regenerate hearts as God-given by sensitizing us to the impact of its divinity, to make clear to us not only what God said in and through the text to its original readers but also what he says to us via the same text here and now. We should ask for the Spirit's illumination, especially for our attempts at applicatory thinking.
"We should settle it in our minds that everything the Father and the Son say to us in and through Scripture relates, one way or another, to the person, place and purpose of Christ, to the realities of God's kingdom and to faithful following of Christ through what Bunyan called the wilderness of this world." --"Truth and Power: the Place of Scripture in the Christian Life"

Compare Deut. 32:45-47; John 6:63; 2 Tim. 3:16-17; Heb. 4:12-13; 1 Pet. 1:22-25

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