The Authority of Scripture

by | Jun 24, 2017

With respect to the authority (auctoritas) of Holy Scripture, we are in conflict with Rome, a conflict which already came to the fore at the time of the Reformation.

J. van Genderen & W.H. Velema, Concise Reformed Dogmatics

Much more than conflicting with Rome, the Church is also in conflict with the secular man top to bottom, through and through. The secular man, a man of reason, a man of science, a man of progress, will tolerate nothing but himself as being the bar by which every claim must pass before it is received into belief and practice by society. The man of reason is the final standard, the final authority.

The claims of Christianity are remarkably different. There is one and only one source of divine authority today: the Scriptures. The Scriptures do not merely contain divine revelation and they are not merely a source or the source of divine revelation, they are themselves, in the original, as much divine revelation as anything contained with their pages.

Against the prevailing view in their time that church tradition is on a par with Scripture, the Reformers resolutely maintained that there is only one source of revelation, Holy Scripture.

Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology

And now, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the rules that I am teaching you, and do them, that you may live, and go in and take possession of the land that the Lord, the God of your fathers, is giving you. You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you. (Deut. 4:1-2)

Every word of God proves true; he is a shield to those who take refuge in him. 6Do not add to his words, lest he rebuke you and you be found a liar. Prov. 30:5-6)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

The sum of our opinion is, that the scripture is αυτοπίστος, that is, hath all its authority and credit from itself; is to be acknowledged, is to be received, not only because the church hath so determined and commanded, but because it comes from God; and that we certainly know that it comes from God, not by the church, but by the Holy Ghost.

William Whitaker, Disputations On Holy Scripture

The Bible is self-authoritative. This is the essence of the reformation principle of sola Scriptura. There is no other revelation or no other word from God outside of Scripture. And since only the word of God can be our final authority, there can be nothing else to which appeal can be made, but Scripture itself. To appeal to external sources in order to establish the final authority of Scripture is to engage in self-contradiction.

It thus appears that we must take the Bible, its conception of sin, its conception of Christ, and its conception of God and all that is involved in these concepts together, or take none of them. So also it makes very little difference whether we begin with the notion of an absolute God or with the notion of an absolute Bible. The one is derived from the other. They are together involved in the Christian view of life. Hence we defend all or we defend none.

Cornelius Van Til, A Survey of Christian Epistemology

Christian rises and falls on the authority of Scripture. No authoritative Scripture, no Christianity. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13)

And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers. (1 Thess. 2:13) The word of God is not the word of man. The tradition of men is the word of man. The philosophies of men reflect the word of man. The Scriptures are themselves the Word of God. And God’s word is final. Peter tells us, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God. (1 Peter 1:23) We have been born again by the word of God.

Why the constant battle over Scripture? One’s view of Scripture is makes all the difference. Secular man wants to eradicate it. But this is nothing new. Satan wanted to eradicate it from the very beginning: hath God said?

Going a bit beyond this it may be asserted that sinful man would naturally want to destroy a supernatural revelation that portrays his sin and shame and tells him that he is helpless and undone.

Cornelius Van Til, The Defense of the Faith

From Rob Bell’s new heretical book entitled “What is the Bible?” to Andy Stanley’s intellectually bankrupt twaddle, the Bible is a book that threatens. Rob Bell and Andy Stanley do what so many secular men do: the re-image God into something that their secular followers in their secular kingdoms will accept. And so Bell essentially mocks the Bible by making it a mere product of man while Stanley does the same by interpreting it according to the standards of secular reason and modern science. The result is nothing short of no authoritative witness whatsoever to the Christian faith. These men fail to realize that you cannot mock the Scripture without mocking it’s author: the Holy Spirit.

If the church and the Christian faith did not rely upon the certain word of God as a firm foundation, no one could know whether he had faith, whether he were in the church of Christ or the synagogue of Satan.

Thomas Cranmer, Cranmer’s Great Commonplaces

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