The Sufficiency of Scripture

by | Jun 24, 2017

I now come to the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. This doctrine affirms that all that is needed for faith and practice in the life of the believer is contained in the Holy Scriptures. This claim is outright rejected by Roman Catholicism, the secular man, protestant liberalism, charismatics and Pentecostals, and many, although unwittingly, in evangelical churches.

The Scripture is the once-for-all-final-closed-revelation-of-God to his people. All that God is and all that God requires, indeed all that is needed to know God is contained therein. If God has not spoken it in Scripture either directly or by clear inference, it is not God-speaking and whatever it is, it is not necessary for faith and practice. It may be dismissed without eternal consequences.

The Roman Catholics deny that Scripture is sufficient by adding to it the need for tradition, not to mention the Magisterial Interpretation. The secular man mocks the Scripture, displacing divine revelation with secular philosophy and modern science. Protestant liberalism attempts to synthesize enlightenment thought with the witness of Scripture. But where the two worldviews clash, as they are prone to do, enlightenment philosophy takes the day. Charismatics and Pentecostals with their extra-biblical revelations deny that Scripture is enough by claiming that God is still speaking, something that God would obviously not be doing if Scripture were enough in and of itself. I should add to these two groups, a large number of modern evangelicals who make the same erroneous claims that God is speaking to them in dreams, visions, prayer closets, goose pimples or whatever other means these people can imagine. Never before have Christians been more ignorant of divine revelation all the while claiming that God is still revealing in a supernatural way in temporal reality. Who needs the Bible when I have my dreams, my goose pimples, and my mystical mind-altering experiences? In addition to these groups, many evangelicals also deny the sufficiency of Scripture by way of overlaying onto Scripture secular psychology. These are integrationists who believe that Biblical counseling is archaic and naive. Simply pointing men and women to Scripture is not sufficient in and of itself. We need to add Freud, Jung, Maslow and Rogers to the mix if we are really going to help people attain true spiritual health.

Historic Christian orthodoxy has always affirmed the sufficiency of Scripture. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

In considering biblical inerrancy, I argued that Scripture’s authoritative content is not religious as opposed to secular, not about “matters of salvation” in contrast with matters unrelated to salvation. Rather, Scripture addresses all of human life, as only God himself has a right to do. It applies to all the situations of our experience.

John Frame, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Christian Belief

The Westminster Confession of Faith, chapter 1, paragraph 6 states it this way:

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men.

By calling out the traditions of men, the Reformers called out the Roman Catholics and by calling out new revelations of the Spirit, they called out the enthusiasts, many of whom have crept into sound churches and have upset the faith of not a few with their perverted and twisted teachings.

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