Scripture Alone, for the Reformers and us!


Joel Beeke’s explanation of the authority of God’s Word is clear and solid: I really appreciated his article. Because of our disappointment with certain pastors, as well as the many false teachers who’ve arisen among us, some readers may object to Beeke’s emphasis on the importance of the Biblical role of pastor-teacher in the Church, but I believe it is what the Lord ordained for us. Godly pastors are His gift. Thank you, Lord!

junge-lammer-des-hausschafes-by-bohringer-friedrich-2006-via-wikimedia.jpg



The Sufficiency of the Bible Contra Rome

excerptS

The principle of sola Scriptura  explains why the Reformers accepted some parts of Roman Catholic teaching but not others. They believed that Christ, as the only Head, rules His church by His Word and Spirit. The authority of Scripture is thus absolute, the authority of Christ Himself, not an authority derived from or accorded to it by the church. Calvin said that Scripture is as authoritative as if we heard God’s “living words” from heaven with our own ears (Institutes, 1.7.1) and so Christians should be governed by its promises (Institutes, 3.2.6–7) and the church should be wholly subject to its authority (Institutes, 4.8). . .

The Bible’s sufficiency should also not be understood to exclude the use of the church’s helps, such as her many teachers past and present, and the writings produced by them. These are not to be rejected, but welcomed as a means that the Holy Spirit has provided in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:28Eph. 4:11–13). However, they are subordinated to the Bible in such a way that they have authority to direct our faith and obedience only insofar as they faithfully reproduce and apply the teachings of Scripture. The principle of Scripture alone, rightly understood, does not mean the church of any given time or place operates by the Bible alone without reference to the traditions of the church through the ages. Rather, the sola of sola Scriptura means that the Bible alone is the fountain and touchstone for all authoritative teaching and tradition. This point especially needs to be emphasized in an ahistoric contemporary culture that emphasizes radical individualism and personal liberty. As Peter warns, “No prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Pet. 1:20). . .
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Photo: “Junge lammer des hausschafes” (Young lamb of the domestic sheep) by bohringer friedrich, 2006, Wikimedia.
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John Calvin: Scholar of Grace

If you think you know all about Calvin, or all you want to know about him, I urge you to read this post by Jonathan Goos, who is posting on the Reformers all during the month of October. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Continuing Reformation

"John Calvin" - Believed to be authored by Hans Holbein c. 1540 - Heckman Digital Archive. “John Calvin” – Believed to be authored by Hans Holbein c. 1540 – Hekman Digital Archive.

Everyone knows John Calvin. He is beloved and reviled; the object of praise and respect and the object of scorn and resentment. John Calvin is claimed by Reformed Christians, the Church of England, the Free Will Baptists and Westboro Baptist Church. Indeed, Calvinism has become an utterly useless term. Those who claim to be Calvinists sometimes have little to no relation to each other whatsoever. In his article “Calvin and Calvinism,” Carl Trueman states, “we need to understand that the term ‘Calvinism’ is profoundly unhelpful. It was coined as a polemical tool for tarnishing the reputation of the Reformed, and it is of no real use to modern intellectual history.” (The Cambridge Companion to John Calvin, Ch. 13) Love him or hate him, John Calvin’s writings continue to shape and change…

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