Saturday, March 2, 2013

Having a high view of scripture

Do you have a high view of scripture? I hope so! By 'high view' I mean do you believe it is the only authority, is the external authority of all things, given to us by God, is sufficient and is the final authority?

Today's Christian community increasingly has a low view of scripture. They are led by feelings, mysticism, leadings and hints and intuitions. They are saying they're receiving prophecy and revelation and hearing God in contemplative prayer. Let's get back to the only word that we can stand on: the bible.

Athanasius, an early church father, wrote, "These are fountains of salvation, that they who thirst may be satisfied with the living words they contain. In these alone is proclaimed the doctrine of godliness. Let no man add to these, neither let him take ought from these."

Look at something interesting in Matthew 22.

"But Jesus answered them, “You are wrong, because you know neither the Scriptures nor the power of God. 30For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven. 31And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God: 32‘I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob’? He is not God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:29-32)

Did you notice something? Verse 31, a little nugget embedded in the flow: "have you not read what was said to you by God"? Here was Jesus standing before crowds, speaking directly to the Sadducees. The Sadducees were chief priests and high priest, and they held the majority of the 70 seats of the ruling council called the Sanhedrin. They were the lawyer's lawyer, knowing the scriptures backwards and forwards so they could make rulings and interpretations. (Read more about the Sadducees here)

So there is Jesus, who is God, speaking truth day in and day out (because these Sadducees, Pharisees and scribes followed Jesus around and they knew what He was saying), and they questioned Jesus. Jesus did not respond by saying, "Didn't you hear what I said last week?" No. Jesus referred them to scripture, saying, 'did you not READ what was said'.

Jesus held a high view of scripture all His life. Remember what He told satan the three times in response to temptation, "It is written."

Martin Luther said of feelings and leadings versus the Word,

“Feelings come and feelings go,
And feelings are deceiving;
My warrant is the Word of God--
Naught else is worth believing.

Though all my heart should feel condemned
For want of some sweet token,
There is One greater than my heart
Whose Word cannot be broken.

I'll trust in God's unchanging Word
Till soul and body sever,
For, though all things shall pass away,
HIS WORD SHALL STAND FOREVER!”

― Martin Luther

Ultimately, the bible is the Lord GOD's final, authoritative proclamation. If you are tempted to go forward in worship or a decision or a mission based on a mystical experience of some kind such as a dream or a voice, then I ask, does God use His Word to accomplish His purposes, or not?

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