Sola Scriptura

10 Jan

A version of this was originally posted on my church’s website.

We began our Reformed Theology class in Equipping Hour last week and it was a wonderful time of introduction into what our reformed faith is. Broadly speaking, Reformed theology includes any system of belief that traces its roots back to the Protestant Reformation. Among other things, Reformed theology holds to the authority of Scripture, the sovereignty of God, salvation by grace through Christ, and the necessity of evangelism.

Reformed theology teaches that God rules with absolute control over all creation. He has foreordained all events and is therefore never frustrated by circumstances. This does not limit the will of the creature, nor does it make God the author of sin. Christians are in the world to make a difference—spiritually through evangelism and socially through holy living and humanitarianism.

Of course, the Reformers themselves traced their doctrine to Scripture, as do we, as indicated by their credo of “Sola Scriptura,” so Reformed theology is not a “new” belief system but one that seeks to continue apostolic doctrine. This is a beautiful thing that we should never overlook. Yes, our Confession is fabulous, but all of it can and should be traced to Scripture. The Bible is the inspired and authoritative Word of God, sufficient in all matters of faith and practice.

While we are teaching this concept, we will point out that it doe not rule out human teachers or eliminate systematic theology. The Reformers often cited the works of Augustine, Tertullian, Jerome, Cyprian, Ambrose, and others-ranging from the early church fathers through Aquinas. They didn’t, however, follow any of them slavishly, but they certainly took them seriously. This is the balance we will attempt to strike as we talk about the value of Scripture.

Sola Scriptura means that Scripture alone is the final court of appeal in all matters of faith and practice. It is an affirmation that “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” and that “nothing at any time is to be added to the Bible, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

There is ultimately no higher spiritual authority than God’s Word, so “the infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself. Therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture… it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.” But none of that means we’re obliged to discard the wisdom of godly men from ages past and require each man to try to discern truth from scratch by reading nothing but Scripture by himself. This often helps us, as midgets, to stand on the shoulders of giants and see far!

Feel free to follow our Reformed Theology class online!

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