Sunday, October 4, 2015
P2 The Final Authority of All faith, practice and life
2 Peter 1:20-21 "But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God."
Yesterday we began considering what is meant by the proposition of "Final authority of all faith, practice and life". We concluded that only one source, the Bible, could qualify for such a lofty title. When you think about it - stating that only one Book, the Bible, has the same level of authority as God Himself is quite a lofty claim. Nonetheless, that is what scripture testifies about itself; what Jesus and the Apostles consistently taught and what these past couple of posts have asserted. Only the scriptures can claim to be the foundation for the Christian faith. Only the Bible can be the final arbitor of everything practice in the church and the Christian life. Only the Bible can hold sway over the consciences of men and demand their allegiance to the Creator, Savior and Lord. Today's post follows from yesterday's concluding points by laying out the logical and church-life practical applications of everything we have stated.
Practical ramifications of the Bible being the final authority of all faith, practice and life
To bring home this crucial truth of the Bible being the final authority of all faith, practice and life, I will demonstrate both the logical and church-life ramifications.
First, the logical ramifications of the Bible being the final authority of all faith, practice and life. The logic of what we have been laboring for above proceeds as follows:
Premise # 1 - God is the Absolute, Final authority of all faith, practice and life
Premise # 2 - Anything that God says carries the weight and scope of His authority
Premise # 3 - Any book that is God's word in written form carries the weight and scope of His authority
Premise # 4 - The Bible alone is God's Word in written form
Premise # 5 - The Bible carries the weight and scope of God's authority
Therefore - The Bible is the final authority of all faith, practice and life.
The second set of ramifications for the Bible being the final authority of all faith, practice and life has to to do in the day-to-day life of the church. As Douglas K. Blount and Joseph D. Woodall write in their commentary on the Baptist Faith & Message 2000, page 62: "The pastor is charged by the people of God. Pastoral leadership is exercised entirely through the proclamation of the doctrine and Word of God. The pastor''s authority is nothing more, nor less, than the fervent, faithful, watchful, exemplary labor of preaching God's Word, for which he is accountable. Simply put, the Word of God is the pastor's entire authority. Since the Word of God is all-powerful, what moore could he possibly need?" Blount and Woodall then remind the reader of the pastor's subservient role to the scriptures: "since the pastor may not deviate from God's Word (1 Tim 5:17; Heb 13:7,17; Titus 1:10-14). Becuase God uses the pastor instrumentally to proclaim his powerful, effective, and returning Word, both honor and responsiblity fall upon ministers."
We have labored over the past two days to trace out in outline what is meant when we say that the Bible is the final authority of all faith, practice and life. Noting who is in charge and how such final authority is made to personally bear on other people is key to establishing order, allegiance and responsibility for both those who lead and those who follow. For followers of Jesus Christ, the words of scripture are no less than His words (John 14:21) and thus are finally authoritive in every place, every time and for all people.