Posts Tagged ‘sufficiency of Scripture’

One of the enemies great tricks is to undermine people’s confidence in the Scriptures. In the Garden the serpent got Eve to start questioning what God said. It worked then, so why change tactics.

As a result of this continuing barrage, the church has needed to defend the Scriptures on a variety of fronts. Over the years a number of significant books have been written with this purpose. Many of those books were written for more advanced readers: pastors, academics. There are a few that are written for the younger Christian. Kevin DeYoung has added to that list of books that are accessible, meaningful, practical and interesting. Face it, this is not a topic that gets the averaged browser in a bookstore jazzed. But this is a necessary topic so it must be handled wisely.

DeYoung’s Taking God at His Word is structured around 8 passages of Scripture that teach 8 important things about Scripture. It was probably a sermon series or SS class turned into a book. Not that it matters, but it follows a similar structure as my book on marriage (one of those topics that gets store browsers jazzed) which may eventually see the light of day. He also utilizes many of those older books to help us understand the importance of what Scripture is saying.

“There is no calamity like the silence of God. We cannot know the truth or know ourselves or know God’s ways or savingly know God Himself unless God speaks to us.”

He starts with Psalm 119 in which the Psalmist delights in the Word of God (including the Law!!). Even well-meaning Christians struggle with this concept (because they see every mention of the law thru the lens of justification). The Word is filled with promises, and warnings, to be believed and acted upon. If the Word of God is not delightful to you, something is amiss in your Christian experience. The Spirit works in us to develop such a response to the Word. He recognizes the elements of circularity in the arguments for the authority of Scripture that rest on Scripture. However, if another document establishes the authority of the Scriptures it would be at least on par if not above Scripture. No one doubted the authority of the king to speak before the Magna Carta. God speaks as that kind of absolute king except He has unlimited knowledge, wisdom and goodness.

“Psalm 119 shows us what to believe about the word of God, what to feel about the word of God, and what to do with the work of God.”


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John Frame has, I think, done the Church a great service in writing The Doctrine of the Christian Life. It is the material from his course on Christian Ethics. The 3rd section of the book is Christian Ethical Methodology. As expected, he breaks this into 3 parts: normative, situational and existential.

“In general, a Christian ethical decision is the application of God’s revelation (normative) to a problem (situational) by a person (existential).”

The normative aspect of Christian Ethics is revelation. God exercises His lordship by communicating His character and will to us. Unlike non-Christian views of deontological ethics, we have a recognizable standard. Frame affirms both general and special revelation as part of that standard. Both can be misinterpreted by sinners such as us.

We don’t just have a Law given to us. God expects us to imitate Him. He is the ultimate norm for us. There is an aspect of “What Would Jesus Do” that is accurate.

But the overall focus is the authority of Scripture. He spends time on inspiration and the attributes of Scripture. He has an important chapter on the sufficiency of Scripture. This is often misunderstood. The Westminster Confession formulates the sufficiency of Scripture “concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life.” It does not limit this to explicit statements (a problem I often run into in theological discussion), but also includes “any good and necessary consequence.” In other words, doing theology is not merely quoting Scripture but THINKING through the consequences of what Scripture says. As a result, the divine words we have are sufficient for our needs.

“The sufficiency of Scripture does not rule out the use of natural revelation (“the light of nature”) and human reasoning (“Christian prudence”) in our decisions, even when those decisions concern the worship and government of the church.”


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About a month ago, WTS Bookstore ran a special deal on Jesus Loves the Little Children: Why We Baptize Children by Daniel Hyde. I had seen some people speak favorably of his presentation, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to pick up a number of copies for give-aways to help people understand why we in the Reformed tradition baptize the children of believers.

“Misunderstanding and false assumptions about infant baptism abound.”

A few things to keep in mind. Not all who baptize children do so for the same reasons. The reason why Reformed Churches follow this long-standing practice is different than why other parts of the church do. We don’t baptize any children, but only those who have one parent who professes faith in Christ and is a member of the local church.

One of my elders read the book at the same time I did. We had very different experiences reading the book. He found some parts confusing. But, having read numerous books on the subject of baptism, I was not confused by any of it. Perhaps there was unfamiliar terminology used. So, it is possible that this succinct treatment is not as accessible as I think it is.

In his introduction, he talks briefly about why this is such a hot button issue. He uses a quote from Spurgeon that I’ve often seen on the internet that implies that the practice is “Popery” and led to the damnation of countless millions. Spurgeon is failing to distinguish between the practice and the rationale. Outwardly, Reformed churches may look like Roman Churches in this regard, but our rationale is well-thought out and quite different from theirs. Popery it isn’t. But, is it biblical?


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