Thursday, 3 September 2009

Wisdom From Martin Luther

One of the watchword phrases of the early Reformation was the statement of Martin Luther when he disputed with the Roman Catholics as to the source of his authority. Luther declared:

"Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason-for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves-I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one's conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen".

The question is; could we say the same thing today? It seems like there is a very subtle attempt to usurp the authority of the Bible where people place alongside biblical revelation, their own impressions, opinions, dreams, visions etc. All subjective 'words' have no place in the church.

God promises that it is in His Word that we will hear Him speaking, indeed God has spoken. Listen to the book of Hebrews chapter 1 verse 1-2:

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son.

God is no longer speaking the way he did in days of old, because he has revealed his gospel and it is found in Holy Scripture, and Scripture alone. This is not bondgage or the dead letter but it is God's will and we must submit to this or else be found rebelling against the very person we profess to love (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The public worship of God should be saturated with the Word of God (found in the Bible) and nothing else. We should be devoted to the pure preaching of Scripture, the reading of Scripture, singing based on Scripture alone, including literal psalm singing. God's Word should be our delight (Psalm 119). We should shun the use of unscripural content in our public worship and freely reject the wild enthusiasms of some, who claim to speak for God, but use their own words in man made prophesies. Let us return, let us return to the Word of God and may there be a fresh exodus from what Luther called the Babylonian captivity of the church.

Listen to Isaiah 8: 20

To the teaching and to the testimony. If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

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