Wednesday 12 January 2011

The Authority of Scripture (Part 3)

It is interesting that certain of my blog posts attract more attention than others. I do hope that this one will be of interest because our subject is crucial to the health of the church. I want to briefly mention five tests, to determine whether you accept the authority of Scripture or not. 2 Corinthians 13:5 says 'examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves'. The apostle John also taught that we we must not 'believe every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world (1 John 4:1)'. If it was true then, how much more the case today ... false prophets are everywhere, not least on so-called Christian TV channels.

Here are five simple tests to examine yourself, as to whether you hold to the authority of Scripture.

1. Do you seek extra-biblical revelations, dreams, visions and words? If the answer is yes, then you have fallen at the first fence and you really need to re-evaluate your belief system. Paul told Timothy that 'all scripture is breathed out by God 2 Tim. 3:16'. If the extra-biblical words that you are seeking agree with Scripture, then they are needless, and if they disagree they are false! The Bible is sufficient for the church.

2. Do you endorse the ministry of women preachers, elders, and even deacons? If you say yes to this question, then the heart of the issue is your rejection of the authority of Scripture. 1 Timothy 3:1-2, 3:12 and Titus 1:5-6 and all of the New Testament make it plain that the teaching of the Scriptures in the public assembly is to be by the elders, men who are to be qualified for the task. Men qualified in doctrine, gifting, character, while also having been tested by the church's presbytery.

3. Can you read the book The Shack without having a problem with it?
The Shack by William Young has sold millions of copies and most probably it has been read by professing Christians, mostly, and yet it is a blasphemous distortion of the Christian God. If you have read this book without any 'red flags' in your mind, then you need to ask yourself some hard questions.

4. Is your church committed to the exposition of Scripture? This is an easy test because your church preference probably is the most discernible aspect as to whether you are committed to the authority of Scripture. If you can attend a church week in and week out, one that fails to take the Bible seriously or one that only pays lip service to biblical exposition, then you may have become like Samson on Delilah's lap. Either you have fallen asleep spiritually or you are been sincerely misled and you need to seek out a church committed to the authority of the Bible.

In conclusion, let me quote the English puritan Thomas Watson (who was born in Yorkshire) on the matter of reading the Scriptures:

‘Read the Bible with reverence. Think in every line you read that God is speaking to you’
‘Read with seriousness. It is a matter of life and death; by this Word you must be tried’.
‘Read the Word with affection’.
‘Read the Scripture, not only as a history, but as a love letter sent you from God, which may affect your hearts’.

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