The Diminishing Doctrine of Sola Scriptura

The Protestant Reformation in the 16th century recovered many pivotal Christian doctrines that had become buried beneath an avalanche of time-honored traditions and blatantly anti-biblical teachings. The doctrine of Sola Scriptura helped to restore orthodoxy back to the visible church. Sola Scriptura (or Scripture Alone) is the conviction that the bible alone is God’s authoritative and infallible message to his people, sufficient for all faith, life and godliness. This doctrine has come under intense fire over the past century. it has suffered immeasurably at the hands of liberal theologians who question the authenticity of the bible as God’s word and also false prophets, who utter extra-biblical revelations, claiming that God is doing a ‘new thing’. Well, despite the attempts of many a heretic, Sola Scriptura has stood firm her ground, even if multitudes fall away from belief in it. Check out this post at Herescope concerning the latest volley of fiery arrows falling upon this fortified bunker of divine truth. The shocking part is that we may be a victim of friendly fire! Here is an excerpt:

At a recent conference, the most popular paper resulted in four times as many people crowding into the room than it was designed to hold. The title of this provocative lecture was “How Evangelicals became overcommitted to the Bible and what can be done about it.”*

The speaker said that in “the actual practices of the Evangelical community in North America, there is an over-commitment to Scripture in a way that is false, irrational and harmful to the cause of Christ.” He claimed that this over commitment has produced a mean-spirited and grotesque distortion of Christianity. He also said that the problem was with “the idea that the Bible is the sole source of knowledge of God, morality, and a host of important items.” I will not bore you any further with the rest of his mindless ramblings.

So what?, I hear you say, “this is what you can expect from atheists, liberal theologians and other unbelievers.” The problem is that these ideas were proposed at a meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society by no-one less than J.P. Moreland , a well-known Evangelical theologian and professor at Talbot School of Theology, which describes itself as “a conservative, evangelical seminary”!

If this is what it means to be Evangelical, then I am not one of those.

In contrast to this evangelical suicide I want to lead you to a great post from fellow blogger and friend Brett (AKA T-Bone) over at Theology and Steak. It is a thorough biblical exegesis investigating how Jesus viewed and treated scriptures. It is lengthy but well worth your investment. I highly recommend you read it slowly and carefully, as if you were savoring a tender sirloin, because it is filled with great truth. Theology and Steak indeed! Here is a bite-size sample for your dining pleasure:

These verses in Matthew 5:17 – 18 also demonstrate that Christ viewed the Scriptures as perpetual and divine, as the Word of the living God, until such time as time will end. Note that he states, 18″For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Human creations, writings, and books all lose validity and importance over time, and perhaps the writings themselves may be lost over time. Even with the advent of the internet and digital storage of writings and books, the influence and impact of very few human writings ever lasts more than a few years at best. However, Jesus specifically claims that, even the smallest parts of the Scriptures, the strokes themselves, will never become unimportant or lost until the end of the age. God still holds us accountable to the Scriptures, and all of the Scriptures will remain valid until everything in them is accomplished. Hendrickson states, “In the new heaven and earth ‘the law’ as a written book will no longer be necessary. In fact, the written Bible-Old and New Testament-will have become superfluous. Until that time arrives, however, nothing whatever will remain lacking as to fulfillment. God’s program with respect to Christ, the church, mankind in general, and the universe, will be carried out in full.”[6] The reason that the Scriptures have such a permanent character is that they are not of human origin, but are of divine revelation. The reason that they will not pass away is that they are the Word of the living and true God.

The stark contrast between the biblical worldviews represented in these two articles is startling. It serves as an example of the widening chasm separating modern evangelicalism and the simple truths of the word of God.

Sola Scriptura!

3 thoughts on “The Diminishing Doctrine of Sola Scriptura

  1. Hey Brandon;

    Great article and a great post over at Herescope. I could not believe J.P. Moreland! I have read several of his books and this doesn’t seem like him. But it just goes to show how deadly and aggressive spiritual warfare is. The problem is not so much an overcommitment to the Bible as it is an undercommitment to it!


  2. I actually am not very familiar with JP Moreland. I am curious how such a view became embedded in his mind.
    I know the devil is the source of all deception but how he successfully worked it into the mind of a conservative biblical theologian is quite frankly terrifying! The Father of Lies claims another victim.
    Oh Lord, save me from deception. Let nothing tear me apart from your precious truth, no matter how tantalizing it may be!

  3. Knowing JP personally and having dialogued with and studied under him I would encourage anyone to investigate his systematic belief system before embracing the above testimony. The claim here is contradictory of what I know personally of JP as well his own writings which are numerous and easily accessible on the internet. The Scriptures encourage us to get our facts straight before making potentially detrimental accusations – particularly against a brother in Christ. We are also commanded to go to the offending brother in person and in private before going to others in the Body. Just because a brother is in the public eye doesn’t mean that the restrictions on gossip have been removed. I know JP is not claiming what he is accused of here on this site and the Scriptural approach at this point would be to confront him directly if you believe an offense has taken place and then act accordingly. You are correct – Sola Scriptura! But we are called to be doers of the Word, not just hearers.

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