Saturday, May 24, 2008

Sola Scriptura

Do we need tangible evidence of God's presence? Or is the Bible enough?
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The following is a section from
Why Evanglicals Are Returning To Rome: The Abandonment of Sola Scriptura as a Formal Principle
A Critical Issues Commentary by Bob DeWaay...

Spirituality for the Unconverted:
But why are literate American Christians running away from sola scriptura at a time when searching the Scriptures (especially using computer technology) has never been easier? On this point I am offering my opinion, but there is good evidence for it. I believe that the lack of gospel preaching has allowed churches to fill up with the unregenerate. The unregenerate are not like “newborn babes who long for the pure milk of the word” (1Peter 2:2). Those who have never received saving grace cannot grow by the means of grace. Those who are unconverted have not drawn near to God through the blood of Christ. But with mysticism, it is possible to feel near to God when one is far from Him. Furthermore, the unconverted have no means of sanctification because they do not have the imputed righteousness of Christ as their starting point and eternal standing. So they end up looking for man-made processes to engineer change through human works because they have nothing else.

And this section is in the conclusion.

But the life of faith does not require tangible visibility: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1). The Roman Catholic Church has tangibility that is unmatched by the evangelical faith, just as temple Judaism had. Why have faith in the once-for-all shed blood of Christ that is unseen when you can have real blood (that of the animals for temple Judaism and the Eucharistic Christ of Catholicism)? Why have the scriptures of the Biblical apostles and prophets who are now in heaven when you can have a real, live apostle and his teaching Magisterium who can continue to speak for God? The similarities to the situation described in Hebrews are striking. Why have only the Scriptures and the other means of grace when the Roman Church has everything from icons to relics to cathedrals to holy water and so many other tangible religious articles and experiences?
I urge my fellow evangelicals to seriously consider the consequences of rejecting sola scriptura as the formal principle of our theology. If my Hebrews analogy is correct, such a rejection is tantamount to apostasy.

I do not believe that they are the only ones pursuing these things.

How many times lately have we heard,
"I want to feel you God", and that the glory is "tangible", and that we can reach out and touch the "glory cloud", and you too can see a vision, and that we should heed the words of some "Apostle" of God, speaking new words from God?

Do these things build our faith in God only because we can see, hear, and feel them?
Then it does NOT require faith.
Faith is being persuaded and sure of something, even though unseen.

Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
Heb 11:7 By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved with godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.

He had only God's word and he acted on it.

Heb 11:8 By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Heb 11:13 These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

Heb 11:39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
Heb 11:40 God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.

They all looked ahead in faith for the coming Messiah.

Heb 12:1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is
set before us,
Heb 12:2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

This is our cloud of witnesses, those men and women of faith.

Faith doesn't require feeling, touch, sight, sound or smell.
For if these things are required so that you can believe, it is not by faith.

I thank you God that the Promise has come, and that You are with me always.
I have the assurance of Your Word. That is all I need.

In Christ

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