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"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)

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  • Rev. David Thommen (URC)
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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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  • « A Dozen Objections to Divine Election | Main | Free eBook - Of Efficacious Grace by John Gill »

    Sola Scriptura is not Solo Scriptura

    “Although tradition does not rule our interpretation, it does guide it. If upon reading a particular passage you have come up with an interpretation that has escaped the notice of every other Christian for two-thousand years, or has been championed by universally recognized heretics, chances are pretty good that you had better abandon your interpretation.” – R. C. Sproul

    “The best way to guard a true interpretation of Scripture, the Reformers insisted, was neither to naively embrace the infallibility of tradition, or the infallibility of the individual, but to recognize the communal interpretation of Scripture. The best way to ensure faithfulness to the text is to read it together, not only with the churches of our own time and place, but with the wider ‘communion of saints’ down through the age.” – Michael Horton, “What Still Keeps Us Apart?”

    “Sola Scriptura” is not the same as “Solo Scriptura”. A proper understanding of “Sola Scriptura” will not lead to an individualistic, “me and my Bible in the woods” approach to Bible interpretation. Because of Christ’s gifts to the Church through the centuries, we have the privilege of standing on the shoulders of giants.

    On this theme, I loved reading Phil Johnson’s response (some time back) to a questioner at his Pyromaniacs blog site who asked:

    Your identity as a “Baptist”; your endless quotations from Charles Spurgeon; your faithful devotion to John MacArthur; and especially your willingness to call yourself a “Calvinist” are all huge red flags that tell me something is seriously wrong with your theology. Why do you teach a system of doctrine that is named after a mere man? Why are you following human teachers instead of going to the Bible alone? After all, 1 John 2:27 says, “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you.” We ought to go to Scripture alone to establish our doctrine! The truth is in God’s Holy word, not in any theological system or theology textbook developed by mere men. Isn’t that principle what the Reformation was originally about? Sola Scriptura? Didn’t even Calvin himself go to Scripture for the truth instead of reading other men? I believe that if Calvin himself wrote for this blog, he would point people to the truth in God’s Holy word, not to a theology developed by some other man.

    Phil's response can be found here. - JS

    Posted by John Samson on October 17, 2011 11:31 AM

    Comments

    Martin Luther was used by God to expose the error of hundreds of years of tradition, and the writings of famous men who espoused that tradition, as well as the interpretations of the Bible which led them into these traditions. But even a man such as Martin Luther continued to hold on to wrong doctrine handed down by tradition, over the truth of Scripture.

    Martin Luther continued to hold on to some of the erroneous tradition when he continued to teach, as the Catholics before him, that God provided his regenerating work when an infant was baptized with water. He held that the water baptism placed the infant into the Body of Christ, and it saved them. That teaching carried with it the weight of hundreds of years of tradition, the writings of an unknown quantity of men, and long held interpretations of specific Scriptures. The followers of Luther were so sure that this was the teaching of the Scripture that they labeled anyone who contradicted this teaching as heretics, and some of those who chose to be re-baptized were cruelly drowned.

    Men have been using arguments like those given by R.C. Sproul and Phil for centuries to defend bad doctrinal positions. I would ask you, do you believe an infant is regenerated when he receives water baptism? Is he placed into the body of Christ and saved at that point? If you were fortunate enough to have a copy of the Word of God in Martin Luther's day, and if you found through your reading of the Word of God that Martin Luther's teaching on infant baptism was in error, would you have confronted the erroneous teaching? Would you have stood against the teaching of famous men, against hundreds of years of tradition, and against hundreds of years of certain texts being interpreted in an unbiblical way?

    Why do you suppose the tradition of infant baptism and the interpretations of the Word of God which led to infant baptism, are not held by many believers in the Lord Jesus Christ today? Many people cared enough to take a stand against the error, even if it meant being attacked and persecuted by people who would label their teaching as heresy. They faithfully contended against those who claimed they were in error simply because their interpretations did not correspond to hundreds of years of tradition.

    I believe that you have put forth a fallacious argument.

    Melani,

    I think you are dangerously overstating the reality being presented by John in here?

    John, this is, from my view point, good sound reasoning and should be considered and weighed whole heartedly, not "blindly". We should test all things and hold to that that is clearly sound in the Faith and Wisdom of God.

    Phil gives a reasoned response to the error being asked, in my view.

    Here are a couple of places in the New Testament that "join" at the hip, so to speak, the reality of "knowing" the Scriptures by studying them personally and avoiding interpreting them to an interpretation of heresy. Consider the connection between the ministry of the Holy Spirit and the fellowship He leads His Elect to have with one another as we are being sanctified by transformation from the wisdom of this age to the Wisdom of God:

    Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.


    ...

    Act 26:14 And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, 'Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'
    Act 26:15 And I said, 'Who are you, Lord?' And the Lord said, 'I am Jesus whom you are persecuting.
    Act 26:16 But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you,
    Act 26:17 delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles--to whom I am sending you
    Act 26:18 to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'
    Act 26:19 "Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, ...".

    First off, consider that the Apostle says that sanctification is a corporate experience experienced among those being sanctified and he directly ties this "fellowship experience" to "the heavenly vision".

    Second, the Apostle gives an even stronger argument for this well defined sola scriptura methodology, that is, everyone in the "group" is collectively being sanctified through discussing the interpretation and meaning of both the easy and the difficult texts of Scripture, it seems to me, when we realize what he is teaching as it is found in this verse from Philippians 4:9:

    Php 4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me--practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

    The argument of "me and my Bible", it seems to me, is a dangerous place to reason from, hence solo scriptura is unwise.

    I personally have had to eat humble pie when I started going off and saying by assertion a meaning of Scripture that later, after examination of wise and learned men, my understanding was opened to see just how flawed my understanding was at first blush!

    Here is some ancient Wisdom from the book of Job that also refutes "solo scriptura":

    Job 12:11 Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food?
    Job 12:12 Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
    Job 12:13 "With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding.

    Not to beat up your point of view Melani; nevertheless I will insert another reasoning from the Apostle Paul that tends to lead one away from solo to sola scriptura:

    Consider what he is saying and envision what is being done by the group, as is written here, at Romans 1:8-12

    Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.
    Rom 1:9 For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you
    Rom 1:10 always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God's will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.
    Rom 1:11 For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you--
    Rom 1:12 that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, both yours and mine.

    At first you might think the Apostle is narrow in reasoning exalting himself over these Roman Church members? But weigh carefully what is actually being unfolded in those verses.

    He is saying he does have something to give and impart to them, something spiritual. He is also saying they, too, have as much of that spiritual life to give him so much so that between them and their fellowship with one another they are equally built up in the Faith once delivered to the Saints!

    Something for Baptists and evangelicals to think about:

    The Baptist doctrine of the "Age of Accountability" is nowhere to be found in the New Testament.

    Isn't it strange that God provided a means for the babies and toddlers of his chosen people in the Old Testament to be part of his Covenant promises but is completely silent about the issue in the New Testament?

    Jesus seemed to really love the little children... but he never mentions even once, if the Baptist/evangelical view of salvation is correct, how a Christian parent can be assured that if something dreadful happens to their baby or toddler, that they will see that child again in heaven.

    In the Baptist/evangelical doctrine of adult-only salvation, God leaves our babies and toddlers in spiritual limbo! A Christian parent must pray to God and beg him that little Johnnie "accepts Christ" the very minute he reaches the Age of Accountability, because if something terrible were to happen to him, he would be lost and doomed to eternal hellfire.

    Do you really believe that our loving Lord and Savior would do that to Christian parents??

    Dear Christian parents: bring your little children to Jesus! He wants to save them just as much as he wants to save adults! Bring your babies and toddlers to the waters of Holy Baptism and let Jesus SAVE them!

    The unscriptural "Age of Accountability" is the desperate attempt to plug the "big hole" in the Baptist doctrine of adult-only Salvation/Justification:

    How does Jesus save our babies and toddlers?

    Gary
    Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals

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