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Scripture Alone

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul
The Truth Network Radio
December 8, 2020 12:01 am

Scripture Alone

Renewing Your Mind / R.C. Sproul

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December 8, 2020 12:01 am

The Bible contains the message of salvation, and the Protestant Reformers did everything they could to make sure this message was heard. Today, R.C. Sproul considers the authority of sacred Scripture.

Get the 'What Is Reformed Theology?' DVD Series with R.C. Sproul for Your Gift of Any Amount: https://gift.renewingyourmind.org/1512/what-is-reformed-theology-dvd

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Information is needed in almost every day. If all within years of founding the Corinthian congregation needs to see them reforms we can't be surprised the churches neighbor forming regularly in the history of the church.

Sometimes that reform is more the nature of a revitalization, but I think people have, especially in America, been to content to be satisfied with entertainment and with shallowness and we need a seriousness about God about Christ and about his word and I think should be drawn again to passionate interest in the word is gonna take a major Reformation of the church today.

My hope is that this series will serve the church by causing people to reflect on what the church ought to be.

According to the word of God, the necessity of reforming the church teaching series with W.

Robert Godfrey visit Lincoln here.org/teaching series to learn more coming up next on Renewing Your Mind. If you said to me, where would you find the reformed faith. I would say we can find at two places you can find it in the Bible where you can look at the confessions that appear in church history that try to give a summary of the reformed doctrine currencies go to point out today that doesn't mean we place the confessions on the same level of Scripture that they do not carry the same weight and authority. They simply summarize what we find in the Bible, but other traditions do place authority in sources outside of Scripture. Today we returned to Dr. scroll series. What is reformed theology and will concentrate on the Protestant distinctive of Scripture alone, meaning our faith and practice are determined solely by God's will and I don't want to leave you with the question that the doctrine for it is a distinctly or uniquely reformed theological principle. It is part of that body of truth that we share in common with historical evangelicalism, but having said that, let's look then at this principle that historians call the formal principle of the Protestant Reformation Sola script for in one sense this concept was born public play in Luther's famous confrontation with the rulers of the state and the church at the diet of forms, whereupon Luther was called to recant of his teaching, and you recall on that occasion when he stood at this solemn place. He said unless I am convinced by sacred Scripture or by evident reason I cannot recant for my conscience is held captive by the word of God and to act against conscience, said Luther is neither right nor safe here I stand.

God help me. Now that's been memorialized in motion picture more and in the history books and so on.

But though this was the public debut in a historic sense at forms. It was not a new concept with Luther Luther had been more or less forced to say this in earlier debates with some of the theologians that were trying to persuade him to change his views where he earlier had said that it was possible for popes to make mistakes and even for church councils to make mistakes but the only absolutely authoritative written source of divine revelation is the Scripture itself.

And so we get this word Sola that we place before the word script Torah and the phrase simply means by the Scripture alone.

What does this mean what is the vantage point that were concerned about here with the use of this term alone will actually there's more than one consideration.

Though there all enter related in the first instance, one of the disputes at the 16th-century level was the question of the source of divine revelation. All Christians in the 16th century believed that Christianity is a revealed faith that its content comes from God and both sides of the dispute. Roman Protestantism in the 16th century agreed that there were at least two distinct places where God gives revelation of himself.

One is in nature, which is called natural revelation or general revelation whereby the heavens declare the glory of God and the other of course is the Bible not both sides agreed that the Bible was revelation and both sides agreed that nature is also revelatory, but the dispute over the alone was whether there was more than one source of what we call special revelation and the Protestant movement said there is only one source of what is called special or written revelation and that is Scripture where Rome confessed its confidence in two sources of special revelation. Scripture and tradition have gone over this and other courses, but I want to review the betting on it now for the context of this study of the essence of reformed theology at the Council of Trent in the 16th century, which was the Roman Catholic Church's response to Luther and to Protestantism. The Council was held in different sessions at different times spread out over a few years and at the fourth session of the Council of Trent the Roman Catholic Church declared that the truths of God are found in the Scripture and in tradition and the Latin word that is in the final text of the Council of Trent that links Scripture and tradition is the somewhat innocuous simple Latin word at that is simply the Latin word for and well this is a complicated discussion because an Anglican scholar in the 20th century was doing his research for his doctoral dissertation, and he was focusing on the fourth session of the Council of Trent which session ended unexpectedly and abruptly because of the outbreak of war on the continent and there were some loose ends left dangling and some difficult things to explain from the discussions that went on at that time and what this Anglican scholar noted was that in the first draft of the fourth session of the Council of Trent. The statement was made in Latin that the truth of God is contained partly parting partly in Scripture and partly in tradition, which would indicate clearly that there were two separate distinct sources for the churches doctrine one from the Bible and the other from the historic tradition of the church. Now when that first draft was presented to the Council to priests who were delegates of the Council stood up and protested the language on the Y remember their names but their names are Bo Nuccio and Maki auntie. These two Italian priest protested this language saying that it undermined the sufficiency of Scripture and there. The record stops and we don't know what then transpired in the further debates about their objection. All we know is that the final draft exhibited a change in the words part to impart to him which clearly taught a dual source of special revelation were crossed out and in their place was the word at which may or may not mean to separate sources say the word, and here's a little bit ambiguous.

Isn't it because if you said to me, where would you find the reformed faith. I would say where you can find the two places you can find it in the Bible where you can look at the confessions that appear in church history that try to give a summary of the reformed doctrine is insofar as those creeds are consistent with the Bible. They are repeating it than just another place that you could go to find it and so the church may have meant simply to say that we find the truth of God. First of all, in Scripture and then as it is read presented to us in the historic councils were the decrees of the church.

That's the other place you can look which somebody could say and still hold to Sola script Torah and now that debate continues to this day among contemporary Roman Catholic scholars as to whether their church is committed to do sources or one. Unfortunately, there are those conservatives in the church who said that the change from part important to at was not a substantive change, but merely a stylistic change and that the church clearly was meaning to a firm in the 16th-century two sources of written revelation. Now that debate, though it continues was more or less settled by a papal encyclical of the 20th century, which unambiguously refers to the two sources of revelation and that has been the main stream of thinking within the Roman church since the 16th century, that truths that are founded in the tradition of the church are just as binding upon the consciences of believers, as the truths of Scripture, whereas in Protestant heritage.

The principle of simper rep for my Honda is embraced by virtually all Protestants. That is, the church is always called to undergo reformation and always called to check her own creeds and confessions to make sure that they are in conformity to sacred Scripture, and virtually every Protestant church that has a creator confession that is unique to their communion will go to great pains to say that their own confessions are not infallible and do not carry the weight of Scripture, except insofar as they faithfully reproduce the doctrines of the Scripture because the overarching principle is affirmed. Namely, that the Bible alone is that written source that has the authority of God himself the authority to bind our consciences absolutely. And though we are called to be submissive to lesser authorities and respectful of other authorities in my own church I am called to submit to the authority of the Presbytery were to the session of the local church all kinds of levels of authority and I'm told that if I find in conscience, I can no longer genuinely submit that it is my duty to withdraw from that communion peaceably but otherwise I'm not to disturb the peace of the church by acting in direct conflict to the confessions or the government of the church and you have the same time the church as we know our confessions could be wrong and some of the ordinances of our church are possibly incorrect, but this is what we believe to be the true, it is logical to serve here. You have this obligation to submit this method Sola script Torah eliminates other authorities but what it says is there's only one authority that can absolutely bind the conscience and that authority is sacred Scripture and that all controversies over doctrine and theology must be settled in the final analysis by Scripture. Now there are other aspects as I said about this Sola besides the business of being the only source of written revelation, and second, the only authority the combined absolutely, but not the only authority at all, but also involved in this affirmation in the 16th-century was a clear affirmation that the Bible is the Vox Day or the wearable movement day the word of God or the voice of God being infallible and an errant because it comes to us by the superintendents of God the Holy Spirit that the Bible is inspired in the sense that its author ultimately is God even though it is transmitted through human writers, the ultimate source of its truth and of its content comes from God and God of course is infallible, human writers, in and of themselves are fallible, but the view of historic Protestantism was that God so assisted the weaknesses of our fallen humanity as to preserve the Bible from the corruption that one would normally expect to find from the writings of human beings by his divine superintendents and by the special ministry of the Holy Spirit, and so that even though the Bible comes to us in human words and by human authors. It is considered to be of divine origin.

Now I realize that in light of the dispute in our own day over the infallibility of the Scripture and the inspiration the Scripture in the inerrancy of the Scripture words that have engendered all kinds of theological controversy.

There have been those who have protested loudly that the very idea of an infallible or inerrant Scripture was not something that was taught and embraced by the magisterial reformers of the 16th century but was the result of the intrusion of a kind of Protestant scholasticism that came to pass in the 17th century which is called the age of reason where these rationalists were so concerned about certainty that they had almost a psychological or emotional need for certainty to such a degree that they invented this concept of inerrancy and infallibility will now that question directly is not a question of whether the Bible is infallible, the question of where the doctrine came from its historical question. Is this something that was invented in the 17th century were in the 16th century. Let me take a few moments to just read a few quotes to you from the magisterial reformers of the 16th century let you decide for yourself.

Here are a few observations that included in my book that come from the pen of Martin Luther. Luther says this quote the Holy Spirit himself and God, the creator of all things is the author of this book. Another quote Scripture, although also written of men is not of men, nor from men but from God again. He who would not read the stories in vain must firmly hold that holy Scripture is not human, but divine wisdom. Again, the word must stand for God cannot lie and how to nurse must go to ruins before the most insignificant letter or tittle of his word remains unfulfilled. And then he cites Augustine, St. Augustine says in his letter to St. Jerome quote I have learned to hold only the holy Scripture inerrant.

Let's not Luther quoting 1/17 century scholar. That's Luther according Augustine and the end of the fourth century where Augustine says I have learned to hold only the Scripture inerrant again. He says in the books of St. Augustine one finds many passages which flesh and blood have spoken, and concerning myself, I must also confess that when I talk apart from the ministry at home.

The table or elsewhere. I speak many words that are not God's word. That is why St. Augustine in a letter to Jerome has put down a fine axiom that only holy Scripture is to be considered an errant so we see that Luther hardly hedges. Another passage like a quote from Luther in which he says the Scriptures never I don't know that Luther ever use the word inerrancy he just use the word inerrant and said that the Bible never errors, which is the very essence of the concept of inerrancy swelling is a fools errand to try to argue that the reformers of the 16th century were strangers and foreigners to the idea of the inspiration and the authority and infallibility and the inerrancy of sacred Scripture for one of the other important points of Sola script Torah in the 16th century, which is become a very important principle for historic evangelicalism was a hermeneutical principle. Reformers not only confess their view of what the Scriptures are and where they came from, but they also express their views on how the Bible is to be interpreted and who has the right and responsibility to read one of the radical things that happened in the Reformation was the translation of the Bible into the vernacular taking it out of the hands of those who were able to read Latin or Greek or Hebrew and putting it in the hands of people who can only read in their native tongue as Luther translated the Bible into German and Wycliffe translated the Bible into English, and so on and in some cases the people who did that paid for with their lives because the principal that was asserted in historic evangelicalism was the principal first of all, of private interpretation, meaning that every Christian has the right and the responsibility to read the Bible for themselves and they have the right to interpret it for themselves. Now that was heard by Rome is witnessed in the fourth session of Trent to mean that the Protestants were giving license to the rank-and-file church member not only to read the Bible for himself but to distorted that will and of course the reformers were horrified at that idea. Listen, every Christian has the right to interpret the Bible for themselves, but no Christian ever has the right to misinterpret it or to distorted according to their own whims or their own prejudices. The principle of private interpretation was based upon another principle, which was the principle of the perspicuity of Scripture which is a three dollar word for clarity. Luther said there are many parts of Scripture that are difficult to handle and that's why we need teachers in the church and commentaries and all that but that the basic message.

That message that is necessary for a person to understand and grasp is playing for any person to see and when Luther talked about giving the Bible to the laity. The church said if you do that that'll open up a floodgate of iniquity because people will start creating all kinds of horrible distortions which is exactly what happened, but Luther said if that is the case, and if a floodgate of iniquity is opened by opening the pages of the Bible to people so be it.

But the message that is clear is so important. It contains the message of our salvation. It is so important and so clear that will take the risks of all of the distortions and all the heresies that go with that to make sure that the central message of Scripture is heard as a result of this affirmation of Sola script Torah. The Bible was put into the church in the reading of the Scriptures and preaching from the Scriptures became central to the liturgy and to the worship customer as we survey evangelicalism. Today we really see the need to return to reading the Scriptures studying the Scriptures and preaching from the Scriptures you're listening to Renewing Your Mind on this Tuesday timely webinar series this week is from RC's introduction to historic Christianity.

It's titled what is reformed theology.

RC realize that there is a call in the American church today to tone down doctrine, then concentrate on unity, but without sound doctrine. We fall into error so easily. That's why we believe this series is so important we invite you to request it with a donation of any amount to litigator ministries. There are 12 messages on three DVDs. Call us at 800-435-4343 or make a request on our website at Renewing Your Mind.word if you haven't had an opportunity to check out the results of our latest data theology survey.

Let me encourage you to do so. You'll find it@thestateoftheology.com it reveals so much about the American church and our need for sound theology. If you're unfamiliar with the survey every two years later asked a series of questions to help us get a feel for what people think about Jesus, the Bible and ethics.

This year's results showed some positive gains in important areas, but unfortunately it also shows some growing confusion among American evangelicals. For example, fewer people agreed that salvation is by faith alone through grace alone, and 22% of evangelicals believe that gender identity is a matter of choice.

So I think you can see that that there is much work to be done than that, you need to know how thankful we are for your financial gifts. Our goal here is Ligon or ministry is to teach so that you can be informed and effectively articulate your faith only through your generosity. Can we continue producing teaching series like the one we heard today will today. Our focus was on the authority of Scripture at tomorrow will examine another foundational doctrine.

We are saved by faith and faith alone. We hope you'll join us Wednesday for Renewing Your Mind


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