Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sola Scriptura or not?

This is blog about the real challenge with the Southern Baptist Convention and specifically the Missouri Baptist Convention’s decision to defund promised money to church plants affiliated the Acts 29 Network. The churches are being defunded because they refuse to condemn the moderate consumption of alcohol (nor do they encourage it). The challenge is that Scripture does not condemn the moderate consumption of alcohol (though drunkenness is sinful). The MBC is coming from a side of tradition as Southern Baptists have held an anti-alcohol policy. The pastors involved did sign a form saying they would not drink and they have kept to that commitment, but have refused to enforce teachings that add to the Scriptures. So the real question this debate brings up is whether or not the Scripture is sufficient and the ultimate authority for the SBC?
The reformers used the Latin phrase sola scriptura, Scripture alone, as one of their guiding principles. Sola Scriptura (from wiki) is the assertion that the Bible as God's written word is self-authenticating, clear (perspicuous) to the rational reader, its own interpreter ("Scripture interprets Scripture"), and sufficient of itself to be the final authority of Christian doctrine. Every conservative leader within the SBC will claim to believe in this principle, but in practice many are concerned more about traditions.
I was had a conversation with a catholic about the sacraments being needed for salvation. His response was that the Catholic Church just has a higher standard. Let me be very clear on this YOU CANNOT HAVE A HIGHER STANDARD THAN A PERFECT GOD! By adding to the Scriptures that is exactly what one attempts to do. God is perfect and so is His Law. If we change that law then it is no longer perfect. This is the real tragedy of the MBC. Not only are they breaking unity over a non-biblical issue, but in doing so they are claiming that Scripture is not sufficient. With the actions they took they are defiling the very Word of God by claiming that their authority is superior.
That is why this issue should truly righteously anger all Christians. This is not a matter of alcohol but of truth and authority. We all have personal convictions that God through the Holy Spirit has given to us, but these convictions should remain just that, personal. There are things in Scripture we know are absolutely sinful, but on others the Bible is silent. On these matters a believer should follow their own convictions.
I cannot understand how anybody that loves God and His Word can stand aside so calmly and see its authority defamed. I cannot understand how why so many are blind to the seriousness of adding to the Scriptures. I cannot understand how this news cannot bring us to our knees weeping over the broken fellowship and the sinful pride of those that think they know better than a perfect God. I cannot understand how men that were created with an instinct to fight and defend the truth.
To stand aside and let our brothers be rejected for a biblical stance is not loving. To accept sin is not loving. To ignore the truth when it has been made known is not loving. What is loving is to respectfully present the truth to the leadership of the MBC. Let them know that they are not only wrong but in sin. Encourage them to correct the matter and continue with our work as harvesters for the Kingdom of God.
I beg you dear reader to consider and pray over these things. Let us decide this day whether or not God’s Word is truly enough for us.

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.
(Rev 22:18-19 ESV)

No comments: