Blank Page Blank page cause there's nothing left to say Your life feels empty and it's not okay Pencils fill lines ink does just that But your holes are't so small as the three hole punch gaps You might feel just as boxed in or even as dull But a study hall doodler can't make you full You aren't quite as frail But does that make it better? Paper doesn't feel pain and yours only sinks deeper But still you assume that poems can fix you What did you think your lettering could do? This is only a page and you have to decide That only God can make you and writing come alive
Today I want to talk about a theological concept with which I have wrestled for a long time. It is officially know as the concept of Sola Scriptura, one of the basic tenants of the evangelical wing of Christianity.
From listening to people describe this concept I had for a while believed that I disagreed with it. I have since found that I don’t and it was the people describing it who were confused. I would like it clear I am not attacking Sola Scriptura, simply its miscommunication.
Sola Scriptura is Latin for “scripture alone”. Many modern evangelicals take this as scripture is the only revelation of God we will receive. This is not what Sola Scriptura means. Sola Scriptura means that scripture is the only revelation from God that we have or will get that we know is 100% infallible. Sola Scriptura doesn’t say we cannot receive new revelation, just that we cannot assign it the infallibility of scripture or base church practice on it. Now why is this? Is it because any new revelation or prophecy would be less inspired by God? No! Of course not! Now, cessationists would say that there is no new revelation, so it doesn’t matter. But, that is a different discussion for a different time. For now let’s assume that revelation can still be given directly from God to people today. If it was truly God given, that revelation would have to have the same level of inspiration that any prophecy or revelation in scripture. God does not give varying levels of inspiration! He is infallible! So if God does indeed speak to people today, what he said or showed would be infallible.
Now the reason for Sola Scriptura is that people ARE fallible. So if someone claims to have had a revelation from God they are either telling the truth or lying. If they are telling the truth their revelation is as inspired as scripture. But we cannot know if they are telling the truth. It is for this basic mistrust that we must put in humanity and which we have been convinced is not an issue with scripture that we have Sola Scriptura. Because we cannot know, we cannot lay the church on the foundation of any revelation that we are not one hundred percent sure of, and the only revelation in which we have such surety is the bible.
The biggest implication of this is that church tradition does not say we cannot receive revelation direct fro m God today. I think this is an enormously important thing to remember. The theologian and author George McDonald argued in one of his sermons that because the truth of God is infinite, the fullness of his truth has not been revealed in the bible and he will never stop revealing his truth. Basically, the Bible has everything we need for salvation and church practice. But God provides MORE than we need. Be open to receiving God’s revelation. Be open to hearing God’s voice, knowing his will more fully, and experiencing his presence.
The last thing I will say is a warning. Put the bible in PROPER respect. There are two ways we can put it in improper respect. If we do not give it enough, we will fall into poor theology and eventually, unrighteous practice. But if we give it too much credit, we will eventually come to a point where think some evangelicals have verged of worshiping God’s word and not Chris himself. Again to paraphrase George McDonald, the bible is not THE way, THE truth, and THE life. It does proclaim truth, but is not THE truth. The only truth we have is Christ. As a friend of mine said (and probably someone far more important than him before that) we serve Father, Son and, and Holy Ghost, not Father, Son, and Holy Bible.
With Cacoethes Scribendi,
The Indefinable Emotion