Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Authority of Scripture

There has been much discussion of the interpretation of various parts of Scripture, especially those in the Old Testament. Much of God’s law for the Israelites is contained therein and can be a bit confusing when applied to today. In fact, many believe and teach that the Bible, especially the Old Testament, was meant for those living in that time and is not always pertinent to today. Jesus, Himself, taught in a manner that contradicted a number of Old Testament laws. But, what Jesus, the only Son of God, light from light, true God from true God, of one being with the Father, taught, will supersede any of those laws from the Old Testament. So, what Jesus our Lord taught in the New Testament, is God’s Law for us. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, inspired the original authors of the Old Testament, and He used His authority to amend His laws for us.

While the Old Testament speaks more of intolerance to those that are unbelievers (gentiles) or sinners, Jesus took a different tact. He consorted with sinners because those were the very persons that needed to be saved and set on the proper path. He did not seek out those that were healthy, physically or spiritually. Jesus sought those afflicted so that He could heal them. While Jesus loved the sinner, He did not tolerate the sin. In John 8, after the Pharisees brought to Jesus a woman caught in the act of adultery, Jesus said in verse 10, after no one would cast the first stone and all accusers had left, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you? 11 “No one, sir,” she said. “Then neither do I condemn you,” Jesus declared. “Go now and leave your life of sin.”

In John 16:12-15, Jesus told the Apostles, "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of Truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you." In these verses, Jesus tells the Apostles that He, through the Holy Spirit, will lead them in their testimonies. This statement confirms the writings of the Apostles as the Word of God.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that all God’s people may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” Clearly, all Scripture is inspired by God. In these verses, Paul is referring to the Old Testament since the New Testament was not yet complete. Although mortal man did indeed physically write the Bible, God worked through those men to put into words, exactly what He wanted. The Scriptures are not just stories written by mortal man, but through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit are authored by God Himself. As such, Scripture is infallible and without error, because they were inspired by the Holy Spirit and are an authoritative expression of His will and truth.

In this letter to Timothy, Paul explains the role of the Word of God and how it was inspired by God. The Scriptures are God's directions for us, a way to teach us what He wants us to believe and practice. They are also given to warn us of and how to correct false doctrine. The Word of God not only shows us the proper path, but informs us when we are wrong and directs us how to correct ourselves. God's Word teaches us, warns us, and corrects us in order to lead us to righteousness. Using God's Word to lead us in our daily lives helps to equip us to do God's good work. This is the authority of Scripture for us.

Following Jesus’ example, we must be tolerant of and love our fellow sinners, but it is our responsibility to help guide them to leave their life of sin. We must not accept those sins, since doing so will lead those in sin and all who accept or ignore that sin, to ruin. James 5:20 “Remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the way of error will save them from death and cover over a multitude of sins.” The leaders of the ELCA are leading our brothers and sisters in Christ to a false gospel. Should we remain with the ELCA and not only love the sinner but also ignore and accept the sin? If we remain as faithful witnesses, how do we help direct the ELCA back to the true Gospel? Eternity is a long time and as long as this false gospel prospers, and we fail to act in accordance with Scripture, many more souls will be at risk than just those at SOTH.

1 comment:

  1. I’ve been asked about my drive to motivate people to read this blog and to ask questions about the ELCA and SOTH. One woman thanked me for sending her the link but is certain that she will never post a comment or question. Another is concerned that there might be a stirring up of fear. Al’s comment about all things working out in Gods time. (thank you, Al for your comments, very awesome.) made me think about pushing this agenda. As I mentioned in a previous comment, several times a week in my morning readings, I’ve been struck by an urgency to leave the ELCA. This week has been quieter. This week, I’ve been pondering and praying about what people have said. God was quiet, giving me time.

    Then this morning, the lesson was from Jeremiah. Jeremiah was a profit without a great deal of success but he was the most courageous. For forty-two years, he preached the message God laid on his heart – even though no one responded. Through this we know that the Lord doesn’t ask us to be successful, just to be faithful. He just asks us to do a job when He calls our name and only He can bring that job to fruition.

    We read the Old Testament and think, “How can these people be so dense? Didn’t they just go through this a few generations ago? Didn’t they learn anything?” We are living in a society that is collapsing and decaying around us, much like the people of Jeremiah’s time and we are bringing it on ourselves. But, aren’t we worse than the people of Old Testament times? We have the Good News, our Savior who brings light into the darkness. They did not. We should know better. We have the perfect example to follow in Jesus Christ.

    I know it is not Don’s intention of this blog to bring fear to people, nor is it mine by promoting it. Just the opposite is true. Fear resides in the dark. Knowledge and truth bring things into the light.

    Yes, I am impatient. I don’t understand why a strong, vibrant, growing congregation like SOTH needs an organization to survive. We don’t. What does the ELCA do for us? What’s the hesitation?