by Mike Gendron
The Bible gives overwhelming evidence as to why Scripture must be always our sole authority for faith. The Word of God is pure, perfect, inerrant, infallible, living, truth, light, holy, eternal, and forever settled in heaven. It illuminates, cleanses, saves, frees, guides, converts, heals, quickens, judges, and sanctifies. It also brings conviction, gives knowledge, gives wisdom, produces faith, refutes error, searches the heart, equips for every good work, and is used as a weapon. The Word of God is even exalted even above the very name of God. Have you read Psalm 138:2?
Compare this with tradtion ... Jesus told the religious leaders of his day that their tradition was nullifying the very word of God. Yet the religious leaders of today continue to do the same and deceive their followers. Because of this we must take the exhortation of Peter seriously ... that is we ought to obey God rather than men.
For Christians, the Scriptures provide the only objective basis for authority while the indwelling Holy Spirit provides illumination, conviction and discernment. This dual authority, the Spirit of God working with the Word of God, is sufficient in all matters of faith and Christian living. Catholics, on the other hand, submit to a dual authority of tradition and Scripture, under the subjective interpretation of their church. The pope, speaking for the church, is said to be infallible in matters pertaining to faith and morals. You ask, "Where does it say that Scripture alone should be the authority for faith?" Is "Sola Scriptura," the battle cry of the Reformers, found in the Bible? There are at least nine biblical justifications for the authority of Scripture alone.
All Scripture is given by the inspiration of God and useful for reproof and correction of error (2 Timothy 3:16). Since Scripture is used to correct and reproof then it must be the authoritative standard by which everything else is judged for its truthfulness.
Jesus said, "Scripture cannot be broken" (John 10:34). The character of God is on the line. "God is not a man that He should lie ... and hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good (Numbers 23:19). Submitting to the authority of God's revealed word will guide us in His perfect will.
Christ used the authority of Scripture to rebuke Satan's attempt to deceive Him (Matthew 4:1-11). He gave prepositional statements to accurately convey the truth that Satan attempted to distort. Jesus was our perfect model for rebuking deception.
Jesus used the authority of Scriptures to rebuke false teachers (Matthew 22:29). The only way false teachers can be confronted and exposed is in the power of God's Word.
Repented sinners are saved by hearing and believing the Word (Ephesians 1:13-14). The integrity of the Gospel must be maintained and proclaimed for true conversions.
Jesus prayed for Christians to be sanctified (set apart) by the truth of His Word (John 17:17). Christians must separate themselves from apostate churches and false teachers. God uses division to show those in His approval (1 Cor. 11:19).
One must continually submit to the authority of Scripture to be a disciple of Christ (John 8:31). Those who follow the traditions and teachings of men are often led astray.
Christ rebuked the religious leaders for nullifying the Word of God with their tradition (Mark 7:13). Any tradition that nullifies the Scriptures must be exposed and renounced so others will not be deceived.
The Scriptures were written to all Christians, not to popes and Magisterium to be interpreted for lay people. Anytime we allow others to interpret God's word for us, we leave ourselves open to deception.
God foreknew the teachings and traditions of men would become corrupt and would lead many astray. In His wisdom, He left us with His Word, the only objective, absolute authority for truth, to lead us back to Him. It is pure, powerful, perfect, inerrant, infallible, living, holy, eternal, and forever settled in heaven. It illuminates, cleanses, frees, guides, converts, quickens, judges, sanctifies, brings conviction, gives wisdom, produces faith, and refutes error. Can you describe tradition in the same way God describes His word? Why would you want to add anything subjective to the objective standard God has given us?
Catholics will also argue that we would not have the Bible today if it were not for the Catholic Church. Did the Catholic Church really determine which books to include in the Bible and protect it throughout the centuries? I believe we have the Bible today in spite of Rome, who kept it hidden in a dead language for hundreds of years (Latin). In recent history Catholic priests refused to absolve the sins of any person who had possession of a Bible, until it was returned. Catholics must consider the following facts about the Bible.
Since the books were written under the inspiration of God, they were canonical the moment they were written. A council was not necessary to affirm what was already true. No book became canonical by the action of a church council. What the council did was determine which books did not meet the tests for canonicty.
All the Old Testament books are quoted in the New Testament except Esther, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon. None of the books of the Apocrypha, which the Catholic Church added to its canon in the 16th century, are quoted.
The New Testament books had certain tests for canonicty. They either had to be written or backed by an apostle (Mark by Peter and Luke by Paul). They also had to be circulated and accepted by the majority of churches. By the second century only the 27 books that now make up the NT were accepted by the people of God. Each book had to reflect internal consistency and character with other Scripture.
Peter referred to the letters written by Paul as Scripture (2 Peter 3:16).
We have the infallible Word of God today because almighty God has protected it and will continue to do so (Matthew 5:18).