by Mike Ratliff
He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” (Matthew 15:13-14 ESV)
What is Sola Scriptura? This is a Latin phrase. Sola has the idea of “alone,” “ground,” or “base” while scriptura means “writings” and refers to Sacred Scripture or what we refer to in the vernacular as The Holy Bible. Sola Scriptura means that Sacred Scripture alone is authoritative for the faith and practice of the Christian. That being true it must also be true that “all Scripture is ‘God breathed’ (given of inspiration of God) and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness… (2 Timothy 3:16).” Sola Scriptura was the rallying cry of the Protestant Reformation. One of first things the reformers did after breaking from the Roman Catholic Church was to translate the Bible into the common language of their people. This was violently resisted by the Roman Church with many translators, such as William Tyndale, paying with their lives for putting a non-Latin Bible into the hands of the common people.
The Roman Church had made the error of placing its traditions above the Bible in authority. Along with this, they also elevated the Bishop of Rome above all authority. This put Scripture below two man-made and, therefore, fallible institutions. Since the Protestant Reformation Sola Scriptura has been under constant attack. Christian Liberalism has sought to abolish Sola Scriptura the last few centuries. Its main weapon is human philosophy in various forms. However, the error they are making is the same that the Roman Church made. They place what men say and want above what God’s Word clearly teaches.
Those theologians, preachers, and teachers who attack Sola Scriptura are blind guides leading the blind. They argue that Sola Scriptura itself is not biblical meaning that it could not possibly be true since it is not explicitly taught in Scripture. While this is true, this argument fails to recognize a crucial point, which is that the Bible does tell us that it is the Word of God. The Bible declares itself to be God-breathed, inerrant, and authoritative. The Bible also tells us that God does not change His mind or contradict Himself. This means that the Bible does not allow for the traditions of men to contradict its message. Sola Scriptura is an argument against unbiblical, extra-biblical, and/or anti-biblical doctrines. Therefore, the Word of God is the only source we have to know for sure what God expects of us and that means that we must stay true to what we know He has revealed.
Once Sola Scriptura is cast aside then the teachings and traditions of men and the doctrines of demons seep in to take the place of the Word of God as the source of wisdom and direction we all need. Traditions are valid only when they are based on Scripture and are in full agreement with it. Feelings are subjective while the Word of God is objective. We cannot place our feelings above what the Word of God says. Any thing along these lines will place Christians into darkness and will harden their hearts as long as they are not obeying what God’s Word says. Spiritual blindness is deadly. Our Lord told his disciples, referring to the Scribes and Pharisees of His day, to “Let them alone (Matthew 15:14).” This is a severe judgment and is a form of God’s wrath. It signifies abandonment by God. This is described by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1:18-32 as “God gave them up.”
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them. (Romans 1:18-32 ESV)
Spiritual blindness comes from God to those who are in rebellion against Him. When a false way is accepted as the right way then it really does not take long for those espousing heresy to begin to cast doubt on what is true while elevating that which is evil and false as being true. Their futile thinking sends their hearts deeper into darkness. God will actually “let them alone.” They will no longer receive His gracious drawing and convictions. With this comes the false conclusion that they are doing what God wants them to since they are no longer being convicted that denigrating God’s Word is a sin. Oh yes, it is a sin because we are commanded in God’s Word to not “despise prophecies.”
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 ESV)
The Greek word for despise in this passage is ἐξουθενέω or exoutheneō. This word describes a person setting something at nought. In other words, this is implying that something is valueless. The Greek word for prophecies here is προφητεία or prophēteia. This word can refer to a spoken revelation from God (Acts 11:27,28; 1 Timothy 1:18; 1 Timothy 4:14). However, most often in Sacred Scripture it is used to refer to God’s Word in written form (Matthew 13:14; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Revelation 1:3; Revelation 22:7, 10, 18, 19). In this context, Paul is telling us to not denigrate that which are authoritative messages from God through a recognized spokesman for God and that they are not to be treated lightly. When God’s Word is preached or read, it is to be received with great seriousness. However, the blind guides of the Emergent Village do the very opposite. They are continually attempting to cast off the Yoke of authority that God’s Word is. Why? The reason is that if God’s Word is what we have been saying it is then Sola Scriptura is true and that means God’s Word has authority over all things. That means that men who are attempting to reform Christianity along the lines of what is cool and easy to digest by unregenerate hearts are having their hearts darkened and are being given over to a debased mind which never hears from God, either good or bad.
Once the Yoke of authority that is God’s Word is cast off by these blind guides then those who follow them will also become blind. How can the blind lead the blind unless they both fall into a pit?
My brethren, Sola Scriptura is both a great encouragement to the believer and also a boundary straight from God that is a great comfort to those who submit to it in obedience. On the other hand, those who are attempting to do away with Sola Scriptura are trying to create a form of Christianity that is just as dark and disobedient as the Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation. Their doctrines are man-made and, therefore, fallible and based in what men want. We are already seeing this a great deal with the concept of Christianity Burger King style – Have it Your Way! We can only speak the truth, pray for those in darkness that they will repent, and pray for the those in the light to not be deceived. We must pray for ourselves that we will not despise the Word of God, but joyfully love and obey it.
Soli Deo Gloria!