by Mike Ratliff
13 But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. 14 Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch.” Matthew 15:13-14 (NKJV)
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. Sola Scriptura has been under constant attack since the Protestant Reformation. 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. Anything 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.”
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; 29 being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, 30 backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, 31 undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; 32 who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them. Romans 1:18-32 (NKJV)
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 do 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.”
19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies. 21 Test all things; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22 (NKJV)
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, blind guides 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 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!