A portion of this essay by John H. Armstrong is available online here.
THE QUESTION IS NOT:
- Is all that Christ taught written in Scripture? Nor is it
- What is Scripture?
THE QUESTION IS:
- Should oral traditions, creeds, church fathers, or writings of an extrabiblical sort ever be allowed to stand alongside the Holy Scripture as equal authority?
Herman Ridderbos (Studies in Scripture and its Authority; Eerdmans) says:
"The authority of the Scriptures is the great presupposition of the whole of the Biblical preaching and doctrine."
Again, I want to define what "Sola Scriptura" actually is (and is not)
- Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that Scripture is the source of all truth. It is not a science text or a math text. There are sources of learning truth outside of Scripture.
- Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the Written Word is the only form of God’s Word that has ever been brought to His people
- Sola Scriptura is NOT the teaching that the church (and her people) are not valuable in understanding the Word.
“The Protestant position, and my position, is that all things necessary for salvation and concerning faith and life are taught in the Bible clearly enough for the ordinary believer to find it there and understand.”
QUESTION: Does the Bible every claim authority?
The Bible writers claim, "The Lord says..." That claims authority.
Throughout the Bible the terms "the Scripture says" and "God says" mean the same thing. Scripture is written about as if it WERE God:
- Romans 9:17 "For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."
- Galatians 3:8 "And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, "In you shall all the nations be blessed."
The New Testament writes don't give the impression that they're giving their opinion!
- 2 Peter 3:2 "that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles..."
The apostles were given authority by Christ to preach the Gospel and from the earliest writings of the church fathers, the apostolic texts were placed on a par with the Old Testament writings - they were quoted as authoritative.
The authority of Scripture is not located in human witness. It is not found in the words of the apostles and prophets.
The authority of Scripture is found in God Himself!