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2. The Reformers and the Word of God

Nicholas Miller

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Nicholas Miller

Professor of Church History at Andrews University

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Conference

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  • June 19, 2017
    9:00 AM
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But I want to focus more on this question than about why we actually study church history I think a little bit we're influenced maybe a lot by Ellen White right the great controversies she took church history seriously so we know something about it and we think it's important but she herself would say we should have more of a reason for doing something we should have a biblical reason for doing something not just because she said so she didn't view herself as the source of church doctrine We'll talk more about this later she was a guide to what the Bible taught. What is sola scriptura about and I think when we start looking at this topic we discovered that there are 2 extremes to extremes 1 says we should look at all other sources of authority and then maybe the Bible but really human reason is more important but there's another extreme that we ever experience in 20th century America which says the only thing you should study is the Bible and nothing else and you might there's a phrase that I have that some people use for that rather than sola scriptura so low script or a solo scripture or sola scriptura in the Latin means by scripture alone and it implies that by scripture alone means that truth and information from elsewhere are measured by scripture alone right it is the sole ultimate authority but it doesn't mean there aren't other sources of information. And I think that the reason that we study scripture if you remember Dr Walling was talking about different kinds of reading. Reader centered approach is to interpretation reading the text through certain lenses and you know the reality is whenever we read any text we always read it through lenses even if you don't have to wear reading glasses like I do you have the lenses of the time in the place that you're living right in the language that you use you realize you don't read the Bible in the original language do you read a translation of the Bible and every translation is an interpretation and there's a couple of good examples from the Bible just to we have to do with these 2 things when we read the Bible we have to interpret it and I thought I would bring up the old chestnut from Luke where Christ on the Cross says to the good the truly I say to you is the commas there or is it today comma you shall be with me in paradise right he's either saying I say unto you today you shall be with me in paradise or I say unto you today you shall be with me in paradise now which reading is the correct reading if you limit yourself to just that sentence you can't actually tell it's ambiguous there isn't punctuation in the original Greek right how do we come to the interpretation we come to because we read the larger context and I think 1 of the good arguments is when Mary tries to detain him after the resurrection He says I have not yet ascended to my father right and so we use this larger context to go back to this particular text to come to but there's an interpretation that needs to happen right and if we're not familiar with that other story we're not thinking about it we may not come to the right interpretation. Then there's the other interpretation is translation Christ says I am the bread of life now in our western society that makes sense we understand that bread is a staple we still eat quite a bit of bread these days it means you're not wasting your money you're buying something that's essential to your life but what if you're from Japan or China right the bread of life they're not even sure what bread is it's exotic food so if Christ was speaking then and maybe if you were translating the Bible you would want to say something like I am the rice of life which gives the clear idea of a staple of diet that is vital to life the problem with culture is that it's a little bit like being a fish in a fish tank Have you ever wondered if fish and know that they're wet. Right are they do they know what water is or it's something they've been in all their lives they're not really conscious of it they just experience it and they don't really know it unless they fall out of the fish tank onto the dry ground and then they become aware of it and it's much like us if you've ever traveled overseas in a developing world country if you've traveled if you work for the church overseas you might suddenly realize what a kind of individualistic. Way of life we have here in the West and how we interpret the Bible in a very individualistic way whereas if you go to South America or Asia you realize how much more important the community is and so there's a strength in the world church when we study the Bible together across cultures we can become more aware of where we are reading our culture into the Bible rather than actually finding the book will principles and we can help arm friends and neighbors in the church do the same thing and maybe between the individual ism of North America and the communitarianism of a place like China or Japan maybe there's somewhere in the middle that's actually best right both the individual is important and. So I don't want to overstate this case of course the post-modern dilemma is that language is so relative that we don't even really understand each other and all communication breaks down but the Bible has given us a promise that God sent the Holy Spirit and we can meaningfully even if we don't perfectly understand the Bible we can understand it sufficiently well to know the way of salvation right that even the simple person need not fear from the way of salvation when the Spirit of Truth will guide you into all truth. But this is my question for you today does the Holy Spirit ever use other people to guide you into an understanding of the book through. Has anyone ever studied and come to the understanding of the 20 fundamental beliefs of the 7th they have and church entirely 100 percent on their own or have you had some influence from the pastor or teacher an evangelist a Bible worker that's been my experience right parents teachers pastors all helping form now does that mean that they were the spiritual authority in your lives I may be when you were 7 or 8 or 9 or 10 but at some point you get old enough and the authority is the Bible but they show you like the comma in the in the book of Luke that I shared with you when in the story about Mary once I share that story with you with someone they can see that perhaps the better interpretation is with the comma after today but it's not that I am now their spiritual authority it that I am bearing witness to a way of understanding the Bible and the Bible itself. Where 2 or 3 are gathered in my name there am I in the midst of them is God not with you when you're on your own No I believe he is but there seems to be a special sense in which God guides us into biblical understanding the context of this passage if you remember Matthew 18 is church discipline which involves taking biblical standards and applying them in the real world and so there's a sense where God can help us understand and apply the Bible more accurately more fully when we are studying with a group because our various minds will hope each other see the possibility of patients that maybe others don't. Phillip in the Ethiopian eunuch he was reading Isaiah right and he was just not understanding it Philip comes along help in the story of Jesus and opens his eyes is Philip now his spiritual authority now it's still the Bible but there's this witness the truth still in a quality teaching the Polish way of God more perfectly Christ on the road to a myth and this is a great story because this Christ reveals who he is he's disgusted and he's anonymous why does he do that because he doesn't even himself want to be the authority in making the disciples understand this he wants them to see the authority of Scripture and so he explains it to them so they can see the authority coming from Scripture and then he reveals himself. So. The question is if we believe this is true that the Holy Spirit uses other people in the church to help us understand scripture why don't we just study with other Christians who happen to be alive C.S. Lewis called chronological not very critical except in the intellectual climate common to our own age and the assumption that whatever has gone out of date on that account discredited or irrelevant that we often ignore the past because we know the present is so much better right we can fly planes and run computers so what could they possibly know in the past about like relationships and spiritual virtues and is it possible that in the technology age in the Information Age wisdom is often overlooked I think is a good argument to be made that actually wisdom was more appreciated in times past and so really and if you think about it. The further someone is away from our culture the more of a perspective on our culture we receive Right so if I come up from Berrien Springs to to. The upper part of Michigan here edge edge more and wherever we are. Then we may have had some different experiences that we can share but if I speak to someone from South America I'm going to get an even bigger assessment of of my perspective now think if I take someone out of our time and place like Martin Luther from 500 years ago suddenly I'm speaking to a person who has a very different view of the world who can maybe tell me something about the materialistic assumptions the individualistic commercialised industrialized assumptions of my age that you and I share that we can't really help each other see because we're so imbedded in it but they can and so it's the a powerful powerful thing and I think it's a great Bible text that speaks to this Hebrews 121 and 2 it talks about being surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses Lang aside our sin and in looking into Jesus the author of our faith why didn't poll just say look on to Jesus look on to Jesus he starts by pointing out the witnesses were surrounded. Who are these witnesses Hebrews 12 comes after he was 11 which is the chapter of faith right these are the heroes of the martyrs the prophets those who suffered and been persecuted for Christ were they alive when Paul was writing this is their memory this is the history of them their ideas in their lives speaking out that somehow point to Christ and somehow as we engage with them we can see Christ more clearly. And for us this cloud of witnesses isn't just limited to the Bible but it's clues the whole faithful of church history right we are surrounded by the great cloud of the Martin Luther's in the Calvin's in the West we in the William Miller's in the Ellen White House and they can tell us something about our time and place that will help us the Christ more clearly which is what we were singing. In. The 7 churches of revelation that's good I like that they come down through time and each of them has an angel that speaks to us the Bible itself is clearly very interested in using history to help people understand their contemporary situation more fully We're constantly told to think about the history in the past and in the set up landmark And remember remember how God has led Ellen White we have nothing to fear except that we forget God has guided. So having established that that it's important to engage with people outside of our own time and place to understand our own situation better I want to spend just a few moments talking about the cultural and social biases of our day some of which we are aware of and if you study intellectual history you can kind of bring this to the surface. Some of we're not aware of all of it here is just a few words you may have heard scientism in here is the individual is consumerism materialism evolution is many more often these words hit fit under a heading of something called modernism. Which prioritises reason over authority and typically modern is set aside religion and the authority of scripture in things that require faith and they want certainty about things you can test and touch and and in impure Rickly observe my good friend the scientist here who knows the scientific method knows them talking about and so scientists become the new high priests of the modern age right they displace the theologians. And the philosophers as being the pathway to truth and this is what happened in the 19th century and their wares to responses to this new standard of authority some people use the word foundational as and to describe this process whereby certainty in matters of truth had to be based on things that you could absolutely demonstrate and be certain of people trace it back to Descartes who said I think therefore I am this is the 1 thing I can be certain of and I build on this structure of certainty for my life well. I won't discuss that theory except to say that if you look at the Bible that's not the way the Bible suggests that we understand in truth the Bible suggests that there's evidence for things but that we experience things and we know through a combination of evidence and experience and we come to a certainty that based on empirical data but also an experience we have with the real world and with God setting aside that for a moment there were 2 responses to this in the Christian community and this is relevant to the at this church because quickly became sort of pinned in between these 2 extremes and influenced by 1 or the other at various times so the 1st was Biblical and theological liberalism and the 2nd was Biblical and theological liberalism and most of us are aware of the problems of Biblical and theological liberalism and we see it in people in the true Bible and Creation in the 2nd coming of Christ and get rid of sola scriptura but most Adventists kind of have this vague sense that maybe there's this fundamentalism thing out there but we're not quite sure what it means and maybe it's not so bad to be a fundamentalist because really don't they believe in the true that the Bible and creation and the 2nd coming and yet I want to I want to try to show to you that there really are these 2 extremes and Ellen White herself was very aware of them and helped steer the church in between these 2 extremes. The liberals in C. The the the challenge was to the notion of being certain of something and Christians had always preached a certain kind of certainty about an experience with God and with Christ so we believed that we could compete in this. Arena of ideas it was demanding 30 people began to be confused at how and the liberal response went something like this Oh the Bible is a historically generated document that clearly has some inconsistency in it and we don't have the original autographs and there are multiple textual traditions and we can't base certainty on this kind of historically uncertain or not entirely precise document so our certainty is found in our personal experience and in fact they said the Bible really doesn't have to be certain or even accurate about history and maybe the miracles didn't happen but we can be certain about our experience and they moved certainty entirely internally and they began to view the Bible as a collection of stories that people had written about their experiences with divine that weren't dictated or even particularly inspired in some sense you could write the same kinds of things in the Bible if you just opened yourselves to the kind of experiences they had with God So the Bible became less of an authority in people's lives and more of a kind of guide to your experience with God which could be just as authoritative as anyone else's and this is where the mainline churches and liberal Protestantism has gone over the last 100 years the Bible isn't necessarily historically accurate creation story is a myth some of them will accept the New Testament miracles but some of them not even that but there is a divine and we can sort of be in touch with that but the Bible certainly isn't going to guide my life as a guide book or a rule book like the 10 Commandments as the essence of. So the that was the liberal side and we were pretty skeptical of that the fundamentalist side said something different they said oh no the Bible may have been historically created but it was God that was creating it and he superintended the process and in fact because they needed to have absolute certainty they said he dictated the Bible word by word and letter by letter right and it's interesting because we're a bit more attracted to that right how can you say the Bible is how can you make the Bible be to true. The Bickle authority is a good thing but if you're familiar with Ellen what she says in a number of places that God didn't dictate the words of the Bible right he gave inspired the people and the ideas and the Holy Spirit guided the word but ultimately the words with those people chose and. What happens when you put your faith and certainty almost entirely in a book in a set of ideas in the important thing about Christianity becomes how properly you define those ideas and so where is the liberals had said Christiana is going to be a thing entirely about our experience the fundamentalists began to move to the other side and said Christianity is going to be a thing almost entirely about our beliefs and how properly they're defined and much less emphasis was placed on experience or even action but we have to be orthodox in the most precise way we write more and more complicated systems of belief and we try to get it perfectly right and there's a word for this it's Protestant scholasticism which is well known phenomenon. So what about Adventists Which way did they go well but we believe that truth was important in the Bible was historically accurate even if it wasn't. Verbal E. dictated but we also believe that experience was important and sometimes you hear Ellen White speaking against the ology and for Christian experience right and she's reacting to this extreme of creating Christiana's he is primarily a system of correct belief that she care about doctrines you bet she did right I mean full of the great controversy in the desire of ages but she wanted to keep the church from embracing either the 3 during her lifetime she did well at that now after her death the church became more influenced by the fundamentalist side of the debate because the fundamentalists there was a series of books released in 1015 the year of her death actually where they wrote a series of articles defending the great fundamentals of the Christian faith and that included creation and 3 articles on creation and creationism and that was a very attractive to us and that and this because of our belief in the Sabbath and the importance of creation but there were also several articles on inspiration that put forward a verbal in Aaron's inspiration and when Ellen White was no longer around to sort of balance this out and caution us we gravitated towards that and we began to embrace it in terms of both the writings of L. and white and the Bible and I thought a couple of effects of impact. For reasons that I don't want to go into fully today but I can briefly describe to you that a fundamentalist verbal inerrancy view of the Bible led to a very socially conservative outlook. So that the fundamentalists tended to keep women out of pulp it and not allow them to teach mixed groups. Tended to keep to defend slavery and to defend segregation. To defend the status quo and there was part of a sense that many of the fundamentalists were also Calvinist determinists that believe that God chose made you chose where you should live chose your turtle destiny and if he made you a slave you should stay there and if you made you a master you should stay there. Whereas this more moderate view of inspiration was usually held by people who believed in human freewill that you could better yourself you could make better moral choices and you could change your status in society there was also a sense that if you and this is why if you were a doctor walling presentation today I suggested there might be a difference between the plain reading of scripture and the plain meaning of scripture and I think that there may be something to this because if you take a plain reading of scripture often what it means is that you take very seriously your initial impression of what the words mean and maybe those words have in fact changed over time maybe they mean something different than they meant to people in the past and so your plain reading may just be plain wrong if you don't look at the larger context behind it and let me give you a quick example the issue of slavery the Bible says slave obey your masters Well if you're in 100 centuries America and you believe in a plain reading of Scripture you to say See the Bible says that the slaves should be their masters that's it the end of the story. If you believe in the plain teaching of Scripture then you may actually think a little more broadly about what the Bible says about God and how he treats people and fairness and not brutalizing other people and you might say let's look a little more closely at this word slavery in Scripture and compare it with what actually exists in 1000 since real Merica and if you did that you would discover that the Bickle Lavery Hebrew economic serfdom was quite a bit different than the racialized chattel kidnapping men stealing slavery that was in the southern United States and that the Bible never actually supported or allowed that but has several specific text that outlaw the stealing and kidnapping of people was. So. If the fundamentalists and there's some people here who get that and the importance of it another good example is the smoke of their torment ascend to Forever and Ever take a plane reading of that may find yourself believing in eternal hellfire if you do a plain meaning I think you can see that once you understand God and His character and then you look more closely at the Greek word for it turn will or where the Hebrew word for eternal has a different conception then is in our Greek Western oriented mind and so fundamentalists were conservative socially in ways that we weren't we used to argue with the fundamentalists about slavery about discrimination and also about women while we didn't ordain women in our early church we did encourage them to be licensed and in that role they could teach and preach and evangelize congregations of men and women. We allowed them to be conference offices. In fact there was a point where a 3rd quarter to a 3rd of all Treasury and education department positions in the conferences were held by women there's 3 top general conference offices president vice president and treasurer and in the 800 that office of treasure was held by 3 different women after Ellen White dies no more women ever hold that position in fact by 930 after the system is sort of run through there are no more women license ministers there are no more women conference offices now this has. A least a couple of things that help explain it the pression happens in 1029 and therefore often men are hired for a job because there's their heads of their families but a good reason an explanation for this that I believe. Very important is this influence of fundamentalism as we buy into this more rigid view of reading of Scripture we also buy into the social and gender view that the fundamentalist community has been harboring and which we have believed previously is actually against the teaching of Scripture so this is a very. Significant. Event in our history there's a in 1900 Bible conference. That where the old guard people who work with Ellen White Willie White A.G. Daniels they know that Ellen White has used resources and sources in her writing that she editors after her writing the hope of call them together they know that mechanical verbal inspiration isn't the way things work. And yet some of the other leadership are nervous about this they want to create in people's minds a very pristine image of the way that inspiration works and there's this 1900 Bible conference the transcripts of which you can read where there is arguing back and forth as to how we should be open with our people about the realities of inspiration and the way in which they it works and the arguments are inconclusive but there's a very edgy Daniels' almost prophetically says you know listen we can keep our membership in the dark about how inspiration works and try to create an artificial model in their minds to keep a greater sense of sort of respect and obedience and in their midst but eventually the truth is going to come out and there is going to be great disruption when it does right and these were prophetic words because what happens the records of those meetings are lost and set aside they don't really resolve what to do with the just forces of history take over and we become more fundamentalist in our outlook and we do move into an era of patriarchy and not supporting civil rights and then in the 1960 S. these manuscripts are discovered and more people discover Ellen White's use of sources and resources men like raw numbers. Graybill. And they discover true things they discover that Ellen White used source which she herself acknowledged and said And so you can see some of the danger that comes in to artificially setting up to a standard of inspiration that the Bible itself doesn't hold to because people get this illusion and then they overreact and they throw the baby out with the bathwater. So in the 1960 S. the mainstream part of the church really began to to realize that we had flirted with the fundamentalists quarter and we began pulling back but. Segments in our church there was and in the sixty's and seventy's when these things began to emerge there was an a reaction liberalism had largely stayed out of the church but at that point there was a reaction against the fundamentalism and so you might know that Adventists forums was started in 1907 Spectrum magazine about a year later and they had a series of articles critiquing Ellen White pointing out some of the excess excessive claims that had been made for her but instead of rebalancing and having a more healthy balanced view they went too far the other way and they began bringing in some of the truth as encounter and not proposition and so we do have in segments of our church that liberal influence that we'd earlier almost entirely rejected that causes many arguments but you can see now that maybe Spectrum Magazine is 1 extreme but some of the loud conservative voices on the other extreme they're in a kind of war of the past when let me ask you a simple question is Adventism in its heritage either of those is it liberal but is it fundamentalists. And while we share some things with the fundamentalists at our core we have some fundamentally different ways of viewing scripture and truth then the. There's a funny little quote here from Winston Churchill a man is not liberal when he's young he has no heart and he is not conservative when he is old he has no brain. And this is often the way that people's politics go when they're young and idealistic they tend to be progressive and liberal but as the realities of life descend on them they become more conservative and apparently he allegedly said this is. Heaven and it will track the actual story. But I think that we would agree that we need to have a heart and a brain right that we need to see both sides but if I was to ask you what is our church more threatened by a lack liberalism or a creedal conservatism which would you say was the greatest threat to the 7th Day Adventist Church today but of both equally OK So let me add there's 3 possibilities who would say a lax liberalism who thinks that's the greatest threat to the church today lacks liberalism just a few hands usually that gets a lot more response what about the creedal conservatism creedal conservatism OK probably more probably about double but not everyone I still haven't word you all. What about both of them together both equally dangerous OK about an equal number so I grew up in Southern California and when I was a young person I would have said that the real danger was Aleck's liberalism. And then I moved to the Midwest for a few years and I began to understand that maybe the liberalism was a response to a certain close mindedness that existed in spin Ed and his circle and I began wondering if maybe they were both equally a threat and then I came across this Ellen White quote and Ellen White understood the D.N.A. of D.N.A. of our church very well and she said just. As a people we are certainly in great danger if we are not constantly guarded of considering our ideas long cherished the Bible doctrine and on every point infallible and measuring everyone by the rule of our interpretation of Bible truths this is our danger and this would be the greatest evil that could ever come to us as a people on a strong statement is that while I was in Europe I felt deeply moved there must be a different spirit an element brought into our conferences if 1 should hold ideas differing in some respects from that which we have heretofore entertained not on vital points of truth not on the Sabbath of the sanctuary of the state of the dead or basic sexual morality right she's defending central tenets of Christianity but on other more peripheral ideas there should not be a firm rigid attitude assume that all is right in every particular all is Bible truth level law at every point we have held as without mistake or cannot be improved this I know to be dangerous business and it proceeds from that wisdom which is from beneath the according to Ellen White and I think this is because of the way we come into the church right prophetic truth give up your jobs and come in and seek and hold onto it and sort of in our D.N.A. is a need to be certain and I'm not against that but Ellen White is saying here that means that the greatest danger we have and why is it the greatest danger what is probably sent to them about Protestantism is about present truth which is unfolding truth right. The illusion once said the greatest heresy is to stand still when God is moving forward when God is revealing new truth and it was our pioneers who if they had insisted on defending everything that they believed would never become at and the Sabbath the sanctuary the state of that all these things were new thing and the little white understood that the process of Protestantism being an unfolding present truth would die if it took on only the task of defending everything we know now because God is reading us. So I want to talk that's kind of an introduction as to why we should care about what the reformers say and what it is that the particular cultural circumstances have done to our church and what extruding means that we're facing in our church and and several of those extremes have to do with the Bible and how we approach the Bible and I think we can all agree that our beliefs as Christians and Adventists need to come from the Bible our doctrines are built on the Bible so how we think about the Bible and approach the Bible becomes very important now if we have an unbalanced view of how to treat the Bible either from a liberal perspective or a fundamentalist perspective we're going to have problems and so I want to call on some of the historical witnesses about the Word of God about Sola Hota and Prima script Turow and you know I raise this question earlier what the sola scriptura me and I think I've tried to make a case for why we should listen to the reformers and other people have come before us they're not authorities instead of the Bible but they're witnesses to how we can better understand Bible. Talk about solo script era. There's a little story that I sometimes tell I'll give you the nutshell version that I want and then a time but when I was at P.C. Many years ago we were hanging around in the dorm room on a Friday night and it was a weekend full of rain and we were bored and we decided to do something denture S. and somebody said let's go to Linda fall there's a popular hiking spot on Sabbath and you had to drive about 8 or 10 miles to get there and we said let's go to Linda fall and let's not hike at Linda falls Let's get dropped off there and walk across country through the woods in the hills back to P. You see no 1 has ever done that we could do it in the rain it would be a big adventure how college student think and so sure enough the next day we got. Very tough to learn to fall and fortunately somebody had thought to bring a compass now we live in the age of G.P.S. but compass is 1 of those things that has that needle it always on points almost directly north and so. We started we got there and I have this great sense of instinctive direction just why and I've been watching where we were going in the sun in the way the wind was blowing and you know where the mosque was on the trees and when we got out of the car I said you know this is the way to P C Let's go gentleman and so off we went through the woods and somebody had the audacity to question my sense of direction and they pulled out the compass and I said well just for kicks just for fun let's look at the compass and I said OK short so they pulled out and I discovered that my sense of direction was off a couple of degrees. And I soon discovered that the compass claim that you see was actually this way and I couldn't persuade the others that they should follow me instead of the compass that we all went that way and it's a good thing we did because in 2 or 3 hours we began to recognize some hills and places that weren't far from you see and we made it home perhaps a little wet but happy to be there so in this story what does the compass represent the Word of God right the authority of the Bible which there is a way that sing with right into a man but he's going the wrong way and the compass turns him around the other way so yeah that would represent sold a script or in the ultimate authority overriding my reason and sense of direction but let me ask you this when we used the compass and got it out and pointed ourselves in the right direction did we only look at the compass as we walked because if we done that it may not have ended successfully either could have walked into trees over eclipse and in fact the compass is 1 or so degrees off of mag magnetic north is slightly different there's a whole host of things but the point was that we use the compass but the impact we use the compass didn't stop us from using our other God given sense of sight and sound and sense of direction that was used in harmony with the compass and this is sort of an attempt to illustrate the difference between solo scripture which should be 1st to so last trip to ARAA which is we have a primary authority but we have other sources thank you complementary source of truth. Martin Luther probably the event of history that most fully and profoundly illustrates the idea of sola scriptura is his testimony before the diet of erms Who can forget it that's that wasn't that was 495 years ago 494 years ago that's 4 years after 15171521 is the diet of Verne's Luther the the pope has already banished him and said his writing should be burned but the Emperor listens to the prince that oversees Luther and says you've got to give him a trial and so the Emperor says yeah OK we'll give him a trial in the in the take him to verse bring him before the papal leg 8 the cardinals the bishops before the Holy Roman Emperor himself before the 16 or so German princes before 85 Dukes there is the gathered leadership and aristocracy of the church and the state and here was 1 little monk standing before them all and they were saying these writings are wrong and if Who are you to stand up against the mighty authority of the majority of church and state and what is Luther's answer I am can left I am convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest reason I stand convicted by the Scriptures which I have appealed and my conscience is taken captive by God's word I cannot and will not recant sola scriptura scripture is authority over everything else scripture gave Luther a place to stand on when the rest of the powers of the world disagreed with him but it's very interesting in this statement that illustrates that you actually throw them this line about and let them convicted of error by the testimony of Scripture or by manifest reasoning. Right seems that he recognizes a broader authority than merely the text of Scripture or more than just the text of Scripture if you can show that he's logically wrong from truths that flow from Scripture then he will recount and when you study scripture you discover that he has much more of an understanding of Sola rather them solo scriptura he quotes freely from church fathers and creeds in support of their doctrines and practice and so do Calvin when we Malenko an Arminian and they use reason and experience in doing so but they make clear that these fathers and creeds are only authority in so far as they agree with scripture OK so they use them but they recognize that Scripture is the period and this brings me to a question what is the Word of God can't be that hard surely. The scripture the scriptures the Bible is the Word of God I think that's a good answer but the Bible itself tells us something about a word of God doesn't it there are another word of God What about John right on in the beginning was the word in the Word was made flesh so Christ is the manifest word of God to which the written Word of God testifies and reveals right the scripture is reality the real world seems very broad doesn't it for God has inscribed his word on nature so I heard somebody else say nature as the Word of God who would say that nature is a word of God not currently because it's fallen and has sin in it right so I would have been dubious of this sounds too broad and liberal for me and so I came across this quote from Ellen way and she said this great storehouse of truth is the Word of God and then she says dash now she's going to tell us what the Word of God is right she says the written word the book of nature. She says the book of nature is part of the Word of God and then look at this in the book of the experience in God dealing with human life how many of you have thought that your life experience and story and that of your family contains a message to you from God that God is trying to reach you in your family through the experiences in the trials and the difficulties in the times that you've had we overcome by the word of our testimony in the blood of the Lamb I think that she would include both right because what is larger history if it's not the history of a bunch of individuals written over time and certainly our shared history is more accessible to all of us and so it's easier to preach and teach about I can't really talk about your life and your family's history but I think the suggestion here do we believe that God is trying to deal with all of us right this god only deal with that. Or with Christians or is he trying to reach all of us trying to this isn't such a radical idea either what does John say Christ is the light that light is every man that cometh into the world so the SO THIS IS SO THIS IS SO this is where sola scriptura the sole ultimate authority of scripture becomes very important so because the experience can never contradict or overcome scripture but on the other hand how many how would we give our Bible studies any differently if we believe that as we brought the written Word of God to people we could actually ask them about their experiences and their family's experiences with God's leading in their life and that we match the written Word of God with building a bridge to how God it's they wouldn't be at your Bible study if God had not been leading in their lives right that's right that's right so this is a very kind of profound and powerful statement. God speaks Christ thinks in a variety of ways and if you think about it it's is it possible to use the written word of scriptures to create a barrier to hearing the actual word of God as it happened in history that use do it. Right and we were doing have that and I want to make clear that Christ will only communicate in a manner consistent with scripture and this is what we're concerned with and it remains ultimate authority in our Christian but sola scriptura there is a soul to soul a script here it is the soul supreme authority and it is also the sole basis of doctrine all the church all the teachings that the church formally teaches its being a requirement for church membership must be based in scripture now whether we flesh though how we flesh those teachings out well this is where Prima scriptura comes into play there are other sources of truth can you get to 844 using the Bible alone you have to know some date some history don't you have to know when it's a creed came down from the riots you have to know and you can only find these things in history books you can't teach prophecy without bringing in information from the outside without history so the Authority is still scripture but we're drawing on other sources of information also in creating church offices and many church offices are there in the Bible elder Deacon he can and what about your church only have those offices are a. Treasure of religious liberty director. Right the Holy Spirit allows us to expand that as long as we're being consistent with scripture what about worship practices that the school and church 930 Sabbath school 11 o'clock of the divine service. We developed that we inherited it from the Methodist probably can't meetings potluck all these things are traditions of the church that are perfectly OK Christ the Bible says that Christ had the custom to go to church on the Sabbath and that's a perfectly fine custom where does it become problematic if we put those into stone and we cannot modify them when change is needed because of our changing community the changing needs of our young people churches and church members though John Wesley used to describe for sources of the ology Scripture Reason experience and tradition the logins used to call this the Wesleyan Kaja lateral I don't really like that because it suggests that all 4 of them are equal and I don't want to lose the specialness of scripture and Wesley believed in that he didn't actually call it a quadrilateral I think if he was alive today he would call it the scriptural stool and I don't have a stool here but you can see. The picture I had a picture of a stool. Going away in the slide but if you think about the the surface of the stool be scripture supported by the 3 legs of reason experience and tradition though I prefer the word witness dition is kind of loaded. In in the used in the in the Catholic Church and are these but it's important then are these sources all supported by Scripture itself we don't want to create a quadrilateral or a stool it's just based on Leslie's reason or even supported by the other reformers but what about the Bible that the Bible tell us there are other sources of truth about God. Romans $120.00 and Psalms 19 talks about God's invisible qualities at the turn a power in nature being seen in the created world Psalm $100.00 the clear the glory of God and notice it's not just the existence of God in the power of God but it's also the morality of God so that men are without excuse there's something about nature in the way it's created which points to a right course of conduct right is biology set up so that certain sexual relations are healthier and more productive than others biology tells us these things and in them is a moral lesson that God says Nature holds people accountable for even if they don't have the written scriptures. The Bible and experience Christ Sermon on the Mount says if you're I caused you to thin you should pluck it out and if your hand causes that then you should cut it up is it possible to do those things in fact some zealous early church leaders took them rather too literally but I can see that most of you with 2 eyes and 2 hands. Have brought your experience to bear to understand in a literary way what Christ was meaning to say this is you should avoid sin. With any means possible and in your eyes your hand don't actually cause you to sing it's your mind. What about the tradition and witness I mention this about Christ and them come in Nazareth with them we have important organizing traditions and they become dangerous if they harden into the dogma of church teaching that cannot change Christ talk about teaching. You hold you leave the commandments of God and hold fast traditions of men reject the commandments of God that you may keep your tradition. We think oh the poor Jews doing that we would never hold on to our traditions at the expense of the commandments of God you know the main commandment that Christ gave us when he left was what was it 2 fold Love God Love man but just before his sense the commission what is the divine commission go ye for into all the world preaching the gospel and baptizing mission is the divine Commission and is it possible that the way we do church in the forms that we insist that we often insist we must follow to those ever interfere with our mission and if they do then they become human traditions that actually cause us to undermine the the main command of Christ to the church right it was a Southern Union Minister ial director tweets out some very interesting comments from time to time and he says some Adams's churches are going to have to choose between what they love more their traditions or their young people and I think that's where we have to sit down and say what's principle in Scripture and what's our culture and where can we more effectively reach our young people in our communities without violating the principles of scripture even if it means letting go of some of our tradition so scripture without moral reflection can actually equal oppression slavery couple of examples some of the sponsors defenders of slavery were those that insisted that morality could only come from the Bible you can only use the Bible Sola solo script Tura you can't bring other kinds of moral reasoning to bear it's not right and because the Bible says slaves that they are masters that's the beginning and end of the story that our pioneers accept their. In fact Ellen what using scripture and moral reasoning said that slavery was so obviously morally wrong and she made it to test the fellowship if you openly supported slavery she said you should be disfellowshipped the church Interestingly it once used to stand on an issue of social policy to say whether you should be a member of the church or women suppression about ordination but this allowing women from talking to anyone other than women and children in church or leaving me child abuse spare the rod boil the child with no limits you know because the Bible says you can be children that's the end of the story and there's no limit to that or think about Romans 13 you must support the powers that be how often have dictators and Christians use that to justify supporting Hitler or. Someone like that So in closing we must maintain the Bible as having the central role in our system of truth as being the sole basis of doctrine and the ultimate judge of all other sources of knowledge we have to reject higher biblical criticism and liberalism we have to reject the idea of putting human reason over scripture of holding scripture to the standards of human reason but we can't go to the other extreme of depriving the Bible of other supporting sources of knowledge and information that can be used to clarify expound and apply the Bible we deprive them ironically if we try to make the Bible so high and soley the source of everything we believe about morality and God We actually narrow it and we make it speak less fully to the world and society we live in and you can see this from this the Bible say you shouldn't smoke or use drugs I mean you you're going to limit yourself to the literal word and you're going to be very confined. We have to reject that kind of fundamental And here's a few a few thoughts in closing we can only interpret scripture right and apply it well with the presence of the Holy Spirit and I think in dialogue with the community of faith I think to understand scripture through the spirit above it and around it and I open to hearing the voice of God not only through the Scripture but through nature and through God's providence is in my life all those things of course subject to scripture but I shouldn't close my my life and mine to the Word of God tells am I willing to study with my community to walk into unfolding present truth it's only then that I'm a Protestant think about that word products that I'm protesting against current abuses if I am only believing what we believed in the past and those abuses have gone away I'm not protesting anything anymore and I'm not a Protestant there's always abuses of power in our world misuse of spiritual things always the need for protests but only as we learn to continue to apply the principles of the Bible and I. Thank you for your time and attention on this I do have maybe a minute or so to entertain a question or 2 if there are and then I'll have the closing presentation Tomorrow's topic is on I'm going to go back to to the beginning of the Reformation again and talk about when you're looking at competing interpretations in the Bible like we talked about the competing paragraphs the competing commas in the today. There was an overarching principle that our pioneers used as a principle of interpretation to decide which interpretation was the best and I'm going to share that with you tomorrow it's something called the moral government of God the great controversy theme is much older than Ellen White's book or even the Abdus church and it goes back into the 16th century to the most important reformer that you've probably never heard of it also relates to the seal of God and Sunday laws in a rather exciting and interesting way. I can see you then let's have a word of prayer here in your Heavenly Father we thank you for your watch care over us we are deeply grateful for the many words that you send us the words that Christ gives us. In our daily life nature through human experience and most importantly through the Written Word of God which we measure and judge all. You open your words. This media was brought to you by audio a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or if you would like to listen to more sermons Please Visit W W W dot audio person dot org.

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