Monday: The Authority of Scripture
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Read the following texts. What do they tell us about the way in which Jesus viewed the Bible? Matt. 5:17-20, 12:3-8, 15:3-11, John 10:34-37, 17:14-19, Luke 24:44.

Image © Frank Gampel from GoodSalt.com

Image © Frank Gampel from GoodSalt.com

Whenever Christ debated with the religious authorities, He relied not on abstract philosophy, not even on personal authority, but on the teachings of Scripture. When determining right from wrong, Jesus based His argument on a scriptural bedrock. When opponents challenged Christ’s doctrinal purity, He directed them to specific passages within Scripture. When considering practical matters, Jesus referred listeners to divine revelation. Christ understood that His divinely ordained mission was to accomplish that which the ancient prophets had predicted.

Contrast Christ’s exalted understanding of Scripture with the prevailing attitude often exhibited among even professed Christians today. Entire denominations have come to deem the Bible as interesting but, basically, unreliable historical manuscripts. Everything-the six-day creation, the Exodus, even the bodily resurrection of Jesus (much less a literal Second Coming)-have been called into question, or even relegated to the status of myth.

The implications for discipleship are clear. Why would anyone want to give his or her life to a cause based on nothing but myths? Instead, people burdened with real problems need a real Savior. Otherwise, the gospel becomes a tarnished treasure or, metaphorically, plastic coinage covered with simulated gold. From a distance some might be fooled, but upon closer examination the plastic will suffer rejection. The only safe course is to follow Christ’s example of exalting, honoring, and obeying the Bible.

Death is no myth, is it? Nor is it just a symbol. It is one of the harshest realities that we all face. Think through the implications, then, of any view of the Bible that treats biblical teachings, such as the resurrection of Jesus or His Second Coming, as mere symbols or myth. Why must we, individually and as a church, never allow ourselves to get caught up in this satanic trap?

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Monday: The Authority of Scripture — 11 Comments

  1. Then there is, "knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (2 Pet. 1:20-21 NKJV) and "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work" (2 Tim. 3:16-17 NKJV). The inspiration comes from God in the form of thoughts and concepts often communicated through dreams and visions but not always. The inspiration Luke was given in the form of leading him to choose source material for his gospel since he was not one of the original 12 disciples. Besides, the Holy Spirit is always there to help in communicating the information which is a form of the gift of tongues.

    The authority of Scripture, therefore, is in the source of the information and in the help given in bringing everything together but how that is interpreted and stated is something that comes from man. That is why all four gospels tell the same story differently. Each writer has a different audience and a different emphasis. Each one of the writers sees the same information from a different point of view and therefore tells the story in the way that makes sense to him.

    There is divine wisdom in how the Bible was written and there was divine guidance over what was written and canonized into what we call the Bible. Then there was divine protection over its preservation through the centuries. All of this comes from an authority that is above man, the same authority that created the universe and all the life in it.

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  2. Where are we going to put the writings of Mrs. White? Yes it is a lesser light and lower than the Bible but can we put the Spirit of Prophecy side by side with the Bible as far as authority is concerned? (Correct me if I'm wrong because my position is yes. Her writings are not part of the Holy Scriptures but it was mentioned specifically by John to be one His church should be possessing to guide her. In fact it is an identifying mark of His church.

    Whether we accept it or not, we are all aware of the wide use of her writings in the church. The spirit of prophecy is used to settle issues in the church. For example, If members are debating about a certain topic and someone stands up and quotes from Mrs. White the debate stops and it seems everything is settled.

    BUT what about this issue, the use of dancing, drums and shouting in our worship? If you read the Spirit of Prophecy, it is against this kind of worship but if you ask those who do these things they will show you the Bible and will quote David dancing with drums and singing while worshiping God. IT SEEMS that we have now the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy in a clash and the church sided the Spirit of Prophecy. Anybody who can enlighten me with this issue? (This is part of the discussion questions under Friday). thanks

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    • Thankyou for your thoughtful observations,Merwin.
      It is my personal observation that the authority of Scripture will not be brought into question by the writings of the Spirit of Prophecy...These two sources of Inspiration will be found to be in complete harmony.
      The Spirit of Prophecy was given to us by the Lord as a Divine aid to our understanding of the wonderful things of God!Ellen white's writings will be found to be in complete harmony with Scripture in every case.
      An issue where there is apparent inconsistency regarding what is stated in scripture as opposed to what the Bible says on any given topic is surely a challenge to perservering prayer for Divine enlightenment!
      The Bible is most certainly our primary authority!
      The Spirit Of Prophecy was given to illuminate Biblical truths.
      The problem is not one of inconsistency between these two modes of divinely inspired writings.
      May we be found wrestling with the Lord whenever there is a challenge in any given area of our understanding of Scripture!
      May the Lord bless each of us,dear brethren with much wisdom and grace on our heavenward journey.

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    • This was reading at our church today. Is this not helping shed some light especially coming from the bible at this time when we are studying on the authority of scripture.
      Psalm 150:1-6 (NIV)
      Psalm 150 [1] Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. [2] Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. [3] Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, [4] praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, [5] praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals. [6] Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord.  

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  3. Merwin, can you give us the references of where Mrs White is against the use of drums please? I think we need to read it in the context of the whole chapter:)

    Cheers

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  4. Bro Mervin, would you please give reference as to where the opposition to the use of drums are located in the writings of Sis White. As a musician I've been told so much about these passages, but not able to find them.

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    • Lance and Elsworth, the reference is Selected Messages Book 2 you start reading from page 36. Thanks Maurice. The rabbis missed the mark. The Pharisees missed the mark. The Sadducees missed the mark. These people are masters of the Bible. Most Christians today are also missing the mark because of the same reason. I take your word Maurice, winning is not about argument, it is about people. Spiritual things are truly spiritually discerned. Thanks

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      • [Moderator Note: In replies, please remember that we are discussing the use of inspired writings not styles of music.]

        Context is everything. "A text without context is a pretext," as someone has wisely noted. And this is one of the "texts" that has been widely misused to malign the use of drums, among other things. (Ellen White actually attended concerts that included rousing numbers with drums.)

        In this case, please at least start reading at the beginning of the chapter, which is entitled, "The 'Holy Flesh' Doctrine." The title already tells you a lot. Ellen White was dealing with a fanatical movement that, among other things, was accompanied by wild music with similarly wild behavior. She was not addressing the use of drums, per se, nor shouting or dancing. (More context can be found in the chapter, "Meeting the Holy Flesh Fanaticism" in Ellen G. White: The Early Elmshaven Years, by Arthur White.

        I don't know about you, but I've been to a lot of different Adventist services, including the Youth and Young Adult meetings at our BC camp meetings, which use a band with drums for their music. The music was loud enough for me to hear with my diminished hearing ;), and the words were filled with praise and thanksgiving. I did not see wild dancing or hear shouting. I heard singing, and I saw young people singing and/or kneeling in prayer. Certainly it was nothing like Ellen White's description of what happened at the Indiana camp meetings taken over by fanatical elements. I believe it is very wrong to apply Ellen White's statements to music of the current generation which makes us uncomfortable. That was clearly not her intent.

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  5. The use (and misuse) of Ellen White's writings to win arguments is often counterproductive (I am sure someone with a firm grip on a search engine can find the appropriate EGW quote to support that! ). We need to recognize that many arguments use selective or inappropriate quotes for support. I used to be amazed that apartheid supporters could find so much support in the Bible for their ideas.

    When I was an educator, I found that many students would provide me with quotes and citations merely because they had the right words in them. And often they would quote something without understanding what they were quoting.

    In the church context winning should not be about the argument, but about people. I can think of a number of church issues that are being debated currently; fueled by quote and counter-quote from both the Bible and Spirit of Prophecy. Such arguments tend to be fierce and ultimately result in people leaving the church and in some cases Christianity.

    And I know a couple of middle-aged drummers who are still in the church and remain strong in faith because church folk have accepted them just as they were when they were teenagers: creative worshipers of God.

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  6. The uncomfortable truth (following from Mr. Ashton) is that having a "high view" of the Bible does not guarantee right behaviour.
    In fact, historically, some of the worst behaviour by Christians (in name) has been carried out by people who are the most traditional in their view of inspiration.

    My own belief is that we need to first practice valuing people as the Saviour did--regardless of what they believe and do; or how they see things. That is very difficult to do for many reasons.

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