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Scriptures and Theology
By Dr. Samuel Galloza
Accepting the truth of the Bible must be the first thing we accept in any study of Christian doctrines. If we find it to be a factual and effectual guide then it will be simpler for us to accept the doctrines that it establishes. Although we may not be able to fully understand some things, it will suffice in removing doubt.
If we are to limit our acceptance of the Bible as the inspired Word of God, we will also limit what Christianity is, and what we represent it to be. In light of today’s teachings, we must be careful not to just rely upon the commentary of various philosophers but compare it in light of what Scriptures say about the topic. We must understand the a step outside of what Scriptures establishes, whether it may sound logical in light of philosophical explanations, can bring confusion into Christian circles because it is outside of the Christian norm established by the Word.
Unless we present and accept the Scriptures as the ultimate authority, we will severely limit the effectiveness of a living Word working in the lives of men and women.
In the Westminster Confession of Faith, originally written in 1647, it indicates that, “the Bible, speaking with the authority of its author, merits our belief and obedience. Biblical authority for faith and life does not depend on human testimony nor on the witness of Christian institutions, but exclusively on God whose nature defines truth. We receive Holy Scripture because it is the Word of God.” In the Form of Concord it reads: “We believe, confess, and teach that the only rule and norm, according to which all dogmas and all doctors ought to be esteemed and judged, is no other whatever than the prophetic and apostolic writings of the Old and New Testament.” The Second Helvetic Confession reads: “We believe and confess, that the canonical Scriptures of the holy prophets and apostles of each Testament are the true Word of God, and that they possess sufficient authority from themselves alone and not from man.” These positions were held by Luther and Calvin, and were written into these creeds written in the post-Reformation period.
John Wesley, on his sermon, On Corrupting the Word of God, addressed the failure of some who preach the Word, using the reasoning “mixing it either with heresies of others or the fancies of his own brain,” and “by mixing it with false interpretations,” or lastly, by either adding to it or taking away from it.
The concept of presenting a complete and pure Christian teachings, begin with adhering to the limitations set forth by the Word of God. Our focus is not on being correct for our sakes, but aligning ourselves with the writings found in His Holy Word.
Doctrines presented either in a preaching or teaching, must align and balance out with the record of Scripture, any other indication will be here say, and would be declared a philosophy based on human reasoning and not a doctrine of the Word.
It is then possible for a philosophy to align itself with a doctrine, but a philosophy that represents a theory of a conclusion reached outside the norms of the Word, represents only a theory and not a doctrine of God.
Our responsibility then as Christians is to weigh out all theories and philosophies in light of Scripture before announcing it a doctrine. Our system of beliefs then should reflect a system of doctrines and not just philosophies, for our beliefs, preaching, and theology must reflect His Word, and only His Word…
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