Monday, July 31, 2006

Sola Scriptura: The authority of Scripture

Following on with the previous posts on Sola Scriptura, and having established the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture, I would like to continue on with the authority of Scripture.

The doctrine of the authority of Scripture states that Scripture has authority in the lives of believers and whatever it says are to be heeded and obeyed. Taken together with the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture, Scripture is said to be the supreme authority in our lives. Now, given merely the doctrine of the necessity of Scripture and the sufficiency of Scripture, the only thing we can say is that the only way to know more about Christianity; to know more about Christ, is through the Scriptures, either primarily or secondarily. However, they do not in and of themselves furnish any reason for anyone, not even Christians, to follow what it says and obey its injunctions and commands. Hence, the doctrine of the authority of Scripture is thus important for us, as it is the catalyst which is needed for the translation of sound doctrine (facts) in Scripture into practical obedience (oughts - impetus) in godliness towards God. Therefore, anytime a Bible verse is applied by a person into his/her life, that person has de facto practice the doctrine of the authority of Scripture, or at least that part of Scripture which he/she has applied.

I would now set to prove the authority of Scripture. Given the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture, I would use the Bible to prove the authority of Scripture. Later on, I would then look at the extent of the authority of Scripture, as subsumed in the extent of the inspiration of Scripture.

The proof text for the authority of Scripture will be the same one used in proving the necessity and sufficiency of Scripture — 2 Tim. 3:16-17

All Scripture is breathed out (Gr. θεοπνευστος, transliterated: theopneustos) by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 —ESV)

For the purpose of proving the authority of Scripture, I would like to concentrate on the front part of this short passage. Whereas the middle part mainly helps in proving the necessity of Scripture, and the latter part in verse 17 mainly helps in proving the sufficiency of Scripture, the fron part of this passage speaks about the authority of Scripture. It states that "All Scripture is breathed out by God" and because of that, it THUS is profitable for all these godly works. This could be seen as all these activities (teaching, reproving, correcting, training) must of necessity presuppose the authority of Scripture to begin with. Only when a person or rule have authority over another can teaching be done by the one in authority to the one under authority. This is the same for reproving, for correcting and for training, all of which require a person to submit to another person or a rule so as to progress further. Therefore, for Scripture to be used to do such activities must of necessity presuppose the authority of Scripture over the one who is being taught, being reproved, being corrected or being trained.

"All Scripture is breathed out by God ...". The term 'breathed out (by God)' in the Greek is θεοπνευστος (transliterated theopneustos) which literally means God-breathed (theo = God & pneusto = breath) and is translated as such in the NIV. In the NASB and KJV, it is translated as "inspired by God" and "inspiration of God" respectively, from which we get the term the inspiration of Scripture. So, what does it mean for Scripture to be God-breathed or breathed out by God?

The Greek term theopneustos occur only once in the Greek New Testament text where it is used to describe all Scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16, and nothing else. First of all, this is a strong internal consistency validation (not proof) for the sufficiency of Scripture, as assuming the sufficiency of Scripture would give rise to the fact that only Scripture is described as God-breathed and nothing else (neither traditions nor emotions nor revelations obtained through prophecies) is described as such, thus validating the sufficiency of Scripture. This one-time usage of the word theopneustos as descriptive of Scripture also elevates the status of Scripture. Since theopneustos is literally translated as God-breathed, this shows firstly that Scripture has its origin in God and not man. Secondly, as breathed out by God, it reflects and shows the attributes of God. It is this property of Scripture which give Scripture its authority, for it has God's authority due to its nature as being breathed out by God. Since God is God Almighty, the Creator of the world (Gen. 1-2; Rom 1:20; Col. 1:16) and upholder of the universe (Col. 1:17b), He has ownership and thus authority over every single creature that has ever existed and will exist, including even us. Since that is the case, Scripture has authority over believers. In fact, since God creates all and owns all, Scripture has authority over all mankind, whether they believe in Him or not.

In the next post, I would continue on to look at the extent of that authority, as subsumed in the extent of the inspiration of Scripture.

[To be continued]

A glance at the Cessationist/ Continualist Issue

Well, it seems that Dan J. Phillips has started a nice 'war' with Adrain Warnock over the Cessationalist/ Continualist debate (whether the sign gifts are for today or not) at the Pyromanaics blog. OK, not exactly. The current debate is still skimming the surface in a sense, as they don't seek to prove or disprove either theory, but only certain aspects of Continualism. Anyway, I think that the 'war' is too good to pass by in silence. Here are links to the blog posts:

Red herring: Tongue of Angels by Dan J. Phillips
Sufficient and Efficient Grace - Spurgeon, Tongues and the Toronto Blessing (Response by Adrain Warnock)

Tongues across the water: response to Adrain:
(part 1)
(part 2)
(part 3)

and part 4 yet to come.

Oh, and just FYI, I am not supporting either theory at the moment. For those who want to know, I am tentatively a partial cessationist, no thanks to the many stupid, ridiculous, unbiblical and sometimes even heretical things Charismatics have been doing since they splintered off from mainline Evangelicalism quite a long time ago.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Well....

Well, I have said previously during my mission trip to Japan that one of the reason why I did not join the other Christian brothers and sisters in coorperate prayer on the 4th June 2006 is because it was construed by many of them to be a de facto extension of the compromising Global Day of Prayer (GDOP) event, since they could not be in Singapore when it happened. Guess it should come as no surprise that when I received the CDs containing the photos for the mission trip, the folder under which the photos for that event was named ... ... (no prizes for the correct answer) ... ... "4June2006 GDOP @ X's house" where X is the name of the kind soul who opened us his home and was very hospitable to us. Thank you Lord for giving me the wisdom in handling the situation then, so that I would not compromise on Your truth, and destroy my integrity in the process.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Sola Scriptura: The sufficiency of Scripture (part 2)

[Continuing on with the discussion of the sufficiency of Scripture from the previous post here]

...

I would here like to tackle one canard which I have heard some people mentioned before:

Christ is sufficient, but the Scriptures are not. Christ (or Christianity) is bigger than the Scriptures. You can't contain Christ inside a book.

I would like to at least assume that people who make these assertions do at least think that Christianity is about Christ (If not, why call it 'Christianity' in the first place?) I would also like to assume that these people at least hold to the necessity of Scripture, though I would acknowledge that they think that Scripture is just one of many sources and that "you can't put God into a box (in this case a book)". With this, I would like to tackle this canard and then furnish a few more proofs for the sufficiency of Scripture.

First of all, I have shown (in the previous post) that if a person holds to the necessity of Scripture, then it logically follows that the person must therefore hold that the Scriptures are sufficient. The only exception to this rule, which I will discuss later, is that if you hold the Scriptures not to be inerrant; they are errors in the Bible. There are problems with that view also, but I disgress. Anyway, it still stands that anyone who believes in an inerrant Bible and regards Scripture as necessary must logically hold to the sufficiency of Scripture.

Secondly, such a false dichotomy between Christ and/or Christianity and the Bible is totally illogical and contradicts Scripture itself. The reason why this is so is because epistemologically, how does one know who Christ is except through the Scriptures? Having proven the necessity of Scripture, definitely at least one of the sources of information about Christ must be the Scripture themselves, with Christ Himself saying that the Scriptures testify about Him (Jn. 5:39). Furthermore, how does one know whether the "Christ" who is suposedly speaking in other works is the true Christ or one of the many false antichrists? The Scriptures warn us about the many antichrists who have come and are coming into this world (1 Jn. 2:18, 2 Jn. 1:7). In the Olivet discourse, Jesus warned about many who would come in the last days and claim to be the Christ and lead many astray (Mt. 24:4-5, 23). Furthermore, these false christ and false prophets will perform great signs and wonders so as to lead people astray. (Mt. 24:24-26). Therefore, how can one discern between the true Christ and the false christs? Miracles, signs and wonders mean nothing at all, since the false christs can do these things as well. The only way to do so is by going to the Scriptures, whereby since Scripture is necessary, it is the only source which is not itself questionable, if you accept the authority of Scripture, that is.

Now, some people may say that they can accept the fact that Jesus revealed Himself in the Scriptures, and that only through the Scriptures can you discern between the true Christ and the false one. However, they maintain that Christ is still not confined within a book, as Christ is infinite whereas the Bible is finite. To that statement per se, I can agree. However, the question is not whether Christ is confined to a book, but what the Scriptures say about what is revealed in it. To this, let us consider Deut. 29:29, where it is written:

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the works of this law. (Deut. 29:29 -ESV)

From this verse, we can see that God has told us in His Word that the things revealed belong to us that we may do the works He has told us to do (which in the OT means obeying the laws given by God). The purposes of the revealed things as stated in Scripture is to make us profitable for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16-17). More importantly for this situation, Deut 29:29 says that the secret things belong to the LORD. So, even though Christ is not limited to a book as He is infinite, what is not known about Christ — being not revealed in Scripture, are the secret things of God which belong to Him and Him alone and which we DO NOT NEED TO KNOW. Their absence would not in any sense make us deficient in whatever way here on earth, be it in doctrine or in applied doctrine in good works, since God has promised us that what is revealed is sufficient. Therefore, the above canard is totally useless against the case for the sufficiency of Scripture.

To further prove the sufficiency of Scripture, let us look at Col. 2:3. In this verse, Paul wrote that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in Christ. Since Christ is revealed to us in Scripture (Jn. 1:14; Jn 5:39), all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Scripture also. Not some, but all. Therefore, Scripture is sufficient for us.

In conclusion of this section, I would like to quote Ps. 19:7-11 where it tells us about the perfection of Scripture and extolls its benefits in the lives of the saints:

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb. Moreover, by them is your servant warned; in keeping them there is great reward. (Ps. 19:7-11 -ESV)

Amen.


In the next blog post of this series, I would go into the authority of Scripture.

Article: An Attempt to Argue Against Faith as a Gift

Here is a good article where John Hendryx replied to a visitor to the Reformation Theology blog where he exposes the flaws and unbiblical theology in the visitor's (semi?)-Pelagian system, in defense of the Calvinist system of salvation by grace alone (Sola Gratia).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sola Scriptura: The sufficiency of Scripture

Carrying on with my two previous posts on the subject of Sola Scriptura, I would like to carry on with the next part; the sufficiency of Scripture.

The doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture basically states that all that we need to know to live our lives as Christians can be found in the Scriptures and in them only. Thus, all other materials, tools or other stuff that are present are at best secondary sources of authority, to be used inasmuch as they agree with the primary authority of Scripture. This is what I would set off to prove in this section. After proving the necessity of Scripture in the last section, I will use Scripture to prove the sufficiency of Scripture. This is valid because since Scripture is necesary for Christians and for correct Christian teachings and doctrines, we would need to consult Scripture itself on this particular topic also. References to other sources are not needed since, if Scripture itself does teach that Scripture is sufficient, then all other sources will either agree with Scripture, or disagree with it. If it agrees with Scripture that Scripture itself is sufficient, then the extra proof is superfluous. Consequently, if it does not agree with Scripture and thus contradict Scripture, since Scripture is necessary and thus it must be accepted, Scripture's verdict on its own sufficiency will stand while the others will fall. Of course, if the sources do not speak at all on the subject at hand, it is totally useless with regards to this topic.

I would like to tackle this topic first using the same passage that was used to prove the necessity of Scripture — 2 Tim. 3:16-17.

All Scripture is breathed out (Gr. θεοπνευστος, transliterated: theopneustos) by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 —ESV)

From this passage, I have shown previously how it mentions that Scripture is to be used for the building up of believers in righteousness. I would like to focus now on the later part of the passage in verse 17, where it is stated that "... the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work". From this part, we can see that Scripture is meant to equip us Christians for EVERY good work, not just some, but EVERY single one of them. Furthermore, we are to be made competent to do these good works. In the NIV, it is stated that the man of God may be "thoroughly equipped" and the NASB translates the word as adequate. The word translated 'competent' here is αρτιος (transliterated: artios) in the Greek, which according to the NAS New Testament Lexicon on crosswalk.com is used only once in the Greek NT and its definitions are:

1) Fitted,

2) complete, perfect (a) having reference apparently to "special aptitude for given uses"

For those who want more concrete proof, I looked up my copy of the Word Study Greek-English New Testament with complete concordance by Paul R. McReynolds, (c) 1998 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. and it was confirmed that this was the case. For those people who love the KJV, this is the case also, with the word artios occuring once there and being translated perfect in the KJV.

Thus, we can see that the passage says that we are perfectly and completely equipped to be able to do every good work by the usage and application of Scripture. Now what is the Scriptural definition of good works?

In Scripture, good works are defined differently according to the context. One has just to search for the phrase 'good work' or 'good works' in the search engines on sites such as BibleGateway which contain the entire Bible to find out. However, we are only interested in the good works that the saints do, which would tell us what Scripture means when it states that we are able to do every good work.

The phrase "good work(s)" as talking about the saints occurs a few times in the Bible. They are found in Mat. 5:16; 2 Cor. 9:8; Eph. 2:10; Col. 1:10; 2 Thess. 2:17; 1 Tim. 2:10; 1 Tim. 5:10; 1 Tim. 5:25; 6:18; 2 Tim. 2:21; Titus 1:16; Titus 2:7; Titus 2:14; Titus 3:1,8,14 and Heb. 10:24. In order to know what "good works" of the saints are, let us look to these verses.

In Mat. 5:16, the idea of good works that the saints do are linked to the idea of being the light of the world. Therefore, we can that these good works are the works which we do which witness to people and bring glory to God. In 1 Tim 2:10, Paul tells Timothy to tell women to adorn themselves with good works which is proper for those who profess godliness. Thus, this verse in its context tell us that good works and godliness go hand in hand. In 1 Tim. 5:10, we can see some examples of good works which women ought to do, which are bringing up children, showing hospitality and care towards the saints and the afflicted. Verse 25 says that good works are plain for all to see and cannont remain hidden. In 1 Tim. 6:18, Paul admonish the rich to do good works in being generous and ready to share. We can see further in Titus 1:16 that people who teach false doctrines, in this context the insubordinate people of the circumcision party aka the Judaizers (Titus 1:10), who are not sound in the faith (v. 13), are not fit for any good work, and in fact their false teaching and unsound faith are their wicked works which show their denial of Christ (v. 16). Therefore, it can be seen that only people with sound doctrine and faith could do good works in accordance with God's will for the saints.

In Titus 2:7, the context tells us that good works consists in godly behavior, and verse 14 tell us that believers will be zealous in doing good works. Similarly Titus 3:1 and verse 14, together with Heb. 10:24, exhort believers to do good works. Titus 3:8 on the other hand show that correct doctrine especially in salvation (Titus 3:4-7) would make people careful in doing good works.

From these verses so far, we can see that good works in the biblical sense (as opposed to the secular sense) for the saints is intricately linked with godliness and caused by embracing of correct doctrine, and that only people with sound doctrine and faith can do such good works. Also, these good works would make us witnesses for Christ as lights in the world. Examples of such good works can be seen in the passages quoted, and all of them bring glory to God. Therefore, given this definition of good work(s), let us apply that to 2 Tim. 3:16-17 and also to the remaining verses where the term good work(s) appear — 2 Cor. 9:8; Eph. 2:10; Col. 1:10 and 2 Thess. 2:17.

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work (2 Cor. 9:8 -ESV)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (Eph. 2:10 -ESV)

so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Col. 1:10 -ESV)

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word (2 Thess. 2:16-17 -ESV)

Applying this definition to 2 Tim. 3:16-17 give us the idea that all Scripture is sufficient, adequate, complete and perfect to help Christians do every good work. Since good works are caused by embracing of correct doctrine, for Scripture to be able to be adequate and complete to help Christians to do every good work, Scripture must contain ALL the doctrines needed for Christians to believe in, nothing more, nothing less. Since good works is intricately tied to godliness, Scripture is all the Christian will ever need to grow in Christ-likeness and maturity in Him. Since good works are tied to being witnessed for Christ as the light of the world, Scripture must therefore be able to equip us completely to be witnesses for Christ in the world. In short, all Christian activity and growth can be completely accomplished through Scripture alone. Thus, as of this moment, the sufficiency of Scripture has been proven already. We will however finish looking through all the other verses.

Applying this to 2 Cor. 9:8, we can see that God's grace is able to to help us abound in every good work. The context is on giving to the Lord, but in the middle of this passage on giving is this amazing verse which tell us that God's grace is sufficient for us to do every good work. Granted, this passage is talking about giving to the Lord, and definitely giving to the Lord is a good work, but the context doesn't negate the fact that God's grace is sufficient for us in doing EVERY good work, especially in giving to the Lord. Knowing from 2 Tim. 3:16-17 that Scripture is sufficient for every good work, putting the two principles together just shows that God's grace works through the use and application of Scripture.

Eph. 2:10 comes on the heel of the great soteriological passage of Eph. 2:8-9, where the great truths of Sola Fide and (slightly) of Sola Gratia are found. We are reminded that it is by grace we are saved, through faith, and the whole salvific enterprise is not from ourselves or our works, lest anybody should boast. Eph. 2:10 ends off this passage by stating that we are saved to do good works which God has foreordained that we Christians should walk in them. Thus, this again shows that biblical good works can only be done by the saints after they are saved by God's grace through faith.

As a side note, the reason why biblical good works can never be done by non-Christians is that non-Christians DO NOT seek to grow in godliness, never mind about seeking God (Rom. 3: 10-12)

In Col. 1:10, we can see that good works are considered good fruits, and they are pleasing to God. This brings to mind the parallel passage of Mt. 7:17-20, and this just goes to confirm that non-Christians cannnot do good works, and the presence of biblical good works confirm the salvation status of a professing Christian. As for the final passage of 2 Thess. 2:16-17, we can see that this passage shows that it is Christ Himself who enables us to do good works. Therefore, even good works are by grace alone, and we are empowered to do them by God's grace in Christ through the usage and application of Scripture, which as we shall see in the section of the perspicuity of Scripture is done through the power of the Holy Spirit.

In the next installment, I would like to go on further to discuss other confirmatory passage with regards to the sufficiency of Scripture and a few objections, and thus create a totally irrefutable case for the sufficiency of Scripture (even though now in my opinion it is already watertight).

[to be continued]

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

News: Occupation schmoccupation...

This is not a political site, but would just like to recommand an article to combat the anti-Semitism which is prevalent in today's mainstream media and culture, and in the fools in their academic ivory towers, who are being deceived by the Islamicists. Here is an article which goes briefly into WHY those "Palestinians" bomb and kill innocent Israelis (OK, relatively innocent, according to human standards).

HINT: It has nothing to do with so-called "Palestinian nationalism" (which doesn't exist), nor Israeli injustice, nor due to the rich-poor divide, or whatever stupid reasons the liberals can come up with.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Adding to the Da Vinci nonsense...

Well, here's a pretty ridiculous story. According to the Independent, somebody is trying to milk off the Da Vinci Code hype to get more money, it would seem. Ms. Kathleen McGowan, an American, claims direct descent from Jesus and Mary Magdeline and is selling her 'autobiographical novel' where such a claim is outlined in the afterword. Well, unless she repents of such rebellion, she will face the wrath of Christ at the final judgment.

[HT: Aomin.org]

Friday, July 21, 2006

Excerpt: To Love Christ is to Love Doctrinal Truth

Here is an article containing a very fine video clip which you may want to check out. A good excerpt:

There are many modern professing Christians who would be very quick to declare their love for Christ and his Word, yet would also be just as quick to reject any fervent defense of doctrinal truth. They would SAY they love the Word, because they read it everyday, yet they see no need or urgency to passionately defend the truth that the Word of God contains. The problem with that is, if you truly love the scriptures, if you truly realize that they bear Christ's image upon them, you will also love the word of doctrine and the truth found in those very same scriptures.

Doctrinal truth bears the image of Christ; it's not something that's open to personal interpretation. It is Christ's truth and wisdom, and we must conform to it, not vice versa. ... Scripture is supposed to judge our hearts, and not the other way around. Yet, there are many Christians today who profess loudly their love to Christ, but who don't feel all that compelled to defend doctrinal truth. ... Doctrinal truth is minimized in such cases as "non-essential" to vital Christianity, and very often the reason that is given is "unity amongst the brethren". ... But the heart that burns with true love to Christ will burn with true love for accurate doctrine

... to the point where in defending doctrinal truths, Martin Luther was willing to put his very life on the line. ... Luther defended biblical truths ... with a bold, tenacious conviction that is representative of any man who passionately loves Jesus Christ.

You say you love Jesus, but do you love the Scriptures, which bear His image? Do you love the Word of doctrine in the Scriptures, because It shines forth Christ's truth? ...

Many professing Christians love certain parts of Scripture ... But for many same those professing Christians, when it comes to passages such as these - well they are not so excited about the Word of God.

If your hand causes you to sin, cut if off. (Mk. 9:43a)

[continues on with verses 44-48]

[Rev. 20:11-15]

[Rom. 9: 10-23]

... Since God's people love Christ, they also love His Word — ALL OF IT, because all of the Word of God bears His image. So, if you want to get some accurate sense of your genuineness of your love for Christ, ask yourself, how much do you love God's Word? Does it [the Word of God] dwells richly and deeply within my heart? ...

... two examples of the appointed means [to attain a true love for Jesus Christ]:

(a) Be diligent in hearing the Word preached and in reading your Bible. ...

(b) Be diligent and frequent in prayer to God, asking Him for this fiath and love ... realized that you deserve double damnation because you do not love One so great and glorious as Christ, yet, whiel still acknowledging that you nonetheless realize that you cannot manufacture this love in your own heart. You can more easily lift a mountain to heaven as lift up your hearts to Christ. ...

Christian, do you suffer from a lack of passion for Christ? Is it because you do not treasure God and His Word? Is the reason why you run from one spiritual retreat; from one 'high' to another, is because of the fact that you are trying to create your own pitiful counterfeit passion for our Lord, not asking in faith for what is ours in Christ? Is it because you do not take heed to His Word, and instead create an idol of what you want the Scriptures to say instead of what it really says? Oh Lord, have mercy upon us and grant us through Your grace the love and passion for You and for Your Word as stated in the Bible. Remove our anti-intellectualism and help us to stand forth on the doctrines in Your Word.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Gen12ii Tokyo trip personal report

OK, sorry about the late notification, but here is the softcopy of my GEN12ii mission trip to Tokyo (24th May — 16th June) personal report. I had finished this personal report quite a while back but was waiting for the team report to be ready. However, there seems to be some problems in the editing process so there hasn't been news of it for a rather long time. I think I should stop waiting for it to be released and thus have released my brief, concise personal report of that mission trip. Those who want details need to wait for the team report which could be released after a very long time. And I don't think I would be uploading that. So if anyone other than my supporters (who will receive one copy when it is done) want to read it, please email me.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sola Scriptura: The necessity of Scripture

Carrying on from the previous post in this series, I would like to expound on the necessity of Scripture here.

All Scripture is breathed out (Gr. θεοπνευστος, transliterated: theopneustos) by God and is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17 —ESV)

As stated before, what is meant by the necessity of Scripture is that Scripture is necessary for people to be saved (conversion) and for Christians to grow in Christ and in their knowledge of Him, and to live their lives, without which they could not do so. I would like to prove this concept biblically and philosophically. Biblically, the primary prooftext for this concept is that of 2 Tim. 3:16-17 as cited above.

In 2 Tim. 3:16-17, we can see the necessity of Scripture as relating to growth in Christ as it states that "ALL Scripture ... is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped for every good work." Therefore, Scripture is profitable, that is to say Scripture would greatly benefit and help the person in 'teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in rightouesness'. These four acts state how Scripture is to be used and utilized, with the ultimate aim that we would be trained in righteousness and that we would be equipped to be able to do and to do every good work. Thus, the aim of Scripture is to help us grow in righteousness, and thus more and more Christ-like, with the effect that we would be able to do the good works which God has prepared for us to do (Eph. 2:10). Since that is the express purpose of Scripture, Scripture is necessary for growing in Christ. The necessity of Scripture in conversion can be seen in Rom. 10:13-14, where the the preaching of the Good News of the Gospel to that person is necessary for him/her to come to Christ.

An objection may be raised to the effect that though the purpose of Scripture is help believers to grow in Christ, there may be other methods which are just as effective. Firstly, however, there are no other methods that are mentioned in Scripture, with the exception of 'traditions' which will be discussed in the section on the sufficiency of Scripture. This is because the Roman Catholic, and also Orthodox (Greek, Russian, Eastern etc.), view is that both Tradition and Scripture are necessary, thus they do not formally deny the necessity of Scripture. Secondly, and more importantly, Jesus said that He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him. (Jn. 14:6). Since He is the only Way, to grow in Christ one needs to follow Him, and that includes what is mentioned in Scripture. Thus, any other method, if there be any, must take the Scriptures into account, and thus Scripture is necessary.

Logically, in order to prove the necessity of Scripture, I would need to show a couple of things. I would need to show that Scripture is needed to cause all these good things, which I shall collectively name godly works. Similarly, I would need to prove that the little or no use and application of Scripture is accompanied with the absence of these godly works. Logically, this is what I would need to prove:

Only if p, then q (p is necessary for q; p is a sufficient condition for q)

where p = Scripture is used and applied properly
q = godly works are done

Thus,
Only if p, then q = Only if not q, then not p

qp = ~p ⊃ ~q (Logical form)

The relation that the lack of usage and application of Scripture is the cause of the lack of godly works (~p ⊃ ~q) can be proven in the fact that in places where the Gospel is not heard and thus there is totally no usage and application of Scripture, no one is a Christian and therefore nobody can even begin to grow in Christ, and there are no exceptions. Similarly, there are no cases of new believers growing without reading the Word. Thus, the relation is proven and Scripture is necessary.

A very strong argument for the necessity of Scripture is through epistemology. How does one recognize what a godly life is except through the description from Scripture? How does one know one is a Christian unless they test themselves by the Scripture? The mere tagging of someone as a Christian, as in the case in people whose parents are Christians, does not make oneself a follower of Christ and thus can be legitimately called a Christian. Christ said that unless one is born again (regenerated), one cannot enter the Kingdom of God (Jn. 3:3). Even more problematic for nominalism is the teaching of Christ in the Sermon of the Mount where he said that not everyone who calls Him Lord, Lord will enter the kingdom of heaven (i.e. be saved) (Mt. 7:21), thus showing that mere calling of oneself a Christian does not make one a Christian. Therefore, epistemologically, it is proven that Scripture is necessary for all these godly works.

Biblically and philosophically, the doctrine of the necessity of Scripture is proven. So what are the implications of this doctrine?

Firstly, since Scripture is necessary, all Christian activity must be founded on Scripture, and all Christian teaching and doctrines also. Believers are to read the Word of God for spiritual nourishment and pastors are to preach from God's Word to feed the flock. The latter two cannot be emphasized further, for believers to neglect their study of God's Word and for pastors to neglect to preach it is to practically deny the necessity of Scripture. Let us therefore as God's people regularly read and study His Word and to grow in Christ, the head of the Church.

In the next installment I would continue on with the sufficiency of Scripture.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

YEAH! 100th post

YEAH! This is the 100th post on this blog. OK, nothing much is going to be changed, but I have noticed the overall readership of this blog is increasing, and I do hope that the articles and write-ups on this blog so far have been edifying to the Body of Christ, and have challenged some regarding the errors they may be in. Pray that God will continue to streghthen me and help me to continue witnessing for Him, and that in everything I do, may Christ have the preeminance, and that His name be glorified. Now to Him who is above all names, the Alpha and the Omega, the Lion and the Lamb, be all honor, all glory, all power, and all praises forever and ever, worlds without end, Amen.

Rick Warren: The new Charles Finney?

With the announcement of a trip to the oppressive, Stalinist failed state that is North Korea this year and the next, Rick Warren has mentioned that he thinks that there WILL be a third revival in the Korean Peninsula. Seems that Rick can engineer a revival whenever he feels like it, just like the Pelagian heretic Charles Grandison Finney. Here is an article by Rev. Ken Silva to that effect.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Purpose Driven Blasphemy

Guess that there is no end in sight in the Purpose Driven Madness. A rap show has been produced by Minus media for the 2006 Purpose Driven worship conference which is nothing short of total blasphemy! You can watch the vidoe yourself here and read Slice of Laodicea's post here and Ingrid Schlueter's column on the subject here. The lyrics and the way the rap was done show a total mockery of God and His Word. Slice it whatever way you want, but, considering the lyrics and the rap in total, can anyone honestly tell me that this rap is not blasphemous and is genuinely worship?

Oh yah.... notice that the man said in the rap that 'My boss... his name is Rick Warren'. Guess that sums up the entire rap. Following Rick Warren, not God.

Addenum: Here is the page on Rick Warren's website where the video is promoted.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rodney Howard-Brown and the laughing...

Here is a video of Rodney Howard-Brown from CNN showing his laughing "revival" antics. One wonders when the Lord will come and remove the reproach incurred by this heretic, by either removing him or bringing him to repentance. Oh, by the way, like a significant number of Word-faith comedians, he mentioned in the video that the reason why someone, in this case his 18-year old daughter Kelly, died (of cystic fibrosis in 2002) is that Satan killed her, so he's taking revenge by making people laugh so that they will be "touched and set free". Guess the devil is laughing at this self-styled servant of God deceiving more and more people into hell.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Sola Scriptura: Introduction

I would like to start off a series of posts regarding Sola Scriptura, as an evantual platform for my critique of the so-called 'Emerging Church Movement' and in the short-term as a platform against the heresies of Bruce, a modern New-Age Gnostic.

I would like to start by first defining Sola Scriptura, and then give some preliminary comments on each of the points in it.

Sola Scriptura, or Scripture alone, is one of the Reformation slogans; one of the five solas that comprise Sola Fide (Faith alone), Sola Gratia (Grace alone), Solus Christus (Christ alone), and Soli Deo Gloria (For God's glory alone). These 5 solas defined the 16th century Protestant Reformation over and against the apostate Romanist Church, and thus any person who call him/herself a Protestant/Evangelical can only do so legitimately if he/she subscribes to the 5 solas of the Reformation. Those who do not subscribe to these 5 solas may call themselves Protestants or Evangelicals, but they are considered illegitimate children of the Reformation, and thus do not deserve to be properly called such. It is also my contention that these five solas define an important part of the Gospel message and hence the Christian faith, and I would prove this assertion subsequently, thus any denial of any of the 5 solas in part or the whole constitute a denial of the Christian faith.

Historically, the split with apostate Rome pivoted over the issue of salvation by justification by faith alone, Sola Fide and the hermeneutical principle of Scripture alone, Sola Scriptura. This issue was termed the 'material principle' of the Reformation, while the issue of Sola Scriptura was termed the 'formal principle' of the Reformation[1]. While Rome maintain a synergistic approach of faith plus works righteousness, the Reformers maintained a monergistic conception of salvation, whereby salvation is by grace through faith from beginning to the end. Where Rome adds 'Sacred Tradition' as being authoritative to the Christian, and adding the Apocrypha to the (Roman Catholic) Canon of Scripture in the Council of Trent, the Reformers countered that only Scripture was authoritative for the Christian, and rejected the addition of the Apocryphal to the established Canon of Scripture, while maintaing that the Apocrypha have some value to the Christian[2].

So what is Sola Scriptura? Sola Scriptura means that Holy Scripture is the only sole supreme authority upon which to judge anything and everything. It is different from what is termed Solo Scriptura, or Scripture only, whereby only Scripture has authority in the lives of Christians. While seemingly the same, the two are not identical. Although both appeal to Scripture as authority, Sola Scriptura allows for secondary sources of authority like the Church and her traditions whereas Solo Scriptura does not. Thus, Sola Scriptura does not allow for the 'me with the Bible in the woods' syndrome prevalent in postmodern and anti-intellectual Christianity, whereby the traditions of the Church (which comprises theological works and hymns by ancient and modern writers, and ancicent creeds and confessions of the Church) are discarded and seen as little use in the lives of Christians. That is Solo Scriptura, a pervasion of the biblical understanding of Sola Scriptura.

The refutation of Solo Scriptura in the proof of the importance of traditions can be seen in the Scripture whereby we are told that God has promised to substain His Church and the gates of hell will not prevail over it (Mt. 16:18). Also, the keys to the Kingdom of heaven are given to the Church (Mt. 16:19; 18:18) as found in the disciples at that time. Since that is the case, biblically, the universal Church in all generatons will always have some aspects of the Truth of Christ and His Gospel in her which are codified in her traditions. Logically also, since God has placed teachers over us in the Church (1 Cor. 12:28, Eph. 4:11-12), which include elders or overseers (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:9) and pastors (1 Tim. 4:11; 13; 6:2ff; 2 Tim. 4:2; 2 Tim. 2:1), to the end that we might be build up in the faith (Eph. 4:11-12; Col. 3:16), we ought to listen to these teachers. And what are traditions, but records of teachings and practices of those who have gone before us? Unless you draw an arbitrary distinction between the saints before and the saints presently, why should we listen to those who are alive but not those who have gone before us, as though those who were teachers who have gone before us were not teachers at all and are not part of the universal Church of all generations? Since that is the case, we ought to place traditions on par with the teachings we receive daily from the pulpit and from our leaders; that is, they ought as much as possible to be read and to be respected (not necessarily followed, as we shall see later).

And just for the record, Protestant churches DO have traditions. This could be seen in the context of traditional, conservative Evangelical churches whereby certain hymns are sung, certain lithugies are kept and certain creeds are adhered to, or in the opposite context of fringe experiential 'third-wave' Charismatics who have altar calls and read books written by their 'apostles' like C. Peter Wagner.

Now, after establishing the importance of traditions, I would like to caution against the other extreme which was and is still maintained by Rome and her ancient sister the Orthodox Churches, which is the elevation of Tradition to the same authoritative level as Scripture. Sola Scriptura explicitly deny to tradition any authority on par or above Scripture. Thus, when evaluting anything, including any and all traditions, all are to be judged according to the Word of God. If they are found wanting, they are to be rejected, and if they are found to be in accordance with Scripture, they are to be embraced. I would defend this characteristic, the sufficiency of Scripture, later.

Now, I would like to go into greater detail the definition of Sola Scriptura and to prove it and then defend it against its critics.

Sola Scriptura entails the necessity, sufficiency, authority and perspicuity of Scripture. By necessity of Scripture, we mean that Scripture is necessary for people to be saved and for Christians to grow in Christ and in their knowledge of Him and live their lives. By sufficiency of Scripture, we mean that Scripture alone as the supreme authority is enough for us Christians to be saved and to grow and to know anything about God and His dealings with us that we need to know. By authority of Scripture, we mean that anything which is commanded of us in Scripture must be obeyed. And lastly, by perspicuity of Scripture, we mean that the meaning of Scripture is plain to all; it does not need some scholar using sophisicated tools and means to decipher its esoteric text, instead, anyone whether educated or uneducated, rich or poor, as long as they can read or hear the text in a language they can understand, can understand what Scripture is saying. Of course, underlying the latter three is the inerrancy of Scripture, which I shall cover later also.

In the next installment, I would like to carry on writing on the aspect of the necessity of Scripture.

[to be continued]

References:

[1] The 5 Solas of the Reformation (http://www.fivesolas.com/5solas.htm)

[2] Notes to the Belgic Confession: Article 6 by Rev. C. Bouwman (http://www.spindleworks.com/library/bouwman/belgic/ART06.htm)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More on the compromise that is Rick Warren

Well, for more compromise on the part of Rick Warren, read what Rick Warren is up to as reported by the editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal. Seems that Rick Warren gave a talk at the Synagogue 3000 program meeting, which aims to revitalize Jewish worship, without mentioning the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in his entire evening talk! I find Rev. Ken Silva's missive here rather good as he comments on this sad state of affairs. Perhaps it would be good to contrast Rick Warren's speech to the Jews in the Syanagogue 3000 program with how the matyr Stephan preach to the Jewish leaders in his day.

PS: Also, look at this comment:

Warren told Wolfson his interest is in helping all houses of worship, not in converting Jews. He said there are more than enough Christian souls to deal with for starters.

Enough said.

On Newton Life Church and the Neo-evangelical compromise

It seems that our *dear* Rev. Rick Warren, the false teacher who continues deceiving millions through his purpose driven enterprise, is coming (probably has arrived already) to Singapore and is having a 2 days Purpose Driven conference held at Newton Life Church from the 6th - 7th July 2006, organized by "Purpose Driven Ministries Singapore, in partnership with Campus Crusade Asia Ltd-Mass Media & Newton Life Church", according to the website. Well, this marks Newton Life Church as being complicit in Rick Warren's errors and it will be held accountable for giving this false teacher a platform for deceiving God's people. With the introduction of Rick Warren's errors, it wouldn't be long before the Singapore churches go down the drain, and by that I mean the so-called conservative Evangelical churches in Singapore.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Excellent sermon...

Here's an excellent, superb sermon by Paul Washer from the HeartCry Missionary Society, and a missionary from the Southern Baptist Convention.. It seems that he was asked to preach at a youth event of about 5,000 youths, and the sermon that was preached was SO biblical that it SHOCKED all who were present, such that he offended the leadership and was never invited back again. I heard the sermon and it was very, very good, and it drove me to tears over my lack of perseverance in pressing on in disciplining myself towards consistently doing God's will. Here is the sermon. God bless Pst. Paul Washer and may God be pleased to raised up more preachers like him in this generation.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Modification of my Gospel presentation

Ever since my mission trip to Tokyo, Japan, I have been thinking over the way I have presented the glorious Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to the Japanese friends and others which I have came into contact with during my trip there. I have since figured out that there is a deficiency in the way I have been presenting the Gospel so far; since in a society like Japan, there is absolutely NO concept of a Creator God who is transcendent, thus the Japanese can't exactly figured out what I was talking about. Of course, I know that even with the modification, it would still be hard but it's the best I could do, and trusting the Holy Spirit to regenerate them and open their eyes to see the Truth. The modificaton I have made is to first proclaim some of the attributes of God first before the truth about the Creation event, and you can see my modified Gospel presetation here.

Book review of The Church Effeminate

OK, I have put up a short review of the book The Church Effeminate on my website. For those of you who have been following the posting of the short excerpts from the book, you won't miss anything of significance. However, I have put up the titles of the 39 articles and their respective authors in the review, which may help in persuading some people to purchase this very helpful book.