Sola-Scriptura or Experience? How to know the Truth…

First, let me just send you to a very interesting testimony of Valerie’s. She speaks about her encounter ‘with the spiritual’ after desperately seeking after God. Something happened to Valerie, and although she had an extremely spiritual experience, she soon discovered that it didn’t line up with the Word of God…

[…]It was 4-6 months before the Word of God brought correction and rebuke and I repented for this act of rebellion. I experienced a bright light that I thought was the glory of God, but was clearly a fallen angel of light. It was so powerful and beautiful that I still have to remind myself that this was demonic. This is how Satan is going to get the whole world to believe the lie that we are already divine and that our divinity and power comes from within. Without the truth of God’s word, man will have no power to resist Satan’s deception.

[…]I had been deceived into believing that I was going to hear from God by sitting in silence by waiting and listening[…]I was sincerely seeking God, but sincerity apart from the Word of God leads to deception.

[..]It all started by believing that I needed to be quiet to hear God speak to me. I had read a book by Madame Guyon, the Catholic mystic when I was in my early twenties and had a mystical experience that had really frightened me, so I put away the book.

[…]When I had the experience in 2006, I remembered the first experience and pulled back out this book.

[…]The worst fruit of this deception is how I felt special and better than my fellow Christians because I had this experience. How utterly humbling to find out that I was so deceived.

Valerie did the right thing, she searched the scriptures to see if her experience with the angel of light measured up against the Word of God. Her experience fell way short. She did recognise however, that she had an experience that opened the third eye chakra.

She is one of the diligent ones — a berean — those who are not too scared to see if the Word of God speaks of such experiences as coming from Him, or from another source, the angel of light.

In the last days there will be a very strong move to unite all religious systems [political and business] under one system that will contain three parts to make up the whole. The three-legged stool is the unification (and reconcilation) of religion, government (politics) and business (economics). This will be the last kingdom on earth, it is the statue that Nebuchadnezzar dreamt about found in Daniel Chapter 2.

The falling away from Truth is both biblically prophetic and therefore inevitable. The head of such a structure is none other that Satan himself. Satan will sit in the temple of God and exalt himself against the One True God. For this to happen, there has to be some kind of falling away — an apostasy — which means the following…

apostasia
ap-os-tas-ee’-ah
Feminine of the same as G647; defection from truth (properly the state), (“apostasy”): – falling away, forsake.

2Th 2:3-4  Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

He shall be one that comes in times of security, which means…From Strongs, H7951; security (genuine or false): – abundance, peace (-ably), prosperity, quietness. And he will use flattery to set himself up…

Dan 11:21  And in his place shall stand up a contemptible person, to whom they had not given the honor of the kingdom: but he shall come in time of security, and shall obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Satan will masquerade as an angel of light, to seduce and beguile just as the he did in the garden of Eden. He is a serpent, which in Hebrew has its roots in the word  nâchash naw-khash’ … to hiss, that is, whisper a (magic) spell; generally to prognosticate: –  X certainly, divine, enchanter, (use) X enchantment, learn by experience.

Interesting to note that serpent means to learn by experience! Valerie’s experience was very real to her, because it actually was real. But once she compared that experience with scripture she realised that this angel was there to deceive her.

2Co 11:13-15  Such people are false apostles, dishonest workers who are masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, since Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. So it is not surprising if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their doom will match their deeds!

Their doom is written about in Daniel 2:45.

Today, more than ever before, there are those who are false prophets who may say that they are Christ followers, yet they are pointing people toward a subjective experience and they don’t give much weight, if any, to sola-Scriptura. [a post will be forthcoming with links to show that sola-Scriptura is being challenged and called ‘reactionary’ by many leaders within christian cirles… here’s a taste.]

This inevitably leads to a religious unification of sorts. It also suggests that …in essence, the problem is that a closed starting point [sola-Scriptura or scripture-alone] will result in a limited system. By declaring any source of truth with the proviso “alone,” we automatically exclude whatever else might reveal it.

See the bottom link of this post for a better understanding of this happening. If there is direct contradiction between scripture, church, reason and experience we should always go to the Holy Writ to measure it up and use scripture as our standard of Truth. […]there come times in our lives, and in the lives of our churches, where these various ‘authorities’ can be at odds with one another—or can even contradict each other. When this happens, we need to make a decision about which authority we listen to first and foremost. This is what we mean by the phrase sola Scriptura. Sola Scriptura means that when different authorities contradict what the Bible says clearly on matters of faith and Christian conduct, we will go with the Bible as our authority rather than those other authorities.

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What is sola-Scriptura?

Firstly, it is NOT the word of man, Paul said that as Christians we are to receive the word of God and recognise that it is NOT the word of man, he makes a distinction between the two…

1Th 2:13  And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.

So what is it?

Scripture is given by inspiration from God Himself…

2Ti 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness

Scripture is the objective standard…

[please note that the following quotes are taken from an article called : Is Sola Scriptura a Protestant Concoction? A Biblical Defense of Sola Scriptura by Dr. Greg Bahnsen. Dr Greg Bahnsen does an amazing job in debunking the popular myth that sola-Scriptura is a Protestant doctrine which is not backed up biblically!]

The Word of God, which was originally delivered orally, needed to be reduced to writing in order for the rest of God’s people to know about it and for it to function as an objective standard for faith and obedience. Where God had spoken by personal address orally, if that was going to be a standard for the Church at large (for all of God’s people), that oral instruction (as authoritative as it was in itself) needed to be reduced to writing so that it would be an objective standard that governed all of God’s people… An objective standard to test the prophets who proclaimed these words… An objective standard to test later claims to revelation… To have a standard by which to compare what other alleged prophets would say… An objective standard for the establishment of a corporate body as the church and by which it could be defined in all generations… An objective standard for the better preserving and propagating of that truth… An objective standard to guard against corruption and the malice of Satan and the world who would love to foul-up the lines of communication if we’re just going to depend upon oral instruction… An objective standard to communicate assurance of salvation to people against human opinions, and the way in which even their preacher or their priest might communicate God’s Word to them. [source]

Why it is necessary…

I’m not embarrassed by that doctrine. I believe it is absolutely necessary to the health of the Church, and I am convinced (as Luther was convinced) that if we give up sola Scriptura, we will inevitably give up sola Gratia as well. Because the giving up of the Protestant authority (the principle of sola Scriptura) simply opens the door for other ways of pleasing God to enter in that are not based upon His own revelation. And it’s a very short step from thinking that I can follow a religious tradition that cannot be verified objectively by the Word of God to the idea that I can please God by something that He has not provided. It is a very short step from the denial of sola Scriptura to the denial of sola Gratia when it comes to salvation. [source]

How far does sola-Scriptura go back?

In the Old Testament, the word of false prophets was exposed by the previously inscribed Law. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 says if any prophet comes and teaches contrary to what’s been revealed before that that prophet is to be executed. That prophet presumes to speak for himself and he says something contrary to what is already written down in the Law. In Isaiah 8:20 we read, “To the Law and to the Testimony!” That didn’t mean to the oral testimony; it meant to the written inscribed testimony of God’s prophets and the Law which was already there in writing.

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Even our Lord Jesus Christ, when not appealing to His own inherent authority, clinched His arguments with His opponents by saying, “It stands written!” or “Have you not read” in the Bible? He said, “Ye search the scriptures, because ye think that in them ye have eternal life; and these are they which bear witness of me.” John 5:39 (ASV) In Jesus’ day, Jesus acknowledges that the appropriate approach to salvation was to search for it in the Scriptures! [source]

The Apostle Paul placed himself under this same standard, the written Word when he said…

1Co 4:6  I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

Isn’t that amazing? Here’s Paul (long before Luther, long before Calvin, long before the controversy in the late 20th century) saying, I want you to learn the meaning of this, “Not to go beyond the things which are written!” That you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, “Do not go beyond what is written!” (That’s the NIV.) The RSV says, “that you may learn by us to live according to Scripture.” [source]

Dr. Greg Bahnsen ends by saying…

Now I think that once you think about this and what the Bible has to say about authority in our doctrinal convictions and our practices — when you think about the abuses that arise, and the confusion that arises from trying to follow oral tradition — when you see that even the Apostles were tested by the written Word of God, I think that I would still like to stand with Martin Luther. I’m not willing to recant or to affirm any doctrine unless it can be shown to be taught on the basis of Scripture and Scripture alone! That’s not a Protestant concoction; that, you see, is just honing very closely to the very teaching of God’s Word itself! We should all learn this principle: “Not to go beyond the things which are written!” [source]

For more good articles on sola-Scriptura.

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2 thoughts on “Sola-Scriptura or Experience? How to know the Truth…

  1. Wow, I think few really are pursuing ‘knowing’ Jesus and so they are ‘bored’ in ‘Christianity’ because of course that’s what it’s all about. So there comes some person with a new ‘revelation’ or slant or vision or something and they follow after it for excitement and for the pride-based feeling of being in some exclusive and elitist group of ‘christians’ to whom God is revealing ‘truths’ – not to mention some of these new revelations make some provision for the lusts of the flesh.

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  2. We should be very wary when it comes to ‘new revelation’, we should always measure it up with the Standard of Truth which is of course God’s Word.

    Vee

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