John Piper: My biographical message at the pastors’ conference this year was on Athanasius who was born in A. D. 298. So I spent a good bit of time studying the doctrinal disputes of the fourth century. The main dispute was over the deity of Christ. Arius (and the Arians) said that the Son of God was a creature and did not always exist. Athanasius defended the eternal deity of the Son and helped win that battle with the wording of the Council of Nicaea: “We believe in . . . the Son of God . . . of the essence of the Father, God of God, and Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father.” One surprising fact that I did not expect to find was that the heretics protested most loudly over the non-scriptural language of the orthodox creed. They pointed out that the phrases, “of one essence
Matt Smethurst: So long as this broken world endures, suffering will remain a painfully relevant subject. It’s not far from any of us. As Christians we know we’re supposed to lean on God, but what kind of God is he? In light of all the heartache and sadness that plague our lives, is he really worth our trust? “One of the biggest mercies of God took place long before my suffering arrived,” recalls Chandler, who was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2009. For a while he had been working to prepare his young congregation for suffering. Little did he know, however, that all along God was preparing him. Contrary to popular belief, Piper observes, awareness of the bigness and majesty and sovereignty of God practically helps when we’re in the throes of perplexity and pain. Though it may sound comforting at first, the idea that “God didn’t have anything to do with this” is actually horrible news, since it means he’s not in control after
By Matt Smethurst: The Bible makes many claims about itself within its text. What does it say? Click here to download a hard copy of this article. There are only two options when it comes to knowledge of a divine creator: revelation or speculation. Either he speaks, or we guess. Christians believe that, thankfully, he has spoken. The God of heaven and earth has “forfeited his own personal privacy” to reveal himself to us—to befriend us—through a book.1Scripture is like an all-access pass into the revealed mind and will of God. By virtually any account the Bible is the most influential book of all time. No shortage of ink has been spilled on writings about it, against it, and in favor of it. But what does the Bible say about itself? The Bible Is Inspired When people claim the Bible is “inspired,” what do they really mean? Are they just saying it’s inspiring? Well, not quite. Sure, the Bible may inspire some of its readers,
Justin Taylor: Here is chapel message at Wheaton College by Kevin Vanhoozer (October 27, 2010), who reminds us that sola scriptura is not the same as solo scriptura, that it is not enough to profess sola scriptura but that we also have to do it, and that sola scriptura serves sola Christus (that is, God’s written word serves his living word). Vanhoozer encourage us to remember that the word lights our way, orients us to the truth, and indwells us with the life of Jesus Christ.
Kevin DeYoung: Historically, Protestant theologians have highlighted four defining attributes of Scripture:necessity, sufficiency, clarity, and authority. Each of these attributes is meant to protect the truth about the Bible and safeguard against common errors. The doctrine of Scripture’s necessity reminds us that we need God’s word to tell us how to live and how to be saved (1 Cor. 2:6-13). General revelation is not adequate. Personal experience and human reason cannot show us the gospel. We need God’s gracious self-disclosure if we are to worship rightly, believe in Christ, and live for ever in heaven. The doctrine of Scripture’s sufficiency reminds us that God’s word tells us all we need to know for life and godliness in Christ Jesus (2 Tim. 3:14-17). We don’t need new revelations. We don’t need dreams or vision. We don’t need a council of prophets or a quorum of apostles to present to us new information about Jesus Christ and the gospel. Scripture doesn’t tell us everything we might want to
By Justin Childers: . The sufficiency of Scripture is an incredibly practical doctrine that is fading out of style in this generation. . Many evangelical churches and Christians affirm that the Bible is the authoritative Word of God and treat it with great importance. But, at the same time, they essentially undermine its sufficiency by looking outside of the Bible for strategies to grow their church or solutions to fix their problems. Though they believe the Bible is inerrant and infallible, they see the Bible as inadequate for guiding us in this modern era. They see the Bible as an ancient book that can’t be sufficient for the 21st century Christian or church. Have you ever struggled with these questions? Is the Bible really necessary for living a life pleasing to God? Is the Bible sufficient to answer the questions you have about God and His plan for your life? Is the Bible just a good guide to starting a relationship
By Justin Taylor: If you want a quick and easy way to memorize the traditional four attributes of Scripture, just put them in the order of S.C.A.N.: the Sufficiency of Scripture the Clarity of Scripture the Authority of Scripture, and the Necessity of Scripture Below are some definitions and thoughts from Wayne Grudem (Systematic Theology) and Timothy Ward (Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God). Sufficiency Ward: “Because of the ways in which God has chosen to relate himself to Scripture, Scripture is sufficient as the means by which God continues to present himself to us such that we can know him, repeating through Scripture the covenant promise he has brought to fulfillment in Jesus Christ.” (p. 113) Grudem: “The idea that Scripture contained all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history and that it now contains all the words of God we need for salvation, for trusting him perfectly,