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1998 Issue 1

The Larger Catechism speak simply of "the majesty" of the Bible, whereas the Confession of Faith expands the idea to "the majesty of the style" in which the Bible was written. The divine majesty of the style in which the Bible was written shines forth "no less from the simplicity than the weight of expression and that consummate boldness in commanding all without distinction, both the highest and the lowest." - Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Vol. I, pg. 64. Although some Biblical passages have more plainness, while others are written in a loftiness of style, nevertheless, a definite majesty characterizes the entire Bible, because throughout its passages it reveals the sovereignty and glorious splendor of the High and Holy One, who inhabits eternity, and who is majestic in holiness. Such expression of God's sovereignty and majesty, interspersed throughout the entire Bible, as when He speaks with awesome power, tend not only to grab our attention, but also strike us with awe and fear of God, before the description and display of the splendor of His majesty, Isaiah 2:19, 21.

The sufficiency of Scripture is one of the most important and yet neglected doctrines of the 20th century. Dr. John Murray wrote, "It is because we have not esteemed and prized the perfection of Scripture and its finality, that we have resorted to other techniques, expedients, and methods of dealing with...the needs of the hour...We must bring forth from its (the Holy Scriptures) inexhaustible treasures, in exposition, proclamation, and application - application to every sphere of life - what is the wisdom and power of God for man in this age in all the particularity of his need, as for man in every age," Collected Writings, Vol. I pp. 21-22.

The Westminster Confession of Faith, I-6, also declares the sufficiency of Scripture: "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men..." Dr. O. Palmer Robertson wrote, "The Reformers did not declare simply that no new writings were to be added to the Bible. They stated instead that all those former ways by which God made his will known to his people now have ceased," and "The Bible embodies God's personal selection of the special revelations he determined that the church would need through all the ages. In this written revelation from God is contained all that is needed for life and godliness.," The Final Word, (Banner of Truth), pp. 88, 60.

Sociologists tell us that according to statistics there is a great likelihood that:

(1) a child of an alcoholic will be one, (2) a child of an abuser will be one, (3) a child of poverty will stay one, (4) and a child of a broken home will have one.

These statistics fail to recognize a God Who says: "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature." - II Cor. 5:17. We can be "...born again, not of a perishable seed, but of imperishable." - I Peter 1:23. We can "...forget what lies behind and reach forward to what lies ahead." - Phil. 3:13.

I believe I am a living testimony to the truth of Gods Word.

The work of self-examination is often marred by introducing tests not found in God's word. This was the grand error of the pharisees in Christ's day. The ultraists, fanatics, and hypocrites of every generation, invent rules for judging of character, always taking care to insist much on those which will be favourable to themselves. Thus in all ages we find them straining at gnats and swallowing camels, pronouncing lawful things sinful, curtailing Christian liberty, and standing on punctilios, while they pull down pillars of truth, justice and mercy. So also in judging of Christian character, one man says you must have a remarkable dream or vision; another, you must hear a voice saying, "Thy sins are forgiven thee;" another, you must be willing to be damned before you can be saved; another has no confidence in a conversion not attended with great terrors; another takes popular notions around him for his guide, and another exalts some whim of his own into a rule of judgment. To such we may well say: "Ye do err, not knowing the Scriptures." Men should not be surprised that, when they ignore God's word, they fall into the most dangerous mistakes. "The word that I have spoken, it shall judge him at the last day," says Christ. A wise man thus resolved: "I will regard the Bible as the only infallible test of character. With this in my hands, if I am deceived as to my spiritual state, it is my own fault."

Sola Scriptura: The Protestant Position On The Bible.

Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura) as the governing principle for judging all things was one of the foundation stones on which the Reformation was built. The contributors to this volume seek to explain this concept scripturally and historically. Basic questions such as the definition of "Sola Scriptura", the authority of Scripture and its sufficiency are covered. Other authors examine the view of the early church regarding Sola Scriptura and the relationship of Scripture and tradition. Contributors include Robert Godfrey, R.C. Sproul, John MacArthur, and Sinclair Ferguson. Each writer pens his words with clarity, compassion and insight.

The canon of Scripture is the set of writings which bear unique and divine authority for the doctrine and life of the Christian Church. It has been the Spirit produced conviction of God's people for the previous two millennia that such a regula fidei exists in the inspired Scriptures of the Old and the New Testaments. Respecting the latter, it is true that the Church did not reach immediate consensus on which particular books should be included in that canon, nor does the text of the New Testament itself provide an authoritative list of canonical Scriptures. For this reason, we are grateful for the monumental labors of the historians of the 19th and 20th centuries to reconstruct the history of the canon. The a priori of faith does not relieve us of the duty of investigating history nor give us the right to conclude without careful research that the canon of Christ is the canon of the church. Yet neither God's inscrutable providence in the preservation, recognition, and compilation of his Word nor the findings of various historians have shaken our faith that the twenty-seven inspired books of the New Testament are the Church's only rule of faith and practice.

Under the critical examinations of historians, sociologists, and theologians of various persuasions, this conviction has sustained continuous assault over the past two centuries. In a relatively recent article, Dugan maintained that these prolonged investigations may result in "a massive series of changes regarding the shape and content of the Bible which should rival for creativity the Reformation period..."' This remark, though often cited in the literature and usually dismissed as impetuous enthusiasm, must be taken seriously by Christ's church and apologists for the old canonical orthodoxy. Contrary to Barr's comments, there is a "direct correlation between the self-identity of a church and the precise boundaries of its canon." For men and women who take their Christian profession seriously, the content and authority of the Scriptures they possess is of fundamental concern. "For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God" (Matt. 4:4).