Tag Archives: Authority of Scripture

God’s Word is God’s Word

The following is an article I submitted to the Tacoma News Tribune. I have had the privilege of submitting articles every other week for a few months now and this my latest one; printed on Saturday, Nov 4. I have received a number of requests to make these more available so here you go…

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. [2 Timothy 3:16-17]

I came across a quote recently that really bothered me and scared me. The quote came from a prominent church leader in a major denomination. The reason it scared me was not just that it came from this leader, but that this leader has and will be again speaking at a national youth gathering. I fear what her ideas and beliefs will do to the next generation. The quote is this, “Preaching hopefully in some way is the word of God, speaking is not. So I thought, I wonder, we can look at (the apostle) Paul that way. You know like sometimes he was just going off on his snotty opinions, he has some authority to speak on it but that’s not necessarily the Word of God.” Just his “snotty opinions”? Wow, that is scary because it is saying that if you don’t like something in the Bible, you can just call it a “snotty opinion” and totally discount it as something not authoritative. The problem is that when you start doing this, then all of scripture becomes suspect. When that happens, then scripture ceases to be authoritative.

The fact of that matter is that ALL of scripture is breathed out by God. ALL of scripture is profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, not just the parts you like. C.S. Lewis once said, “I didn’t go to religion to make me happy. I always knew a bottle of Port would do that. If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity.” Those are very wise words. The Word of God operates the same way. You simply cannot twist and manipulate it to justify a certain way of life, or a certain behavior, or a certain belief system. You simply cannot toss out the verses and/or chapters you do not like or agree with. You cannot rewrite scripture because it makes you uncomfortable. The Word of God is just that, the Words of God almighty, Creator of heaven and earth. You cannot pick and choose like going through some divine a la carte line. The Word kills but brings to life. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. [2 Corinthians 5:17]

The Word of God is not outdated or irrelevant as some would want you to believe. It doesn’t need to be updated to fit our culture today. The Word of God does not need to be softened so as not to offend certain people. The Word of God is authoritative, all of it, and thus needs to be listened to, for in it are the words of eternal life and that never goes out of style. Don’t minimize God’s Word but hold it as authoritative and watch it transform you. Cling to God’s Word and trust in its power. Taste and see that it is indeed good.

The Pastor -|—

God, Help Us and Have Mercy

Holy and merciful God,

ALL of scripture is breathed out by You.
ALL of scripture is inspired by You.
ALL of scripture is authoritative.
ALL of scripture is useful for teaching and rebuking and correcting and training in righteousness.

ALL of scripture is life-giving and holy and blessed, but yet, as Your Church, we don’t run to and grasp Your holy Word as we should. We more often than not toss Your Word around as just a tagline or a sound bite or as an arrow to be fired off in an argument/debate. The awe of Your Word is more times than not, lost on us and thus we are lead to actions and thoughts and words that are anything but glorifying to You, oh God.

For this I confess on behalf of me and the Church, but only I can declare my intent to repent and receive Your Word as Your almighty, authoritative Word. My hope is that the Church would too, so I ask that Your Spirit may be sent into Your Church. Bring about repentance and a deep desire to speak Your Word of truth with passion and conviction and honesty and boldness; yet doing so out of love for ALL of our neighbors.

Oh God, have mercy.

May we flee judgmentalism
May we flee idolatry
May we flee hate
May we flee worldly passions
May we flee cultural acceptance

May we see the way of Jesus as our way; fearing nothing but You, oh God. And as curves and bumps and deadly ravines appear along the way, may we cling to Jesus.

We do not live in heaven on earth, far from it, but Your kingdom is coming. May we look with longing expectation for that Kingdom; proclaiming this truth and calling all people to repentance; ALL people.

May Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven and help us to see this through Your most holy Word.

In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

THE Authority

This is an old German Bible, from 1905, that has been in my office for a long time.
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It’s tattered, delicate and well-used. Beautiful, isn’t it? Don’t ask me what page I opened to since this is all Greek German to me 🙂

The reason I  have this Bible close by, on my desk, is to serve as a reminder of Salem’s past (an old German congregation) but also of a past that seems to be dwindling away. I look at this Bible and I think about those people 110 years ago reading this and I wonder if they ever imagined a day when the Bible would not be the sole authoritative source and norm for faith and life for many people. I wonder if they ever imagined a day when the Bible would be picked apart for “errors” in order to support a certain belief or way of life. I wonder if people 110 years ago imagined a day when the Bible would become just another authoritative source among many others. I wonder if they ever imagined a day when experience or cultural majority or feelings would trump the Word of God.

And it saddens me to think about such things. How have we gotten to such a point? I know Bible scholars and theologians can answer that question better than me but no matter what is said, it’s not going to help.

So i’ll just say it straight, right now, in case there is any doubt:
I believe the Bible to be THE inspired Word of God; inerrant and authoritative. It is THE sole authority for me. If any outside “authority” conflicts with the Bible then the Bible wins out. Holy Scripture is not to be tampered with. Sure, there are parts that I don’t like or understand but it is the Word of God and I except them. I understand that fallible human beings copied manuscripts over and over and over again but since this is THE inspired Word of God, I believe God would have never allowed errors to be repeated over time that would lead people away from the Truth. Now some may call me naive to hold such a view but that’s fine; I can handle that. For me, the Word of God tells me what I need to know for salvation and to bring glory to God; everything else flows from that authority.

So with this high view of scripture, I approach the Word of God with fear and trembling, but also with excitement, because think about it:
Those words are God’s words.

GOD

The Creator of heaven and earth

The Almighty

The Sovereign

GOD

If that doesn’t give you goose bumps go back and read that list again and this time pay attention. Holy Scripture contains the very words of God and they are given to you and to me. No other authority can trump it.

As Christians we need to cling to the Word of God tighter than ever before and not allow anyone to demean it’s authority. We need to read and study this Word and then read and study it some more. We need to pray and then listen to this Word; and then pray some more and listen again. We need to confess our shortcomings (and God knows I am far from perfect) and seek the Good News of Jesus Christ.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not suggesting that you worship a book but rather worship the One whose words are contained in this book; listening and obeying.

The Bible is THE Word of God. Period. I know I fall short in so many ways; I’m a sinner after all. I know I don’t always treat the Bible the way I should. I know I don’t always appeal to it’s authority as I should. But I ask God to grant me the faith to trust His holy Word as THE Word of Life. So let’s not mess with it but rather read and listen to it and live by it’s words.

God’s Word is life and salvation, so commit yourself to the reading of it (private and public) and take it’s words seriously.

Holy Father, it awes me to think that You have given us Your holy Word in such a way. May we never take these words of life for granted but rather let us be shaped by them. May the Bible hold authority for Your people in this dark and evil world. Holy Father, speak to me that I may speak. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

The Pastor -|—

Word and Authority ~ An Opening Prayer

Here is the opening prayer I wrote for worship. I offer it to you as you prepare to worship this awesome God of ours…

Holy God, creator and sustainer and giver of Life; there is no god quite like You. There is no authority quite like You. There is no other truth; no other lord and no other way quite like You. And we praise You that You are the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You are our Father. You are our Life. And so we bring our worship and praise here this morning. We also come seeking Your Word of Life; for it is THE authority in our lives. So may Your Spirit speak to our spirits that we may receive this word in all it’s glory and truth for it is from You, oh sovereign God. And in the words of Romans 12, may we not conform to this world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds; which comes through Your holy word. So here we are, oh God, to worship You for You are worthy. In Jesus name I pray, Amen.

May your day be an act of worship.
May your words bring glory to God.
May your acts reflect the Savior.
And may you be blessed that you may bless others.

All praise, glory, honor and worship be to our God for ever and ever. Amen.

The Pastor -|—