Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Sola Scriptura - Part 2

I listened to the first two sermons in this sermon series yesterday (will listen to the third on my way to work today). Its a series called "Scripture Scandals" from The Meeting House church in Canada (its part of their podcast feed, why not subscribe now if you use iTunes?).

I've listened to quite a few sermons from there over the past few weeks and the more I listen, the more I think they have the right attitude to the bible. There's more to it than I can summarise in a few lines here, so I think you really should download and listen to their sermons. They can explain it better than I can.

But a few issues raised in these sermons which are worthy of note are:
  • The Word of God is not a book, it is a person (John 1).
  • The book points to the person, but it is Jesus who has the authority, not the book.
  • You should use the book to lead you to Jesus, but use Jesus as your 'guidebook' on how to live your life.
  • Indeed, the bible is the window through which we see Jesus. When we start looking at the window for guidance, we're totally missing the point.
  • They also note that Paul overflows with superlatives when talking about Christ, but considers the Scripture as merely being 'useful'.
  • (This is a radiacal one) they assert that Scripture is 'God breathed' but that nobody ever claimed that the formation of the Canon was inspired. Thus while the bible contains scripture, that does not mean that everything we have in the bible is scripture. However, there is more than enough in the bible to show us Jesus clearly, so even if bits of it are not scripture, they're not a problem if we use the book right.
  • On the same basis, there may be scriptures which are not part of the canon. Had the bible been compliled a hundred years earlier there is a good chance that other books would have been included, while things like Revelation would not have been in there. Indeed, the Ethiopian church has a pre-Constantine Canon of books which includes some not in our new testament.
One of their main points about the New Testament is this: Jesus preached in the Aramaic language, yet all the New Testament writings are in Greek. The implication of this fact is that it is not the words which are important, but rather it is the person and the message that matter. So we should never get hung up on issues relating to the translation or meaning of individual phrases - its the big picture that we should be looking at.

But as I say, you should really download and listen to the sermons for yourself.

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