Slogans find their way into every culture. Webster’s 11th Collegiate states that a slogan is: “a : a war cry especially of a Scottish clan; b : a word or phrase used to express a characteristic position or stand or a goal to be achieved.” Such slogans can be merely catchy, or motivating like Patrick’s Henry’s famous “give me liberty or give me death” – or even vitally useful. It is this last category that our graphic above falls into. For during the Protestant Reformation, a series of slogans were used both to motivate, and to crystallize some of the key concepts being fought for. Sola Scriptura is the first of five of the most important of those Reformation slogans. And if they are digested and stood upon, they can serve a most extraordinary role still. If one embraces these slogans as a part of their world view, they can, all alone, serve to keep one safe from nearly every form of false religion, and Christian cult.
- Sola Scriptura. What does it mean? In the first place, it is simply the way of saying “Scripture Alone” in Latin. But what was meant by its use then? Above all other things, it meant that the Reformers, held that Scripture – the Holy Bible – stands uniquely, unerringly and supremely above every other authority. It serves always as the final court of appeals in terms of its revelation of God, our world view, and thus in defining faith, morals and ethics. No, The Bible will not teach you quantum physics, nor how to fix your motorcycle. It will teach you how to be reconciled to God in Jesus Christ, why you NEED to be reconciled and how once you have been – you can DO quantum physics and repair your motorcycle in godliness and to the Creator’s glory. Scripture does not contain all information on every subject. But it is the ONLY authoritative source of the necessary information God has revealed concerning who and what He is, who and what we are, the saving of our souls, the meaning of life and how to live it.
- Every false religion, or even false expression of true Christianity errs on this point. It will either make some thing or some one equal to the authority of Scripture, or above it. It cannot rest with man being brought supremely under the authority of the Bible above all else.
- We must be clear here – Scripture itself teaches that other authorities DO exist, and that by God’s appointment. As such, we are responsible to them. But every other authority, be it familial, civil or ecclesiastical has these inviolable parameters: NO authority, under any circumstances has the right to require one to do anything the Scripture forbids them to do, nor the right to forbid them to do anything Scripture requires them to do.
- Every Christian cult follows suit in this regard. It will have as its final authority some other text or texts, personalities (who themselves are the final interpreters of Scripture irrespective of all others) or another source either equal to or above the Bible.
- Beloved, when God speaks, all others must shut their mouths. And God speaks, infallibly, only in His Word. Listen to Him. Do we listen to the Church as well? We had better. It is arrogant to ignore the gifts God has given to His Church throughout the centuries for our edification. But we do not mistakenly forget that churches, pastors, theologians, synods, councils and ecclesiastical powers of all kinds not only can err, but do. Not so God. Not so His Word.
- Remember this, keep to this, and you cannot go far afield.