By Reverend Mark Hunnemann
Why are we doing a series on the attributes of God's Word? Because it is God' Word! The bible is the ultimate criterion or authority we look to in ethics and Christian decision making, as well as interpreting His creation.What I want to focus on this time is the authority of God's written Word.
Scripture has unique authority because it is God's Word. Divine authorship is the primary reason the bible is authoritative. The Westminster Confession of Faith states:
The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, depends not upon the testimony of any man, or Church,; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word Of God. (WCF 1.4)
Its authority is absolute because God's authority is absolute, and Scripture is His personal word to us. It is normative in that it tells us what to do and what not to do...in order to flesh out what loving God and others looks like. Influential evangelical theologians have been downplaying the significance of the normative role of Scripture as well as its inerrancy. These are brilliant men, but they apparently fell asleep in basic logic class...commit more fallacies than you can shake a stick at.
God's authority is His right to tell His creatures what they must do, and not do.7,000 times in the English bible God is referred to as Lord--Jesus tells us that our response to His Lordship is expressed, in large measure, in our bowing before the authority of His Word (John 14:15). God's control is about might; authority is about right. God made us (Gen. 1-3, heck, the WHOLE bible!!)-therefore He has the lawful right to give us norms to govern our behavior. The authority of the Bible is connected with God's Lordship, and HIS absolute authority over us. Let me mention three aspects of God's (and His written Word) absolute authority.
God's authority is absolute...means that we should not doubt or question it. In Romans 4:16-22 Paul says that Abraham did not waver in his belief in God's promise--even though both he and Sarah were way past the age of having children.Nonetheless, Abraham clung to God's authoritative Word, and so should we.
Second, the absoluteness of God's authority means that His Lordship transcends all other loyalties. We are to love our parents, but we are to love and honor Him more (Matt. 10:34-38)
Third, the absoluteness of God's authority means that it covers all of human life. Paul says, "Whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Cor. 10:31) God has the rightful authority to govern all areas of human life. (we will elaborate on this next time regarding the comprehensiveness of scripture)
Application 1 Regarding paranormal phenomena, we must not doubt or waver in our conviction that it is demonic. No matter how convincing it appears otherwise, we must walk by faith, and not by sight--as Abraham did.
Application 2 The paranormal community is what sociologists call a "plausibility structure"...providing peer pressure which makes demonic deception appear exceptionally plausible. But our loyalty to Christ transcends whatever our friends may think.
Application 3 The absolute authority of God's Word has jurisdiction over all people and over all areas of human life...including what we believe. (as we saw last time) In what you believe about paranormal phenomena, and how you respond to it, are you earnestly trying to glorify God? God's rule over us through His Word is totalitarian. He rules every aspect of our lives,and He wants His Lordship recognized in every nook and cranny of our lives...and of the entire planet. Obviously, His Lordship is totalitarian in a good way--He desires to extend the blessing of His presence throughout the Earth and in every aspect of human life.