Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Comprehensive Authority of Scripture

By Reverend Mark Hunnemann

My passion is to see all of reality through God's eyes, but my calling is to focus on the paranormal--to analyze it through the spectacles of a biblical worldview. I want to educate and equip folks to be able to discern supernatural evil. In our series on the attributes of Scripture we have come to its comprehensiveness. In all my discussions with people who believe in trapped spirits, there is one commonality: they all explicitly or implicitly deny the comprehensive authority of Scripture. Hence, it is of paramount importance! Which may explain why, after a period of silence, there was a loud triple bang on my bedroom window as I wrote on this topic.

I define Scriptures comprehensiveness as the relevance of ALL Scripture to ALL of life. There are two aspects of it. The first part is that ALL Scripture is our standard., not just part of it. When tempted by Satan, Jesus quoted Deuteronomy 8:3, "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God." ...EVERY WORD...(Matt.4:4) Paul says, "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 competent, equipped for every good work." (2 Tim. 3:16-17) This is true of ALL of Scripture. EVERY...ALL...words which clearly imply comprehensiveness. This concept is sometimes called tota scriptura (by all of Scripture). The Word of the Lord should be our chief delight...all of it (Psalm 1:2)

In addition, the text in 2 Tim. points out that all of the Bible is ethically useful. God Himself is our ultimate ethical norm, but Scripture was breathed out by God. to guide us ethically. We need to remember that what we believe about trapped spirits is a significant ethical issue. Mere belief in trapped spirits is sinful because it is contrary to God's word. That may sound harsh in our ethically relativistic age, but our minds are not autonomous--they are just as subject to God's norms as our behavior is.What we believe guides our behavior....and both are subject to the comprehensive Lordship of Christ.

The second aspect of the comprehensiveness of Scripture is that the Bible refers to all aspects of human life. "So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.." (1 Cor. 10:31) "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17) This second aspect of comprehensiveness is related to the first. As John Frame says, "If only some passages or themes of Scripture were ethically useful, then Scripture would apply only to those parts of human life treated in those passages or themes. Conversely, if Scripture only addressed some aspects of human life, we would have to dismiss as irrelevant what it appears to say about other matters. But in Scripture's view of its own mission, the whole Word applies to the whole world." (The Doctrine of the Christian Life, pg 152)

This discussion boils down to God;s Lordship--and it is comprehensive! He demands that every aspect of life (read "paranormal") be under His authority. Lest this be seen merely  an issue of power and authority, it is also stated in terms of love. "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might (Deut. 6:4-, cf. Mark 12:30) Obedience and love are friends in the bible, not enemies or rivals.

Christians sometimes say that the Bible is silent on this or that matter:dieting, tax increases, nuclear power, cloning, auto repair, and so on. But (and this is key) though there is much the Bible does not mention explicitly, it speaks of EVERYTHING implicitly. It provides principles for ethical decision making.

Certainly the comprehensiveness of Scripture rules out attempts to limit the authority of the bible to "religious"matters--things necessary for salvation.Sadly, some of today's most influential evangelical theologians and pastors state that, when the bible speaks of matters touching on history and science, then it is not inerrant. However, our salvation was accomplished in space and time, and the drama of redemption is inextricably bound together with history. If we cannot trust the bible regarding history (or in any category deemed not necessary for salvation), then how can we trust it spiritual matters? What this does is allow theologians to think autonomously in matters other than salvation--narrowly defined (something hubris is inclined to do).

A thousand times NO!! If we are told things in Scripture (and we are) that are contradictory to the demonic theory of macro-evolution, then we must stand with the Lord against this theory.Many believe this theory because there is no alternative...except to intellectually bow the knee to the Lord. The Lord is right even if every man is wrong (Rom. 3:4)

To say that Scripture is comprehensive means that the whole Bible applies to the whole world. In my research before and after I wrote Seeing Ghosts through God's Eyes, I have seen that there are many explicit things in Scripture which apply directly to this debate and even more basic principles which apply implicitly. My challenge to you is this: how does the comprehensive authority of the bible affect your paranormal beliefs and methodology? Are you a sincere Christian but have fallen prey to the dangerously mistaken notion that the paranormal can be understood via the scientific method? What is your ultimate presupposition or authority which informs your interpretation of paranormal data? Is Scripture comprehensive in forming your ethical obligations regarding the spirit realm? How do you even know what the paranormal realm is? Scripture can answer that, but science cannot. Are there compartments in your life which have not been brought under the comprehensive Lordship of the God of the Bible, and the Bible of God?




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