As you know, our ministry is called, “Back to the Bible”. We are a Bible centered teaching ministry. We endeavor to teach the Bible expositionally. That essentially means we attempt to go through the Bible, verse by verse, chapter by chapter. We think it is important to know something of the original languages, the historical context of a text and its grammar. We believe our job is to show what the original author intended when he wrote each text. We also believe that it is essential to help the reader make application to his or her own life and context.
We also hold to the sufficiency of Scripture. By that, we mean that the completed canon of scripture contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, as well as for trusting Him and obeying Him fully. We believe that Scripture and Scripture alone will teach us what it means to follow Jesus.
Recently, a book was dropped off at our house. It was intended that my wife should pass this book off to someone else. My wife had not heard of the author, but I recognized the name of the author. He is a part of the New Apostolic Reformation. It is a part of a movement in which purported new revelations from God are the constant subject of study. They believe that their leaders are apostles, in direct contradiction to the Bible’s testimony that the apostles must have been personal eyewitnesses to Christ’s resurrection. Hence, the insights of these leaders, in effect, add to the revelation of the Bible. Hence, they also contradict Jude 3, that we have received the faith “once for all delivered to the saints.” Furthermore, this movement also believes that certain prophets do obtain new revelations for all of the church.
A friend of mine recently sent me a broadcast from one of these leaders. In an interview, the supposed prophet revealed that he had gone to heaven, and was introduced to a book in the library of heaven. It was entitled, “John 22”. Although John only has 21 chapters, this 22nd chapter would not now be revealed, but would be when the time was right.
Furthermore, a new version of the Bible, called the The Passion Translation has also been introduced. It is a very loose paraphrase, stretching the definition of translation. From what I have seen, it is written to support some of the ideas of the New Apostolic Reformation.
The Christian faith does not rest on visions of would-be prophets. 2 Peter 1:16 says,
“For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”
Or consider Paul’s testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel he proclaimed. Study closely 1 Corinthians 15:3-7. There Paul explains that the risen Jesus was seen by Peter, then by the rest of the apostles. After that, He appeared to more than 500. He adds, most of them are still living. The implication was that anyone with any interest could interview them, to discover the veracity of what was being purported.
The Christian faith rests on historically verifiable events, not the mutterings and imaginations of the latest so-called visions. The Bible we study, is not only a spiritual document, it is also a confirmable historical document. Yes, we do acknowledge the Bible’s authority by faith, but it is not an unreasonable faith. Tough questions are invited, and compellingly answers meant to be fully investigated, are offered.
For that reason, true Christianity will continue to rest on the sufficiency of Scripture. I am reminded of the late Francis Schaeffer. Writing in the drug culture of the late 1970’s, he stated that if Christianity were merely about our own subjective visions and prophecies, we might as well put LSD in our communion cups and simply join the rest of the world on a drug induced trip.
Let’s continue to fight for a Christianity that holds the sufficiency of Scripture.
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