Friday, February 04, 2005

Sola Scriptura: The Sufficiency of Scripture

I have seen several critics of the New Apostolic Movement say that modern apostles and prophets reject the "sufficiency of scripture". I don't believe this to be the case.

This doctrine was originally called "Sola Scriptura" or "scripture alone". This means that the Holy Bible is the final authority for faith and practice. It was the Reformation response to the Catholic Church and the Anabaptists.

The Catholic Church taught that Pope was infallible or incapable of error even when he introduced teachings that were not in the Bible. In matters of faith: salvation and practice, the Catholic Church, with the Pope as its head, was the final authority.

The Anabaptists, on the other hand, rejected all authority between an individual and God. They emphasized direct revelations from God, which were of equal or greater authority to the Bible.

The Reformers, men like Martin Luther and John Calvin, desired to reform the church by submitting to the Bible as the final authority. When the Catholic Church rejected this reform, a Protestant movement was born.

Critics of the New Apostolic Movement (NAR) are concerned that modern apostles will become like popes, claiming final authority over Christians. They are also concerned that modern prophets will claim thier messages as equal to or greater than the Bible. This is indeed a great temptation.

That is why every book and teaching of the New Apostolic Reformation, that I have seen, avoids such claims of authority. The NAR is in agreement with the Reformers. Authors like John Wimber, Peter Wagner, Rick Joyner, Mike Bickle, Emanuele Cannistraci, and Jack Deere do not claim authority equal to or above the scriptures. We in the NAR fully agree that, "Scripture alone is the sole infallible rule for the church," as James White defined the sufficiency of scripture.

I challenge all critics to find a quote from a reputable NAR source claiming the scriptures are not our final authority.

Update: Here a definition from Wikipedia:
Sola scriptura (Latin by Scripture alone) is one of five important slogans of the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. It meant that Scripture is the Church's only infallible rule for deciding issues of faith and practices that involve doctrines. The intention of the Reformation was to correct the Catholic Church by appeal to the uniqueness of the Bible's authority, and to reject Christian tradition as a source of original authority alongside the Bible or in addition to the Bible.