True Reformation 3: It’s good to be mistaken for a bibliolater
“The Christian who wants to encounter God without listening to what he has to say, may remain in the condition of a smilingly sub-literate and disobedient two-year old. Sanctification of the mind is of pivotal importance in sanctification of the whole life, and sanctification of the mind involves an increasing ability to think biblically under the empowering of the Spirit.” – Richard Lovelace
Lately I have been accused of being a worshipper of the Bible more than once. The first time I was ever accused of such, I felt offended, but as I thought about this more and more, I have found the accusation quite encouraging. When I was first dating the woman who would become my wife, we wrote letters to each other as we could not see each other or speak on the phone as often as we would have liked. I came to treasure her letters and love them deeply. In those letters I learned much about her and about us. In many ways this is a close analogy with the Triune God and His Word. God chose to covenant himself with a particular people in a particular time and place, and in that covenant he has chosen to reveal himself in an exclusive way as a channel of blessing.
John Calvin wrote that, “from Genesis to Revelation the Bible has come down to us from the mouth of God.” He referred to the biblical writers as clerks, penmen, amanuenses and organs and instruments of the Holy Spirit. He referred to the Bible as “the certain and unerring Rule…”, “sacred and inviolable truth”, “sure and inviolable record”, and “unerring light”.
As Christians we understand the Bible (God’s Holy Word) to be the inerrant, infallible communication of the triune God to the World. Yes, we can know some things about God (especially our desperate falleness) from Creation, but we cannot know God except through His special revelation of himself through the objective disclosure through His Word. God has chosen to reveal himself objectively through His Word, and therefore when we are focused on being people of the Word, we are also people of the Logos. We cannot separate the Triune God from the way He chooses to reveal himself. It would be like saying that I love my wife, but not anything about how she reveals herself to me. That makes no sense. I have come to believe that it is acceptable to so love God’s Word that you can be accused of worshipping the living active word.
True Reformation only comes when God’s people lovingly embrace the Holy Spirit breathed words of Scripture – breathing in what the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit has breathed out. If we are unwilling to embrace the veracity and infallibility of scripture, then we have abandoned the only indestructible weapon for victory in spiritual warfare – “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Eph. 6:17). Without the shield of truth, then we are susceptible to every error. The debate within the PCUSA over homosexual ordination, is merely evidence that we can no longer deal with the weapons of the enemy. Many ordained leaders can no longer distinguish truth from error and so it follows that sin would be called good. The hope for reformation lies in the pockets of those faithful that God has reserved for himself who whole-heartedly embrace the infallibility of scripture, breathing in God’s Truth.
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