To anyone who adheres to Sola Scriptura, they have gotten it right. Jesus typified this for us when He repeatedly said, “It is written” to thwart the adversary in the wilderness. The Bible is the sole authority when it comes to Christian doctrine. However, the works of the framers of this concept usurp the very concept they promote with people depending on their works and would rather forward their teachings rather than “Sola Scriptura.” How ironic is that? Their followers have converted their works to be the lens by which to understand Scripture instead of asking the Holy Spirit for guidance.
“Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.”
Matthew 23:10 ESV
Jesus taught two disciples on the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:13-35) firsthand. He is our only teacher and He continues to teach us through the Holy Spirit He imparted to the apostles and to all those who will believe in Him.
“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.”
Let us examine the fruit of some reformers through what Jesus Himself told His apostles and see if it lines up,
“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet.”
Which part of what Jesus Christ told His disciples in the quote above made provisions that Christians ought to excommunicate or kill anyone who does not agree with the gospel (Catholics and even some reformers were guilty of this)? Any action contrary to what Jesus Christ said, i.e. forcing people to recant a belief they have come to by their own free will is contrary to what Jesus taught. Coercion is not part of true Christianity. It is a violation of one’s free will. Some theologians assert the absence of free will but its existence is exemplified in Deuteronomy 30:19. There would be no point of a declaration of choice if the ability to choose did not exist. If we do not have free will, then we may as well concede to people who say we are just God’s puppets.
“You are still worldly. For since there is jealousy and quarreling among you, are you not worldly? Are you not acting like mere humans? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings?”
1 Corinthians 3:3-4
While there are those who are appointed as teachers, God has given believers the ability to discern who is from Him, one whose teachings are in accordance to scripture. We all fall short but exercising our God-given faculty of discernment should not then equate as judging someone’s fallibility, but rather being objective and obedient to the written word as Jesus Himself exemplified for us. The apostle Paul did not exclude even himself in his admonition to be wary if his own teachings contradicted the gospel (Galatians 1:8) and warned to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:20-21). His teachings were scrutinized by the Bereans. Being like a Berean is supposed to be a good thing according to Scripture but now, it seems lining up a favored view from a reformed theologian that contradict scripture is deemed anathema. How the times have changed.
We must seek to learn from those who exemplified the teachings and the love of Christ. Where exactly is the love of Christ in a church father who contradicts a very basic teaching encompassed in John 3:16 that Jesus died for all of humanity? Was the love of Christ exemplified from a church father who sought for the destruction of his teachings’ dissenters? My God-given free will is bent to reject such a teacher and NO ONE has the right to label me anything other than what I identify as, Christian, not a follower of so and so but Christ alone. The reformers may have existed before us but the Holy Spirit indwells every believer. There is no clear evidence that the Holy Spirit’s work in the life of a believer has ceased and this teaching is contrary to Scripture.
The true gospel is not exclusive to those who have penned it in a systematic way making converts through intellectual assent even though some may not have truly surrendered their lives to the Lord. What prompted me to write this post was a replay in my head of something I heard from an influential evangelical years ago who made a lofty assertion that “Calvinism IS the true gospel.” Anyone can come to a saving faith in Jesus Christ and stay secure oblivious of Calvin’s theology and terminology. The true gospel is in your Bible and is discerned through the lens of the Holy Spirit and not through those who may outwardly appear to have devoted their lives supposedly to God but fall in the category of “seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.” (Matthew 13:13)
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
The verse above clearly indicates free will, the choice to open the door or keep it shut by not responding. I find it necessary to stress that no commentary has been used for this post, only Scripture. Saying this, I do not discourage the use of commentaries as long as they don’t contradict what is written in Scripture. I do listen to pastors who do not constantly make sermons about the doctrine of predestination but rather, God making redemption available to those who choose Him.
Who is your teacher?
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