Scroll of Favor

A flourish of light nourishes a cordial of life in pages
Crimson bleeds through a channel of words
No other beauty can be leveled by the eye
The edge of towering peaks glimmer with curiosity
Mystery surrounds the chasm of crystal seas
Manna not attained by sight or scheme, the aroma of love
Hidden in the depths washed clean by His favor
The height of heaven, an ordinary basket descends
Not filled with charm nor pleasing to settle scorn
An unequivocal record is given across the floor
For the lowliest, the utter defenseless left to mourn
The scroll of favor granted by the Prince of Valor
Wherein all true access to life is born

© 2010 Adam Stark

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5 Solas of the Reformation (Sola Scriptura)

The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals, a group of theologians from several backgrounds and denominations, in 1996 came together to discuss the historic Protestant faith.   At this meeting the Cambridge Declaration was written.  In this document the 5 Solas of the Reformation were reaffirmed.  I thought they would be worth posting here and would welcome any comments.  Should we be just as committed to these principles as the Reformers?  

“Sola Scriptura: The Erosion of Authority

Scripture alone is the inerrant rule of the church’s life, but the evangelical church today has separated Scripture from its authoritative function. In practice, the church is guided, far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic technique, marketing strategies, and the beat of the entertainment world often have far more to say about what the church wants, how it functions and what it offers, than does the Word of God. Pastors have neglected their rightful oversight of worship, including the doctrinal content of the music. As biblical authority has been abandoned in practice, as its truths have faded from Christian consciousness, and as its doctrines have lost their saliency, the church has been increasingly emptied of its integrity, moral authority and direction.

Rather than adapting Christian faith to satisfy the felt needs of consumers, we must proclaim the law as the only measure of true righteousness and the gospel as the only announcement of saving truth. Biblical truth is indispensable to the church’s understanding, nurture and discipline.

Scripture must take us beyond our perceived needs to our real needs and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliches, promises and priorities of mass culture. It is only in the light of God’s truth that we understand ourselves aright and see God’s provision for our need. The Bible, therefore, must be taught and preached in the church. Sermons must be expositions of the Bible and its teachings, not expressions of the preacher’s opinions or the ideas of the age. We must settle for nothing less than what God has given.

The work of the Holy Spirit in personal experience cannot be disengaged from Scripture. The Spirit does not speak in ways that are independent of Scripture. Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God’s grace in Christ. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth.

Thesis One: Sola Scriptura
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation,which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian’s conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently of or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.”

Something more sure…

How sure would you be that Jesus is the son of God, if you were on the mountain with Jesus when he was transfigured right in front of Peter, James, and John?  In Matthew 17:1-9 we read that “and he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became white as light … and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.”  I would like to think that after witnessing this event, I would have no doubt as to Jesus identity ever again.  But sadly enough I would probably have denied Jesus just as Peter did a couple of days later when Jesus was arrested. 

What hope is there for any of us to believe in Jesus and trust everything he said if Peter, who was one of the closest people to Jesus when he walked this earth and even witnessed the transfiguration, doubted and even denied Christ publicly?

The Lord was gracious to Peter.  He forgave him, restored his faith, and Peter went on to be a great leader in the early church.  Peter writes something extremely encouraging to those of us who live 2000 years later.  He is speaking in this passage about witnessing the transfiguration: 

For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
(2 Peter 1:17-21)

Peter says that we have “something more sure, the prophetic word”  That is a pretty incredible statement to me.  He’s saying that the word of God, the Bible, is something more sure than seeing Jesus Christ transfigured and hearing God’s voice.  We have something more sure… Wow.  Let that sink in.  Sinclair Fergusen sums this up well:

Would you not give your right arm for the privilege of hearing that voice from heaven bear testimony to Jesus? That is a natural feeling for any Christian.  Yet it was not the view Simon Peter eventually took.  Later he was to write that the testimony of Scripture to the Lord Jesus is as clear and powerful as any word we might hear from the heavens (2 Peter 1:17-19).  By this he meant that, if we would see the glory of Jesus Christ now, we must  read Scripture just as eagerly as Peter would have lingered on the mountain top.  The same voice speaks in both places!  The same testimony is given: Jesus is God’s Son; listen to him!

Jesus is God’s son; listen to Him!

From whom shall we enquire?

23376717_Indianguyforweb  The other day I was approached by a young man not from Thailand.  He was a Sikh from Sri Lanka and was living here in Lopburi.  His English was quite good and I stopped on my way to the store in order to talk to him more.  It is extremely unusual to meet someone here who speaks English.  He first asked me “Do you know where this road leads?”.  I told him that I didn’t and I am new to this town.  As we kept talking it became apparent that it was more of a philosophical question and was not to be taken literally.  He is a palm and face reader and tells people’s fortunes.  Would you like me to tell you about your future, he asked me.  He seemed so confident that I would just eat up all of his advice.  As the conversation developed I took the opportunity to try and explain that I know the one true God through His Word and Jesus Christ.  There is no new revelation that I need.  All that is necessary for living life pleasing to God is already recorded in the scriptures.  Unfortunately, he was more interested in getting my money than about listening. 

     I hope to meet him again sometime and talk some more, but I have not seen him since then.  As I reflect upon this encounter it makes me so thankful that God has not left himself hidden to everyone.  He has not left us to be guided by palm readings or alignments of the stars and other strange ways.  He has revealed Himself in “Christ, who is the image of God” (2 Corinthians 4:4).  And the things in the future that we do not know we don’t need to worry about.  For we know that this same God is sovereign over all and “he upholds the universe by the word of his power” (Hebrews 1:3)

     Who is like our God?  What else in the universe deserves worship?  There is none like Him.  Let  us pray that more would come to know him and worship Him here.  Why should people turn to fortune tellers and palm readers for the answer to life’s questions.  Only the one true God orchestrates all events.  He alone is worthy of praise.  He alone declares things not yet done.

“I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning and from ancient times things not yet done, saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, and I will accomplish all my purpose”
(Isaiah 46:9-10)