Sola Scriptura: Scriptures alone!
I want reaffirm the basic Christian truth of Scripture, the Word of God, to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The 66 books of the Bible are the only inspired and fully authoritative words that ought to guide every church and every Christian. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are equally and in every part the Word of God, without any error, or inerrant, sufficient, infallible and final revelation of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience. They must be received as the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. No other writings should be accepted as Word of God or as having any such authority.
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, no matter how extraordinary, can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
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 church traditions, culture or emotion. With the advent of Charismatic movement, commonly called the Word of Faith or health and wealth gospel or prosperity gospel, extra-biblical experiences have been elevated too high. Many purport to be prophets as if more divine revelation is being given or as if the Scripture is not sufficient and final. Miracles have the biggest role to play among many Christians because many follow those who purport to perform them even when they don’t! Miracles, even as used by the Lord, were signs to authenticate both the message and person of Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God, the Saviour of Sinners. They were only signs pointing to Christ and ceased with the first advent of Christ.
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, direction and power. The result is ‘worship’ that is sensual and man-centred. Such worship can neither be pleasing nor acceptable to God. Worship has to be both truthful (guided and informed by Scriptures alone) and spiritual, guided and actuated by the Holy Spirit.
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 (physical) needs to our real needs (spiritual) and liberate us from seeing ourselves through the seductive images, cliché’s, promises and priorities of mass culture, as in the media. 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 preachers’ opinions or the ideas of the age; dreams, visions or subjective revelations; it must neither be drama nor miracles, but the Word of God that is able to make people wise for salvation. Preachers are busy selling their dreams for money in the name of preaching the gospel. Beware of them and shun them – have nothing to do with them. To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn (Isaiah 8:20). We must settle for nothing less than what God has given us.
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, for He is the One who inspired their writing (2Peter 1:21). Apart from Scripture we would never have known of God's grace in Christ. The Spirit illuminates Scriptures so that we are able to understand and believe it. The Spirit was given to lead us into all truth by teaching and reminding, as the Lord told His disciples. The biblical Word, rather than spiritual experience, is the test of truth. Scripture alone is the rule of faith and practice for Christians.