Sola Scriptura, Faith, Practice & Evil In the Church
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. – 2 Timothy 3:16, 17
The word translated adequate here may not be the best transliteration. Adequate has been defined as having the requisite qualities or resources to meet a task, or sufficient for the purpose, or worse yet, about average; acceptable.
In verse 17, the Greek word translated adequate is ἀρτιος (artios) which means complete, perfect. Perfect is a long way from competent or about average or acceptable! Also, the word for work here is ἐργον (ergon) and refers to any undertaking, anything in which you are occupied, physically, mentally, etc.
This passage has also been expressed as a maxim which has for ages been a great principle of Christianity, namely, that “the Word of God is the perfect rule of faith and practice.”
Almost every evangelical denomination would give a hearty ‘Amen!’ to such a statement, at least in vocal submission as agreeing to the doctrine. It affirms formally and solemnly as a biblically based maxim that which is true in the absolute sense. It affirms the great reformation doctrine of sola scriptura; that Scripture is not merely the supreme authority, but that it is the sole authority in all things, both faith and practice, in regards to biblical Christianity. It renounces and disowns any authority of tradition, no matter how preciously esteemed and held. Such affirmation refuses to place authority on any of the Church Fathers as being anywhere equal. It is a solemn declaration that the sole authority in all things relating to true religion and its practice before God and men to be the Scriptures alone and nothing, no one else.
That is quite a position to take, and quite a position to practice!
I say that because in these latter days in which we live, tradition and post-modernism has entrenched itself within the Church body to the point where tradition and common practices amongst some denominations, even though many practices are nowhere to be found in Scripture, are indeed not only practiced, but accepted as good, holy – Christian.
One has to wonder if the Church has lost sincere reverence for such truths as sola scriptura, or that it pays homage in word only and not in the actual practice, or living out, Christianity.
A truth such as sola scriptura is sanctioned of God. Whatever I command you, you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to nor take away from it (Deut. 12:32). God here affirms the maxim we stated earlier, that His Word is the perfect rule for faith and practice.
Is God’s Word less applicable under the Gospel? In the New Testament we, as the Church, are given instructions to heed and obey. The Word of God is perfect and there is no mistaking it’s authority in our lives regarding both faith and practice of our religion.
If the visible Church is practicing anything in regards to Christianity, our faith and practice, and it is not found in the written Word of God, is it acceptable and ‘OK’? Or, based on what we have already shown, are such practices actually evil being based on tradition or whatever and whomever other than God’s Word alone?
Let us not be so naïve as to think that evil has no grasp upon the visible church these days. We are surrounded by it as individuals, and, evil makes its presence known in the corporate worship of many a congregation. There are few things in post-modern Christianity in which the details of our gatherings for worship have not been defamed and marred by evil practices based on something, or someone, other than God’s Word.
I submit to you, my dear readers, that any practice by and within the Church regarding true religion and our Christian worship that is not found in God’s written Word is, indeed, an evil practice which God both condemns and abhors, being neither commanded nor approved by His infallible Word to men.