Back in January 2021, we approached our pastor with a question:
We are getting some questions on prophecy and dreams, and we are curious if you could help us answer them appropriately as we disciple some who have left false teaching?
Our stance is that trusting that we are hearing from God in these ways in fact undermines the sufficiency of scripture, and that this is not a matter of continuationism vs. cessationism. We usually hear “I know, I know…the Bible is the final authority…but…”
We are being accused of swinging to the other end of the spectrum after leaving false teaching and that we are now denying the supernatural and miraculous, which is far from true! Thank you so much for your help!
Unbeknownst to us (and our pastor!), this simple request resulted in a 13 page position paper! We are so incredibly grateful for the time our pastor, Dr. John Greever, put into writing these words that we will be sharing in a seven-part series on our blog. Below is part four. Parts 5-6 will follow. We pray this helps your understanding of why the Bible is enough and should be central and most important in our Christian experience.
Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity: A Position Paper on the Nature and Significance of the Bible in Christian Experience with Particular Reference to Human Subjectivity Applied in Religious Authority
By Dr. John E. Greever
Click here to read the Introduction of Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity
Click here to read PART 2 of Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity
Click here to read PART 3 of Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity
Positive Implications of the Proper Use and Application of Scripture as Authoritative
Let us consider some positive results that happen when Christians and the church properly and rightly view the Bible as God’s Word, when we apply God’s Word to preaching and teaching.
- Implications for Christian Discipleship and Church
- Individual Christian Discipleship – Christian growth and discipleship occur in the sunshine of the application of a right understanding of Scripture with the love and joy of Christ filling the soul. The journey of Christians may be difficult in this fallen and God-hating world, but the Scripture is our sword, our compass, the instruction, and the healing for our souls. The Lord has graciously given to us His mind and revealed will in the teaching of the Scripture. Sinners are saved when the Bible is preached, and Christians grow in discipleship when the Bible is studied and taught.
- Church – The church (the collective covenant body of believers banded together for the worship of the living God and the preaching and teaching of the Scripture) feeds off of the Scripture, and it ministers in Jesus’ name through the presentation of the Scriptures to others for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom on earth. The authoritative Scriptures create the church on earth by God’s saving grace and the operation of the Holy Spirit; the church does not create or validate the Scriptures. God’s authority rests in the Scripture, not in the church. The people of God and the church of God have no defense against human manipulation, except for the teaching of the Scripture. If the church allows for human subjectivity to become a basis for authoritative teaching, then the place of Scripture suffers, and people can then be deceived.
- Implications for Christian Preaching and Teaching
- Expository Preaching – Corporate worship centers on the Scripture as God’s authoritative revelation to humans. All aspects of worship utilize the truth of the Bible, and the preaching event in worship must be the right consideration, right interpretation, and right application of the Scripture to the lives of God’s people. The preaching of the Bible is the center of all worship experiences.
- Bible Teaching – The church must maintain a systematic and consistent Bible teaching ministry that helps the people grow in the understanding of the Scripture and our lives in Christ. A church that teaches Scripture as authoritative is a church that is grounded in truth and will endure the changing tides of culture and society.
- Leadership Development – The church rises and falls with the development of leadership in the teaching of the Scripture as authoritative. The discipline and development of Christian leadership rests upon the Scripture both in knowledge and in application by God’s grace. The future of the church rests in God’s sovereign leadership seen and applied in godly and biblically trained church leadership.
The Human Affections of the Soul
Often, the improper elevation of human subjectivity centers on the elevation of emotion and sensationalism. This is a form of sensual gratification! However, we must understand that there is a proper use of human emotion and affections, and this use rightly connects with the correct understanding and embrace of truth given to us in the Scripture. However, if emphasis is given to human emotion this stifles the soul from its needed edification and maturation. The following is a four-fold categorization and consideration of the involvement of human affections in the Christian life. Each is to be understood as properly utilized in the Christian life and experience.
- Regeneration and Human Affections – When the sinner is born again, holy human affection is awakened and reorientated to God and all holy things. This results in sincere joy in the Lord Jesus Christ, and sincere pleasure is found in all truths contained in the Bible. Christians find fulfilling delight in godliness and obedience to God’s truth.
- Christian Discipleship and Human Affections – Christian discipleship includes growth in truth and in grace. It shows maturation in Christian thought and living. It does not emotionally depend on sensationalism, but it seeks to prove all things by the teaching of the Scripture. The operation of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christ actuates human affection unto godliness. True discipleship includes a rich panoply of holy affections.
- Worship and Human Affections – True and genuine worship brings pleasure to God and sweetness to God’s people. It is natural and normal for human affections to be heightened in worship; this is good and pleasing to the Lord if emotion is a servant to truth and not an idol, supplanting God and His truth. When human subjectivity and human authority are elevated beyond their appropriate levels, God is dishonored, human pride is exalted, and the Holy Spirit is grieved.
- Heaven and Human Affections – It is biblically certain that human emotions are part of our creation; God made us to enjoy Him, love Him, and praise Him. Heaven will be a time and place where our human emotions will be fulfilled in divine glory. We will see God in His beauty and enjoy God so that we will be fulfilled and completely satisfied (to God’s glory). We should not negate the reality of human affections, but we should be aware that there is a right way to experience this in our Christian lives.
We hope that you will follow along as we continue through this series on our blog as Dr. Greever helps us understand why the sufficiency of scripture is so important in the life of the believer.
About the author:
Dr. John E. Greever
Dr. Greever has pastored for over four decades in Texas, Oklahoma, Indiana, and Missouri. During that time he has also taught ministry, Bible, theology and religious classes for Boyce Bible School, the Ministry Training Institute of Oklahoma Baptist University, Trinity Theological Seminary, and the Missouri Baptist University. He has lectured and ministered in Great Britain and has trained students in a variety of places around the world. Dr. Greever holds the Doctor of Theology degree from Trinity Theological Seminary, the Master of Divinity degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and the Bachelor of Arts degree from Howard Payne University. Dr. Greever preaches expository sermons from the Bible, and he seeks to develop true Christian disciples and leaders for a new generation in and through the church and Christian teaching. His passion and vision for the church are faithfulness to the gospel of Jesus Christ in our generation. He seeks to ground the church in its worship, life, and ministry in a biblically based, Christ-exalting, and gospel-centered way.