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 the final part of this series, including reflective questions that we hope help you on your journey of further study.
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
Click here to read PART 4 of Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity
Click here to read PART 5 of Scripture as Authoritative Divine Revelation Contrasting with Human Subjectivity
Contemplating Relevant Factors for those Exiting Movements that Improperly Exalt Human Authority and Subjectivity
This section of the paper is written for the benefit of those who have previously been caught up in religious movements that overly emphasized human emotion and subjectivity as a basis of authoritative reasoning. Those who, by God’s mercy, have been brought to see their previous error and the need for a right understanding and application of Scripture as God’s only authoritative revelation to humans, may need to consider the following issues. Under each category, sub-issues have been indicated and counsel given.
- The Improper Elevation of Human Emotion
- We need to rightly understand the role of human emotion as part of the image of God.
- Pray the Lord will wean you off of dependence and addiction to emotional highs.
- Watch out for overreaction!
- The Improper Dependence on Human Subjectivity
- Develop the discipline of Bible study, meditation, and systematic application of truth.
- Learn the balanced and proper role of Christian leadership.
- Do not elevate and exalt yourself to the point where you judge others; the Scripture corrects.
- Submit your experience to biblical truth; embrace the truth with love and joy.
- Watch out for growing anger and bitterness over inappropriate leadership in your past.
- The Need for Proper Biblical Hermeneutics
- You may need to unlearn a great deal of what you learned in the religious movement concerning interpretation of the Bible.
- Engage in formal study of the science of biblical hermeneutics.
- Apply proper biblical exegesis and hermeneutics to a disciplined Bible study program.
- The Need for a Balanced and Biblical Understanding of Prayer and Dependence on the Holy Spirit
- Prayer and the role of the Holy Spirit are often misrepresented in these movements.
- This may result in a need to overhaul one’s understanding of each of these.
- Again, do not react against the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit.
- Remember, Satan attacks these two vital areas, because we need these so very much.
- The Problem of Obligatory Application Binding Consciences and False Systems of Perspective
- Learn the CORE of biblical theology in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Lean the categorical aspects of biblical truth and how they related to the core.
- Watch out for wrongly making application of the Bible obligatory teaching to others; no application of the text must be read back into the text as authoritative. We must not bind the consciences of others by applicable human reasoning from the biblical text. The clear teaching of the biblical text is the only authority in our human thoughts and lives.
- The Need to go back to Biblical Authority for Doctrine and Moral Teaching
- The Bible is God’s only authoritative revelation for belief and practice.
- As such, Christians must learn to make a proper commitment to the Scriptures.
- Christians must learn to discern biblical teaching in preaching and teaching.
- Christians must obligate themselves to the teaching of the Scripture.
- Christians must identify with biblically grounded churches.
- Christians must teach others to understand and apply the Scriptures to life.
REVIEW AND QUESTIONS:
This section of the paper is intended to help the reader to review some important concepts taught in this paper. In this section, the reader will be enabled to also apply the ideas contained in this paper with the Christian life. These questions and topics might be used in a group setting when discussing this important issue.
- What do we mean when we speak of the authority of the Scripture?
- 2. What do we mean when we speak of the authority of Scripture as being our ONLY authority?
- 3. God has revealed Himself in human history in a variety of ways, including in Creation, theophanies, dreams, and visions. Why do we assert that the written Scriptures are the ONLY way God speaks authoritatively today after the apostolic period?
- 4. Why is it important for Christian preachers, Christian teachers, and churches to preach the Bible, instead of human thinking or ideas?
- 5. Why is language the best conveyance for the communication of God’s ideas for reading, study, and meditation?
- 6. What are some of the problems that arise if the Bible is neglected or disregarded in the Christian life and ministry?
- 7. Why is it vital that Christians and Christian leaders rightly interpret the Bible by proper application of biblical hermeneutics?
- 8. Share how you may have experienced some problems in your life by wrongly elevating human subjective teaching over the Scripture.
- 9. Share how you have been blessed by reading, studying, and applying the Scripture in your life.
- 10. Spend a moment in prayer, asking God to help you grow in your understanding of the Scripture. In prayer commit yourself to the teaching of the Word of God, and pray for your church that it will seek to be a true biblically grounded church.
We sincerely pray this series has helped your understanding of why the Bible is enough and should be central and most important in our Christian experience. Please let us know your thoughts and/or questions by sending us and email!
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.