Challenges To Biblical Authority In Baptist Life -- By: Kenneth Dowlen

Journal: Journal of Dispensational Theology
Volume: JODT 16:48 (Aug 2012)
Article: Challenges To Biblical Authority In Baptist Life
Author: Kenneth Dowlen


Challenges To Biblical Authority In Baptist Life

Kenneth Dowlen

Kenneth Dowlen, Th.M., M.Div., D.Min. student, and associate professor of Bible and theology, Tyndale Theological Seminary

The early church affirmed and practiced the authority of the Scripture. “Even church tradition and its own authority played a ministerial role, being a servant to Scripture itself to weed out heresies and to maintain the unity of the church.” The Bible was the inerrant and sole divine authority, as noted by Robert Preus, “and was the conviction held by all Christians and Christian teachers through the first 1,700 years of church history.”2 He further stated, “the doctrine of verbal inspiration and the inerrancy and the authority of Scripture has been the consistent teaching of the Christian Church from the time of the apostles through the early church and Middle ages to the Reformation.”3 The slogan of the Reformation was Sola Gratia, Solo Christo, Sola Fide, and Sola Scriptura (i.e. salvation is by grace alone, in Christ alone, by faith alone, and all that is necessary for salvation is taught in Scripture alone). White defined Sola Scriptura as follows:

“Sola Scriptura” is saying that Scripture is utterly unique in its nature as God-breathed revelation (nothing else is God-breathed): it is unparalleled and absolute in its authority; and it is the sole infallible rule of faith for the church. It is both a positive statement, asserting the supremacy and uniqueness of the Word, and a negative one, denying the existence of any other rule of authority on the same level.4

The Roman Catholic Church permitted other sources to displace the Scriptures as the only source of biblical authority: the church’s own authority, tradition, decisions of church councils, creeds, the teaching office of the church, and the authority of the pope. “In this authority of churches

and bishops, however, the guardian of the Roman see [the Church of Rome] rightly claims for himself the highest authority and the most fruitful faith.”5 Therefore, the Roman Catholic Church put itself above and superior to the authority of Scripture. This dimming of the light of the Reformation continues today as is seen in the life of the Protestant church. The greatest area of deterioration is in the area of biblical authority. “In practice, the church is guided far too often, by the culture. Therapeutic te...

You must have a subscription and be logged in to read the entire article.
Click here to subscribe
visitor : : uid: ()