Skip to main content

Christian Liberty: A Product Of Sola Scriptura

By Dr. R. Scott Clark - Posted at Abounding Grace Radio:

October is Reformation month for confessional Protestants, i.e., those Reformed, Lutheran, and Anglican Churches that trace their roots to the Protestant Reformation. One of the basic tenets of the Reformation was sola Scriptura, according to Scripture alone. By “Scripture alone” we do not confess what some have called “Scriptura nuda” (bare scripture) without any subsidiary or subordinate authorities. This is also sometimes known as biblicism, the attempt to read the Scriptures without the church. The Reformation Churches all published official confessions of faith, in which the churches officially declared their interpretation of key passages of Scripture and their conclusions drawn from their interpretation of Scripture.

What Christian Liberty Is And Is Not

One of the conclusions that the Reformation Churches drew from the Scriptures is that, in their daily lives, Christians have liberty of conscience in matters indifferent (adiaphora). The Westminster Confession gives us a marvelous account of what Christian liberty is and is not:

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also (WCF 20.2).

The Westminster Divines were quick to clarify that the Protestant doctrine of Christian liberty was not a license for sin:

They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life (WCF 20.3).

The definition of what is sin, however, is determined not by preference, experience, prejudice, or opinion, but by God’s sufficiently clear Word. In Christian fundamentalism, however, the line between what Scripture says and opinion is often blurred. In fundamentalist religious cultures there are typically authority figures who issue extra-biblical rules about what may or may not be done. Thus, members of those religious communities live in a kind of bondage to man-made rules. This is ironic, because they think of themselves as being faithful to Scripture and quite opposed to Roman Catholicism, which they rightly reject as a corruption of the faith. They seem oblivious to the ways in which they have created their own legalism in the Christian life.

One of those legalisms, i.e., the imposition of a rule in the Christian life where Scripture nether teaches or implies one, is the prohibition of alcohol. The really odd thing about this debate is that the biblical evidence against the Prohibitionist position is so strong. The case against prohibitionism is rather easily made, if Scripture is the final authority for the Christian faith and the Christian life, as the Reformation confesses it to be. NB: I do not make this argument out of any personal interest in the drinking of alcohol. As a matter of wisdom and taste, I rarely partake. In most years the only alcohol I receive is in holy communion.
Continue reading...


Popular posts from this blog

Christian leader shot in the head while preaching at Glendale street corner

Image Source:  Christian leader shot in the head while preaching at Glendale street corner ( By Ben Bradley - Posted at Arizona's Family:  Published November 16, 2023 GLENDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — A congregation is in shock after a beloved religious leader was shot in the head while preaching on a Glendale street corner on Wednesday night. In an update on Friday morning, Glendale police say 26-year-old Hans Schmidt, a husband and father of two, remains in critical condition. It happened on the northwest corner of 51st and Peoria avenues around 6 p.m. Friends say Hans Schmidt was standing with a megaphone on the street corner, preaching the gospel to people passing by, something he’d apparently done countless times before. Only this time, someone pulled out a gun and shot him. Friends and family can’t understand why. “Who knows why someone would want to take it out on a preacher like that because he’s speaking the gospel and good news to everybody. He’s out to help the commun

'Bomb the churches': Trans-identified man indicted for threats to sexually assault Christian girls

Screenshot of video showing booking photo for Jason Lee Willie, of Nashville, Illinois. Screenshot/YouTube/SocialLifestyle By Ian M. Giatti - Posted at The Christian Post: Court docs: Suspect identified as 'open pedophile,' vowed 'many more and larger attacks on Christians' Published November 27, 2023 A trans-identified Illinois man and alleged self-described “pedophile” is facing charges for making social media threats to sexually assault Christian girls and commit copycat attacks similar to the attack at a Christian school in Tennessee earlier this year. Jason Lee Willie of Nashville, Illinois, was charged Nov. 7 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois with 14 felony counts of interstate communication of a threat to injure, according to a federal indictment . The threats, which are dated between March and August, include repeated references to Christians, black Americans, the Republican Party, and others. Among the alleged threats cited in the in

Thanksgiving and our Christian heritage

By Angela Wittman "Give thanks unto the LORD, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the people."   ( 1 Chronicles 16:8, KJV ) While preparing for the gathering of family and friends this Thanksgiving season, let’s not forget to also prepare our hearts in humble gratefulness to God for the blessings and grace which He has bestowed upon us as individuals and as a nation. Here is a bit of history about Thanksgiving which you may not have been taught in school as taken from the website “A Puritan’s Mind” by Dr. C. Matthew McMahon : The celebration we now popularly regard as the ‘First Thanksgiving’ was the Pilgrims' three-day feast celebrated in early November of 1621 (although a day of thanks in America was observed in Virginia at Cape Henry in 1607)... The Pilgrims left Plymouth, England, on September 6, 1620, sailing for a new world that offered the promise of both civil and religious liberty. The Pilgrims had earlier left England in 1608, as the Church of England