WCF 1.4 — Pastoral Comments

Posted on Nov 28, 2017 by admin

1.4 The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or Church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.1
1 2 Pet 1:19, 21; 2 Tim 3:16; 1 Jn 5:9; 1 Th 2:13.

The Protestant Bible comprises the 66 books of the Holy Scripture, no more, no less. This Book of books, as we know, did not fall from heaven or appeared supernaturally one day. Rather, it came to be as Gods appointed penmen and sometimes editors, completed each book in their time and the individual books are received by Gods people until the full number of books fell into place.

This being the case, the natural question that needs to be asked is: On what basis and on whose authority should we accept and receive these books, and indeed the whole collection, as authentic and having power over us? The Roman Catholic Churchs answer is that power has been vested upon the Church by Christ so that it is the Church, or more specifically, the powers that be in the Church, which decide which books may have authority and how each book is to be interpreted. It is also upon this basis that the Roman Catholic Church has insisted that ten books of the Apocrypha are to be received as divine, and that Catholic Traditions are to be held in equal esteem with the Bible.

The Reformed Church rejects this doctrine. We believe, rather, that the authority of the Holy Scripture is intrinsically imbued by God himself for He inspired it. In other words, its authority is founded wholly upon God himself, and so it is to be received simply because it is the Word of God. Contrary to Roman Catholic teaching, the faith, laws, practice and authority of the Church is to be derived from the Holy Scripture alone. It is through the Scripture that Christ the King of the Church speaks, it is through the Scripture that Christ rules. The leaders of the church must serve as ministers, not as magistrates with law-making prerogative.

The true Church of Christ did not determine which books should be accepted, she simply recognized through the illumination and testimony of the Spirit of Christ (cf. 1 Cor 14:32) which are the inspired books. In this process, by the providence of God, the Canon was completed, and the Church may now simply received, believe and obey it, wholly and sufficiently, as the very Word of God.

Westminster Confession of Faith — With Brief Pastoral Comments
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