THE DOCTRINE OF SOLA SCRIPTURA
From the Cambridge Declaration
We reaffirm the inerrant Scripture to be the sole source of written divine revelation, which alone can bind the conscience. The Bible alone teaches all that is necessary for our salvation from sin and is the standard by which all Christian behavior must be measured.
We deny that any creed, council or individual may bind a Christian's conscience, that the Holy Spirit speaks independently or contrary to what is set forth in the Bible, or that personal spiritual experience can ever be a vehicle of revelation.
- We believe God has desired throughout human history to make Himself known to Mankind. The act of God making Himself known is called Revelation. This Revelation is manifest in both general and special modes. It is concerned with the revelation of God's Person and His purposes.
- We believe in general revelation, which is mediated through nature (Ps.19:1; Rom. 1:18-20), conscience (Rom. 2:14,15), and the providential ordering of history, as a universal witness to God's existence and character (Acts 14:17).
- We believe this general revelation is relative to human nature. God, having created us, knows how to communicate with us. God, by an act of His grace, has made this revelation known to man through the created order by reason and experience. Man's reason and experience are both mediators of revelation (Rom 1:19f).
- We believe that revelation must be particular or special to be effective. The secret nature of God and His will for man are provided by a supernatural revelatory disclosure, through God's acts (Acts 2:11) and words (Heb. 1:1-5), to a particular people (Ps. 78). This is called special revelation.
- We believe special revelation is a self-revelation of God to particular persons at definite historical times and places. God's revelation of His Person comes before and gives meaning to the revelation of His purposes. This self-disclosure is mediated progressively through historical events (Ex. 14), divine speech (Jer. 2:1-5), climaxing in the Incarnation (Jn. 1:1,14), and culminating in the inspired writings of the Apostles.
- We believe its purpose of special revelation is redemptive. It is to restore and guide Mankind into a redemptive relationship with God (Jn. 1:1-14; Rom. 15:4; Rev. 19:10).
- We believe this special revelation is mediated to Mankind in and through the books of Holy Scripture that are found in the Protestant Canon.
- We believe that the Holy Spirit created Scripture, in its entirety, as a divine revelation in written form (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21). Special revelation generates Scripture making it the primary mediator of special revelation. Both become inseparable.
- We believe in inspiration as the work in which God, by His Spirit, through human writers, gave us the Holy Scripture as His revealed Word. This belief in inspiration is grounded in the teaching of the Bible about inspiration (II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1:21). While the origin of Scripture is divine, the mode of inspiration remains, for the most part, a mystery.
- We believe that God in His work of inspiration utilized distinctive personalities and literary styles of the writers whom He had chosen and prepared.
- We believe that inspiration pertains to the whole of Scripture; that all it parts, down to the very words (Jn. 8:58; Gal. 3:16; Heb. 12:27) of the original manuscripts were given by divine inspiration (II Tim. 3:16; I Cor. 2:13). By "the whole" of Scripture We imply our belief in the unity and internal consistency of Scripture (Lk. 24:44f; II Pet. 3:15f). This also means, we believe special revelation and inspiration are completed with the N.T. Canon.
- We believe the Holy Spirit has so guarded this inspiration of Scripture to provide all generations accurate copies and translations of the original writings of Scripture.
- We believe that Scripture, having been given by divine inspiration, is infallible, so that, it is true and reliable in all the matters it addresses (Jn. 10:35). "Infallibility" in this sense means that divine inspiration preserves Scripture from all falsehood, fraud, or deceit (Tit. 1:1-3).
- We believe that the Holy Spirit bears witness to the Scriptures, assuring believers of the truthfulness of God's written Word (Jn. 16:13). I also believe that it is the inward work of the Holy Spirit that persuades us to believe and trust in Scripture as God's written Word.
- We believe in the clarity of Scripture, made possible by the Holy Spirit, so that the truth of the gospel can be known by all who read it (Dt. 30:11-14; Jn. 5:39).
- We believe that the Holy Spirit continues to illumine actively and graciously all believers to understand and rightfully interpret the inspired Scriptures. The Holy Spirit teaches, clarifies, and directs believers in the application of Scripture both in their individual lives and in the work and life of the Church (Jn. 14:26; 15:26; 16:13; I Jn. 2:20,27; I Cor. 2:12-16).
- We believe that the Scripture is the supreme written norm by which God binds the conscience, because it derives this authority from God through divine inspiration. Also, that the authority of the Church is subordinate to that of Scripture (Mt. 5:17f; Jn. 10:35; I Pet. 1:12; I Thess. 2:13; 4:2; II Thess. 2:15; 3:15; I Cor. 14:37).
- We believe that the confession of inspiration, infallibility, and full authority of Scripture is vital to a sound understanding of the whole Christian faith.