"Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth."
I believe we are living in an exciting era. It is a period in church history when the debate over the nature and sufficiency of God's Word is once again at the forefront of peoples' minds. We are hearing the rumblings of the sixteenth-century argument of truth versus error—the Reformation cry of "Sola Scriptura" . . . the Scriptures alone!
In recent years there has been much hullabaloo over the accord that was struck between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Roman Catholic Church. They announced that the issues of the Reformation are no longer divisive issues today.
I read an issue of Newsweek magazine with the cover article featuring "The Meaning of Mary: A Struggle over Her Role Grows within the Church." The article read:
There is an incredible surge going on within the Catholic community to have a new dogma made. More than 100,000 signatures are arriving every month in Rome from people around the world who want to see Mary take the next step in a progression of promotions that began in 431, when she was given the title "Mother of God," to 1854, when she was declared sinless, to 1950, when she was declared to have been taken up bodily into heaven instead of dying. Now, the movement is gaining ground to have her formally declared Co-Redeemer.
The article explained that the late Pope John Paul was quite convinced that Mary is the co-redeemer of humanity. In one announcement he made in April, 1997, he postulated:
Having created man "male and female," the Lord also wants to place the New Eve beside the New Adam [the new Adam being Christ] in the Redemption. Mary, the New Eve, thus becomes a perfect icon of the church. We can therefore turn to the Blessed Virgin, trustfully imploring her aid in the singular role entrusted to her by God, the role of co-operator in the redemption.
What I found interesting is that Newsweek, although a secular magazine, had enough insight to reply, "This view seems to contradict the basic New Testament belief that there is one God and one mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).
The core of the Reformation remains—what do the Scriptures say, and are they the final authority?
Whether it's our view of Mary, Purgatory, salvation by faith alone, or any other issue, the church today needs as much reform as it did in the 16th century, and our reformation cry must echo the cry of old: "Sola Scriptura" . . . the Scriptures alone!
God's Word is the only truth that teaches what is sufficient for faith and practice, and the only truth that answers the question, "What must I do to be saved?"
No matter what century we're in, there is no higher authority on earth than the Scriptures
. . . alone!
Prayer Point: Pray that God will renew your vigor for studying His Word. If the Bible has become just a collection of stories or characters to you, or a book that you open only on Sundays, pray that God will give you new eyes to see His truth, and a renewed mind to grasp it.
Extra Refreshment: Read 2 Timothy 3.
Are you thirsty? If so, some refreshing water is here. Not in another how-to book, but in the ever-flowing, ever-living fountain of God's Word. In this 90-day devotional, Stephen will take you to streams of conviction, encouragement, hope, and challenge, that only flow from the pages of Scripture. These waters of refreshment are prayerfully offered to refresh the despondent, restore the delinquent, and encourage every disciple who desires to know God more deeply.