Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Classic Anabaptist View On Scripture

By William Higgins, pastor of Cedar Street Mennonite Church

View of Scripture - High view of scripture, but have a unique take on it

Like Protestants they accepted the idea of Scripture Alone: Scripture is the supreme authority over the church.

- Catholic popes, councils or traditions are not the authority. Indebtedness to Luther here.

- But they went on to say that teachers like Luther, Zwingli and Calvin are not the authority – they too are not Scripture.

Also accepted from Protestants - The literal meaning of Scripture is accessible don’t need the pope or tradition to make sense of it

but added to this – with the help of the Spirit, it is available to the common person – not just scholars

favorite text: Matthew 11:25 - "I thank you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that you have hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to little children”

these are radical twists of Protestant ideas – but the next two points are really radical – go way beyond the Protestant positions at this time . . .

The New Testament is the final and complete revelation and the final word on all issues. The Bible is not flat. The teaching of Jesus and the apostles takes precedence over the Law and Prophets.

The Old Testament has the character of promise. The New testament is all about fulfillment. Now that the promises are being fulfilled this should be the primary focus - especially the gospels and the Sermon on the Mount.

Since there is movement on issues of teaching - you need to see what the New Testament says on any issue

favorite text - Matthew 5:38-39 - "You have heard that it was said, . . . But I say to you”

second really radical idea . . .

The point of reading and interpreting the Bible is to put it into practice

To put it another way - We literally do whatever Jesus and the apostles teach, whatever the consequences.

so there is a real practical focus to reading and interpreting the bible,

but this also results in a different approach to reform.

It is not enough to take the medieval church and tinker with it (Luther, Zwingli). One must get back past the fall of the church with Roman Emperor Constantine and restore the practices of the New Testament church. This is the goal

Summary: Scripture alone, available to the common Christian, using the standard of Jesus and the New Testament, with the goal of recreating the New Testament church

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