Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bavinck on The Relationship Between Scripture and the Church

By way of comparing the Roman Catholic and Protestant (Reformed) views of Scripture's relationship with the Church, Herman Bavinck provided a helpful statement (see full treatise here):  

Hence, the relationship between Scripture and the church is totally different in Protestantism than in Roman Catholicism.  In Rome’s view the church is anterior to Scripture; the church is not built upon Scripture, but Scripture arose from the church; Scripture does indeed need the church, but the church does not need Scripture. The Reformation, however, again put the church on the foundation of Scripture and elevated Scripture high above the church. Not the church but Scripture, the Word of God, became the means of grace par excellence. Even the sacrament was subordinated to the Word and had neither meaning nor power apart from that Word. Now, in accordance with Christ’s ordinance, that Word was indeed administered in the midst of the congregation of believers by the minister, but this did not alter the fact that that Word was [also] put into everyone’s hands, that it was plain to everyone who studied it with a desire for salvation, that it exerted its power not only when it was proclaimed in public but also when it was studied and read at home. In that way Christians, who accepted that Word with a believing heart, were liberated from sacerdotalism. No longer did any person or thing stand between them and Christ. By faith they appropriated the whole of salvation, and in the sacrament they received the sign and seal of that reality. Thus the Reformation changed the Roman Catholic doctrine of the means of grace.

1 comment:

Woody Woodward said...

At least the Catholic church still holds something as sacred? The main line churches today hold nothing as sacred, it’s all conjecture. Our culture holds only the philosophy that embrace the teachings that there is no longer such an intolerant doctrine as “absolute truth.”