************ Sermon on Scripture Alone ************


By: Rev. Adrian Dieleman


This sermon was preached on October 26, 2008


2 Timothy 3:16-17
"The Bible Alone"
Reformation Day Service - 2008

-sermons are preached on it
-it is used for Bible Study and discussion groups
-study guides lead us through it
-it is read and studied and memorized for personal devotions
-many people say it deepens their walk with God
-it teaches the Trinity
-it tells us about God's deep and everlasting love
What am I talking about?

I bet you think I am talking about the Bible. After all, "Sola Scriptura" was one of the rallying cries of the Reformation. I am NOT talking about this book (HOLD UP BIBLE); rather, I am talking about this book (HOLD UP "THE SHACK").

How many of you recognize this book (HOLD UP "THE SHACK")? You see it everywhere: Costco, Amazon.com, Borders, Christian bookstores. You can read reviews in The Banner, World Magazine, Christianity Today, Newsweek, USA Today.

A couple of months ago, two guys in the Cycling Club were talking about "The Shack" as we were biking up to Badger. According to the one guy, it deepened his walk with God, it helped him to understand God better, and it was making him a better Christian. I wanted to throw up.

Let me mention a couple of other books:
-"The Prayer of Jabez"
-the "Left Behind" series
-the "Da Vinci Code"
-the "Gospel of Thomas"
-the "Gospel of Judas"
-"The Purpose Driven Life"
-the Frank Peretti novels on spiritual warfare
-"The Late Great Planet Earth"

Guess what was said and done about everyone of these books?
-sermons are preached on them
-they are used for Bible Study and discussion groups
-study guides are developed around them
-they are read and studied and memorized for personal devotions
-many people say these books deepen their walk with God

John Calvin says our hearts are "idol factories." Nowhere is this more clear then by looking at the religion section of any bookstore. Book after book that people read instead of the Bible. Book after book that people look to for direction instead of the Bible. Our hearts are so false. All too quickly and all too easily we turn away from the Bible and read and study anything but.

"Sola Scripture." The Bible alone. Not the Bible plus "The Shack." Not the Bible plus "The Purpose Driven Life." Not the Bible plus "The Prayer of Jabez." The Bible alone is our guide for doctrine and life.

Why did God give us the Bible? Remember what I read from Paul's letter to Timothy? "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

Is "The Shack" useful for teaching? Is "The Purpose Driven Life" useful for rebuking? Is "The Prayer of Jabez" useful for correcting? Is the "Left Behind" series useful for training in righteousness? Is the "Da Vinci Code" or "The Gospel of Thomas" or "The Gospel of Judas" what God uses so we may be thoroughly equipped for every good work? You know the answer: "No, No, No, No." "Sola Scriptura." The Bible alone is our guide for doctrine and life.

Do you see what the idol factory of our heart does with a book like "The Shack"? It goes back to the Roman Catholic way of doing things. The Bible is not enough. We need the Bible plus something else.

Let me say a bit more about "The Shack." I understand some of our members either have read it or are thinking of reading it. I am not going to tell you NOT to read it. I am going to tell you NOT to read it instead of the Bible. I also want to warn you that it is full of heresy.

In "The Shack," a man named Mack, grieving over the murder of his daughter, is called by God to the scene of the crime. There he meets the Holy Trinity. God the Father is an African-American woman named "Papa" who likes to cook. God the Son is a Jewish man with a carpenter's belt. God the Holy Spirit is an elusive Asian woman named Sarayu. Where is the holiness and awesomeness of God in a portrayal like this?

"The Shack" is anti-church. "I don't create institutions," says the Jesus of the novel. "Never have, never will." What institution is in mind here? The church, of course. But what does the Bible tell us? Jesus is the Head of the church. The church is His body. The church is His bride. Jesus loves the church and died for the church.

(2 Timothy 3:16-17) All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, (17) so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

This is the first sola of the Reformation. The Bible alone.
You can e-mail our pastor at: Pastor, Trinity United Reformed Church
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