Daniel Akin on Sola Scriptura

From Daniel Akin in Perspectives on Church Government, p. 38:

“This was one of the battles cries of the Reformation. It is here that apostolic authority is properly located. Apostolic authority is communicated by the canonical writings of the apostles, which carry with them apostolic authority. The Bible as the Word of God [is] thebeliever’s sole authority for faith and practice. It teaches him what to believe and how to live. God has graced the church with both men and women who possess the gift of teaching. They are invaluable to thewell-being of the church, and their importance should never be minimized. Still, God has located ultimate and final authority in his infallible and inerrant Word (Matt. 5:17-18; John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Tim. 2:16-17; 2 Pet. 1:20-21).“Carson addresses this well when he writes, ‘Whereas Christians are encouraged to support and submit to spiritual leadership (e.g. Heb. 13:17), such encouragement must not be considered a blank check; churches are responsible for and have the authority to discipline false teachers and must recognize an antecedent commitment not to a pastor but to the truth of the gospel.’ No believer can supersede the Bible as the final court of decision. Gifted pastor-teachers (Eph. 4:11) and faithful elders ‘who labor in the Word and doctrine’ (1 Tim. 5:17 NKJV) are essential, and they exercise the more necessary spiritual gifts (1 Cor. 12:28). However, responsibility to live under the lordship of Jesus Christ is directly related to every believer’s obedience to the Word. The work of the Spirit in concert with the Word equips and qualifies the believer to judge and test all things. This responsibility is not limited to a special group within the church, not even the leadership.

Doctrinal accountability is the responsibility of all believers in the body of Christ as they submit themselves to the lordship of Christ under the authority of his Word. As Clowney notes, ‘Church authority, grounded in the Word of Christ, is also limited to it. Christian obedience to church rule is obedience in the Lord, for His Word governs the church.’ ”

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