reminded of the history of religious thought. The stiffest doctrine of Scripture inerrancy has not prevented warring interpretations; and those who would place the seat of authority in reason and conscience are forced to admit that outside illumination may do much for both. In some sense the religion of the spirit is a very important fact, but when it sets up in opposition to the religion of a book, the light that is in it is apt to turn to darkness.?
10. While inspiration constitutes Scripture an authority more trustworthy than are individual reason or the creeds of the church, the only ultimate authority is Christ himself.
Christ has not so constructed Scripture as to dispense with his personal presence and teaching by his Spirit. The Scripture is the imperfect mirror of Christ. It is defective, yet it reflects him and leads to him. Authority resides not in it, but in him, and his Spirit enables the individual Christian and the collective church progressively to distinguish the essential from the nonessential, and so to perceive the truth as it is in Jesus. In thus judging Scripture and interpreting Scripture, we are not rationalists, but are rather believers in him who promised to be with us always even unto the end of the world and to lead us by his Spirit into all the truth.
James speaks of the law as a mirror ( <590123>James 1:23-25 ? ?like unto a man beholding his natural face in a mirror? looketh into the perfect law?); the law convicts of sin because it reflects Christ. Paul speaks of the gospel as a mirror ( <470318>2 Corinthians 3:18 ? we all, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord?); the gospel transforms us because it reflects Christ. Yet both law and gospel are imperfect; they are like mirrors of polished metal, whose surface is often dim, and whose images are obscure; ( <461312>1 Corinthians 13:12 ? for now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face?) even inspired men know only in part, and prophesy only in part. Scripture itself is the conception and utterance of a child, to be done away when that which is perfect is come, and we see Christ as he is.
Authority is the right to impose beliefs or to command obedience. The only ultimate authority is God, for he is truth, justice and love. But he can impose beliefs and command obedience only as he is known. Authority belongs therefore only to God revealed, and because Christ is God revealed, he can say: ?All authority hath been given unto me in heaven and on earth.? ( <402818>Matthew 28:18). The final authority in religion is Jesus Christ. Every one of his revelations of God is authoritative. Both nature and human nature are such revelations. He exercises his authority
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