Pentecostals and Scripture


In my last post I mentioned the threat to Sola Scriptura that comes from not putting our theology into practice. Our theology tells us that prophecy must be judged by Scripture, Scripture being the ultimate authority. Not only is Sola Scriptura threatened when this isn't carried out in practice, but the Church (and individual Christians) can greatly suffer.

However, this is not the only threat to Sola Scriptura facing Pentecostals at the moment. As Keith Warrington has recently pointed out (relying on research carried out by William Kay) 'in a survey of UK Pentecostal leaders, reported in 2004 ... nearly 40% disagreed with inerrancy, accepting that there were errors in the Bible.' (Warrington, Pentecostal Theology, 184). Now it must be admitted that nearly all of these leaders believed that the Bible was 'infallible'. Thus they weren't saying that the Bible was completely unreliable, they were just limiting the areas in which they considered it to be completely true.

Yet, if we take the Bible to contain errors, that necessarily damages the Bible's supreme position of authority. Why? Because either we know where the errors are or we don't. If we do, then there is an authority higher than the Bible which has been used to reveal the errors (probably 'scholarship' or 'reason'). If we don't, then we don't know which bits of the Bible aren't true and therefore not authoritative, leaving us in a somewhat dubious position with the whole.

So inerrancy and Sola Scriptura go hand in hand. Any other position than inerrancy weakens trust in Sola Scriptura.

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The Tenets of the Apostolic Church

The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

The virgin birth, sinless life, atoning death, triumphant resurrection, ascension, and abiding intercession of our Lord Jesus Christ; His second coming, and millennial reign upon earth.

Justification and Sanctification of the believer through the finished work of Christ.

The Baptism of the Holy Ghost for believers, with signs following.

The nine gifts of the Holy Ghost for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the Church, which is the body of Christ.

The Sacraments of Baptism by immersion and of the Lord's Supper.

The Divine inspiration and authority of the Holy Scriptures.

Church government by apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, elders and deacons.

The possibility of falling from grace.

The obligatory nature of tithes and offerings.