Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Means of Grace Par Excellence

Here is Herman Bavinck on the difference between the way Roman Catholics and the Reformed explained the relationship between the Word of God and the Church.
Protestants construe the relationship between Scripture and the church entirely differently than Rome. According to the latter, the church proceeds Scripture, the church was not built upon Scripture, but Scripture proceeded forth from the church. Therefore, the church in terms of its essence and existence does not need Scripture, but Scripture needs the church for its origin, collection, preservation, and interpretation. The Reformation reversed that relationship by placing the church upon the foundation of Scripture and by exalting Scripture above the church. Not the church, but Scripture as the Word of God became the means of grace par excellence. Even the sacrament was subordinated to the Word and apart from the Word it has no meaning or power. (Saved by Grace, p. 79)

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8