"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth." I Timothy 3:15
The Bible: Our Only Rule of Faith
The Bible is the all sufficient rule of faith and practice, and it is as much a rule
of practice as it is of faith.
The commission given by our Master in Matt. 28:19-20, commands the church to “teach
... all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” The specification of one thing in
law is the prohibition of everything else. Since what the church is to teach is specified,
“all things whatsoever I have commanded,” it follows that all things not commanded
are forbidden. It follows that the church is shut up to the things commanded. There
is therefore no place for the exercise of private opinion except it be in our effort
to understand the things commanded.
Any doctrine or institution that is outside of the purview of the Scriptures is wrong.
In 2 Tim. 3:16-17 we read: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is
profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
If this is true, and to dispute it is to contradict the words of inspiration, it
follows that we are “thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Then we do not need
to invent plans for work, since the Scriptures “thoroughly furnished us unto all
good works.” If the work we propose to do is good we can learn all about it in the
Scriptures for “the man of God is thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
From these passages we are compelled to conclude that there must be a “thus saith
the Lord” for all we do. We dare not organize a church, a prayer meeting, a convention,
an association, a school, a board, a committee, an evangelistic movement, or anything
else without a “thus saith the Lord,” because the Scriptures “thoroughly furnished
us unto all good works,” and we are to “observe all things whatsoever I have commanded
you,” no more no less.
By the Scriptures, the all sufficient rule of faith and practice, must every doctrine
and every truth be tried. If it be allowed that reason or sanctified common sense
shall determine in matters of faith and practice, it shall still be an open question
as to whose reason and whose sanctified common sense shall make the decision. If
reason or common sense shall be the rule of any part of faith and practice then it
is certain that we shall see division, contention, strife. Let the Bible be the rule
of faith and practice and our only difficulty shall be understanding our rule.
The primary difference between Baptists and Roman Catholics is that Baptists contend
that the Scriptures are the all sufficient rule of faith and practice, while the
Catholics deny this and claim that reason, or sanctified common sense, of the church
should be the rule of faith and practice.
If Baptists forsake this cardinal and fundamental principle, it shall not be long
until they shall cease to be Baptists. They shall be at sea without chart or compass.
Concerning what the Scriptures teach concerning the Way of Salvation, Baptism, the
Lord’s Supper, Church Polity, Missions, and Providence. While we hear the Word of
God on these subjects, let us remember that this Word is the only and all sufficient
rule of faith and practice.