“But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.” (Luke 16:28)
I preached yesterday on Scripture’s sufficiency. The specific application of this doctrine yesterday was Scripture’s sufficiency in regard to evangelistic ministry. It is as R. B. Kuiper once said: “It is a matter of supreme importance to maintain that the Word of God is the one and only indispensable means by which the Holy Spirit works faith in the hearts of men. Although this does not mean that the Word always operates in isolation from every other conceivable factor, another factor never serves as a substitute for the Word. At most it is only auxiliary and subsidiary to the Word” (God-Centred Evangelism, p. 141).
But the doctrine of Scripture’s sufficiency is also crucial for all of Christian life and ministry. Paul was insisting to Timothy that the Scripture was sufficient to guide the life and ministry of God’s people when he said, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Tim. 3:16-17). While the word “sufficiency” is not everywhere present, the concept of Scripture’s sufficiency for the Christian life is thoroughly biblical (see for example Psalm 119).
This principle must be routinely reasserted in the church because there is an inevitable tendency in the church toward doctrinal decline through practical laxity in the application of theology. This tendency to not appreciate the sufficiency of Scripture has shown itself in many ways through church history but the classic example is the history of Roman Catholicism. As Herman Bavinck insightfully comments: “The history of the Roman Catholic Church shows us the gradual process of how a false principle creeps in. It first subordinates itself to Christ and his Word, then puts itself on a par with him, later elevates itself above him, to end in the complete replacement of Scripture by tradition, of Christ by the pope, of the church community by the church institution.” (Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena, p. 492).