University of Cincinnati

Everything listed under: authority

  • Refuting the Watchtower

    "And behold, some men were bringing on a bed a man who was paralyzed, and they were seeking to bring him in and lay him before Jesus, but finding no way to bring him in, because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the midst before Jesus. And when he saw their faith, he said, 'Man, your sins are forgiven you.' And the scribes and the Pharisees began to question, saying, 'Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?'" 

    "When Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answered them,'Why do you question in your hearts? Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Rise and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins'—he said to the man who was paralyzed—'I say to you, rise, pick up your bed and go home.' And immediately he rose up before them and picked up what he had been lying on and went home, glorifying God." (Luke 5:18-25)
    The next time you have some Jehovah Witnesses (JW) ring your doorbell, don't feel like you have to duck behind the couch! Use the above passage to cause doubt in their mind regarding everything they've been taught by the Watchtower Society. (Make sure you're polite, humble, and loving while talking with them.)

    This passage of Scripture has not been tainted (yet) in the New World Translation (NWT) so have them use their own bible. As you begin reading, emphasize verse 21, where it says, "Who is this who speaks blasphemies? Who can forgive sins but God alone?

    The JW's will probably try to stop here to twist what Jesus was saying or attempt to leave. Share some verses with them that DO show God forgives sin, but return to Luke 5 and continue reading the passage. It is very important to finish the passage from Luke (Mark 2:6-12 is the same account and can also be used).

    When you get to verse 24, put emphasis on "the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins." They should begin making the connection and a seed of doubt will be planted inside their head. Will your visitor drop to their knees and cry out to God in repentance at this point? Probably not. In fact, you probably won't notice any difference, but as they leave, pray that these misguided people will think about what you've shared with them.

    Remember, you must be loving and humble in your interactions with them. "Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God." (James 1:19-20). Your actions will speak louder than your words. Try putting yourself into their shoes and imagine how you would want someone to correct your beliefs.

    Isaiah 43:25
    Psalm 103:2, 3
    Psalm 130:3, 4
    Mark 2:6-12
  • Is Scripture our Sole Authority?

    While the Bible does not explicitly state, “Scripture is the Christian’s sole authority regarding everything pertaining to God,” it does give clear indication that nothing is more authoritative than or as reliable as the Word of God. Let’s look at a few verses:

    “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 complete, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

    In this passage, we see that “All Scripture is breathed out by God,” which means that everything written in the Bible is from God. While He used men to write the words, God was the ultimate Author that gave them the words to write. We also see above “that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” This implies that we need nothing else to guide us regarding the things of God, because if we did need something else, the “man of God” wouldn't be complete.

    “No prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21).

    This section further shows us that the Bible is not just someone’s own ideas, but rather a supernatural work created by God. There are many prophesies in the Scriptures that were foretold and fulfilled hundreds of years later, giving additional credibility to the authority of the Bible. Also, there are no contradictions found in all of Scripture. There may be some hard to understand verses, but all supposed contractions are easily explained by a thorough examination of the Word of God.

    “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19)

    While this warning is in the book of Revelation, it’s placement at the end of the whole Bible leads me to believe that this was meant to advise people not to mess with the entire written Word of God. How can we test what is Scriptural and what isn't? Use Scripture! That sounds odd, but if something contradicts what we already know is true from God’s Word, then it is not biblical and should not be given any authority.

    Of course, if something DOES line up with Scripture, we still shouldn't add it to the Bible. Partially, because of the warning from Revelation, but also because it isn't really needed since the Word of God has already addressed the issue. Whenever someone offers "new revelation" from God, even if it's not explicitly expressed in the Bible, we should distance ourselves from that person.

    "But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:8)

    While this isn't an exhaustive explanation for why Scripture is our sole authority on the things of God, it should hopefully give you a better understanding of why we believe in Sola Scriptura… Scripture is our sole authority.

    For further study: