Rediscovering the Bible as normative for Christian faith & practice
 Scripture used in this article is The Holy Bible : New International Version. Grand Rapids : Zondervan, 1996, c1984, S. Is 55:7-8
I read a lot of ministry magazines and journals to keep up with the current thought and trends in the church around the world. One curious trend right now is an emphasis on rediscovering the Bible as normative for faith and practice. This may seem a little strange to you if you are a member or regular attender of an Independent Christian I serve a church which is a part of a movement called the “Restoration Movement.” This movement of independent churches has from it beginning made its primary focus restoring the life and practice of the 1st century church. Consequently we have such slogans as, “No creed but Christ, no book but the Bible.” This causes us to always refer back to the scripture to find our practice and faith not a common book of order or the latest decision of a general convention or headquarters.
Most other church groups do not operate this way. They have a denominational headquarters or a general convention which dictate how the congregations operate, who can fill the pulpit, what doctrine they can preach and other things they think are prudent. This by the way is why so many denominations have become so liberal as to endorse homosexual marriage or even homosexual pastors and priests. Their yard stick is not the bible alone, but their own thoughts and ideas, most often shaped by our sick culture. Much of what our culture declares as politically correct is the product of our own human, carnal thinking. However, Isaiah 55:8, reminds us that, “my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.”
So, back to rediscovering the Bible as normative for faith and practice. What this does is bring the scripture back to prominence in the Christian life. Something that seems obvious to us is like a new discovery to those whose Christian life has been formed and shaped by denominationalism which tends to be gathered around a list of “good Christian rules.” The following is a short list of Modern/Ancient rules for good Christians, as “discovered” recently by one congregation.
“Rules of Life” for the leadership at the Church of ______ ___ _______ (This is a real church which I will allow to remain anonymous.)
1. Living in Jesus. We will have regular habits of being with Jesus and allowing Him to transform us into the Trinitarian life. (Habits like reading the scripture, paying attention to God, confessing our sinfulness to one another in safe groups)
2. Living in Transformation. We intentionally speak into each other’s lives for the good of each other.
3. Living in Mission. We will be in the world, but not of the world as we seek to serve the least of those around us.
4. Living in Reconciliation. We will expect to experience conflict and uncover disorder in our relationships, but we refuse to live in unresolved conflict and will practice “the peace of Christ” among us.
5. Living in Good Speech. We will always believe and speak the best of each other and not entertain rumors, gossip, demeaning talk, or slander of each other.
6. Living in Submission to One Another. We submit to one another in love, believing that our community will most often have the wisdom we need, but we will not allow submission to each other replace our call to submit first to God.
All of these ideas (although no scripture is mentioned) come from scripture. They are good and workable because they come from scripture. Can you find bible verses that support them?
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dr. Max high is a pastor serving a bi-lingual, multi-ethnic chrch in South Florida. He has been in ministry since 1974. As co-founder and director of The West Indies Christian Mission he and his wife served almost 20 years as a church planter in the Caribbean. You may follow his blog at Http://drmaxhigh.blogspot.com