Many claim to believe in the “authority” of Scripture, but be careful.
Often, they have adopted the philosophy of existential “theologians” like Karl Barth …
Who taught that Scripture is “authoritative” only as a helpful but flawed jumping point to personal experiences and “revelation” which, in turn, transcend and are more authentic than Scripture.
That more authentic “revelation” may be their own concept of some novel “gospel” or assertion of “eternal purpose”, their own mystic or existential perception of Jesus, their own claims of going “beyond” Biblical Christianity into “deeper life” …
Or any number of other things which they end up elevating over the true authority of Scrupture as God’s written Word.
But they don’t want to come right out and say their “revelation” is more authentic than the Bible itself. They know that won’t sit well with others.
So they say they believe in the “authority” of the Bible, but don’t say they mean “only so far” and no further than their own sensibilities, experiences and perceptions.
In doing so, they are being disingenuous in their use of words …
In order to demean even Scripture itself as God’s written Word.
The central question comes down to this:
Is Scripture – in and of itself – the one and only written Word of God, and if so, does it have sole plenary (ultimate) authority between us as to all matters it addresses …
Including faith, experience, perceptions, sensibilities, doctrine and life itself?
Or is it “authoritative” only to the extent it supports some additional, more authentic private experience or “revelation”?
On this, there can be no compromise. The plenary authority of Scripture as the one and only written Word of God is a true “essential” of the faith.
Otherwise, there is no basis for any other essential, because otherwise everyone then becomes their own standard for whatever they choose to believe.
Nor is there any basis for finding common, external criteria for the validity of our important – but nonetheless subjective – individual relationships with Christ …
Which is why such people never seem able to form and sustain viable local churches or mature, Biblical disciples.
Don’t be deceived by those who twist them to promote novel ideologies that lead away from a vibrant relationship with Christ as the Living Word, in submission to the authority and discipline of Scripture as His written Word.
Anything less is a lie.