The Truth Part 13: Progressive Christianity (3) – The Authority of Scripture – Sermon by Steven Loots

Greetings. We are continuing in the series on the Truth and particularly on Progressive Christianity.

Read 2 Timothy 3:10 – 17

10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, 11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. 12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, 13 while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God[a] may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.


Everything stands or falls depending on your view of Scripture. What is the Bible? Just another book? One of many sacred writings? Something that contains some good advice? Do we need the whole Bible, or just the words of Jesus?

As we look at the dangers posed by Progressive Christianity, we see that it all comes back to the Bible. If anything could sum up Progressive Christianity in a sentence it would be that they have drifted away from relying on the authority of the Bible, to look rather to experience, conscience and feelings.

One of the tenants of faith expressed by the Progressive Christian movement is the following:

Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience “God,” the Sacredness, Oneness and Unity of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom, including Earth, in our spiritual journey”

Comments you might hear:

  • ​The Bible is a human book…
  • I disagree with the Apostle Paul on that issue…
  • The Bible condones immorality, so we are obligated to reject what it says in certain places…
  • ​The Bible “contains” the word of God…


“There are many books today that claim to be the Word of God. The Koran—the Islam holy book—claims to be the Word of God. The Book of Mormon claims to be the Word of God. The Hindus believe the Bhagavad Vita is the source of eternal truth. Karl Marx, with an atheistic world view, claimed his writing, The Communist Manifesto, was the ultimate truth. Progressives would say that they all contain truth and that we should learn from all of them. In their mind the Bible is in no way elevated above over sacred books – even though they claim to be Christians and even though they profess to believe in the teachings of Jesus.”

We as Christians believe the Bible to be the Word of God and the eternal source of truth we live by.”

In their teaching on this subject there are strong links to other tenants of their core doctrines. For example.

  • If you hold firmly that the Bible is the only Word of God, they would say that you are closed minded or small minded.
  • In reading all of the other books, as books of faith, they would say that they are continuing to search and study and learn as part of the lifelong journey of gaining greater knowledge.
  • By holding onto the Bible; they would argue that Christians have stopped searching, or are no longer learning and have closed off their intellect and are narrow-minded.

Secondly, looking back to the previous message, we said that Progressive Christians often use the same terms that we do; but give them new meanings.

  • When we look at the Bible we use words like inspiration inerrancy and authority.
  • Many progressives would use these terms but give them completely different meanings.
  • For them inspired becomes inspiring. In other words, the Bible inspires us to live more like Jesus rather than it is inspired by the living God.

To counter some of these arguments let’s make sure we understand what we mean by these words because this will solidify what we believe about the Bible and why we say that the Bible alone has authority in our lives.

Firstly, what is our view of biblical inspiration? Where does it come from? Can it be trusted?

The Christian view of biblical inspiration.

Inspiration comes from the Greek word “theopneustos” out of second Timothy 3:16 which tells us that

  • all Scripture is inspired by God.
  • All Scripture is God breathed.
  • In other words, we could say it is expired by God therefore inspired by God
    • God breathed it out,
    • it came out of God,
    • it is not only given and filled and ruled by the Spirit of God but also: He is actively out-breathing and spreading abroad and making known the Word of God.
    • In other words, God breathed out scripture and therefore Paul was not saying that Scripture is inspiring (although this is also true) but that Scripture is a divine product and must be approached and estimated as such.

Furthermore, Paul’s meaning is very clear then that all Scripture,

  • everything that comes under the category of Scripture has its place amongst the sacred writings and because it is God breathed it is profitable for the guiding of both faith and life.
  • In other words, The Bible is inspired by God and when we say it is exhaled (inspired) by God we say that the Bible is of divine origin and quality.

The question arises what was inspired, the ideas or the actual written words?

  • Did God give the writers of the Bible an idea and allow them to work it out for themselves using their own words, ideas and background?
  • Was this original idea of God then heavily influenced by culture, lack of education, limited vocabulary, or a misunderstanding of what God was perhaps trying to say?
    • What is inspired, is the actual written product.
    • It is scripture itself, the written text, that is God breathed.

The essential idea here is that all Scripture has the same character as what the Prophets’ sermons had, first when preached and then when written.

 19 We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. 20 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation of things. 21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

                                                                                                                                2 Peter 1: 19 – 21

Peter explains to us the divine origin of every prophecy of the Scripture. In other words, Scripture is not a human’s word, or the fruit of human thought, nor is it art or literature in origin.

  • It is God’s Word,
    • spoken through men’s lips or written with man’s pen.
  • In other words Scripture has a double authorship and man is only the secondary author; the primary author, through whose initiative, prompting and enlightenment, and under whose superintendence, each human writer did his work, is God the Holy Spirit.
  • Therefore, we can say, that inspired Scripture is
    • the written revelation,
    • the biblical record of God’s self-disclosure in redemptive history
    • and is not merely human testimony to that revelation,
    • it is in itself revelation.

When it comes to the revelatory process through which God gave the church his saving work in history, and his own authoritative interpretation of its place in his eternal plan, The Bible is the result of God’s work.

  • Inspiration, therefore, guarantees the truth of all that the Bible asserts, just as the inspiration of the prophets guaranteed the truth of the representation of the mind of God.

Men’s role in introducing the Bible was merely to transmit what he had received directly from the Holy Spirit.

  • This does not disregard its human contribution within the historical research, theological meditation, linguistics style, etc.; however theologically, from the standpoint of content, The Bible regards the human writers as having contributed nothing and Scripture is being entirely the creation of God.
  • This has always been the standpoint of Christians throughout history from the prophets and the apostles, throughout the early church and until liberal theology made its appearance.