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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons :  MENNO SIMONS on the Authority and Inerrancy of the Scriptures.

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  MENNO SIMONS on the Authority and Inerrancy of the Scriptures.

The Authority and Inerrancy of the Scriptures.

Dear reader. I admonish and advise you, if you seek God with all your heart and would not be deceived, do not depend upon men and the doctrine of men, however old, holy and excellent it may be esteemed, for one theologian is against the other, both in ancient and modern times; but build upon Christ and His Word alone, upon the sure teaching and practice of His holy apostles, and you will through the grace of God be kept safe from all false doctrine and from the power of the devil, and walk before your God with a confident and pious mind (22a; I:37).

This holy Christian church has only one doctrine - the pure, unmixed and unadulterated Word of God, the Gospel of grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. All teachings and decrees that do not accord with the doctrine of Christ, be they the teachings and opinions of doctors, decrees of popes, ecumenical councils, or anything else, are but teachings and commandments of men (Matt. 19:5), doctrines of devils (I Tim. 4:1) and therefore accursed (Gal. 7:8). We write and teach nothing but the pure, heavenly Word and the perfect commandments of Jesus Christ and His apostles (399; II:193b).

My dear brethren, against the aforesaid doctrines, ordinances, sacraments and life, no imperial decrees, papal bulls, or councils of the learned have any authority; no old usage, no human; philosophy, no Origen, no Augustine, no Luther or Bucer, no prison, banishment or murdering will avail. It is, I repeat, the eternal, imperishable Word of God, and will abide forever. (445b; II:244b).

The first sign by which the Church of Christ may be known, is the salutary and unadulterated doctrine of His holy divine word. - In short, where the Church of Christ is, .... there His word is preached purely and rightly. The Church of Christ knows no other doctrine but the Word of the Lord (299a; II:81a).

I pray all God-fearing hearts, for Jesus' sake, to submit reason to the Word of the Lord and to think and believe of God as the Scriptures require and teach, not to ascend higher or descend lower, but walk with a humble, contrite heart before the Lord and His church, and they shall find peace of conscience (563b; II:370a).

Think you, my friends, that the Lord is a dreamer or His Word a fable? Ah, no! not a letter will fall to the ground of all that He spoke (129b; 1:175a).

But that he appeals to Tertullian, Cyprian, Origen and Augustine, my reply is, first, If these writers can support their teaching with the Word and command of God, we will admit that they are right. If not, then it is a doctrine of men and accursed according to the Scriptures. Gal. 1:8. (271b; II:49a)

We tell you the truth and lie not. If any one under the canopy of heaven can show us from Scripture that Jesus Christ, the Son of the Almighty God, the eternal wisdom and truth, whom alone we acknowledge as the lawgiver and teacher of the New Testament, has commanded one word to that effect, or that His holy apostles have ever taught or practiced the like, there is no need of an attempt to compel us by tyranny and torture. Only show us God's Word and our matter is settled. For we seek nothing else (God who is omniscient knows) than in our weakness to walk in obedience according to the divine ordinances, word and will, for which we poor persecuted people are shamefully reviled, banished, robbed and slain in many countries. (16b; I:31a).

Our salvation is wholly grounded upon and comprised in Jesus Christ and His holy Word and never in men nor in any other doctrine (448a; II:247a).

Again, I have no visions or angelic revelations, neither do I seek or desire such, lest I be thereby deceived. For Christ's Word alone is sufficient for me. If I do not follow His testimony, then verily all is lost. And even if I had such revelations, which is not the case, they could not deviate from the Word and spirit of Christ, or else they would be only imagination, seduction and satanic deception. (448b; II:248a).

Inasmuch as I daily see these terrible dangers, and from the beginning many an unwise soul has been misled, and many are yet misled by false prophecies, smooth words, seeming holiness, lying wonders, boasting and false promises of the antichrists and false prophets who under the cloak of God's Word have ever sought their own honor and advantage, as was the case with the Romish popes, with John of Leyden at Münster and with others, - therefore I deem it needful and well sincerely to warn and admonish my beloved readers, not to accept my doctrine as the Gospel of Jesus Christ until they have investigated for themselves and found it to agree with the Spirit and Word of the Lord, that their faith may not be founded on me nor on any other teacher or writer, but solely on Jesus Christ. (449a; II:248b).

Nevertheless, every reader should know that however learned the before mentioned scholars and however unlearned I may be the opinions of us all are of equal avail before God; for in divine things nothing that is pleasing to God can be instituted or practiced by us without the command of the Holy Scriptures, may we be ever so learned. For in the Holy Scriptures we are not pointed to these or other scholars, but to Jesus Christ alone. Whenever, therefore, such highly renowned men by their subtle sophistry and artful philosophy would take from us, or change, the plain, express ordinances of Jesus Christ and His apostles. we must, surely consider their doctrine in that respect as doctrine of man and false teaching (404b; II:199b).

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