Luther and Sola Scriptura

lutherIn my study of Luther’s family life, I came across an interesting statement by Atkinson. He writes, “Every schoolboy knows of the legend of his [i.e. Luther’s] throwing the inkpot at the apparition of the devil. But few remember he did the same when an apparition of Christ came to him. The latter was more deadly and deceiving than the former. He treated them both with short shrift and turned more deeply to Die Schriften. He considered all visions and apparitions whether they were of Christ, as angels, of the devil, as the supreme deception of Satan in his warfare against God’s servants, and to be abhorred. God had once and for all given Christ, and left His people with the Bible through which he conveyed His ever-present Spirit. That was the pattern of God’s handling of men and still is.” (Atkinson, Martin Luther and the Birth of Protestantism, 251)

This ought to remind us of the importance of Scripture over any type of religious experience or vision. Sola Scriptura must be one of our mottos if we are to remain faithful. A great many people have been deceived by seeing supposed visions of Christ, angels, saints, etc. and believing them and what they have stated. While Mormons are an extreme example of this, some Pentecostals count their religious experiences higher than the authority of the Word of God. Thus, they have a tendency to use their religious experience to interpret the meaning of Scripture. This can lead to some wrong interpretations of the Bible, because they depend too much on their experience which can be deceptive. We must always be sure to heed the words of the apostle Paul who writes by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Galatians 1:8, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.”

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