Friday, September 24, 2010

William B. Pope on the Divine Rule of Faith

I subscribe to several discussion forums and occasionally a comment made really puts me in a search mode to settle a matter that troubles me. A lot of groups and sects claim the mantle of Christianity while simultaneously rejecting the witness of our faith. Experience becomes the preferred mantle and biblical truths are thrust aside as lacking expediency for the intriguing questions of the day. For that matter, the Bible is often regarded as an obstacle to fellowship and ecumenical emergence. This very thought process spurred my search of what fuels my biblical faith. It had been a long time since I read through the words of William B. Pope and his Compendium of Christian Theology. I have a dusty collection of these volumes sitting somewhere else but fortunately our Nazarene friends have made his works (as well as many others) available on-line. In volume I of the Compendium, Pope offers what I find to be an excellent reflection of how our Bible and it's inspired contents reflect what he refers to as the Divine Rule of Faith. It is a wonderful affirmation of how precious the written and revealed word of God is to us and how it should never be regarded as an accessory to experience as some liberal and emergent groups might prefer.


CHRISTIAN Theology, as the science of Christianity, the one, perfect, and only Religion, is

based upon the documentary records of God's revelation of Himself and of His will in

Christ Jesus. Of necessity, therefore, its first inquiry should be directed to the nature and

authority of its Sacred Writings, which contain at once the historical development and the

finished result of the Divine revelations to mankind. One proposition gives here the

summary of the whole truth. The Holy Scriptures are the Divine Rule of Faith: a

statement which, unfolded, opens three departments of investigation. First, they are the

documents and the depository of the Christian Revelation, or the Christian Faith, which is

the consummation of all religious knowledge. Secondly, they are Divine in their origin:

the product of the Holy Spirit's inspiration. Thirdly, they are the Rule of the Faith, as

forming a body of canonical Scriptures, regulating forever the doctrine and teaching of

the Christian Church. Hence we derive the three great words which are the superscription

of the whole body of dogma concerning the written oracles of God: Revelation,

Inspiration, and Canon. 


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