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Saturday, July 25, 2009

PBF Distinctive: The Sufficiency of Scripture

When Providence Bible Fellowship was started we identified three distinctive convictions that would allow anyone interested in the church to know relatively quickly what kind of a body we are. Anyone who has attended one of our membership meetings or received a membership packet should be familiar with them. First, it is our conviction that expository preaching is the mode of teaching that most glorifies God. Therefore, we preach expository messages exclusively. Second, we hold to reformed theology. Therefore, our teaching and preaching upholds a high view of the sovereignty of God in all things, including salvation. Third, we hold to an elder-led form of church government. Therefore, the elders of the church oversee all areas of ministry and stewardship, and are responsible for the spiritual well-being of the congregation.

There is another strong conviction that the elders have articulated on numerous occasions, including at each of the membership meetings held so far. It is such a vital part of the health of the church that we have decided to recognize it as a fourth distinctive of Providence Bible Fellowship. Below is our explanation of this distinctive:

PBF Distinctive: The Sufficiency of Scripture in Counseling

All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work. (2Tim 3:16-17)

Much time and ink has been spent in recent decades defending the inerrancy of Scripture, that doctrine which asserts that “Scripture is without error or fault in all its teaching, no less in what it states about God's acts in creation, about the events of world history, and about its own literary origins under God, than in its witness to God's saving grace in individual lives.” We rejoice that among conservative evangelical churches the question of inerrancy has been largely settled.

However, there is another debate raging and it surrounds the issue of the sufficiency of Scripture. While most conservative bodies will attest to the inerrancy of Scripture, some deny, whether by word or by practice, the biblical teaching that God’s Word is sufficient for all matters pertaining to life and godliness. This is evidenced not only in their modes of teaching and preaching, but also in their attempt to integrate worldly belief systems (such as psychology, philosophy, and sociology) into their Christian counseling methods. It is believed by some that the Word of God addresses the most rudimentary of personal problems, but that extra-biblical thought must be utilized for life’s more serious issues.

At Providence Bible Fellowship, we uphold 2 Timothy 3:16-17, recognizing not only that God’s Word is inspired and inerrant, but just as important, that God’s Word is sufficient to deal with all issues of the heart, “that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Peter 1:3-4 tells us, His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,
by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. It is through the all-sufficient Word of God that we become partakers of the divine nature (“life”), and escape from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire (“godliness”). There is no problem of the heart that cannot be addressed through the principles found in the Word.

In short, we believe that the Bible is the tool that the Holy Spirit uses to bring one to salvation and sanctification. For this reason, all counseling needs at PBF are met within the church using the principles of God’s Word.

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