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Thus far in considering the early church’s approach to Scripture, we have treated the church as a unity. This it was fundamentally, both in doctrine and in its approach to Scripture. The difference between the eastern Greek-speaking churches and the western Latin-speaking churches were matters of temperament and character, not doctrine. Both branches received the doctrines of the Trinity formulated at Nicea and the Christology of Chalcedon.

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Thomas C. Miersma is pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In this article it is my intention to depart from the line of thought we have been following to take the time to respond to the correspondence of one of our readers, Mr. Harv Nyhof. The issues raised by his letter are important and worthy of an extended reply, as they deal with the question of what constitutes a meaningful translation. The letter addresses itself to some remarks in my column in the December 15 issue of the Standard Bearer. To see these remarks in their proper...

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Thomas C. Miersma is pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In this article we continue a response to one of our readers, Mr. Harv Nyhof, who raised certain questions concerning an article in the December 15, 1985 issue. As we also quoted the paragraphs in question in the first part of our response the reader is referred to that preceding column. It was in that connection that Mr. Nyhof responded, I am tempted to say, “Come on, Pastor Miersma, you can’t be serious.” If the spoken or written word is not understood, be it ever so...

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John Wycliffe died in 1384. He left behind him a translation of the Scriptures from the Latin into the English language. He left behind him, in his numerous writings, a clear exposition of most of the doctrines which would later form the heart of the Reformation. He left behind him, too, a clear description of many of the errors of a church which had departed from the foundation laid in the Word of God. This legacy of Wycliffe lived on in England, and in Eastern Europe in two separate streams.

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Thomas C. Miersma is pastor of the First Protestant Reformed Church, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. In our consideration of the modern assault upon the Reformed doctrine of Scripture we turn again to a discussion of modern philosophy out of which that assault arises after the Reformation. The rise of modern scientific study issuing from the Renaissance called into question the existing understanding of man and the world. It did so on the basis of human reason and an investigation of creation. Principally this approach had from the very outset no room for divine revelation concerning the creation. The underpinnings of modern...

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We have been concerning ourselves for some time in this column with the history of the doctrine of Scripture as a larger part of the history of doctrine. That study has now brought us to the threshold of the Reformation. It is to the doctrine of Scripture as developed and defined by the Reformation that we now turn our attention. We can well express our subject in these terms. The Reformed doctrine of Scripture developed by the Reformation was not the work of only one man or individual but was the work of the Reformation as a whole.

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In the return of the Reformation to the truth of God’s Word and the controversies with Rome, a central issue was the question of Scripture’s authority. Both Rome and the reformers were agreed that Scripture was the Word of God, infallible and inerrant, possessing authority. The issue, however, was what kind of authority did Scripture possess? What was the nature of that authority? And how was that authority to be understood and interpreted? These questions were all interrelated and are worth some careful attention.

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The Reformed doctrine of the exclusive authority of Scripture as the only and all-sufficient rule of faith and life stood at the heart of the reformers’ controversy with Rome. This truth Rome denied and continues to deny. This principle, along with the truth of justification by faith, formed the key doctrinal dispute by which the reformers stood or fell. 

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The Reformers and the Church of Rome, as we have seen, stood in open opposition to one another on the issue of Scripture’s sole authority and all-sufficiency. Rome taught that there stood alongside of Scripture a second authority, the traditions of the church, which it claimed were received from the apostles and of equal value with the Scriptures. Rome also set the church above both Scripture and tradition as the source from which both received their authority and power. 

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