In our current series we’ve been going through an old list of questions and answers contained in the Westminster Larger Catechism published in 1648. In the last article we looked at the fact that the word of God is only contained in the Bible. This week I want to ask whether there is any other way of believing in God and knowing him apart from the Bible?
The short is answer is, ‘No’. There is no other way of believing in God and obeying him other than the Bible. We see this when Paul says that the Christian is a person who stands on the foundation of the prophets, apostles and Jesus Christ: ‘Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone’ (Ephesians 2:19-20).
We also see the importance of the Bible as the only way of salvation in the words of Jesus. When Jesus tells a story about a rich man going to hell and speaking with Abraham across a chasm, Moses and the prophets are said to be all that is needed to avoid hell. The rich man says to Abraham: ‘’Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father’s house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham replied, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.’ ‘No, father Abraham,’ he said, ‘but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ He said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.’’ (Luke 16:27-31) The rich man wants someone to rise from the dead so that his brothers may be convinced of the way of salvation, but Abraham says the Bible is sufficient.
Finally, Paul in Galatians says that the gospel taught in the Bible is the only way to God. He condemns all other forms of good news: ‘But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned! As we have already said, so now I say again: If anybody is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be eternally condemned!’ (Galatians 1:8-9).
So, do you accept that the Bible has the only way to truly believe in God and serve him?