The beginning of the Reformation is generally considered to have taken place on October 31, 1517, after Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. By posting the theses, Luther was not only condemning the Roman Catholic Church for selling indulgences (supposedly for the forgiveness of sins and release from purgatory), but he was also calling for an examination of what the Scriptures taught about indulgences.
Luther was convinced that Scripture alone was the final arbiter of what we should believe. Today, Scripture’s authority has been reduced to areas of faith and practice. However, it is fallacious to limit Scripture’s authority only to these matters. Biblical doctrine is linked to history and science; therefore, whatever Scripture affirms on these matters is true. For example, the doctrine of the Resurrection understands that Jesus rose from the dead on the third day. However, naturalistic scientists would say that it is impossible for dead men to rise. Jesus also taught a recent creation (Mark 10:6) and believed in the historical account of the global Flood in Noah’s day (Matthew 24:37–38), but again, naturalistic scientists would not believe such things.
Sola Scriptura has always been an issue for the people of God. In the Garden of Eden, God told Adam that if he ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil he would “surely die” (Genesis 2:17). Yet the Serpent told Eve, “You will not surely die” (3:4). How should they have decided the truth on this matter? Majority vote, subjective opinion, or some other way? No, they should have listened to the voice of their Creator. Instead, Eve was deceived by Satan to believe that God’s Word was not sufficient; instead of believing His Word as the standard for determining truth, she decided to take matters into her own hands (verse 6). There are only tragic consequences for rejecting God’s Word as our standard for life.
God’s Word has no higher or equal authority.
Because the Scriptures are the only example of God-breathed revelation for the church, they form the only infallible rule for the church. God’s Word has no higher or equal authority. It is the ultimate authority in all things, for God cannot refer to any higher authority than Himself to establish the truthfulness of what He says (Hebrews 6:13). Sola Scriptura denies that there is any other rule for the church. The church as the bride of Christ needs to listen to the Word of Christ, which is the God-breathed Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16).
Sadly, the vast majority of pastors and teachers today who teach theistic evolution or long-age creationism have jettisoned the principle of Sola Scriptura, perhaps unknowingly, in order to appease secular society by conceding real-world history and science to them. This has been disastrous for the church—the secularization of Western society is evidence of this.
In practice, many teachers today are abandoning Sola Scriptura in favor of interpreting Scripture in light of the alleged “facts of nature,” which is really a principle of Scriptura sub scienta (Scripture under science).
Because of the church’s acceptance of evolution and millions of years, a new reformation is needed to call the church back to trust in God’s Word where it is most under attack: the history of Genesis 1–11. Much of the Bible’s teaching on Creation, the Fall, sin, salvation, and redemption has been eroded by the acid of evolution and millions of years. Today, the church needs to take a stand on these biblical teachings that are under attack because of the influence of evolution:
At the time of the Protestant Reformation, the church returned to the teaching of the Word of God and turned the world upside down. We once again need to see the church transformed by returning to the Scriptures. The church today needs to return to the principle of Sola Scriptura and to boldly preach and teach the Biblical account of creation and redemption set forth in Scripture.