Editorial: Captive to the Word of God
Editorial by Dave Weigley
Recently my niece, a determined genealogist, discovered through her research that we Weigleys came from a little German village not far from the city of Worms. A quick look online reveals this was the place Martin Luther, the father of the Protestant Reformation, took his stand for conscience, declaring before the Diet of Worms in 1521, “Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason, I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted and my conscience is captive to the Word of God” (Martin Brecht, Martin Luther: His Road to Reformation 1483-1521, Vol. 1, p. 460).
I resonate with Luther’s position of upholding God’s Word above all else. Sola Scriptura, as he called it, is one of the foundational, doctrinal principles of the Reformation, recognizing the Bible alone as the infallible rule of faith and practice.
For Seventh-day Adventists, adherence to God’s Word is also a core fundamental belief: “The Holy Scriptures are the supreme, authoritative, and the infallible revelation of God’s will. They are the standard of character, the test of experience, the definitive revealer of doctrines, and the trustworthy record of God’s acts in history” (see “Beliefs” at adventist.org).
When Christ commissioned the disciples, His instructions were explicit. Their message to advance mission was based on one thing only—His Word. Ellen White expresses it this way: “The disciples were to teach what Christ had taught. That which He had spoken, not only in person, but through all the prophets and teachers of the Old Testament, is here included. Human teaching is shut out. There is no place for tradition, for man’s theories and conclusions, or for church legislation. No laws ordained by ecclesiastical authority are included in the commission. None of these are Christ’s servants to teach. ‘The law and the prophets,’ with the record of His own words and deeds, are the treasure committed to the disciples to be given to the world. Christ’s name is their watch-word, their badge of distinction, their bond of union, the authority for their course of action, and the source of their success. Nothing that does not bear His superscription is to be recognized in His kingdom” (The Desire of Ages, p. 826.1, italics added).
GROUNDED AND GUIDED
This year marks 41 years that I have been preaching and teaching the Adventist message from the Word of God. I never tire of studying and sharing its precepts and promises. Illuminated by the Holy Spirit, it is one of the key unifying factors in our worldwide family of faith. Our rich biblical heritage, along with our Protestant roots, should remind us not to be deterred or disillusioned by man’s teachings or ecclesiastical legislation that would attempt to create a new standard or test for believers or leaders.
One of the identifying traits of God’s last-day people is found in Revelation 14:12: “Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus” (KJV).
As we eagerly await Christ’s return, may we continue to be grounded and guided by God’s Word alone.
Dave Weigley serves as president of the Columbia Union Conference.