My fifth example comes from the contemporary church, and surprisingly enough from the Anglican Church.
At the Lambeth Conference of 1958, the bishops produced quite a good statement about Scripture, and I want to quote this part of it to you:
The church is not over the holy scriptures, but under them, in the sense that the process of canonization was not one whereby the church conferred authority on the books, but one whereby the church acknowledged them to possess authority. And why? The books were recognized as giving the witness of the apostles to the life, teaching, death and resurrection of the Lord, and the interpretation by the apostles of these events. To that apostolic authority the church must ever bow.
So there is the need for the church to bow down before the authority of the Apostles. So it is time to sum up and conclude:
Firstly, our Lord Jesus Christ repeatedly endorsed the authority of the Old Testament, by appealing to it, and by submitting to its authority himself. And secondly, Our Lord Jesus Christ deliberately provided for the writing of the New Testament by appointing and equipping his Apostles to speak and teach in his name. Thus both the Old Testament and the New Testament, although in different ways, bear the stamp of his authority. Therefore, if we wish to submit to the authority of Christ, we must submit to the authority of scripture. If we wish to hear the voice of Christ, we must listen to Scripture through which he speaks. To the authority of Scripture carries with it the authority of Christ.
So the ultimate question before us tonight, and the ultimate question before the whole church today is: ”˜Who is the Lord?’ Is the church the lord of Jesus Christ ”“ so that it has the liberty to edit and manipulate his teaching? Or is Jesus Christ the lord of the church ”“ so that it must believe and obey him? And since Jesus Christ is Lord there should be no hesitation on our part about our answer to those questions.
Let us pray”¦we will spend a moment or two of silent reflection and prayer, especially that we ourselves may be submissive and obedient to the Scriptures, and so to Christ:
We desire to thank you very much heavenly Father that you have given us in the holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments an authoritative and definitive revelation of yourself. We ask your forgiveness for times when we have presumed to disagree with what is written in Scripture. We pray for a new humility and a new obedience. We pray the same for the churches from which we come, to which we belong, that they may be truly biblical churches submissive to your authority. Hear us in our prayers, in the name and for the glory of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.
Listen to it all.