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Friends,

The question of sola Scripture has long been the hallmark of the Christian faith and was given renewed emphasis at the time of the Lutheran Reformation. The choice before theologians has always been between the unchanging Word of God (Scripture) and the oft-changing word of man. At times the word of man has been given pious sounding names like "Sacred Tradition" or even elevated sinful human reason to be the norm of faith and life.

The Christian Church is indeed older than Holy Scripture, that is, older than the written Word of God. Until the time of Moses, God called His Church into existence and preserved it by His oral Word (viva voce). The Christian Church came into existence immediately after the Fall, when God, having applied the Law to fallen men orally (Gen. 3:8-14), gave mankind the oral promise of the Woman's Seed, who was to destroy the works of the devil, that is, free men from the guilt of sin and all its consequences (Gen. 3:15), and Adam and Eve believed the "first Gospel." Through the oral Word, proclaimed in various ways, God continued to build His Church until the days of Moses.

But after God had chosen to transmit His Word in writing, the Church of every age was strictly bound to the written Word of God. No man was permitted to add anything to the written Word nor to subtract anything from it (Joshua 23:6; Deut. 4:2). The Church of the Old Testament was rigidly bound to the written Word of God in its complete canon, to which only God could add from time to time. In the time of the New Testament God added the writings of the Apostles to the books of the Prophets as the foundation of faith. Of the Church of the New Testament Paul says Eph. 2:20; "You are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets." The Scriptures of the Apostles are co-ordinated with those of the Prophets because it is one and the same Spirit of Christ speaking through both. "Not unto themselves, but unto us, they [the Prophets, who had "the Spirit of Christ"] did minister the things which are now [in the days of the New Testament] reported unto to you" (I Peter 1:10-12). With the Word of the New Testament Apostles, God's revelation of the doctrine to His Church is entirely completed, for when Christ in His high-priestly prayer (Jn. 17:20) says: "Neither pray I for these alone," the Apostles, "but for them also which shall believe on Me through their Word," through the Word of the Apostles, He is thereby making the Word of His Apostles the basis of faith for the entire New Testament era. That through the ministry of hundreds of thousand who are not Apostles men are brought to faith in Jesus has its cause in this, their own words, but the Word of the Apostles and Prophets.

Only one question remains: Where does the Church of the New Testament find this Word of the Apostles with certainty? The Apostles themselves point us to their Scriptures. they declare, in the first place that their written Word is in content identical with their spoken Word. The Apostle John says: "That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you...and these things write we unto you" (I John 1:3-4). Paul also co-ordinates his oral and his written word: "Hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word or our epistle" (2 Thess. 2:15). Not everything that Christ and the Apostles taught has been recorded (John 21:25), but the instruction given in the writings of the Apostles is abundant, yea, superabundant, since the same thoughts are stated not only once but often. "To write the same things to you, to me indeed is not grievous, but for you it is safe" (Phil. 3:1). In the second place, we see that the Apostles insisted already very firmly on the sola Scriptura. Even in the days of the Apostles the same false sources of knowledge and the same false norms were prevalent which later on and down to our day have plagued Christendom, such as spurious prophesy or "spirits," alleged word of the Apostles, or "tradition," alleged epistles of the kApostles. Over against all such claims Paul points to his written Word as the safe source and norm of the true Apostolic doctrine. Genuine "prophesy" and "spirit" were indeed present in the Apostolic Church; therefore Christian congregations were instructed not to reject a priori this Spirit and prophecy, but to apply to them the test of the Apostle's Word.

When in the congregation at Corinth "prophecy" and "spirit" placed themselves alongside, and even above, the Apostolic authority, Paul wrote to the congregation (I Cor. 14:37 ff) "If any man think himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant." This means that whoever will not acknowledge as divine norm what Paul had written should be recognized as a pseudo prophet and be treated as an ignoramus. The passage 2 Thess. 2:2: "That ye be not soon shaken in mind or be troubled neither by spirit nor by word nor by letter as from us, as the Day of Christ is at hand," is important because here the Apostle sets his written instruction against "spirit," against the alleged word of the Apostle (tradition), and against the alleged epistle of the Apostle. Christians should not permit themselves to be "shaken in mind or troubled" by any such pretensions. In order that the congregations might be able to distinguish spurious from genuine epistles of the Apostle, Paul wrote the greeting with his own hand (2 Thess. 3:17): "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write."

With respect to Rome, the Scriptural principle is denied by making the Church, the doctrinal decrees of the Church (Councils, synods), the Pope, etc., the arbiters of truth. According to Scripture the Church as no doctrine of its own, no doctrine alongside and without Christ's Word. The Church is commanded to teach the Word of Christ (Matt. 28:20). The Church has Christ's Word in the Word of His Apostles and Prophets (John 17:20; Eph. 2:20; I Pet. 1:10-12), and in this Word the Church continues at Christ's express command (John 8:31-32; John 15:7): "If ye abide in Me and My words abide in you"). In so far as the Church does not continue in Christ's Word, but teaches the word of man, it forgets its calling and is "prattling". The teachers that do not bring Christ's doctrine, or, in other words, the doctrine of the Apostles, are not to be received as brethren in the faith, but are to be carefully and strictly avoided as sectarians (2 John 9-11; Rom. 16:17).

The voice of the Church and the voice of Holy Scripture are not two different voices, but one and the same voice.

Well, that's likely sufficient to get us started.
 

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The paradox of "Sola Scripture" is Scripture talks a lot about prophecy and revelation, the ongoing revealing of the will of God. See Trump Prophecy.
 

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The paradox of "Sola Scripture" is Scripture talks a lot about prophecy and revelation, the ongoing revealing of the will of God. See Trump Prophecy.

The book of Revelation (Jesus Christ) disagrees with you on this point:


Revelation 22:18-19, "For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: 19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book."
 
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Rom 14:1, 13; Jam 4:11-12
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There is no indication that revelation continues after the NT written word. In fact in I Cor. 13 it specifically says that such things come to an end.
The book of Revelation (Jesus Christ) disagrees with you on this point:

I cannot research it now but Paul commands priests to allow a man who gets prophecy to speak. I am not talking about general prophecy but a prophecy or vision of things to come for individuals. I have received such blessings - the story of the doctor delaying his trip to Haiti.

There are many such stories and well documented. In the 19th century, there was a French woman who Mary appeared to. Many people witnessed this and they made a movie about it. Joan of Arc is another example. Are you saying that you never hear God or the HS speaking to you?
 

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I cannot research it now but Paul commands priests to allow a man who gets prophecy to speak. I am not talking about general prophecy but a prophecy or vision of things to come for individuals. I have received such blessings - the story of the doctor delaying his trip to Haiti.

There are many such stories and well documented. In the 19th century, there was a French woman who Mary appeared to. Many people witnessed this and they made a movie about it. Joan of Arc is another example. Are you saying that you never hear God or the HS speaking to you?

Okay. I see your point. You're speaking on a "micro scale" versus a long term, biblical scale. Paul does speak of future Christians having the gift of prophecy.

1 Corinthians 12:10, "To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues:"
 

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Okay. I see your point. You're speaking on a "micro scale" versus a long term, biblical scale. Paul does speak of future Christians having the gift of prophecy.
Yes, exactly. It is important to discern that all things that exist are limited. So, ‘Sola Scriptura’ is not the only thing we need in all circumstances.

I could not ignore the micro scale command of the HS to warn the doctor to postpone his trip to Haiti, even though nothing in Scripture specifically dictates such action.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I prefer to view such blessings from the Lord as His guidance for the blessing of our lives and are quite different than divinely inspired revelation of Christian doctrine/teaching. I am not about to put God in a "box" and tell Him what He can and can't do, but He does bind Himself to His own Word.

The doctrine of sola Scriptura does not come from men, but from God's Word as is true of every other doctrine that is true doctrine. Certainly there are men who have invented their own "doctrines" and they are false teachers, but pure and true doctrine can only originate from the Word of God.

PASSAGES RESPECTING THE VERACITY OF GOD'S WORD
(All citations are from the ESV)


II Timothy 3:14-17
14*But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom[a] you learned it 15*and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16*All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17*that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

II Peter 1:19-21
19*And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20*knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation. 21*For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Deuteronomy 4:2
2*You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the Lord your God that I command you.

1 Peter 1:10-12
10*Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11*inquiring what person or time[a] the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12*It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look.

I Corinthian 14:36-38
36*Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37*If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord. 38*If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized.

John 8:47
47*Whoever is of God hears the words of God. The reason why you do not hear them is that you are not of God.”

John 17:17
17*Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

John 8:31-32
31*So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32*and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

John 15:7
7*If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

2 John 9-11
9*Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10*If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not receive him into your house or give him any greeting, 11*for whoever greets him takes part in his wicked works.

1 John 1:3-4
3*that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. 4*And we are writing these things so that our[a] joy may be complete.

1 Corinthians 14:37
37*If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.

1 Peter 1:25 King James Version (KJV)

25 But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

In particular, the preceding verse was a rallying cry for the Lutherans in the court of John the Steadfast at the time of the Lutheran Reformation who ordered that all in his household wear the VDMA (Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum (The Word of the Lord Endures Forever).

Therefore, true doctrine only comes from God's Word and it can never change.
 

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I think not.

The question of sola Scripture has long been the hallmark of the Christian faith
How long? Primary sources, please.

At times the word of man has been given pious sounding names like "Sacred Tradition"
To what word-of-man do you refer?

or even elevated sinful human reason to be the norm of faith and life.
To what sinful, human reason do you refer?
 

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Just so you know that I am not picking only on Roman Catholics:

The Scriptural principle is rejected and, instead, the human ego installed as teacher in the Church in the following instances:

1. When natural reason is made the judge. By natural reason it is meant man's natural knowledge of God and of Devine things, which, without the revelation of Scripture, is limited to a knowledge of God's existence only and of the divine Law, and this knowledge leaves man under God's wrath and curse, since man cannot keep the Law.

2. The Scriptural principle is abrogated by substituting for it regenerate reason, or, as it is also called, pious self-consciousness, Christian experience, Christian ego, faith consciousness, faith, spirit, etc. These sources and norms, when they are used alongside and apart from the Bible, are simply illusions. To ascribe to the new, or regenerate, man the folly of disregarding Scripture and teaching his own ideas is to insult Him. Where that is done, the old man, not the new man, is playing the theologian.

3. The Scriptural principle is rejected by the demand that the Christian doctrine must not be taken from the passages that treat of the individual doctrines sedes doctrinal (the seat of doctrine), but from "the whole of Scripture." In fact, we can obtain the whole body of he Christian doctrine only by taking each doctrine from those passages - considered of course in their context - which treat of that specific doctrine. The "whole of Scripture," or the "whole of Christian doctrine," which is constructed without considering the individual passages that threat of the doctrine, is purely man's own product.

5. The Scriptural principle is abrogated and natural reason substituted through the appeal to private revelations, also called "immediate revelations" (revelation without means) or "new revelations." By private revelations are meant such revelations regarding the Christian doctrine as some people are supposed to have received by visions, appearances, inner voice, inner light, etc. Through these private, or immediate revelations the doctrinal revelation contained in Scripture is supposed to be explained, corrected, and supplemented. The Christian Church has in all ages been disturbed by persons who boasted new revelations alongside the Word of the Prophets and Apostles. This was the case already in the Apostolic Church. We see from such passages as I Cor. 14:37 and II Thess. 2:2 that the Apostolic congregations "prophets" and "spiritual persons" appeared who pretended that their word was co-ordinate with the Word of the Apostles and for that reason were sharply called to order by Paul. Later there arose the Montanists, the Dentists, the Messalians, and others. At the time of the Lutheran Reformation the Anabaptists, Schwenkfeldians, and others made their appearance, who rejected Luther's insistence on the sole authority of Scripture as "letter worship" and opposed the "external word" of Scripture with their so-called "inner" word as a higher revelation. In the era following up to the present time are found the Quakers, Labadists, Swedenborgians, Irvingites, Amana Society, Mormons, etc. In general title Schwaermer, or "enthusiasts".

a. This includes the Papists, in so far as they make the Pope an infallible teacher outside and beyond the written Word of God.

b. All Reformed, like Zwingli and Calvin and recent Reformed theologians, such as Shedd, Hodge, and Boehl, inasmuch as they maintain that the Holy Spirit works with His saving operation immediately outside and apart from the Word.

c. All modern theologians, in so far as they deny that the Scriptures are God's infallible Word and hence, as a matter of principle, make the "pious self-consciousness," the "religious experience", etc., the source and norm of the Christian doctrine.


6. The Scriptural principle is denied by the demand that the Christian religion be interpreted "historically." When the so-called "historical interpretation" is used to criticize the Christian doctrine, which is contained in Holy Scripture. Whoever discards this sole source and norm of the Christian doctrine and instead directs us to the historical interpretation of the student of history, is asking us to substitute human authority for the divine authority of Holy Scripture.
 

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I prefer to view such blessings from the Lord as His guidance for the blessing of our lives and are quite different than divinely inspired revelation of Christian doctrine/teaching.
Agreed. Just wanted to connect the “solo” part does not take the place of having a relationship with the Living God. :)
 

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Holy Scripture: Source & Norm of All Faith & Life

Define the term Holy Scripture, and explain how you have come to that definition.
 

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Yes, exactly. It is important to discern that all things that exist are limited. So, ‘Sola Scriptura’ is not the only thing we need in all circumstances.

I could not ignore the micro scale command of the HS to warn the doctor to postpone his trip to Haiti, even though nothing in Scripture specifically dictates such action.

In a sense ... I see your point. But Sola Scriptura does tell us to trust in God in all things so your "vision" is a result of that trust. In other words ... we don't need anything beyond Scripture to remind us to trust Christ.
 

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I think not.

How sad that fellow Christians can't refer to each other as friends even if we have some theological differences.



How long? Primary sources, please.

Since the days of the Apostles, indeed even to the days of the Old Testament (Joshua 23:6; Deut. 4:2). Please reference the Scripture verses provided above. There was never a time when God's Word was not the only source and norm of faith and life.


To what word-of-man do you refer?

Fair enough. Permit me to provide but one example: The claimed "Immaculate Conception of Mary". To be sure Mary truly deserves to be honored along with the other saints of old, but nowhere in Holy Scripture is there ever a claim that she was born without sin. That is entirely a construct of human reason over the plain text of Scripture. In the Magnificat clearly Mary calls God her "Savior". Despite her honorable estate, she was a sinner in need of a Savior just like the rest of us.



To what sinful, human reason do you refer?
Mankind, in his fallen estate, has nothing but a sinful reason. It is far beyond mere concupiscence. It is human reason, for instance, that rejects the Sacrament of the Altar as truly being the real presence of our Lord's Body and Blood and insists that since they can only see and taste bread and wine that Our Lord didn't really mean what He actually said in His Word: "This is my body...This is my blood." In other words, any expression of human reason that rejects the plain Word of God and attempts to explain it away.
 

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How sad that fellow Christians can't refer to each other as friends even if we have some theological differences.
If you are a baptized Christian, I am obligated to accept you as a Christian brother. That doesn’t mean that we will be chums.

Since the days of the Apostles, indeed even to the days of the Old Testament (Joshua 23:6; Deut. 4:2). Please reference the Scripture verses provided above. There was never a time when God's Word was not the only source and norm of faith and life.
Scripture itself indicates otherwise:

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

Trogshak said:
To what word-of-man do you refer?
Fair enough. Permit me to provide but one example: The claimed "Immaculate Conception of Mary”…
Okay, who determined what books go in your Bible? Does the Bible give an explicit, inspired listing of inspired texts?

Trogshak said:
To what sinful, human reason do you refer?
Mankind, in his fallen estate, has nothing but a sinful reason. It is far beyond mere concupiscence. It is human reason, for instance, that rejects the Sacrament of the Altar as truly being the real presence of our Lord's Body and Blood and insists that since they can only see and taste bread and wine that Our Lord didn't really mean what He actually said in His Word: "This is my body...This is my blood." In other words, any expression of human reason that rejects the plain Word of God and attempts to explain it away.
While natural reason has its limitations, even Scripture acknowledges that fallen man can ascertain the existence of God:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)

At its best human nature could not discern all things of the supernatural order. Before the Fall Adam and Eve had to be instructed by God not to eat of the tree.
 

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Agreed. Just wanted to connect the “solo” part does not take the place of having a relationship with the Living God. :)
Yes, but remember there will be no relationship with the Living God that does not begin with the Holy Spirit working through the Word of God.
 

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If you are a baptized Christian, I am obligated to accept you as a Christian brother. That doesn’t mean that we will be chums.



Scripture itself indicates otherwise:

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15)



Okay, who determined what books go in your Bible? Does the Bible give an explicit, inspired listing of inspired texts?



While natural reason has its limitations, even Scripture acknowledges that fallen man can ascertain the existence of God:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)

At its best human nature could not discern all things of the supernatural order. Before the Fall Adam and Eve had to be instructed by God not to eat of the tree.
I might note that acknowledging the existence of God is of no Salvic value. Satan himself acknowledges God's existence and even the Son of God as Devine. That acknowledgement, however, will do nothing to save the evil one nor anyone else.

33 And in the synagogue there was a man, which had a spirit of an unclean devil, and cried out with a loud voice,

34 Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art; the Holy One of God. Luke 433-34)
 

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I might note that acknowledging the existence of God is of no Salvic value ...
It is what you do with that knowledge. Consider:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. (Romans 1:20-21)

The Catholic Church teaches:

Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. (Lumen Gentium)
 

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Scripture itself indicates otherwise:

I hope to come to you soon, but I am writing these instructions to you so that, if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:14-15)

It would seem that you are assuming that this is a reference to the Roman Catholic Church, but that is not stated. Yes, the Church is the holder of the truth but that does not mean that Rome as a corner on that market.

Okay, who determined what books go in your Bible? Does the Bible give an explicit, inspired listing of inspired texts?

From A History of Christian Thought, by Justo L. Gonzales:

"It took centuries for the New Testament canon to reach its final form; but its basic outline was fixed during the second half of the second century. After that time the general structure of the New Testament was accepted as composed of 'gospels' and 'Apostles,' following perhaps the example set fourth by Marcion. Although after the middle of the second century the inclusion of the Fourth Gospel in the canon was still debated, as is shown by its warm defense by Irenaeus, after that time the fourfold witness to the gospel was accepted...The canon took centuries to reach its definitive form, and there is no list of books written before A.D. 367 which exactly agrees with the actual canon. But the idea of a canon appears and is firmly established in the second century as a response to the need of finding norms to distinguish the 'apostolic doctrine' from the many heresies that claimed to be founded on the authority of an apostle."

As one reads the history of the formation of the canon the only thing that becomes clear is that there were a lot of versions of the canon proposed and still many different ones to this day: In the Syriac tradition there is the Pe****ta canon; the Arminian canon included a third letter to the Corinthians;The East African canons included still others while the Eastern Orthodox tended to accept many canons as having some spiritual value. At the time of the Lutheran Reformation the Council of Trent adopted a firm canon of their own largely in response to the Lutheran's assertion that the contents of the canon should remain an open question (which we still hold to today.)

If you wish to debate the inclusion or exclusion of the antilegoumina (books about which there were disagreement as to their inclusion) you may wish to know that the Lutherans do not denigrate the Apocraphal books but hold them in high esteem, but not to the same level as the prolegomena (books about which there is universal agreement as to inclusion.) Many Lutheran Fathers frequently quote from the Apocryphal books and considered them of value. Generally, the Lutheran view is that a NT book is to be considered canonical if it:

a. Was written by an Apostle or his amanuensis.
b. What is agreement with all other accepted books of Scripture.
c. Was accepted by all the churches as Scripture.

While natural reason has its limitations, even Scripture acknowledges that fallen man can ascertain the existence of God:

Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. (Romans 1:20)

At its best human nature could not discern all things of the supernatural order. Before the Fall Adam and Eve had to be instructed by God not to eat of the tree.[/QUOTE]
 
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