Jonathan Edwards on Scripture’s Self-Authentication

In part III, section V. of Jonathan Edwards’ Religious Affections, Edward’s helpfully explains the Holy Spirit’s inward testimony to scripture’s divine origin. In short, Edwards argues that the gospel itself is directly “self-evidencing.” Namely, that the Spirit enables individuals to apprehend and taste the excellencies of God in the Gospel, which, when perceived, are direct evidence of its divine origin and thereby grants sure conviction of its truthfulness.

He goes on to say that (what we might call) more “evidentialist”-type arguments are helpful inasmuch as they are serviceable to “awaken unbelievers” or “confirm the faith of true saints.” Yet “there is no spiritual conviction of the judgment, but what arises from an apprehension of the spiritual beauty and glory of divine things.”

Below is a compilation of select quotations from this section of his book as they address this subject:


It is evident that there is a spiritual conviction of the truth, or a belief peculiar to those who are spiritual, who are regenerated, and who have the Spirit of God, in his holy communications, dwelling in them as a vital principle. … [This] spiritual conviction of the truth of the great things of the gospel is such a conviction as arises from having a spiritual apprehension. … [And this spiritual apprehension] consists in a sense and taste of the divine, supreme, and holy excellency and beauty of those things. So that then is the mind spiritually convinced of the divinity and truth of the great things of the gospel, when that conviction arises … from such a sense or view of their divine excellency and glory as is there exhibited. …

A view of this divine glory directly convinces the mind of the divinity of these things, as this glory is in itself a direct, clear, and all-conquering evidence of it. … He that truly sees the divine, transcendent, supreme glory of those things which are divine, does as it were know their divinity intuitively. … The manifestations of the moral and spiritual glory of the Divine Being (which is the proper beauty of the divinity) bring their own evidence, and tend to assure the heart. … Continue reading

The Formal Cause of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura

The following sermon is the first half of a two-part series on the Protestant Reformation, in celebration and memorial of its 500th year anniversary.

The series covered the formal cause of the Reformation (sola scriptura, “scripture alone”), as well as its material cause (sola fide, “faith alone”). I preached on the former topic, as found below.


The Formal Cause of the Reformation: Sola Scriptura
South City Church
10/15/2017

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Rome’s Implicit Rejection of Scripture’s Absolute Authority

The Roman Catholic Church holds itself up as the official interpreter of scripture.

But to claim such is for the Roman Catholic Church to assert itself into a position of standing over scripture. No longer would God and his Word serve as a supreme authority. Final appeal would not be made to the scripture itself, but to Rome and it’s interpretation of it.

In such a model, the Roman Catholic Church would, in essence, serve as the highest authority. But to make something other than God the highest authority is functionally to say that something has more authority than God himself, which is blasphemy Continue reading

No Higher Authority Than God Himself: The Case for Sola Scriptura from Hebrews 6:13

In Hebrews 6, the author of Hebrews recounts God swearing an oath to confirm his promises to Abraham.

Now when people swear, they do so by appealing to some sort of authority higher than themselves in order to validate their promise. But what happens when God swears to confirm his promise?

For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself (Heb 6:13).

When God swears, he swears by his own authority, because there is no possible higher authority. There is no authority higher or equal to God himself to which he can appeal. He is the highest.

And so, by extension, God’s Word is the highest authority. No authority can possibly usurp it. The scriptures stand alone as our supreme authority.

#SolaScriptura #500Reformation