1689: 1.1. Of the Holy Scriptures: Revelation Has Ceased Because Scripture is Sufficient
Today we begin to slowly wade through The Confession together. If you missed my introductory post, then what are you doing with your life? Go back. Below is paragraph one of chapter one of the confession:
1.1. Of the Holy Scriptures
1. The Holy Scriptures are the only sufficient, certain, and infallible standard of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience.1 The light of nature and the works of creation and providence so clearly demonstrate the goodness, wisdom, and power of God that people are left without excuse; however, these demonstrations are not sufficient to give the knowledge of God and his will that is necessary for salvation.2 Therefore, the Lord was pleased at different times and in various ways to reveal himself and to declare his will to his church.3 To preserve and propagate the truth better and to establish and comfort the church with greater certainty against the corruption of the flesh and the malice of Satan and the world, the Lord put this revelation completely in writing. Therefore, the Holy Scriptures are absolutely necessary, because God’s former ways of revealing his will to his people have now ceased.4
12 Timothy 3:15–17; Isaiah 8:20; Luke 16:29, 31; Ephesians 2:20. 2Romans 1:19–21; Romans 2:14,15; Psalm 19:1–3. 3Hebrews 1:1. 4Proverbs 22:19–21; Romans 15:4; 2 Peter 1:19, 20.
The framers of the Confession not only recognized the need to assert the authority (demonstrated by the word, standard) and infallibility (the lack of ability to be wrong) of Scripture, but also the sufficiency of Scripture. Christians have no issue giving lip service to authority and infallibility (many statements have been drafted in modern history to reaffirm these precious doctrines), but sufficiency is a stumbling block for us. Sufficiency of Scripture is the application of authority and infallibility. If we examine our application of Scripture in the context of the local church, we realize quickly that we really don't believe in the authority, infallibility, or sufficiency of Scripture the way we think we do. The framers were crisp enough in this portion of the section to assert the necessity of all three. One of the major issues that plague the sufficiency of Scripture today is this idea that we receive special revelation outside of Scripture and this paragraph deals with that issue masterfully.
To demonstrate the necessity of Scripture, the framers bring in the issue of special revelation. If not for the closed canon of Scripture, none of us would know Jesus as Savior. There are no dreams, no visions, no revelatory gifts that give us special knowledge. These types of gifts ceased in the 1st-century church. The framers of the 1689 understood this clearly and those all throughout Christian history understood this. It is only the last 150 years that we've begun to be led astray by testimonies of new revelatory gifts. This perspective is an assault (whether intentional or not) on the authority and sufficiency of Scripture and believers should reject it. Today if you want to know the power of God which is the gospel, look to God's documented, unchanging, preserved Word in the 66 books contained in the Scripture. God was "pleased to reveal His will to His church" and the prophets and apostles were faithful to record everything He willed them to record. These men, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit documented everything God intended to communicate to us. God didn't forget anything. There is no part two to His revelation. His revelation is closed. If you want to hear from God, open the Bible and behold His words.