Thursday, September 23, 2010

Biblical Separation

J.G. Vos, "The Separated Life," in John H. White, ed., The Book of Books: Essays on the Scriptures in Honor of Johannes G. Vos, pp. 103-104:

Science is never infallible; it cannot bind the conscience; therefore, the individual Christian must judge of the statements of science, and the statements of science must not judge the Christian. To deny this means to make science, instead of God, the lord of the conscience. No alleged "findings" of science can be formulated into an authoritative list of harmful things or acts. The relation between the sufficiency of Scripture as the standard of faith and conduct and the problem of the separated life must be summarized as follows:

1. The Christian is required by God to separate from what is sinful.
2. Scripture alone can demonstrate that a given course of conduct is sinful.
3. Natural revelation cannot be regarded as a fuller revelation than Scripture, or as coordinate with Scripture in any sense whatever.
4. It is possible that science or experience may show that certain conduct is harmful.
5. Science or experience can never show that anything is sinful.
6. Scripture teaches that what is really harmful is ordinarily sinful.
7. The decision whether science or experience shows that a particular conduct is harmful must be made by the individual concerned, not by other persons.
8. Church assemblies may not issue authoritative regulations based in whole or in part on any other standard than Scripture.

To depart from these principles is to deny the sufficiency of Scripture as the standard of faith and conduct and to elevate experience or science to the position of an additional authority coordinate with Scripture.

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