Forgive the 2nd post on this topic, but I went away and did some more learning about this doctrine, as you probably noticed – avid, loyal readers of this marvelous blog that you are – the Necessity of Scripture raised an issue for me.
One component of the Necessity of Scripture says that Scripture – whether read or heard – is necessary for knowledge of the Gospel. In other words, we are able to know some things about God apart from Scripture (e.g. that He is loving and He is just), but we aren’t able to know that He sent His Son to die for us (so that His loving-ness and justice could actually function together) without Scripture.
In short, I wanted to answer the question: “How do we make sense of the Necessity of Scripture (for knowledge of the Gospel) when people seem to have dreams/visions about Jesus and become Christians without the Bible”.
After a bit of research, I found 3 answers which I found helpful:
- The Bible never encourages us to expect/rely on these things (Gospel-explaining-dreams) to happen, they may happen and that is wonderful, but we can’t use that as an excuse to not do mission. In fact it is this very doctrine, the necessity of scripture, that has motivated missionary efforts for centuries!
- Often people who have these visions are soon led to Christians (who have Bibles) – or Christians are led to them – and they’re faith grows. In this way the dreams and visions seem to function as if God is preparing the way for missionaries.
- If someone did have a vision, a valid question would be, ‘would it be compelling enough for them to base their complete faith upon without any confirmation from God’s Word?’ Grudem admits, he doesn’t know, but again Scripture never encourages us to settle with this. In fact, it encourages us to go, to go and preach the word! (Roman 10:13-17)! This brings me back to the earlier chapters, it is as we read the Bible the Holy Spirit confirms that what we read is true.
All this to say, not only has it been useful to follow up on my questions (because they’ve been answered!), but also that there is great advantage to theological training –with others. A healthy reminder, that theology shouldn’t be studied alone – but as part of His body. I will be looking for ways – aside from this blog – to involve others in my study processes.