Pieper, Francis. Christian Dogmatics: Volume 1. St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1968.
Chapter B1, “Holy Scripture the Only Source and Norm of Christian Doctrine for the Church Today”
Pieper rightly observes that God’s people have been around longer than the written word. Once God began to have his servants write down the Word, believers have always been bound to it. God completed his revelation by the end of the apostolic era. We expect the content of the Scriptures to guide us thoroughly.
This primacy of Scripture can be rejected in a number of ways, which Pieper details throughout the chapter.
1) It rejects Scripture when natural reason is the judge. Reason may work in two ways - interpreting data or creating data. reason used to understand God’s Word is essential. Setting reason up as an authority above Scripture is never appropriate. God’s Word may be impossible to grasp with our reason but it never contradicts reason.
2) Substituting Christian experience or similar factors for Scripture denies God’s Word.
3) Denying specific passages of Scripture in order to draw doctrine from “the whole bible” denies the Scripture. We need to be specific about the source of our doctrine.
4) Dependence on the Church, doctrinal decrees, and the like above Scripture denies God’s Word. Pieper speaks in detail about papal infallibility and about various standards of doctrinal proof based on historical record.
5) When we accept private revelations we deny the objective work of God revealed in Scripture.
6) Demands for “historical” interpretation of doctrine erodes Scriptural authority.
Ultimately we either trust God’s Word or we trust human opinion. The Church needs to trust God’s Word.