Protestants have been known since around the time of Oct. 31, 1517, to believe in the doctrine of SOLA SCRIPTURA (Latin for, “Scripture Alone”). This means for the Bible believing Christian that God’s Word is the sole, infallible rule and authority for faith and practice. Nothing- including one’s personal experience, can equal or supersede God’s Word.
1. The former alcoholic doesn’t get to use their experience of being a drunk to now reinterpret the Bible’s stance on alcohol.
2. The former swindler doesn’t get the authority to teach business in the church.
3. The former adulterer doesn’t get the authority to set the dress code or standards for Christian romance.
4. The former homosexual doesn’t get a quick pass to now being a teacher on gender and sexuality.
5. Likewise, the former witch or former Santa doesn’t get the privilege of teaching the church how to handle holidays or tell ghost stories to frighten children.
Christians do not get their God-ordained rules for faith and practice from former alcoholics, swindlers, adultereres, witches, or Santas. We are governed by the Word of God as it has been preached by the apostles!
If anyone wants to teach in the church they must do so by the Word of God and have it tested by the Scriptures alone- not their personal experiences, private interpretations, or convictions. And for it to be a doctrine or a practice for all- it cannot be squeezed into general verses like “be holy” or “come out from among them” or “don’t love the world” because the Amish use those verses to avoid electricity, war, voting, and modern technology.
Doctrine and practices must come from the clear and well attested voice of the Scripture (letting everything be established by two or three witnesses). Otherwise, Christians are to keep those matters between them and God. And should they be weak in their conscience they can ask for help, but they must do so in the ways described below summerized from Romans 14:
1. Admitting that their issue derives from the weakness of their soul- not the Word of God.
2. They need the help from the Body of Christ because the issue can cause them to be lost
3. They acknowledge that their apostles in the Scriptures do not hold such matters to be true, but they ask for kindness for their weak conscience. In other words, they are not trying to convert more people to their side to be weak like them, but rather they know they are the “weak one” and wish to be guarded.
Therefore, for someone who was once an alcoholic to ask for wine not to be drunk around them should say something like;
“Please help me not to fall into the sin of drunkenness because my conscience is weak. I am not asking for you to change your stance, just your behavior when around me, so I don’t forget Christ and become lost in my former sin.”
Sadly, many today do not want to do such things. They want their cake and to eat it too. They want to claim to be the weaker brother and at the same time ascend to the hill of God and be our teacher. God forbid! I will not allow anyone to be my teacher that cannot make their stance from the Word of God with two or three witnesses in clarity. You have no authority here.
I hope this makes sense and gives you the understanding of why Christian elders like myself are not moved by the pleas of former witches and the like- they are not establishing their points on Scripture as I am commanded to do so for other doctrines.
Many have used their personal experience to bring fear to the Body of Christ. And to that I say, “By God’s grace when you were serving the Devil, I was casting out devils. And I will continue to do so because God’s Word is my authority in Jesus’s name- not your past experience of being demonized.”
Just like when casting out demons, some pastors like to make it a show and let them continue to talk and entertain the crowd making it a spectacle (which often times frightens the children and the weak in faith)- my pattern is to silence them and cast them out in Jesus’s name!
I don’t pay attention to Jewish myths, old wive’s tales, ghost stories, or the like- my loyalty is to the Word of God! I hope this encourages all people to use the same standard, God’s Word. He said it was in charge when He spoke, “Thus saith the Lord!” 🙂
Titus 1:13-16, “13 This saying is true. Therefore rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith 14 and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth. 15 To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good.”