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Who’s in the Driver’s Seat?

posted Jun 13, 2017, 12:35 PM by First Baptist


2017 is the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. As I explained in a sermon awhile back, the Reformation was sparked by Martin Luther’s opposition to the selling of indulgences by the Roman Catholic church. (The selling of indulgences was a scheme to raise money for the construction of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.)


Eventually, the protest came to be about papal authority in general; the long-standing idea that the Pope was to be obeyed, no matter what.


The Pope responded by charging Luther with heresy and ordering him silenced. However, Luther would not be silenced and was thus ordered to appear before the Imperial Diet of Worms to explain himself and recant his insubordination. (Luther was a monk.)



The Testimony that Changed History


In his testimony, Luther said something that truly altered the course of history. Here’s the key passage:


“You demand a simple answer. Here it is, plain and unvarnished. Unless I am convinced of error by the testimony of Scripture, my conscience is taken captive by God’s word. I cannot and will not recant anything, for to act against our conscience is neither safe for us, nor open to us. On this I take my stand. I can do no other. So help me God. Amen.”


What was Luther doing here? He was arguing for the supremacy of Scripture over that of the Pope. His basic point was that Scripture, not the Pope, was the supreme & final authority in all matters of faith and practice.


This was quite a shock to the Roman Catholic church and it resulted in Luther being excommunicated and branded an apostate.



So What?


As Protestant Christians (and especially as Baptists), we readily accept the authority of Scripture. However, we still need to ask ourselves who or what is in the driver’s seat of our church (and lives).


I recently read an article in Leadership magazine in which the author uses the analogy of a car.


In some churches (and in some lives for that matter), the Bible is in the trunk of the car. It was put there a long time ago and is mostly forgotten.


In other churches, the Bible is in the backseat of the car – and we all know how irritating backseat drivers can be. These churches find the Bible more of an irritation than a help, because it says things they don’t want to hear.


In still other churches (the majority, according to the author), the Bible is in the passenger seat of the car. It’s there to be consulted as a map reader or navigator.


Ideally, the Bible is in the driver’s seat of the car. In this kind of church, God’s Word sets the agenda and calls the shots. The people are eager to hear from and obey it; the Bible saturates their lives and “drives” them every day.


So, which analogy best describes FBC – and you?


Pastor Dan