What is the Bible’s authority on theological controversies?
In all things regarding life and godliness “Sola Scriptura”, the Bible only is the answer. It is the supreme judge by which all controversies are to be determined, the Scripture needs to be examined and studied for the God-given answers we need. We must not allow society or our own emotions to sway our minds, rather, we must seek to let the truth of God’s Word rule in our minds and heart.
Over the years there have been many controversies that the church has had to face regarding worldly ways vs. Biblical teachings. But splits in the church over doctrine are hardly new, the Bible notes division in the early church after Christ, due to false teachings.
Where there is conflict we must recognize the authority of the Bible over any human/worldly issues, and we would do good to remember “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV)
The Bible is completely sufficient and it’s authority competent in all issues. Paul told us that we would have these controversies, “ For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” (II Timothy 4:3-4 ESV).
The Bible rightly interpreted will settle all theological controversies and is the only proper place to turn. The question is: are people in theological controversy willing to come under the authority of Scripture? Then and only then will we present ourselves approved to God as workmen who do not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).
We must be careful to rightly interpret these other relevant texts, but since the Bible never contradicts itself due to its inerrent/infallible nature, we should rely on the rest of Scripture to help us interpret any given text.
Theological controversies, unfortunately, have been and will be a mainstay in this fallen world until the end of the age. The unregenerate man will always suppress the truth in unrighteousness, becoming futile and foolish in his speculations (Romans 1:18,21). As for the regenerate man, Paul says that in this current age our reason and understanding are still like seeing in a mirror dimly, leaving us only partial knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:12). Given these Scriptures, it’s no wonder that theological controversy is common.