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Enjoying God Blog


I have often written about the diminishing presence in the professing church of what might be called the “functional authority” of Scripture. Most professing Christians contend that they believe in the “authority” of the Bible in some vague sense of the term. But when it comes to how the Bible actually “functions” to exert its authority over our beliefs and behavior, well, that is another matter.

Let me give you one example from history. Most of you will never have heard the name of John William Colenso (1814-1883). He was the only Anglican bishop to be excommunicated in the last three hundred years. Surprisingly, he learned the Zulu language and translated much of the Bible into Zulu, also serving for a time as a missionary to this African people group. His missionary efforts, you must know, were not motivated by his belief that apart from faith in Jesus they would face an eternity in hell. Colenso was a universalist.

If unbelievers face some sense of “condemnation,” it is limited to a temporary, purifying chastisement. In effect, he argued that unbelievers would endure purgatory, but not hell.

Why did Colenso take this position? The simple answer is that he believed in an authority that was higher and more determinative than Scripture. “Our hearts,” he wrote, “taught as they are by God’s Spirit, instinctively revolt” at the notion of endless punishment in hell. It was, in effect, Colenso’s personal feelings, his moral intuition, his sense of what is right, wrong, fair, or unjust, that dictated what he believed about God and man. In one place in his commentary on Romans, he writes:

“No seeming authority of the Church or Scripture ought to persuade a man to believe anything, which contradicts that moral law, that sense of righteousness, and purity, and truth, and love, which God’s own finger has written upon his heart. The voice of that inner witness is closer to him than any that can reach him from without, and ought to reign supreme in his whole being” (cited by Stephen Westerholm, Romans: Text, Readers, and the History of Interpretation [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2022], 329).

There it is. No authority, not even that of Scripture, can be interpreted in such a way that it runs counter to what one feels or believes in one’s heart. It is the “inner witness” that alone reigns supreme when it comes to determining ultimate truth.

Colenso goes on to say that “any interpretation of Scripture, which contradicts that sense of right which God Himself, our Father, has given us” must be set aside and not allowed to silence the inner voice of our spiritual being. It would appear, then, that if Colenso had any confidence that the Bible was inspired by God, the latter must be condemned for speaking out of both sides of his mouth. Has God said one thing in Scripture, only then to reverse himself and speak the very opposite in the hearts of his people? It would seem that Colenso did not, in fact, believe the Bible was inspired by God (contra 2 Tim. 3:16-17). Truth is not to be found in Scripture but in the soul of each individual.

This one example from history is a good test for us all. When we look across the expanse of the professing Christian world today and ask, “Why is it that so many now deny the reality of divine wrath and the exclusivity of Jesus Christ for salvation and the existence of eternal punishment for those who die in unbelief and the demand that human sexual activity be restricted to one man and one woman in the covenant of marriage,” the answer is both simple and stunning: such doctrines, assertions, such biblical affirmations violate our personal preferences. They strike us as unreasonable and unfair. Our “inner witness” or sense of what is true and good has ultimate functional authority over the shaping of what we believe, preach, and how we live.

The bottom line is this: When Bishop Colenso and Scripture disagree, Colenso wins. Nothing in Scripture can be allowed to dictate to Colenso what his heart contends is wrong or unfair. There is no sense, then, in which Scripture actually functions in an authoritative manner for him.

So, how does it function for you? There are, admittedly, difficult and challenging assertions in the Bible. How do you respond to them? Do you set aside whatever runs counter to your personal intuitions? Do you capitulate to the most recent trends in culture or to the latest public opinion poll when it comes to deciding what is and is not true and right? Or does the Bible hold sway over your soul?

I, for one, look to Scripture and Scripture alone as the final, ultimate authority that has the power to dictate what I believe and how I choose to behave. I do not trust my “inner witness” or “heart” or whatever Colenso or others wish to call it. I trust in the infallible, inerrant, functional authority of God’s written Word. Do you?



I have a contextual view of the bible. This means that I see it as ancient/contextual and not easily applied to our lives. I have this view not because I want to live my way and indulge sinful desires, or conform God to my image. I have a contextual view because I want to honor the bible as it was meant to be understood in its time and place and for its recipients.
Church leadership is only willing to discuss this subject from the perspective of the laity. When the org chart itself subscribes to error the leaders do not permit any discussion of the errant doctrine to which it promulgates. “DoNotReply” is the modern Nicolaitan’s hammer that keeps the congregation immature, giving money and not addressing the deceptions or error. Use any denomination, church or parachurch organization as a prototype. Any leader John Macarthur, Ray Comfort, Paul Washer, Mike Bickle, Che Ahn, Bill Johnson et Al. EVERY GROUP EVERY ORGANIZATION within the church has ignored or undiagnosed stumbling blocks and deceptions AND yet they remain unchallenged and are being passed down to the generations of leaders that follow. What keeps them from being reconciled to God and/or to each other? Are they humble enough to hear God’s word through a donkey(s)? The church must address THE VEIL OF STUBBORNNESS before it can cease backsliding. THE WHOLE CHURCH IS BACKSLIDDEN. We have already failed the command… “See to it that you are not deceived…”

btw Church, Jesus was a ‘Conspiracy Theorist’ until it became FACT.

EG: Church passivity to Covid-19 Vaccine Mandate (false peace and safety)
Paul did not permit a woman to be in authority over a man (amazing how easy it is for experts on hermeneutics to contradict such a straight-forward statement) and yet he a chauvinist and was wrong (but we still left it in the Word of God) How is that any different than the logic cessationist use?
The last trumpet is not the last trumpet (1,2,3,4,5,6,7).
It’s ok to celebrate an occult Holiday (halloween) if you call it a Fall Festival
You can sell/profit off your prophet revelations.
The church leadership is unapproachable only those acknowledged and permitted can question or address the ‘highest ones’ in the body of Christ. (nevermind that Jethro was a heathen priest and Moses did NOT ask God if the pyramid scheme was a good idea)
The church should be funded through begging.
Men should cover their heads when praying (messianic) but women should not.
If the government says it is good or true (vaccines) it must be if it says its not (fraudulent voting) it must be false.

Happy Reformation Day?

you can reduce Martin’s theses, Bonhoeffers revelations and also prepare the church for revival with ONE single sentence… (presuming the church is already obeying the greatest commandment)

Love your neighbor as yourself…


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