God is the supreme and ultimate authority in all things. He is our creator, king, judge, and saviour. He has revealed Himself to all people in a certain way in nature and innately in our consciences and reasoning capabilities (Rom 1:18-23, 2:15), and more fully in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments (2 Tim 3:16,17, 2 Pet 1:21) , and in Jesus Christ – the second person of the Trinity who became one of us (John 14:9, Heb 1:2). So, can God – possessor of all authority who is omnipotent, cannot lie, and cannot deny Himself – be separated in any degree from what He has said? For two millennia Christians have recognized that this is impossible. Unfortunately there are many who have tried to argue otherwise. Bruxy Cavey is one.
At the foundation of Cavey’s theology is this idea that Christians ought not be people who center their faith on Scripture, but rather on Jesus Christ. He makes a distinction between following the Bible and following Jesus. He argues that Scripture is not our authority, but Jesus is (see here). He tells us that the Bible has many errors in it and so cannot be fully trusted, but Jesus is perfect and can be trusted. He even warns that following the Bible leads to bibliolotry, an idolatrous practice. This sounds like a Christ-honouring approach to some – but is it possible? Is it even coherent? Does it make sense to separate Jesus Christ from the Scriptures and give more authority to one over the other? I would argue that it is not.
If you truly follow the Bible you will follow Jesus
The Bible is our only source of truth concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. The Bible reveals who Jesus is, what He did, and what significance it all has. The entirety of Scripture shows us Jesus. Paul told Timothy that the Old Testament Scriptures “are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.” (2 Timothy 3:14-15). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees because they didn’t believe in Him even though the Old Testament spoke of Him. He said “If you believed Moses you would believe me; for he wrote of me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe my words?” (John 5:46-47). The same is true today, if you believe Moses and the other Scriptures, you will believe in Jesus Christ.
Jesus also claimed to be Jehovah, YHWH of the Old Testament. He gave Moses the Law on Sinai in which it was commanded that the people should have no other gods beside Him (Exodus 20:1-4). When Moses asked God in the burning bush what His name was God said to Moses “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” (Exodus 3:14). Jesus said “Before Abraham was, I AM” (John 8:58) and that unless a person believes this they will die in their sins (John 8:24). This is such an unmistakable claim on the lips of Christ that the Jews immediately picked up stones to stone Him for blasphemy. If someone follows the Bible they will worship the true God, Jesus Christ.
The Old Testament prophesied of the Messiah who would come to save His people and the New Testament Scriptures teaches that Jesus is that Messiah. Jesus is God Himself in human flesh come to save us. We are told he came, did many wonderful works, lived a sinless life, died on a cross and rose on the third day. The Scriptures explain the significance of the person, coming, dying, and rising of Jesus. They command us to follow Him and tell us what that looks like. If we obey Scripture, we will follow Jesus.
The Scriptures also claim that Jesus is their author! Jesus, as the second person of the Trinity, is in perfect union with the Father and Holy Spirit. The Scriptures claim for themselves divine origin – they are God-breathed (2 Tim 3:16), and they were written by men who were carried along by the Holy Spirit and not produced by the will of man (2 Peter 1:19-21). “Scripture says” and “God says” are used interchangeably in Scripture (Romans 9:17, Galatians 3:8) If God is the author of Scripture, and Jesus is God, then if you follow the Bible you ARE following Jesus.
The Scriptures, if believed and followed, will cause a person to follow Jesus Christ. Jesus said so Himself. If someone does not follow Christ, they cannot be said to be following Scripture.
To follow Jesus you must have His view of the Scriptures
During His earthly ministry Jesus spoke from, debated, and appealed to the Scriptures many times. We can determine from Scripture that Jesus had a particular view of Scripture. Jesus answered every temptation from Satan with “It is written” and quoted Scripture as true (Luke 4:8, 10, 11, 12). He said that Scripture was God speaking and held men centuries after it’s writing accountable to what it said (Matthew 19:3-6, 22:31-33). He settled entire arguments with the Jews by quoting Scripture. He told the Jews that they were wrong because they didn’t understand the Scriptures, meaning that if they had understood the Scriptures they would have been right (Matthew 22:29). He even spoke of the Old Testament stories as true historical events which held significance for those he was speaking to (Luke 11:29-32). You know what He never did? He never called anything in Scripture into question. He never told us how we could know what was true or false in Scripture. He never even hinted in the slightest that anything in Scripture was anything less than 100% true and authoritative.
In Jesus’ view the Scriptures are as good as the words coming straight from the mouth of God. If you want to follow Jesus, if you want to be like Him, you should have the same view. If someone has any lesser view of Scripture – say they think some of it is in error, obsolete, or actually gives an inaccurate picture of God’s character – they cannot be said to be following Jesus.
Bruxy Cavey wants us to believe that the Scriptures are some secondary authority with errors so we should follow Jesus, but Jesus did not have this view of Scripture. The truth is, if we follow the Bible, we will follow Jesus, and it is impossible to follow Jesus without following the Bible as God speaking and 100% authoritative.
Cavey’s distinction between following Jesus or following the Scriptures is completely fabricated and incoherent. It creates a distinction where there is no difference, but he uses this distinction often-times to detract from and twist the clear teaching of Scripture (like this, and this). All that is accomplished by this approach is the creation of a confused view of the relationship between Jesus Christ and the Scriptures.
As soon as someone says they follow Jesus and not the Bible or vice-versa, they are following neither.