We are sometimes told that the final authority for us as Christians should be Christ and not the Scriptures. It is suggested that Christ would only have us accept the portions of Scripture that comport with his life and teaching, that certain aspects of biblical history, chronology, and cosmology need not bother us because Christ would not have us be bothered by them. The idea put forward by many liberal Christians and not a few self-proclaimed evangelicals is that if we are to worship Christ and not the Scriptures, we must let Christ stand apart from Scripture and above it.

“But who is this Christ, the Judge of Scripture?” Packer asks. “Not the Christ of the New Testament and of history. That Christ does not judge Scripture; He obeys it and fulfils it. By word and deed He endorses the authority of the whole of it.”[1]

Those with a high view of Scripture may be charged with idolatry for so deeply reverencing the word of God. But the accusation is laid at the wrong feet. “A Christ who permits His followers to set Him up as the Judge of Scripture, One by whom its authority must be confirmed before it becomes binding and by whose adverse sentence it is in places annulled, is a Christ of human imagination, made in the theologian’s own image, One whose attitude to Scripture is the opposite of that of the Christ of history. If the construction of such a Christ is not a breach of the second commandment, it is hard to see what is.”[2]

Jesus may have seen himself as the focal point of Scripture, but never as a judge of it. The only Jesus who stands above Scripture is the Jesus of our own invention.

[1] Packer, “Fundamentalism” and the Word of God, 61.

[2] Ibid., 61-62.