“The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments constitute the foundation of prophets and apostles on which all Christian churches, in fellowship with each other, take their stand or claim to take their stand.
In their official confessions, all churches have acknowledged the Divine authority of those Scriptures and have appropriated them as a reliable rule of faith and life. There has never been a difference or conflict about this point of dogma in the Christian churches.
Formerly the attack on Scripture as the Word of God came from the outside, from such pagan philosophers as Celsus and Porphyrus in the second century; inside Christendom such an attack does not appear until the eighteenth century.
Now the church has not received this Scripture from God in order simply to rest on it, and still less in order to bury this treasure in earth.
On the contrary, the church is called to preserve this Word of God, to explain it, to preach it, apply it, translate it, spread it abroad, recommend it, and defend it—in a word, to cause the thoughts of God laid down in Scripture to triumph everywhere and at all times over the thoughts of man.
All of the work to which the church is called is the effort at, and the ministration, of the Word of God. It is a service of this Word of God when it is preached in the assembly of believers, is interpreted, and applied, when it is shared in the signs of the covenant and is maintained in discipline.
And in a larger sense much more is part and parcel of this service of the Word: this, for example, that in our own hearts and lives, in our profession and business, in house and field and office, in science and art, in state and community, in works of mercy and missions, and in all spheres and ways of life, this Word be applied, worked out, and made to rule.
The church must be the pillar and ground of truth (1 Tim. 3:15): that is to say a pedestal and foundation bearing up the truth and maintaining and establishing it over against the world.
When the church neglects and forgets this, the church is remiss in its duty and undermines its own existence.”