Keeping the above in mind, I've come to a few other related conclusions:
1) The bible is sufficient.
The issue of sufficiency is one that has become a battleground over the past 15 years or so. Among those who believe the bible is true and authoritative, there remains a debate about the sufficiency of the scriptures. In a broad sense, this issue comes down to whether or not the bible gives us all we need to know. I believe it does.
This obviously does not apply to all details of life. For example, the bible does not tell us that we should root for the Georgia Bulldogs instead of the Auburn Tigers (although this would be a good idea). Instead, the bible gives us all the information we need about areas of importance.
2) The bible is sufficient for all of the Christian life.
Closely related to the first conclusion (but a little more specific) is the idea that the bible is sufficient for all aspects of the Christian life. The idea is that the scriptures provide for us all we need to know to be right with God and live lives that please Him. We don't need anything else than the scriptures to understand both salvation and sanctification.
3) The bible is sufficient for all of church life.
This conclusion is again a little more specific than the one that comes before it. When we are saved, we immediately become part of the church. For the remainder of our lives, we walk the path of sanctification as part of the church. In doing so, we grow in Christ and help others to grow in Christ.
I've come to the conclusion over the past year or so that the bible is fully sufficient for all of church life. In other words, the scriptures tell us all we need to know to function as the church in a manner that pleases God.
This particular assumption is based on a few things: God's consistency, God's clarity, and God's love. First, God told Israel in the OT exactly what He expected of them and how they were to function. He does the same with His church in the NT. Second, God is clear in His word in what He expects of us. In reading the bible, we don't get the sense that He has left out anything important. Third, God is loving. He tells His covenant people His expectations so that we can please Him and not fall under His wrath.
Since the bible is sufficient for the life of the church, this means that all we have to do is look in its pages to see how we are to function. It tells us all we need to know. This is exciting. As we read in particular through the Gospels, Acts, and the epistles we see the church in action. We see what they did correctly and what they needed to change. Acts, I Corinthians, and Ephesians are absolute goldmines of information about what the church is and what it should look like.
If we have questions about church life, we can simply look to the bible to answer them. I've been amazed to see that the scriptures tell us everything we need to know. We don't need to add to the bible or take away from it. If we find ourselves asking significant questions that the bible doesn't answer, then we should probably step back and see if we have failed to ask more fundamental questions in the first place.
If we come to the conclusion that the bible is in fact sufficient for church life, this will automatically lead to some revolutionary thoughts about Christ's church. You may see different things than I do, but one thing is for sure: what we see will all actually be contained in the bible.
If we submit to this sufficiency, it will probably cause us to ask some very hard questions about how we live our lives individually and as part of the church. It may make us ask questions as to why we do what we do. We will most likely see some practices within our local church body that are blatantly absent from the bible.
If the bible is sufficient, then we all have some decisions to make.