From: Don Winterstein (email@example.com)
Date: Thu Feb 20 2003 - 04:47:17 EST
> >There is no scriptural reason for saying that prophecy should end with
David Campbell responded:
> Several verses could be cited, including Galatians 1:8-9, Hebrews 1:1-2,
and Rev. 22:18-19. The Hebrews passage is probably the most important, in
asserting that Jesus constitutes the ultimate revelation of God. The OT
also foresees a time when prophecy is no more, e.g. Jer. 31:34 or Zech.
> Such passages are the basis for the view that new revelation no longer
occurs. God continues to give new insights into understanding and applying
the Bible, but does not supplement or supplant it.
Yes, thanks for the references, and I'm aware lots of Protestants don't want
to deal with anything that sounds like a new revelation. I attribute this
partly to fallout from the Reformation, which largely got rid of the
Catholic beliefs and traditions that had accumulated since the closing of
the canon. Reformers also wanted to make sure the Church never got back
into that tradition-heavy condition again.
The major scriptural argument that prophecy didn't stop with Jesus would
come from the Acts, which relates instances of prophecy. If prophecy
continued in the early Church, why should it have stopped there?
All the cited passages then need to be interpreted in terms of this
continuation of prophecy in the early Church. Every Christian accepts that
Jesus' revelation was the culmination, so as long as new revelation did not
contradict his revelation or claim to be superior, it would not necessarily
conflict with the Galatians or Hebrews passages. The passages that
explicitly "forbid" new prophecy are the ones from Revelation and Zechariah.
The key phrase in the Revelation passage is "this book." Because it comes
at the end of the Bible, some people who do not understand how the Bible was
compiled think it applies to the entire canon, whereas in fact it can apply
only to the Revelation itself.
The Zechariah passage is a challenge because of its use of "prophets"
instead of "false prophets." I conclude either Zechariah meant "false
prophets," or else we don't know what "on that day" means. The former is
very likely the correct interpretation.
An argument comes indirectly from Jesus' warning about false prophets: He
doesn't warn us about all prophets, but just false ones. If prophecy was to
have ceased, wouldn't he have admonished us to ignore all prophets?
> Many others maintain that new revelations continue; often this is
associated with a belief in the permanent continuation of all of the gifts
of the Spirit mentioned in the Bible. However, most cults claim to have new
revelation as well. The question then becomes how to tell what is
Legitimacy is the crux. Most cults I know of would fail Jesus' criterion in
Matthew 7: That is, their leaders often clearly bore bad fruit. I think of
Joseph Smith, Father Divine, Jim Jones, Rev. Moon, David Koresh, etc.
How about all the televangelists and revival preachers who talk as if God
delivers messages to them on an hourly basis? In their case I think we
still return to Jesus' criterion and supplement that by finding out what
they really mean by this divine communication. I'd guess it means they
interpret some of their gut feelings as God-inspired messages.
Ultimately I'm willing to be less strict about consistency with Scripture
than most of the participants in this forum appear to be. Frames of
reference have changed drastically since books of the Bible were written,
and many biblical teachings were thus cast in frames that are no longer
relevant. Furthermore, what Scripture actually says is quite often a matter
of interpretation. That's a major reason there are so many disagreements.
Also, the apostle Paul mentions that some of his teachings were not from
God, and I think he doesn't always make it clear which are not. So, while
Scripture is very important as a basis for Christians--especially
Protestants--to formulate doctrines and communicate with one another, my
ultimate authority is God himself. I respect Scripture enough not to go
against it under most circumstances, but if God makes it very clear to me
that some departure is warranted, I'd go with God rather than Scripture. If
this departure is something I'd want to communicate to the rest of the
world, my problem would then be credibility, and I'd have to deal with it.
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