Re: personal revelations

From: Robert Schneider (
Date: Thu Feb 20 2003 - 12:55:12 EST

  • Next message: Graham E. Morbey: "Re: personal revelations"

    I understand where Terry is coming from, and I share his view of the "Jesus
    told me" phenomenon, etc. But I hope he is not suggesting that one ought to
    reject any personal revelations out of hand. It has long been Christian
    practice to "test the spirits" and the major test has been this: does the
    content of the purported revelation accord with the revelations of
    Scripture. If my feeble memory is correct, the early church fathers applied
    this "canon" to Montanist, Gnostic and other purported revelations.

        In my case, the two personal revelations I referred to in an earlier
    note, led me back to the Bible; and what I found in Scripture was in accord
    with the content of the revelations. My personal experience of God's
    unconditional love, acceptance, and reconciliation was the very message
    which is proclaimed in the teachings of Jesus, in Paul, and in the OT. And
    my experience of God's majestic creative power I found hymned in the Psalms
    and other passages of Scripture. I did not doubt the validity of my
    experiences, but they also were validated independently by scriptural
    revelation. In fact, I came to understand what Scripture teaches as never
    before, and embraced it.

        Now, there is the danger of reading into Scripture what one believes to
    be one's personal revelation and believing then that Scripture validates it.
    Rather than _discovery_, which I believe was my experience of reading
    Scripture, there is _imposition_ on a text of one's own experience. It's a
    tricky business. Yet, I do not believe that the Spirit has ceased speaking,
    and that one should be open to the Spirit.

        Let me say no more, as I tend to agree with Terry that we should not get
    too far away from topics relating to the interface between religion and
    science, except to repeat what I wrote earlier, that there is a such a
    dimension to this topic in the area of neuroscience. Perhaps we could turn
    the focus to the question,what have we learned about the psycho-physical
    expression of religious experiences, and ask any of our participants or
    lurkers who have studied this general area of neuroscience and the soul to
    enlighten us.

    Bob Schneider

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: "Terry M. Gray" <>
    To: <>
    Sent: Thursday, February 20, 2003 1:29 PM
    Subject: Re: personal revelations

    > Graham,
    > I'm always troubled by "motivation" arguments such as you have
    > suggested. Gaffin, it seems to me, bases his argument on scripture
    > (albeit not proof-texts). It does so happen that he also holds to
    > inerrancy and the 'perfect "original autograph" theory' but, in this
    > case, I don't see any evidence of theological gymnastics to preserve
    > some traditional doctrine.
    > As to the relevance to the "bible/science debate", I'm not
    > necessarily out to squelch discussion here nor do I insist that the
    > ASA hold to my cessationist views, but the ASA is committed to the
    > authority of scripture. This "dampens" the significance of new
    > revelations especially when they propose novel doctrines not found in
    > scripture. I would be so bold as to suggest that if a particular view
    > of God and his relationship to the world derives from another source
    > than scripture, then it's in the category of myths and genealogies
    > that Paul condemns in 1 Timothy. We do not profess on-going
    > revelations to be our guide in matters of faith and conduct but
    > rather the Bible alone.
    > TG
    > >It may be that a motivation for believing in the cessation of revelation
    > >is to protect a "high view" of the troublesome inerrancy concept. It
    > >would work in conjunction with the perfect "original autograph" theory
    > >of the Bible to bolster the notion of the Bible's "special revelation"
    > >character over against "general revelation." A common thread is that
    > >none of these notions has proof texts. The discussion could have some
    > >bearing on the bible/science debate.
    > >This is certainly not a "Jesus told me" rambling!
    > >
    > >Graham
    > >
    > >"Terry M. Gray" wrote:
    > >>
    > >> The most convincing argument for me for the cessation of new word
    > >> revelation is that put forth by Richard Gaffin in his Perspectives on
    > >> Pentecost in the chapter on The Question of Cessation. This has been
    > >> recently articulated in one of the Three (or Four) Views books
    > >> published by Zondervan.
    > >>
    > >> It is not a proof-text based argument, but rather a
    > >> redemptive-historical one that recognizes the uniqueness of the
    > >> Christ event and the uniqueness of the apostolic witness to the
    > >> Christ event and the foundational character of the early church
    > >> apostles and prophets. The closest thing to a prooftext is in
    > >> Ephesians 2 where Paul refers to the church being built on the
    > >> foundations of the apostles and prophets. Thus, Acts and the early
    > >> epistles are not normative in this regard--they are foundational and
    > >> not to be repeated events much in the same way that Christ's death on
    > >> the cross and resurrection is a foundational and not to be repeated
    > >> event. There is indication that even by the time of the Timothy
    > >> epistles, Jude, and 2 Peter of an appeal to the authority of the
    > >> apostolic tradition (scripture) rather than to immediate revelations
    > >> of the Spirit.
    > >>
    > >> I think that Don is mistaken when he says that all Christians accept
    > >> "that Jesus' revelation was the culmination". It's mostly by way of
    > >> lip service. TheJudeo-Christian message is primarily about what Jesus
    > >> did in history to accomplish our salvation--it's not primarily about
    > >> some subjective religious experience or knowledge. Much of
    > >> Christendom is concerned about this subjective religious experience
    > >> with little concern about what God actually accomplished in Christ
    > >> 2000 years ago.
    > >>
    > >> The Jesus told me (apart from the Word) piety of much of modern
    > >> evangelicalism is equally suspect. That which unites traditional
    > >> Roman Catholic theology/piety, Pentecostal and charismatic theology,
    > >> and many non-Christian religions is religious experience. The
    > >> emphasis on the objective, historical facts of the doing and dying
    > >> and rising again of Jesus Christ distinguishes Biblical Christianity
    > >> from all these things.
    > >>
    > >> Now, having fired my theological blast, I do want to remind us again
    > >> of the purposes of this group. As a group we're not interested in
    > >> general issues of theology (such as this one), or general issues in
    > >> politics or social concerns, but the intersection of Christian faith
    > > > (as outlined in the ASA statement of faith) and scientific concerns.
    > >>
    > >> TG
    > >>
    > >> --
    > >> _________________
    > >> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    > >> Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    > >> Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    > >>
    > >> phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801
    > --
    > _________________
    > Terry M. Gray, Ph.D., Computer Support Scientist
    > Chemistry Department, Colorado State University
    > Fort Collins, Colorado 80523
    > phone: 970-491-7003 fax: 970-491-1801

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