There are no new revelations. That is what we were taught in Bible College and our professors were correct. Then we encountered passages such as 1Corinthians 14:26 which taught that members of the assembled church could have a revelation and it caused some of us to question what we were taught. In this paper the conclusion we come to will depend on how we answer the apparent contradiction between our teachers’ claims and how we define the range of meaning of the term “revelation” (apokalupsis). Understanding this range of meaning will help us clear up much of the church’s confusion about spiritual gifts and provide support for our Bible College instructors. We shall begin by examining the claims of two groups: those who believe there are new revelations (such as those involved in the modern day apostles and prophets movement) and those who claim that the “revelatory” gifts ceased when the canon of scripture was completed around 100 A.D.
The first group includes those of the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) and some other Charismatic and Pentecostal groups who argue that gifts of the Spirit exist today and are God’s means of giving revelation to the church, both individually and corporately. In practice this leads to individuals receiving “words of knowledge, words of wisdom, and prophecies” that contain supernatural information which is beyond Scripture and is not available through ordinary means. Such practices are outside the bounds of Scripture. Continue reading →
Editor’s note: This is the Foreword (edited for space) to the new edition of Benjamin Warfield’s 1918 lectures on Counterfeit Miracles, to be released by The Trinity Foundation in June. As the United States becomes more religious, it becomes more superstitious; it is rediscovering and reinventing full-blown heathen religion – signs and wonders, priests, shrines, meditation, “spiritual formation,” “incarnational worship,” spiritual communities, healings, asceticism, monasticism, ecstatic “speech.” Warfield’s explanation of Biblical miracles and his dissection of modern heathenism are more timely today than they were 90 years ago.
Despite the growing interest in religion, most churchgoers in America – perhaps most churchgoers worldwide – seem never to have read the Bible. That in itself is a damning indictment of contemporary churches. Suppose a literary club were organized to study Shakespeare, but read only snippets from his plays and a few sonnets, and spent most of its meetings doing other things. Would we call it a Shakespearean society? Hardly. Yet churches that claim to be Christian have not taught their members even the most basic things about Christianity. Most of them, in fact, depreciate the truthfulness and importance of Scripture, and instead emphasize religious ritual; social, charitable, and political activity; and emotional experience. It’s as if the Shakespeare society ignored Shakespeare and spent its time bowling. Churches neither encourage nor practice the intellectual experience of studying the Word of God. That, if it is to be done at all, is to be done only by the experts – the academicians in seminaries and universities. Continue reading →
This is a subject which has once again risen to the forefront of discussions between Christians and professing Christians today, particularly since the modern Charismatic Pentecostal movement has gained much international popularity. Speaking in tongues has become a powerful tool used by some televangelists and so-called preachers in mega-churches, those for whom I find the tag “rock star evangelists” particularly descriptive, to deceive those congregants who lack discernment.
I recently heard one of the charismatic preachers at the forefront of the movement in our country, accuse those in his congregation who do not speak in tongues, of being simply and willfully ignorant. Subsequently, he has instituted classes where those, who have not been able to overcome their ignorance of the spiritual gift of tongues, to learn the skill. This, of course, is an addition to the already existing and well attended schools of prophecy and healing at his church, where for a tidy sum, one can learn to channel the Holy Spirit and do the work expected by God of every devoted Christian. I suppose none of this is new or unexpected. I mention it simply to sketch part of the reason for placing this article.
It is important for the Christian to determine the truth regarding this matter, particularly those who do not necessarily consult Scripture to test what is being fed to them from the Charismatic pulpit. Often, for those who are being deceived by the over-dressed, eloquent and financially successful businessmen who moonlight as Charismatic preachers, it is unthinkable that what is being taught as Biblical truth by their heroes, can be perceived as a lie or not from God. Continue reading →