Continuing Revelation? Prophecy and Tongues?

It is my belief that the gifts of prophecy, and tongues have ceased. It seems that the revelatory process has completed resulting in the canon of Scripture. God continues to speak but only through His Word. He does not provide new revelation but illumination. The Spirit speaks to us through the Word. In short, I do not believe in continuing revelation but illumination.

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Drawing from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 the spiritual gifts are gaining contemporary attention. Emphasizing prophecy charismatic groups have expressed it as a message from God to someone by means of a spokesperson. This communication comes from an experience. A vision, a dream or words coming to mind in which a person thinks God is communicating directly. 

This however is counter to the New Testament gift of prophecy and is not a restoration of this gift. Some charismatics claim that the modern manifestations of prophecy are a restoration of the New Testament model, as recorded in Acts 2:17-21. The prophecy from Acts is universal to the church and indicates the age of the Holy Spirit. 

While there is not a consensus on the exact expression of the gift of prophecy in the New Testament it is my belief that the prophecy is referring to proclamation, application of revealed truth. It is not referring to foretelling or prediction. A useful test of prophecy is those found in Dt 13:1-3 and Dt 18:22. Dt 13 is concerned with the doctrinal content of the alleged prophecy. Dt 18 is concerned with foretelling and fulfillment of any prediction. I read prophecy in the New Testament and the today as the proclaiming of God in a formal or informal setting. 

Belief in prophecy as defined as unique messages from God is functionally a rejection of sufficiency of Scripture. While many who believe in ongoing prophetic messages do not intend to reject sufficiency of Scripture by claiming special knowledge or messages outside of God it leads believers to seek out those who might have this gift to provide them with timely or relevant help.

Instead of relying on the Word of God read or proclaimed people seek out ‘a word from God.’ This form of functionally denying the sufficiency of Scripture is dangerous and needs to be prevented. If a person comes to me with questions about this gift of prophecy, I would endeavor to explain my position and the dangers to look out for. At the very least I would show them Dt 13 and 18 walking through the tests that God has put forth in His word. I would also add Ezek 13:1-3 which states, “The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

Published by Matthew.Statler

I joyfully pastor Sierra Vista Baptist Church in Arizona. I'm certified in Biblical Counseling from the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC). I graduated from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MDIV with a concentration in Biblical Counseling. I also am an Iraq war veteran. Matthew Statler SFC, US Army(Ret)

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