Friday, January 14, 2011

Nick Peters on Claiming Revelation

A friend of mine, Nick Peters, has been doing a series on his blog (Deeper Waters) in which he gives his take on various phrases and ideas that are current at the popular level within many Evangelical circles these days. The most recent entry in his 'Christian Sound Bites' series is on the prevalence of people claiming revelation. Since personal revelation is valued rather strongly in the LDS tradition, I thought it might be fruitful to draw attention to his post here. Here is a brief excerpt:

One term that should always put you on red alert when a fellow Christian says it to you is "God told me." To claim insight into the mind of the Most High and that He has revealed information to you is a serious claim. How seriously you take it is an indication of how seriously you take God. If you toss it out casually, you have a low view of God.

Let me state upfront that I am not saying God cannot speak to someone and tell them something today. God can do what he wants. I'm saying it's not normative. None of us doubt that God can raise the dead. However, that doesn't mean we're going to leave the casket open and keep praying. It's not a lack of faith when we bury someone. It's not putting a limitation on God. It's saying that He has promised when He will do that and we're waiting on Him to do so then.

In Old Testament times, the claim to speak for God was definitely taken seriously. People died when they said "God said" and God had not said. If you got one prophecy wrong, you were a false prophet and you were to pay the price with your life for attempting to lead Israel astray.

God is the God of all truth. Do you know what you are saying when you claim that He told you something? You are claiming that what you are saying is absolutely true and true on divine authority and not just that, but personally revealed to you. Now there's nothing wrong with quoting Scripture as the Word of God, but there's something wrong with going beyond Scripture and giving it divine authority. Are you so sure that God has spoken something personally to you that you'd be ready to die for the claim? You'd better be!

For my part, there are times when I believe God has granted me special guidance on a matter, or even spoken through me, but precious few of those are claims I'd die for. I'm quite well aware that it's very easy to be mistaken about those - such is the character of our frail humanity - and hence I don't go about trumpeting those, nor do I place my trust excessively in those, but rather in the Scriptures.

How about you?

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