Myth Buster Series: Prophecy and Tongues Have Not Ceased
by Dennis Michelson
Introduction: The Epistle to the Hebrews gives the clearest information in regard to the nature of redemptive revelation. In the opening words of the epistle God is seen as having spoken in His Son as the culmination of the process of revelation.
The aorist participle "having spoken" and the finite verb "spake" link the old and the new together, representing the former as preparatory to the latter. The question before us is this - "Can there still be further revelation entitled to a place alongside - or in addition to - New Testament revelation?
Vos says "Unless we adopt the mystical standpoint, which cuts loose the subjective from the objective, the only proper answer to this question is, that new revelation can be added only, in case new objective events of a supernatural character take place, needing for their understanding a new body of interpretation supplied by God."
Any mystical revelation claimed by many in the interim between the first and second coming of Christ as a personal privilege is out of keeping with the genius and doctrine of biblical revelation and opens the door to error and a self-centered (rather than Christ-centered) pietism.
Mysticism in this detached form is not specifically Christian. It occurs in all types of religions, for better or for worse. Such practice is unverifiable, expcept on the principle of submitting it to the test of harmony with existing Scripture. If this is required then it ceases to be a separate source of revelation concerning God.
Thomas Boston wrote "The entire perfection of the scripture; that is, the whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture."
The popular teaching of our day that prophecies and tongues add to God's revelation diminishes the assertion that "The law of the Lord is perfect" and devalues - if not denies - the absolute authority of the Word of God. Psalm 19:8 states that the perfect law of God converts the soul, makes wise the simple, rejoices the heart, and enlightens the eyes.
Consider this - if anything necessary for us were not already in the Scriptures then how would they answer the purpose for which they were written? The nature of the Bible teaches us of its perfection. For if the Scriptures are not perfect then they cannot be a rule; for a rule must always be commensurable to the thing being regulated.
Those persons who claim to receive extra-biblical revelation from God need to proceed with great care and caution as a cavalier approach to this matter can bring only confusion and judgment. The claim to extra-biblical communication from God is no less erroneous than denying the Virgin Birth, the Blood Atonement, or any other major fundamental Christian doctrine. This is serious stuff!
I am a Baptist by conviction and very few really know what that means. Baptist's may be out of the mainstream of orthodox Protestant Christianity on some areas of doctrine but not on the perfection and finality of the Scriptures. The Baptist Confession of 1689 says - "it pleased the Lord to commit His revealed Truth to writing. Therefore the Holy Scriptures are most necessary, those former ways by which God revealed His will unto His people having now ceased."
All major orthodox groups confess the same. When one claims that he speaks for God or heard from God apart from the written Word of God, then he runs counter to historic biblical Christianity and joins the ranks of the cults and the First Church of the Confused.
The Presbyterians, when speaking of the written revelation of God confess that "unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men." We agree with the conclusion reached by the Westminster group when they wrote, "The perfection of the Scriptures is to be maintained in opposition to those enthusiasts who pretend to new revelations of the Spirit, and in opposition to the Church of Rome, which receives traditions with the same veneration that they do the Scriptures."
It has become quite fashionable to reject the combined wisdom of the Church since its inception and claim a direct link to the Apostles. I fear that such persons have rejected the doctrine of the Apostles in favor of seeking to mimic their experience.
The ability to mimic has always been a good way to draw a crowd - it is called theatre. The Church is not a theatre but it is to be the pillar and ground of the Truth once and for all delivered unto the saints.
Enough of the editorial comments. These messages on this website are designed to help preachers gain sermonic material. The following outline is a suggested way to proceed but with enough latitude for each preacher to add as little sugar or vinegar as may be needed.
The Lord knows that we need more enthusiam and fire in our churches. May God grant such for all of us. However, the enthusiam generated around the golden calf and the fire of Nadab and Abihu will ultimately lead to unstable Christians and spiritual depression.
1. THE PURPOSE OF PROPHECY AND TONGUES
2. THE PROBLEMS WITH PROPHECY AND TONGUES
3. THE PERSONS SPEAKING PROPHECY AND TONGUES
4. THE PERFECTION OF THE WRITTEN WORD OF GOD