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What’s Wrong with Extra-biblical Revelation?

Extra-biblical revelation is a hairy sounding phrase, but it just means adding our own dreams, visions, or special words we think came from God, to the Jesus revealed by the Bible. The effect of these additions isn’t merely to give personal direction or guidance, but to develop a new vision of Jesus or a new form of doctrine.

This practice is rampant today.

In evangelical circles, there is The Shack by William P. Young and in pentecostal circles there is The Final Quest by Rick Joyner. Kenneth Hagin, one of the founders of the prosperity gospel, had visitations from Jesus (who told him it wasn’t wrong to be rich). Liberal churches such as the United Church of Christ don’t have a book by an author, but they have an attitude which is captured in their phrases “God is Still Speaking” and “Never put a period where God has placed a comma (a quote by Gracie Allen).” The Mormons claim that Joseph Smith had a special revelation given to him by an angel on golden plates. This is now their “Book of Mormon.”

The early church battled against the same type of heresy. The Gnostics were claiming to have special revelation that was given to them during the time Jesus was still on the earth after the resurrection. The apostles had to battle against these teachings because they perverted the doctrine of grace and removed Christianity from the realm of historic truth into the realm of transcendent experience.

If gnosticism was allowed to stand, then the gospel wouldn’t be grounded and rooted in history. It would become a spiritual concoction based on experience. There would no longer be a standard of truth based on reality. Isn’t this what Joyner and Young are doing to the church? They’re sharing their vision of Jesus, rather than the Jesus revealed in scripture.

It’s important to not let these special visions of Jesus stand because anybody can create their own Jesus then! How will truth survive?

The scriptures also tell us that this kind of special revelation turns men into types of “super-apostles”(2 Corinthians 11:5)– each becoming more competitive in their attempt to outdo each other with a more magnificent vision or dream.

John explained that the gospel was given out in the open to those who saw Jesus in the flesh. The disciples even touched him with their hands. He explains: “The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it (1 John 1).”

Jesus wasn’t a ghost, vision, or dream. He certainly wasn’t a made-up character. He was real. He was a man made of flesh and blood. He spoke words from his mouth. These are the words recorded in the scriptures. Dreams and visions of Jesus (except those given to the prophets and apostles) aren’t based on historical authority, but rather transcendent on individual authority–which is really no authority because anyone can do it.

Christianity must have a reliable source for truth, and dreams and visions, while titillating, are not trustworthy, and they usually lead to spiritual competitiveness and wrong doctrine. This is why Paul said:

“Do not go beyond what is written.” Then you will not take pride in one man
over against another.
(1 Corinthians 4:6b)


About Diana Lesperance

I'm passionate about Jesus and I love to defend the gospel of grace and truth. I have a large and active family that keeps me busy and overwhelmed on a daily basis.


2 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with Extra-biblical Revelation?

  1. Great stuff, thank you, I was looking to express what I was seeing taking place with some people in my church and this explains it.

    Posted by Robert Metz | June 5, 2016, 7:03 pm

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Why am I WAITING for “Shalom?”

"They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven . . ."
(1 Thessalonians 1:9b-10a)

The word "shalom" in the Hebrew has many meanings which indicate restoration, renewal, friendship, peace, safety and so on. At one time, God placed his creation in a perfect garden--a place of safety, security, provision and peace--and we disobeyed God, losing 1) our relationship with God and 2) paradise.

Since that time, we've attempted to bring back both of these losses in our own way. Religion is our attempt to gain back our relationship with God, and politics is our attempt to gain back paradise.

The solution to both of these losses is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Yet the world refuses to believe the good news! Instead they try to attain the restoration--the shalom--in their own way through their own effort.

I believe that the kingdom of God is restored in the hearts of men as they receive Christ's finished work, but the kingdom of God doesn't come physically to earth until Christ comes.

Any effort to bring about the promise ahead of time in our own strength is akin to Abraham going to Hagar for fulfillment of the promise instead of waiting with Sarah for the birth of the promised child through whom the nations of the earth would be blessed.

The evangelical church is rushing en masse to bring about shalom through their own effort, power, and influence. Men like Bill Hybels, Rick Warren, Jim Wallis, and Donald Miller are losing their faith in the promise of Christ that he would prepare a place for them and they're attempting to restore paradise now.

I want to let it be known that I'm WAITING for shalom. I won't be a part of their dream. They are moving ahead of God rather than waiting on God and they will create another Ishmael as a result.

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