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Jesus Told Me to Open My Bible

As noted yesterday, I saw the image below on Facebook last week. Christians (nominal, at least) have had two reactions that I've observed: offense at being insulted, and ridicule of Ms. Behar's theological qualifications. I commented on the former yesterday, and will attack the latter today.


“It’s one thing to talk to Jesus; it’s another thing when Jesus talks to you. That’s called mental illness, if I’m not correct.”

As a theologian, Joy Behar certainly leaves something to be desired. In fact, I think it's safe to say she leaves everything to be desired.* But can we pause our mockery just long enough to acknowledge the old saw that “even a stopped clock is right twice a day”? Because while the “mental illness” portion of her statement would have to be assessed case-by-case, the gist of it is true: If you truly believe you are receiving extra-biblical divine revelation, you are deceived.

It is a popular notion, especially in Pentecostal and charismatic circles, that God is working today just like he did in ancient times. That is a manifestly fallacious notion, but what if it was not? The truth is that there has never been a time, beyond the Garden of Eden, when God regularly spoke to ordinary people. In the Old Testament, he gave his Word through a select few prophets. Then came the “400 silent years” between the prophet Malachi and John the Baptist, during which there was no prophetic word at all.

Then John came to announce the coming of Christ, who is not only the fulfillment of all prophesy, but our final prophet (Hebrews 1:1–2). Following Christ's resurrection and ascension to heaven, the Holy Spirit, through apostolic instruments, delivered the New Testament (2 Peter 1:19–21). During all that time, common folks were not receiving private messages from God. So even if we grant the claims of continuity, we can't expect God to be texting us special messages just for us. That simply was never his normal practice.

Following the apostolic age, there has not been a legitimate word of prophesy (in the revelatory sense). Nor should we desire any. As Paul wrote to Timothy, God's written Word is all the revelation we need.

You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:14–17).

Having been raised with “And he walks with me, and he talks with me,” and being all too aware of the mystical gibberish that passes for worship music and devotional reading these days, I know how unspiritual I must seem. But the Word that is “able to give [me] the wisdom that leads to salvation” and make me “adequate, equipped for every good work” is good enough for me. What could be better?

Suggested reading: False Prophets and Lying Wonders by John MacArthur.

* The same can certainly be said of MLK. I find it rather ironic that the fatuous claim of a sexually immoral man who denied the virgin birth and resurrection of Christ would be considered a credible rebuttal.

Posted 2018·02·20 by David Kjos
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