PART 15 CHURCH TEACHINGS
PART 15 CHURCH TEACHINGS
To Learn about Teachings That Will Inhibit a Believer from Growing Spiritually
Doctrines of Destruction
C. There Is New Revelation.
I believe that this is another topic that can inhibit a believer from growing spiritually. Occasionally, I have heard about it from the pulpit, but it’s not something that is frequently talked about. So, what is revelation? I could give you a quick definition of such, but why not rather take a look at it in context and derive a definition from there. Please go the book of 1 Corinthians.
He that speaks in an unknown tongue
1 Corinthians 14:1-12
Apparently, in the Corinthian church, the exercising of the gift of tongues had become a prominent issue. Some were exercising it at various times whether during prayer, while they were singing, or when the assembly of believers gathered during worship, without there being an interpreter present.
12 Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church.
It was clearly stated by the apostle Paul that without an interpreter, the church assembly would not receive edification (building up). Therefore, if no interpreter was available, then it was recommended that they prophesy. What is prophesy? Prophesy is proclaiming God’s message.
3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
The purpose of which is to provide edification (to speak what contains doctrine fitted to edify), exhortation (encouragement, which can include reproof; strengthening), and comfort (to remove sadness; to provide comfort and hope).
4 He that speaketh in an unknown tongue edifieth himself; but he that prophesieth edifieth the church.
Furthermore, he declared that without an interpreter, whosoever speaks forth the gift of tongues will only edify themselves.
6 Now, brethren, if I come unto you speaking with tongues, what shall I profit you, except I shall speak to you either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine?
So, if this were to be the case and he were to show up in their assembly and bring forth a tongue without an interpreter, then he would rather speak that which would edify, i.e., either by revelation, or by knowledge, or by prophesying, or by doctrine. The first thing that he mentions which would edify the church would be a declaration by revelation. The word revelation means the supernatural unveiling of divine truths188 that were previously concealed, unknown, or hidden to the mind. What might follow is the supernatural communication of truth that conveys particular knowledge and information to individuals or humanity.189 Another way to define revelation is to say that it is the receiving … of truth [particular knowledge and information] from the heart of God [by means of the Holy Spirit] to the heart of the believer190, which could not be found by means of scientific investigation or human reason.
And when these truths are communicated to others this is called inspiration. Inspiration secures to the teacher or writer infallibility in communicating that truth to others. It renders its subject the spokesman or prophet of God in such a sense that everything he asserts to be true, whether fact or doctrine or moral principle, is true, infallibly true.191
Something else to consider about revelation is that some believe there are two types, i.e., natural and supernatural. Natural (general) revelation has to do with God revealing His power and divinity through the course of nature to all men. The other is called supernatural revelation which has to do with God making known salvation to rescue broken and deformed sinners from their sin and its consequences.192
Now that we have a better understanding as to what the word revelation means, what would it mean if a leader of a church says, that God gave him/her a new revelation? This could also be referred to as adding or taking away from Scripture. What would a new revelation be all about? To get a better idea of what this means, let’s take a look at some Scripture sections. Let’s begin by going to the book of Matthew.
Ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition
Suggested Reading: Matthew 15:1-9
2 Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
Jesus is in the land of Gennesaret, where scribes and Pharisees from Jerusalem came to Him disclosing their displeasure about His disciples. They alleged that they had transgressed the tradition of the elders because they washed not their hands before they ate bread. What they were really saying was, they were accusing Jesus of not teaching His disciples Scriptural truth.
However, this was not the case. The words tradition of the elders does not refer to a requirement from the Old Testament writings of the Torah. But rather it refers to the Oral Torah, which was a written collection of Jewish oral traditions. In other words, these were practices that were added by those in positions of authority that had no basis in Scripture, but yet they considered them just as important.
4 For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
Jesus responded to them by stating what was one of the actual requirements according to the Jewish writings of the Torah, which was to honor thy father and mother. The word honor not only meant respect and submission, but also to take care of a person, to nourish and support him, to enrich.193 If a son had the means to help his destitute parent or parents and chose not to, this was punishable by death according to the Mosaic Law.
5 But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
Here we ascertain that the religious leaders figured out a way to circumvent this command. They did this by proclaiming the word ‘corban’. What in the world does this mean? This word denotes a gift. It refers to something dedicated to God. Once a thing such as property of any sort was secured by making a vow in this manner, it could not be used for any other purpose.
Deuteronomy 23:21 When thou shalt vow a vow unto the Lord thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for the Lord thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee.
Even though this type of giving something in this manner to God was Scriptural according to the Torah, it was not meant to be used to supersede the mandate to honor one’s father and mother. What these Jewish teachers said in effect was that it was more important for a man to dedicate his property to God than to provide for the needs of his parent.194 Once this property was given in this manner, it could not be taken back to help one’s parents even if financial assistance was requested by them.
What else I found that was interesting was another take off on this scheme. This referred to the chiefs and priests of a place called the Sandwich islands. They had the power of devoting anything to the service of the gods by saying that it was "taboo," or "tabooed;" that is, it became consecrated to the service of religion; and, no matter who had been the owner, it could then be appropriated for no other use. In this way, they had complete power over all the possessions of the people, and could appropriate them for their own use under the PRETENCE of devoting them to religion. Thus, they DEPRIVED the people of their property under the plea that it was CONSECRATED to the gods.195
So, Jesus was not saying that no one should give financially to God, but not to use it inappropriately when it interfered with our duty to provide for our parents and family relations; when it was done to get rid of the duty of aiding them; and when it was done out of a malignant and rebellious spirit, with the semblance of piety, to get clear of doing to earthly parents what God required.196
There are a couple of things we could deduce as being considered new revelations. The first is to say that a new revelation is saying that something needs to be observed or obeyed that is not found in Scripture. It appears to have a godly slant to it, is based on man-made traditions, and is imposed on others in the name of God.
Second, a new revelation is taking the word of God and using it inappropriately for personal reasons (e.g. not helping others who need financial assistance; getting back at others; personal gain) while giving the appearance that what was done was for God’s glory.
What else could it mean, when someone in leadership says, God has given me a new revelation?
Please go to the book of Galatians.
There be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ
6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
What constitutes the Gospel of Christ has become a major issue at the church in Galatia. The apostle Paul, when writing to the church there, expressed his surprise of the short duration between the conversion of some by means of the grace of Christ (to a participation in the salvation procured by His Son on the Cross, it was on a basis, not of works, but of a salvation unmerited by them and freely bestowed197) to another gospel (a gospel of legalism which adds work to faith198).
7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ.
Romans 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.
And then Paul constituted this false gospel as an opposition gospel which was really not an alternative one199 at all. He then identified those who were teaching these untruths. And believe it or not they were Christians, fellow Jewish Christians, otherwise known as Judaizers, who were disturbing their fellow believers mentally by changing the gospel of grace which Paul preached, to the reverse of what it was, a message of salvation by good works.
The end of this declaration concluded with what it was that was being perverted, the Gospel of Christ, which is otherwise described as the Good News with Christ as the content.200 I hope you caught that. The Gospel of Christ is described with Christ as the content. Nothing is to be added to it or taken from it.
This is another example of adding to or taking away from the teachings of God. In this case, we could say that a new revelation is adding more or new information from one dispensation to a Scriptural declaration made from another dispensation. This was adding to the gospel of grace for salvation under the Church Age from the gospel of works under the Age of the Jews.
Stay in the same book and go to chapter 3.
Are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Galatians 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?
Not only did the apostle Paul have an issue with the Galatians concerning salvation but also another as important issue needed to be addressed and that had to do with their spiritual growth. He questioned them and asked, Are you so foolish (irrational), having begun in the Spirit (of the initial entrance of the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the Galatian Christians when they put their trust in the Lord Jesus201) are you now made perfect (the state of spiritual maturity) by the flesh (by means of self-effort) in an attempt to obey an outward legalistic system of works? The Galatians were turning away from the teaching and the reality of the ministry of the Spirit and were attempting to adhere to a religious system, the Mosaic Law, that kept them busy with ceremonial performances, observance of days and festivals, distinction of meats, and other matters of ceremonial prescription.202
Unfortunately, in many Christian Churches, there are tenets of the Mosaic Law, some of which born again believers are asked to obey (e.g., tithing; the giving of firstfruits; observing the 7th Day Sabbath as the day for worship; obedience to the Ten Commandments, etc.) not only for their spiritual growth but to secure their salvation. This is what would be termed as walking in the flesh, being religious, instead of learning about the new person we have become at salvation, appropriating these truths and reflecting upon them throughout the day, confessing know sin (mental, verbal, and overt) to God the Father, and operating under the rule (guidance, leading, and power) of the Holy Spirit.
This is a similar example of adding to or taking away from the teachings of God. Likewise, this is another new revelation that involves adding more or new information from one dispensation to a Scriptural declaration made from another dispensation. This was different in that it was adding to or even replacing the protocols for a believer’s sanctification under the Church Age from the gospel of works under the Age of the Jews.
Another passage of Scripture that pertains to adding or taking away from God-given revelation is found in the book of Colossians.
Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
What the apostle was conveying to the Colossian believers is what could happen and what has happened to many believers of the Christian faith. He warned them to be aware of those teachers who bring them back into slavery through philosophy (human wisdom, as contrasted with the divine wisdom in the Christian message203) and vain deceit (intellectualism or high-sounding nonsense204), which is centered on the rudiments of the world ("elementary teachings" either of a Jewish or pagan origin, with various beliefs and ritual … which were in sharp contrast to the Christian way of life205 and not after Christ.
As for adding to or taking away from revelation, I think that this verse reflects both. A new revelation takes away in that it offers human wisdom apart from divine wisdom. Second, it adds to the revelation of Christian teachings with various beliefs and rituals from Jewish or pagan origin.
With what we have learned, how could we define the idea of someone in leadership saying that they have received a new revelation from God? Before we do this, let’s restate what the word revelation means.
Revelation is the transmission of truth [particular knowledge and information] from the heart of God [by means of the Holy Spirit] to the heart of the believer206, which could not be found by means of scientific investigation or human reason.
A new revelation is:
- Saying that something needs to be observed or obeyed from tradition that is not found in Scripture. Matthew 15:1-9
- Taking the Word of God and using it inappropriately for personal reasons (e.g. not helping others who need financial assistance; getting back at others; for dishonest gain) while giving the appearance that what was done was for God’s glory. Matthew 15:1-9
- Adding information from the dispensation under the Mosaic Law to the dispensation of grace pertaining to salvation and sanctification. Galatians 3:3
- Replacing divine wisdom with human wisdom. Colossians 2:8
- Adding to the revelation of Christian teachings with various beliefs and rituals from Jewish or pagan origin and other faiths. Colossians 2:8
I would like to leave you with one more Scripture section, which will tell us something reassuring about revelation from God.
Revealed them unto us by his Spirit
1 Corinthians 2:9-10
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.
But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
God the Holy Spirit has revealed hidden truths of which eye has not ever seen, nor the ear has ever heard about before, and which have never been entered into the mind of man at any time. When did this take place and to whom were these truths revealed to? The words hath revealed in the Greek is a verb in what is called the Aorist Tense, which denotes action as occurring at a point in time. I believe this refers to the time when the New Testament church began, that being on the Day of Pentecost, when the promise of receiving the indwelling Spirit was fulfilled.
Ephesians 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;
This verse tells us that these truths were unveiled to the apostles and prophets.
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
And what about the duration of these truths (revelations)? I would like add a quote from an interesting article on such. The Greek scholar Robertson comments on “has spoken,” saying that it means “’did speak’ in a final and full revelation.” There is a powerful contrast set up between these two avenues of revelation. In the Old Testament times revelation from God was continuous, whereas in stark contrast, the revelation in Jesus Christ is full, complete, and final.207 What this is essentially saying is that divine revelation is not continuing but is finished with the completion of the New Testament writings or canon.
That was enlightening. What I would like to leave you with is an article on revelation, which instead of using this word, the writer uses a common phrase ‘God told me’. Enjoy.
“The Danger of Speaking on Behalf of God”
1 Kings 13:18-19 (CSB): “He said to him, ‘I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD: “Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat food and drink water.” ‘ The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate food in his house, and drank water.”
REFLECTIONS ON TODAY’S BIBLE VERSE(S):
Can I step up onto a soapbox and share one of the things that really gets under my skin?
Red flags and red flares go up in my mind whenever someone says: “God told me …” or “God wants you to know that …”
Some people use such phrases so flippantly. They act as if it’s normal and they leave every other believer wondering why God hasn’t ever talked to them like that.
My wife once had a lady tell her something that was extremely tactless, hurtful, completely inappropriate, and not based upon truth. But, the lady began her words to Kim by saying: “God told me to tell you …”
Let me give a few reasons why such phrases should raise red flags in all of us:
- It is typically used by people who rarely cite Scripture in their comments (Scripture: the place where God actually speaks).
- It is typically used to shut down debate. It is used by someone who is living their life as a maverick and not as someone who is open to correction and guidance by a pastor or a church body (as Jesus intended). Essentially, they see themselves as God’s gift to the world.
- It is typically used by people who don’t have it all together, even though they want you to think they have it all together. Essentially, they are wearing a mask. A word Jesus often used of people who presented themselves to be something they aren’t is “hypocrite.” Those are people you don’t want to take too seriously.
I’ve observed many other instances where people have taken it upon themselves to speak for God. I’ve heard them speak on His behalf to express their disapproval with a church budget, or to get their agenda pushed through without debate, or to say something harsh and hurtful to someone for which they claim no responsibility.
Friend, I’m sick and tired of people who claim to speak on behalf of God but don’t have their finger on a passage of Scripture where God has actually spoken. Such spiritual arrogance is dangerous and destructive. It has more in common with the self-righteous Pharisees than a true follower of Jesus.
Which brings us to the verses that I have chosen as Today’s Bible Verses.
The story is told in 1 Kings 13 of an Old Testament prophet who was actually given instruction by God. He went to King Jeroboam and [prophesied] that God would bring judgment upon the northern tribes of Israel for rebelling against Him. Then, the prophet left as he made it clear that God had revealed to him that he was not to eat, drink, or go back the way he came.
As he left Jeroboam’s presence, another prophet in Bethel heard what had happened. He got on his donkey and went in search of the prophet and found him. Listen to what he told him…
1 Kings 13:18-19 (CSB): “He said to him, ‘I am also a prophet like you. An angel spoke to me by the word of the LORD: “Bring him back with you to your house so that he may eat food and drink water.” ‘The old prophet deceived him, and the man of God went back with him, ate food in his house, and drank water.”
The second prophet claimed that he had a word from the Lord. Essentially, he said: “God told me to tell you that He changed His mind. You are supposed to come back to Bethel to get some food and drink. You can trust me because God told me this.”
But, the previous verses state that the second prophet had said these things to deceive the original prophet. As you read the rest of the story in 1 King 13, you realize that God brought judgment on the original prophet and he was killed by a lion on his way back home.
Friend, if you insist on using the phrase, “God told me,” I would encourage you to only do so with the following stipulations:
- You had better have a clear sense that God actually told you something (and you are absolutely clear on what He told you) before you make that claim.
- You had better be careful in using the phrase, “God told me,” in public because it is often used by people who are spiritually arrogant and want to impress others.
- You had better document what you publicly claim that God said to you to see if it actually happens. If you find out you were not correct, then you can learn that God is not speaking to you as you think. So, keep quiet. Why? Because publicly speaking on behalf of God, when God hadn’t spoken, was a capital offense in the Old Testament (read Deuteronomy 13:1-5). It is also one of the reasons for a stricter judgment on Judgment Day (James 3:1).
- You had better search the Scriptures to make sure that what you think God told you actually aligns with a passage, or precept, or the spirit of the Biblical text. God doesn’t change and He won’t reveal something to you that is contrary to His Word.
- You had better be humble enough to receive correction or guidance on what you think God has told you. Jesus left us the church because we are to live out our faith in community. It is the maverick American culture that has infiltrated Christianity that makes us think we don’t need others to correct and help guide us.
Friend, the only time that we can absolutely say that “God told me” is when we have our finger on a Bible passage. If you ever want to actually hear God speak, just read your Bible out loud.
In fact, as others claim that God has spoken to them, or you make that claim, or your preacher claims to speak on behalf of God, I would heartily encourage you to be like the Jews in Berea. Even if the Apostle Paul and Silas were to show up and claim to give a message from the Lord, be like the Jews in Berea. There is a way that you can determine if God has actually spoken and the Jews in Berea engaged in it. Be like them!
Acts 17:10-11 (CSB): “As soon as it was night, the brothers and sisters sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. Upon arrival, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. The people here were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, since they received the word with eagerness and examined the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” 208
What a blessing this article was. We have one more topic to take a look in respect to Doctrines of Destruction that inhibit us in our walk with God. This one has to do with using religious liberty as a license to sin in the realm of sexual relationships. I chose this because it seems to be a recurrent theme in many churches or many groups that call themselves religious.
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188Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary.
189Dr. Willis Newman, “Special revelation: Has it ceased?” <http://www.bible-teaching-about.com/specialrevelation.html>.
190Wuest's Word Studies.
191Easton's Bible Dictionary.
192International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.
193Adam Clarke's Commentary.
197Weust’s Word Studies.
198Bible Knowledge Commentary/New Testament.
199Weust’s Word Studies.
200UBS New Testament.
201Wuest's Word Studies.
202Wuest's Word Studies.
203UBS New Testament.
204UBS New Testament.
205UBS New Testament.
206Wuest's Word Studies.
207Dr. Willis Newman.
208Matt Ellis, “The Danger of Speaking on Behalf of God” Matt’s Musings 15 May 2020 <https://mattsmusings.net/2019/06/14/june-14/>.