Private revelation is deeply problematic for mainstream churchianity. In fact, many alleged Christian organizations refuse to accept any revelation that isn’t explicitly word-for-word backed up by scripture.
While I agree with this restriction to a certain extent, we also need to remember that Jesus told his disciples there were many things they needed to learn, but they weren’t ready to learn them yet; they would have to wait until the “Spirit of Truth” would inform them at a later date. These teachings would then obviously not be included in scripture and might even contradict some long-held truths, the way that Jesus’ seminal “love your enemies” seemingly contradicts the directive to love only your neighbour and hate your enemies. Should we then disregard as heretical Jesus’ commandment to love our enemies?
I was thinking about Jesus’ promised future teachings today when I was listening to a pastor talk about the importance of confession. As born-again believers, we know that genuine confession in the form of repentance and submission to God not only kick-starts the conversion process, but keeps a soul sparkling clean along the Way. Embracing and practicing confession is like learning your ABCs, if you’re a follower of Jesus. Yet for many who attend Sunday church services and otherwise don’t give God or Jesus a second thought throughout the rest of the week, confession is a foreign concept that they have only a slight understanding of and sadly mostly dread.
Static churches (that is, congregations built around a building or a denomination rather than around a growing faith) tend to draw people who have only a vague notion of Christianity. In spiritual knowledge terms, they’re still in kindergarten or even pre-kindergarten and the majority of them are happy to remain there. They don’t want to grow in faith. If they did, they wouldn’t still be going to Sunday services. They would have outgrown them.
Jesus’ way of teaching his disciples is not the way of churchianity. Because they followed Jesus around throughout his ministry years, the disciples were not only able to grow and progress in their faith, they came to see growing and deepening faith as the norm. There was nothing static or stagnant in their progress. This expectation of progression is entirely missing from the static church experience, where pastors must teach and reteach A, B and C, because D and all the other letters beyond it would be too difficult for the parishioners to understand and/or accept. Paul touched on this briefly, berating the members of one of the churches for still being in the suckling stage when they should long ago have moved onto solid food.
We need to keep this in mind for two reasons: One, we should always be growing and deepening our faith and the growth should be obvious to us and those around us; and two, after a certain point, we’ll be relying almost exclusively on private revelation from God’s Spirit of Truth, as Jesus promised us. When we reach that point, what we learn will likely be dismissed or condemned by mainstream churchianity as ascriptural heresy, which should not be surprising to us, considering that most (if not all) professional priests and ministers are not born-again and are themselves still stuck spiritually in A, B or C. In other words, they’re in no position to judge what is heretical or not.
Remember that Jesus was condemned as a heretic guilty of blasphemy for claiming to be the prophesied Messiah. Despite this revelation being in scripture, those who condemned Jesus couldn’t make the jump from reading words on a page to applying them to an actual living breathing person. The problem wasn’t Jesus or even scripture; the problem was ignorance and spiritual blindness that kept the religious powers-that-be and those they lorded over operating at a spiritual kindergarten or pre-kindergarten level.
Without growth, faith shrivels and dies. Static faith is spiritual death. For us born-again believers, private revelation is one of the ways that our faith continues grow, and as such should never be dismissed out of hand. Along with mentioning that the Spirit of Truth would guide his followers in the Way they needed to go, Jesus also stated that what we hear in the ear, we need to shout from the rooftops. If that isn’t a clear reference to the validity of private revelation, I don’t what is. In fact, most of the Bible is based on private revelation – God revealed his Truth to his messengers, the prophets, who then relayed to others what God had told them. We born-agains are God’s prophets.
God, through his Holy Spirit, tells me many things “in the ear”, some of which I relay to others and some of which I keep to myself for the time being, according to God’s instructions. He’s been with me and guiding me since the day I was reborn nearly 23 years ago. Having God with us through his Holy Spirit is a promise given to us by Jesus: there is nothing heretical, blasphemous, ascriptural or crazy about it. It’s evidence of spiritual rebirth. And if God is with me all day every day through his Spirit, we’re not going to pass the time talking about the weather. We’re going to talk Truth. Or rather, God is going to talk Truth, and I’m going to soak it up and apply it. That’s how I grow in my faith.
I know there are some things that I’ve written about here over the years that have alienated readers of this blog, as they see it as contradicting scripture (or, better said, contradicting their churchianity teachings). There’s not much I can do about that. I’m not going to adjust what God tells me in order not to offend anyone or to support lies. For example, Jesus tells us to get a weapon, but he never tells us to hurt anyone with it. In fact, he very clearly demonstrates (by healing the wound inflicted on a soldier by his overzealous follower) that we’re not to hurt anyone with our weapon, and that it’s to be used for deterrence purposes only.
Many Americans are not a fan of this revelation. They read in scripture “sell your cloak and get a weapon” and they assume the directive to get a weapon implies permission to use it to hurt or kill people, and to do so with God’s and Jesus’ blessings. Nothing could be farther from the Truth. Christians don’t kill, full stop. Christians love their enemies, they don’t hurt them in any way. It doesn’t matter if the state gives you permission to kill under certain circumstances or if your pastor directs you to arm yourself with the intention to kill – God says “don’t do it”. I know he says “don’t do it” because he told me through private revelation.
Knowing that, who are you going to believe – the full weight of churchianity and the state, which gives you permission to arm yourself with the intention to kill, or little ol’ born-again me, who claims to have heard directly from God that we’re to use a weapon for deterrence purposes only?
Who you choose to believe is up to you. You have free will. But I would recommend that you choose to believe what aligns with the teachings of Jesus, even if it’s not explicitly stated in scripture. What aligns with the teachings of Jesus in this instance is that we’re to use our weapons for deterrence purposes only.
A prayer for you: I hope you have a wonder-filled day. I hope you grow in faith today, and that the growth is obvious to you and those around you. I hope you hear directly from God and apply what you hear to your life. I hope that whatever you do, you do it as if you were doing it for God himself, and that you proudly do it in Jesus’ name. I hope that you never hide that you’re a follower of Jesus: there is never an occasion when it’s right to hide that. I hope you only ever do what’s right in God’s eyes, even if it contradicts what you learned in church or on a YouTube video.
I hope you choose to do what’s right in God’s eyes.