Continuing Revelation? Prophecy and Tongues?

It is my belief that the gifts of prophecy, and tongues have ceased. It seems that the revelatory process has completed resulting in the canon of Scripture. God continues to speak but only through His Word. He does not provide new revelation but illumination. The Spirit speaks to us through the Word. In short, I do not believe in continuing revelation but illumination.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Drawing from 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 the spiritual gifts are gaining contemporary attention. Emphasizing prophecy charismatic groups have expressed it as a message from God to someone by means of a spokesperson. This communication comes from an experience. A vision, a dream or words coming to mind in which a person thinks God is communicating directly. 

This however is counter to the New Testament gift of prophecy and is not a restoration of this gift. Some charismatics claim that the modern manifestations of prophecy are a restoration of the New Testament model, as recorded in Acts 2:17-21. The prophecy from Acts is universal to the church and indicates the age of the Holy Spirit. 

While there is not a consensus on the exact expression of the gift of prophecy in the New Testament it is my belief that the prophecy is referring to proclamation, application of revealed truth. It is not referring to foretelling or prediction. A useful test of prophecy is those found in Dt 13:1-3 and Dt 18:22. Dt 13 is concerned with the doctrinal content of the alleged prophecy. Dt 18 is concerned with foretelling and fulfillment of any prediction. I read prophecy in the New Testament and the today as the proclaiming of God in a formal or informal setting. 

Belief in prophecy as defined as unique messages from God is functionally a rejection of sufficiency of Scripture. While many who believe in ongoing prophetic messages do not intend to reject sufficiency of Scripture by claiming special knowledge or messages outside of God it leads believers to seek out those who might have this gift to provide them with timely or relevant help.

Instead of relying on the Word of God read or proclaimed people seek out ‘a word from God.’ This form of functionally denying the sufficiency of Scripture is dangerous and needs to be prevented. If a person comes to me with questions about this gift of prophecy, I would endeavor to explain my position and the dangers to look out for. At the very least I would show them Dt 13 and 18 walking through the tests that God has put forth in His word. I would also add Ezek 13:1-3 which states, “The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the prophets of Israel, who are prophesying, and say to those who prophesy from their own hearts: ‘Hear the word of the Lord!’ Thus says the Lord God, Woe to the foolish prophets who follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing!”

What do you think? Feel free to leave a comment.

Four Surprising Insights into the Knowledge of God

Thanks to The Center of Baptist Renewal, I have been introduced to Herman Bavinck. On their 2021 reading list is the book The Wonderful Works of God. Since writing helps me think and remember, I started writing out information from the book and thought I would share. This is a paraphrase with my own thoughts interspersed with content adjusted and modified as I thought through it. My hope is that this helps you think through the Knowledge of God, its Origin, Object, Essence and Effect.

1) The Origin of The Knowledge of God

It is wholly owing to Christ. All other knowledge is learned by insight, judgement, reasoning, study, effort. But the knowledge of the One True God is given to us by Christ (Matt 11:27; 1 John 5:20). Jesus revealed God to us in all that He did, life, death, works etc. Only Christ Jesus knows the Father, He was with God in the beginning, saw Him face to face, is Himself God, the brightness of God’s glory, the express image of His person, the Father’s own, only-begotten and beloved Son, in whom was all His pleasure (Matt 3:17; John 1:14; Heb 1:3).

2) The Object of The Knowledge of God

All other knowledge revolves around the creature, limited to the temporal and can never discover the eternal. There is a revelation of God’s eternal power and godhead in the works of nature, such as order vs chaos. The knowledge of God derived from that source is slight and cannot reveal the personal nature of God, it is mingled with error. Imagine trying to understand complex mathematics with only a 1st grade understanding addition and subtraction. You are bound to misunderstand much! (Rom 1:20-23). How can we know God? We who are but vapor? Rom 10:6, Do not say in your heart, “Who will go up to heaven? The Word is already near you, in Jesus. 1 John 4:19, we see Christ in the mirror of His Word.

“God is known in proportion to the extent that He is loved”

Herman Bavinck

3) The Essence of The Knowledge of God

We are able to now determine the essence of the knowledge of God. In the high priestly prayer, Jesus speaks of knowledge that is not mere information, but is instead real knowing. (John 17:3) Real knowledge is not just reading a tour guide, but actually experiencing it. Knowing is mind, heart and volition. We could call it the knowledge of faith, it is not the product of the scientific method, or the study of specific information. It is like a childlike faith, a simple faith. It is not only a sure knowledge but firm confidence, in the personal remission of sins, everlasting righteousness and salvation are freely given by God, merely by grace, only based on the merits of Christ (Matt 18:3, 5:8, John 3:5). “God is known in proportion to the extent that He is loved”-Bavinck

4) The Effect of The Knowledge of God

The effect of this knowledge is nothing less than eternal life! Creaturely knowledge may help us improve aspects of our lives. Having learned plumbing and waste management has improved the healthy of untold millions. The one who learns art or poetry appreciates certain works of arts to a greater extent. There is but only a difference in degree between the most distinguished scholar and simplest working man, both die, both experience emotional turmoil. The knowledge of visible things can enrich life, how much more will the knowledge of God enrich? Those that God has recreated after His own image and restored to fellowship, ie. born again, are raised above the level of death and mortality! Whoever lives and believes in Jesus will not die (John 11:25-26)

“Knowing God in Christ brings with it eternal life, imperturbable joy, and heavenly blessedness. These are not merely effects, but the knowing of God is itself immediately a new, eternal and blessed life.”

Herman Bavinck

Five Tools for Biblical Meditation in 2021

Lately I have been convicted on the need to slow down and think about, meditate on the Word of God. So I went back and reviewed a few of the books that have impacted my spiritual walk in regards to meditating on the Bible. Here are my top 5 books.

1. God’s Battle Plan for the Mind: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Meditation by David Saxton

Saxton gives us a great exploration on the Puritan practice of Meditation, in it he not only gives reasons why, but also suggest ways to go about it. If you want your affections stirred up, this is a good read for you.

2. Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney

You can’t go wrong with Dr. Whitney as an accomplished professor and pastor I have gained a greater appreciation to his pastoral heart in helping God’s people grow in faith. One way is teaching people how to pray. This book is sure to get you praying more deeply.

3. Gentle and Lowly by Dane Ortlund

While not a guide on meditation, this book reflects on the heart of Christ. You cannot go wrong thinking deeply about how God reveals His heart through Jesus Christ.

4. Private Prayer by Thomas Brooks

This Puritan encourages private prayer, “The power of religion and godliness lives, thrives, or dies, as closet prayer lives, thrives, or dies.” With the typical Puritan style Brooks exposits Matt 6:6 for our benefit.

5. Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament by Mark Vroegop

Because we survived 2020 and there was a lot of loss for many people, I think it is necessary to encourage you to read how to lament by using the Psalms. Christians have a rich heritage in sorrow and suffering. We have so much to offer people who are grieving. This book will teach you how to cry your sorrows to God.

Did I miss anything?

Add your suggestions in the comments! Maybe I can read them this year and have more suggestions for next year. If you buy these books from the link, I will get a little extra added to my Amazon account to buy more books!

When The Night Won’t Cease

Musing’s on Night Terrors and Psalm 88

You may consider yourself to be competent, a warrior, a sheepdog. You may be proficient in your warrior tasks and drills. You may have fought the enemy by Land, Sea or Air. You may hold numerous degrees in combatology and Hardknocks. You may pride yourself on being the “Tip of the Spear.” Yet the trouble has come to you. Your night is disrupted, your sleep ruptured by the cry of death, by the memories of teammates lost and friends killed. You may wake in sweat and smelling of fear, I don’t have to tell you about any of this. You experience it nightly, perhaps you have developed habits to cope, maybe this is your new normal. Just like preparing for combat you prepare for the night.

-Get drunk

-Get into a fight with your significant other so she wont get hurt.

-Drink max doses of Nyquil.

-Check all doors making sure they are triple locked.

-Place gun close but not too close.

-Lay in bed and prepare to be frozen in panic.

Does that describe your nights? Is this your life?

You went to your Pastor, he told you to pray more. You went to your Shrink he said to write down your experience more. You went to the Doctor she said to take these pills. You went to your friends, they said to drink more. Who is right? What do you do in the night when terrors fail to cease?

Where do wise men turn?

Where do I turn?

Where can you turn?

Consider with me Psalm 88

The subtitle calls it a Maskil of Heman, We know Heman was a wise person (1 Kings 4:31) and that a Maskil was a type of song or poem, some have suggested it was created for memory. Let’s take this idea further, this is a song written by a wise person in order to be memorized for difficult times.

Heman recognizes salvation is found in God alone, yet something is bothering him, he cries out day and night to God this shows us that God has not solved his pain and suffering.

Verse 1

Lord, God of my salvation,

I cry out before you day and night.

Have you ever felt like God wasn’t answering you? That He has abandoned you?

Verse 2

May my prayer reach your presence;

listen to my cry.

Sometimes I pray that my prayer will be heard often in desperation!

Verse 3

For I have had enough troubles,

and my life is near Sheol.

Are you done with the night terrors that continue to plague you? Do they creep into your day as well?

Verse 4

I am counted among those going down to the Pit.

I am like a man without strength,

My days are dull and listless I am tired all day but cannot sleep, I lay in bed awake knowing that soon I will be awoken by terror. I am in anguish, are you?

Verse 5

abandoned among the dead.

I am like the slain lying in the grave,

whom you no longer remember,

and who are cut off from your care.

I sometimes wonder if it would have been better for me to have died in combat. I should have been left with the dead, maybe it would have been better. I tend to ask God why, why did He do this to me?

Verse 6-7

You have put me in the lowest part of the Pit,

in the darkest places, in the depths.

Your wrath weighs heavily on me;

you have overwhelmed me with all your waves.


This, this right here is how I feel at night, do you feel that way to? Are you burdened and overwhelmed? This description is very real to me. It gives words to me feelings, I ask God why did you do this?

Selah seems to indicate a pause or a rest, a time to slow down and contemplate. I need this rest as I continue to think about my nights and even days.

Verse 8-10

You have distanced my friends from me;

you have made me repulsive to them.

I am shut in and cannot go out.

My eyes are worn out from crying.

Lord, I cry out to you all day long;

I spread out my hands to you.

Do you work wonders for the dead?

Do departed spirits rise up to praise you?


When the sleep will not come I isolate, I have no energy, I don’t want to see my friends, I quarantine myself. Maybe its me that is toxic. Misery is my only friend. I continue my crying out to God and He doesn’t reply He still holds back. What if I were to die what would be my place? Rest, Pause, that it, breath.

Verses 11-12

Will your faithful love be declared in the grave,

your faithfulness in Abaddon?

Will your wonders be known in the darkness

or your righteousness in the land of oblivion?

God’s faithful love, where is it? When I am dead where will it be? I think about the end often, what would it be like for this all to end? Honestly, I feel no hope. Yet I keep crying to God.

Verses 13-14

But I call to you for help, Lord;

in the morning my prayer meets you.

Lord, why do you reject me?

Why do you hide your face from me?

Here I am Lord, without one plea, I keep calling to you for help as long as it takes, morning by morning I will lift my arms up in prayer, crying for mercy, lift this darkness from me.

Verses 15-18

From my youth,

I have been suffering and near death.

I suffer your horrors; I am desperate.

Your wrath sweeps over me;

your terrors destroy me.

They surround me like water all day long;

they close in on me from every side.

You have distanced loved one and neighbor from me;

darkness is my only friend.

We come to the end of this Psalm, I look on my life, its been tough since the beginning suffering and death has surrounded me. I don’t know how much more I can take. I think about my experience and all I feel is pain, I long to go back to those days and be with the warriors fighting for our lives. Yet here I am alone, even my loved ones don’t understand me. All I have is this darkness. I sit here on the couch with a small lamp keeping the darkness as bay, I read God’s Word and pray. Like Heman, I have no answer I only have God, where else should I turn? Only time will tell when God will take this suffering from me, and He may never relieve me of it. As Jesus Christ God’s Son sent to suffer and die said; “Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me—nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.” (Lk 22:42)

All Bible Passages from: Christian Standard Bible (Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers, 2020), Ps 88


Thomas Watson lays out repentance in a helpful way.

We use this word a lot, but what does it really mean? And more importantly how do we do it.

What it is not: 

  1. A sense of guilt (feeling bad)
  2. A resolution against sin, based on circumstances, (bargaining, if only you do this I’ll never sin again. 
  3. Leaving some sins yet keep others. An old sin may be left to pursue another. “Sin exchanged, heart unchanged” Sin left off for self interest. 

True leaving of sin results with the infusion of grace, like light ceases to be dark when there is an infusion of light. 

Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. For a further amplification, know that repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of 6 special ingredients:

  1. Sight of Sin
  2. Sorrow for Sin
  3. Confession of Sin
  4. Shame for Sin
  5. Hatred of Sin
  6. Turning from Sin

You can read the whole book here for free.

My Top Five Books on Depression

Biblical counseling resources on depression.

As many of you know I read a lot. I thought I would share some of the books that I have found helpful in thinking through depression from a biblical perspective.

Some of these were assigned reading in my biblical counseling program for my Master’s in Divinity and others are helpful resources I found afterward.

I hope they are helpful to you. Write a comment on which one you find/found most helpful. 

1. Hodges, Charles, Good Mood Bad Mood: Help and Hope for Depression and Bipolar Disorder. 

2. Lloyd-Jones, Martin, Spiritual Depression.

3. Mack, Wayne, Down but Not Out.

4. Welch, Ed, Blame It on the Brain.

5. Piper, John, When Darkness Will Not Lift.