Are claims of supernatural experience really that harmful?

“I believe every jot and tittle of Scripture, but I am not required to believe a sprig nor sprout of any supernatural claim any person makes at any time. And it is unfair of them to expect that of me.”

(Clint Archer – The Cripplegate)  Previously I answered the question “Are there Prophets today?” and concluded no. Today I answer a good follow-up question:

If the claimed revelation/vision is not taken as authoritative or infallible, but just meant for encouragement, then what harm is there in that?

While it is true that most cautious continuationists (e.g. Wayne Grudem) would agree that the claims of prophecy today are not authoritative or infallible in the way biblical revelation is, there is still harm in having this type of practice in churches.

Here’s why in 500 words:

A claim of supernatural revelation always…

1. Elevates the self.

Even Paul, who had seen heaven(!) was given a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass him. Why? To prevent him from elevating self (see 2 Corinthians 12:7). Not even Paul was immune to the infection of conceit and needed antibiotics of humility prescribed by God and administered by Satan. Humility is conspicuously absent from many claimants.

2. Discourages those who lack these experiences.

When questioning the purpose of revelation that is neither authoritative nor accessible to the universal church, the answer is usually that the message was a customized encouragement for a particular person or church.

Well, all New Testament letters are revelations to particular people or churches but are still included in the canon for universal edification.

But also, these messages become discouraging in the long term because they generate a sense of inadequacy about not getting the revelation oneself. One may legitimately ask, Why does Jesus appear to other people instead of me? Why didn’t God give me the encouraging vision or “word” directly? What else am I lacking that this other person clearly possesses?

See 2 Timothy 3:16 where Paul affirms the Scripture as sufficient to make a Christian “complete, equipped for every good work.” Your Bible supplies everything required to please Christ. View article →


New Apostolic Reformation