As we move along in developing a systematic theology from my paradigm shift, we must continue to look at revelation, scripture and mysticism for a while. The question to ask in this post is whether or not God speaks to humanity outside of the bible? There is division in evangelical Christianity in this area. There are the cessationists and the continuationists. The cessationists believe that the gifts including prophecy have ceased since the first century. Many of them believe that the closing of the canon in 457AD was the time that all the gifts ceased, and that God only speaks through scripture today.
One of the proof texts for the cessationists is 1 Corinthians 13:10; they claim that the *perfect* that was to come was the scripture. The continuationist on the other hand, believe that all of the gifts including prophecy are still available to believers. Pentecostal groups are among the continuationists. They essentially believe that all the gifts are still in operation and some of them believe in the offices listed in Ephesians 4:11; they call it the fivefold ministry however when one looks at the Greek, I think one could argue that it’s the four-fold ministry because pastor and teacher is likely one office.
I personally think that the two opposing views both miss the point in a way. This is why I have included mysticism in the mix here. I think the mystical union with Christ via his Holy Spirit is a very important consideration. Jesus told his followers that he would send an advocate, a comforter that would teach them everything and help them remember what he said to them (John 14:26.) He also said that he would send the advocate comforter to be with them forever (John 14:16.)
As I have shown in many posts on this blog, Jesus interpreted the scripture so that they could understand what it really meant… he opened their understanding… opened the scroll as it were (Luke 24:27 – 43-45.) He gave the proper understanding to what the scripture meant. Besides that, he gave it a solely redemptive purpose (John 5:39-40.) When he returned to be with his Father he continued to do that by his Holy Spirit. I believe that the Spirit of God will illuminate the scripture for those who are resting in Jesus. I believe that my paradigm shift is the result of illumination. Sometimes however, you have to be willing to step outside of the traditional dogma and doctrine to receive the illumination.
I am not certain what came first, the paradigm shift in my theology, or the paradigm shift in my understanding of the scripture. No doubt it was a little of both. I remember as I read portions of the scripture that would get me up tight and get me condemning myself. The Spirit would gently whisper in my mind, “read it all Joe.” I was always left with a sense that I did not quite understand it yet when this happened… and it was often followed by the warm gentle thought, “my grace is sufficient for you.”
I see no evidence that the Spirit is not speaking to people today. On the contrary… I see abundant evidence that God’s Spirit is very active in speaking to the saints. I wonder how many times we rebuke His Spirit like the Pharisees of old when we think that it could not possibly be God speaking. We will continue on with this in the next post and may I suggest that you click on this link and read this post on Jesus teaching about scripture from the archive.