Continuous revelation or continuing revelation is a theological belief or position that Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, though it is found in some other denominations as well.
In The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), continuous revelation is the principle that God or his divine agents still continue to communicate to mankind. This communication can be manifest in many ways: influences of the Holy Ghost; vision; visitation of divine beings; and others. By such means God guides his followers to salvation and without such His followers will eventually form their beliefs or practices after a god of their own making. Church founder Joseph Smith, Jr. used the example of the Lord's revelations to Moses in Deuteronomy to explain the importance and necessity of continuous revelation to guide "those who seek diligently to know [God's] precepts":
- God said, "Thou shalt not kill;", at another time He said, "Thou shalt utterly destroy,." This is the principle on which the government of heaven is conducted-by revelation adapted to the circumstances in which the children of the kingdom are placed. Whatever God commands is right, no matter what it is, although we may not see the reason thereof till long after the events transpire . . . As God has designed our happiness-and the happiness of all His creatures, He never has – He never will – institute an ordinance or give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed, and which will not end in the greatest amount of good and glory to those who become the recipients of his law and ordinances... for all things shall be made known unto them in [His] own due time, and in the end they shall have joy. (Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, pp. 256–7.)
The open scriptural canon of the LDS Church is based on the principle of continuous revelation. Its 9th Article of Faith states:
- We believe all that God has revealed, all that He does now reveal, and we believe that He will yet reveal many great and important things pertaining to the Kingdom of God.
Members of the LDS Church anticipate additions to its canon, including the translation of the remaining two-thirds of the golden plates which was the source of the Book of Mormon.
Friends (Quakers) Edit
In the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), continuing revelation comes from the Inner light or the light within. This light has traditionally been identified as the Spirit of Christ or Christ within, although not all Friends associate the Inner Light with Christ. It is understood as the presence of God which provides illumination and guidance to the individual and through individuals to the group.
Some Friends consider the Bible the ultimate authority, but others consider the Inner Light to be above the Bible. Both groups believe that the Inner Light speaks to people directly and not just through the text of the Bible.
Because Friends believe that revelation is ongoing, they have no set creed or dogmas. However, as early Friends listened to the Inner light and endeavored to live accordingly, a common set of beliefs gradually emerged, which became known as testimonies. (See Testimonies for a fuller list and description of them.) Although rooted in the immediate experience of the community of Friends, these Testimonies are based on what Friends believe are verified in the Bible, especially as described in the Gospels regarding the life and teachings of Jesus.
The Testimonies are not formal static documents, but rather a shared collection or view of how Quakers relate to God. They cannot be taken one at a time, but are interrelated. As a philosophical system, they are coherent, even outside of Christianity.
The list of testimonies that Quakers follow is also not static. The following is a generally accepted list.
- The Peace Testimony
- The Testimony of Integrity
- The Testimony of Equality
- The Testimony of Simplicity
- The Testimony of Unity with Creation
- The Testimony of Living In The World
Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians Edit
Pentecostal and Charismatic Christians generally believe that Christians, especially "Spirit-filled" Christians can receive revelations from God in the form of dreams, visions, and audible or inaudible voices. They also believe that certain individuals are able to transmit revelations from God in the form of prophecy, words of knowledge, and speaking in tongues and interpretation of tongues.
While most Pentecostals and Charismatics believe the Bible to be the ultimate authority and would not say that any new revelation can ever contradict the Bible, they do believe that God continues to speak to people today on extra-biblical topics as well as to interpret and apply the text of the Bible.
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