Is All Prophecy Equal to Scripture? Part 1

Friday, November 15, 2013

One of the most challenging thoughts that cessationism struggles with is the relationship between the canon of Scripture and the gift of prophecy.  For many cessationists, they are the same thing.  They believe that the gift of prophecy is not in existence or operation today simply because we have the Bible.  

What is the "Canon" of Scripture?

Many theologians use the term "canon" to refer to the Bible.  And they use the term "closed canon" to refer to a complete Bible.  In short, it is a truth that basically every Christian probably already does believe.  And if not, they should.  That's because God isn't writing anymore Bible today.  What we have is what there is.  And frankly, it's really all the written revelation we need about God and His Son, Jesus Christ.

What we do have in the Bible came supernaturally to the men who wrote the stuff we read.  Paul told Timothy that the Scriptures were "God-breathed" (2 Timothy 3:16).  The Greek word is theopneustos, and it means that somehow the Holy Spirit supernaturally and mysteriously worked with the minds of men to write specific things to specific people for specific purposes, and the result was a perfect revelation of God that mankind needs to know in this life.  To be sure, we'll get far more than we can imagine when we eventually see God face to face.

For me personally, I would understand the process of theopneustos to be prophetic.  And I would understand prophecy as a revelation of God from the Holy Spirit.  Everything we have in the Bible is a revelation of God from the Holy Spirit.  Therefore, everything we have in the Bible is prophetic.  Therefore, we safely assume the following equation, and almost every Christian alive would agree with this axiom.

The Canon IS
equal to Prophecy.  

But, and this is a very big "but", the fact that this axiom is true doesn't automatically mean the reverse is true.

All Prophecy is NOT
equal to the Canon.  

There are a two important reasons why this is true, and they are plainly evident to anyone who reads the Bible.  

1.  Not all prophecy that has ever been given was written down in the Bible.
2.  The Bible plainly shows that there is a differing quality and content in prophecy itself.

Stay tuned as we unpack these through three more posts in this series.

Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5

About the Author: Rob is a follower of Jesus at Jubilee Church.  From there he pursues Jesus' mission at Revive Consignment as the Business & Operations Development Director, as well as at Jubilee Church of Atlanta, in Woodstock, GA. From there he envisions and pursues missional-shaped business for the kingdom. He and his wife Sherri have been married for 20 years and together have three sons and a daughter. Rob believes the mission of the gospel is summed up in four simple phrases: know God, obey Jesus, make disciples, and plant churches. This is the pursuit of his life, as well as the point of his blog.

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