The Sufficiency of Scripture and Continuing Revelation

Part of our blog on the second question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism emphasized the full sufficiency of Scripture. One of the challenges to the doctrine of sufficiency is the idea of continued revelation, that is to say, the idea that God is sending extra-Biblical, personal revelation to Christians today. Some call it "words of knowledge", some call it "prophecy", but whatever name we give this idea of continued revelation, I think it's fair to say that it has not been properly examined in light of the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture. 

One place where we see this really taking hold lately is in the barrage of books written by people claiming to die and go to Heaven. These books, the authors claim, are full of first hand experiences of what Heaven is like. They describe many things that that the Bible never mentions, or in some cases is out right contradictory to what Scripture says about Heaven. Theses books are wildly popular within Evangelicalism, and are accepted as new revelation by many without ever questioning the validity of the stories.

This week we came across an amazing article from Christianity Today. The article discusses a retraction by the subject of "The Boy Who Came Back From Heaven", Alex Malarkey. Malarkey openly admits in his retraction that he did indeed make up his story about his fantastic voyage into the great beyond. But the retraction is not the truly amazing part of this article. It is both his genuine spirit of repentance and his clear statement on the sufficiency of the Bible that is stunning. Alex first admits that, "I said that I went to Heaven because I thought it would get me attention. When I made the claims that I did, I had never read the Bible." He then goes on, "People have profited from lies, and continue to. They should read the Bible, which is enough." His retraction ends with this statement, "I want the whole world to know that the Bible is sufficient".

Yes, Alex is right. The Bible is sufficient, and the only infallible source of knowledge and truth. We cannot with one hand hold up the Bible, making triumphant claims about its innerrancy, infallibility, authority, and sufficiency, and in the other hand hold up books containing extra-Biblical revelation. If we truly believe that the Bible is fully sufficient, then why do we feel the need to look elsewhere for new revelation? Let us rest in what we know God has revealed to us in the pages of Scripture. It truly is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy God!

Posted on January 16, 2015 and filed under Teaching.