Tuesday, March 24, 2009

What is "legitimate" revelation from God?

Some feel that the Bible is the only way God communicates with people today. There are, of course, a spectrum of opinions that ride in this camp -- from those who feel that God will give some form, or sense, of peace or understanding as one reads the Bible, to those who say that there is no supernatural communication whatsoever with God, now that the Bible has been published.

On the other side of the room are those who feel that the Bible is really only supplementary to God's revelation of Himself to a believer's mind, heart, spirit and even actual eyes and ears. Naturally, there is a spectrum of opinions on this side too, from those who receive an occasional "word" from God to those who have entire visions, hear God's audible voice, and see angels as well as other supernatural manifestations.

What's to be done with such a wide array of opinions on God's revelation? The Bible itself indicates that God has revealed Himself in all these ways, in the past. But what about today?

Can the Bible speak to today concerning the matter of God's revelation to this current generation, and does the Bible inform us on how to understand what seems to be revelation?

The short answer is "sort of."

"Sola Scriptura" is a tough call when theologians weigh in with scripture supporting conflicting theologies.

However, the apostle Paul does say that "The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God's children" (Romans 8:16). That would be parabiblical revelation.

The writer of Hebrews, after attesting to the fact that God testified to the gospel "by signs, wonders and various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will" in a time previous to the writing of Hebrews,(Hebrews 2:4), brought his testimony to his current time by saying, "The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this." (Hebrews 10:15) More parabiblical revelation.

Finally, a cryptic instruction from the apostle John asks us to "not believe every spirit, but [to] test the spirits to see whether they are from God."(1 John 4:1) Presumably the Spirit Who inspired the scriptures has already been vetted. The apostle John must therefore be referring to other, not-the-Bible forms of revelation that can be counterfeited.

My own earliest memories of the Lord Jesus Christ could be termed parabiblical. How do I integrate this early experience with the teaching of those who say that the Lord does not interact in a supernatural way with His followers?

“I’ll tell you what he is. He’s the devil really...and not a right blacksmith; for the Devil takes the shape of wicked men, and walks about and sets people doing wicked things....” George Eliot, The Mill On The Floss

“It’s the circle of life,” my mother told me. I was puzzled. To me life was a line: birth, life, death. I saw no circle. But I was charmed that my mother wanted to teach me something, so I asked her how the picture she was holding could represent the circle of life. “You see,” she said, “The flower opens up to the sunshine, blossoms, then wilts and dies. But the next year it comes up out of the ground again, alive. This is how Reverend Moon is. He is the Messiah. Jesus died, but True Father is Jesus, alive again.”

I knew this was certainly not true. In the many times that my mother had locked me in the closet for hours (and even a night and a day) to contemplate how bad I was, the real Jesus had come to stay with me. Though the closet was so dark I couldn’t see where my body ended and the floor began, nor where the walls were, nor even see my own hands, when Jesus came the whole closet was filled with sunshine. He was beautiful, his long white robes radiant with a soft, diffused light, and when he held me and talked to me, I could see myself.

“No,” Jesus told me, “that man in the picture is not me. He is pretending, and he is a very bad man.” I agreed.

My mother would often make me hold a fast. Food was the reward for worshiping the picture, so I decided that I did not want to eat. When my father was home, he would give me food every day, and my mother never put me in the closet. But usually my father was gone, far away to Germany, to earn money by singing. He was a singer, but in Italy only Italians can earn their living by singing. He was Italian, but he was really an American, so he had to go away to sing.

After a while Doris, one of the first western Sun Myung Moon disciples, and now a leader in Sun Myung Moon's European campaign, came to live with us. She was my mother’s keeper, making sure she did everything right. My mother pretended that Doris was her friend, but I could see that Doris ruled my mother, never letting her out of sight. Doris felt I was very bad and she punished me often. “Do you want to be bald?” she would scream, holding the scissors in my face. She did not like me.

One day Doris told my mother, “She has to worship True Father. You must make her. This can’t go on.” So my mother took me by one arm, and Doris took me by the other. We walked together to the living room. I could hear our footsteps make loud, hollow sounds on the wood floor. There was no furniture in the living room, only white walls, windows with white curtains, and the picture of the bad man who pretended to be Jesus.

“Look at the picture!” But I turned my head away. Closer and closer we walked, my mother on one side, and Doris on the other. Finally we stopped, right in front of the picture. It was nailed to the wall, closer to the ground, so that if I looked I would see it not far above my head. “Pray to True Father!!” But I pressed my lips together, and kept my eyes tight closed.

My mother began to push down on my shoulder, and Doris on my other shoulder. I stood for as long as I could until they forced me to my knees. But inside my spirit was not kneeling.

When I was made to endure far worse experiences than this, another self emerged who was stronger than me. She would endure for me while I would curl up inside myself and hide. After these very bad times, I would become aware after the worst was over, and I would be alone. Broken, bleeding and hurting, I would creep back to my room, and find Jesus there, on my bed, waiting to take me in His arms. "You are a good girl" He would tell me "And I love you." I believed Him, and not the people who hurt me.

I wished that my other self would come help me now, as she had done before when bad things happened to me. But she did not come, and I was still there, being pressed to the ground. I would have to stay aware and fight, all on my own. Their fingers pried at my eyes, and I could no longer keep them closed, but I did not look at the picture. My seeing was for Jesus. I made no sound when they hit me because I would not let the picture hear my voice. My voice was for Jesus. “We can’t leave a mark on her, John will see it,” my mother said. Maybe my father would come home soon.

My other self never came back. She never came back to me after that day. I guessed I was strong enough, now that I was six. I would need to be strong for these last months in Italy.

“...for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds...” Apostle Paul, The Bible

1 comment:

  1. Note from Joanne -- I got this friendly note from a follower of Sun Myung Moon offering sympathy. To that person: Thank you. Yes, this is a true memory from my early childhood.

    I have made a study of Sun Myung Moon and his activities, in recent years and can't agree with your assessment of him.

    It'so sad to read such story.
    If you didnt invent it, I am a follower of Sun Myung Moon,
    But I really sympathyze with you. We have 3 children and a daugthter of 7,
    But how your mother could treat you so inhumanely? This is contrary to the
    Family Values centering on true love taught by Rev Moon.
    This kind of abuse can happen in any fanatic parent home,
    and in all religions, even in christian believer's family.
    Try to forgive them, this a universal solution.
    Friendly yours,
    Michael, Switzerland"


Thank you for sharing your thoughts