Can One Have Faith In Christ Apart From Scriptural Revelation

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Jul 8, 2003.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    I must be honest and say these seem like contradictory statements to me. First you say that you do not claim there can be revelation about Christ not found in the Bible. Then you say that faith in Christ can occur with or without the aid of the Bible.

    The only way I can reconcile these two statements is to assume that you believe there can be faith in Christ without revelation about Christ. Is this what you believe? Or is there some other reconciliation of these two statements that I am missing.

    Am I to take this to mean that "faith" and "certainty" are mutually exclusive? I have encountered this opinion from "moderates" before, as well as from card carrying liberals.

    I remind you that Paul said he was a teacher of the Gentiles in "faith and verity" which is no different from saying "faith and certainty."

    It is not rationalism to believe the Scriptures with certainty. Rationalism is when we try to rationalize the Scriptures away because they do not seem to fit our observations of the world.

    This is what Paul meant when he said, "we walk by faith, not by sight." He didn't mean, "we walk by faith, not by certainty." He meant that our faith in the Scriptures is not based on our visual observations.

    Did not Christ say, "If you love me, keep my commandments"? I don't know how the term "commandment" could be interpreted to mean anything different from "rules."

    I freely grant that many fundamentalists (as well as liberals and moderates) elevate their rules to the level of God's rules. This was one of the crimes of the Pharisees.

    Notwithstanding, a corruption of a principle does not change the principle itself; and we find the principle, from one end of the Scriptures to the other, that love for God, as well as love for His people, necessarily entails rigid obedience to His commandments.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    Can one have faith in Christ apart from Scriptural revelation?

    Depends on how you define Scriptural revelation. I've heard stories, as have many of you, of missionaries who have shared the good news of Christ to foreign cultures who have no translation of the Bible available. The good news was that a man was sent from Heaven to pay the punishment from their sins. I think the revelation in this case, and in many cases, comes from the Spirit, not necessarily from the Scriptures.
     
  3. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    44,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes. When I got saved I knew nothing about the Scriptures. I was not even sure what being saved meant. I was at home alone when this happened and I wasn't even sure what had happened.

    It was a simple prayer. I was tired of my life of sin and I told God, if He thought He could make something of my life that I couldn't, to take it. I was giving it to Him. I wasn't even sure He wanted it. Guess what? He took it!

    I fell asleep almost instantly and had the most peaceful night's sleep I'd had in years.

    All I knew the next morning was that I went to bed a lost sinner and got up a saved sinner and my life was turned completely around. I started reading the Bible voraciously most of every day. I devoured the Word.

    The next Sunday, I found a Baptist church. I didn't know the difference in denominations, but I had walked by this church on a Sunday once before and I liked their singing.

    God's Hand was on me in every decision I made. None of it was accidental. The Holy Spirit was leading me where I needed to go. That was 26 years ago and I'm still at that same Baptist Church.

    You know, even when I started reading the Bible, had it not been for the Holy Spirit, I wouldn't have understood most of what I was reading.

    I'm not saying the Scriptures are not important because I know they are! But, without the Holy Spirit, they would certainly not be as meaningful.

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  4. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes. When I got saved I knew nothing about the Scriptures. I was not even sure what being saved meant. I was at home alone when this happened and I wasn't even sure what had happened.

    It was a simple prayer. I was tired of my life of sin and I told God, if He thought He could make something of my life that I couldn't, to take it. I was giving it to Him. I wasn't even sure He wanted it. Guess what? He took it!</font>[/QUOTE]I Am Blessed,

    The experience you describe is totally dissimilar to the teaching of the Bible relative to conversion. The Scriptures teach (Romans chapter 10) that it is impossible to call on Christ without first having believed on Him, and it is impossible to believe on Him without having first heard of him.

    Furthermore, the Scriptures teach that it is God who gives us life when we believe on the name of Christ, not us who gives our life to God.

    Now I could believe that you sought God and then found Him through the instrumentality of the Scriptures and the church. This would perfectly fit the experience of Cornelius who first sought God and then received a witness from God through Peter.

    Also, you say you had no knowledge of the Scriptures, but you obviously knew about the Scriptures because you said you began to read them immediately. I'm sure that, having been raised up in this country where the knowledge of Christ flows freely, you had at sometime heard about Him. Whether you got it directly from the Scriptures or indirectly from someone who told you about it, it was still Scriptural knowledge if you knew anything about Christ.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  5. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    Scott,

    Even in cases such as this the knowledge came from the Scriptures, whether the man knew it or not. Which is quite a different thing from getting some revelation about something that the Bible doesn't say anything about and which, therefore, no one could preach about with any sure foundation.

    I might add, however, that simply knowing that "a man was sent from Heaven to pay the punishment from their sins" is not sufficient knowlege for a man to come to faith in Christ. There is more to it than that.

    For example, there isn't a Mormon in the world who doesn't believe that "a man was sent from Heaven to pay the punishment" of sins. And yet Mormons believe many other things about "Christ" which disqualify them from claiming a revelation of the true and living Christ.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  6. Sola-Scriptura

    Sola-Scriptura
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2003
    Messages:
    80
    Likes Received:
    0
    Salvation must come through the Gospel message. No one can be saved through natural revelation as Romans 1 discusses. The Gospel message does not need to be dictated to the sinner from an open bible, but the message itself is made effectual by the Living Word Himself through the Holy Spirit and He never contradicts the truth in the written Word. This Gospel must be entirely based on scripture or else it is "another gospel".(Galatians) When a person believes the Gospel they are also agreeing with scripture even though they know only the saving truths of Christ and nothing else at that time.
     
  7. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    I agree. The person then has to make Him Lord of his life. That is all there is to it. That is the "minimum" necessary for salvation.
     
  8. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    "heard" - Does this mean deaf people can't be saved?
    "scriptures" - Does this mean blind people who don't have access to braille can't be saved?
    "call on" - Does this mean mute people can't be saved?

    You can't be saved if you have never heard of Jesus. If you have heard of Jesus enough to call on Him to save you, you have heard the scriptures.

    Jesus saves, not the Bible. Jesus saves by what is in the Bible, whether or not what you know about the Bible is formal or informal (indirectly).
     
  9. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jesus CHrist is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Not the Scriptures.
     
  10. I Am Blessed 24

    I Am Blessed 24
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2003
    Messages:
    44,448
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mark: With all due respect; didn't YOU give your life to God when YOU got saved? :confused:

    I did not say that I had never heard of Jesus. I said I had never read the scriptures and did not know what being 'saved' was all about.

    I know my salvation is one thing that no one (including myself) can mess up or take away from me and I stand by my life-changing experience.

    I doubt the thief on the cross had ever read the scriptures, but he was hanging next to the Word and he was assured of a place in Heaven when he cried out to Jesus.

    Blessings,
    Sue
     
  11. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Sue - you had me scared, too, when I read your first post. Don't think anyone was attacking you but your description of what happened was NOT bible salvation. Glad you clarified it!

    Man would know he was a sinner by natural revelation (creation, the heavens, etc)

    Man would NOT know of a savior without supernatural revelation. "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God". Without such faith in a supernaturally transmitted message - through the Word of God - there is no salvation.
     
  12. Johnv

    Johnv
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2001
    Messages:
    21,321
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sue, your experience is probably more common than my own (I grew up in a faithful family and I knew the scriptures, and gave my life to CHrist as a teen). The majority of people I know get saved while knowing little, if anything about the Scriptures, and start learning the scriptures later. We're told that Jesus saves. Scriptures don't save. I agree with your assessment. Scripture is not unimportant, but without the Holy Spirit, they would certainly not be as meaningful. Perhaps that's one of the reasons we refer to it as the living word.
     
  13. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, I did not. I trusted in Him to give me life. I can't even say that I have totally given my life to him yet; though I am working on it. ;0)

    Then you and I have no quarrel. My point here is not that a person must get his knowledge from the Bible first hand. My point is that all the knowledge man has about Christ originates in the Bible.

    You acknowledge you knew about Jesus and, even if you had never read the Bible yourself, the knowledge itself came from the Bible.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  14. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, I did not. I trusted in Him to give me life. I can't even say that I have totally given my life to him yet; though I am working on it. ;0)
    </font>[/QUOTE]Then you cannot say that you are a disciple of Christ.

    Luke 14:33
    In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple.
     
  15. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    6,659
    Likes Received:
    189
    I must be honest and say these seem like contradictory statements to me. First you say that you do not claim there can be revelation about Christ not found in the Bible. </font>[/QUOTE]Specifically, I claimed that I do not believe that there can be additional revelation of Christ not already revealed in the scriptures. (Please be careful to note what I have actually written. I am trying to be as clear as possible in my discussions with you so that we can understand each other clearly.)

    Yes, that is correct.

    Let me clarify with a couple of examples:

    Abraham was justified before God by faith without any written revelation that we know of… he heard from God personally and the message he heard (at least what is recorded for us) only had very general references to the coming Christ. Paul stresses in Romans and Galatians that Abraham is the model of our faith.

    Some of the people who encountered Jesus when He walked the earth probably had not read the existing Hebrew scriptures or knew any details of the coming Messiah, but they heard the words of Jesus, saw His life and miracles, and cast their faith on Him.

    For a couple of decades after the ascension of Jesus, there were probably only a few copies of some of the gospels and epistles circulating among the early church – the New Testament was still being written. During that period many people came to Christ on the basis of the testimony of those who experienced Christ firsthand. Shortly after, many people came to Christ on the basis of the testimony of people who had previously heard the testimony of those who had walked with Christ. There was oral testimony of Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit before most of the New Testament biblical writings were completed and gathered together. For many centuries, most people did not have access to the scriptures and learned their faith based on preaching of the scriptures. Later, the Roman Catholic church slowly replaced the clear preaching of the scriptures in many places with the presentation of the Mass. As the Roman Catholic tradition developed and the sacramental system was added to the gospel (corrupting it), the common people heard less and less about the gospel. In places where Latin was no longer used, the spoken fragments of the remaining gospel message were only understood by those who were acquainted with Latin. Fortunately, some of the symbolism of the Mass and the religious artwork remained to present portions of the gospel message.

    Although human corruption and a corrupted religious system hindered the spread of the gospel, God still saved people. Through testimony, tradition, symbolism and art, the gospel remained in the culture.

    My own mother came to Christ without the written word. Growing up in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, she attended Mass at the cathedral downtown on Holy Days. Though she (or many other people) did not understand the Latin, the symbolism and the art had meaning to her. She began praying to God as a little girl for understanding because she couldn’t figure out why God would try to communicate with His people without providing some way for her to understand. Unfortunately the priests were little help – they seemed more interested in trying to dig up stories of sexual exploits and urges from my mother and aunt when they went to confession. (My aunt eventually announced she was not going back to confession after a particularly ugly episode.) My mother stopped going as well, because she understood that the Jesus celebrated in the artwork and in the ritual of sacrifice as symbolized in the Mass was quite different than that of the church. She trusted herself to His care at that point. During World War II, through a long series of events much to long to detail here, my mother’s family was pulled off a train by the Nazis and were sent to a camp in Poland where they were imprisoned until liberated by the Russian army.

    In the camp, a young Catholic priest ministered to their family and one day gathered the children together to prepare them for “confirmation.” He presented, in plain German, the gospel story of Christ and his loving for them. He told them of His life, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension and the call of Christ for faith and discipleship in Him. Everything the priest said confirmed and added to what she had learned a few years earlier and she knew she could be confirmed as a disciple of Christ. She asked him about the use of icons and praying to the saints (those issues had confused her) and the priest spoke very sharply against the idolatry of those practices. (Perhaps he had been strongly influenced by Luther!) I am convinced my mother became a disciple of Christ based on the work of the Holy Spirit guiding her mind as she tried to process the often confusing images she received from Catholicism.

    I think the best way to put it would be that I believe it is certainly possible for people to come to faith in God without having a complete gospel message. There always has to be “revelation” about God whether it comes from nature, from the Holy Spirit, through the testimony of another, through the written word, through the spoken word or through a direct supernatural encounter.

    The vast majority of people come to Christ through a means that is very closely associated with the written word of God.

    Am I to take this to mean that "faith" and "certainty" are mutually exclusive?
    </font>[/QUOTE]It depends upon the way you put those terms together.

    I can have certainty in the character of God because of my faith, but if I try to come to Christ through purely rational means (according to the scripture, it can’t be done), then I am clearly avoiding faith in favor of trying to establish “certainty”.

    I strongly disagree. A better way to interpret the word “verity” would be “truth” – not certainty. Certainty is different from truth in the sense that certainty knows all aspects of given facts and there are not mysteries left. Truth is simply something that is reliable. Paul speaks many times in his writings of “mysteries” and freely confesses to only seeing “through a glass darkly”.

    Of course not. But it is rationalism when we think we’ve solved all the mysteries of the scriptures and have established the final standard on every subject. Faith has room for humility, discipleship and growth – “certainty” does not.

    Did not Christ say, "If you love me, keep my commandments"? I don't know how the term "commandment" could be interpreted to mean anything different from "rules."
    </font>[/QUOTE]Yes, we will keep Christ’s commandments – but many fundamentalists have developed many additional rules and alleged that they are Christ’s commandments. Furthermore, the keeping of those rules (for instance, man-made rules about drinking of alcoholic beverages and dancing) is deemed more important that loving your neighbors and enemies, helping the despised of the world, and serving other people.

    Yes. You and I thoroughly agree here, although we would probably disagree about some of the “rules”.

    Very true.

    While I think there is a lot of truth in your statement, I believe we also need to recognize that the Spirit of the commandments are more important than the commandments themselves. Our Lord is very clear that He desires “mercy more than sacrifice.”


    p.s. Thanks for your patience while waiting for my response. I’ve been incredibly busy during the last 48 hours! [​IMG]
     
  16. Artimaeus

    Artimaeus
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2002
    Messages:
    3,133
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jesus CHrist is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Not the Scriptures. </font>[/QUOTE]Scott, I am a little confused, are we in agreement or am I missing something, because I thought I said what you said? :confused:
     
  17. Word Traveler

    Word Traveler
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    May 31, 2003
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    0
    Amen and Amen! In Christ, WT
     
  18. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,719
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  19. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Messages:
    3,417
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yes, I do. I was meeting with a parent yesterday at church who wanted to talk to me. After beating around the bush, God told me to ask a specific question that had nothing to do with what she was saying. This question was concerning abuse. The question was right on target. Without that revelation, I would not have been able to meet the needs of this family.
     
  20. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2002
    Messages:
    6,659
    Likes Received:
    189
    Actually, my point was that some probably didn’t have any knowledge of a coming Messiah (for instance, Roman officials) who recognized that Jesus was something more than just a man.

    Again, direct revelation from God!

    Yes, but not everyone who followed Christ unto salvation made this exact profession. Certainly they came to this understanding after they began following Jesus, but not always before.

    But the knowledge itself still either originated with the Scriptures or with men who were themselves inspired to write Scripture. This is really the crux of the question: do you claim to get direct revelations from God that did not originate with the Scriptures?
    </font>[/QUOTE]I have been blessed by being born in the United States in the great state of Texas and from my earliest days attended a Baptist church. I had no need of direct revelation for knowledge of Christ because I was exposed to it from an early age. BUT I was personally drawn by God the Father for salvation (John 6:44) because information about Christ by itself does not bring anyone to salvation. (John 1:12-13)

    On the other hand…

    I have received personal revelation from God for salvation, calling, guidance and assurance:

    Salvation – as referenced above (the evening I came to faith, all the information I had about Christ suddenly became a vital calling from heaven and I knew that God was calling me to a commitment of my life to His service and glory.

    Calling – I have sensed God’s calling over the years for various ministries and vocational decisions. I responded to God’s calling for formal preparation to ministry and spent 7 years in school getting a theological education. I also responded to the calling to begin a writing/editing career.

    Guidance – God sometimes gives me very specific and direct guidance about certain situations so that I can help people. These sort of things include specific information about where I can find people who are literally waiting to hear the gospel.

    Assurance – Most of the time God provides assurance to me through the scriptures. Sometimes I have received assurance in very direct ways from other people.

    This statement is not true, but even if it were does not effect what I asm saying because it was still a faith "based on preaching of the Scriptures" not apart from the Scriptures.

    The story about your mother proves nothing about this discussion because all the knowledge she did get originated in the Scriptures. However, I think you do err greatly in your assumption that true preaching of the gospel was not available throughout the "dark ages."
    </font>[/QUOTE]I did not say that the true preaching of the gospel was not available. The point I was making is that most people heard a version of the gospel that had unbiblical additions to it. God is certainly able to help hearers sort out the truth from error in those situations (because it is common in every age – even in Baptist churches).

    Again, I made no such claim. I think you’re reading in some assumptions about my position.

    The gospel is spread in communication, in written form, the spoken form and in visual form.

    I'm still not really clear where you stand but I say without hesitation that in every single case of conversion, at least since the commencement of the New Testament, the revelation occured through the preaching of the gospel, and since the last Scriptures were written the origin of that gospel was the written word.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Since I believe that God still speaks to humankind, the Holy Spirit is active without the permission of aid of human beings (John 3:8), and that the Father is the One who draws people to Christ (John 6:44), I certainly believe that God can and occasionally will effectively draw people to Christ without human assistance.

    I do not wish to limit God since we have many examples of God dealing directly with people in the scriptures.
     

Share This Page

Loading...