God is still speaking to us
The Rev. Paul Rock, Second Presbyterian Church, Kansas City, Mo.: I know I’m a pastor, but when it comes down to it, I’m basically a Christmas, Easter and Pentecost guy, especially when it comes to the subject of God’s revelation.
You see, with Christmas we are dumbstruck with the gritty truth. John 1 says Jesus is the word of God made flesh, but we often render Jesus two-dimensional (words on a page) rather than allow him to be alive and at work in our lives and the world. Despite our well-meaning doctrine attempts to press Jesus back into the word, God’s love is forever incarnate and animate. God had bones and grew up in this amazing, complicated, joyful and painful world of ours, eventually becoming the object of our blame, anger and hatred.
Easter, however, shouts that forgiveness and life are far too strong for hatred and death to keep down. Jesus is alive, relentlessly alive! The faith we practice is therefore a living faith because our God is a living God.
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Finally, Pentecost reminds us that the Spirit of the resurrected Christ did not retire to a distant heaven but rushed in to fill the hearts and lives of all God’s children.
Thankfully, today we can read again, or for the first time, Scriptures that contain God’s special revelation to us. God also whispers to our hearts through general revelations disguised as wisdom, art, nature or intimacy. But, perhaps most important, we house within us and among us the incarnate and living God who continues to reveal eternal truths to our hearts and to the world.
Did God’s revelations cease after biblical times? No way. As God said through Gracie Allen, may we “never place a period where God has placed a comma.”
God is still speaking. The question I ask myself is, am I actually listening?
God spoke through Christ
The Rev. Justin Hoye, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Kansas City:
Yes, revelation is complete. However, to cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that does not mean that revelation has “been made completely explicit.” Catholics profess that God has said everything in the person of Jesus Christ, and we grow in our knowledge of God as we focus on his Word, made flesh.
The importance of this truth is that it prevents an individual from constantly straining toward every novelty and self-proclaimed discovery that arises in our world. To assert that revelation is still open is to draw our attention away from God’s self-disclosure in Christ, the full and unsurpassable Word. To intimate that there might be “more” is to suggest that God has held something back in offering his Son; that what has been spoken, in him, is lacking. To iterate, in Jesus Christ rests the fullness of divine revelation.
This does not mean that the world is prohibited from new insights into God’s revelation in Jesus.
There are what are commonly understood to be “private” revelations, which the church has recognized. These are not to be considered as something additional, or the conveyance of truths that surpass or replace what has already been offered in Jesus Christ. Rather, these private revelations give clarity in a given age as to how one lives and embraces that definitive revelation in the Christ.