Quakers talk about continuing revelation.  I think it's important to define your terms if you are going to have a serious discussion on a topic.  The following scripture involves what I understand a revelation to be:

Mat 16:15  He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
Mat 16:17  And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven

Notice that Jesus tells Peter that he didn't come to this conclusion on his own.  It wasn't an opinion based on brain (flesh and blood) power but an opinion based on faith(the evidence of things unseen).

What passes for much of today's "continuous revelation" is nothing more than opinions based upon study not faith.  The early church was limited in interpreting the inspired words they received from God by their understanding of the universe.  Yet much of the Bible contains information that is verified by modern science.  The Quaker Process is ideal for continuous revelation if Quakers trusted God and relied upon Him, but too often they are afraid that their own point of view will not be confirmed by continuing revelation without their persuasiveness.  This fear of being wrong and its consequences, whatever they might be, results in decisions made on opinions based on flesh and blood and not faith.  In this way Quakers are like the men who are given talents to invest for their Master in his absence  What Quakers do with those talents  determines their future.  One course of action leads to life and one to death.  One benefit of not having a creed is we don't have to admit our creed was wrong when we do get an actual revelation.  I don't believe a continuing revelation ever eliminates a truth but simply illuminates it so truth is clearer, just as black contains all the colors of the universe, continuing revelations of God's inspired words as preserved in the Bible allows us to see more of the individual colors contained within.  This is what Paul refers to when he states that now we see  through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. (1 Cor 13:12).

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Comment by Forrest Curo on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 1:47am

Does God teach and reveal through spiritual intuition, thoughts, feelings, or physical events?


Through all the modes in which human beings experience life.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 2:15pm

I don't think of "study" and "faith" as necessarily opposed activities, per St. Augustine's doctrine of the inner teacher. http://www.augnet.org/?ipageid=1366 PS: check title for typo.

Comment by James C Schultz on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 4:41pm

they are not opposed, they are just different.  I would suggest that a revelation of a particular truth could be the foundation for a study of a question and a fine tuning of the revelation. On the other hand study will enhance knowledge which could trigger a revelation or just make you smarter than the next person.  Jesus never said the Pharisees weren't smart.  They were just clueless when it came to discerning the signs of the times.  I'm not a big fan of Augie's.:)

Comment by Kirby Urner on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 6:20pm

I would suggest "study" and "faith" have no universal meaning apart from the speaker or writer in question, but we manage to smooth over these differences in everyday parlance.

What I've learned about Augie, maybe wrong, is that he taught people around him how to read as he did, silently, not even moving his lips, considered almost a magic trick in that context.

I see the Quaker practice of "expectant waiting" as being what belief in "continuing revelation" leads to.  We sit around expecting revelations to come to us.  Often they do, and in a corporate setting (augmented), the revelations seem even more amplified.

Comment by Forrest Curo on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 7:55pm

"Revelation" in the first place means that the mind, soul, operating system of the universe is teaching us something we wouldn't have found (at least not at the time) by unaided thinking, exploration, or experimental checking of hypotheses. Somebody/Something up there ('in here'?) is teaching us... and 'continuing' implies that what we've been taught so far was less complete, accurate -- or rightly understood -- than it could be.

"Revelation" isn't some particular document (or collection of documents); it's "every word that comes from the mouth of God", and it's the reception of the content of a such a word, its divinely-transmitted understanding, however conveyed, not just whatever vehicle delivers it. It can arrive in a ZAP! of insight or in a saying that takes years to digest; the essential property is its Source.

In the case of a vehicle like the Christian scriptures -- When someone reads it at face value, a lot of its meaning can still come through because of the powerful symbolic nature of what's there. The "Pharisees" as described by Jesus make a great example of the kind of merely-mental understanding that misses the point, a mentality to be found in adherents of every religion including Christianity.

These Pharisees, in Jesus' time, are not the Pharisees of Hillel and his disciples; they aren't examples of the later rabbinical tradition. The Talmud typically quotes them, initially, as examples of an 'ideal' teaching which unfortunately is not suitable for human beings -- and then finishes each study with Hillel's interpretation, usually quite close in spirit to Jesus' interpretations. A kind of jihadist faction had violently taken control of the tradtion in Jesus' day, literally with spears and clubs, but fell into increasing disrepute through two ruinous wars for independence against the Romans.

There's a kind of truth you can get when you know nothing of the history -- but it's a truth at odds with the historical state of things, with what actually happened. Sometimes that matters; sometimes not.

[Excuse me, more later.]

Comment by James C Schultz on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 8:10pm

I think "smoothing over the differences in everyday parlance" is a problem.  There's a big difference because we are to walk by faith and not by sight.  It was the tree of knowledge that started us down the road we find ourselves on now.  Before Adam and Eve's eyes were opened they walked by faith for when God was finished with His creation He was pleased with it and without faith it is impossible to please God.  We are designed to live by faith.  Failing to distinguish between the physical world we presently abide in and the spiritual world which is our destiny is why we don't get along.  The things of this world will all pass away.  It's all vanity.  Yet we live in adoration of celebrities, politicians and "living large".  There's nothing wrong in pursuing education and studies but it should be while maintaining an awareness of the spiritual world: our soul's heart, mind and spirit.  Proverbs 4:23 says it all: Watch over your heart with all diligence for out of it flow the springs of life.

Comment by Kirby Urner on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 8:10pm

Revelations gives us "ways forward". Quakers are always saying "as the way opens" and wait for it to do so. That's "expectant waiting" a known practice, and what's awaited is what's revealed, whatever that may be.

I'd agree that history matters but not only that one history. It's not like history is Christianity-centric even if Christians are.

Ministering to geeks regarding "expectant waiting" (some know nothing of Quakers, but do know what a command line is):


Comment by Kirby Urner on 1st mo. 12, 2017 at 8:40pm

Agreed that "smoothing over differences" is problematic.

Some of my friends not following here might prefer "intuition" to "faith" as to them "faith" sounds like signing one's name to a list of tenets, a creed, whereas they're talking about an inward sensitivity, a trust in something beyond mere "head beliefs" about God.

The word "faith" has PR problems of its own as I'd put it, as it has become confused with "recitation of an oath" meaning some canned dogma.

Quakers may speak clearly enough about "faith" that a transcendentalist might relate, and think "no more secondhand God, I recognize that testimony!".

Comment by James C Schultz on 1st mo. 13, 2017 at 9:23am

Your point is well taken but illustrates the problem of understanding faith.  Sometimes I use Paul's expression in Hebrews 11:1 of "Now Faith"(  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen), to distinguish between a living faith obtained first hand from God (what GF would call experimentally/experientially) and a faith more likely to be a belief based on someone else's belief - in other words a "hearsay" belief system.  But intuition is good so long as it doesn't get confused with conscience which is another ball of wax entirely.

Comment by James C Schultz on 1st mo. 13, 2017 at 9:24am

Forest: I like that last post.


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