I have a tree outside in the yard that I can’t tell whether it is one tree or two. Is it one tree that diverged into two? Or are there two trees that are so close to each other’s side that they look like they come from the same roots? I cannot tell.
So it is with prophetic people and those who stand on the Word of God as God’s total and final revelation. Are they one tree that diverged into two, or are they two trees side by side?
It is not an either/or, but it is a both/and.
Can we not come from the same root and stand side by side? The Bible is God’s revealed word to humanity. Church history has decided a long time ago that the canon is closed. We are not going to add to the 66 books in the Bible that we have. But does that mean God has stopped speaking? Fewer people believe that today than 50-100 years ago. At least, that is my understanding of the spiritual landscape.
Hearing from the Lord and valuing his written word are not mutually exclusively. In fact, they go together. Those who wrote the books of the Bible heard from the Lord. The church decided through the power, wisdom and direction of the Holy Spirit which books would constitute what we now have as the Bible. We hear God through his written word. We hear God through the spoken word as it is preached. We hear God when we speaks into our spirits through His Holy Spirit.
I really think my tree in the yard originally was one tree that early on split into two trees. I don’t know enough about the biology of trees to know how that works. Maybe it was intended to be one tree. I don’t know.
Maybe there really shouldn’t be any dichotomy between valuing the written word of the Lord and hearing from the Lord. He speaks to us in a myriad of ways. His written word is one way. Nature is another way. Did not the Bible say that everyone can know of God through creation?
I value the tree on the right and the tree on the left. They seem to share a common root system. I value the written word of God and I value the prophetic word of God. They each have their place.
Each grows out of a value for what the Lord has to say to us so that we live our life the way God intends.
By Ralph Veenstra