My wife and I were watching a movie on a streaming movie service last night and the film featured an extremely bright young man [about 12 years old] who said “I don’t believe in miracles.” When he said these words, I was taken aback slightly. Those thoughts seemed to be a bit unusual coming from the mouth of a young child. Yet he seemed very confident that he was right. I immediately thought that it was a shame that this young child has lost the ability to believe in the Divine intervention of God into the lives of people at such a tender young age.
Then this morning I got up and read about revealed knowledge in Pastor John Bevere’s book Good or God? I began to think about many people in the real world and where they stand on God’s intervention in our world. The movie was only a movie but today there are many “real” people who are very similar to this character in the film. They believe that God is no longer in the miracle business and further, God does not reveal his thoughts to man directly.
Revealed knowledge is not what I would call a miracle from God; however, Bevere defines it as “when God shows us something directly” [Bevere, 18]. When you take what he writes earlier in the book about this knowledge “not always [being] clear to our natural thinking, reasoning or senses” and you couple that with the idea that revealed knowledge comes from God to man via man’s heart you begin to understand the meaning. Another way of expressing this is God communicating directly to man’s Holy Spirit [Bevere, 11].
I know a lot of people who are “good”; I know a lot of people who are Christians. But I also know that many of these people have serious doubts about “revealed knowledge.”
John Bevere has no doubt that God communicates directly to man.
The whole premise of his book is based on the idea of revealed knowledge and in my opinion, he is fighting an “uphill battle” to get his reading audience to believe like him.
One factor that stands in the way is science. The young man in the movie was a budding scientist and his father was a university trained biologist. There is nothing wrong with that. I certainly think that becoming educated is a valuable pursuit. What is a shame is that some scientists seem to believe that to value science means that one should lose their belief in God.
Other factors are the growing unfavorability of leading a Christian life. One can easily go to sources like “Churchleadership.org” and read statistics about church decline: 4,000 churches are closing their doors annually compared to 1,000 church starts. Two million seven hundred thousand church members are sliding into inactive church membership annually. The stats are alarming and they support the idea that the Christian lifestyle is not in style anymore.* My church is no exception. Most of the members are elderly [I am 65] and younger members are not sitting in our pews. My Sunday School class can have 18 people in it one Sunday and then only 7 the next. Attendance is very sporadic. There is no sense of commitment to regular church attendance. All this plays into the idea that church attendance may be valuable for the spread of Christian knowledge and that includes “revealed knowledge.”
We could go further into this complex subject citing the lure of worldly activity. The golf course or the lake can be more enticing than the church. I live so close to a baseball/softball complex and most churches would be so pleased if the players and fans would leave the complex and go into church on a Sunday morning. Most churches would be full. Again, people are probably not going to be exposed to information about “revealed knowledge” on the golf course, the lake or the ball complex. The reasons for lack of exposure to church are myriad, but let’s give Pastor Bevere his due. Let’s assume that revealed knowledge actually occurs. How can God speak to man directly?
Certainly a person who has dedicated themselves to reading the Bible can get a word from God. The Bible is an inspired book and God can certainly communicate directly to a reader if that reader has a receptive mind. Sometimes even an inspired Christian writer in a Christian book can be used to express Godly ideas that can touch a person’s heart. Quiet prayer time can yield thoughts from God. Words from a pastor can be words from God via the pastor’s lips. Then we have people who claim that God has given them a vision. Christians can risk losing their friends if that vision is revealed to others, but I believe that some people have had visions or at least clear commands from God through the Holy Spirit.
Bevere states “Sometimes you may hear a still, small voice in your heart. Other times you simply know because the revelation was dropped into your spirit. Other times your heart begins to race as you sense the presence of God as you read Scripture…you know you’ve heard from God, and this revealed knowledge cannot be taken from you” [19-20].
After writing this post, I think maybe I should change what I said earlier. I wrote above that “revealed knowledge is not what I would call a miracle from God.”
Given today’s climate, let’s revise that statement: “today, revealed knowledge is what I would call a miracle from God.”
For God to get past all the distractions of contemporary life and to find a way to communicate to man…
That is truly a miracle…
*Dr. Richard Krejcir “Statistics and Reasons for Church Decline”.