Faith and Revelation
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Faith and Revelation
Copyright © 2013 Douglas W Jerving.
All Rights Reserved.
The grace of God reveals our sinful and lost condition to us, and leads
us to repentance. That is the work of the Spirit of God, creating faith
toward God: the realization that He loves us and intends to restore us to
a personal relationship with Him. But that is not where God stops working on
us. Having restored a position of trust in Him, His goal is to take us further;
deeper. The deeper life in the Spirit is the hard part of real Christian living.
Often times it entails even ostracism from other Christians. But the cross in
our lives is the revelation of God's power and the key that locks the gates
A feather falls lightly from the grey-blue sky upon a dry land. A sailboat enters
from the right, entranced by the sun. Sparks of life and light materialize along
the vastness of this shore; along this dessert with waves of grain or of seas filled
with fish ready for the harvest. The feather is most prominent, and yet it is most
ethereal. It speaks of dimensions outside our own and yet so very much a part of who
Again, because the vision does not retreat, the stars fill a blue sky that languishes
at the dawn of the day, only to be superseded by the man on the bench with no hat on
his head; his arms clasped behind him in repose. He does nothing, tee-shirted and
gazing, interpreting the sky while his shadow rolls backwards upon the field awaiting
So are the cover-art depictions of James W. Goll’s two familiar texts, both of which
deal with the nature of the prophetic experience, and how to become a prophet. It is
almost as though anyone with a little determined effort could be the next John the
Revelator who saw the Lord, or Ezekiel who saw the Wheels of the preincarnate Lord.
It is possible, yea, probable, now that the Spirit of the LORD has come upon us all,
that we may all bring forth utterances and dreams from outside ourselves. Visions and
dreams that Joel prophesied would come from the hand-maidens and servants of the Lord.
Goll does great service in awakening the people of God to their inheritance; to the
vision promised which so few have attained. I have experienced much of what he encourages
us to reach out for. Like him, I have learned from my mistakes, at a time when there were
no prophetic forebears in the generation of my own time. We had to learn how to bring the
Word of God without fathers and teachers; without mentors and disciplers, except for the
LORD Jesus Himself, by His Holy Spirit saying “Speak saith the Lord!” Those were the very
first words I brought forth, and they were the Words God gave to me to encourage me in
the gift of prophesy. He challenged me to speak before I had any other words, but when I
spoke those words, a torrent of words filled with life followed after them which I had
not even thought of. They were sound, correct, and pure because they were the Word of
Some would say that I experienced a rhema-word from God. Others have disputed the concept
of Rhema vs. Logos Revelation. All I know for sure is that when God spoke through me it
was His Word, and it was not in any way contradictory to the full counsel of God displayed
in Scripture. For years in the Assemblies of God (AG) church, which professes belief in
the baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in other tongues I remained
a born again believer who had not experienced this further blessing. As a way of
explaining the apparent contradiction between their doctrine and the actual experience
(or lack thereof) the AG leadership and laity resorted to a secondary doctrinal position.
This was known as “Seek and Tarry”, a doctrine supposedly based on the book of [The] Acts
[of the Apostles] in the New Testament.
After years of seeking and tarrying, never having been clearly taught what the Word of
God says about the Holy Spirit baptism, I was no closer to the evidence (glossalalia, or
speaking in tongues) than a three legged horse is to winning the Kentucky Derby. Clear
teaching based on Scripture was what I needed, for Romans tells us most emphatically that
“Faith comes by hearing… the Word of God.” But the Pentecostalism of the 1970’s was two
generations removed from Azusa Street. Religious systems always find excuses for why things
don’t work the way they used to for Grandma and Grandpa. Oral Roberts was dead on the money
when he said “God has no grand-children.” Instead of settling our faith on the absolutes of
God’s Word, we were caricaturing the Book of Acts experience in ways it did not support,
and then building theological roadblocks to our faith based upon our own
It was only after I gave up trying to prove to God that I was worthy of His Holy Spirit
that I was in a position for God to bless me. After all, that is really what the whole
seek and tarry doctrine was – an attempt to prove our worthiness to God so that we might
obtain the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The free gift promised by Jesus to every believer
as a result of His infinitely valuable work on the cross was being reduced by our unbelief
to a matter of petty works; of how much one sought and tarried, wept and wailed and banged
his head against the wall.
So after a long crisis period in my Christian life I came to a place where I no longer was
concerned about things I had heard from pastors and teachers, leaders, laity, and well-meaning
friends. The long term crisis had brought me to a place where I was no longer the guinea pig
of their personal religious persuasions. It also brought me to a place where my faith in God
was all that mattered to me, where at last His written Word was the only thing I needed,
because that Word was the standard of Truth. I had finally arrived at a mature understanding
of what God had done in saving me, and it was simple. Whatever was there in my Bible, clear
as day, was my foundation. The simplicity of God’s word as my foundation and a prayerful heart
were all that I needed. That is really the essence of true faith.
While I was in prayer one Sunday evening, at the end of the long crisis of faith that I have
described above, I read the following passage in Acts 1: “Within the next few days you shall
be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately I knew beyond a doubt (I would have had to
force myself to disbelieve!) that the Baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of tongues
was an experience I was soon to partake of. It was a prophetic Word from God to me, taken out
of time and history and made to fit my life. I lived in that utmost confidence for the next
three days. The word of God on the written page, which had been true all along, had now become
a reality beyond doubt for me.
The following Wednesday evening I went to the Christ’s Ambassadors’ (CA) meeting at my AG
church. This was the same CA group that I had been the leader of five years previously, but
now I was just one of a small group of young people who were on equal ground, broken, humble,
and seeking more of God. At the end of the meeting, we remained in prayer, quiet. And I “heard”
in my being the voice of God’s Holy Spirit gently encouraging me “If you are willing you can
speak”. I did not speak to the group, but in prayer before the Lord, I spoke out, almost in a
whisper, in a language that I had never learned. I had never spoken in tongues before, and now
was fluently, effortlessly speaking a language of prayer to God that I did not understand. I
did not need to understand it either, because the glory of God suddenly encapsulated my soul,
my whole being, and I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I was at last experiencing that
deep that calls unto the deep within my own soul.
The foundational experience in every true believer’s life is the cross: that moment when we
suddenly realize we are hopelessly lost; that we are sinners in the hands of an angry God as
Jonathan Edwards put it. That is the first and foremost crisis in the life of every person
confronted by the Word of God. That in itself is the initiatory crisis of faith in the heart
of every true believer. It should be easy, after having acknowledged the horror of our lost
state, and repenting of our sins to move on to the blessing that follows conversion. But after
2000 years of theological aberrations, it is too easy for the new convert to be lost again in
the morass of religious mumbo-jumbo, and become a mere church-goer, assuming that what he was
saved into is automatically true. Confessedly, it IS the truth because it acknowledges our
salvation. But the wet cement of religious orthodoxy binds our feet ever stronger against the
liberty of walking in the Spirit. Only the power of the baptism in the Holy Spirit relinquishes
us to a maturity in Christ that is the experience of the Spirit led life. The early church
understood this, but the Christian today has much theological baggage to set aside. The cross
is not a moment in our personal history that produces our salvation, but is a continual
experience of the death to self that becomes personally real through the indwelling of the
Holy Spirit within us.
The real purpose of the baptism in the Holy Spirit as an experience subsequent to our salvation
experience is to take us into the deeper life in the Spirit of God; to lead us, graciously, into
the crucified life, where it is no longer my will, my desires, and my attitudes, which I learned
as a sinner, but instead, my submission to God. The baptism in the Holy Spirit activates within
the believer the power to obey the Word of God even while we are daily confronted by our own will
to go our own way. And along with the power to challenge our own lives, comes the power of the
Spirit to live miraculously above and beyond our former way of life. In this, the baptism in the
Holy Spirit is not an end in itself (i.e., merely speaking in tongues). It is the key to the
deeper life in the Spirit, which is the crucified life (Galatians 2:20).
“The baptism in the Holy Spirit with the ‘evidence’ of speaking in tongues” is a reality assumed
by all those who take the Book of Acts for what it says. It is evident from the text, and
therefore the ‘evidence’ part of the above quote must be certain. Well and good. But if we are
seeking first for evidences are we not using those evidences as proofs of our relationship to
God? In fact, the Book of Acts does not set forth a series of evidences of faith, but really
sets forth the realities of God pouring out His grace upon His people. One of those realities
just happens to be the common experience found throughout the Acts of a prophetic anointing that
was inevitably displayed by the glossalalia experience. Tongues were not proof (as in a court of
law), so much as the lingua franca of children all born into the same household: the house of
God. Speaking in tongues not learned or studied was and is a part of God’s own self-revelation
to those who are His children. It was not then and is not now evidence; so much as it is
revelation. It is revelation and confirmation to those of the household of faith that God is
there for them through the blood atonement of the cross. Not evidence of works of faith, but
reassurance of our relationship to Him. It is the Revelation of the reality of God’s grace
towards us. It is the surety and down-payment of grace in our lives. It is not the proof of
our salvation, so much as the assurance that we are being saved. That God is continually
interested in us even when we are not always interested in Him. In essence, it is the God-imposed
Seal of the Covenant; the fact that God is working in us to make us into
the image of Christ.
It would take way to much time to set all this forth with proof-texts from the New Testament.
I suspect that most of my readers are well enough versed therein. Read your Bible. Consider all
the passages in the Acts that show the Holy Spirit coming upon those who had come to faith in
Jesus. Tongues are never called an evidence of faith in Christ, but they are invariably a
revelational experience that moves the believer into a deeper relationship with the Lord. Faith
is our foundation. Revelation is our direction into the deeper life; into the crucified life.
The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the stepping stone to the deeper life in the Spirit, and the
common experience of the believer is speaking in tongues, not as a proof of one’s faith, but as
a supernatural experience of the presence of God in our lives that encourages and directs us
into the crucified life experience. It is exactly that crucified life that so much of the Church
has been afraid of. It is the reason why the so-called Church has for so long rejected the baptism
in the Holy Spirit as an experience subsequent to salvation. To accept the validity of the one
(Holy Spirit baptism) means acceptance of the other: the total submission of one’s life to God;
i.e. the crucified life. We find it easy to accept Christ’s crucifixion for us, but not so easy
our living death for Him.
The Church of the new century has emphatically denied the authority of the Holy Spirit to direct
it. The authority of the New Testament church was built on the Power of God revealed by His Spirit
working in the lives of His people. The 21st century church, having forsaken the anointing of God,
is left with a humanistic appeal to the surrounding culture that has no power to change either
itself or the culture. It has become a culture club of its own making, lacking the true authority
of those who have seriously heard the Word of the Lord. It is now very difficult for a serious
believer to find a pulpit or a pew that is committed to the pure Word of God. But God will have
His way, for without a vision His people will perish. They are perishing now.
Still, we are assured that the gates of hell will not prevail. It may be as we stand before those
gates that we finally realize we have the keys to the Kingdom in our hands and hell’s gates are
on lockdown. The Church, all of us, must awaken to our calling, return to our first Love, and find
revealed in Jesus Christ the authority that first established us and that bears us up to the end.
It bothers me tremendously that we (my wife Patty and I) can no longer find a church that is open
to the wonderful anointing and power of the Holy Spirit. Most churches have sold out to the
authoritarian life-style of supporting a pastor or a priest. The hierarchy of religious leadership
has taken precedence over the sovereignty of God’s Spirit in many churches. They are left with
nothing more than a social club. I have no idea how I could be comfortable seating myself in that
kind of place again. I have been in it and out again to many times. They don’t change; they only
demand that you conform to their system. Shut up and go along, or you will be made to uncomfortable
to stay. It seems there must be a “goat for azazel” sent into the wilderness by most churches so
that they can feel good about themselves again. (Leviticus 16 – translated “scapegoat” in the KJV;
the Hebrew word azazel means for dismissal, or to remove.) Patty and I have
resigned ourselves to roles outside the traditional Church until such time the Lord leads us to a
place where spiritual and emotional abuse is not the norm. We cannot go back into the man-centered
religions of our day where there is a form of godliness but denial of the power of God.
(2 Tim 3:5).
It may be the best thing for the American Church would be her persecution, torture and death. Only
when the seed falls in the ground can it begin to reproduce. Only then may we realize the authority
of faith that comes through grace: a faith that is more willing to die than to live, and more
willing to live than to die rotting on the vine. A church that recognizes God first, and His
people, rather than hegemony of leadership committed only to their own social and political
If that is what it takes, then bring on the tribulation!
Doug Jerving is the publisher of the NewEdisonGazette.com. You may contact him at
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