Source:Nibley:CW03:Ch31:1:Block future revelation

Up to the third century, new revelation was seen as possible

Up to the third century, new revelation was seen as possible

It is significant that it is the intellectuals of the church who have always insisted on the apparently fundamentalist doctrine of a complete, perfect, final, and unalterable Bible; R. H. Charles can tell us why this is so: "God had, according to the official teachers of the Church, spoken His last and final word," and the policy of the doctors "so far as lay in its power, made the revival of such prophecy an impossibility." 29 The theory of complete, finished, and absolute scriptures was simply a door banged in the face of future prophets by the doctors. In a recent and important study Van Unnik has shown that until the third century the Christians had no objection whatever to the idea "that someone might still add revelations to the writings of the Gospel."30 There was originally no moral objection or mystic principle barring the production of more scriptures whenever God should see fit to reveal them; it was only when "the Church believed that the time of Revelation and therefore also the time of bringing forth new holy scriptures had come to an end with the Apostolic Age," that the expectation of more holy writings was discouraged and condemned.31 After that it was to the interest of the scholars to cry out with alarm at any suggestion of going beyond the Bible and the human mind.

There are just two sources of revelation, the Roman Catholic Church declares: "No other source of [public] revelation exists except the canonical books and the apostolic tradition."32 The Protestants go even further: "We believe . . . that the sole rule and standard according to which all dogmas together with all teachers should be estimated and judged are the prophetic and apostolic Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments alone."33 So an eminent Protestant divine declares today: "I boldly assert, therefore, that God does not speak today because of the supreme character of His revelation of Himself made once for all in His Christ. . . . We must . . . recognize His voice in his final written Word."[1]


  1. Hugh W. Nibley, The World and the Prophets, 3rd edition, (Vol. 3 of Collected Works of Hugh Nibley), edited by John W. Welch, Gary P. Gillum, and Don E. Norton (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book Company; Provo, Utah: Foundation for Ancient Research and Mormon Studies, 1987), Chapter 31, references silently removed—consult original for citations.