0

I understand this belief is held by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, as indicated by the following quote:

This is the true, solid evidence of religious faith. Millions upon millions of Latter-Day Saints attest to the power of this principle: when you go to God in prayer, asking if this thing that purports to be from Him is true, he does answer. It is a distinctive and unmistakable experience, and once you have received a confirmation of the truth from God, any earthly evidence pales by comparison. People can make mistakes, but the witness of the Holy Ghost is powerful and absolute.

Source: According to Latter-day Saints, should every honest, rational, and well-informed individual be able to reach the conclusion that Mormonism is true?

However, I'm curious to explore whether Christians outside of the LDS faith hold comparable beliefs:

  1. Are Latter-day Saints unique in their belief in "unmistakable" and "absolute" personal revelatory experiences by the Holy Ghost?
  2. Do Christians from other denominations maintain similar beliefs, albeit with nuances, and if so, what are these nuances?
  3. What is a purely biblical basis for this belief, if any?
2
  • 1
    What is the Biblical basis? The Bible exists. Large portions of it were revealed privately and personally to individuals with sufficient clarity that they were able to recognize the inspiration for what it was, and record it (responding via comment since I may not be in scope to actually answer the question) Commented Mar 23 at 4:04
  • 1
    @HoldToTheRod - That's a very good point. Christians who hold to biblical inerrancy would probably be committed to conceding that the Holy Ghost can, in fact, reveal truth unmistakably, privately and personally, otherwise how would they be able to explain the (purported) inerrant inspiration of (parts of) the Bible?
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 23 at 4:12

4 Answers 4

3

In past times and in diverse manners God spoke through prophets. Of course, this is how we believe the Bible was produced and compiled so, as a few answers and comments have pointed out, the Bible itself is excellent proof of personal revelation by the Holy Spirit.

God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; - Hebrews 1:1-3

However, it is to be noted that this is contrasted with "in these last days'. The same God who spoke, in past times, through prophets has now spoken through His Son. As the Son has fulfilled the office of Priest such that the priesthood and the altar service of the temple is obsolete, in like manner the Son fulfilling the Prophetic office has made prophets obsolete. John the Baptist, last of the Old Testament style prophets has made this clear:

Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. He must increase, but I must decrease. - John 3:28-30

So we are not to expect any more prophets of the Old Testament style; prophets who bring forth new doctrine-producing revelation from God. Everything spoken that way has been fulfilled, expounded upon, and reinforced by and through the Son. What the Son has done is to open the OT Scriptures, which speak of Him, to our understanding through the Holy Spirit:

And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape. And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life. - John 5:37-40

This is, if you will, the New Testament prophetic office: The continuing opening up to our understanding of the immeasurable depth of what God has spoken first through His prophets and finally through His Son. Passages which speak of prophecy in the latter days is of this sort: In these last days He has spoken through His Son and the Holy Spirit is sent to remind us of everything He has said:

“These things I have spoken to you while I am still with you. But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. - John 14:25-26

The limitations (and the warnings) that are placed upon us are the same limitations that our Lord applied to Himself in taking on humanity; do not go beyond what is written. He did not develop new doctrine when tested by Satan in the wilderness but withstood him by what was already written:

But he answered, “It is written, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” - Matthew 4:4, etc.

And when He taught in a "you have heard it was said ... but I say" fashion (sermon on the mount style) He was not adding to or producing new doctrine but deepening, intensifying, and personalizing what was already written.

Therefore, at least from an evangelical standpoint, any personal private revelation which contradicts something that has already been written or does not deepen understanding of who Jesus is and what Jesus does (according to what is already written) is to be held as highly suspect at best.

We are wayward in disposition, hard of heart, and prone to desire teachings that tickle our ears. If the Lord Jesus Christ saw the Old Testament as sufficient for His purposes as a human and if the Apostles encouraged folks to examine those same Scriptures to validate what they were saying then we should be humbly content with what we have and stand fast against new and contradictory information from 'modern day prophets':

Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. - Acts 17:11

There is no room, biblically speaking, for the appearance of a new prophet with new or 'restored' doctrines of either faith or salvation. Whatever appears apart from congruence with what we already have is not from God:

Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. - Jude 3-5

10
  • Are you a cessationist or continuationist with respect to the gift of prophecy?
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 24 at 0:12
  • In other words, what would you have to say about this book?
    – Mark
    Commented Mar 24 at 13:35
  • @Mark I believe that Old testament prophecy and New testament prophecy are not exactly the same. The former is how it was written and the latter is how the written is expounded. Commented Mar 24 at 20:23
  • @Mark I've not read that book but I have no issue with modern day dreams and visions or even 'audible' hearings so long as they don't contradict what is written. Commented Mar 24 at 20:26
  • John the Baptist, last of the Old Testament style prophet, except Agabus? Nothing from John's statement supports your previous statement. Using Jude reference, doesn't that discount the book of Revelation as it is 'after'. Doesn't Acts 17, encourage receiving additional instruction from the Lord? No where in the bible does it say there will be no more prophets, opposite in Eph 2:19-20
    – depperm
    Commented Mar 29 at 11:11
2

Are Latter-day Saints unique in their belief in "unmistakable" and "absolute" personal revelatory experiences by the Holy Ghost? Do Christians from other denominations maintain similar beliefs, albeit with nuances, and if so, what are these nuances?

As user @HoldToTheRod correctly pointed out in the comments:

What is the Biblical basis? The Bible exists. Large portions of it were revealed privately and personally to individuals with sufficient clarity that they were able to recognize the inspiration for what it was, and record it.

Christians who subscribe to the notion of biblical inspiration, particularly those adhering to a strong version of Biblical inerrancy, are logically committed to accepting the belief that the Holy Spirit is capable of reliably revealing truths to individuals. Otherwise, how would a biblical inerrantist make sense of the fact that God was able to reveal sacred scriptures to fallible human beings? The possibility of unmistakable revelation of truth by the Holy Spirit must be accepted first in order for the doctrine of Biblical inerrancy to even get off the ground.

Moreover, within Christianity, branches that affirm the continuation of spiritual gifts, including revelatory ones like knowledge and prophecy, necessarily affirm the ongoing role of the Holy Spirit in revealing truth. However, they may acknowledge varying degrees of clarity in these revelations, and the possibility of deception (as in false dreams, false visions, or false prophecies), which is why discernment of spirits is an important subject matter. While Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement prominently endorse such beliefs, instances of revelatory gifts are also cited within the Catholic and Orthodox traditions. For instance, Fr. Nikolaos, in the video "Witnessing the Miraculous: Meeting Saints Porphyrios, Paisios, and Iakovos | Fr. Nikolaos," recounts personal experiences witnessing the revelatory gifts of certain Eastern Orthodox Saints.

Regarding nuances, Christians outside the LDS denomination who uphold the Holy Spirit's continued capacity for revealing truth might exhibit skepticism towards canonizing additional revelations, often under the assumption of a closed canon. Even if they entertain the possibility of additional inspired texts in principle, they might still be skeptical of LDS extensions to the Biblical canon due to differing reasons. For reference, see Origin of the Book of Mormon and Criticism of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints . See also a very insightful discussion in the related question Why do non-LDS Christians accept the testimonies of the apostles but reject the testimonies of the 3 & 8 witnesses to the golden plates?

What is a purely biblical basis for this belief, if any?

Acts 2:17-18

17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams: 18 And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:

1 Corinthians 2:10-13

10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

John 16:13-15

13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Romans 8:14

14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

1 John 2:27

27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.

John 14:26

26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

James 1:5

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25

24 But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25 And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11

7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

0

I was wondering when someone would come up with this question . The Holy Spirit substantiated my faith, I met a prophet who was able to foretell my future and told me of an event that happened to me when I was just a kid and in eigth grade. He was also speaking truths concerning other people and this amazed me. This is what happens when you accept the Lord Jesus Christ, The Holy Spirit comes to live with you and gives you a gift.

For the case of that prophet after he had accepted the Lord Jesus Christ then the Holy Spirit from God went into him and lives with him and that explains why he is able to know the names of people he has never met.

Now to answer your about the Biblical basis for the Holy Spirit revealing truths privately is this verse forelling the outpouring of the Holy Spirit

Acts 2:17

In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams.

The verse above shows us that truths will be revealed to young men through visions and to old men via dreams. This Revelation is private and only to those who see the visions and the dreams. No one can receive those revelations unless the Holy Spirit lives with them.

1
  • @Ken Graham, first of all the Holy Ghost never makes a mistake, secondly OP needed evidence from the Bible for the Holy Spirit doing this privately Commented Mar 24 at 10:43
-2

You ask the question, "Are the Latter-day Saints unique in their belief in "unmistakable" and "absolute" personal revelatory experiences by the Holy Ghost?"

I say YES because their way of determining truth is purely SUBJECTIVE in nature. At Moroni 10:4-5 in the BoM states, "And when ye shall receive these things, I would exhort you that ye would ask God the Eternal Father, in the name of Christ, if these things are not true; and if ye shall ask with a sincere heart, with real intent, having faith in Christ, he will manifest the truth of it unto you, by the power of the Holy Ghost, vs5, And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things."

The other problem they have with determining the truth of the BoM is that they are using what's called in logic, "circular reasoning." You are being ask to prove the BoM by prayerfully reading what the BoM says to do!

Moreover, the BoM claims to be a historical document and it should be examined on that basis to determine its authenticity. This brings us to the realm of empirical evidence and rational thought. Orthodox Christianity easily withstands the highest standards with regard to history, logic and the basic reasoning skills that God gave to men.

Mormonism does not and in fact it is refuted by an abundance of cold hard evidence against it. Unfortunately, the fact is that when compared to all of the available objective evidence3, the BoM fails to pass the test for basic historic truth regarding the people, places and events it pretends to record. In short, no amount of having a "Burning in the Bosom" is going to change facts.

As well, I noticed in the comments section the question is ask about, "What is the Biblical basis? The Bible exists." I think this is off topic as it relates to the actual question?

The way I know that my prayers are answered either in the "positive or the "negative is when reality proves that God is right.

1
  • 2
    Actually the question is as follows: What is the biblical basis for the Holy Ghost revealing truth privately and personally in an absolute and unmistakable manner? I do not see an answer here.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Mar 24 at 10:39

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .