The Tare of "Revelationism":
Replacement Reality and Artificial Spirituality of the Mind
A strain of spirit is woven throughout today’s Spirit-filled church that has persuaded its followers that revelation per se is the essence of reality and the substance of relationship with the Lord. Having the sound and appearance of spirituality, this counterfeit “spirit of revelation” is in truth a mindset–one that uses spiritual things to create a false imaginary reality of the mind.
The essence of this spirit is that it causes its followers to walk in denial of present earthly reality, in denial of the heart issues that form the true substance of all relationship, and in denial of the processes under time and mortality necessary to lead us to the fully realized future union of heaven and earth (“thy kingdom come”) for which saints have prayed over the centuries.
Welcome to the world of revelationism.
The Essence of Revelationism
As just mentioned, revelationism has the appearance of spirituality. It talks of “maturity.” Those speaking from it can easily quote you their latest revelatory insight on just about anything. But it comes off as an ethereal spirituality with little relationship to earthly reality or true heart relationship.
Revelationism professes it can “see” things never seen before, but in truth blinds its professors by creating an alter truth of the mind that does not exist. It claims to be above all functions of the “fleshly” mind, but is in reality itself a mindset in the form of a pretend super-spirituality directed by a spirit of false revelation.
Using Paul’s triad of faith, hope and love, the easiest way to describe the operation of revelationism is to say that it uses the concept of present faith to replace the promise of future hope and to substitute for the reality of sincere transparent love in the heart.
Another way to describe it is this: Revelationism is to the Holy Spirit’s ministry what textualism is to study of the Bible—a mental substitute for the knowing of God. Where textualism creates mental image out of scripture, revelation spins mental image out of encounter with the anointing.
Today, I can only show this to you poorly on paper, and your spirit will have to ultimately “smell” it for yourself to know what I’m talking about. But I feel it worth the effort to try to make this plain for you.
The Fruit of Revelationism
Revelationism thrives wherever a genuine hunger for more revelation exists in the hearts of God’s people. It preys on their deepest hurts and burdens by offering a replacement reality for dealing with those hurts and facing their responsibilities in this life. It is the tare sown among the wheat of the Holy Spirit’s own outpouring revelation of Christ.
Revelationism has peppered revivalist history, sprouting as a predictable tare in every move of the Spirit. Carrying a scent of wildness, it is seen in the physical excesses and antics of those it captures, and in the birthing of extreme “spiritual” doctrines relative to faith, eternity and present earthly reality.
Usually but not always ministered through an emotion-stoking spirit of hype, revelationism leaves people distracted from the love of Christ, bound, hurt, inwardly isolated, unable to be transparent with one another, unable to deal with the mortal processes of discipleship and/or unable to face with responsibility temporal life as it is. It also leaves followers spell-bound by and subject to the subtle mind control of invulnerable non-transparent revelationists, being the stuff of which cults become formed.
Revelationism is in fact oft more discernible by these fruits than by anything it may actually spout.
Prophetic, Faith and Third Day Revelationism
In these end times, revelationism has shown itself most evidently through the Latter Rain (“Manifest Sons”) movement, the “Word of Faith” movement, and presently the “Third Day-Kingdom/Eternity Now” wing of the prophetic. This is not a wholesale condemnation of these movements, all of which have genuine seed to add to our union with the Lord. (My own writings reflect the sincere godly impartations found in all these movements—or so I pray!) Tares do not define the wheat field.
Nevertheless, the fruits of revelationism are most apparent today through these movements.
In “prophetic” revelationism, obtuse spiritualized meanings are spun on every common word of Scripture, creating meanings to support doctrines intended to skirt or even directly trash the plain intent of the first apostles. Considering the literal understandings of Bible words to be “carnal” or “fleshly,” prophetic revelationism is in truth a spirit of exegetical lawlessness.
In the extreme, some such “prophets” deny we even need the scriptures any more. Reality (truth) is by revelation (spiritualized meanings) via whatever we “prophesy” to be so. Nothing more.
In the faith movement, revelationism treats earthly reality itself as an illusion to be confessed away “by faith.” One creates his own revelation and hence reality by “confession.” Hope is rendered obsolete.
Here, inner processes of heart development and the relational issues associated with genuine faith are written off and bypassed. No need for repentance, death to self, the work of the cross, or context of submission to the Father’s will. Just “confess” your own righteousness and what you will to be “by faith,” and so “write the ticket” to your own new reality.
The revelationism of Third Day “Kingdom/Eternity-Now” variety extends “faith” to writing off the earth’s necessary development over the time continuum toward the revealing of the Lord and His return. It destroys any concept of future (—what a theologian could call “eschatological cessationism.”)
The world in time and the concept of future is itself considered imaginary. “Time is carnal. We only need to see what ‘is’ in the ‘eternal now’ to make it so.” If scripture prophesies blessing “will come,” then we only need to confess it is “already here.” And if scripture prophesies judgment “will come,” then we only need to know it “already happened”
So, forget the time continuum. Eternity is here already. Just “see it” and then “confess it” into manifestation. No need to prepare. No need to be concerned. No need for negative reinforcement or motivation regarding destiny or relationship with the Lord against a future Day of Judgment or hope of obtaining immortality.
The lives and character of many under the revelationist mindset (and their meetings) tend toward a disorder, which they call “grace” and “freedom in the Spirit.” Revelation is used as an escape hatch to excuse and even justify personal irresponsibility and lack of personal discipline in matters of daily life and in the church. Under revelationism, the punishing consequences that arise in people’s lives due to soul immaturity are routinely blamed on demons and “spiritual opposition.”
The relationships built on the revelationist spirit are exceedingly hollow, tenuous, ephemeral, masked. There is little transparency, for it is illegal to confess sin and admit to weakness. Purveyors of revelationism wear this spirit as an opaque theatrical cloak masking who they really are. Followers under this spirit create their own reality, so are unable to live toward others through heart-touched love that deals with people where they truly are. Some just walk about as if in a spiritual daze or trance.
Above all, revelationism is fatal to the process of the cross to be outworked in our lives through suffering. In the alter reality of revelationism, the process of the cross is “already past.” No need to belabor surrender and personal sacrifice. And if we confess it enough times, we may be able to convince ourselves we are already sinlessly perfect, or even already made immortal! (In fact, everyone is already saved and doesn’t know it. Even the devil too!) Reality is, after all, what you finally make it to be. Just spiritualize the meanings of words enough, and you can confess into being whatever you want to believe to be true about yourself, the world, God and the universe.
In my own search for the Lord’s mind, I have necessarily been a part of movements, churches and prophetic relationships that were poisoned in some way by revelationism—and I have had to leave churches and lose friends over it. Sadly for all of us, the wheat field is also a minefield! It is impossible to discover spiritual reality in the Lord without confronting false spirituality. As we all grow together into God’s revelation, we must each struggle with the tares of revelationism.
My only desire by reflecting on this today is that it may help you realize why you may be confused about some things you are seeing in the revelatory movement you may be part of, or about things you are dealing with in relationships based in that movement that somehow do not add up. Perhaps it may even awaken you to discover the poison of this mindset in your own thinking.
Let the Lord show you what you need to see in this letter.
Blessings to all the saints.
(For still deeper discussion of revelationism, please see the sequel Unpacking Revelationism: Revelationism and the Mind of Christ.)
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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Page created October 12, 2016