Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Did Jan Hus hear personally from God? Prophecy, Discernment, spiritual gifts etc.

Was recently watching Chris Pinto's film A Lamp in the Dark again, and noted that Jan Huss, one of the pre-Reformation Reformers, burned at the stake for his commitment to the Bible as the ultimate authority for a believer,* claimed to have had a private revelation from God that sounds to me like it should be called a prophecy. Wondered how that sits with all those Protestants out there who deny that such things have occurred since New Testament times. Jan Huss is one of our heroes, after all, originally a Catholic Priest, as were most of the Reformers, who saw that the Bible contradicted the teachings of Rome. He became a recognized leader in the movement that finally deposed Rome from its dominance of Europe and established the word of God as the "light unto the path" of the believer.

So here's the prophecy: In the film the narrator says:

Before he died he claimed that God had given him a promise. The name "Hus" means "goose" in the Czech language and so the Lord had told him:
They will silence the goose, but in one hundred years I will raise a swan from your ashes that no one will be able to silence. [Source: Jan Hus: The Goose of Bohemia, by William P. Farley --about 32:38 into the film]
So, all you cessationists out there: Do you deny that this was a special revelation, even a prophecy, given to Jan Hus personally by God?

He was prophesying of course of Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation which God would bring to Europe a hundred years after Hus's time. One might wonder if calling Luther a "swan" reflects God's sense of humor of course (or if a swan has characteristics that do fit Luther that I'm not aware of.) The Popes don't say much that I agree with but the Pope who referred to Luther as a "wild boar" got it right in my estimation. You could say that we needed a wild boar at the time of course. But anyway, as far as the Reformation goes Luther could be regarded as the beautiful swan that brought it all to fruition.

I haven't particularly thought of what I do with my blogs as a "discernment ministry" but maybe I should, as that does happen to be a big part of it. I have prayed for discernment many times, and in my experience God answers that sort of prayer -- prayers for understanding, prayers for wisdom -- much more readily than other kinds of prayers (such as for healing of my extremely painful bone-on-bone arthritis of the hips.) No, I'm certainly not claiming that my prayers guarantee I'm going to be right in my judgments, of course not, only that I have many times found myself understanding something after prayer that before had been confusing and I thank God for that. Happening to watch this film again and happening to notice that quote from Hus is very likely God's answering a prayer for understanding about the gifts for today although I don't remember a specific recent prayer about this.

I just got another comment on my "Heaven" blog, certainly a discernment issue and the one topic that really brings them in -- most to denounce me for daring to suggest that the heaven experiences are counterfeits.

They often fault me for not having read the books, but they also never succeed in showing that what I've learned from other sources about the books is false. In most cases of course a reviewer should read the book or see the movie or whatever, but there really are cases where that is not necessary, where the public knowledge of their content is sufficient to make a judgment. Remember The Last Temptation of Christ? There was no need to see the movie if your concern was Bible truth because its main story line was well known and clearly in contradiction with the Bible. Same with the DaVinci Code. On the other hand, the book The Harbinger needs to be read because there are many different ideas floating around about what it says and many misunderstandings out there to mislead people about it.

So, you could say that whether or not you always need firsthand knowledge in order to render a judgment is also a matter of discernment.

Discernment implies careful sorting of truth from lies or deception, in the light of the Holy Spirit of course. Discernment is needed first of all in reading the Bible or "rightly dividing" the Word of Truth.

If you believe that God's supernatural gifting of the Church stopped after New Testament times then you'll automatically understand all claims to supernatural experiences today to be false. No discernment is required. But if you believe otherwise then rightly judging a particular case requires you to spend time carefully comparing the Biblical standard with the claim to supernatural experience.

Does the quote from Jan Hus prove anything or not?

Follow-up thought: It could be argued that cessationist doctrine itself, the doctrine that all supernatural experiences ceased after apostolic times, is a CAUSE of the discernment problems we're encountering so much today, the false signs and wonders, the New Apostolic Reformation and the like. Hidebound intellectualism interferes with true spiritual growth and experience, and interferes with the exercise of true spiritual discernment.

It also promotes a cynical mindset in those who have experienced something they can only call supernatural, leaving its understanding up to their own wildest imaginations. No wonder they fall for fleshly and demonic tricks since they know they are real at least and all the critics do is denounce what they haven't themselves experienced. No wonder if they get the source of such phenomena wrong because true supernatural spiritual discernment is not being encouraged, because it's not considered to be needed any more. In fact discerning of spirits is one of those spiritual gifts that supposedly stopped after the apostolic generation. We're supposed to rely only on intellectual understanding of the Bible, in a time when if we ever needed a God-inspired gift of discernment it's now. Proposition for a future blog topic if nothing else, the Lord willing I should live so long.

*OK, specifically he was burned at the stake for denying the Roman doctrine of transubstantiation.