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Not-So-Progressive Revelation

Thomas Whitley

As usual during my Ethics class we talked about something completely unrelated to Ethics. Tonight it was “progressive revelation.” Honestly, I was pretty zoned out for much of his soliloquy. I did regain consciousness long enough to see what was written on the board though:

“Progressive Revelation - Its culmination is Jesus”

In actuality, the “is” was not italicized, but rather was underlined three times. My question is one of simple logic: how is it progressive if it has a culmination? Answer: it’s not. Progressive revelation starts from what it desires to be the end and says that everything that went before was only partially true or pure or contained only some partial understanding while that which I uphold contains all truth and is the fullest understanding possible. It would be much more honest of proponents of progressive revelation if they would simply say that anything that is not what they consider to be the truest and fullest revelation is simply untrue. I say this because if progressive revelation were taken to the fullest of its implications, then its proponents would have to understand Islam as superseding Christianity, Mormonism superseding Christianity and Islam, etc., but they are wholly unwilling to support this view.

My other point of contention with Christian Progressive Revelation is that it firmly upholds supersessionism, insofar as it relates to Christianity superseding Judaism and Gentile Christians superseding Jews as God’s chosen people. This is a view that I vehemently oppose.

So, adhere to progressive revelation if you want to, but if you do chose to adhere to it, do it logically and rationally. Do not say that you believe in progressive revelation if by that you really mean, “I think I have the absolute hold on truth and everything that came before was merely precursor to what I have and everything that follows is heresy.”

On another note, that is still somewhat related, please stop reading the Christian Scriptures (New Testament) into the Hebrew Bible (commonly referred to as the Old Testament). As much as many people hate to hear it, Isaiah had no idea who Jesus the Nazarene was when he was writing (his “suffering servant” model that so many apply to Jesus was actually most likely in reference to Cyrus) and the Abraham and Isaac story was not a foreshadowing of Jesus and his act of being a sacrifice. The Hebrew Bible is very important, for me at least, and is very influential in my own faith, but let it stand on its own without reading it christocentrically.