The Tradition of Sealed Scriptures
NCW 10, June 1994
Q. Your constitution speaks of the "inner" church possessing sealed scriptures in addition to the Bible. I have never heard of such a thing. Surely all that God has revealed to the world is the Bible?
The Bible is the accepted canon of the Christian Church, Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox, with small variations. However, all Christian Churches, as well as the Jewish Church, possess private, non-official collections of holy writings. The Jewish Church has possessed at least three major collections, namely the Pseudepigrapha, the Apocrypha and Talmudic literature. Many of these scriptures continue to be used by Christian Churches -- the Catholic and Orthodox Churches use the Apocrypha in their biblical canon and the Protestant Churches have used parts of the Apocrypha from time-to-time. All Christian Churches use a variety of creeds which, though not a part of the Bible, effectively have equal authority to it. The stories of the Church Fathers are an integral part of Catholic tradition as are those of the Protestant Fathers of their own. Books containing the experiences, visions and revelations of Christians are freely used by modern Christian Churches.
The New Covenant Church of God therefore follows a well-practiced tradition. Unlike some Churches who set other scriptures and writings alongside the Bible -- the Mormon Church (Book of Mormon, Doctrine & Covenants, Pearl of Great Price), the Christian Science Church (writings of Mary Baker Eddy), the Jehovah's Witnesses (Watchtower publications), the Unification Church (Divine Principle), the Seventh Day Adventist Church (writings of Ellen White), etc. -- the New Covenant Church follows a well-established precedent. Where we do admittedly differ is that many of our writings are not made public at all, being reserved for our members alone, though undoubtedly some Church libraries like the Vatican possess many secret documents. Many are, however, made public, such as a number of revelations and prophecies, but they in no way have equal status with the Bible and are not promoted in the same way as the Bible by the Church.
We are asked why we do not promote our scriptures as equal in authority to the Bible as, for example, the Mormons or the Unification Church. Though there was a time we did, we ceased doing so in obedience to revelation which told us that dividing the Body of Christ (Church of the Holy Spirit in New Covenant jargon) further was not the Lord's will but that our cooperative ministry was required for the sake of the common good. In this way we are both able to enjoy close fellowship with other Churches as well as being able to enjoy the fruits of our own tradition. In our experience, when Churches start promoting other scriptures (such as visions of heaven), however valid and spiritually authoritative they may be, they soon isolate themselves because a spirit of Úlitism and snobbery begins to pervade their group, leading to pride and spiritual destruction. We observed this tendency in ourselves, became alarmed, sought guidance from God, and find ourselves walking the path we now do. We have discovered, moreover, that the promotion of new scriptures per se is not the prime thing, but the revealing or unfolding of the mysteries already in the Bible, using the keys of revelation that we have received. Because the Bible is God's Word, it contains all revelation, albeit disguised and hidden in many instances (as in the vivid symbolism of the Book of Revelation). Christians have always known that in order to be understood, the Bible requires its readers to be in possession of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter or Revelator, who reveals all things. There is a reason why the deeper mysteries of the faith are hidden and why it is irresponsible for us or anyone else to expound them to the world indiscriminately. If the Son of God felt it necessary to communicate truth in parables and mysteries then there must have been a good reason. And as He privately expounded mysteries and parables to His disciples, so likewise do New Covenant Christians with their own people.
This page was created on 24 April 1998
Last updated on 24 April 1998
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