So you think you’re a prophet?: Calvin on Revelation

One of the pressing issues within the contemporary charismatic movement is the understanding and practice of prophecy. Direct, Divine Revelation is considered to be the norm. Workshops and seminars designed to teach people ‘How to Hear God’ are multiplying. People are desperate for a ‘direct’ word from God. However, the consequence of this is drastic. It has the effect of elevating the opinion of men as infallible, and minimising the pure Revelation of Scripture. Scripture gets side-lined and human ideas get exalted.

This is not a new problem. It was a problem during the period of the Reformation. John Calvin had to deal with those who claimed that the word of scripture was a ‘dead word’. Calvin’s response is as relevant for us today as it was in his own day. Calvin referred to the ‘prophets’ of his day as: “insolent dreamers who, setting aside and scorning God’s word, snatch at whatever idea forms in their sleepy brain and hail only it as valid revelation.”

Source: Institutes of the Christian religion by John Calvin Translated by Robert White, published by Banner of Truth, page 26.