Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
January 31st, 2015 by Joel Watts

St. John of the Cross on a “new revelation”

English: Statue of St. John of the Cross at Ca...

English: Statue of St. John of the Cross at Carmelite Monastery, Varroville, NSW, Australia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No new revelations are to be admitted in the matter of that once made, beyond what may be consistent with it, lest we should go astray by admitting contradictions, and stain the soul, which should keep the faith. We must bring the understanding into captivity, and cleave in simplicity to the faith and teaching of the Church, ‘for faith,’ saith S. Paul, ‘cometh by hearing.’ No man will give heed or credit easily to new revelations, unless he has a mind to be deceived.1

As a fundamentalist, I believed that Catholics, Orthodox, and Protestants all based their beliefs on “new revelations.” Why? Because nothing they did or said could be found (explicitly) in Scripture. I didn’t understand the notion of progressive revelation at the time.

This is different than progressive politics and progressive Christianity.

I have no doubt St. John would look at modern Christianity with so many new revelations and utterly despise it.


  1.  Saint John of the Cross, Benedict Zimmermann, and David Lewis, The Ascent of Mount Carmel (London: Thomas Baker, 1906), 217–218.
Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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