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Neologisms for Evangelicals

RHEMA SCRIPTURA [rhā’-mä] [skriptər’ uh]

[Strong’s G4487 – rhēma from ῥέω (G4483) 1) that which is or has been uttered by the living voice, thing spoken, word; 2) subject matter of speech, thing spoken of. See HERE for biblical instances of this term.] [Scriptura: 1250–1300; Middle English and Latin scrīptūra writing. See script, -ure]]

  1. The teaching that all things in Scripture are not self-contained, sufficient, plain or complete as written but that, compensating for Scripture’s insufficiency, a new Word from God is needed for this generation and is now being delivered by self-appointed and self-anointed apostles and prophets (or other mystics), whose spoken words (i.e., rhēma) now supersede, override or render obsolete that which is written in the Bible – the faith which was once delivered to the saints (Jude 1:3b).
  2. For reason of continuing rhēma-revelation, belief that the Canon of Scripture (i.e., the collected sixty-six books in the Protestant Bible) is open and not closed, as God’s Word constantly stands in needs supplementing by “sacred” words received by new revelatory experiences; these words of rhēma are considered to be of equal or superior spiritual value to the Holy Bible and, as such, often supplant the received biblical text of the Old and New Testaments. [See Inclusive Scriptura]
  3. Establishing new spiritual teachings based on one’s personal experiences, both subjective and/or mystical, of hearing a voice, getting a message, seeing a vision, receiving a revelation, dreaming a dream or experiencing an impression purportedly from God and/or one of God’s messengers, be they other humans, angels, creatures, etc.
  4. The act of creating new doctrinal constructs based upon extra-biblical revelatory messages or words subjectively validated by the individual self, affirmed by a group or peer consensus and authorized by a cadre of elite leaders, as well as personal and self-authenticating experiences of synchronicity, coincidence, serendipity and other esoteric confirmations.
  5. In the process of deriving one’s spiritual inspiration from extra-biblical words received during subjective experiences, downgrading the value and supremacy of the canonical-biblical text in all matters pertaining to genuinely spiritual and godly living (See 1 Peter 1:3.),
  6. While investing with divine authority the extra-biblical words received during spiritual experiences, and to rationalize living the Christian faith in the new and heightened mystical consciousness, downgrading the value of obedience to the canonical-biblical text as written (See 2 Peter 3:1-2.).
  7. The belief that these extra-biblical words (i.e., rhēma) have divinely invested spiritual power to be used as a weapon in spiritual warfare, a key to obtain wealth (i.e., “Name it, claim it!”), a prescription to gain health, and a power to further the goals of a dominionist political agenda.


C. Peter Wagner:

“Logos and Rhema

“…Pentecostal theologians have made the helpful suggestion of distinguishing the logos word of God from the rhema word of God…. The rhema is regarded as a more immediate word from God which we do not find in the 66 books of the Bible.”[1]

“Synchronizing Earth with Heaven

“…In chapter 2, I discussed the concept of rhema, or a direct word of God to us. At this point the personal prayer life of one who would attempt to bind the strongman is essential. Through prayer we draw into intimacy with the Father so that we can most clearly hear His voice to us. Through our personal prayer lives, and also through association with other members of the Body of Christ who have gifts of intercession and prophecy and discernment of spirits, we can know what has or has not been bound in heaven.”[2]

What Is Theology?

“What are we talking about? What is theology anyway? Here is my attempt at a definition: Theology is a human attempt to explain God’s Word and God’s works in a reasonable and systematic way. This is not a traditional definition. For one thing, it considers God’s works as one valid source of theological information. For another, it sees God’s Word as both what is written in the Bible (logos) as well as what God is currently revealing (rhema). Admittedly, a downside of viewing theology in this way is possible subjectivity, but the upside is more relevance to what the Spirit is currently saying to the churches on a practical level. Teachers research and expound the logos, prophets bring the rhema and apostles put it together and point the direction into the future.”[3]

“[B]oth Jack Deere and I now believe that God does speak to His people directly today and that He always has. In my paradigm shift, I was helped most of all by my good friend Cindy Jacobs…. [I am one] among rapidly increasing numbers of others who believe that a valid source of divine knowledge comes through what some would call ‘extrabiblical revelation’. I daresay that the standard-brand evangelical doctrine of ‘logos only’ that we were taught might now find a place on an ‘endangered doctrines’ list, about to become extinct.”[4]

Bill Hamon:

“The same biblical principles about the attitude that we are to have toward the written word, the logos, should be applied to the rhema that is declared prophetically.” (p. 82)

“If we obey and do exactly what the prophetic word says, we will not be deceived and our spirit and mind will be ready to know the will of God.” (p. 84)

[Believers should feel a] “deep peace, an unexplainable joy, and a sensation of love and rejoicing…. This sensation is the confirmation that the Holy Spirit is bearing witness to our spirit that all is in order….” (p. 94)

“God can declare something new to a person through a prophet . . . God uses the prophets to express new truths.” (p. 95)

[The purpose of these prophecies is] to “use them for war.” (p. 96)[5]

Juan Carlos Ortiz:

“The apostles even defined the doctrine [in the early church, ed.]. As a matter of fact, the Acts report that the people followed the doctrine of the apostles—not the doctrine of Jesus, but the doctrine of the apostles. The things they wrote were infallible—a concept we still believe. They believed the apostles were led by the Holy Spirit in founding the church…. When the pope says that he is infallible, he is not too far from the truth.”[6]

The Truth:

The elevation of prophets and apostles obviously made way for individuals to abuse Scripture. It allowed some to give the ‘Spoken Word’ equality with Scripture. ‘There could be no greater error’, denominational leaders warned…. [The Assemblies of God] General Secretary, J. Roswell Flower cautioned: “Predictive prophecy resulted in untold disaster wherever it had been given free course.” Flower was well-versed in the history of Pentecostalism and recalled numerous prophecies that had come to nothing. The New Order of the Latter Rain in fact was nothing new. The ground had been covered before, with lessons learned through costly mistakes. Now a new generation seemed to want to repeat it all.[7]

“At various times throughout the history of the church, and particularly in the modern charismatic movement, people have claimed that God has given revelations through them for the benefit of the church. However we may evaluate such claims, we must be careful never to allow (in theory or practice) the placing of such revelations on a level equal to Scripture. We must insist that God does not require us to believe anything about himself or his work in the world that is contained in these revelations but not in scripture. The Bible contains all the words of God we need for trusting and obeying him perfectly.”[8]

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘The prophets are prophesying falsehood in My name. I have neither sent them nor commanded them nor spoken to them; they are prophesying to you a false vision, divination, futility and the deception of their own minds’.”
The Prophet Jeremiah, 14:14 (NASB)

[1] C. Peter Wagner, Engaging the Enemy (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1991): 15-16, cited at: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/wagnerquotes.html and http://www.letusreason.org/latrain20.htm See additional commentary on Wagner and his beliefs by T.A. McMahon, “The New Spiritual Warfare Strategies Part 1,” http://www.thebereancall.org/node/5818: “Extrabiblical revelation is the cornerstone for the development of most of the doctrines of the new spiritual warfare. Though considered spurious not too long ago by the majority of evangelicals, extrabiblical revelation is now regarded by a growing number of leaders as necessary to fulfill God’s mandate to the church today. They profess to find support for their belief in the doctrine of rhema.”
[2] C. Peter Wagner, Confronting the Powers: How the New Testament Church Experienced the Power of Strategic-Level Spiritual Warfare (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 1996): 155.
[3] C. Peter Wagner, Dominion!: How Kingdom Action Can Change the World (Chosen Books, 2008), http://books.google.com/books?id=qvfGMY7iXZ4C&pg=PT37&lpg=PT37&dq=C.+Peter+Wagner%22+%22rhema+word%22&source=bl&ots=hV8KnAsIZf&sig=POdtoA3XmVxxNfcDTHMSse6ok-U&hl=en&sa=X&ei=8CdiT4-4NIX50gGRhL3ACA&ved=0CGsQ6AEwCQ#v=onepage&q&f=false
[4] Wagner, Confronting the Powers, 54-55.
[5] Quotes are from a chapter on prophecy authored by Bill Hamon in Hector Torres’s book The Restoration of the Apostles and Prophets (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2001). See also: Herescope, March 08, 2007, “The Return of the Warrior-Prophets,” Networking the Church: Part 4.” https://herescope.net/2007/03/return-of-warrior-prophets.html
[6] Juan Carlos Ortiz, Call to Discipleship (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1975), 92 emphasis added. See also Herescope, March 12, 2007, “Militant Apostles: Networking the Church: Part 5,” https://herescope.net/2007/03/emerging-apostolic-movement-will-be.html
[7] The Assemblies of God, A Chapter in the Story of American Pentecostalism, Vol.2, Edith Blumhofer, cited in Strange Fire: The Rise of Gnosticism in the Church by Travers and Jewel van der Merwe, posted at: http://www.discernment-ministries.org/StrangeFire.pdf
[8] Wayne Grudem, Systematic theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Downers Grove, IL: Inter-Varsity Press, 1994): Cited at http://beyondgrace.blogspot.com/2010/10/logos-v-rhema-round-two.html article titled “Logos v. Rhema, Round Two,” which relates the information that: “Grudem’s Systematic Theology has a full chapter on the Sufficiency of Scripture and additional discussions elsewhere on the nature of prophecy for today.” See also a concise refutation of the Word-Faith false teachings about rhema and logos at http://thewordonthewordoffaithinfoblog.com/2010/04/16/rhema-and-logos-there-is-no-difference/. See also: http://www.box.com/s/e2aop1mg7km70ev19df0

Adapted from www.dictionary.com

NOTE: This post is authored by several members of the Discernment Research Group, including Pastor Larry DeBruyn and Sarah Leslie, along with Pastor Ken Silva of Apprising Ministries. This is part of a joint project to develop a descriptive vocabulary for the new doctrines, practices and heresies of the emerging evangelical church.