A Question I Was Asked:

A Further Question On Fatima

"Your recent article on Fatima is very interesting. I often wonder though, as Christians, just what are we to make of reports of this nature? Time and again I have been severely cautioned by clergy to disregard any and all of them as "not coming from God" as, the clergy insists, God finished His revelations to Man with the book of Revelation. All clergy I have questioned about this insist that the ONLY way God speaks to us now is through the Scriptures. I don't know what Scriptures in the Bible tell us this, and I've never gotten a clear answer from those I've asked. This has left me with more questions than I began with. Your thoughts, please. Shouldn't we be very careful about prophecies outside of Scripture?"

UK Apologetics Reply:

Yes - absolutely! - we should always be very wary of all "revelations" which occur outside of Scripture! But if you look carefully, the Fatima account is somewhat different. There was nothing in this for any to gain from (although, I am sure, modern Fatima probably has numerous "miracle gift shops"), but the lives of those children were radically changed and - don't forget - those things did come to pass, something that none of us can deny. You are right in suggesting that we should not listen to every single account of divine revelations, the charismatic movement, for instance, has a record of numerous claimed "prophecies" which never occurred. So let me firstly say that I certainly agree with your general feelings.

However, nobody (as far as I am aware) has claimed that what happened at Fatima has equal authority to Holy Scripture, of course it does not. The danger in this area is when certain high profile charismatic preachers have claimed that certain of their "revelations" or "prophecies" are of equal importance to Scripture (yes, some have claimed that). We can safely reject any such claim for Scripture stands supreme. But to state such a thing (which we should all be able to agree upon) does not mean that God has not revealed His will to certain individuals at certain times of His own choosing - even beyond the age of Scripture, He has certainly done that. When your e mail states that "God finished His revelations to Man with the book of Revelation," that is not quite correct. That completed the biblical revelation, that is, there is no divinely-inspired Scripture beyond the Book of Revelation. The Bible canon is now complete. Nevertheless, you cannot put a lid on the work of the Holy Spirit.

As an example, many of us have prayed and asked God to show us the best path ahead where a decision needs to be made and, should it be His will, He is well able to do that. When that clearly happens, that could be said to be a 'revelation,' but it is not up there with Scripture in importance. The revelation was for us. I had a recurring health problem a few years ago. I asked God to show me if there was anything I could do to improve the situation. He quite dramatically did so. As a result, that health problem disappeared. For sure, that was a 'revelation,' and it could also be considered a 'healing' - yes, it was of obvious importance to me and to those around me - but not of Scriptural importance! Angelic visitations are far rarer but - even there - I don't think that we can completely rule them out occurring. Richard Wurmbrand, the Lutheran pastor imprisoned by communist Romania around 50 years ago was singing hymns in his cell one day and found himself surrounded by angels! I don't doubt Richard's testimony for one moment - we serve a very merciful God! Richard, who died in 2001, probably experienced a 'filling of the Spirit,' these are certain times when God suddenly allows us a greater portion of His Holy Spirit (a link to our article on that subject is at the foot of this article).

A further question on this which some might ask is this: 'But were not miracles one of the signs of an Apostle and only for that day?' Yes, absolutely so, miracles were 'the sign of an Apostle,' but God does not have to restrict Himself for that reason. Certainly, there were times when the very shadow of an Apostle would cause the sick to be healed. Does that happen today? No, it does not and we should not expect it to. However, that does not mean that miraculous events can no longer occur. Now, with regard to Fatima, I was careful with my choice of words in that article. When you honestly consider all of the evidence without prejudice there is little doubt in my mind that the three shepherd children experienced something absolutely incredible. I am certainly not a Catholic but - yes - I believe they experienced an angelic visitation, or several such visitations. As I suggested in the article, it is possible that when the priests got hold of the story (which happened very soon) they decided that - from then on - the account should always have a strongly Catholic interpretation, but one can look beyond that and see the messages, messages which might well have been divine in origin. Several 'revelations,' or 'prophecies' were involved in the occurrences and all were certainly fulfilled. These messages concerned what would happen with communist Russia, the fact of World War II, the precise timing of World War II and even the future path of the children's lives. This means that the occurrences pass the 'true prophet test' of Deuteronomy 18:22. It is my conclusion, therefore, that Protestants should no longer dismiss Fatima as "just one of those typically Catholic things."
Robin A. Brace. May 12th 2010.

What are the 'Signs of an Apostle'?

What Does It Mean To Be "Filled With the Spirit"?

What - In Your Opinion - Really Happened at Fatima Back in 1917?