How can I deliver a formal introductory lecture to an academia/ professional/advent bible readers who are part of an adult bible study group at my church on Revelation so that if they are paying attention they should leave my lecture knowing:
(1) What revelation is.
(2) The role that Revelaton plays in the Christian faith.
(3) The different kinds of revelation that theologians appeal to when doing theology
(4) The different views that have been adopted concerning these different kinds of revelation in the history of christian theology.
What revelation is
Revelation is from the Greek, meaning a lifting of the veil. It manifests something that has been hidden. It can be considered as both the accepted books of Scripture as well as the continuing presence of God in the church. In general, the term denotes not so much the communication of facts about God, or even about his will. It is mostly about the content of specific manifestations of God to specific people. It is about a relationship more than a set of ideas.
Revelation is God's presence in Scripture, tradition and even in the natural order. Harmonizing these is part of the church's work on earth. Even protestants, who formally reject tradition, have a tradition of sola scriptura, that is, anything not in Scripture is not necessarily true. Catholics and Orthodox insist that scriptural revelation requires authoritative doctrinal teaching, or the result would be a multiplication of sects with no common ground.
In the most general terms, revelation is seen by most Christians as inerrant. It cannot be wrong, since God is the ultimate author. It might be misinterpreted, it might be ignored, it might be found difficult, but none of that makes it incorrect. Since God is not accessible to humanity, the presence of Christ and his teachings correct this problem. God the father is made manifest in Christ so that he can speak to human beings that are otherwise too mired in sin to grasp anything about the spiritual life.
We might also mention what revelation is not. It is not hard science, since it does not treat of the regularity of material forces in a formal way. It is not philosophy, again, because it does not deal with metaphysics or symbolic logic. It is extremely personal in that nearly every page of the bible is about God manifesting himself as a person to a person. This person is often in need, lost or in trouble, and God's presence is to challenge that person.
Put simply, revelation is a manifestation of who God is, and what his purpose in creating humanity is. Since these things cannot be known by sinful, unaided reason, special forms of revelation are needed to supplement the wisdom of the ages. If God is to communicate with humanity, he cannot do so in a way that is ambiguous or full of error. That revelation is personal (rather than institutional or propositional) is significant. It is about conduct and behavior, not just a checklist of beliefs that are mandatory. It is not that institutions or logic have no place, but that revelation can never be reduced to them.
The role that revelation plays in the Christian faith
Revelation is the communication of God in actual, human, historical time. It communicates what natural reason, alone, cannot grasp. Human reason can show that God exists, but it cannot necessarily show that He loves us and ...
An introductory lecture on the revelation of Christian Theology is examined.