f The Wittenberg Door: Are We to Expect Extra-Biblical Revelations?

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Commenting on Christendom, culture, history, and other oddities of life from an historic Protestant perspective.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Are We to Expect Extra-Biblical Revelations?

Coming from a Word of Faith Pentecostal background I am all too familiar with the claim that God speaks to the individual believer outside of Scripture. I recall a former “pastor” of mine saying mid-sermon, “Yes, yes, lord, I’ll say that.” This type of conversational relationship with God was something we were all to expect.

But ideas have consequences. Anytime you offer a competing authority, Scripture loses. We see this with Rome when God’s Word takes a backseat to her councils, traditions, and papacy; we see this in cults with their leaders and “holy” books; and we see this with Evangelicals who have “a word from the Lord.”

The stakes are high so we better be sure of the truth. To that end, author and speaker Nancy Guthrie sheds light on this (unfortunately) controversial topic in a post penned for the The Gospel Coalition site; here’s a taste:

When we read the Scriptures we are not just reading a record of what God has said in the past. God actively speaks to us in the here and now through the words of this amazing book. The writer of Hebrews makes this point clear when he quotes Old Testament passages and presents them not as something God said to his people sometime in the past, but as something God is currently saying to his people (Hebrews 1:6,7,8, 2:12, 3:7, 4:7). He writes that "the word of God is living and active" (4:12). It is exposing our shallow beliefs and hidden motives. This word is personal. You and I hear the voice of God speaking to us—unmistakably, authoritatively, and personally—when we read, hear, study, and meditate on the Scriptures. . .

. . . Many of us read these accounts [Job hearing God speak from the whirlwind; Moses hearing him call from the fiery bush; Samuel hearing him call in the dark, etc.] and assume that the Bible is presenting the normal experience of all who follow God. But is it? Graeme Goldsworthy speaks to this question in his book Gospel and Wisdom. He writes, "Every case of special guidance given to individuals in the Bible has to do with that person's place in the outworking of God's saving purposes." He adds, "There are no instances in the Bible in which God gives special and specific guidance to the ordinary believing Israelite or Christian in the details of their personal existence."

Are there instances in the Scriptures in which people describe a sense of God speaking to them through an inner voice? We read accounts of God speaking in an audible voice, through a supernatural dream or vision, a human hand writing on a wall, a blinding light, or a thunderous voice from heaven. This is quite different from the way most people who say that God has told them something describe hearing his voice—as a thought that came into their mind that they "know" was God speaking. One prominent teacher who trains people on how to hear the voice of God writes, "God's voice in your heart often sounds like a flow of spontaneous thoughts." But where in the Bible are we instructed to seek after or expect to hear God speak to us in this way?

You can read the rest here.

--The Catechizer



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