f The Wittenberg Door: David Wilkerson: The God Whisperer

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

Friday, September 11, 2009

David Wilkerson: The God Whisperer

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men . . .

Westminster Confession, chapter 1, article 6

One of the issues resolved by the Reformers was that of final authority, i.e., Are the Scriptures sufficient for doctrine and life? The Reformers, of course, answered in the affirmative. Louis Berkhof summarized their case as follows:

In Scripture each succeeding book connects up with the proceeding (except in contemporary narratives), and is based on it. The Psalms and the Prophets presuppose the Law and appeal to it, and to it only. The New Testament comes to us as the fulfillment of the Old and refers back to nothing else. Oral traditions current in the time of Jesus are rejected as human inventions, Matt. 5:21–28; 15:4, 9; I Cor. 4:6. Christ is presented to us as the acme of the divine revelation, the highest and the last, Matt. 11:27; John 1:18; 17:4, 6; Heb. 1:1. For the knowledge of the way of salvation we are referred to Scripture only, to the word of Christ, and the apostles, John 17:20; I John 1:3 . . .

Both Rome and the Anabaptists rejected the sufficiency of Scripture. Rome put as Scripture’s rival her church councils and traditions, with the ultimate authority residing in the pope. The Anabaptists, however, had a low view of Scripture for other reasons: they sought guidance from an “inner light” and direct revelations from God, resolving that the Spirit worked apart from the Word because the Word was dead.


Renting the Spirit from the Word by claiming direct revelations from God was something the Reformers could not abide. For that reason, Martin Luther derisively referred to them as “swarmers” because they were “swarming everywhere, deranged by the devil, regarding Scripture as a dead letter, extolling nothing but the Spirit and yet keeping neither the Word nor the Spirit.”

Likewise, in speaking of the link between the Spirit and the Word, John Calvin wrote . . .

Two things are connected here, the Word and the Spirit of God, in opposition to the fanatics, who aim at oracles and hidden revelations apart from the Word.

David Wilkerson and the Modern Swarmers

For ten years I have been warning about a thousand fires coming to New York City. It will engulf the whole megaplex, including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires—such as we saw in Watts, Los Angeles, years ago . . .

Note: I do not know when these things will come to pass, but I know it is not far off. I have unburdened my soul to you. Do with the message as you choose.

David Wilkerson, pastor of Times Square Church in New York and president of World Challenge

In my years as a Pentecostal I saw the shipped-wrecked lives of those who listened to the modern swarmers. I’ve also experienced (and sill experience) the derision of unbelievers as they scoff at Christ and His followers because of those who claim that God is whispering in their ear. Worst of all, these false prophets blaspheme our God by taking His name in vain. This crime of speaking when God has not spoken is so heinous that, in Old Testament times, God commanded that these offenders be put to death (Deut. 13, 18:20-22, 13:12-13; Ez. 13:1-9; Zech. 13:3).

A Plea

I call on David Wilkerson and other Pentecostals to stop trying to find a back door to God (or, as Martin Luther put it, stop trying to view God in the nude). God has spoken, and still speaks, through the bible—and those same Scriptures remain sufficient for doctrine and life. Not the Spirit working apart from the Word, but the Spirit working through the Word.

The Bible is something more than a body of revealed truths, a collection of books verbally inspired of God. It is also the living voice of God. The living God speaks through its pages. Therefore, it is not to be valued as a sacred object to be placed on a shelf and neglected, but as holy ground, where people’s hearts and minds may come into vital contact with the living, gracious and disturbing God.

James Montgomery Boice

Click here for a list of Mr. Wilkerson's false prophecies.

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Anonymous Jesse Wisnewski said...

Thank you for your thoughtful post. At the moment, I cannot say that I either agree/disagree with you, but find myself in the middle. On one hand, I agree with you that the Scriptures are the infallible and inerrant means given to govern our lives (2 Tim. 3.16-17). On the other hand, what do you do with 1 Corinthians 14.30-31 where Paul conditionally explained to the Corinthians, “If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent. For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged?"

Looking forward to hearing your response. In the meantime, check-out what Very Poythress - Professor at Westminster Theological Seminary - had to say,

“‘Revelation’ causes conflict and confusion. Hence, the information must be directly inspired and carry full divine authority. This last conclusion creates the most painful difficulty. For if the conclusion is true, the information received appears to compete with the authority of the Bible…both sides need to cool down. The crucial error is to confuse the involvement of God with lack of involvement of human creatureliness and human sin, and in addition to confuse involvement of God with full divine authority in the product. God is in a sense ‘directly’ involved in the growth of grass and blowing breezes (Psalm 104.14) [and everyday knowledge] But growing grass is not inspired (Modern Spiritual Gifts as Analogous to Apostolic Gifts: Affirming Extraordinary Works of the Spirit within Cessationist Theology, pgs. 71-101).

8:53 PM  
Blogger The Catechizer and The Deacon said...

Greetings Jesse. In this chapter of 1 Corinthians, Paul is correcting the abuse of spiritual gifts, including prophesy. This, of course, is part of his overall teaching that the church service is to be orderly.

I do not view this chapter as teaching that direct, special revelations are something that we, post-closed canon Christians should expect.

That said, I am not saying that God “can’t” provide Special revelation. If God wants to speak to you through your Xbox 360 Avatar, that’s His business. What I am saying is that I don’t find NT justification for believing God will provide us with that type of revelation.

My recommendation to my Charismatic brethren is to work on mastering the revelation God has already given us, before seeking anything new.

Thanks for stopping by, and for providing weighing in.

11:45 AM  

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