Well, no, God actually didn’t give me such specific instruction, and the title of this post is designed to add a touch of ironic humor. Yes folks, I’m returning to the topic of whether or not God speaks to us apart from Scripture. I do so because so many Christians have migrated away from the belief in the sufficiency of God’s Word. As a result of this migration into subjectivity, we’ve adulterated the Word of God with our own agendas, interpreting it through a grid of personal experience and self-service when we ought to evaluate personal experience through it and then obey the Holy Spirit’s direction in its pages.
God didn’t “speak to my heart” and instruct me to write this post. The idea came from the Pyromaniacs blog (which may well be one of my favorite blogs), in which Dan Phillips posted Untangling (too) terse words about affirming sufficiency and meaning it. Please make the time to read his post, as well as the comments which follow.
Like Dan, I’m troubled over the liberal theology that has invaded evangelical churches, wooing us away from sound doctrine until we’re indistinguishable from the world. Part of our descent into worldliness, I believe, manifests itself in subjective spirituality instead of a resolute dependence on the clear teaching of Scripture.
We busy ourselves straining to hear His “still small voice” when we ought to put effort into the things that He’s plainly revealed in His Word. For instance, 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 (ESV) reads:
12 We ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, 13 and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. 15 See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. 19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.
Did you notice that second phrase in verse 18? “For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” How many of us obey His instructions even in this short paragraph? I’m not raising my hand, and unless you’re either self-deceived or terribly dishonest, you won’t raise yours either! So, if we haven’t yet learned to follow the guidance He’s given us in the Bible, what makes any of us think that He would bother to give us personal revelation? Could He trust us to obey something He “whispers to our hearts” when we don’t even submit to the precepts He’s plainly spelled out in the Bible?
Most assuredly, God did not speak to me directly, nor did He specifically instruct me to write this particular post. But He has given me a concern about the influence of Charismatic theology and mysticism on 21st Century evangelicals. As more and more people insist on spiritual experience, they inevitably lose interest in the Bible. So, while I didn’t hear His “still small voice” or feel “a prompting of the Spirit,” I believe He is honored when I stand for the sufficiency of Scripture.