Each Sunday, the Pyromaniacs’ blog (which is really a must-read blog for Christians) features a sermon, devotional or other piece of writing by Charles Spurgeon. So often, it seems as if Spurgeon saw straight into the 21st Century Church. His admonishments seem perfectly tailored to the trends currently rippling throughout evangelical circles, almost as if he was writing prophetically. Of course, in reality 19th Century Christians struggled with the same temptations toward doctrinal dilution that trouble the Church today. Pyromaniacs’ team of writers devote Sundays to Spurgeon precisely because he fought the same battle for the Church to submit to the authority of Scripture that they’re fighting now.
Their March 11, 2012 post, The Sufficiency of Scripture, dovetails so beautifully into our current discussions on this blog that I wanted to direct your attention to it. Spurgeon’s concern, though not specifically with “listening prayer,” is that God’s people not add to the Word of God. He regarded the Bible as being completely sufficient as a medium for hearing God’s voice. He reasons:
The Scriptures in their own sphere are like God in the universe—All-sufficient. In them is revealed all the light and power the mind of man can need in spiritual things. We hear of other motive power beyond that which lies in the Scriptures, but we believe such a force to be a pretentious nothing. A train is off the lines, or otherwise unable to proceed, and a break-down gang has arrived. Engines are brought to move the great impediment. At first there seems to be no stir: the engine power is not enough. Harken! A small boy has it. He cries, “Father, if they have not power enough, I will lend them my rocking-horse to help them.”
We have had the offer of a considerable number of rocking-horses of late. They have not accomplished much that I can see, but they promised fair. I fear their effect has been for evil rather than good: they have moved the people to derision, and have driven them out of the places of worship which once they were glad to crowd. The new toys have been exhibited, and the people, after seeing them for a little, have moved on to other toy-shops. These fine new nothings have done no good, and they never will do any good while the world standeth.
The Word of God is quite sufficient to interest and bless the souls of men throughout all time; but novelties soon fail.
“In them [the Scriptures] is revealed all the light and power the mind of man can need in spiritual things.” Right there, Spurgeon has made his point. Yes, the Holy Spirit reminds us of Scripture as we seek His guidance, and in that respect I can whole-heartedly agree that He speaks to present-day Christians. But until Christ’s return, He will not go beyond Scripture. Christ’s sheep know His voice as we read the Bible because the Holy Spirit living in us causes us to recognize His voice.
It’s that simple. And that profound.