Why We Like To Believe That God Speaks Directly To Us And Why We Must Question That Belief

Ancient ScriptureThe other Sunday School teacher had taken the rest of our Special Needs class on a short excursion, leaving me with a particularly difficult little boy. His intellectual disability was profound, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was somewhere on the autism spectrum. In 1975, leaving a child alone with a teacher didn’t raise eyebrows, so there we sat for ten minutes.

“I hate you, Debbie,” he declared. I was minoring in Special Education that semester, so I tried reasoning with him the way my professor had taught me. Didn’t work. He repeated his proclamation several times, each time more loudly and eventually adding profanity.

Suddenly I had the thought to sing “Jesus Loves Me.” To my astonishment, the little boy sang with me! The others returned to find the two of us singing and laughing together.

For years I told that story as evidence that God spoke directly to me. Over the years, I embellished the story, throwing in a cute little argument with God for added effect. Evidently I sincerely believed that God actually had spoken directly to me, not thinking for a minute that He had merely used a thought of mine in His providence.

Being in a Charismatic church at the time, I’d felt subtle pressure to have mystical experiences like all my friends claimed to have. I’d already failed to receive physical healing, so I needed some sort of credentials that God was active in my life. Repentance and growing in holiness simply weren’t sufficient to establish me as a mature believer.

Since those days, evangelicals of all kinds have embraced the idea that God speaks directly to us as He spoke to the prophets and apostles through whom He gave us Scripture. But does the Bible in any way tell us that their experiences should be normative for all Christians?

Doesn’t the Bible rather end with a warning against adding to the revelations that God gave to His apostles?

18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19 and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. ~~Revelation 22:18-19 (ESV)

Ladies, the apostle John had the final revelation until Jesus returns. Everything the prophets and apostles wrote has been recorded in God’s Word, miraculously preserved and readily available to us. God’s Word gives us incredible insight into Who God is, what He thinks and how He wants us to live.

As Christians, we should question anything that suggests an insufficiency in God’s Word. We should ask ourselves why we need direct revelations from God when He’s already given us everything we need in Scripture. After all, it’s no big secret that children respond to singing.

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