09 February 2012

About any claim of a word from God: application

by Dan Phillips

Let's make a step forward from the basic considerations we laid down about any word from God, a couple of posts ago. I'll take this as established:
  • There is no such thing as a word from God that is erroneous. If a word affirms error, it is not God who is speaking (Num. 23:19; Jn. 17:17; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6: 18).
  • There is no such thing as a word from God that is not absolutely morally-binding (Deut. 18:19; Jn. 15:22). This absolute obligation is all-encompassing: if God tells us to act or refrain from acting, we must comply; if God tells us to think or believe, we must agree. I sin equally if I fail to love my wife (Eph. 5:25), and if I fail to refrain from committing adultery (Rom. 13:9) — but I also sin if I do not believe that Christ is God (Jn. 1:1) and that He became flesh (v. 14).
Sad but true, I wish I could say that all professed Christians (myself included) "get that" in terms of accepting and embracing and practicing it with complete consistency regarding the Bible. Sanctification is a process.

But I'd like to stir your pure minds to thought in another direction. Take a hypothetical — oh boy, I wish it were hypothetical. But let's put it as one.

HYPOTHETICAL: Brother X says that God "told" or "has called" him to do Y, which is not in any way directly stated or contained in Scripture.

Now here are my questions, and I really would urge you to think hard about this. Picture me looking you straight in the eye, requiring that you lock gazes with me as I say very intently: it is failure to think through the implications of such claims that accounts for a great deal of sloppiness and error in the professing church today.


My questions, then:
  1. What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion?
  2. What must the consequences be for church discipline?
Have at it.

Dan Phillips's signature

203 comments:

1 – 200 of 203   Newer›   Newest»
Sheldon Clowdus said...

If Brother X has been "told" or "called" to something by God Himself, then it is the obligation and duty of all who know of this "call" to help ensure that Brother X walks in obedience to it. He should be held accountable to immediately begin making progress towards this "call".

If he does not, then he is walking in unrepentant sin and should be disciplined by the church leaders. His failure to obey this "call" would have to be treated as any willful disobedience of the commands of scripture.

Tom Chantry said...

Unless I'm misunderstanding, the answer to number one is simply to say "No, He didn't."

Robert said...

I'm going to assume that you are asking what we should do once we know this:

it is failure to think this through that accounts for a great deal of sloppiness and error in the professing church today.

With this in mind, I'd say that every person who hears that assertion should turn the person making the claim of God "telling" or "calling them" to do something to show where they can produce such a declaration from Scripture. And if they can not...and do not repent of their claims to have heard from God, then we should exercise church discipline and treat them as an unbeliever. Because if they continue in their claims, and we really believe that God didn't speak to them or call them, then it is blasphemy.

Sheldon Clowdus said...

Perhaps I misunderstood...I answered as though we were pretending the "call" was actually a morally, binding, error free word from God.

If that were the case then what I said (I believe) would hold.

Johnny Dialectic said...

I'd ask what miraculous sign he has performed in public to confirm it.

Michael R. Jones said...

The answer to number one is: None at all. Apart from the clear testimony of Scripture how do I distinguish between what God "told" you and whatever cockamamey idea may have popped into your head?

I'm not sure what you're getting at in question two except that judgments in cases of church discipline must be made based on the text of Scripture also. This prevents us from carrying out discipline on people we simply don't like or disciplining based on our personal preferences and pet peeves.

Am I understanding you correctly?

DJP said...

Equally (A) everyone's giving good response, and (B) nobody's quite caught what I'm driving at.

Which is fine. It's like going to the Sierra: the destination is fun, but so's the drive.

Ted Bigelow said...

Dan, which is the assertion? - the hypothetical, or your "it is failure to think this through..." statement?

If the 1st, then we look at it on sliding scale of maturity. In a new Christian, meh... Who of us hasn't said something similar. But in a seasoned and mature church leader (esp. one who finds the Trinity an inconvenient doctrine) it becomes far more serious.

If the 2nd, then it becomes a law, an axiom. If I don't "think it through" - which really means agreeing with you, or whoever - then I'm not thinking rightly and perhaps subject to discipline.

How'd I do?

DJP said...

Ted, in that you sallied forth and tried, you did GREAT!

In that you forced me to edit and clarify - again, WIN!

(c:

lee n. field said...

When I was young we were in a church for a couple years that veered into a charismatic direction, with ecstatic singing and regular "words from God" from random members. It struck me then, and ever since when encountered elsewhere, that no one seemed to recognize the dire seriousness of what they were claiming, when you say "God told me".

It's, arguably, a third commandment violation (second for you Lutherans. Taking the name of God in vain)-- claiming God said something which he in fact did not.

Robert said...

I'm thinking that the person either affirms the sufficiency of Scripture or denies it. If the latter, then they are treated as an unbeliever. And if somebody needs a word from God (apart from Scripture), then they really must not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture.

Now, I do believe that if we are faithful in reading Scripture, meditating upon it, and praying for God's wisdom to guide us, then our thoughts will be directed by God through the application of Scripture under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. where this goes astray is when people try to take control of the wheel themselves and not just stay faithful to the model we have in Scripture.

Lori wife of 1, mom of 10 said...

Like my Daddy taught me, "Chapter and verse"?

DJP said...

Sounds like your Daddy was a good man.

(c:

Andrew Lindsey said...

Are you intending to deny a "call" in terms of a call to ministry or missionary service?

Johnny Dialectic said...

Regarding church discipline:

The church must maintain and model sound doctrine (1 Tim. 1:3) and thus must seek to correct Bro. X. If he does not listen, the rebuke must sharpen (Tit. 1:13) and may lead to removal fellowship (1 Cor. 5)

Rhology said...

Are you intending to deny a "call" in terms of a call to ministry or missionary service?

I'd love to see such a call demonstrated from Scripture. I've long had a problem with that language.

candy said...

I think there is a root problem of the heart and self will. Let me take two examples and keep it in the hypothetical realm.

1. A pastor decides that he no longer wants to pastor his church because he has bigger fish to fry. He announces to the world that God told him to move on.

2. A pastor decides he no longer wants to be a part of group that tries to hold him accountable. He announces to the world that God told him to move on.

In both cases, the root problem seems to be either rebellion, lack of accountability, or perhaps disatisfaction. They figure if they throw in the "God told me" card that it cannot be deflected. They distance themselves from accountability. It becomes the catch all for something else that is happening in their lives. Church discipline calls for confrontation, an appeal to repent, and eventually disfellowship if there is not acknowledgment of a sinful heart and self will.

Scooter said...

*raises hand*

Teacher, with which gaze are you starting at me: Your Blogger profile or Twitter? Do you intend to poke me like a cue ball, or sharpen me?

Now that I have my facetious quota for the day, I'll turn my 5 neuron to the questions at hand.

stratagem said...

Dan

Is the hypothetical person saying that he feels God is calling him to do something that is against a clear Biblical teaching, or alternatively, that he feels God is calling him to do something where the Bible is silent (example of latter: "don't buy that new car, give the money to the Church, instead")? And, is he making a statement that he thinks God is calling him alone to do such and such, or is he asserting that God is calling others to do the same?

Or, do you think the answers to those questions are irrelevant?

DJP said...

It doesn't matter, Strat. I'm saying this totally friendly, no snark or sarcasm: if you have the time and inclination, just read through the whole post, then answer the questions exactly as asked.

(I am going somewhere. Everywhere we've gone thus far has been good, but it hasn't been quite where I'm going.)

Tax Collector said...

Well, seeing how stoning them is not an option I would just stop listening to them and encourage others to do as well.

David Regier said...

1. If God has told X to do Y, any believer would be bound to obey/submit to X in his pursuit of Y.

2. Any believer not obeying or submitting to X regarding Y would be subject to the discipline of the church.

Tyler Wallick said...

Regarding defining a "call to ministry" - I think it's pretty simple to verify a "call". 1) Do you desire it 2) Are you biblically qualified. If yes on both, then you are called. If not, then you are not.

donsands said...

I would pray for the fellow, or gal, to seek the Bible to find God's will.

The pastors and elders need to take this wayward soul, and teach him.

My wife and I prayed last night for our Lord to help her with her job situation, where some of the other workers are quite, well, not nice.

This morning after Patti had her devotions she came and said, "I was reading Paul's letter to Philippians this morn, and I have confermation for my soul: God said:
"Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Philippians 4:4-7

Have a great day in our Lord's joy and love. Evene in those moments of carefulness, pray.

Tax Collector said...

This could also be said of many of the 'translations/versions' of the Bible out there too.

Scott Fuemmeler said...

With the assumptions you laid out, here's my attempt (with my added assumption that we're accepting the hypothetical claim of hearing from God):

1) Whatever was told or called, it is binding. Whether it's a "call" to sell everything and move to Tibet, change professions, or bark like a dog, I cannot disagree. And even if I do, it doesn't change the truth of the call (just like disagreeing with the Bible doesn't change the Truth). I must support this call just as I would any other clear word from scripture.
2) If I do NOT agree, I am outside the camp. Disagreeing with a "call" from God is equal to disbelieving scripture, and thus I am subject to discipline, up to being removed from fellowship until I repent. The other side is that if this call is not acted upon and responded to by the one who hears it, he is also subject to the same discipline, since he is not obeying the word of God.

Of course, the reality is, in general this type of discipline never actually happens. It usually ends up being a "agree to disagree" thing. If I'm understanding what you're getting at, that's not at all an option if someone believes this hypothetical call is from God.

DJP said...

Still: everyone is good, Don is a sweetheart, David is close... but nobody's quite getting it.

Don't anyone be frustrated, though. It's fun. (c:

OldPuritan said...

Assuming the hypothesis is true:

1. Every person has the obligation to hear what God is saying to them.

2. Church discipline becomes a process of holding us to our own testimony, rather than to the word of God.

DJP said...

Scott, you are very very close, and everything you say is terrific.

Close enough that I'll give a hint: did I say to accept the hypothetical? Read my exact wording.

DJP said...

(c:

Ditto OldPuritan. Did I say to accept or reject, or did I suggest that we're under a moral obligation regardless?

(I'm having fun; hope you are.)

Andy said...

Hey. Just wondering what your thoughts are on equating "God told me" with the conviction of the Holy Spirit, i.e. can they be the same?

For instance, would you say that the following statement:

"The Holy Spirit convicted me that I needed to repent specifically of the sin of lying"

is or is not equivalent to:

"God told me that I needed to repent specifically of the sin of lying"?

Andy

OldPuritan said...

Fun? This is the first time I've been motivated to comment on this blog.

Of course I'm having fun!

Charlene said...

<>

<>

This is key. I've always been told by camps with this leaning that as long as the "word" given to them does not contradict the Bible, we're good to go. I believed this for many years but this is SO not so. It's not about whether it "matches" the Bible or not, it's about whether God actually said it or not. If He did, then it's absolute and binding and right. And the person who received/spoke this "word" can never be put under church discipline. As the mouthpiece of God Himself they are forever exempt from church discipline for the "words" they receive from Him.

Robert said...

Well, if I am going from where David started, I'd say that this person is now taking the place of Scripture and whatever he hears/heard from God will be the determining factor in who is in or out instead of Scripture. And we can't discipline the person if we believe that God told them to do something and they do it.

I'm guessing this would lead back to MacDonald and the GTM card that he can play with this whole matter. And then the response from TGC didn't really call him out on that.

DJP said...

Someone may sloppily say A and mean B, Andy. If so, he must be taught the difference and the importance of the difference and gently but insistently encouraged to say B when he means B.

My kid may ask for a glass of cyanide and mean "milk." If so, I don't chuckle and say "Oh well, that's just how Johnny talks, bless his heart!"

Nor should we.

(That's a freebie, btw; please, let's get back to the post.)

Tom Chantry said...

@ Andy,

The difference is in the content. God did tell you (and me) to repent of the sin of lying - in the Bible. The Spirit illumines the Word, giving His people a conviction both of its truth and its personal applicability. So yes, you can say, "The Spirit told me to repent of the sin of lying," or "The Spirit convicted me that I must repent." Either way, it's a very different thing than, "The Spirit told me I should dump Ginger and marry Mary-Ann instead."

DJP said...

Oooh, Charlene: rockin'!

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Good grief, I just realized that saying "God to me to _______" makes everyone fashion God to their own desires - it's like they become their own spiritual authority. Because who could question what God told somebody - if it's in their head/feelings there's no way to be sure. So there would be no such thing as church discipline, would there? Because what if God told brother x something, and told brother y something opposite? Who would be right?

David Regier said...

Saying that God has said something that He has not said is taking His name in vain, no?

Philip Decker said...

The answer is repentance and faith. If the "word from God" is, as has been assumed, both inerrant and morally binding, then in incumbent upon every person to respond in repentance and faith (question 1) and any who do not respond in this manner would have to be disciplined as unbelievers.

Scooter said...

Brother X makes the foundation under him seem shaky and strange, per Ephesians 4. He is dividing the body of Christ. He says, "God's foundation is not solid and finished, he needed to finish it with a word to me." A common foundation allows all churches through time and space to be unified as one holy temple in the Lord.

Likewise, if Sister Y refuses to believe Brother X, she must be treated as an unbeliever. She can't go to another church, because every church must recognize her as unrepentant sinner for not obeying the Lord.

Thanks for forcing me to think Dan. This is very providential as I'm leading a round table on prophecy at lunch. I plan to use some of yours, Frank, and Phil's writings on the subject.

DJP said...

David: a corollary point, and an excellent, necessary, and (virtually) NEVER-applied one. It does apply secondarily to where I'm going with this.

Andy said...

@ Tom

Thanks for your response. I believe that the Spirit also acts independently of the Scriptures in order to convict the hearts of believers and unbelievers. That's a brief "where I'm coming from", but as DJP suggested, not what this post is really getting at. So I'll leave it there for now.

DJP said...

Ooh yeah, Scooter is right there, pawing at the exact right tree that I'm barking up.

Or...er... up which I'm barking.

Robert said...

So, if we apply this to recent happenings, we see that a clarion call needs to be made so that all people know if somebody belongs outside and why it is that they do.

Also, as Paul instructs the Corinthians, we should still try to preach the truth to such a one and hope that kicking them out will put them in such dire straits that they will repent and return back into the fold.

DJP said...

Another hint (though this is giving it away): if you say "God told me [non-Biblical X]," am I immediately under a moral obligation? Consider the post, answer Yes or No, and explain.

You know, if you want to. Because it's not like God told me to tell you to do this.

(c:

donsands said...

To be honest when I do bump into my Charismatic friends, and they tell me "God told me", I sort of just stare at them. No response really. I may share about my pastor's sermon, or something I read from Spurgeon, or from a blog like Pyro. Or I may change the subject to how the Ravens need a new FG kicker.
I feel bad for them really. Tough way to live. And life is tough enough, ain't it.

This has been good, and am learning as ususal from the Pyro Team. Thanks Dan.

stratagem said...

OK, Dan appreciate it. I had read the whole thing (it isn't long) but re-read it again. So let me give it a try:

1.What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion?

a. To test the assertion via the Biblical text. By definition as stated in the Hypothetical, the searcher finds nothing to support the assertion, there is no moral implication for obeying it, but there is a moral obligation to oppose man-created words that are attributed to the Lord.

2.What must the consequences be for church discipline?

a. For the individual to point out the error to the "prophet." If he does not repent, get another person and as a duo, exhort the false prophet to repent. If that doesn't work, take it to church leadership and get the church to confront him on the error. If he refuses, then he is excommunicated.

Robert said...

Yes, you are. And you need to go through the steps Jesus outlined for church discipline in order to protect the flock and also in order to try to bring me to repentence over my sin.

The consequences for church discipline is that it would start with lay people before being brought to church leadership to handle a big mess. It isn't the pastor's responsibility to handle every sinlge instance of sin within the congregation...again, Jesus didn't say to go look for a leader to confront the sin issue. If we did it the right way, it would prevent a lot of the larger problems that break up churches and cause a lot of heartbreak.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

Oh boy. I'm really looking forward to this discussion. Just last Sunday in our Sunday school class, the subject of money was one of many things being discussed. One woman spoke about how she was humbled by the realization (in my own words) that not everyone is expected to use their money the same way. "If God is telling me to use my money one way, and He's telling someone else to use theirs in another way, they both are okay, so long as we are doing what God wants us to do." (Or something like that.) I can think of other similar examples coming from women older than me by 10-15 years, and even an elder or two, though not our beloved pastor. (He has in a smaller book-discussion group expressed his uneasiness when he hears people talk like that--GTM talk. But I haven't seen him challenge it when it was right there.)

While this kind of speech is sprinkled here and there within the congregation, it's not ever challenged by the leadership. And it (GTM) comes from people "above me" in age and position (elder/elder's wife), so I don't know what to say nor how to say it.

I'm hoping to today, though. Especially because we are having a womans "conference" later this month where I suspect I may have opportunities to put into practice what I learn.

Robert said...

Just thinking through all of this makes me realize how poor of a job I do at this. And how much better off would the church be if we were open enough to approach each other about sin in each other's life and listen humbly when people approach us.

I mean, Jesus laid it all out for us and it shouldn't be that big of a surprise that a) when we follow what He says, the church grows in unity and maturity, and b) when we don't follow what He says, the church is divided and many wind up following false teachers.

Sorry if my thinking out loud went too far off the tracks, but I am thinking that I'm probably not the only one who struggles with this.

Tom Chantry said...

I still stick by my first answer, you ought to turn to the guy and say, "No, He didn't."

But here's an approach:

1. What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion? No obligation whatsoever, and the person who speaks this way seems to know it.

2. What must the consequences be for church discipline? No consequences, and again, the person seems to know it.

So, if your "word from God" puts me under no obligation and cannot possibly have anything to do with church discipline, then it isn't really like the Word of God, is it? The actual Word of God, being universal, obligates the entire church in such a way that the church can be disciplined (for discipline requires a common standard). Your "word from God" is not universal, doesn't obligate anyone, and cannot serve as a means of unity. In other words, it is not actually the Word of God.

So, God's words are either one thing or another. They are either absolute universal truths which necessarily obligate the entire church to hear and obey, or they are divided, and must result in a divided church.

If you believe that that's really what Jesus wanted - that His vision was that they'll know we're His followers by our diversity and utter lack of cohesive mission, then fine, go on listening to your "words from God." But if you believe Jesus actually wanted the church to be one, as God is one, and that He therefor prayed that it would be sanctified by that universal truth which is the Word of God - if you believe that, shut up about what God told you over breakfast and get back into the actual Word of God.

If that's not right, then I'm going to retire in shame - my attempt to derail this thread into a Ginger/Mary-Ann discussion already failed.

OldPuritan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OldPuritan said...

And, pressing "publish" button has caused me to see the blatant error in my suggestion.

Why does that happen so often?

Just ignore me.

Wes Walker said...

Ok, I think I see how your points apply when there is an imperative given, but how do your categories work in the sense of Agabus/Paul where no command is obvious?

As to your original point, are you saying that if God has commanded one person to "x" then all believers should treat "x" as personally binding?

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

No, we're not under immediate moral obligation because the thing told to us that "God said" is not revealed in Scripture. If we say we are under moral obligation, then we put the experience over the clearly revealed Word.

DJP said...

Tom: the Ginger/Mary Ann attempt was epic. I did note, and began to type a response... but resisted.

You know I love and respect you, and I know you'll have fun with me telling you... you're mistaken.

(c:

OldPuritan said...

1. If it is merely a claim, then there is no obligation, whatsoever. The proposition "I believe 'God said Y to me'" is not the Word of God.

2. Since God speaks through Scripture alone now, the one who claims that God spoke special revelation is lying. Church discipline then follows.

Tom Chantry said...

No.

It is you who is mistaken. I know that my interpretation is correct. You see, while I was typing it, I felt a strange sensation of calm come over me. Then, my word verification was "corickt." Clearly, the Spirit was sending me a sign.

Repent of your false teaching, or I will excommunicate you.

DJP said...

Chantry, thank you. Best laugh of the day. Surely I owe you a quarter, or something.

Tom Chantry said...

Don't forget, I was on the cover of Time. I am "He Who Shall Not Be Questioned."

Eric said...

But Tom, global cooling was also on the cover of Time, and it is now being questioned, so what gives?

(See, you can really derail the topic at hand if you keep trying)

Robert said...

Tom,

" It takes a lot of courage and humility to put yourself in an unscripted situation and to be outside of your normal crowd. And the fact you showed up to comment this morning, I was shocked. I was like, “That guy from the cover of Time Magazine is coming to comment on the blog today?” "

and

"I think you honor us and you humble us, a man of your stature and commitment to the gospel and fruitfulness would come and sit with us in this room, let you and me ask him what he believes? Like he’s getting baptized or something? We got a one-A battery, a two-A battery and a whole…A nuclear power plant?"

Sorry, couldn't resist...although notice I dind't bother to define who the batteries were. Mainly because I feel like a random spark.

Frank Turk said...

definitely not TFIF, eh?

Scooter said...

Ok, let me try this. In each part of God's plan of redemption, it is assumed that God has given the belivers at the time everything they need to fulfill his will. Abraham only saw a shadow of Christ from afar, but God's instruction was clear for him to leave Ur and settle near Canaan.

Now fast forward to this morning. Brother X says, "God told me to bark like a dog." Sister Y says, "Wrong." Brother X has immediately cast doubt on God's grand plan. The elders and deacon whom God has placed in charge of the church can't really be sure if they have all the tools they need to do their job.

stratagem said...

Robert - you forgot to say something about not being worthy to untie the thong of his sandal. Or maybe I'm confusing you with the vaudeville team of Driscoll and MacDonald?

Sonja said...

Scooter's comment at 7:14 sent chills up my spine. I had never thought through "GTM" that far. What a horrifying repercussion.

I appreciate the teaching today from all. Lord knows I need teaching always.

Robert said...

TFIF? Thank Frank it's Friday?

Tax Collector said...

I think it would be nice to counter with:

"God told me to tell you He didn't say that!"

CCinTn said...

I wouldn’t even put stock in it even if the person was able to perform some kind of sign.
Jesus said that many would come and say “look, here is the Christ” and that they would even perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect IF THAT WERE POSSIBLE and that we were not to follow after them.
And Hebrews 1:1 tells us that while God previously spoke via His prophets, in these last days, He has spoken to us via His Son.
Christ then told us in John 14: 26 that the Holy Spirit would be sent to teach and remind us of everything that Christ had already said, which is contained in the completed scripture. There is no need for additional revelation because God’s word is complete, sufficient and authoritative.

Therefore,
#1: Every believer who hears a Brother X say this is to loving correct him and if he does not accept the rebuke and repent, then to follow on with what is laid out in Matt 18.
#2: I suppose the consequences must be that there must be discipline.

CCinTn said...

I guess to further clarify my earlier comments…anyone who presumes to speak a word from God that does not come from the canon of scripture is speaking of himself and not from God. As such, he is taking God vainly.
If that person seriously believes he is hearing from God because they are an immature believer, then they need loving correction and instruction of how God now speaks to us.
If that person is a mature believer they should know better, then the rebuke must be more forceful and there is more accountability there. If that person is sloppily using the GTM card, then discipline should be appropriate and swift.
These individuals need to learn what the fear of Yahweh means. I can recommend a most excellent book on the matter. It’s all about God’s wisdom and all….

stratagem said...

I can't wait to apply what I've learned here to the Pope!

DJP said...

I'm thinking:

1. This is one of the funnest meta's evar

2. If nobody hits the atom on the nucleus by the 100th comment, I'll unveil.

3. Chantry already has composed his "What?! I totally knew that! I already said it! Besides, it's completely inconsequential!" reply.

Susan R said...

My first thought is that if we accept that our foundation for faith and practice is the Word of God- then- if we also accept that God still 'speaks' to people, we must approve such speakings and writings as divinely inspired as the canon of Scripture.

Thus, church discipline would pretty much be whatever the Sin Flavor of the Month is posted on the menu.

Tom Chantry said...

So,

Tom Chantry said...

all

Tom Chantry said...

we

Tom Chantry said...

have

Tom Chantry said...

to

Tom Chantry said...

do

Tom Chantry said...

is

Tom Chantry said...

artificially

Tom Chantry said...

drive

Tom Chantry said...

up

Tom Chantry said...

the

Tom Chantry said...

cocmment

Tom Chantry said...

count

Tom Chantry said...

?

Clark said...

OK, I'm gonna stir up lots of folks and say I think God can impress His 'calling' on people. Did John MacArthur go into ministry without a call? I don't think so. I think it is the role of the local body to help verify the call and help keep the person on track.
On the other hand If person X says, God told me to tell you you're a nitwit. I'd say "I know you are but what am I?" Or something equally mature.

F Whittenburg said...

OK let me give this a shot.

Number 1) It puts no obligation on anyone, because it may just be a word for that one individual and not for everyone else, unless they are claiming they are speaking a word for the whole church. Peter exhorts the believer in (2 Peter 1:10 KJV)to make his calling and election sure, when they didn't have scripture about the church to pick up and read for direction.

Number 2) It could put the church in contradiction with God by trying to discipline this man.

Biblical Example:

Man claiming to have specific direction from God:

God has told me to give all my money and power to antichrist and the beast in an attempt to overthrow the world.

Church response: Are you insane? The scriptures say the antichrist is evil we need to resist all appearences of it.

Man's Response: But I really, really, feel led to do this and I believe it's from God....

For GOD hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and TO AGREE, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled (revelation 17:17 KJV).

Churches response to man: But God would never cause someone to act against their will for an evil purpose, like follow the anti-christ. God is a gentleman. If God caused someone to do evil then it would be unjust of God to condemn them for their actions.


Frank's response: You are not looking at the whole picture. You are forgetting about the Soverignty of God at work in His creation. Paul addresses this in (Romans 9:19-23KJV).

It is not always the church that is charged with the discipline. Please read Hebrews Chapter 12:5-11 KJV. God will do the chastening also to bring correction where needed.

I am curious to know if anyone in the church that "feels" this "chastening and correction of God" spoken of in Hebrews 12:5-8 KJV that we all partake of if we are truly children of God, with as much sensitivity to direct the actions of their everyday life as the "words of God for direction" they claim they are also hearing in their life? How close did I get Dan? I know, I know go stand in the corner.....

F Whittenburg

DJP said...

It's a decent question and arguably on-topic, Clark, but I don't want to go right there in this meta.

(And actually, it's easy to answer. I mean, if you're going to be Bibley about it.)

DJP said...

Oh no, F. You said a lot of great stuff and said it well. I agree with your point.

But, like Chantry, you're wrong.

(c:

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Ok, third attempt - and since my last one agreed with Chantry, and HE was wrong, I'm hopeless after this one.

I'll try and break this down: 1st of all, God is claimed to be the messenger (God told/called me to ____), so with that comes an immediate obligation to obey without question or second thought. And to reject or deny that it was from God, and then to disobey or go against that word equates to cosmic treason: You're saying that your word trumps God's Word spoken to that person. To continue on that course is equal to unrepentant sin and requires church discipline. That's what a church member would be dealing with if he heard from a brother that God had told him something. There's an immediate fear and unquestionability that comes with that assertion because even the desire to test to see whether or not God did actually say this to this person indicates unbelief. Not only that, but if God did tell something to a person, that makes them a prophet by definition - a speaker for God - and with it the implication that whatever comes out of their mouth is from Him, and so inerrant and morally binding.

I've dealt with that in my church body, and felt uncomfortable every time. Brother A says, "Man God told me to do ______, so here I am doing it". I want to question how he knows that, but because I know that what God has said ever to anyone at any time is absolutely binding and inerrant, I'm afraid to question him on how he knows. Because what if God DID speak and DID tell him? Then I'm in the wrong for questioning him because who am I to question whether or not God speaks to anyone? I know that God has said all that He wanted and finally in Jesus Christ and closed His words with the canon of scripture, but here is a faithful brother who has a history of obedience to Jesus, and he's saying that God told him something - and I can't prove whether or not He did, and if I try to it's equal to unbelief.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Ok, third attempt - and since my last one agreed with Chantry, and HE was wrong, I'm hopeless after this one.

I'll try and break this down: 1st of all, God is claimed to be the messenger (God told/called me to ____), so with that comes an immediate obligation to obey without question or second thought. And to reject or deny that it was from God, and then to disobey or go against that word equates to cosmic treason: You're saying that your word trumps God's Word spoken to that person. To continue on that course is equal to unrepentant sin and requires church discipline. That's what a church member would be dealing with if he heard from a brother that God had told him something. There's an immediate fear and unquestionability that comes with that assertion because even the desire to test to see whether or not God did actually say this to this person indicates unbelief. Not only that, but if God did tell something to a person, that makes them a prophet by definition - a speaker for God - and with it the implication that whatever comes out of their mouth is from Him, and so inerrant and morally binding.

I've dealt with that in my church body, and felt uncomfortable every time. Brother A says, "Man God told me to do ______, so here I am doing it". I want to question how he knows that, but because I know that what God has said ever to anyone at any time is absolutely binding and inerrant, I'm afraid to question him on how he knows. Because what if God DID speak and DID tell him? Then I'm in the wrong for questioning him because who am I to question whether or not God speaks to anyone? I know that God has said all that He wanted and finally in Jesus Christ and closed His words with the canon of scripture, but here is a faithful brother who has a history of obedience to Jesus, and he's saying that God told him something - and I can't prove whether or not He did, and if I try to it's equal to unbelief.

Marla said...

(I haven't read any of the previous comments)
I think I would talk with this person about what exactly a 'call' is;

Has he/she been reading scripture, praying and feeling led/impressed to do something,

or, Is 'call' a direct word from God? The implications of the second need immediate attention - as they are claiming to receive something on par with scripture itself.

If it's the latter, I think they need to have a discussion with the elders/pastor as they are claiming extra-biblical scripture.

If it's the former:

First -- does what he/she feels 'called' to do line up with scripture and the teachings of Jesus?

If no -- they obviously the 'call' isn't coming from God -- it's in their head or from the enemy.

If yes -- then perhaps the elders should pray over this person, and keep apprised of his/her progress in what they are doing (i.e. missions, start a church, [fill in the blank]).

This is obviously in reference to JMacDonald and his 'call' to minister with TD Jakes, Steven Furtick, Perry Noble, etc. When their ministries are examined and compared with scripture, it is very clear 2 Cor 6:14 applies.

My dh's question to James is: "If you are going to say 'they are doing things you wouldn't do' WHY not? If you think they love the Lord, why don't do as they do?

Somehow that never gets answered, and all we get is one big post-modern you-truth-is-as-good-as-my-truth mess.

Marla said...

Ugh. *your*-truth-is-as-good-as-my-truth.

Eric said...

Chantry

Eric said...

F

Eric said...

T

Eric said...

W

Eric said...

100!

DJP said...

Oh my goodness, you are such children.






And I'm not saying that like it's a bad thing.

(c:

CCinTn said...

“if you say "God told me [non-Biblical X]," am I immediately under a moral obligation?” Yes

“My questions, then:
1. What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion?
2. What must the consequences be for church discipline?”

#1(a) From Brother X’s perspective I would be morally obligated to accept what he says as truly a word from God and then to encourage him in his obedience to that word and assist him in any way. Additionally, as this is a word from God Himself, as revealed to our Brother X, we are not to question our brother or his motives because after all he is just following whatever God told him to do.
(b) From scripture’s perspective, I am morally obligated to bring glory to God and to rebuke and correct Brother X from his flippant assertion that his pronouncement comes from God and to stand for God’s holy word as being sufficient for everything that God wants us to know

#2 The consequences for discipline must is that discipline must be brought to bear and that it is done to bring Brother X to repentance and to restore him to right fellowship with God and with His Church.

Robert said...

DJP,

Are we there yet?
.
.
.
.
Are we there yet?
.
.
.
.
Are we there yet?
.
.
.
.
Are we there yet?




Can we stop? I need to go to the bathroom

Oh wait...that last one is just me reminiscing on our last family vacation 8o)

DJP said...

Well, I think Web basically got it. So let me introduce, then spring.

Agree with me or not, I really, really think this is important. I think a lot of harm has come from refusal to think this one through. I think it's hurt Christians on all sides of this issue.

So — again, agree or disagree — I'd ask you to think it over carefully (in the right sense) with me.

1. Yes, the instant someone claims to have a direct word from God, he does place me — me, the hearer, the passive observer — under moral obligation.

Remember my previous stipulations: the Word of God compels my obedience and faith. It does not matter whether He is telling me to do something, or telling someone else to do something, or making an assertion. I must respond. In fact, I do respond. He has involved me, just by speaking in my hearing.

Chantry, faithful pastor that he is, has surely preached this. He has surely warned his audience after he has preached the Word that they are now under obligation before God, and they are responding as they sit in their pews. They are either responding in belief and commitment, or in unbelief and rejection. Their non-response, in fact, is a response.

So: when someone claims to have a word from God, I am morally obligated to believe or disbelieve it. I cannot be noncommittal. To be noncommittal is a commitment. To be noncommittal is to say "I am going to proceed on the assumption that that was not a word from God."

I must either believe that he has received a word from God — in which case I am also obligated to obey, as it applies — or I must believe that he is making a false claim, and taking God's name in vain.

Now that I have said that, is the application to church discipline obvious?

And what about ER2, MacDonald, and TGC?

If I'm wrong, show me. I want to hear it.

But if I'm not...? Is this something we've tolerated to our harm?

John Dunn said...

1.What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion?

Every (christian) person is then obligated to confront Brother X of his sin of misrepresenting God and committing idolotry - exalting himself above God and his Word.

2. What must the consequences be for church discipline?

Brother X must be placed under formal church discipline if he fails to immediately repent of his idolotry.

The Squirrel said...

Tom Chantry is my hero.

And, Tom, Mary-Ann. Always Mary-Ann.

Squirrel

DJP said...

Let me interject, btw: I think in application that what is probably called for among those who think this is an issue is instruction and patient, gentle course correction. Not immediate expulsion of every poor soul accustomed by decades of practice to communicate feelings and hunches in "the Lord said" language.

But gentle and patient and longsuffering and compassionate as it should be, I do think it should be done.

Robert said...

So, either we are committed to and believing church discpline or we are uncommitted and not believing in church discipline based upon our response...right? And TGC and Acts29 have shown that for the most part, they fall into the latter category. And if we fail to call them on it, we fall into the same category because we are all part of the Church, right?

candy said...

1.What absolute and immediate obligation does that put on every person who hears that assertion?

To proclaim Biblical truth without apology or wavering, and warn about the consequences of extra-biblical words within the Church.

2.What must the consequences be for church discipline?

To teach that church discipline is imperative and needs to be practiced consistently without favoritism...including disfellowship if need be.

DJP said...

So: I'm in a prayer meeting and Brother 89D says "the Lord just spoke to my heart," and communicates a feeling or thought he had. Do I immediately plan to take the elders and begin confronting him? Or do I make a mental note to see if we can't have a friendly chat about this sometime soon, other things being equal and assuming all's well otherwise in his life?

The latter, of course.

The proximate cause of this is, just to be up-front, is MacDonald saying that God "called" him in effect to smear over false teaching and give false teachers entry to the church if their flocks are large enough, and the TGC weak response of "We acknowledge that James feels called of God into these spheres..."

Robert said...

DJP,

Would you say that only upon a firm confirmation that a person shows a clear understanding of Scripture and then a firm refusal to follow it and repent when they see they are doing something wrong, that is the point at which we exercise church discipline? I believe that is what you are getting at with your last comment.

candy said...

oops...too late. :)

F Whittenburg said...

Ok Dan, let me try this again with nothing but scripture.

Number 2) And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God (Acts 5:38,39 KJV).

F Whittenburg

Robert said...

You forgot to include that you need to have coffee with Brother 89D...come on, man!

DJP said...

It's kind of a dilemma, isn't it? Do we think God is still talking to individuals, apart from Scripture? How can we do that without necessarily trivializing the word of God? That's what Grudem and Poythress have done in order to elevate the modern phenomena: created the idea of a word from God that can be called a word from God (in some way) and yet be seen as possibly errant and not necessarily binding.

But if God's just hanging out here and there, mumbling relative trivialities that nobody's really either bound or expected to obey — which, again, I ask for an example from Scripture — then how do we not look askance at the Bible? We've already developed the habit of saying "Yeah whatever" in response to a "God said."

Robert said...

DJP,

I'd also add into your steps with Brother 89D that we can pray for him until the appropriate time comes up to be able to talk to him. I'd say we need to pray for ourselves in how we'd handle speaking to him as well.

I know that this would be assumed to be included, but I find that I often need reminders about this.

Robert said...

But if God's just hanging out here and there, mumbling relative trivialities that nobody's really either bound or expected to obey — which, again, I ask for an example from Scripture — then how do we not look askance at the Bible? We've already developed the habit of saying "Yeah whatever" in response to a "God said."

Now that is what I call working out the implications of leaky cannoneering. And as you discuss in GWiP, indifference towards God's Word is in opposition to the fear of Yahweh.

DJP said...

Thank you, Robert. Yes, I envision this process might take years of loving, patient instruction and prayer. In some fellowships, it might be like turning a train. But I do think it's a good course-correction.

David Regier said...

Dan, he walks with me
Dan, he talks with me
Dan, he finally throws us a bone
And the joy we've shared as we've tarried there
MacDonald shall never know

Tom Chantry said...

DJP: Well, I think Web basically got it.

Webster Hunt: ...since [I] agreed with Chantry...


I'll be outside taking my victory lap now.

Tom Chantry said...

As you see, Dan, you were wrong. Again. I could not possibly have composed my I-was-right post at the time that you said.

Repent.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

And think about how this whole "God told me" mess undermines the work of sanctification of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We're being redeemed, but because we're still such rotten sinners, the redemption can't be trusted in the here and now, so unless God has laid on our heart/called/told us to do something, we can't trust that our desire to to good, Christ-honoring, Biblically sound things has been stamped by God as ok, can we? Wow, we actually prove our disbelief of one of the most miraculous things in all of scripture - that God takes an enemy who hates Him and makes Him a servant who loves Him, and more than that, conforms the servants heart to His and his servant's image to His Son's, and so as the servant serves and grows more like Jesus, his will becomes more centered on His will than the servant's own - by believing that God has to directly call us/tell us to do something.

Rhology said...

Serious question:

I had an idea that is not all that unique to my make-up and interests pertaining to how I could minister to some local Muslims.
I dismissed it, it came back.
I dismissed it, it came back.
Now I'm acting on it and the Lord is blessing.

I've shied away from saying "The Lord gave me this idea", fearing precisely what's been said here.
I wonder how to express the idea's origin.

DJP said...

Better minds might have better thoughts, Rho. But I'll try.

I've got an old book I need to re-read, "Faith Misguided." I remember (from decades ago) one of the author's points is that we underestimate the Holy Spirit's indwelling and working within our thinking. Instead of mis-framing it as God's external revelatory call, we should see His work in providential control of all things, including our thoughts and inclinations (Eph. 1:11). That could enable retrospective recognition of God's providentially guiding hand after the manner of Neh. 2:12 and 7:5.

Chantry? Phil?

Tom Chantry said...

@Rho,

OK, this is a serious answer:

I had an idea...

The question is really, whence that idea? As a humble Christian, you wish to avoid saying "this idea was mine." As (again) a humble Christian, you also want to avoid saying, "God gave me this idea." Just two different flavors of pride that you wish to avoid. And maybe saying, "I had an idea, and Praise God! He's working through it!" isn't all that bad a thing for you to say.

Others, though, might observe the following:
- that you are a Scriptural Christian
- that you read the Scriptures regularly
- that the Scriptures form your mind and the way that you look at your community
- that you pray to the God who answers prayer
- that the sovereign God so worked in your life that you, being saturated in the Scriptures, conceived of a Scripturally sound approach to some members of your community
- that the sovereign God also blessed your efforts
- that the sovereign God who wrote the Scriptures, who sent the Spirit that you might understand the Scriptures, who renewed your heart so that you have a desire for His glorification in the salvation of sinners, and who is actually blessing your efforts...that sovereign God gets every iota of glory from the success of this enterprise

Just a thought. It's why "reformed" and "charismatic" really don't fit. If you've got "reformed," you really don't need "charismatic."

Scott Fuemmeler said...

So rolling the eyes at those "wacky charismatics" is not really an option. They either are right, in which case I must be paying attention, or they are blaspheming God (a sin we tend to take entirely too lightly these days), in which case, run for the hills.

Being surprised or annoyed by division and strife (between those 2 responses) after making such a claim seems kind of, well, surprising.

Also, Chantry was right. God told me so.

OldPuritan said...

1. Yes, the instant someone claims to have a direct word from God, he does place me — me, the hearer, the passive observer — under moral obligation.

Remember my previous stipulations: the Word of God compels my obedience and faith.


Surely your stipulations apply to the true Word of God, and not to a claim of a direct word from God? It seems your are applying the veracity and demands of the Word of God to a claim about the Word of God. Even the title of the post has "claim of" in italics.

Also, a cessationist theological position, with respect to direct words, removes any obligation, surely.

Robert said...

Rhology,

I'd say that when we read in Ephesians 3 that "He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ" (v.11-12), we see that we are being equipped in order to serve. And earlier in chapter 3, Paul says, "But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ's gift", and I take that gift to mean our spiritual gifts that God gives us to serve others. So...I'd say that you have been equipped in order to serve in the manner of which you are speaking.

It reminds me of what I read about Grace to You and various areas of ministry in GCC when I read MacArthur's bioggraphy. Most of the different ministries were started by members of the church who had an idea and MacArthur encouraged them to act on it. Following Dan's comment, I would say that God's Providence was in action in the thoughts and actions of these people.

F Whittenburg said...

"I've got an old book I need to re-read, "Faith Misguided." I remember (from decades ago) one of the author's points is that we underestimate the Holy Spirit's indwelling and working within our thinking. Instead of mis-framing it as God's external revelatory call, we should see His work in providential control of all things, including our thoughts and inclinations (Eph. 1:11). That could enable retrospective recognition of God's providentially guiding hand after the manner of Neh. 2:12 and 7:5."

Now you are making me grin Dan :)

F Whittenburg

Rhology said...

A providential act, planting an idea that better focused a Scripturally-based and -motivated desire to outreach to the lost.

Merci, y'all.

Webster Hunt (Parts Man) said...

Tom, I'm stealing your reply and plastering it on my facebook wall. I'll attribute properly. You don't mind do you? I've got plenty of fellow Christians who would greatly benefit from that response.

Solameanie said...

This will seem like a simplistic answer to this post, but I think it's a good illustration - of my irritable nature if nothing else.

I was in a restaurant one day with a man and his wife - both recently turned charismatics. The wife saw someone we knew from school, and nudged me in the ribs. "Joel, look who's here. Go witness to him. The Lord told me...etc."

Eyebrows lowered and eyelids narrowed, I looked at her and replied, "If you feel that strongly that it needs to be done now, YOU go witness to him. The Lord made no such command to me."

She got mad at me. And 30 years later, I still haven't lost any sleep over it.

DJP said...

Old Puritan, what I'm saying is that Bro X is claiming to have a word from God. I am morally obligated to accept it as such or reject it. I can't be agnostic, or whistle a little tune and pretend nothing happened.

Now, I'll nuance option 2 (this will surely get a linking on all the elite blogs! Pow!) by saying that my internal rejection may not translate into my throwing myself on poor 82-year-old Edna who's accustomed to communicating her dear, Christian thoughts in sloppy language.

But that's a whole different world than a group of good men who have taken on themselves the mantle of Christian leadership adopting an agnostic public stance towards another Christian leader who's hiding a harmful course of action under the GTM card.





Oh rats. There goes my elite links.

Sigh.

Robert said...

Solameanie,

And now I can picture you watching them walk away...of, wait, no! That's just the picture for your profile! 8o)

Solameanie said...

But to the questions, if I read you correctly, if a man receives such a "word from the Lord," then he (or she) must obey it. And if they do not, they are in sin and therefore candidates for church discipline.

I can't think of any other conclusion. I'm a bit horrified to think how busy elder boards would be these days.

Solameanie said...

Robert, that was priceless. If I had a Golden Star award, I'd give it to you. As it stands, maybe Frank will send you a free mug or T-shirt from the Pyro shop.

The only difference would be that if this scenario had played out at the Casablanca airport, I think I would have let Major Strasser cart them off to Captain Renault's jail. ;)

Susan R said...

The "God told me" line is not just used by charismatics. I've heard it for years in IFB churches and from IFB pulpits. God tells them who young people should marry, what church people should join (theirs, of course), what jobs to apply for, and which missionaries to support.

It is also ironic that the same people who loudly denounce anything that remotely sounds like 'double inspiration' of certain Bible versions will claim inspiration for *their* choices and teachings.

Robert said...

I'm a bit horrified to think how busy elder boards would be these days.

I think this is part of the problem...a lot of people who think of church discipline seem to skip past the first two steps (individual confrontation, then two or three witnesses) in their mind and rush right into kicking people out of the church. I think the key is what Dan described about being patient and working people to more spiritualt maturity and understanding of Scripture. It took me a couple of years to shake off my wrong thoughts about Peter after God converted me from the RCC. I'm thankful that my wife was patient in working throught that with me and my hard head.

DJP said...

Sad but true, Susan R.

DJP said...

Elder board: let me say that, as I envision practical application, yes, the elder board would be busy — patiently instructing and encouraging and correcting.

Which is what they're supposed to be busy doing, no?

Robert said...

BTW...I'm not saying that is your mindset, solameanie...just that it is easy for people to have that mentality. I don't want to cast any aspersions in your direction.

donsands said...

"..a cessationist theological position, with respect to direct words, removes any obligation, surely."

That'd be true for the two, if the other knew the other was Reformed-Cessa.

Say if CJ Mahaney said God said to him something to RC Sproul. I suppose CJ wouldn't say, really. But he would share with brother Grudem.
Or a Dwight Moody speaking to a CH Spurgeon might be the same case.

F Whittenburg said...

God must be in Heaven wringing His hands in desperation over all the church people today in disaray who are actually following these new "words from God" that may or may not be actual "words from God" ..........OH WAIT!(John 10:1-14KJV).

If only God could have only envisioned and had warned us about "wolves in sheeps clothing" always being among the church, we wouldn't have too be addressing this problem today. We would already know just what to do. Oh the benifits of hindsight...

F Whittenburg

Scooter said...

So now that the questions are answered, can we have recess?

Tom Chantry said...

Nobody's going to recess until Dan repents.

Sheldon Clowdus said...

But that's a whole different world than a group of good men who have taken on themselves the mantle of Christian leadership adopting an agnostic public stance towards another Christian leader who's hiding a harmful course of action under the GTM card.

Not only that, TGC has intentionally set out to create a very public, far reaching platform. To create such a platform, allow men to use that platform to increase their own reach, and then to not hold those men accountable publicly when they very publicly go off the rails is spiritually negligent at the very least.

By allowing the GTM card to be used this way they have, in essence, created a way for anyone they give their blessing and support to then leave and keep all of their TGC credibility and platform by saying "God told me to leave and go do this" even if the rest of TGC disagrees with what they are going to do.

F Whittenburg said...

"Nobody's going to recess until Dan repents."

No, No, no, Tom, lets hide and watch God do it......I am just curious about something.

rockstarkp said...

wow! $350 for a new copy of Faith Misguided?
Must be a great book, huh.

donsands said...

Tom C. is in rare form today. You go guy! That should be "You go girl!", but guy is okay, isn't it?

Dale Wilson said...

This whole dialog has been fantastic and reminded me of a statement by wildly popular author and leaky cannoneer Beth Moore that I found when researching her theology. In her book "So Long, Insecurity: You've Been a Bad Friend to Us":

“…I’d like to replay it to you in the form of a dialogue because when it occurred, it was as if God spoke every word concretely and audibly to me. In reality, what I’ll describe was expressed in my spirit rather than in my physical hearing. After spending years in relationship with God, seeking what He’s like and how He operates in Scripture, I, like many people, can get a sense of something He’s strongly impressing upon me without “hearing” precise words. When thoughts come to me out of the blue that I’m convinced did not originate in my own mind, if they’re consistent with God’s character and sound like something He would say in Scripture, I usually assume it’s Him. Ultimately, time proves whether or not I discerned the voice correctly. If it produces substantial fruit, I know it was God and I was on target. If nothing comes of it, I probably misunderstood or accidentally ascribed it to Him. None of us are beyond confusing our own thoughts with God’s, no matter how many times we’ve been around the bend with Him.” (pp. 325-326)

These people with new revelation appear to be confident that it was God's Word until perhaps later it wasn't. Dangerous ground. The thoughts "did not originate in [her] own mind" but are later found out to be not from God. Where then did they come from? How does this not immediately fail the test for a true prophet of God?

DJP said...

Oh heck, rockstar; I might let you have mine for $300 even. Plus shipping and handling.

DJP said...

See now, Dale; you'd think Nadab and Abihu would serve to signal that God doesn't like us just making stuff up.

Guess not.

Tom Chantry said...

DJP,

I'd like to congratulate you on a meta which reached 150 comments.

Of course, some might say that these numbers have been padded and should be discounted. You know what I say to them?

You're haters - all of you. Just a bunch of Hating Haters from Hatesville. Go away, hating Haters. Go sell hate somewhere else, you hateful little toddlers, drawing your hateful little lines in the stand. Just go away! Your day is done. Haters!

(Man, I hate those guys.)

DJP said...

So many haters, so few (star-)raters.

Tom Chantry said...

I was going to rate your post, but I didn't because you haven't yet repented.

Michael R. Jones said...

Hey, Dan, I finally rated your post. I was merely waiting for a word from God on it.

The Predestined Blog said...

We definitely have this problem in Kansas City with a the International House of Prayer (IHOP-KC). I have called it the IHOP dilemma, b/c the person who receives the message is in a dilemma as the "prophecy" he receives is either a) binding or b) he has to deal with the heinous sin of false prophecy. Neither are good options ... See here: http://thepredestinedblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/ihop-manifesto.html

Scooter said...

It sounds like Tom needs some ministry to do instead of hanging around this blog.

Brad Williams said...

Leaky canon prophesying is dangerous because it leads otherwise sound men to inaction, and I think we have recently seen the fruit of this.

See, if I believe that God still speaks to men, albeit in difficult to discern and "sometimes we get it wrong" ways, I still have to concede that God speaks to you and that you may be right. So if I, for example, tell you that I feel led to invite a modalist sympathizing Word of Faith prosperity preacher to a conference at my church, you may think it unwise, but then who are you to contradict what God is leading me to do?

So the best you can do is mutter about "I hope your right." You cannot sound a clarion call against the false prophesier. Who cares what Church History has taught us? Or Nicaea? Or even that you have already gone on record saying that the guy I am inviting holds terrible theology. Because, hey, you feel called to do it.

We ought to underline this in our hearts, "When a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him." (Duet. 18:22).

People should stop being afraid to say, "No, the Lord did not say that to you. You may feel strongly about it, and you may really want to do this, but don't mistake your strong desires with the approval of Almighty God lest you look the fool."

I like to give my answers at the end when everyone quits reading. :)

donsands said...

"The Tom & Dan Show".

I'm liking this. Makes we think of Abbot and Costello:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f7pMYHn-1yA&feature=related

Tom Chantry said...

Hey Scooter?

Scooter said...

Apologies Tom. I meant that to be silly, but the beam in my own eye is quite obvious.

Tom Chantry said...

HATER!

stratagem said...

But.. but... you mean those messages embedded in old George Burns / John Denver movies were not binding?!

stratagem said...

Cause I'm pretty sure both of those guys were on the cover of Time magazine at some point.

Mark B. Hanson said...

I couldn't help chuckling over the dilemma that the "God told me..." brother (I first wrote "bother") or sister puts us in.

Ultimately, it causes us to think Satan's thoughts after him: "Hath God said?"

Maybe I shouldn't chuckle...

Robert said...

Dale,

So I guess Beth Moore would say that a shepherd called from Judah to go and tell the folks up in Israel that they needed to quit worshipping false gods and start following the words God spoke to them was not commissioned by God to go do so because they told him to leave and go back where he came from. The problem is that Amos was actually called by God to go and prophesy to the northern kingdom.

Of course, the same could be said for many of the prophets. We aren't supposed to judge faithfulness by "fruitfulness", but rather by the actual fruit of each individual. And that fruit is born by repentence in their own lives, not by how many people follow or like them. I'm sure it's been done, but I think a long post needs to be done on fruit and what the bible defines it as. I would hope that most seminaries take some time to address this issue, but given the state of seminaries in this day and age I'm not very hopeful.

Toby Fruth said...

I thought I posted my question earlier, so please forgive if this ends up being a double post. My honest question (not trolling here, I appreciate this blog): In the Bible, God speaks to Abram, Moses, Mary, Paul, and others, whether directly or via messenger. I would enjoy reading a Bible-based defense of the position that would say that God is prohibited from speaking to His children today. What precludes Him from speaking to His children? A link to a free, online article on this subject would be much appreciated.

DJP said...

Here's the deal, Toby. Folk love to yarn on in the abstract about that. Don't skip this post and the other one, please. IF you want to say that God bypasses Scripture to whisper sweet nothings in folks' ears, then those sweet nothings are inerrant, absolutely binding, and obligate the entire Christian church worldwide.

Ready to say that? I offer that not to confront you, but to make sure that you don't think of the other question without thinking of this one.

Tom Chantry said...

One additional thought, Toby. I don't doubt that your inquiry is sincere, but the words with which you post it are provocative in the extreme. You wrote, "I would enjoy reading a Bible-based defense of the position that would say that God is prohibited from speaking to His children today."

Your use of that word suggests that God is somehow prevented by some outside force from doing something He intends to do. In fact, we could take those words to mean that somehow we think that we can prohibit God from doing something. But of course, if we thought that we would be blasphemers, right? No one can safely tell God what He may or may not do. A question which suggests that we are somehow "prohibiting" God or that we somehow think that God is "prohibited" from doing something is one which paints us as though we were somehow less than theists.

Our position is rather that there are things which God does not do, and that of His own volition. For instance, I do not believe that it will rain fuzzy pink bunny slippers this afternoon. No one is preventing God from sending such rain; it just isn't among the things that He does.

More to the point, there are things that God has said He will not do. For instance, you would likely agree with us that God does not lie. A skeptic might say, "Who is prohibiting Him?" To which we would reply, "No one; it's just something He has said He doesn't do."

The right question, then, is not "Where can I read a Bible-based defense of the position that would say that God is prohibited from speaking to His children today?" Rather, you ought to ask, "Where can I read a Bible-based defense of the position that would say that God has said He will not speak to His children today except through Scripture?"

Ask us that, and we can help.

Morris Brooks said...

Way to take aim Dan. You should have put a couple more barrells on that gun.

Toby Fruth said...

DJP - Read both posts, though not necessarily every comment, due to the fact that I'm at work and time is limited. In response to the two hypothetical questions posed, I would say:

1. Assuming the word was to the individual alone, and not through the individual for the Church, then our only obligation is to challenge any action taken by the individual that appears contradictory to the word. If the individual is saying that the word they received is for the church, then we would need to compare it against the Word (like the Bareans, Acts 17:11) to see if it lines up. From there, if the instruction is one of action, then the action has to be taken. Hypothetically, I know of no other acceptable course of action.

2. The verses on church discipline that have been quoted in this post and its comments are applicable if the word given is not obeyed.

As for God bypassing scripture, I would only offer that I'm still chewing on the rest of your response. In other words, the Old Testament did not exist when he spoke to Abram or Moses. The Old Testament did exist when he spoke to Mary. Jesus was already seated at the right hand of the Majesty when he spoke to Paul. In other words, He was speaking pre-cross and post-cross. Many folks reading this make the case He does not speak to anyone at all ever anymore with exception of the written Word. I'm not defending or opposing that position. I simply haven't read any good material on the subject - material that is scriptural and logically sound. I don't have four years and $100,000 for seminary, so I'm relying heavily on free resources.

Tom Chantry - Thanks for the spirited response. I agree that God will not violate His word. For instance, He will not lie because He said He won't lie, and I take Him at His word. Where can I read a Bible-based defense of the position that would say that God has said He will not speak to His children today except through Scripture?

Toby Fruth said...

Or low-cost resources, not $300 books. A $20 book, sure, no problem. Please, no one suggest the Bible. I will gladly re-read it from cover to cover (again), and I have twenty+ versions at my disposal, both hard copy and electronic. If all you have is the top twenty passages (in context) I will gladly read them. I'm just looking for something that takes those passages and expounds upon them with sound exegesis and logic. Again, thanks for the replies. Keep them coming.

Eric said...

Hi Toby,

One way to read a bunch more on the topic (free) is to click on the category links at the bottom of Dan's post: Da Gifts, Charismaticism, etc. Lots to read there as well as some instructive follow-up conversations. Definitely worth the price of admission (and then some).

Eric said...

Toby,

In that same vein, you can link over to Dan's personal blog and click on these category tags for some more free analysis and discussion: Da Gifts, Continuationism, Charismaticism.

Tom Chantry said...

Toby,

Sorry for the delay; I had a feeling you would respond right after I went to pick up the kids!

If you would like to see the argument made concisely, here is the argument on one page.

Alternatively, some guy wrote a book called Signs of the Apostles.

DJP said...

Yeah but was that ever reviewed on a TGC blog?

Tom Chantry said...

Thank heavens no.

Sir Aaron said...

173 comments before I get to pipe in. Oh well, somebody has to work.

One thing that frustrates me with these type of "God told me" is that you ask "well, how do you know?" "Did you hear an audible voice?"

Of course, they didn't. They had a feeling, or a thought, or they happened to stop at a particular verse of Scripture. So then you ask "well, how do you know that feeling was from God not from you or from your tuna sandwich?"

What you get down to is that a person suddenly needs some special discernment to determine between a word from God and something else. So not only do I have to deal with the possibility of an inerrant, binding Word of God, but I also have to go through a special sensitivity training so I can figure out when God is speaking to me.

Frank Turk said...

Toby:

I agree with every word Dan has ever written on this subject. All of them, without a qualification.

The position I think he and I would take together is -NOT-:

1. God CANNOT speak to someone today
2. God WILL NOT speak to someone today

But it is rather this:

God is not a twitterer. God isn't a Cosmic, Universal, Ontologically-superior Challies (if I can say that without offending anyone). God isn't blogging. God has already spoken plainly and clearly about what He intends to say, and everything He intends to say is about Christ. Having Said All That, If God speaks to someone today, we suspect it will look like God speaking to Moses, or Abraham, or Isaiah, or Elijah, or Paul. That is: they won't walk away from it feeling like they just won a prize; they will walk away from it, to paraphrase a famous statement from Al Mohler, about to pee in their pants from fear.

And I doubt God will speak to someone, for example, in order to get them to embrace a gospel-inverting prophet of Baal. I can imagine God speaking to someone to get them to go to the National Prayer Breakfast and decry both false faith and false models of social justice. (link) I can't imagine God talking to someone in order to give them detailed visions of sexual abuse. I can imagine God talking to someone to cause them to quit being a megachurch pastor and start a mission to the inner city poor.

Because, as you say, it ought to look like God talking to Moses, and Abraham, and Elijah, and so on. God is unlikely to help me pick my wife's Valentine's Day present or a pair of shoes. He's not that kind of friend to sinners.

F Whittenburg said...

This post and topic has been funnnnnnnn.. to discuss. As fun as a church youth group throwing water balloons for Jesus, BUT now it is time to address something more serious. Hearing from God without scripture.

What happens if you are on the mission field one day and get locked up in prison for the next twenty years, like in a Muslim country, without access to any Bible or scripture. How do you tell truth from error then?

It's great that people constantly search the scriptures for truth, that is what the Bible says children should do so they can grow(1 Peter 2:2 KJV).

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby (1 Peter 2:2 KJV).

But isn't there a time when someone should finally be able to discern truth from error without always going back to the cannon of scripture. You know "men of full age".

For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But stong meat belongeth to them that are of full age (implying that there are actually men of full age in the church), even those who by reason of use have their SENSES exercised to DISCERN both good and evil (Hebrews 5:13,14 KJV).

The doctrines that many are constantly wrestling with over and over again in many blogs are ones that men of "full age" should already be past.

Therefore LEAVING the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection (full age); not laying agin the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith towards God, Of the doctrines of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgement (Hebrews 6:1,2 KJV).

It seems like today that Hebrews 6:1,2 KJV is the main scripture that most pastors are constantly breaking today...

REPENT

Now the Bible does speak of people that constantly wrestle with the scripture and are never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Timothy 3:7 KJV)(2 Peter 3:16 KJV).

Sooner or later someone in the church has to grow up.

Question to Teampyro: Do you think this blog has been successfull through the years in getting anybody to "full age" where they could successfully function in the mission field for the next 20 yrs without access to scripture?

F Whittenburg

DJP said...

I certainly hope not, F. That's no part of any of my goals.

However, many have attested that we have been pivotal in their growth in certain areas (glory to God), the topic of this post being one of them.

romans923 said...

I have a quick question, if I may. I saw the note on Grudem earlier in the comments. His systematic theology is really helpful, however, as you have mentioned, he is a continualist.

What systematic theology would you suggest to cover the doctrine of the Spirit, gifts, etc?

Sir Aaron said...

@romans923 - Although Grudem is a "continualist" in a sense, he presents all the views of the gifts in a fair manner, IMHO. So he will tell you what he thinks, but it's not as if he doesn't present the other views. The smaller Biblical Doctrine book (it's a condensed and updated version of his Systematic Theology book) is actually mostly devoid of his view on that.

romans923 said...

Thank you, I appreciate it. I have that as well. Grudem is very gracious, and I enjoy his lectures.

Was curious as to what title would be given on this site as trustworthy.

Thank you again...

hi-liter said...

Okay...wait a second... you've got a "shotgun" and you're yelling?

F Whittenburg said...

"However, many have attested that we have been pivotal in their growth in certain areas (glory to God), the topic of this post being one of them."

I am glad you are seeing growth. Thanks for letting me post. Paul plants and Apollos waters, but God gives the increase.

F Whittenburg

Solameanie said...

Robert and Dan, no apologies or qualifications needed. I agree with both of you, and I think you both accurately discerned my meaning. Another lesson that I really need to practice taking pains not to be cryptic.

One of my serious shortcomings is that I try often to make a serious point through very dry humor, and that very often goes over people's heads and is either missed or misconstrued. I've got to stop it, and begin to learn just stating plainly what I mean. While I often find things amusing in the church world, so much of what happens is really not a joke. It's deadly serious. Forgive me for not being plainer about my agreement in toto with what Dan posted.

Since I am confessing my shortcomings, I must go to the altar and confess for not rating this post again. Sometimes I remember, sometimes I do not. This time, I epic failed. I tremble in fear of being the poster boy for the Fail Blog.

But there I go again, trying to be funny. I deserve to have "this post deleted by a blog administrator" or to be banned. I really contribute very little to the discussion. But I can watch from the sidelines and cheer the great ministry going on here. True ministry, and not the infamous "like ministry."

donsands said...

"I've got to stop it,..."-Sola

Please don't my brother. You have a wonderful gift of wittiness.
Perhaps you might mix it with a more serious comment now and then. How does that sound?

I always enjoy, and am encouraged by your witticisms. If that's the right word.
All seriousness aside, rally.

That's my 4 cents worth, for what it's worth.

And have a terrific evening with your Savior and His truth and love.

Sir Aaron said...

@solameanie

And here I thought you were only mean.

Ok...that was some dry humor.

Life would be so dry without humor. Please continue, I mean we're bound to figure you out eventually.

Ok that was more dry humor. LOL.

Ok, seriously, I enjoy your humor.

General Soren said...

"And I doubt God will speak to someone, for example, in order to get them to embrace a gospel-inverting prophet of Baal. I can imagine God speaking to someone to get them to go to the National Prayer Breakfast and decry both false faith and false models of social justice....

...That is: they won't walk away from it feeling like they just won a prize; they will walk away from it, to paraphrase a famous statement from Al Mohler, about to pee in their pants from fear."

OK, now I finally got what you cessationalist cats are talking about when you say there isn't any more Word from God. I've been trying to figure out what you've called prayer for all this time.

(sidebar: I have no position on the cess/cont debate at this time, not having done the research at this time)

I don't think God "adds to" the Scriptures when He answers a prayer, in that *other* people must obey the human who said "God said Y", but I *DO* think that the one who prayed must obey any answer God gives, as for that person, it *IS* a direct command from the Almighty.

Case in point, God telling someone to go to a prayer breakfast, or to quit one job to start another. It's not a call for all pastors to do such things, but I can't imagine that God no longer nudges, calls, speaks to, or otherwise (or other-phrased) influences and directs His children. Or, more precisely, how anyone could use the phrase "answered prayers" without God speaking.

So, I finally learned something from this blog. :)

Thank you.

Robert said...

solameanie,

I enjoy your humor...it's good to have some to lighten things up. Especially when grumpy middle-aged guys like me show up and comment every five minutes or so...I'm surprised I haven't been given a timeout for my rapid-fire comments.

Thomas Louw said...

Being a Pyro reader on the other side of the world makes me feel like a kid that thinks his toys are alive when his sleeping.

Too often I leave my computer and there is only crickets, just too arrive in the morning and see I’ve missed the fun, 192 comments.

I’m not going to fall asleep, I’m not going to fall asleep, Zzzzzz….

Kathy said...

If I could address the question regarding the ability to function in a mission setting without the Scripture, my answer as a missionary is that it just doesn't happen that way. When people are truly hungry for the Word, God will provide it. That may be through missionaries who carry both printed and audio copies of the Bible into closed countries, or it may be through local believers smuggling Bibles to their fellow believers in prison. Many persecuted Christians have memorized such massive amounts of Scripturd before their imprisonment that it sustains them through that time.

DJP said...

Now is the stage in a meta like this when someone pretty much invariably comes along and disagrees with the premise of the post in such a manner as to indicate he's neither thought through the post itself nor virtually any comment preceding his.

So, once Frank responds, I believe we'll close the doors.

Thomas Louw said...

I totally agree what is aid here by Dan, Frank and Tom. (Great name by the way Tom)

I listened to Deyoung and Friessen again, very good stuff. (I see Dan is listening to it on his iPhone)

My word of caution will just be on being “careful” (sorry Dan) on how you brake it to a new or uninformed Christian who truly is trying to discern what he/she have to do.

Like my pastor say if you throw cold water on something hot you only get steam, you don’t want to take the wind out of a guys sails, just fix his compass a little.

Frank Turk said...

General Soren:

When you equate starting a prayer breakfast with the call to Moses to deliver Israel from Egypt (that is: it's the same kind of thing) you expose what is exactly wrong with your reasoning. I wonder if you can see what that might be.

Merrilee Stevenson said...

I don't know if my comment will make the cut in time, but I'll submit it anyway.

Two thoughts from this that I've gleaned.

First, that I should not break into hives and gather some men in suits to drive out a person who has likely spoken with sloppy language about what they are learning in their relationship with God. But I should have patience and ask good questions and help them to see the implications of using such terms so lightly.

Second, the fact that we have become so accustomed to such sloppy talk has resulted in our own dullness of hearing. Sitting under a preacher who isn't accurately handling Scripture without addressing that problem results in a flock who habitually doesn't really listen at all. (Dan's post about fat, docile, quiet sheep comes to mind.)

I can't configure any more thoughts on that at the moment. But I appreciate the chance to think it through.

And finally, Frank's comment was gold:

God is unlikely to help me pick my wife's Valentine's Day present or a pair of shoes. He's not that kind of friend to sinners.

Solameanie said...

I actually think this has been a pretty good meta, with many actually trying to engage the subject. Nearly 200 comments, and no one has derailed it yet. That's five stars in and of itself.

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 203   Newer› Newest»