15 September 2011

Non Sola Scriptura: the Blackaby view of God's will — 2

by Dan Phillips
Seemed timely in April of 2009; seems timely now.
[Conclusion of Tuesday's post]

Now to the most potentially disastrous aspect of this teaching, in pastoral terms: living it out.

Non-moral choices. In their eagerness to downplay the Scriptures' sufficiency, the Blackabys point out that God told many people to do things that were not reasonable nor morally necessary, such as where Abram or Isaac chose to live, or whether Peter or Andrew continued in their employment (p. 46). Remember this: God might lead us to do things that "make us uncomfortable" (p. 44), are not logical, and are "unorthodox" (p. 46; they do not mean doctrinally unorthodox), and may involve "surrender[ing] ... goals and comforts in order to become involved in God's activity" (p. 46).

The terrible threat. In what areas does God tell us what to do? Choice of school, career, church, ministry... even choice of mate. Oh? Does that mean that there is "only one right person"? Yep (p. 79). What if I miss that one right person? God may give us (second-best — or third? seventeenth? four hundred thirtieth?) "marriage and a fulfilled life," but "Failing to walk with God always carries a cost..." (p. 80, emphases added).

Whoa! Pause. Seriously, stop everything and think that one over.

Imagine you are a poor soul, married to a poor soul afflicted with the Blackaby view. Your spouse believes that he missed the "one [that was] best suited" for him (p. 79). He missed "the life partner He has chosen for you" (p. 79), "God's best" (ibid.), "that someone who would have been God's special gift to" him (p. 80). Every time he looks at you, he might be thinking, "second-best." Every time he says he loves you, he might be thinking, "but not like I'd have loved that special someone."

No lie. I am not making this up. I don't have to. I actually knew a girl, decades ago, who lived in fear of just this situation.

Her friend's mother "felt" she was "called" to be a missionary. Ah, but she met and married a man who wasn't so "called." And now this woman would spend the rest of her life knowing that she had missed God's calling, had missed God's will for her life! She had settled for second-best. She had married second-best.

Did you get that? That was the woman's attitude, and she communicated that to her daughter! About her father! (And wouldn't that mean that the daughter was second-best, too? Not "the child who should have been"?)

So the daughter knew, and now her friend knew! Word was really getting around, about this poor sap. Can you count the things Biblically wrong in this picture so far? Even beyond that the whole concept is the precise opposite of what Scripture says on the subject (1 Corinthians 7:39)?

So now her friend lived in fear that she might meet and love the wrong man — or, more to the point, any man other than the one right man — and spend the rest of her life knowing she was out of God's best will for her life.

See? "Train-wreck."

"Ludicrous"? So how far does this go? What does this "will" include? The Blackabys must get that question a lot, and it clearly stings them. Their reaction is as rhetorically strong as it is logically vacant.
One of the most ludicrous questions people ask is: "Should I seek God's will about everything? Must I pray and ask Him what brand of toothpaste I should buy and which breakfast cereal I should eat?" ...Clearly some mundane aspects of our lives are not life-and-death matters; nor will they influence eternity. They simply require wisdom in our decisions (p. 47)
But why is it "ludicrous"? And how is that "clear," given the argument they've been making? How do we know they "are not life-and-death matters" that will not influence eternity? After all, remember that the Blackabys belabored the point that God had specific directions for "mundane," non-moral matters such as where to live, where to eat dinner, where to sit to eat dinner, whether to stay in a given business. How do we know what God considers "mundane," given that the Blackabys demand that He direct every detail of our lives, just as Jesus did with the apostles?

No eternal consequences? How do we know there are not eternal consequences? The Blackabys ridicule the (broadly and deeply Biblical) "extreme view that everything we do, right down to the smallest detail of our lives, is prescribed by God" (p. 61). Their phrasing is characteristically sloppy here, but they seem to be denying the pan-Biblical truth of providence.

Well then, if God does not actually have a handle on "the smallest detail" of my life, and if He has all sorts of things He wants me, Dan Phillips, to figure out that He wants me to do — without the Bible, by struggling to hear and discern His voice and apply all the complex Blackaby-invented signs and tests — then how can I know where it stops?

Toothpaste and eternity. I'm absolutely serious. Think about it. The Blackabys scoff at toothpaste-selection. Well, how do I know?

If I pick this tube of toothpaste right in front of me, at eye-level, I will get to the check out line a few seconds earlier than if I bend down and reach back to pick the one near the floor, where the front packages are missing. Suppose that means that I will pick checkstand 12, whereas otherwise I would have picked checkstand 8. Suppose God wanted — in the Blackaby-God's weak, whispery, ambiguous way — for me to pick checkstand 8, because He was hoping I would then hear His next little mumbly nudge telling me to witness to that checker, because He had been preparing her heart to hear the Gospel from me.

But alas! I pick the closer toothpaste. I go to checkstand 12. I am now out of God's perfect will. Uh-oh. What happens when I am out of God's perfect, individual will? The Blackabys told me: "The consequences" can be "disastrous" (p. 48)! And so...
  • ...the checker doesn't hear the Gospel from me, and goes to Hell instead of Heaven.
  • ...I walk out into the parking lot 12 seconds early, am killed by a white van! Aigh! Bam! Dead!
  • I never write that commentary on Proverbs that would have changed hermeneutical history, or that book on Calvinistic Dispensationalism that would have brought all Biblical Christians together in the truth, or preach to tens of thousands of others God was preparing to hear the Gospel just from me!
  • ...and they all go to Hell, too!
And all this, every bit of this, is my fault — because I failed to discern and obey that whispery, mumbly, vague and ambiguous "voice of God" that the Blackabys have taught me is absolutely essential to Christian living.

Now maybe you chuckle, or maybe you're angry. But there are NO OBJECTIVE OR BIBLICAL CONTROLS in the Blackabys' construct to rule any of this out!

That's not a big deal?

Obey/disobey. This is not an exaggeration. The Blackabys constantly speak of divining this whispery, vaporous leading of God in terms of obedience and disobedience (pp. 45, 61, etc.) And well they should! If it is God's will, then I must obey, mustn't I? After all, God is speaking! Does it get more authoritative than that? Can anyone think of a time when God says, "Do A," when it is morally indifferent to obey or disobey? Disobeying God is the very definition of sin (James 4:17).

Yet I am not sure the Blackabys have even thought this through, even though they're famous for advocating this view. They insist that this will of God, this voice, that they want people to pursue may well not involve choices "between right and wrong" (pp. 42, 43). Huh? If God tells me to do A, doesn't that make it a choice between right and wrong? If He says, in that whispery, unsure murmur I'm to pant after, "Dan, do A," and I do B — haven't I done wrong? Even if God is "saying," "Dan, buy a white car," and I stubbornly insist on buying a car with a real color — am I not doing wrong? Am I not sinning?

And this brings us to a question I really would like to ask the Blackabys.
Supposing I was (somehow) born untainted by Adam's sin.
Supposing I never sinned in my entire life. And then...
Supposing God was "telling" me (Blackaby-style) to become a truck-driver, and I became a cook...
...would Jesus have had to die to keep me from going to Hell for being a cook instead of a truck-driver?
Or for picking the wrong seminary? Marrying the wrong person? Buying the wrong toothpaste? Going to the wrong showing of "Fireproof"?

Here is where I would find out how serious they were about their notions. If God directs me to do something, and I do not do that, then I have sinned, and I deserve Hell for it.

It's just not funny anymore, is it?

No telling who picks up a book. Perhaps most readers will assume the Blackabys' work will fall into the hands of basically stable, sober-minded people. They won't go nuts with the Blackabys' theories. In other words, they won't really take them seriously.

But why not? Suppose, instead, a less-stable, less well-taught, more obsessive person comes on their work. He shifts into overdrive at the thought of discerning this uncomfortable, inconveniencing, fantastic guidance from God. Now everything and anything is fraught with numinous overtones! Every "nudge" (their word) or circumstance or random word or even (all possible means of God's guidance, according to the Blackabys; cf. pp. 56-59) might be the voice of God, speaking to him! Miss it, and face terrible consequences!

So this poor wretch flees the job he's trained for, yanks his family across the country, moves them into a cardboard box to pick over scraps while he starts harassing strangers in Christ's name, because of a voice he thinks he's hearing... and where could it end? Do not dismiss this: remember, God might lead us to do things that "make us uncomfortable" (p. 44), are not logical, and are "unorthodox" (p. 46), and may involve "surrender[ing] ... goals and comforts" (p. 46).

If there's a one-for-one carry-on from the Bible, maybe this unstable soul will "feel moved" to have his family live on grasshoppers and honey, like John the Immerser. Or maybe he'll "feel led" to walk around naked, like Isaiah; or cook his food over dung, like Ezekiel. Or maybe he'll tell a ship's captain to throw him overboard, to end a storm, like Jonah.

There are no real, objective, Biblical controls against such behavior in this reckless article.

This is one of the most pastorally-irresponsible articles I've read, from orthodox Christian writers.

Conclusion: worse? Yes. In conclusion, I think this view of God's will is worse bondage than Pharisaism in this regard.

At least in Pharisaism, you knew where you stood. If you threw up a rock on the Sabbath and caught it with the same hand, you’d violated the Sabbath. It may be a silly rule, but it’s discrete, it's distinct, it's there.

With this view, you never know! You might have sinned merely by picking up the rock! Or maybe you picked up the wrong rock! Or maybe you picked it up with the wrong hand! You never know! Since the Blackabys stress that this "will" isn't necessarily about right and wrong, it could be about anything... and so everything becomes a matter of right and wrong!

There is no basis for knowing, no objective control, as long as it is not directly against Scripture.

Summary. After pro forma niceties about Scripture, the Blackabys assure Christians that what they really need for a dynamic, personal, God-pleasing relationship is not to be found there. They would send them on a lifelong rabbit chase for which Scripture can offer no guidance, because it envisions no such pursuit.

Among the products are irrational, unstable, irresponsible and/or chaotic lives. Unbelievers (and believers) who are wronged, hurt, or simply appalled at reckless behavior by the "I-just-felt-led" set will not glorify God for it. Just "play the God-card," and you're off the hook.

What glorifies God is not a bunch of people acting like fools in His name. I have this notion that God knows best what will really glorify Him. Hear Him:
See, I have taught you statutes and rules, as the LORD my God commanded me, that you should do them in the land that you are entering to take possession of it. 6 Keep them and do them, for that will be your wisdom and your understanding in the sight of the peoples, who, when they hear all these statutes, will say, ‘Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.’ 7 For what great nation is there that has a god so near to it as the LORD our God is to us, whenever we call upon him? 8 And what great nation is there, that has statutes and rules so righteous as all this law that I set before you today?
(Deuteronomy 4:5-8)
A better way. Thank God Scripture points us in no such direction! Thank God that Scripture is wholly sufficient for teaching, correcting and directing us, so that we may be fully equipped to serve God (2 Timothy 3:15-17)! God does talk to us. He talks to us through His living, truly-sufficient Word (Psalm 119:24; Proverbs 6:20-23; Hebrews 3:7-11; 4:12).

And thank God that He does in fact exhaustively control everything that comes to pass, so that His children can never put themselves out of the sphere of His love and blessing and good will (Psalm 115:3; Proverbs 16:1, 4, 9, 33; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:11).

PS — I did ask God to guide me in writing this review. If you agree with the Blackaby position... how do you know He didn't?

addendum after yesterday's post, a reader offered a word of testimony, which I've shared here.

Dan Phillips's signature


100 Mile Pants said...

Been there, done that, got T-shirt.

Not edifying. Also it draws people away from relying on God's Word, so not only does it bring turmoil to lives, but it also steals their riches too.

Anonymous said...

Great analysis, and well communicated. It takes a special talent (which I do not possess) to critique someone strongly and yet keep it light.

Scot said...

Out of curiosity Dan, did you ever finish the book containing the Blackaby view? Would it be worth buying?

Tom Chantry said...

You know, this was good the first time around, but it really is even better on second reading. Thanks for reposting.

mozart said...

Boy this is so screwed up. And Blackaby's stuff is a big hit around our town. Greg Koukl did a great take-down of this years ago when "Experiencing God" was a bit hit. I'm surprised this is still around.

Always Reforming said...

I'd love to read that Calvinistic Dispensationalism book!

Sir Brass said...


I fear even currently-stable, sane people can fall victim to such things. I know such people. They are otherwise normal, stable, intelligent, rational believers who will be enticed by this view (or already are).

And, having once almost succumbed to a similar variant of this Charismania myself once, I can testify to its enticing nature (though like all sin and false doctrine, the downside can remain hidden, but still there to entrap and ravage you afterwards).

It appeals to man's sinful desire to be the one in control, yet still granting lip service to God. Yes you are not deciding on your own but finding out God's will. But you are the one doing the divining; you are the one doing. It was you who made God's will to come about. The consequences of not are disasterous, but that's not seen at first. All glory to me, for if I hadn't listened to that still small voice then that sinner wouldn't have been saved by God's grace like He wanted to do. See where I'm going.

Of course those enticed by the view don't see it that way. But that is what it is. Instead of God being the potter, and we the clay (or at times the potting wheel He uses to mold the clay as He wills), God is the great, intelligent potting wheel with Hands who needs us to get Him spinning just so.

Also, back to the train wreck of life over the issue of marriage. That is the area where I myself almost fell into a similar brand of Charismania. Almost. Praise the Lord for a faithful former pastor who was still unafraid to admonish me sternly over the phone and tell me exactly what I ought to have been doing. Still, as a single man, I deeply desire a wife and I also seem to be constantly rejected. Now, take that with a bit of temptation that maybe I could avoid all that and finally FIND that one person God has for me without any more pain of being rejected or more years of loneliness. Yeah, that is the Siren song of this type of view that the Blackabys push. And it is intoxicating.

And I am disgusted.

For He who said, "it is not good that man should be alone, I will make a helper suitable for him," also made the Heavens and ordained the times and seasons and not even a sparrow will fall lest He wills it. He who made me to desire a wife is surely able through ordinary or extraordinary means as He pleases to bring that about. Trying to pry that secret knowledge from Him with this kind of diving is sin straight up and a kind of testimony of unbelief in a way.

I would that the Lord spoil the Blackabys' pens and bring them to repentance for their false teaching which undermines confidence and faith in the Lord.

Tony said...

One of the things I so love about growing in the reformed faith under the leadership of MacArthur, James White, R.C. Sproul, Jim McClarty, and a host of others, is their constant emphasis of context, context, context! This simple rule was never important at the Southern Baptist Church I once attended (they looove Balckaby)...but it has made the biggest impact on my life.
In interviews I've heard years ago, Blackaby was very soft-spoken, sincere, and not nearly as flamboyant as say...Rick Warren...but just as dangerous.
My 2 cents anyway

Anonymous said...

To show how weird this view can get, I have married friends who believe that they were supposed to have married someone else but their marriage is so good (and it is)...

wait for it...

things have actually turned out better than they would have had they married "the one".

So this Blackaby view not only leads to the fear of making the wrong decision, but it (apparently) lead you to believe that you actually made a better decision than the one God was wanting to make...

Stan said...

Recognizing the horrors of the Blackaby construct, it seems the alternative isn't much better. Some are using these two entries on the Blackaby view to point out that God does not have a plan for your life, that you are the captain of your own soul, and God is just along for the ride to make things come out okay. Is that the right view?

Eric said...


"Some are using these two entries on the Blackaby view to point out that God does not have a plan for your life, that you are the captain of your own soul, and God is just along for the ride to make things come out okay."

Can you point out a few comments which can be fairly summarized as you have above?

Five Solas said...

It really comes down to trusting in the providence of God who is good, all-wise and completely sovereign and relying on the sufficiency of the firm foundation we have in God's Word.

I do not trust my ability to hear some whispy voice and my own intuition, but I do trust in God who will providencially guide me.

As for "the one", if you are married, your spouse is "the one" therefore begin if you haven't already to apply the Word (which says a lot about marriage)to your marriage and trust God. If you are not married and are looking for "the one", you are free to marry to whomever you want, only in the Lord. And how will you know if the person is "the one", you will know without a doubt once you say "I do".

Bottom line: Trust God; Trust His Word.

Of course I'm writing all this based on an intuition which may have come from a parasite in my lunch I just ate or may have come from the Lord. Who knows?

Anonymous said...

Who says that sola scriptura is correct? I appreciate your clinging to it for dear life but it seems the concept has caused more problems than it has ever helped. Do you feel like you have to cling to it for your system to work or for God to be real? Additionally i assume it implies you must think you are the only true christians as compared to standard protestants.
These are sincere questions and if anyone answers please dont quote any puritans or reformers because look what there movement has caused. Johnny Mac should have wrote protestant chaos not charismatic chaos which is an awesome book by the way. Having spent the last 10 years in a calvinist church there is quite the emptiness in your system. Its not possible for your system to be correct for if it was why wouldnt the creator want you guys leading christianity rather than you just being yet another fractured group. Why would God not place you guys in the lead in missionary endeavors. Your time is consumed arguing over terms and systems with the non-ending goal of increasing the size of your brain (you cant argue this).
Did i miss something in the bible, did God or prophet ever say that one day their would be a great all knowing book? sola scriptura is kind of stupid considering there was not always a bible and once there was few could afford or read it. Though i do believe the bible is Gods word sola scriptura is an irresponsible concept. Dont try to say to look at the problems it stops because that arguement is null and void. Its more like, look at the problems it causes because every time you disagree you start a new church or something with the bible being your banner.

Matt Burke said...

Well, so much for Sola Scriptura I guess.

Anonymous said...

There you have it. We're only expanding our brains and can't argue that.

Would that John the UnProfiled had come along sooner! Think of all the pain we could have avoided!

Now John, go back to your drawing board and support even one of your assertions.

Just one.

Bill Honsberger said...

Its not like we have clear direction on what matters after all...
Oh wait we do.
Never mind.

Hey yall please pray as I have two of the LDS folks coming my way in 15 min.
Bet they would love Blackaby...

Kyle said...

Kevin DeYoung treats this subject wonderfully in his book "Just Do Something". Read it.

Anonymous said...

I guess Blackaby believes God has a master plan for everything but He doesn't seem to be able to communicate it in writing?

Stuart Brogden said...

Years ago - when I was a but a babe in the faith - our SBC church was pushing "Experiencing God". I knew not why I disliked it until years later. A fellow deacon in that church divorced his wife of 17 years because "she is not THE woman God wanted me to marry, therefore, it is His will for me divorce her". He was unsure how to determine which woman among the 3 billion or so on the planet was THE one. He was a passionate believer in the Henry Blackaby method. And he denied that marriage - for everyone, even goats - is a covenant between man, woman, and creator God. Hence, it's disposable as man sees fit.

Sad damage all around from this train wreck.

Anonymous said...

With respect there is nothing to support (techinically the burden is on you to support), those are simple facts. Did God promise a book or any prophet? My christianity is based in God first and the bible second. To you the book is God which reality clearly shows is not the case. God is still God without the bible (before there was a bible God was God). I do need the bible and read it daily but there is no reason to believe in sola scriptura. Be arrogant all you want , what i stated is true. I know this is sacrilege to you but please prove sola scriptura. You cant, its just a concept. you can quote all the fancy reformed thinking you want, what i said stands against anything you could say.
I would love for sola scrip to be true but it simply is not. Common sense dictates if it were God would have put it together a long time ago and it would have been available outside of the holy land.
Gods evidence is not based on scripture as the scripture states.
Glad im a christ follower and not a calvinist.
Keep it real blogoshpere.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Five Solas wrote: "It really comes down to trusting in the providence of God who is good, all-wise and completely sovereign and relying on the sufficiency of the firm foundation we have in God's Word.

I do not trust my ability to hear some whispy voice and my own intuition, but I do trust in God who will providencially guide me."

Have you ever noticed that whoever uses any variation of "sola" as their moniker, always gets it right?

I think I will ask the sola sister to adopt me.

Awesome article, Dan!

Matt Burke said...

Heh. Empty rhetoric is fun.

I appreciated this gem:

"Glad im a christ follower and not a calvinist."

In other words, "God I thank you I am not like other men...."

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
St. Lee said...

Careful Matt, God might have told John to write that!

Anonymous said...

(sorry the last post got truncated somehow)
..Somewhere in the Judean wilderness..
Satan: If you, Jesus, are the Son of God then make these stones into bread.

Jesus sits down, crosses His legs, lights a couple of candles and begins to slip into a deep state of contemplative prayer to discover exactly what God’s plan is. After narrowing it down to the top five answers, He replies..

Jesus: Well, I AM really hungry you know…

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris Wilson said...


The question we all have to answer is "What is our final, ultimate authority for faith and practice?"

Sola Scriptura answers that question with: God's Word is since it is the revelation of Himself and his commands to us.

This is based on many Scriptures, but the most plain is 2 Timothy 3:16-17.

It sounds like you would prefer for us to place our common sense on the same level of authority as Scripture. You said...

"Common sense dictates if it were God would have put it together a long time ago and it would have been available outside of the holy land."

But Proverbs 14:12 says...

"There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death."

There are many things that SEEM right to us based on "common sense" but the Bible says those can end in death.

So how are we to know what way is right?

I would direct you to Psalm 119... the whole thing. But maybe verse one is helpful enough:

"Blessed are those whose way is blameless, who walk in the law of the LORD."

I hope this is helpful.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Dear John:

God tells us that He puts His Word above His name. "I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name (Ps 138:2)."

We have an expression that we use that says, "I give you my word on it."

Well, we know that men are fallible and are not always to be trusted. BUT, when God tells us His Word is magnified above His name, He is making His Word equal to His name. It can be trusted as the only source of true revelation, and that Word is only found in Scripture. When God gives us His Word on anything, we can bank on it.

Where else do you suggest we hear from God? The Farmers Almanac has some reliability.

Tom Chantry said...


Your church was like that? And you stayed? Ten years!?!?!?

May I suggest that that was somewhat unwise? Or would that be overly argumentative?

Anonymous said...

Those are wonderful comments and i respect your devotion to this concept but there is no proof in the concept of what any of you have stated.Guess what, you quoted bible verses. what did people do in this situation when there was no bible?
Quite certain when god references his Word he is not indicating the bible since it did not exist, correct? There was no bible when second timothy was written , correct? Once again, i believe the bible is Gods word but just because im mad at the catholic abuses doesnt mean i can make up concepts that are unfounded and without proof from God.
Yes the bible is Gods word, but his only word, that is nuts. All that i should know about God is contained in this book? CRAZY, wheres the proof???? You folks are just like the catholics, you add systems to the faith to make your system work. the reformers were notorious for dishonesty to make there system work (ur system). Your smarter than i am, you know its true but hide from it because you think you've found the true faith in calvinism and there is nowhere to go after calvinism.

Tom Chantry said...


There's one thing you stated exactly correctly; there's no arguing with you.

I'm very sorry that your church - whatever sort of church it was - awakened such rage in you. You seem to recognize that there is such a thing as truth and such a thing as error. You seem to appreciate that truth is determined and revealed by God, not by men. And you seem to recognize that men in various systems can ignore the revelation of God and charge off in their own direction. On the basis of those shared ideas, can I make two suggestions to you?

First, be careful with the assumption that others who have served God and studied His Word are necessarily the only ones with false constructs and ideas. If Catholics can pervert the truth of God, and if Calvinists can do the same, could not John also do so? As some have already indirectly warned you on this thread, you need to beware falling into the same mire of arrogance that you see others wallowing in.

Second, please do not confuse the good people on this thread who try to discuss Scripture seriously with whoever has treated you shabbily in the past. You say you were in "one of our" churches for ten years and that you were horribly misled and poorly taught there. I, of course, can no more judge the truth or falsehood of such claims (coming from someone with a featureless blogger profile) than can anyone else. What I can tell you is this; the people here have not earned your arrogant scorn. Treat them as brothers in Christ, please. The "blogosphere" cannot keep anything "real" - only flesh and blood humans can - beginning with you, John. Tossing insults at total strangers in the Name of Christ is not "keeping it real."

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

What did people do when there were no bibles? They relied on the Magisterium to teach the people the truth, and we can see how well that worked out. Why do you think Luther wanted a Bible in the hands of the laity? He knew the abuses of the Roman Catholic Church, and his desire was to translate the Bible into other languages so people could see and interpret for themselves.

How do you think we are born again? “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever (1 Peter 1:23).”

If we are born again by the Word of God, where is that Word given to us???

And, when there was/is a famine of the Word of God in the land, it was/is for God's specfic reasons. We know that not all have been called by the Father to a saving faith.

Aaron Snell said...

I would be interested to see how John defines sola scriptura.

Matt Burke said...


When Paul says "All SCRIPTURE is breathed out by God," what was he referring to?

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Dear John:

What were Jesus’ thoughts about God's Word, the Bible? He relied upon Scripture "alone" when being tempted by satan.

But he answered and said, IT IS WRITTEN (notice He said written), Man shall not live by bread alone, but by ever WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God (Mat 4:4)."

And we know that Jesus is God, so His words are the same as the Father's words.

John 12:49, For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, He gave me commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

John 12:50, And I know His commandment is everlasting life: whatsoever I speak therefore, even as the Father said unto me, I speak.

Here is what Calvin thought of Scripture.

"Our faith in doctrine is not established until we have a perfect conviction that God is its author. Hence, the highest proof of Scripture is uniformly taken from the CHARACTER of Him whose WORD it is. If then, we would consult most effectively for our consciences, and save them from being driven about in a whirlwind of uncertainty, from wavering, and even from stumbling at the smallest obstacle, our conviction of the truth MUST be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons: namely the secret testimony of the Spirit.”

Susan said...

Unstable minds--I was one of them. Still can lean toward mysticism upon certain occasions, but over all the Lord is slowly leading me out of it. Great post, and desperately needed in many Christian circles today.

And Dan, had you picked checkstand 8 to pay for your toothpaste (Colgate! Did you pick Colgate? Didn't you hear His whispering that in your heart??), you would have bumped into that deacon who is desperately looking for a calvidispibaptological pastor candidate for his church! But now look what you've done. It's your fault that you're out of God's best for you. Now you'll just have to settle for hosting some crummy blogs on the internet....

All the Sermons said...

Mary Elizabeth Tyler quoted John Calvin: "our conviction of the truth MUST be derived from a higher source than human conjectures, judgments, or reasons: namely the secret testimony of the Spirit.”

That sounds like Blackaby! My point: Anybody's teaching can be picked apart because all theology, though based on God's Word, is not as pure as God's Word. I am very glad to have found this blog. Great stuff here! But Blackaby is not all that bad either.

In Russet Shadows said...

Mary Elizabeth Taylor has it right when quoting Calvin. The Holy Spirit is mystical. The Indwelling affects us in many different ways as it should (emotionally, spiritually, intellectually, physically, etc); nothing that the Spirit says will contradict the truth of God's word, but to say that the Spirit can communicate only through direct Scripture references is silly.

In other words, doctrine is crucial, but doctrine is not the experience of walking with Christ. The Bible is fundamental, but the Bible is not the daily walking with Christ itself. Calvinists often cannot distinguish between the individual believer's relationship with Christ and what has been written about it -- as though they themselves had nothing to say; the tragedy is that because they will not talk about their own journey in their own words, God does not use their experiences to draw others to Him.

We are all different filters and God uses all of us to show His Word with different emphasees to reach different people. For example, those who are sexually abused are often best ministered to by someone who has also been sexually abused. We are all unique and not meant to be clones of one another, but all part of one body.

donsands said...

"And thank God that He does in fact exhaustively control everything that comes to pass, so that His children can never put themselves out of the sphere of His love and blessing and good will (Psalm 115:3; Proverbs 16:1, 4, 9, 33; Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:11)."-Dan

Amen. And amen. Not a sparrow in all this world can live its last day, unless it is the will of our Abba Father in glory. How much more does He care for us, in that He gave His beloved Son as a propitiation for our transgressions and for our due condemnation?

Henry, and many others like him, bring much discontent within the Body of Christ. Thanks for exposing his error, and putting it out here again.

Have a great weekend and full of joy Lord's Day!

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

My point in mentioning the Calvin quote was never to give a pass to the teachings of Blackaby, with whom I strongly disagree.

Matt Burke said...

Yes Mrs. Tyler, only people that ignore context could ever accuse you of such a thing.

Calvin was clearly speaking of the internal witness of the Holy Spirit towards the truthfulness and authority of the scriptures. How anyone could somehow turn those statements into a support of secret mumblings and further revelation is beyond me.

Pastor Gregory, you said "But Blackaby is not all that bad either."

With all due respect, sir, that assertion is empty in light of the evidence provided in this very post.

Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Elizabeth Tyler said...

Just so people know, I found the quote by Calvin in R.C. Sproul's book The Soul's Quest For God.

He goes on to quote Calvin as making a clear distinction of the testimony of the Holy Spirit from fresh revelation.

"Those who rejecting Scripture, imagine that they have some peculiar way of penetrating to God, are to be deemed not so much as under the influence of error as madness. For certain giddy men have lately appeared, who, while they make a great display of the superiority of the Spirit, reject all reading of the Scriptures themselves, and deride the simplicity of those who delight in what they call the dead and deadly letter. But I wish they would tell me what spirit it is whose inspiration raises them to such a sublime height that they dare despise the doctrine of Scripture as mean and childish.

Calvin’s asks the question, " But what kind of Spirit did our Savior promise to send? One who should not speak of himself (John XVI.13), but suggest and instill the truths which he himself had delivered through the WORD. Hence the office of the Spirit promised to us, is not to form new and unheard-of-revelation, or to coin a new form of doctrine, by which we may be led away from the received doctrine of the gospel, but to seal on our minds the very doctrine which the gospel recommends.

Thanks, Matt Burke.

F Whittenburg said...

I do not think I have gotten into a discussion on "sola scripture" before, but I have studied it some and this is what the apostle Paul said:

For our gospel came NOT unto you in WORD ONLY, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were amoung you for your sake (1 Thessalonians 1:5 KJV).

Paul said again:

For the kingdom of God is NOT in WORD, but in power.(2 Corinthians 4:20 KJV).

Paul in Romans 14:17 KJV defines the "kingdom of God" as:

For the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink: but righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost
(Romans 14:17 KJV).

Paul seems to be teaching in these verse that there is something more to Christianity than just Scripture.

Question to anyone?

Is believing in Jesus Christ spoken of in the Scripture and believing in the Holy Spirit spoken of in the Scripture, the same thing as believing in Jesus Christ spoken of in the Scripture and "experiencing" the power of the Holy Spirit in the Christians life that Paul seems to be refering to in these scriptures considered to be same doctrine in your understanding? Or would "experiencing God" thru the Holy Spirit "in power" be something more than just "believing" in the power of the Holy Spirit by what the scripture tells us about His power?

This is a slow curve ball,Dan. You should hit this one out of the park.

I am not a Blackaby fan either.

In His Service,

F Whittenburg

Joe said...

"Disobeying God is the very definition of sin (James 4:17)."

True... but....

James 4:17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.

James 4:17 is really a corollary to the quintessential biblical definition on 'sin':

1 John 3:4 Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.

That is, sin is defined by God's Word as transgressing His Torah Instructions!

And the follow-up:

Romans 6:1-2:
1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?

HalleluYah! Amen?


Joe said...

"I have this notion that God knows best what will really glorify Him. Hear Him [ref Deuteronomy 4:5-8]."

HalleluYah! Hear (and obey) the milk of the Word which He gave to His children at Mount Sinai. The basis of the Covenant is the Instructions He gave in the Commandments for they are the Perfect Law of Liberty which frees one from sin.

James 1:25 But the one who looks into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and perseveres, being no hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, he will be blessed in his doing.

"God does talk to us. He talks to us through His living, truly-sufficient Word."


Matt Burke said...


I'm not sure if you are attempting to refute SS or asking honest questions.

You said,
"Paul seems to be teaching in these verse that there is something more to Christianity than just Scripture."

Sir, that's not even close to what Sola Scriptura states.

Sola Scriptura means that the Bible alone is the only infallible rule for faith and practice.

The verses you cited don't really argue against that. No one claims that there isn't "something more to Christianity than just Scripture."


Leonard H said...

Ok, I'm definitely 'solo scriptura'. But how do those that do believe that way define 'living in the Spirit' and being 'led by the Spirit'?

donsands said...

The Spirit lives in us, and He also lives in all the children of God. He lives in pastors, teachers, evangelists, and elders, and in every born again saint.
We are part of the Body of Christ as well. And we have His truth, which is His Word, which is a light to our path, and a lamp to our feet in this dark devil filled world.

That's how I live in our Lord's Spirit. And there are days when it feels like I'm not really, and other times when I'm on cloud 9.

But one day, I will be greater than John the Baptist, who was no less greater than any of God's holy prophets. The day in am finally in heaven, and I no longer, Hallelujah!, have the burden of my sinful nature. What a day that shall be!

Tommy said...

Hey John,

I understand where you’re coming from. Everyone here has seen Scripture and doctrine used without grace, with men arguing over issues without really caring if the other guy learns anything or not. We’ve seen ambitious men(Calvinists and others) use God as a means to beat others down, and that is directly against what Christ stands for. But let’s ask, truly: How do we know this? How can you tell me I’m wrong(Because contrary to what you say, we aren’t the only ones who have to support our view. You need to be able to tell us why we’re wrong)?

Any reasons you may have to tell us that relying on God’s Word is sufficient is, like you’ve said, based on your common sense. Should your common sense be what all of us here listen and abide by? Why? Do you have proof that God wants us to look at other sources to hear Him? No, the Bible hasn’t always existed, but God wrote in His own time. You may not like that, but I’m sure God’s not interested in changing history. He did speak audibly and powerfully to men back then though. How can we know? Through God’s Word.

How do you know who Jesus is, and how can you call yourself Christian, claiming to be like Christ? Through God’s Word.

And how can man be saved? How can you express the Good News, without Scripture? I dare you to go give the Gospel, without using God’s Word. I would quote the truckloads of verses that show His insistence that His Word is the final authority, but you apparently see that as circular reasoning. But you say you read you’re Bible. If God says that His Word is enough, how do you say He’s wrong?

So I want to ask you for proof. How can Sola Scriptura be wrong? Please don’t use any verses though, since you won’t let us use verses for ourselves.

And, an answer for you. You said, “please don’t quote any puritans or reformers because look what there movement has caused.”

They caused Protestantism.