Too many people in Christian circles will readily agree to the Inerrancy of Scripture, but once you throw out the sufficiency of Scripture, the concept of Inerrancy becomes irrelevant because now one can claim that God has conveyed information that supersedes the Bible.
The church has fallen into a dangerous pattern when it comes to divine direction. Too many believers today are trying to hear directly from God—whether through an audible voice or a stirring of their souls. Worse still are the people who legitimize everything from heresy to fundraising schemes to simple personal decisions by asserting the leading of the Lord.
Christians on both sides of the charismatic fence must realize a vital truth: God’s revelation is complete for now. The canon of Scripture is closed. As the apostle John penned the final words of the last book of the New Testament, he recorded this warning: “I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the tree of life and from the holy city, which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18–19).
What we are not to do is expect to hear voices from God. There is a dangerous trend today where people seek to hear a “word from the Lord,” extraneous to what He has already given us in the Bible. “The Lord told me . . .” has become the mantra of experience-driven Christianity. Unfortunately, what He “tells” one person often contradicts what He “tells” another, and these extra-biblical revelations have proven to be very divisive, tearing apart church after church as one person’s experience seeks to take precedence over another’s. This results in chaos, benefiting no one except Satan, who loves to sow discord among believers. We should make the apostle Peter our example in these matters. In spite of the miraculous experience on the Mount of Transfiguration, where he beheld the glorified Christ speaking with Moses and Elijah, Peter refused to rely on that experience, declaring instead that “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:18-19, NKJV).
The Scriptures are clear that God does not speak directly to us today in any other way except through the Scriptures — to teach otherwise is to contradict the Word of God. Hebrews 1:1-2 explains that in these last days, God has spoken to us through His son Jesus which is finally revealed and recorded in His Word. To claim that God further reveals any specific revelation to us, no matter how minuscule it may seem, is to blaspheme the Holy Spirit by attributing things to Him that he does not do.
How does God speak to us today? Undoubtedly, you have heard people say this: “Well, God has spoken to me and He’s told me that you are to do such and such. Pastor, God has spoken to me and He’s told me to tell you that our church needs to go this direction.” And it is just ubiquitous out there in the evangelical world – whatever evangelical means nowadays – that God speaks to people in still, small voices, maybe audible voices, dreams, visions, hunches, all of these things; and you hear this so commonly.
Has it ever made you stop and wonder, “What’s wrong with me? Why don’t I hear God speak to me that way? Is there something wrong with me? Is there something wrong with my relationship with the Lord? Do these people have a closer walk with God than I do? What’s wrong with me?” And if you have ever had those thoughts, I hope that this session will be an encouragement to you as we look at how God does and does not speak to us today.
Now as we begin, I want to define a couple of terms, because these are widely misunderstood. Revelation. Revelation refers to God revealing new information that has been previously hidden. So God revealing new information that up until this point has previously been hidden.
Revelation is not happening anymore today. You hear people say this all the time: “Well, God gave me revelation on this.” Well, no He didn’t, because God is not revealing anything new that has not already been revealed in Scripture. Now what may have happened to you is illumination. Illumination refers to the enabling work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of believers in order to understand and appropriate the truths of Scripture. Revelation is not happening anymore today; illumination, however, is. Illumination should be a regular part, in fact, of the Christian’s life, as the Holy Spirit helps us to understand and appropriate the written Word of God.
“Lord, teach us to pray.” What did Jesus say? “Okay, here’s how you do it. You talk to God, and then you get real quiet and you listen for that still small voice.” Is that what He said? No, He didn’t say that at all. He said, “When you pray, say this: ‘Lord, hallowed by Thy name,’” nothing about listening for some still small voice, nothing about listening for God to speak back to you. So this whole notion of prayer being a two-way street, that is foreign to the Word of God. There’s nothing in the Bible about that at all.
Anytime I hear somebody say, “Well, yeah, I know God speaks in the Bible and I know that’s His Word, but I need something more,” here’s my question, here’s my question: “Have you mastered this Book? From Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, you have completely mastered it; there is nothing else that you can glean from this Book, no more drops of truth you could possibly squeeze out of its pages; you have mastered it from cover to cover?” If the answer to that question is no – and it is – then please don’t tell me the Bible’s not enough. You don’t even understand what you have in black and white right in front of you. Please don’t tell me the Bible’s not enough.
This was Sarah Young’s inspiration for Jesus Calling. Sarah Young says this: “I knew that God communicated with me through the Bible, but I yearned for more.” You see, the Bible just was not enough for Sarah Young. And you know what? That is the mindset of the vast majority of professing Christians today. The Bible just is not enough for most people, we’ve got to have something more. “I yearned for more.”
all of the devotionals in there, 365 of them, all of them are written in the first person for Jesus Christ: “I Jesus am such and such. I will do this, I will do that.” They’re all written in the first person for Jesus. If Jesus really is calling Sarah Young and she is writing down what He is saying, you know what she’s doing? She’s writing Scripture. That’s what she’s doing, she’s writing Scripture, because God cannot speak less authoritatively on one occasion than He does on another. Friends, if God is speaking, God is speaking, and whatever He says carries the exact same authority as does John 3:16 or Romans 10:9 and 10.
Beth Moore says, “I built a snowman. I laughed with God, He laughed with me. I am so in love with Him. I am so in love with Him.” Beth Moore wants you to believe that she has such an intimate relationship with Jesus that she not only hears Him, but can even see the expression that is apparently on His face; and Jesus wanted her to go and play with Him, so they built snowmen together. You see, Beth Moore has such a deep relationship with Christ, far deeper, of course, than what you have. This is a modern-day version of the ancient heresy known as Gnosticism.
Basically, the Gnostic believes in acquiring special, mystical knowledge as the means for salvation.
they believe God somehow communicates His will personally to individuals through inner promptings, signs, feelings of peace or uneasiness, strong impressions on the mind, or other similar means.
For reasons we shall examine, it is not wise to seek divine guidance through subjective impressions like these. Nowhere does Scripture encourage us to attempt to discern God’s will through such means. As we shall see, that sort of decision making can lead to confusion, disappointment, and sometimes spiritual tragedy.
And the truth is that treating subjective impressions as messages from the Holy Spirit is not really much different from claiming to receive divine revelation. Though most Christians who follow subjective impressions would not dream of listening to extrabiblical “prophecies,” in effect they are doing the same thing.
- She speaks for God.
- She proclaims the insufficiency of the Bible.
- Her deepest experience of God comes through a practice God does not endorse.
- She is inspired by untrustworthy models.
- She provides lesser revelation.
- She mimics occult practices.
- Her emphasis does not match the Bible’s.
- Her tone does not match the Bible’s
- She generates confusion.
- Her book has been corrected.
Dear friends, if you want to hear God speak to you, there’s one way I guarantee you you will hear God speak: read your Bible. If you want to hear God speak to you audibly, read it out loud.
Does God Still Give Prophecies? by John MacArthur