Guided by Voices

I'm back to the blog.  Everything I know about blogging suggests that a two week hiatus is a bad idea. -- starting a fight with Chuck Norris bad.  But, what's done is done.  In the two weeks since I wrote last, I've  done some yardwork, read some books, and done a bit of jourrnalism.  I've also played a prodigious amount of guitar.  But all of this pales in comparison to the meeting of a man who claims to hear the audible voice of God.  I thought I'd seen everything.  This man is not some unfortunate homeless man;  he has a job and a college education.  He is not obviously mentally ill, yet he claims God speaks audibly to him about specific life decisions.

The theologian in me wonders about what the practical implications of audible, personalized revelation from God would be.  How does church work if God speaks privately to everyone?  How does church discipline work if the clear revelation of God in Scripture is supplanted by that of this audible voice?  How does one know that God has spoken?  What's to keep us from doing what we want and claiming that God has spoken and He justifies our behavior?  Would we employ some sort of honor system?  Perhaps we'd meet together and promise not to lie about what God has told us.  

I don't wish to be caustic or unduly sarcastic in my attempt to discredit this bizarre notion.  This series of rhetorical questions is not designed to castigate this poor guy.  His position is regrettable and very nearly hopeless in that he has chosen to attempt to follow Christ without making proper use of two of His greatest gifts to us: Scripture-God's revelation of himself to us, and the church-God's instrument for reaching the world for his honor and praise.

My church is a huge safeguard for me.  We've all agreed that Scripture is authoritative for us in our daily lives.   When I don't live that way, there are people in my church who point me to the Scripture in love and expect to see change.  There's a whole protocol for that established by Jesus in Matthew 18.   I'm grateful that God continues to provide people in my life who aren't afraid to call my sin what it is.  I shudder to think who I would be without the grace of God and thee protection he offers through other Christians.

I'm glad indeed that I'm not guided by voices(There's the obligatory pop culture reference).


Chris Krycho said...

I've met several others who claimed the same. Some of them I might even believe. (After all, who says God can't communicate that way?) Even in that case, however, I cautioned them: anything you hear, you must always take back to the Bible, and you should make your decisions in context of good counsel. In other words, if God chooses to bless you in a particular way, great! Just don't make the mistake of thinking that it absolves you of needing what all of us need: his word and his people.

(At the same time, I'm pretty skeptical. It was pretty rare in Bible times, and generally only reserved for people who were in huge prophetic ministries to Israel. We never see it for personal decisions. So color me extremely hesitant, though not quite willing to dismiss it entirely.)

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