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This morning my brother revealed to me his intentions to begin attending a 24-hour prayer center(he works very late). This prayer center is a part of the International House of Prayer. I will not even attempt to discuss the alleged errors and heresies of this organization(there are many)...but our discussion of that led to our differences in opinion on the question: Does God speak to people outside of His Word?
Mike Bickle, the founder of IHOP(the church not the restaurant) ;) in a practical sense denies Sola Scriptura, holding personal revelation as equal to Scripture in terms of importance.
What are your thoughts on these two questions:
1) Does God speak to us outside of His Word? Not necessarily in an audible sense.
2) If yes, is God's message to us equal to Scripture?
Just looking for some Scriptural and logical discussion, thanks.
Daniel, you say:
To me, it is kinda like a calling. Just as my "calling" to this trip was a one-time deal and as soon as our last day was over, my mind shifted from a total focus and desire for that place to wanting to get home, I think these kinds of gifts today are one-time actions by God and not some mantle of capability given to us. I can, for example, lay my hands on someone and ask for God's healing. But if they are healed, it is God doing it, not some ability/gift that God has given me. To me, that is my biggest departure with the continualists that claim to have sign gifts today. The focus seems to be on "their" gifts, not God's working. Just as in Old Testament times when folks went to a Prophet for something, today you see folks going to the person with the gift of prophesy or healing or whatever. That focus bothers me. So I guess the bottom line is not that I oppose some gifts continuing, but that I oppose how those gifts are most commonly portrayed and displayed today.
Quite a number of things to say about this. Yes, if you lay your hands on someone and ask for God's healing and they are healed, it is God's/doing not some ability that God has given you as a kind of possession. You've explained healing exactly right. But this is how it has always been. Of course it's God doing the healing. What you describe is just what is taught by the Continuationists I am aware of. Maybe not some Pentecostals or Charismatics.
And your characterization of Continuationists is that they "claim to have sign gifts today." Wow, Daniel. I obviously can't speak for everyone, but Continuationism is NOT about "claiming" one has "sign gifts" today. First of all, the category "sign gifts" is one foreign to Scripture, and in my experience mainly a Cessationist term. I for one anyway don't "claim" a sign gift "today." There were NEVER any "sign gifts" as such. Some "gifts" are mentioned as serving as signs, yes, but nowhere in the Bible do we find either the term, or the concept of "sign gifts," much less the theology assigned to them.
And "the focus seems to be on 'their' gift, not God's working..." What? What??? Who on earth are you thinking about? Benny Hinn, maybe? Have you been keeping up with CMP and Sam Storms in their discussions. Or listening to the audio. Sam Storms, I think, is the quintessential Continuationist today, and what he says is exactly the opposite of the way you characterize Continuationists. (Not to mention what Scott and I write on our blog).
And that "the person" with the gift thing, may well have been characteristic of Pentecostal and Charismatic practices, but it is exactly what those non-Charismatic Continuationists called "third wave" sought to avoid. John Wimber, for one, strenuously taught against the Big Man approach, encouraging everyone to pray for healing (just as you describe it above) rather than seek out the Great Healer. This is like since the 70s, and 80s.
So in short, you are spot on with what you say, but slightly behind the times about what's going on "today," by about twenty or thirty years or more.
Scott said - "I feel certain you know how to reasonably answer your own question about how we can know it is Him speaking. God has given us great gifts to help us discern His voice."
Actually, I don't. Seriously. I know a whole bunch of people who are involved in mystical eastern (demonic) cults, like Hinduism, who really, really, realllllllllly believe that Vishnu or some other weirdness, spoke to them in Yoga class. Heck, even the pseudo-Christian cults all begin by God or an angel from God speaking to the "prophet", etc. Scriptural revelation on the other hand is based on historical facts... truth claims, the verifiable. Totally different categories.
Scott said - "But our detailed lives, situations and contexts are not in Scripture - we still need Him speaking directly into our situations in all various manners."
I agree, as my example of flirting showed. God "speaks" to me through Scripture in that situation. God doesn't need to whisper in my ear, "Daim, stop flirting with that hottie, it's wrong." He's already told me that in Scripture. I don't think that God is giving out special instructions to you and me that are outside of Scripture (He COULD! But I don't think He does) otherwise it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that I'm the main character in the play and God is in a supporting role. No. He's the star, the writer, director, executive producer, special effects manager, animal wrangler, etc! For further example read about Lazarus - supporting character in God's drama.
ScottL said:Damian -
I feel certain you know how to reasonably answer your own question about how we can know it is Him speaking. God has given us great gifts to help us discern His voice.
And it could be repeating, re-emphasising, illuminating things He has spoken in the past, etc. But our detailed lives, situations and contexts are not in Scripture - we still need Him speaking directly into our situations in all various manners. It even happened constantly while Scripture was being written and formed - God speaking para-Scripture and outside Scripture. God speaking now is nothing additional to His redemptive revelation in Christ and the new covenant. But this is the relational nature of our Living God.
Yes, it can sound a bit 'mystical'. But our faith has a Hebrew-Jewish heritage, which is more eastern than western in some respects. This is not some over the top thing like new age spirituality or some eastern religions. But there is mystery in the vastness of our Triune God, especially in relation to God's Spirit actively working and speaking to us.
God gave Pastor Mark a vision of a woman intimately cheating on her man. He gave him all the details too:
Thanks for the comments, Marv. The reason the last paragraph is so messy is it requires and entirely different kind of thought process. Recounting a story of some event, especially if I've done it before, is like riding a bicycle. The words are already there. Trying to express a thought though is harder for me. Lots of my internal mental workings are not even complete thoughts. Add to that the fact that I can not easily think of the right words to describe them and I frequently confuse people more than enlighten them. You've read enough of my stuff to know that though. :)
I'm not trying to convey the idea that God doesn't give folks prophetic words today. But it is not His primary way of revealing doctrine today. The Bible is. And where I have a "word from the Lord" about something, it is subject to the Bible and what it says and cannot be contrary to it. What I was opposing with my comments about healing isn't the idea that folks think that the healing itself only comes from the individual, but the idea that there is some kind of power attached to an office or title that an individual has. Even though I have taught and experienced things like the story I shared, I am not a "prophet" in the sense of the OT position. Nor is it a case of an ability or talent that I've been given. I'm like Balaam's ass. I can take ZERO credit for any of it. Yet I know of churches that will actually train you in how to have and use certain spiritual gifts. Its almost like they hand them out like degrees from a college. And, in the same sense that if you show enough cases of answered prayer by praying to Joe, the Catholics will rise him to sainthood, You have people who are looking for healing going to the local healer and those looking for direction going to the local prophet and so forth. Even though it may be somewhat unofficial, it becomes a role they take on because of an ability they are seen to have. It is just like the oncologist that doesn't claim to personally remove your cancer. Doesn't mean that you don't go see him because he's considered the conduit of that kind of healing based on degrees handing on his wall and abilities associated with that diploma. As a disabled person, I can't tell you how many times I've been told that I need to say X prayer or go see X person who has the gift of healing as those words or that person are somehow the source or healing or the conduit to healing. But that is putting faith in the wrong thing. I was given a one-time gift to help in a particular situation. I don't perpetually have a gift. I'm just an ass who is willing to be used and should not expect that I can take my talking donkey act on the road and replicate that at will.
I tracked the problem down. The images showed up for me because the HTML pointed to where they existed in the Gmail that I initially did the cut and paste from. No one else is logged into my Gmail. :) Lets see if this offsite link (with additional photos) works any better.
Dave Z said:
Great story, Daniel. I've never questioned that God speaks to us and your experience is a great example. But I'm not getting any visions of pictures in either Chrome or IE.