Thursday, August 25, 2005


The whole, 'God speaking to me' thing has been niggling away at me since Sunday and I remembered where I had read something really helpful. Here follow a few selective quotes from Packer's Laid Back Religion (IVP 1987).

'What should Christians do when they feel God has directly told them to say or do something?...

'1. If anyone today receives a direct disclosure from God, it will have no canonical significance. It will not become part of the church's rule of faith and life, nor will the church be under any obligation to acknowledge the disclosure as revelation; nor will anyone merit blame for suspecting that the disclosure was not from God. If the alleged disclosure is a prediction ... Moses assures us that there is not even a prima facie case for treating it as from God until it has come true (Deut. 18:21f.) If the alleged disclosure is a directive ... any who associate themselves with this project should do so because wisdom tells them that it is needed, realistic and God-honouring, not because the leader tells them that God directly commanded him (and by implication them) to attempt it.

'People who believe that they have received direct indications of what God will do ... should refrain in all situations ... from asking others to agree that direct revelation has been given ... and Christians should greet any such request with ... silence.

'2. Guidance in this particular form is not promised. For it to occur is, as we have said, extraordinary, exceptional, and anomalous...

'3. Direct communications from God take the form of impressions, and impressions can come, even to the most devoted and prayerful people, from such murky sources as wishful thinking, fear, obsessional neurosis, schizophrenia, hormonal imbalance, depression, side effects of medication, and satanic delusion, as well as from God. Impressions need to be suspected before they are sanctioned and tested before they are trusted. Confidence that one's impressions are God-given is no guarantee that this is really so... Bible-based wisdom must judge them.'

Now Packer tends to paint things in extremes in order to make his points but lurking under this anti-delusional rant is the truth that we should be suspicious of all 'God told me..' statements.

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