God told me to 2
Meditation and Reflection

"God told me to.."

 

Have you ever had a Christian say to you: “God told me to..”, followed by a directive or (more usually) a subtly coercive exhortation to do something (usually) for them? “God told me to ask you..”; “God told me to remind you..”; “God told me that you must..”. No-one ever seems to say: “God told me to love you”, and just leave it at that. Even “God told me to pray for you” seems to hold a compassionate manipulation which assails the serenity of your spiritual existence. You’re judging my walk? Rebuking my divine fellowship? “God told me to..” Well, He hasn’t told me. At least not yet. So if He really told you to tell me, He might do me the courtesy of whispering it into my supernal ear first, instead of saying it behind my back to people He knows full well will get my back up.

There is, of course, a role for the prophetic: ‘God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets..’ (Heb 1:1). God speaks to us at many times and in various ways: “God told me to..”, followed by a lesson from Jesus, an exemplary prophetic sanction or a cornerstone of righteous morality. This is God proclaiming the way of salvation and eternal life. But those who say “God told me to..”, and then proceed to sprinkle divine glitter over their own shallow judgment, crass opinion, selfish want or ambition, are breathing a falsehood, if not a charismatic blasphemy, for their outer voice muzzles your inner one, as though their word might weigh with Scripture when it is no more than a piece of undigested pizza.

If you read the Bible, pray to God and meditate on His word, you may see if these things are so. For Scripture is not merely an ancient chronicle or a monument to a bygone era of cultic orthodoxy and mountain goats: it is living, abiding and knowing. If you fellowship with believers and submit to one another in love, you will be tenderly embraced by promises of understanding; corrected and rebuked by those who see and feel. They won’t crush you with a psychotic “God told me to..”: they’ll wait for a moment of silence and then chuck a pebble into your indulgent pond of tranquility, and the concentric circles which radiate on the surface will ripple through your hidden motives and secret sins.

“God told me to..” is not a stone tablet, a burning bush or a Mene, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin engraved on your wall. It is not the Shekinah or even the radiance of the Father’s glory. ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me‘ (Jn 10:27). A rebuke from the Shepherd might scorch a fleece and brand like a hot iron, but it is more likely to gnaw at the conscience of those who hear His voice.

God has put fingerprints on the clouds and left footprints in the sand. They are there to be studied, understood and followed. They point us toward forms of truth and aspects of love. They symbolise mercy and guide us toward grace. God’s lambs splash about, bound and frolic in the kingdom. “God told me to..” is the bleat of the bossy sheep who is very keen for you to know that they personally shared supper with the Shepherd last night. They are special: their revelation is unique; their communion complete. They know who they are.

  • len

    God has given us His Written Word(the Bible) and the Living Word (Jesus Christ) and to make sure we do not misinterpret either of these He Has given us the Holy Spirit to lead us into all Truth…So because not every spirit is from God so we need to test the spirits to see if they line up with the Word of God (if they do not then it is a deceiving spirit.

    If different religious cults had done as the Bereans did and test every word given to them many problems would have been avoided.Most cults act on the impulse of one man directed by an evil spirit.

    God does nothing without first informing His Prophets and this is easily vindicated by studying Bible Prophecy….The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob can quite easily be proven through His Word, not so with those who claim to be ‘god’ or at least ‘as god’.

    It saddens me when something tragic happens people say “why did God allow this?” when in reality they should be saying ” why have we put Satan in the position of god of this world?”

    • IanCad

      Short and sweet Len.

  • The Explorer

    If your inner promptings tell you to burn a heretic for wrong belief, but the written word says nothing about doing so (indeed, suggests other methods entirely) which do you go with: your inner promptings, or the written word? What tells you which has primacy?

  • CliveM

    It’s always amazed me that what God says invariably coincides with the prejudices of the speaker. Often it’s a form of spiritual abuse. If someone says ‘God told me’, you can be sure He didn’t.

    • The Explorer

      Have you noticed with the Qur’an how often the events of Muhammad’s life were followed by a revelation from Allah, sanctioning them?

      • CliveM

        It must have been gratifying for the Prophet to have been able to rely on God to rubber stamp his every action!

        Almost as if he was in control and not God…………….?

        • The Explorer

          That’s an iniquitous inference!

          • CliveM

            I don’t repent of it however.

      • Dreadnaught

        I am amazed why anyone can’t see through all this crap; … oh, what do you mean the man with the big knife wants a word with me?

      • Pubcrawler

        One wonders if the words ‘not my will, but thine’ ever entered his mind. . .

    • Pubcrawler

      I’d call that ‘taking the Lord’s name in vain’.

      • CliveM

        A lot of these people would claim that they want God to control their life, but then use his name to control others.

        Another phrase I dislike ‘I need to tell you this in Christian love’, what follows is rarely Christian or said with love.

  • saintmark

    God told me to… simply means, you can’t argue with me on this

  • Jon Sorensen

    How do we know when God (of OT, NT, Quran, Mithraism) truly communicates to us? And how do we know ancient text is any more God’s word that what current priests/imams/warlocks say? Do we just have to pick a religion and assume “God has given us His Written Word” without grounding?

  • Anton

    It’s funny in the way Your Grace has put it, but not in cults – “God told me that you must sleep with me”, etc. And I knew a man who made an unhappy marriage on the basis of others playing the God card. I recommend the reply, “I think He’d have told me first.”

    • saintmark

      I remember Cliff Richard saying he had women come to him and tell him that God had told them they were going to get married, I believe he used that exact reply

      • Anna055

        True of John Stott too I believe.

  • David

    I remember that film from the late 1970s. In a way you could have done an article on random US gun mass killings – though I doubt Mr Cohen (the film maker) had that in mind for a meditation subject.
    I think you should bear in mind that many people who experience thoughts, compulsions of a “God told me to” nature are schizophrenic and paranoid individuals whose experience of religion (if at all) is alienating and damaging rather than “Christian” in the Archbishop Cranmer sense!

  • David

    It is always a good thing when we are reminded of the need to be on our guard against those pretenders who seek to use other peoples’ faith, to gain advantage, usually for themselves, their sub-group or their “cause”.
    As with Jesus’ twelve disciples, Evil, is always present within the Church, all the institutional Churches. It is ever ready to plead special knowledge, seductively presenting us with oh so reasonable sounding arguments, as to why the ever changing wants of society must now override the Holy Scriptures, the Traditions of the Church Universal and even Reason.
    So we must always be wary of those who claim that the Spirit speaks to them, when others can not hear Him. There are many spirits about, but few are from God. Indeed the Spirit of this Age is in a state of permanent rebellion against God, denying even His existence, as in Biblical times. Little changes in the continuing battle between Good and Evil, apart from the details.
    But God’s Word continues to shine light to guide our feet along life’s path.

  • carl jacobs

    Archbishop Cranmer

    “God told me to..” is the bleat of the bossy sheep who is very keen for you to know that they personally shared supper with the Shepherd last night.

    Every once in a while you write a sentence that is almost* sublimely perfect in its ability to summarize and encapsulate the post.

    * Shouldn’t it be “… to know that he personally shared…”

    • … depends if sheep is being used singular or plural.

      • carl jacobs

        ” …bossy sheep who is …”

        Singular.

      • Albert

        There’s a Middle English plural for “sheep”, namely “sheepen”.

        • “Sheeple” is now used by dissident Catholics to compare faithful Catholics to sheep in being docile, foolish, and easily led.

          • Pubcrawler

            Oh the hilarity…

          • carl jacobs

            Is it true that Sheeple bear a remarkable resemblance to purple blueberries?

          • Grouchy Jack

            No problem with that. If it was good enough for Peter and the gang, it’s good enough for Grumpy.

          • carl jacobs

            If it was good enough for Peter and the gang, it’s good enough for Grumpy.

            Heh. About time you got the name right. Too late to change it. I have recorded the event for posterity.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr …. been asleep too long.

          • Albert

            Interesting. I would have thought that is exactly the sense in which Jesus uses the word “sheep” of his disciples!

          • carl jacobs

            Well, remember. Being analogzed to a sheep is not exactly a compliment. Sheep are filthy, dumb, prone to wander off, and largely defenseless. We like to think of ourselves in “non-sheep” terms.

          • Albert

            Sheep are filthy, dumb, prone to wander off, and largely defenseless

            That was precisely, my point! docile, foolish, and easily led

          • carl jacobs

            So it makes sense that people would turn it into an insult. It offends the pride of man. Hence “Sheeple.”

            No disagreement here. 🙂

          • Albert

            Wow. That’s the second time someone’s agreed with me today!

          • Orwell Ian

            It is also used to refer to the PC compliant masses who are unconsciously controlled and indirectly oppressed. Those who self-censor and will never rebel.

      • IanCad

        All good Highlanders use them singularly.

    • Pubcrawler

      It might be, but it needn’t be.

      The internet is full of discussion on ‘singular they’, some of it better informed than the rest, and I’m not going to add to it here. But on the whole, those who are professional grammarians, on both sides of the Pond, regard it as unobjectionable.

    • HG probably wanted to cover both genders in that sentence.

    • A most excellent thread. The cultivation of that sentence took longer than the preceding few paragraphs. “..bossy sheep who are” sounded clumsy, and ‘it’ would have destroyed the anthropomorphic metaphor. Yet the singular had to be succeeded by a gender-neutral pronoun. Alas, it is a limitation of the English language, and so the vernacular singular ‘they’ was adopted, though, as you rightly observe, it is grammatically incorrect, for which, apologies. Perhaps we need a contest for a gender neutral third-person pronoun. Indeed, this postmodern age of androgyny demands it.

      • carl jacobs

        Archbishop Cranmer

        Resistance to the destruction of ‘he’ as the gender-neutral pronoun is a cause worthy of the fight. It is a problem that should never have existed. We were first presented with the impossibly crustaceous “he or she.” But it seems people have recognized its inherent ugliness. So now they have decreed that two may equal one if so required. Bah! To the barricades for the gender-neutral use of ‘he.’

        Anyways. No reason to apologize. We Americans are always ready to provide instruction and guidance on the proper use of the English language. Seeing as we are the experts and all.

        • There’s websites dedicated to this very search.

          “Many people have expressed the need for a singular gender-neutral third-person pronoun: that is, a pronoun to use when someone’s gender is unknown or when the individual is neither male or female. Such instances occur when addressing transgender and genderqueer people who don’t feel comfortable being addressed with masculine or feminine pronouns, computers or robots with artificial intelligence, sexless fictional creatures, angels, and the God of many monotheistic religions.”

          The search is the devil’s work …

      • alternative_perspective

        In the singular I propose “E”. Since She appears to be a development of He let us reverse engineer the word to identify the root person.

      • ” “God told me to..” is the bleat of the bossy sheep who is; those very keen for you to know that they personally shared supper with the Shepherd last night.”

        Archbishop, the offer of occasional editorial assistance, first made some time ago, still stands.

        • carl jacobs

          That … doesn’t work at all, Jack. It wrecks the continuity of the thought. The sentence derives its power from its inevitable flow to completion. The beauty comes from its essential simplicity in the presentation of the analogy. It’s not just the thought but how the thought was presented. That sentence was truly a work of art. Besides. Nothing with a semi-colon is beautiful, Jack. Or simple.

          You can’t cut the Mona Lisa in half just so you can display it in two panes.

          • Well you were the one who got all picky and pedantic.

            What about:

            ” “God told me to..” is the bleat of the bossy sheep very keen for you to know that they personally shared supper with the Shepherd last night.”

            Shorter, retaining flow and simplicity.

          • carl jacobs

            I wasn’t being pedantic. I was defending the English language from creeping androgyny.

            I’m not sure how to explain this concept to you. The greatest compliment a Software Engineer can pay to a piece of code is to call it “clean.” The concept convolves elegance, simplicity, and power into one word. That sentence was clean. You shouldn’t want to change it. You should just admire it.

          • carl jacobs

            BTW …

            You should ask DanJ0 about coding standards sometime. Ask him where you put the bracket after the key word ‘if.’ I guarantee you will discover he believes in absolutes after all.

          • William Lewis

            Or he’ll just show his usual pragmatism and follow whatever coding practice is prevailing.

          • DanJ0

            There’d be a compiler error if the language required it and it was missing or in the wrong place. Of course if one is adverse to brackets after the if then one could switch to (say) VB.Net instead of (say) C# and achieve the same thing in a different way. Or, stepping back, one could just focus on what the user requirements are for this deliverable and avoid specifying the implementation details at all.

          • carl jacobs

            You are talking about syntax – not coding standards. And not even DO-178 imposes a specific coding standard. It just requires that you have one and use it.

          • DanJ0

            Indeed … in order to point out that the bracket after an if may not be required at all if one chooses to work in a different environment.

          • William Lewis

            True enough, though for real freedom from bracket formatting decisions without conforming to the current Microsoft hegemony, there’s always Python.

          • CliveM

            The theology discussions are hard enough………..!

          • DanJ0

            I thought we were using it as a metaphor.

          • DanJ0

            Yep. If I was modifying someone else’s existing code then I’d follow the style it was written in. I use the Resharper defaults in C# myself but I’m not really bothered. In C, I used to follow K&R for the {} but changed to Allman. In whatever style I’m following at the time, I think the important thing is to follow it consistently.

          • William Lewis

            Yes indeed and pragmatic to a fault. Nothing wrong with that once you’ve established the style and design decisions of the existing code.

      • Carl is correct. Do not give in to the wimmin’s rights brigade, your Grace.

        “God told me to..” is the bleat of the bossy sheep who is very keen for you to know that he personally shared supper with the Shepherd last night. The possibility that the bossy sheep might be a ewe is neither here nor there. Grammar wins out over political correctness.
        An excellent thread BTW.

    • Albert

      I’m afraid Carl, that Dr C goes the way or all flesh and chooses political correctness over good English.

  • Jack wonders if God speaks to government Ministers.

    According to Sports Minister Tracey Crouch, Manchester United should “rectify” their lack of a women’s team. “(God told me) it is incredibly disappointing that one of the biggest clubs in the world doesn’t have a ladies’ football team … At a time when there is phenomenal interest in women’s football, (God says) it is right that they should try and rectify that as soon as possible.”

    • CliveM

      It would be nice, if just once, a Govt Minister would not leap onto every passing Band Wagon.

      It’s so depressing. Another dept and role that should be chopped.

      Phenomenal interest my a”&se!

      • James60498 .

        I hope you are not suggesting, Clice, that there is not “phenomenal interest” in women’s football.

        If the government says there is, then there is. It is a British value now.

        And if you don’t agree you will be subject to an EDO

        • CliveM

          It’s exactly what I’m suggesting!

    • carl jacobs

      there is phenomenal interest in women’s football

      There is?

      I think you should embrace this idea, Jack. I would increase the probability of a Man U team winning a champion to some number greater than zero. God told me that Man U wasn’t breaking 60 points this year, Jack. Think of it as penance.

      • Is that God as understood by Calvin? If so, then he’s been known to be wrong before.

        • carl jacobs

          No, Calvin wasn’t involved. Just direct revelation. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

          • Well, we’ll be able to establish the validity of this private revelation soon enough.

    • Pubcrawler

      “phenomenal interest in women’s football”

      Amongst certain BBC pundits, perhaps, but not so much on the terraces…

      • Anton

        Doesn’t even say what kind of phenomenon it is viewed as…

    • Anton

      No; it’s David Cameron who speaks to government Ministers, and he only thinks he’s God.

  • Albert

    I’m not sure that I’ve ever heard someone say “God told me to…” Perhaps it’s a problem for evangelicals. What I hear is “I felt God was calling me to…” And this seems more humble – more open to the possibility of mistake. This then needs to be tested in a ecclesial context. So it would be odd if someone offered themselves to be a monk or a nun, and did not say “I feel called by God”, but then, that sense of call would be put to the test by the community.

    • Pubcrawler

      A sensible approach. While the Spirit may, of course, operate how he pleases, it does seem a fruitless approach to sow the seed without also preparing the ground.

      • Albert

        And now gift or prompting of the Holy Spirit is purely for the individual’s sake, so isn’t it likely that he will be guiding the wider community to discernment too?

        • Pubcrawler

          Indeed. Except, perhaps, in circumstances when God’s purposes are better served by hardening of hearts.

          • Albert

            This is certainly true, and there are clearly cases of God’s will being rejected by the community, not the individual. But that fact hardly gives authority to lone rangers under normal circumstances.

          • Pubcrawler

            We are in agreement.

          • Albert

            🙂 That doesn’t happen much down here!

    • David

      I agree, it is always something like, “after much prayer and careful thought I felt that God was asking me to do this…etc…”.
      It is a you say a far more humble approach that always comes from Christians – but how the press love to spin it….

  • DanJ0

    If divine messages were that explicit then one would think god would tell every Christian in the Roman Catholic Church to rely solely on scripture rather than the Magisterium’s interpretation, or every Christian who believes solely in scripture to rely on the Magisterium’s interpretation, or whatever.

    • William Lewis

      Good point. One does wonder how much God really cares for theology.

      • michaelkx

        he most problem puts in the same ‘pidgin’ hole as ‘God told me’

      • CliveM

        Hmm, considering the problems it’s caused and how little it’s resolved, probably not.

      • Martin

        William

        God cares a great deal for true theology, otherwise why would He have given us the Bible?

        • William Lewis

          He certainly cares about the truth. Indeed He is the Truth and has revealed Himself through His Word, as described in the Bible, and His Spirit.

    • Martin

      DanJ0

      He does.

      • DanJ0

        How on earth would you of all people know?

        • Martin

          DanJ0

          Because, unlike you, I take what God says in the Bible seriously.

          • DanJ0

            The chances of the Holy Spirit (if it exists) knowing you is about zero i.e. about the same chance as it knowing Fred Phelps, I’d say.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Your expertise in matter spiritual never fails to amaze me.

          • DanJ0

            I’m basing that opinion on what it says in the bible about sanctification and the like.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Then perhaps you need to look it up.

          • DanJ0

            No need as I’m familiar with it already. However, I think you need to so you realise how a Christian ought to behave if he is ‘justified’. There’s no point merely claiming it as it’s obvious that you aren’t based on that. You’re our resident Fred Phelps.

          • Martin

            DanJ0

            Clearly you’re not.

          • DanJ0

            Oh I am. You’d provide details that show I’m not if you could but you just assert instead … as ever.

  • Inspector General

    Ah yes, the ‘God told me to’ people. A fellow is best advised to put his back against the wall and inch towards the door when they present themselves to you. The Inspector would.

    We have enough guidance from God’s agent on this earth, Jesus, to be getting on with. We know what is expected of us through him. That’s about it, really. Quite concise today. Brevity is a virtue, what!

    • “God’s agent on this earth, Jesus …”

      God told Jack to suggest you might want to reconsider this.

      • carl jacobs

        Score!

      • Inspector General

        No. Quite happy with it. Now off you go and bother DanJ0.

        • But it was after much prayer and careful thought that Jack felt God was asking him to do this. You wouldn’t want to come across as scripturally challenged, would you?

  • Shadrach Fire

    God said! Well did he or did he not, who is to say?
    God works in many mysterious ways and whilst many say I don’t need to hear from anyone else, I know the way of God. Is that true for always.
    If god can speak to Balaam through the mouth of an ass, we would be stupid not to take note. There are many flaky Christians out there who hear from God all the time. Abraham however heard from God only over decades.
    Yes, lets steer clear of the crazy charismatics but not shut ourselves off from that special word from god that might come direct from Him or from the last person on earth that you would want to believe had a word from God for you.
    God certainly works in mysterious ways.

  • Pubcrawler

    I beg His Grace’s indulgence for this little OT cause for rejoicing

    http://aclj.org/persecuted-church/breaking-christian-pastors-michael-and-peter-released

    • preacher

      Good news Brother, thank you.

      Blessings. P.

  • preacher

    Ah yes, ” God told me to ! ” – the stable mate to ” The Devil made me do it ! “

  • michaelkx

    all I can say your Grace is:

    To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

    (Isa 8:20)

    and I agree with you and the ‘Preacher’s ” the stable mate to ” The Devil made me do it” if any one said to ‘God told me to tell you’ I would mark them down as in the devils control.

  • The Explorer

    “The holiness of the heart’s affections.” Keats.

    “Sooner strangle an infant in its cradle than nurse unacted desires.” Blake

    The Romantics have a lot to answer for in directing us to the divine origin of all our impulses.

    A Catholic female colleague of mine had an adulterous relationship with an unhappily-married man. She was convinced that God wanted her to do it, and that her motive was compassion. No doubt, originally, it was. And compassion is a good thing. The holiness of her affections, and the release of his unacted desires.

    When another Catholic asked her bluntly how she reconciled this with “Do not commit adultery,” she took refuge in vagueness. Very much, I imagine – since I wasn’t in on the actual confrontation – like ‘Genesis’ 3, and a tyrannical God stopping you from fulfilling yourself.

  • The Explorer

    God wants you to do it; or the Devil wants you to do it. And the Devil gets you to do it, sometimes, by making you think that God wants you to do it.

    • CliveM

      Hmm at best the Devil provides the excuse for something you had already set your mind on doing.

      I think also applies to your Catholic friend.

    • sarky

      Thats my excuse.

    • Linus

      So how do they get you to do anything? Do they whisper in your ears? Or do they take the form of more generalised “voices in the head”?

      These kinds of detail are always rather interesting, given they can cast so much light on the origins of the delusions people suffer from. Does God’s voice sound like Charlton Heston, and the Devil’s like Vincent Price? Or does God sound like Vincent Price trying to sound like Charlton Heston?

      • The Explorer

        You think we’d give away trade secrets to the enemy?

      • len

        You will hear Gods voice one day….. either as Lord or Judge the choice is yours……..

        • Linus

          But according to you, everyone will be judged by God, so everyone will hear his voice as judge. And also according to you, God is lord, so everyone will hear his voice as lord too. So where’s my choice?

          Honestly, if Christians weren’t so incoherent, their religion might be easier to understand!

          • The Explorer

            As Lord while you are still alive, or as Judge when you are dead. What’s the problem?

          • Linus

            Well I have no idea what may or may not happen after I die, but while I’m alive, I do know that God is nowhere to be seen or heard. I’ve never seen or heard him. Neither have you, except possibly as a voice in your head generated by your own desire for that voice to exist.

          • The Explorer

            And , equally, you might not hear Him generated by your own desire for that voice NOT to exist. After death will, of course, be the real test. If I’m wrong I won’t know that I was wrong; if you’re wrong, you will.

          • Linus

            You’re not as secure as you think. If you were wrong and Allah is the supreme deity, you’ll certainly know all about it, and probably won’t be very happy as a result.

            And I’m not as doomed as you think. We just don’t know what, if anything, waits for us after death. It might be oblivion, or it might be some kind of secular paradise or hell, or it might even be something so completely incomprehensible that we can’t understand it. Time will tell.

          • The Explorer

            If it’s Allah, then you and I are equally in trouble, but I’m not worried about Allah. Islam is derivative. If God exists, Allah doesn’t. If God doesn’t exist, Allah doesn’t either.

            I didn’t say I was secure. ‘If’ allows for the possibility of being wrong. I didn’t say you were doomed; it’s not up to me to judge either way. I simply said death will resolve for you (if God exists) the question of God’s existence. If you’re right about oblivion, you won’t know you were right; just as I won’t know that I was wrong.

          • Linus

            If I can’t hear a voice and nobody else can either, it is reasonable to assume there is no voice to hear.

            If you can hear a voice but nobody else can, it is reasonable to assume that you are imagining the voice.

          • The Explorer

            God has spoken in the Incarnate Word, to whom countless millions have responded. The Incarnate Word stands at the door and knocks. Some hear, but others are wilfully deaf.

          • Linus

            Countless millions also believe in ghosts and Bigfoot and the Global Elite Lizard People. They’ve been schooled in superstition and credulity and are therefore easy to manipulate and convince without any kind of evidence.

          • The Explorer

            True. But you were saying nobody else can hear the voice.

          • Linus

            If you can hear a voice but nobody else can, it is reasonable to assume that you are imagining the voice. There is no proof that millions whom you claim have heard this voice heard what you heard. Indeed nobody heard what you say you heard at the moment you heard it. The likelihood is therefore that you merely imagined what you think you heard. Psychiatric literature is full of similar cases.

          • The Explorer

            Believers have access to the same record about the Incarnate Word, and access to the same words. Once can be postmodern and say that nobody reads the same text, but that’s a different issue.

          • The Explorer

            Note: I have commented only on how God speaks through the Bible.

          • Linus

            Books are the product of human thought. The Bible is a book. Therefore it must also be the product of human thought.

            This being the case, nobody speaks through the Bible except the human beings who wrote it. There are no voices, just words on a page. Any voice a human hears in his head as a result of reading the Bible is merely his own imagination running away with him.

          • The Explorer

            Books are the product of human thought. Really? Ever tried reading something by Barbara Cartland?
            I agree that books as human products is a perfectly-reasonable verdict: unless Peter is correct that all Scripture is God breathed, and there is also the possibility of divine revelation guiding the thoughts of particular writers.
            As for voices in the head, I have not mentioned them. If you’re that interested in them, go and converse with your own.

          • DanJ0

            Unless you’re wrong about which god, of course.

          • The Explorer

            Yes, or if I’m wrong about the non-existence of Linus’ possible secular paradise. The point I am trying to make is the very simple one that we’ll either know we got it right or wrong, or we won’t.

          • Jan de Kruyf

            Neither do I, neither have I. . .
            But come inside, there where you are one can see or hear nothing. And it will get cold tonight.
            Here is light an warmth. It is genuinely much better than standing out there trying to discern things we human beings are not very well equipped to sense.

            And by the way: its rather bad habits to insinuate that YOU know what goes on in someone else’s life. Unless off course you would be God, whom you deny exists.

          • len

            Well here is the Gospel. Man is a sinful creature(look at the world and the disasters going on in practically every country world wide.)
            So what`s the answer because man cannot change himself.Man has made giant strides in technology but still remains basically unchanged at the extremes look at ISIS and the other end of the spectrum the crimes man has kept a lid on over the years now coming to light?.
            Politicians, Bankers,Police, celebrities , etc have all got’ skeletons in the cupboard’ that are being revealed daily!. Man can attempt to ‘be good’ but the harder he tries the more he fails.So what fallen man needs is to have his sins wiped clean past present and future and to be given a new nature which is not drawn towards sin as he was in the past…
            There was an ‘exchange’ at the Cross of Jesus Christ where He took my sinful nature and gave me his Righteous Nature..That is the beginning not the end of the transformation process. God can do this because He stands outside of time also the Cross of Jesus Christ stands forever.

            ‘Pilgrims progress’ (the new version ) puts this perfectly.

            But its all a matter of choice we either accept the offer of Jesus Christ or we just walk on but then we will die in our sins and be accountable for everything we have done…..

      • Most Christians seek God’s word in Bible study, and may feel moved by events. Humble Christians will always check any impulses they feel they may have from the Deity against Scripture, and will be cautious about deception or pride. Most often, when I feel God is telling me to do something, it will be an act of charity.

        The Devil’s words most often come to us through our baser lusts, pride, culture, spirit of the age and of course his agents. They seem sweet and tell us how wise and moral we are. I recommend reading John Bunyan’s classic ‘The Pilgrim’s Progress’ for further reflection on how God’s and Satan’s words come to us, and how to distinguish between them.

        Of course , as Keyser Soze said, the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was getting people to believe he didn’t exist.

  • Alison Bailey Castellina

    Wonderful article, but there may be some exceptions. We need discernment and another ‘confirmation’ that something is coming from God, who can intervene, directly in response to prayers. Desperate people tend to see this side of Him most. On the whole I massively distrust anyone who says this but I cannot recall any such events in my life not being a charismatic, except this one. Someone I barely knew who was not a charismatic, wrote to me and said “God told me to send you this cheque….”.The fact was that I HAD been praying for money (without telling anyone). I was completely out of money, due to having a terribly misunderstood illness. I had even been desperately praying for ‘money by post’ since I could not think how else it would come. I was totally astonished and it greatly built my faith, at a critical time. Possibly wrongly, I then sent the cheque back, very gratefully, because my bank manager then rang and asked if I knew I had saved over £1000 in another account. I preferred to be saved by myself, than by God’s true servant….

    • dannybhoy

      I think alongside general giving, there can be specific Holy Spirit prompted giving. I know people who have experienced this both as givers and receivers, and not just money either.
      It makes perfect sense that within the Body of Christ the Lord may prompt us to meet the need of another believer.

  • Owl

    YG, I do believe you have outdone yourself, again.

  • Shadrach Fire

    O ye of little faith.
    To think that God can’t or won’t speak to his people. He spoke to Balaam through his Ass. Many prophets had words for their King which were ignored to their peril. He spoke to Mary and Joseph. He spoke to Saul from out of the air and knocked him off his donkey. He spoke to the gaoler. I know of many directional words from God given to individuals but they should be a confirmation of something one had had a word about direct.
    How does the Synod proceed but by individuals submitting divine knowledge on subjects? Maybe they just use their carnal knowledge?

    • preacher

      hey Brother, my personal belief is if God tells you to do it – do it !, but be sure it’s Him & not an impersonator, this is where discernment is essential.

      I’ve found that God usually speaks directly to those that listen & obey, He’s perfectly able to attract the attention of those that feign deafness by other means.

    • Dreadnaught

      ‘He spoke to Balaam through his Ass’ ?

      Bit disrespectful, but he is your God for you to criticise I suppose.
      ROFLMAO.

      • magnolia

        Donkey.

  • I heard a sermon on this subject some years ago when in a Charismatic church. The preacher said, don’t say ‘God told me’, Say ‘I feel moved.’ Wise words.

    I often feel that our Lord is prompting me to a course of action, if so I get on with it quietly. I worry about people who believe themselves specially impelled by a divine command, or indeed other imperative.

    • dannybhoy

      Sanctified common sense also comes in useful. If God wants you to do something He will confirm it. Sometimes our enthusiasm, credulity, emotions or even carnal self will can be mistaken for God’s leading..

  • Anna055

    I think there is a danger of throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Tactless people have always used their “superior knowledge” (long before the charismatic movement, such people could quote “relevant” Bible verses), but a loving and gentle “I think the Lord might be saying” is a very different matter….even on the occasions when the person is mistaken. I think people need also teaching that prophetic words can be mistaken even with the best of intentions….and that it’s OK to fail in this area as in other areas.

  • Uncle Brian

    This is something that has never happened to me, luckily, but now that I have had
    the benefit of His Grace’s wisdom, in the event that it should ever happen, I think I know what I’ll say in reply. In fact there are several possible replies, all of them beginning with the words, “And God told me to tell you …”

    The concluding words will vary from case to case, and may be uttered in a tone of voice ranging from waggish irony to a threatening snarl.

  • The one time that I did have (for want of a better word) a mystical experience, what I “heard” was something so different from what my conscious mind could have come up with that it terrified me. It was a very long time before I found the nerve to even talk to someone else about it (and yes, Happy Jack, it was a Jesuit I talked to. I thought he’d be the least likely one to call for the men in white coats. The fact that he not only believed me but didn’t seem surprised was a shock in itself). It changed my whole way of thinking, it changed the direction of my life. And even now I’m not comfortable talking about it. So if someone says “God told me to tell you…” followed by something from their own agenda, then I would beg leave to doubt it. I think if it ever really happens to them, they’ll know the difference.