Claiming Revelation

Welcome everyone to Deeper Waters where we dive into the ocean of truth. We’ve been looking lately at Christian Sound Bites. The sad reality is that instead of studying like they should, Christians more often just tossing out little platitudes, sadly many of which they got from their pastor probably. (We do need better informed pastors leading the flock) Tonight, we’re not looking at a sound bite per se, but a kind of attitude Christians can have.

One term that should always put you on red alert when a fellow Christian says it to you is “God told me.” To claim insight into the mind of the Most High and that He has revealed information to you is a serious claim. How seriously you take it is an indication of how seriously you take God. If you toss it out casually, you have a low view of God.

Let me state upfront that I am not saying God cannot speak to someone and tell them something today. God can do what he wants. I’m saying it’s not normative. None of us doubt that God can raise the dead. However, that doesn’t mean we’re going to leave the casket open and keep praying. It’s not a lack of faith when we bury someone. It’s not putting a limitation on God. It’s saying that He has promised when He will do that and we’re waiting on Him to do so then.

In Old Testament times, the claim to speak for God was definitely taken seriously. People died when they said “God said” and God had not said. If you got one prophecy wrong, you were a false prophet and you were to pay the price with your life for attempting to lead Israel astray.

God is the God of all truth. Do you know what you are saying when you claim that He told you something? You are claiming that what you are saying is absolutely true and true on divine authority and not just that, but personally revealed to you. Now there’s nothing wrong with quoting Scripture as the Word of God, but there’s something wrong with going beyond Scripture and giving it divine authority. Are you so sure that God has spoken something personally to you that you’d be ready to die for the claim? You’d better be!

Consider also the damage this does. First off, new Christians can expect that they ought to hear from God when this is normative. If they don’t, they think there’s something wrong. Don’t tell me that this has no effect. I’ve read on the blogosphere of people apostasizing for reasons like this.

Second, you are being an embarrassment in the eyes of those who oppose us. Consider what happened when Pat Robertson spoke on TV after the Haiti earthquake and while what he said was supposed to have divine authority, it was all wrong. Now I do realize that a lot of these are the faith teachers that we Christians don’t take seriously, but many an opponent of the church is ready to lump us all together.

Personally, we have enough that we need to explain in the eyes of a watchful world. Now I do realize we’re not perfect, but we don’t want to add to our bad actions. If we don’t take God seriously, then pray tell why should anyone else? If we make conversation with Him to be something commonplace, we’d better be acting accordingly!

Of course, I think we should all be leading holy lives based on our being in covenant with YHWH, but if you claim to hear from God and half of what you say is wrong, what will people think about God?

Third, you are denigrating Scripture. In fact, this is what happens with many of these people where The Bible becomes a collection of dusty old books. These are the ones we know to be the Word of God that were handed down to us, often at the expense of the lives of several Christians.

If you’re your average American, do something right now. Go to your room and get your Bible and then come back here.

Got it?

Okay. Now consider this.

Most anyone in China would give anything to get what you have right there. If they had just one page from it, they would pore over it constantly. People in China still place great value on what God said. Our concept is really American and one confusing the rest of the world. My former roommate and I were both quite upset once at a church service with some teachers talking about going to the Middle East and having students there in their classes ask “How do you hear the voice of God?”

Makes you wonder why God would even bother giving us a book if He was just supposed to verbally tell us everything.

The result is that our Christianity becomes more centered on us and our experiences rather than on God and how He has revealed Himself to us in Scripture. This doesn’t mean our experiences are meaningless. However, we are to interpret our experiences by Scripture and not use our experiences TO interpret Scripture. Scripture is the authority. We are not.

The sooner Christians drop the idea that God is speaking to them on a regular basis and return to a view of the majesty and awesomeness of God, the better. Perhaps maybe we’ll actually study Scripture again then.

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