Posted by: reformbama | March 4, 2011

A Critique of Henry Blackaby’s “Experiencing God”

I apologize for how this looks, it did not export from PDF well. I’ll try to clean it up later. If you are real smart you can make it through it. – Reform

Published by Indian Hills Community Church Systematically Teaching the Word.

Web Site: http://www.ihcc.org

A Critique of Experiencing God In response to the popularity of the book, Experiencing God, by Henry T. Blackaby and Claude V. King.

Whose Principles Do We Go By? As previously mentioned, there is certainly nothing wrong with books that clearly and accurately point out biblical principles that will help Christians grow in their daily walks with the Lord. There is a problem, however, with books that draw special attention to their special or unique ability to help Christians grow spiritually. This seems to be the approach of Experiencing God. Though Blackaby quotes a lot of Scripture, special attention is often drawn to his principles. On page five, for example, he states, “I invite you to interact with God throughout the reading of this book so He can reveal to you the ways He wants you to apply these principles in your own life, ministry, and church” (italics ours). Notice that it is “this book” and “these principles” that help the reader. This should be a warning flag to the reader because attention is drawn to Blackaby’s book and not to the Scriptures. On page xiii, Blackaby gives several testimonies of people who claim that they got their spiritual lives together as a result of following his book:

• “I wish I had known these truths forty years ago. My life and ministry would have been totally different” (p. xiii). • “My whole life and attitudes have changed since I began this study” (Ibid.).

• ”This is the most wonderful time in my Christian life. I never knew I could have an intimate and personal relationship with my heavenly Father” (Ibid.). A Critique of Experiencing God Again, the focus is on “these truths” and “this study.” Christians, though, need to be aware of teachers who present their principles as the key to a higher level of Christianity. The fact is that the Bible alone is sufficient to show Christians how to grow spiritually and experience God (see 2 Timothy 3:16-17). There is a place for books that explain the Scripture and highlight its instructions and principles, but it is God’s book—the Bible—that helps Christians grow. There is no other book that unlocks the key to successful Christian living. Summary Evaluation Upon our review of Experiencing God, we have come to the conclusion that this book contains serious theological errors that disqualify it from being a helpful Christian resource.

To summarize, we believe that Experiencing God is in error in the following areas:

1) it teaches that God speaks directly to Christians in ways outside of the Bible;

2) it promotes a view of presenting the Gospel that is essentially the same as the “power evangelism” approach of the Vineyard movement;

3) it takes a neo-orthodox approach to Scripture;

4) it promotes a low view of the person of Jesus Christ;

5) it seriously misinterprets and misapplies texts of Scripture; and

6) it promotes a view of Christian living that is unbiblical.

THEOLOGICAL PROBLEMS

(1) Experiencing God teaches that God speaks directly to Christians in ways outside of the Bible For most of Church history, Christians have held that God speaks directly to His people through His written Word—the Bible. Though we may see God at work through means such as circumstances, answered prayer, and other believers, the only way He speaks directly to Christians today is through the Bible. The Bible is the “more sure” Word that we are to trust (2 Peter 1:19).
It alone is the inspired Word of God that equips the Christian for “every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). Within the last century, however, many have drifted from this orthodox position by accepting the notion that God speaks directly to Christians in other ways. Many teachers and books are A Critique of Experiencing God now telling Christians that God speaks directly through mystical experiences and subjective impressions. Doctrinal chaos and false teachings have occurred, though, as many have claimed that God is telling them something. Often what God supposedly said to someone ends up being wrong or contradicted by someone else’s revelation from God. With this subjective and mystical approach, many people today are believing in and acting upon things that have no basis in Scripture. This view that God speaks directly to Christians in ways outside of the Bible is usually identified with the Charismatic movement. Though the Charismatic movement is identified by a number of issues, one major element of the movement is its emphasis on direct revelation apart from Scripture. Though Blackaby himself does not claim to be Charismatic, the evidence strongly indicates that the theology of his book is Charismatic in nature—particularly in the area of direct revelation from God.
For example, as he states on page 144, “When God speaks to you through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, the church, or in some other way, He has a purpose in mind for your life.” Notice that the Bible, according to Blackaby, is now just one of many ways God speaks to Christians. It is no longer the Bible alone but the Bible plus a list of other things. Certainly, no Christian would deny that God’s hand can be seen in the providential acts of circumstances, answered prayer, and His work in the lives of other believers. But it is not true that God uses these other ways to speak directly to Christians as He does with the Bible. By lumping these “other ways” with the Bible, he has compromised the Bible’s unique status and authority. This compromise can be seen in the following statement: “No one of these methods of God’s speaking is, by itself, a clear indicator of God’s directions. But when God says the same thing through each of these ways, you can have confidence to proceed” (p. 56). This statement has great implications.
Is our authority the Bible alone, or is it the Bible plus a list of other things? If we follow his logic, does this mean that if the Bible speaks to a matter we have to check with the other areas first before we proceed? What if the other areas point in a different direction than what the Bible says? Statements like this compromise the authority of Scripture.

A Critique of Experiencing God This issue of specific, direct revelation apart from the Bible is a serious matter. Blackaby avoids terminology such as “direct revelation” but his writings clearly show that he believes Christians today can have direct revelation from God:
• If the God of the universe tells you something, you should write it down. When God speaks to you in your quiet time, immediately write down what He said before you have time to forget (p. 172).
• God speaks to individuals, and He can do it in any way He pleases (p. 163).
• Is it important to know when the Holy Spirit is speaking to you? Yes! How do you know what the Holy Spirit is saying? I cannot give you a formula. I can tell you that you will know His voice when He speaks (John 10:4) (p. 176).
• When God starts to do something in the world, He takes the initiative to come and talk to somebody (p. 103).
• He will speak to His people today, and how He speaks will not be nearly as important as the fact that He does speak (p. 134).
• If you want the God of the universe to speak to you, you need to be ready for Him to reveal to you what He is doing where you are (p. 144).

These statements clearly show that Blackaby believes that God speaks to people in subjective and mystical ways. How has he come to this conclusion? As we continue our evaluation, we will see that Blackaby bases his theology on the experiences of unique men of the Bible. Building a Theology of Experience From Unique Men of the Bible In a way similar to Charismatic teachings, Blackaby uses the experiences of unique men of the Bible to support his view that God speaks directly to Christians today. That is why Blackaby places heavy emphasis on the experiences of men such as Abraham, Moses, Elijah, the prophets, the kings, the judges, the apostles and A Critique of Experiencing God Jesus Christ.
According to Blackaby, since God spoke directly to these men, He will also speak to you:
• If anything is clear from a reading of the Bible, this fact is clear: God speaks to His people. He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden in Genesis. He spoke to Abraham and the other patriarchs. God spoke to the judges, kings, and prophets. God was in Christ Jesus speaking to the disciples. God spoke to the early church, and God spoke to John on the Isle of Patmos in Revelation. God does speak to His people, and you can anticipate that He will be speaking to you also (pp. 131-32) (italics ours). Blackaby’s argument, however, is filled with serious errors. First, it is not a logical necessity that since God spoke directly to certain men in the Bible that “He will be speaking to you also.” In making this statement, Blackaby violates an important principle of proper Bible interpretation which holds that the experiences of men in the Bible should not to be taken as normative for all believers unless the Bible explicitly says so. The Bible gives no evidence that believers should expect that the experiences of unique men of the Bible will be true for them. The apostles raised people from the dead, but few would argue that this practice should be normative for all Christians. Paul had a vision of Paradise (2 Corinthians 12:2-4), but nowhere are we told that his experience should be true for all Christians. It simply is not correct to conclude that since certain people in the Bible had an experience, we should too. To support his view that God still speaks directly to Christians today, Blackaby appeals to the Book of Acts. To him, since God spoke to Christians in the Book of Acts, then He must certainly be speaking to Christians today:

• We live as if God quit speaking personally to His people…. God clearly spoke to His people in Acts. He clearly speaks to us today. From Acts to the present, God has been speaking to His people by the Holy Spirit (p. 136). Again, Blackaby’s point does not logically follow. The fact that God spoke to people in the Book of Acts does not mean that He speaks to all Christians in the same way today. The period of the A Critique of Experiencing God early church, as described in Acts, was a unique time in redemptive history. It was a time when God’s unique servants, the apostles, were establishing the Church. It was also a time when the writings of the New Testament had not yet been penned. God, during this time, did supernatural things through the Apostles to verify their unique ministries (see 2 Corinthians 12:12). But even then, their experiences were not normative for all Christians. It is not correct to assume that since God spoke to the apostles and those associated with their ministries, that He must speak to Christians in the same way today. Second, though Blackaby wants to make the extraordinary experiences of the Bible normative for today, the experiences found in the Bible were not even normative in the days of the Bible men he mentions. It is true, for instance, that God spoke to Abraham, but there is no evidence that God was speaking to anyone else like He did with Abraham. On page 133, Blackaby uses the example of Moses to show that God still speaks to His people today. God, however, did not speak to the other people of Israel in the way He spoke to Moses. When God spoke to Moses on Mt. Sinai He did not say, “Send up the other two million Israelites one by one so I can speak to them like I spoke with you.” In fact, Deuteronomy 34:10 states that after Moses’ death, “no prophet has risen in Israel like Moses, whom the LORD knew face to face.” Moses’ experiences with God were very unique. They were not even normative for those living in the time of Moses. It is not correct, then, to use Abraham and Moses as examples of how God speaks to His people. The fact that God spoke to the kings, prophets, and judges of Israel as well cannot be used as evidence that believers can expect this kind of revelation. God simply did not speak to most Israelites in Old Testament times in that way. In fact, the percentage of people God spoke directly to in Bible times would be so small that it would barely be a fraction above zero. Blackaby’s argument simply does not hold up.

(2) Experiencing God promotes a view of presenting the Gospel that is essentially the same as the “power evangelism” approach of the Vineyard movement In recent years the Church has seen the rise of what is known as the Vineyard movement. Started in 1977 under the influence of John Wimber, the Vineyard movement has become a popular and influential wing of the Charismatic movement. One distinctive of the Vineyard movement is its approach to the Gospel known as “power evangelism.” As its leader, John Wimber, has defined it, “Power evangelism is that evangelism which is preceded and undergirded by supernatural demonstrations of God’s presence” (Power Evangelism, p. 46). Behind this “power evangelism” approach is the belief that straightforward presentations of the Gospel are often not enough to win people for Christ. Signs and wonders must accompany the preaching of the Gospel in order for large numbers of people to be saved. Most evangelical Christians have strongly rejected this power evangelism approach, understanding that it is not correct to add miracles to the Gospel message. It is the Gospel, alone, that is the power of God that leads to salvation (Romans 1:16). How does this relate to Experiencing God? It relates in that Blackaby promotes a view of evangelism that is essentially the same as the “power evangelism” approach of the Vineyard movement. He believes that Christians must be involved in doing the miraculous to be fully effective in presenting the Gospel. In his section, “People Come to Know God” (p. 221), he uses the supernatural examples of Moses at the Red Sea, Joshua and the Jordan River, and Daniel’s three friends in the fiery furnace to show that unbelievers need to see great deeds of God in order to believe. He states, “When they [unbelievers] see things happen that can only be explained by God’s involvement, they will come to know Him” (p. 221). By seeing “things happen” he is referring to miraculous signs. He comments on page 223:

• Let the world see God at work, and He will attract people to Himself. Let Christ be lifted up—not in words, but in life When the world sees things happening through God’s people that cannot be explained except that God Himself has done them, then the world will be drawn to the God they see. Let A Critique of Experiencing God world leaders see the miraculous signs of an all-powerful God, and they, like Nebuchadnezzar, will declare that He is the one true God. This is clearly a power evangelism approach. Blackaby claims that the world and its leaders need to “see God at work” through “miraculous signs.” It is through these great wonders that unbelievers will finally be attracted to Christ. To him, the church must start doing these things. In fact, Blackaby has strong words for those of us who are not doing the miraculous:

• The reason much of the world is not being attracted to Christ and His church is that God’s people lack the faith to attempt those things that only God can do. If you or your church are not responding to God and attempting things that only He can accomplish, then you are not exercising faith (p. 224). This is a very serious indictment against Christians who are not doing miracles. Blackaby is saying that Christians who do not perform miraculous signs are lacking in faith and are the reason why the world is not coming to know Christ. He affirms this again in the following statements:

• If people in your community are not responding to the gospel as they did in the New Testament, one possible reason is that they are not seeing God in what you are doing as a church (p. 224).

• What our world often sees are devoted, committed Christians serving God. But they are not seeing God. They comment, “Well, there’s a wonderful, dedicated, committed group of people serving God.” They, however, do not see anything happening that can only be explained in terms of the activity of God. Why? Because we are not attempting anything that only God can do (p. 223). These statements are both disturbing and unbiblical. Nowhere in the New Testament are churches told that performing miracles must be a part of the Gospel message. Moreover, in all of the passages in which local churches are rebuked in the New Testament, A Critique of Experiencing God not once are they ever reprimanded for not doing miracles. In Revelation chapters 2 and 3, for instance, Jesus scolds five of the seven churches for various issues such as lack of love and doctrinal compromise, but He never rebukes them for lack of miracles. Furthermore, contrary to this power evangelism philosophy of Blackaby, the Bible indicates that miracles often do not bring people to saving faith. Jesus performed great and indisputable miracles throughout Israel, yet the people had Him crucified. Moses did many great miracles, but the generation that saw these signs died in the wilderness because of unbelief. Contrary to Blackaby’s example mentioned earlier, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon did not come to saving faith as a result of the fiery furnace incident as recorded in Daniel 3. Nebuchadnezzar’s salvation probably came years later as Daniel 4 records. The Bible is clear that it is the work of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of the Gospel that brings people to saving faith—not miracles. “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). In Luke 16, the rich man who died and went to Hades wrongly believed that if one could return from the dead and warn his unbelieving brothers, they would then be saved. Abraham, however, told him, “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead” (Luke 16:31). If people do not believe the Gospel, they will not believe even if they see miracles. Man’s problem is not lack of signs but lack of belief.

(3) Experiencing God promotes a neo-orthodox approach to Scripture. In the early 1900s, a German theologian named Karl Barth popularized a view of theology that came to be known as neoorthodoxy. Though characterized by several beliefs, neo-orthodoxy is mostly known for its view on the nature of Scripture. Neo-or- thodoxy does not hold that all parts of Scripture are the Word of God. Instead, it holds that certain parts of Scripture may become the Word of God if the reader has an experience with a passage. If a certain Bible passage really grips the reader, then, in that sense, that part becomes a word from God. Evangelical Christianity has traditionally rejected this neo-orthodox approach to Scripture for A Critique of Experiencing God the reason that all of Scripture is God’s Word at all times (see 2 Timothy 3:16). It does not become a Word of God because of an experience—it is already the Word of God. This is true whether the person reading it has an experience with it or not. We bring this point up for the simple reason that Blackaby makes several statements in his book that sound dangerously similar to neo-orthodox theology. On page 164, for instance, he writes, “Have you ever been reading the Bible when suddenly you are gripped by a fresh new understanding of the passage? That was God speaking!” What is wrong with this statement? This statement is wrong because it makes an implication that is unbiblical. The Bible does not become the Word of God because of some “fresh new understanding.” God speaks in all of the words of the biblical text, not just those that make an impression on the reader. From Blackaby’s statement it is very possible for the reader to get the impression that lack of a “fresh new understanding” of Scripture meant that God was not speaking. On page 139 Blackaby makes another statement with neoorthodox implications:
• Some people have a tendency to open their Bible, pick out a verse that they want to use, and claim that they have a word from God for their circumstance. This is a very humancentered (or self-centered) approach. You may ask, “Can’t I get a word from God from the Bible?” Yes, you can! But only the Holy Spirit of God can reveal to you which truth of Scripture is a word from God in a particular circumstance (italics ours). We grant that there are times when a certain verse or passage may be of special help to a believer in a particular situation, but that is different from saying that the Holy Spirit needs to reveal which part of the Bible is a word from God in a situation. If the entire Bible is the Word of God, why is it necessary for the Holy Spirit to reveal which parts are a word from God? Statements such as these imply a neo-orthodox theology.

(4) Experiencing God presents a low view of the person of Jesus Christ One of the most disturbing features of Experiencing God is its low view concerning Jesus Christ. By this we mean that statements A Critique of Experiencing God are often made in the book that do not accurately portray the Jesus of the Bible. The Bible presents Jesus as the God-man who always walked in perfect accord with the will of the Father. Jesus said “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30). Though distinct persons within the Trinity, Jesus and the Father are a perfect unity both in their natures and in their actions. The picture of Jesus that Blackaby presents, however, is different from the one presented in the Bible as evidenced by the following statements:

• He [the Father] pursues a love relationship and invites Jesus to be involved with Him by revealing what He is doing. Jesus then makes the adjustments to do what His Father is doing (p. 68).

• If you look to Scripture for your understanding of God, youwill see that God most certainly will require adjustments of His people. He even required major adjustments of His own Son (p. 235) (italics ours).

• The key way Jesus knew how to do the Father’s will was to watch to see what the Father was doing. Jesus watched to see where the Father was at work. When He saw, He did what He saw the Father doing. For Jesus the revelation of where the Father was working was His invitation to join in the work (p. 119). • When the Son saw the Father’s activity, that was the invitation for the Son to join Him. God used circumstances to reveal to Jesus what He was to do. The circumstances were the things Jesus saw the Father doing. There are some things that only the Father can do (p. 188). • Jesus always looked for where the Father was at work and then joined Him (p. 188). • God used circumstances to reveal to Jesus what He was to do. Jesus watched circumstances to know where the Father wanted to involve Him in His work (p. 200).  The Jesus that Blackaby presents is a Jesus who wandered around in His earthly ministry until the Father invited Jesus to join Him in His work. When God the Father invited Jesus to join Him, then Jesus made the necessary “adjustments” to place himself in line with the Father’s plan. This is blasphemy! There is no evidence in the Gospels that Jesus spent His life looking for the Father’s will so He could then join Him there. Nor did Jesus need to make “major adjustments” to His life. Everything He did was the Father’s will. These statements by Blackaby should alarm every believer in Jesus Christ. Blackaby also makes other statements in his book that show a low view of God in general. In his section, “My Surrender to Major Adjustments,” he records a prayer that he believes Christians should offer to God. On one particular line he writes, “You [God] have my permission to change my beliefs, even those I have so proudly held on to for these many years” (p. 245). Though it is certainly noble to change the wrong beliefs we have, is it fitting to tell the sovereign God of the universe, “You have my permission to change my beliefs?” Such a statement indicates a low view of God that should concern any Christian. In another example, on page 259, Blackaby discusses the account of Jonah. He states, “When God had a plan to call Ninevah to repentance, He asked Jonah to join Him in His Work.” If one reads the Book of Jonah, however, it is clear that God never asked Jonah to do anything. He commanded him to go to Ninevah! (see Jonah 1:1-2). Statements like these indicate a very man-centered emphasis of the book.

(5) Experiencing God seriously misinterprets and misapplies texts of Scripture To support his method for helping Christians experience God, Blackaby quotes numerous Scripture passages in each chapter. The main flaw that permeates his book, though, is his constant abuse and misuse of Scripture. Blackaby, on many occasions, misinterprets and misapplies the Bible. He takes Bible verses out of their contexts and gives them meanings that the biblical authors never intended. Passages that speak about unbelievers are applied to Christians (see p. 251). Verses that refer to salvation are made to A Critique of Experiencing God apply to Christian living. On page 33, for example, Blackaby discusses how Christians can know God’s will. He states, “Who is the one who really knows the way for you to fulfill God’s purpose for your life? God is! Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth and the life’ (John 14:6).” John 14:6, though, is not a passage about how Christians can know God’s purposes for their lives. It is a salvation text. Jesus is declaring that salvation only comes through Him. On page 40, Blackaby quotes Jeremiah 18:1-6, a passage in which God’s sovereignty is likened to a potter’s sovereignty over clay. To Blackaby, however, the point of this passage is that “to be useful, the clay has to be moldable.” Jeremiah 18:1-6, though, is not talking about how believers need to be moldable so God can use them; the point is that God can sovereignly do what He pleases with those He has created. Blackaby also applies John 11:4, (“This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it”) to his daughter’s illness (p. 190). The context of Jesus’ statement in John 11:4, though, is the miraculous raising of Lazarus from the dead. It is not a promise that can be taken and applied to situations today. These examples are just a small sample of passages that are misapplied and misinterpreted. This consistent abuse of Scripture destroys the credibility of the book. Though Blackaby tries to build his case for experiencing God on Scripture, his use of Scripture is so bad that little he states can be trusted.

(6) Experiencing God promotes a view of Christian living that is unbiblical. This last point is more general and concerns the issue of daily Christian living. We believe that Blackaby’s approach to Christian living is not consistent with what the Bible says about the normal Christian life. His book is filled with many examples of people who had extraordinary things happen to them (i.e., sicknesses cured, great amounts of money coming in). He talks about Christians doing “God-sized” assignments so wonderful that everyone around will know they are from God (see p. 220). He speaks of “miraculous signs” that believers should be seeing (see pp. 223-24). But is this the picture of Christian living that the New Testament presents?  Does the New Testament tell us that these extraordinary things will be true for the average Christian on a regular basis? We readily acknowledge that we serve an all-powerful God who can do extraordinary things. We also know that He abundantly provides for all believers every day. The New Testament, though, does not state that Christians should expect the “big things” to always be happening in their Christian walks. On the contrary, it talks about walking moment by moment by the Holy Spirit (see Galatians 5:16). It discusses faithfully presenting Christ in our words and our deeds. Christians can “experience God” every moment of their lives as they serve Him, pray, and walk in humble obedience to the Word of God. Living for God is not about jumping from one “God-sized assignment” to the next. With Blackaby’s emphasis on extraordinary experiences, the reader is left with the impression that he is only experiencing God and doing His will if he sees big things happening in his life. This is not a biblical approach, however, and no Christian who takes this approach will be satisfied. In fact, following Blackaby’s method may lead many Christians to serious disappointments. Blackaby promises great and wonderful things for all Christians based on the unique experiences of a few. But what happens if and when God does not do extraordinary things for the average Christian like He did for Moses, Elijah and the apostles? Many may come to doubt their spirituality and their faith because these great things do not happen to them. This is one of the greatest dangers of this book. We also disagree with Blackaby’s concept of finding out where God is at work. To Blackaby, finding God’s work revolves around figuring out what God is doing around you and then running over and joining Him there (see chs. 6 and 9). This is supposedly how Jesus knew where the Father was at work: “The Son kept on looking for the Father’s activity around Him so He could unite His life with the Father’s activity” (p. 119, see also p. 200). With this principle Blackaby tells the reader, “Your job as a servant is to follow Jesus’ example: Do what the Father is already doing—watch to see where God is at work and join Him!” (p. 69) (italics his). God’s work is presented as something that must be discovered before it can be joined. There is a problem with this view, however. The New Testament does not teach that Christians must try to predict in some A Critique of Experiencing God subjective way where God is at work around them so that they can then join Him. They can know that God is at work right where they are. Christians can faithfully do the work of God wherever God’s providential hand has sovereignly placed them. This can be done at home, in the workplace, in school, or in any place God has put them. We do not have to walk around wondering where God is at work. Nor do we have to say, “That looks like the work of God, I think I’ll run over and join it.” Conclusion Based on the six reasons mentioned above, we believe that Experiencing God is a book characterized by unbiblical theology. It contains serious errors on the nature of Scripture, the person of Christ, and how Christians should pursue their walk with God. We, therefore, do not recommend it as a trustworthy Christian resource. We again want to emphasize that our conclusions are based solely on the contents of Experiencing God and in no way are meant to be a judgment on the motives or characters of the authors of this book. We do believe, though, that the errors of this book are serious enough that its authors should be held accountable by the Christian community in which their work has been disseminated.

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Responses

  1. Excellent article. I’m sure most people who take the Experiencing God bible study have no idea what neo orthodoxy is and are certainly unaware that this is what is being taught. Mr. Blackaby’s views are not unique (to him). His views have a name and certainly agree with neo orthodoxy. He simply presented these ideas (mainly to Southern Baptists) and since most people are not taught any type of theology in their (Baptist) churches they follow along agreeing with this “new revelation”. After all, he IS a Southern Baptist pastor and “conference speaker” so what he says MUST be true!!

  2. Thank you for this excellent article about Blackaby and “Experiencing God.” I first heard about Blackaby from
    Henry Otten’s Christian News paper several years ago, then I wrote to John McArthur who gave me a web site to more information on the book. Now your article which I appreciate very much. We as God’s people need discernment
    in the last days.
    Vernon

    • Thank You for stopping by. Do you still have the web address that John MacArthur sent you to?

  3. thank you for this article. I recently joined a church who plans on doing a seminar in the fall, and something even about the title struck me as wrong. I thank God for a life filled with fantastic solid Bible teachers and of course for the Holy Spirit in giving discernment in ‘picking out’ false doctrine.
    I agree with the comment that very few are taught theology and many follow their denomination and leaders blindly.
    It took a lot of research online to find this information and I thank you for it so much. Now I have a jumping off point to read this book and critique it critically against the real truth of God’s word. I will then present it to the ‘powers that be’ and see what happens!
    thanks again
    LB

    • Good luck and thank you for stopping by.

  4. Experiencing God is full of doctrinal error. Biblical scholars will notice this within the first 1 – 15 pages. It is full of private interpretations. I left a study group and my Church over the use of this book. A new comer to the Word who is not well versed in the scriptures will easily be seduced by many of the lies in it. The advisary is very subtle.

    DL

  5. I fell into the camp Dana (your first commenter) mentions above. We loved Experiencing God at the time we went through it at our church… thought it was the bees’ knees. Looking back on that time period, we realize we had no clue about that book, correct doctrine nor a shred of knowledge of theology. And we both grew up in Southern Baptist churches. Sad, much?

    • Been there, done that. Church leader throws a best seller in front of you it has to be good. Many days I wish I was still ignorant. I wish my discernment radar would break or go idle for awhile.

  6. I too left a church over this book being heralded as so important to being Christian! There are so many doctrinal issues with this book I don’t even know where to begin! Just remember, if YOU’RE God experience isn’t the same as MY God experience, well, something must be wrong with your faith! Yeah, my faith ain’t always what it should be, but I know enough about the Bible to know that Blackaby either doesn’t, or worse, does, and doesn’t care as long as he’s selling books! I have the same problem with so much of the “Christian” music and books out there, I think MANY people are being led astray!!

    Romans 16:17–18 17 I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles xcontrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; yavoid them. 18 For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but ztheir own appetites,6 and aby smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive.

  7. Sad article, sad comments. The Scriptures are inestimably wonderful, and they teach that JESUS is the Word of God. He is the Living God — He has spoken and He speaks! Prayer is not a monologue, or a conversation with a text, it is a dialogue with the Holy Spirit as guided and helped by the Holy Text, but this concept of Holy Spirit guidance is so glibly written off here as “subjectivity.” Our walk with Christ is not just a book study for the well-educated. I hope that all those who are so confident of their discernment have more fruit to bring the King at the end of their race, than that they taught other Christians to be just as “discerning” as they. There have been some students of the Bible who learn to be so discerning that they chase away (and kill) the very prophets (including, do we remember?, the Anabaptists).

  8. I have read your critique carefully and cross-referenced your statements against the original publication of the hardbound edition as well as the Revised Updated Workbook for the Video Series…using your own page references. Honestly… Your credibility suffers greatly when your references and quotes DO NOT EXIST in either the original or updated text. You put forth a great many allegations without backing them up. If you truly believe the bible is the Inspired Word of God, How can you deny it can be ALIVE for the average, uneducated reader? Or would you have it taken from our hands because we are too common, too dull to discern? Wait, isn’t that what ‘They’ said when scripture was first translated for the common folk?

    • Hey Mr. Reading Comprehension Challenged,

      Read the first part of the post, I did not write it. Since you overlooked that I question your credibility that you even went back and read
      anything. Take your arguments to the original author of the post.

      • So, let me get this straight… you post things you do not agree with? take no responsibility for? and pass on things that are neither accurate or at least verified? And your response to my comment is a ‘slam’ of my ability to comprehend?… HOW VERY CHRISTIAN OF YOU!!! Have you ever heard of GOSSIP?

      • Still showing your lack of reading comprehension skills. Did I say I did not agree with it? No. Did I say I agree with it? No.
        I posted this back in 2011 and read the book in the early 2000’s.
        I did not write the article so I am not going to defend it. If you want to argue about it take it to the guy that wrote it.
        I am sure he is a big boy and can defend himself.
        Some things I post on here is like Fox News. “We report, you decide” I expect people to do their homework, like you did.
        If I get the time, I will go knock the dust off of the book and check your claims and if true make a note on this post about.
        I could have just not approved your comment and remained silent on this.
        There is a back story to why that particular piece was posted. Not going to take the time to go into it.

  9. Trash Talk!!!

  10. You know, I was going to type you a long letter telling you how worong you are about Experiencing God and that maybe you should actually take the class yourself before you “critique” it yourself. Then I thought, what’s the point. God doesn’t need me to defend Him or His methods. So instead of allowing my flesh to take over I will suffice it to tell you that I pray for you and that the Father will bless you and keep you all the days of your life. I will pray that my Savior, Jesus Christ will show you His truths in His own time and bring you to perfection on His appointed day. I love you.

  11. Bama,
    I do not understand your hostility to the people who have commented by disagreeing with the premise of this critique.

    This is your site. One would reasonably assume that if you share a critique on your site that you both agree with the critique (unless you indicate otherwise), and that you have vetted the critique to the extent that you are prepared to defend the critique should it be challenged.

    This is not a “reading comprehension” issue, and it is insulting and childish that you would resort to such nonsense in responding to those who not only took the time to read what you shared, but also responded with thoughts of their own.

    Some of Jesus’ harshest comments were for the Pharisee’s and teachers of the law who focused so intently on their interpretation and adherence to the law that they completely lost the heart of God’s intent in giving it in the first place. You have here a site that is presumably to focus on theology and doctrine, and you respond in haste, anger, and belittling when someone disagrees with you. Where is Jesus Christ in such a response?

    I have recently read Blackaby’s book for the first time. I am not an immature or young follower of Christ, and I love God’s word and allowing the Spirit to grant me better and fuller understanding of it as I spend time with it. I say these things not to commend myself, but to hopefully establish with you that I am not a spiritual child, easily swaying to the winds of the latest spiritual fad.

    Perhaps from a very precise theological approach, argument can be made with the language that Blackaby uses to describe our experience on a day to day basis with God, the Holy Spirit, and Christ. But I get the sense that these arguments are much less theological and much more picking at nits. My comprehension of Blackaby’s teaching was that it was very consistent with the God I have come to experience through the Word. God delights in making His name great among the nations, and He seems to most enjoy doing that through broken and flawed vessels.

    Why would this be? I think it is because when ridiculously amazing things are done through human vessels who are clearly incapable of such things, all those around must at least consider the possibility that a divine power is involved. Many times in the old testament, pagan people were led to believe in the Israelites God because of the work God did through them. Many times in the new testament, pagan people were led to believe in Jesus Christ because of the work God did through the disciples.

    To interpret Blackaby as saying that we all must wait for an audible voice from God or the Holy Spirit before taking up a work is a gross misinterpretation of the book I just read. It seems clear to me that Blackaby is only saying that “unless God builds the house, they labor in vain who build at all.” This is certainly consistent with the message of scripture.

    I’m sorry you’ve responded as you have to those who have good things to say about Blackaby’s study. A defensive response eliminates the possiblity of a positive and helpful discourse back and forth about a work that was clearly intended to help people find a more personal and dynamic relationship with our God. Quibbling over differences of interpretation do none of us any benefit. Even the author of a critique would admit that there is much good in what Blackaby has shared. More significantly, it is clear that many have found a deeper relationship with their God and Lord through time spent reading and studying this book.

    In Christ,

    Bill Worley

    • Wow, extremely loooong comment on a very old post. Didn’t really read it. So I have nothing to say about it nor the time.


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