Posted by: reformbama | May 7, 2012

Is God talking to you?

Some little birds seem to think so. The following is from the Pyromaniacs blog.

o I was in Minneapolis Saturday for Todd Friel’sWretched Psalm 119 Conference, and David Wheaton broadcast his weekly radio program, “The Christian Worldview,” live from the conference venue. David graciously featured an interview with me in one of the segments, and at one point he asked me to give a thumbnail sketch of what I would be speaking on later in the day. The theme of this year’s Psalm 119 Conferences is the Holy Spirit, and one of my messages dealt with the question of how the Holy Spirit communicates truth to believers. Should we expect Him to reveal fresh prophecies through intuitive impulses, voices in our heads, and other means of private revelation?

I said no, nothing in Scripture instructs us to seek that kind of guidance. Instead, we are commanded to order our lives by the Scriptures (Deuteronomy 5:32Joshua 1:7-8Psalm 1:2-31 John 2:5-6; etc.). The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to enlighten our understanding of the Word (1 John 2:2027Ephesians 1:17-181 Corinthians 2:12-14Psalm 119:18) and motivate our obedience (Ezekiel 36:27), so that the Word of God (not some mystical extrabiblical revelation) is “a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).

That’s more or less what I said in answer to David Wheaton’s question about how the Holy Spirit guides us.

Less than 15 minutes later, my phone dinged, letting me know I had received a fresh e-mail. Here’s what the message said:

I was just listening to an interview with you on local Christian radio. It seems you have elevated that which is written above the mystery of Christ hidden in us. Perhaps I have misunderstood. I hope so. There was nothing “written” for the common man until when? The 16th century? Maybe sooner…Even so, literacy was widespread. But, here we are, the seed has not been obliterated.

I submit that you could consider the inner work of the Spirit…that is a mystery, indeed. Just as surely as the union of sperm and egg produces life, so the Spirit produces new life, and that eternal. And we have no dispute there.

Lean not into your own understanding…let the Spirit have His work…by Faith. After all, God is a Spirit and they that worship Him must do so in spirit and in truth.


My reply:

God himself elevates “that which is written” to the position of highest authority, and He has expressly instructed us “not to go beyond what is written” (1 Corinthians 4:6). Scripture is the only truth we have that is God-breathed (2 Timothy 3:16). And the truth of Scripture is sufficientfor all our spiritual needs (v. 17).

So if someone heard my abbreviated answer to David Wheaton and thought I was saying the Scriptures are more authoritative and more reliable than any mysterious “inner work of the Spirit” that involves extra-biblical “truth” or inspired intuition, then emphatically: Yes, you heard me correctly.

Like many charismatics, my interlocutor seems to imagine that the principle of sola Scriptura is hostile to a robust understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work in the daily lives of Christians today.

That idea is perhaps the single most deadly error in the vast menagerie of problems associated with the charismatic movement.

By Phil Johnson


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