Thursday, August 04, 2016

God Speaking and the Individual Will of God, pt. 2

God's revelation is complete.  Except through scripture, He isn't speaking to anyone.

You have people who say revelation is complete. They say they are not continuationists. Not. Instead they are cessationists, which is to say that God isn't speaking any more.  God was speaking. Was. He spoke to Paul and other apostles. He isn't anymore. Scripture is complete.  It is enough.  Those people say they believe that.

People have a decision to make of varying degrees of importance all the way down to paper or plastic.  In making the decision, they say that God spoke to them.  He told them what to do.

But the people said that God wasn't speaking anymore.  This is a contradiction.  This is where someone, maybe me, should say that "you can't have it both ways."  God is either not speaking anymore or He is still speaking.  It can't be both.

On one hand people will say that they are cessationists.  One the other hand the same people say that God still speaks to them.

In many instances, people who say they are cessationists still use passages where God speaks to prophets or apostles as a basis for God speaking to them today.  Those prophets and apostles did not have the completed, written Word of God.  God was still speaking to people.  Those texts or passages of scripture are not normative for today.  There is no lesson in them about God speaking today still to people.  God was still speaking directly to people until the Word of God was complete in the first century.

To make decisions today, people should not expect God to speak to them.  If they do hear a voice, they should not consider it to be God speaking to them.  There is no way to know if it is God speaking to them, no validation for that.  The apostles had validation.  They had signs and wonders. Sign gifts have ceased.

What is the validation to people, who say they are cessationists, that God is speaking to them today? I've heard several and none of them are scriptural.  Not necessarily in any order, but first, they say they are receiving God's blessing, so it must be God speaking.  Second, they say that they have seen tremendous evangelistic results, so it must be God speaking.  Third, they say that they are a very, very good Christian by many other's opinion, so it must be God speaking.  Fourth, they say God hasn't killed them, so He must not be unhappy, so it must be God speaking.  Fifth, they say that they are seeing answers to prayer, so it must be God speaking.  Sixth, they say that other people are saying that it must be God speaking to them.  Seventh, they say that they prayed really long and hard for God to speak, so He must be speaking to them, because God answers prayer.  Eighth, they say God must be speaking, because after He spoke, what God said to do worked out very, very well.

There are probably more "validations" than the above list of eight.  What really undoes all eight of them and any others is that God isn't speaking to people any more.  God said He was done speaking in His Word, which is validated (actually validated).  God confirmed His Word and then said He was done, because His Word was finished.

I'm not happy when I hear someone say that God spoke to them.  I don't believe God spoke to them.

We should read the Bible, study the Bible, and then obey the Bible.  For decisions in our individual will of God, we should apply biblical principles.  Areas that are non-scriptural, where the Bible doesn't speak, we have liberty.  Again, we use biblical principles to make the best decision we can. We should be satisfied with that.


Kent Brandenburg said...


I guess everyone agrees. Everyone has this down. I won't be hearing, "God spoke to me," anymore. I'm happy. It's a settled issue. What was once rampant among independent Baptists and I hear all the time from unaffiliateds isn't going to be happening anymore. We should celebrate. Either that or there is nothing to say here. Same old, same old, people still saying God spoke to them with zero basis for it.

Anonymous said...

I grew up largely in the IFB movement. What you say is true in my experience. Most people or preachers I have known would self-identify as cessationists, yet their entire lives are characterized by making decisions and seeking "direction" based on "God told me". I have enjoyed your thoughts on this subject.


Jeff Voegtlin said...


What you've said is true, and it is very prevalent in independent Baptist churches. It is helpful to point out this error, but I find that people also misconstrue the truth.

Once you say. "God does not speak anymore," people think you mean that the Holy Spirit isn't doing anything anymore. They also feel abandoned in their efforts to walk with God. What immediately comes to mind for many is that if we follow this thinking, we can just do "whatever we think is a good idea."

Many people have been seeking "God's will" through praying and waiting for an answer so long that it doesn't occur to them that the answer could be found in the Bible. They don't have the spiritual maturity to think "all the way around" a question and allow the Holy Spirit to guide them to the Scriptures that will answer the question.

Sometimes the silence is because people cannot process what you've said. Sometimes it is because the ramifications of what you've said paralyze them. Sometimes it is because you're getting dismissed as not worthy of a response. And sometimes it's because we agree and don't know how to add to the conversation.


Kent Brandenburg said...


I want to admit that I wrote a comment in part because once someone sees a comment, then they click on it to see what someone wrote. My comment is provocative (begs a response, to some degree). People can't free float this. This is antithetical to what is very often taught.

Kent Brandenburg said...


When I was in college, the college I attended, Maranatha Baptist Bible College, had Jack Hyles every year I was there from 7th grade to my next to last year of my M.Div, 12 years old to 24 years old, so 12 years. He preached full throated continuationism. No one I heard questioned it. It was not a place of discernment. I don't think there was any conspiracy here, but it's worth thinking about.

Kent Brandenburg said...


Thanks for the comment. It seems one must get in the face to get attention on this. People need to know they might deny continuationism, but they are practicing it, and really believing it. They might not even know it. Many to most IFB don't even know the words cessationism or continuationism. They don't know how to approach scripture.

Your comment was well written and true. I agree that maybe I need to write something here on the will of God or making decisions or how the Holy Spirit works or how God speaks through scripture -- all or any of that. There are many other things to write about that are of interest. I've been writing on related things quite often for about a month or two consistently.

The last paragraph is sad, but also the nature of fundamentalism, not including you in the mindset, that is, they also don't know how to deal with other people according to scripture -- probably don't even think they have to.

Anonymous said...


I have heard one message by Jack Hyles. It was in person. The subject was continuationism. It was in a place that was supposedly cessasionist. There was a "follow-up" blurb the next Sunday as to why continuationism was not the acceptable norm. Yet, the mindset I described in my last comment was the prevailing one there.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention at the end of Hyles' message he received a standing ovation and applause by the majority of the crowd there.