Part One Part Two Part Three
In certain ways, I don't want to write about this subject, because I think it should be obvious, but it obviously isn't obvious. People think God is still speaking to them, and those people aren't just Charismatics. They are also independent Baptists. The latter say that hearing God speaking to them doesn't make them Charismatics. They don't want to be considered Charismatic. They just want to continue believing and saying that God is speaking to them.
There is a weasel type quality in my opinion to claiming not to be a Charismatic, but still receiving direct revelation from God like Charismatics believe. If Charismatics took the same position, which they do, they just take the same belief to a different extreme in practice. People who are Charismatic in belief and yet not Charismatic to the Charismatic extremes are still Charismatic.
This issue I'm addressing is a doctrinal and practical one. God speaking to someone directly in his head is a doctrinal issue. It is a belief about God's revelation, under the doctrine of bibliology, that is a false belief. Does that matter? Should we just ignore it? It is a practice, because someone is declaring that God spoke to him. What he says that God has said to him is supposed to be taken as a message from God. It can't be doubted because it's God's Word. That's very practical too, because his practice will change based on that belief that God is speaking to him. Should this difference in belief and practice matter to fellowship?
God spoke and continues to speak through scripture. At the end of the book of Revelation, He told us not to add anything to that last book of the Bible. God was done. The faith was once and for all delivered unto the saints. The Bible has everything in it that men need to be everything they need to be and to do everything they need to do. It throughly furnishes for every good work.
The canon of scripture is closed. God isn't creating any more scripture. He said He was done. We don't get to reopen the canon for 1st Kent and 2nd Kent, even Two Kent. Revelation ends it.
When someone says that God speaks to him, he denies the last two paragraphs, that teaching. He is not trusting God. He is not pleasing God by faith. He is discontent. He covets more from God than what God has sufficiently and completely given to him. He's not being thankful for what God has given him. He is doubting God.
When a person claims that he has heard directly from God, based on his testimony, that means that he is hearing from God. What about those people who are not hearing from God? Why are they not hearing from God? Somehow those who do not hear from God are lacking in something spiritual. They are a kind of spiritual have-not. In truth, the man who says he hears from God doesn't hear from God. He says he does, either because he is deceived or is lying. The person who doesn't hear feels like a spiritual have-not because of someone deceived or lying. You can see how that this affects greatly the judgment of true spirituality and spiritual discernment.
I could go further in describing the effects of this particular denial of the completion and sufficiency of scripture. It hurts people and churches, and it dishonors God. It should at least be discussed as to its veracity in a serious way or just eliminated from belief and practice.
I don't know how people are taking this series. Some are agreeing. You can see that. I know I have people reading, because the numbers are large on the statistics on my dashboard. For some, I'm sure that they see this as a matter to "agree to disagree," but "it shouldn't affect fellowship." Some will disagree and say they don't like it, but it isn't a separating issue. Others will throw down the autonomy card and say that they don't like the intervening into their church belief and practice. They want to keep their conviction that God is talking to them directly in their head, and they don't want to be bothered with changing. Changing will mean telling everyone that God hasn't been doing this in numbers of different ways, a kind of repentance involved. That might make a church and its leader look like it and he didn't know what they were doing. They think that will hurt credibility. Credibility loss will diminish success.
I've talked to people who say that what I'm writing is a separating issue, but not from the position I'm taking. Churches won't support a missionary if God hasn't told him something. He must report that God told him to be a missionary and told him to go to a field among other messages from God. Men know that if they don't say these things, they aren't getting support. If they said the position I'm espousing, they won't' get support. Those churches make it a fellowship issue.