The book of Acts is often cited to show the idea of hearing the voice of God as normative for Christian living today. Now I do think something should be granted. Acts is one of the unique periods in history from what I can tell. There are times when God begins a new thing and he confirms it by miracles. We have that in the Exodus, the prophets, and the ministry of Christ.
However, I looked through the book some today. I think the book probably covers a 30 year period. It should also be noted that when the Bible records someone’s life or a period of time, it records the highlights. We record the times Abraham talked to God. We do not need to record a day when Abraham sneezes.
So what did I find?
Acts 5-An angel encourages the disciples to keep speaking on Christ.
Acts8-The angel tells Philip to speak to the Ethiopian Eunuch.
Acts 9-The Damascus Road and the conversion of Paul
Acts 10-Cornelius told by an angel to send for Peter and Peter’s vision
Acts 11-Agabus prophecies a famine
Acts 12-Angel delivers Peter from prison
Acts 13-Paul and Barnabas told to go on a missionary journey
Acts 16-Verse 7 has the Spirit of Jesus preventing missionary activity in one area and then verse 9 has the Macedonian man appearing in a vision
Acts 18-The Lord tells Paul to take comfort for he has many in that city. (Which was Corinth.)
Acts 20-Holy Spirit warns Paul about Jerusalem. (Note that the text also says that through the Spirit they encouraged him not to go to Jerusalem while Paul is compelled by the Spirit.)
Acts 21-Agabus prophecies what will happen to Paul in Jerusalem
Acts 25-Paul has a vision about Rome
Acts 27-Paul told about how to save the lives of the men on the ship.
Notice some times though that this does not happen.
This does not happen when the replacement for Judas is sought.
It does not happen in Acts 6 when disciples are chosen
It does not happen at the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15
It does not happen with the other two missionary journeys.
In fact, when I looked through tonight, I had to consider that the voice of God was kind of conspicuous. In fact, for the times that I see mentioned, that isn’t too often within a 30 year period.
I also found that they really didn’t have to to do with personal decision making. These were things told to get the early church started off. This was not something normative. I do believe there was supernatural direction some with the early church so the seeds could be planted, but as seen from the second and third missionary journeys, some free action on the part of the missionaries was allowed. Just go through and see how many decisions the people in Acts make.
Friends. I believe much has been examined in this idea. I hope soon to start looking at consequences I see of the idea and rest assured, I am not going to kick someone’s method out from under them without giving them something else to stand on.