I’ve lately been critiquing the modern emphasis on hearing the voice of God. My argument is simple. I do not deny that God can speak today. What I am arguing is that this is not normative. It is based largely on emotions and experiences as I believe, the texts that have been presented most for this position have been found wanting.
The above is a critique of a sermon I did on Proverbs 3:5-6 which led then to my stating my solution. I wrote the next day on the Way of Wisdom which can be found here:
If any of you are expecting some fancy URL terminology, it’s not from me. I know nothing about computers…
My stance is simple. I find it difficult to think that God gave us a great book on decision making called Proverbs and decided in NT times to suddenly make it be that he would make all of our decisions for us.
I think there are a number of factors that have contributed to this. My first thought is that the church abandoned rationality when Darwinian evolution rose up to challenge along with textual criticism from Germany and the Enlightenment thought as a whole. Rather than taking intellectual ground, the church largely switched to emotions, especially in such movements as the revivals of Charles Finney. Now granted, not all Christians did this, but enough did so to cause a loss.
When emotion becomes the source of truth, then it seems obvious that before too long, divine authority will be given to emotions. This is a dangerous game though as many of us are the types that our emotions simply run haywire and we could feel any way at any moment of the day.
I also think this is because frankly, we’ve become cowardly as a result. We don’t want to take steps unless we’re “sure” they’re the right ones. I ponder that it’s also possible we’re asking the wrong question on what’s the “Right thing to do” in some cases. It could be there are several right things to do.
Consider you have some extra money and want to donate it to a charity. Is there such a thing as “The right charity” to give it to, or could it be that there are several right charities that you can make a donation to? Are you going to be out of the will of God if you give to X instead of Y?
Also, consider marriage. I, being a male, definitely will be marrying a lady. Is there “the right one” out there? Probably not. Instead, there are several right ones and there’s also whether I’m going to be a “right one” for someone else. I suspect it is the same way with several other things. I don’t believe God makes a big a deal over those decisions as we do.
Now granted, there are some times when there is one right thing, but this is not in the same area. What religion do you choose? Well, you choose the one that is true, which is Christianity. Do you sleep with your significant other before you marry? No. Obviously not. Do you rob a bank to pay tuition? Obviously not either.
Friends. We have to take risks. We all know this and we all tell people to go ahead and take a chance at times, but then we think we have to wait for God to tell us what to do. In Acts, I do not see people playing it safe for Christ. Instead, I see them actively being able to take risks.
Lastly, we’ve come to a place where we despise rationality sadly. May this not be for you! Not all of us enjoy deep intellectual conversations, but let it never be said that Christianity is anti-intellectual. I find it the only worldview that can really explain the existence of rationality and logic.
Friends. It’s time we return to our biblical basis. Emotions and experiences are good things, but they are the tail and not the dog. We cannot let these events be the decision criteria for us. Return to Scripture!