Monday, October 20, 2014

"Learn How To Recognize God's Voice with Rick Warren"

The video below is one hour nine minutes long, but you only need to listen to the first 30 seconds to see that it is a farce.

HT No Compromise Radio

Here is a transcript of the first 30 seconds. Below the video I'll show how and why this just isn't biblical, and worse, instills fear. The wrong kind of fear.
Last week we began an new mini-series in understanding how to hear the voice of God. Very few things are more important than this, because you can't have a relationship with God if you can't hear God. If all you do is ever talk to Him in prayer, and you never hear God speak to you, that's a one-way relationship. That isn't much of a relationship. God wants to speak to you.



We go to the most obvious bible verse, Hebrews 1:1-2, which says,

Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
W.P. Zubar w/eartrumpet Library of Congress

God spoke to us through His Son, who is the Word. He Spirit-energized writers to put to paper the things His Son said. That word was finalized with the completion of Revelation, and to seal the final word, the final speaking of God at this point in time, Revelation 22:18-19 states,

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, 19and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

God spoke through His Son.

Now, the Spirit does illuminate the Word to us, making it clear and understandable. But the Spirit is not saying new things. He is simply testifying of Christ, when He points us to His word and illuminates it for us. Here is an essay on illumination. For example, the essay states,
Psalm 119, which is the longest chapter in the Bible, is a song about God's Word. In verse 130, it says “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.” This verse establishes the basic method of God's illumination. When God's Word enters the heart of a person, it gives light and understanding to them. For this reason, we are repeatedly told to study the Word of God.
God spoke final words, they are through His Son, and those speakings are contained in the closed canon of the bible.

What Warren is saying is that the canon is not closed and we can hear special and personal things in addition to the bible. This violates Revelation 22:18.

Secondly, in the Hebrews verse it states, 'in these last days'. The last days are the days of grace, between which Jesus incarnated and when He will come back. We are in the last days. We have been since He first came and we will be until He returns again.

However what was most troubling is that Warren made an absolute statement and it is completely unbiblical. He said,

"you can't have a relationship with God if you can't hear God"

Woe to the false shepherds who strike the sheep!

When Rick Warren makes an absolute statement like "you CAN'T have a relationship with God UNLESS you hear His voice, he is adding qualifiers to the standards for a relationship that God has already set. Nowhere in the bible is there a condition for faith that includes hearing from God. We know we are saved by grace alone through faith alone.

How to have a closer relationship with God

How to have a relationship with Jesus

We can do a quick keyword search in the NT for the word unless in the context of salvation conditions. One cannot have a relationship with God unless one is saved. So let's see what it takes to be saved and have this relationship Warren is talking about. Remember, we're looking in the Bible for a condition placed on our faith as Warren said, 'unless you hear God speaking to you, you cannot have a relationship with Him.'

"Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven". (Matthew 18:3).

OK, so that is a biblical condition attached to our faith. Pulpit Commentary explains:
Christ points to little children as the model to which the members of his kingdom must assimilate themselves. The special attributes of children which he would recommend are humility, unworldliness, simplicity, teachableness, - the direct contraries of self-seeking, worldliness, distrust, conceit.
"No, I tell you; but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:5)

"Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3)

Another faith condition. Still not finding "unless you hear God you can't have a relationship with Him." Let's keep looking.

"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44).

OK, so unless God draws a person, they will not be in a relationship with Him.

So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. (John 6:53).

Gill's Exposition explains the John 6 verse:
But the words design a spiritual eating of Christ by faith. To eat the flesh, and drink the blood of Christ, is to believe that Christ is come in the flesh, and is truly and really man; that his flesh is given for the life of his people, and his blood is shed for their sins
"I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.” (John 8:24).

"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me." (John 15:4)

We need to repent in order to have a relationship with God. We must abide in Him. Still not finding having to hear Him to have a relationship with Him.

We could go on, but Christians know what it takes to enter into a relationship with God.

As for maintaining a relationship with Him, nothing in the bible says either that if one doesn't hear Him one CANNOT have a relationship. We already discussed what it takes to have a relationship, and once the Lord delivers grace unto a repentant person, they are now and forever a believer in a relationship with the Father. There is nothing that says hearing Him is a requirement for a relationship, neither entering into one nor maintaining one.

Warren's attitude toward prayer was sadly dismissive. He said "If all you're doing is praying to God..." What a scornful attitude toward communication with the Creator of the Universe! The Ancient of Days! The Holy One of Israel! That He entertains prayer, encourages prayer, listens to prayer, answers prayer, is an astounding feature of our relationship with Him!

If "all" we're doing is praying to God?!?! It's everything! I am so sorry that it isn't enough for Warren. He wants more. He wants to HEAR back. It's not enough to have faith that God listens and answers, He has promised to do so. (Mark 11:24).

It is not a one-way relationship. Here are just a few f the things God does for us: God created the world for us to inhabit. (Isaiah 45:18). Jesus died for us. (Romans 5:8). We have the gift of the Spirit is in us. (2 Corinthians 1:22). He illuminates the scriptures for us. (John 16:13-16). Jesus intercedes for us in heaven. (Hebrews 7:25). He provides for us. (2 Corinthians 9:8 ). He gives us grace and help. (Hebrews 4:16). He sends angels to minister to us. (Hebrews 1:14). And so much more. One-way? Hardly. It is a lopsided relationship, one where He gives so much more to us than we give to Him

The fallacy that in order for our faith to be real, that we must hear God, is very detrimental to the believer. We're not supposed to hear God, but when people listen to Warren making an absolute statement like he did, they worry they're not in the faith because they are not hearing from Him. They begin to contrive all sorts of things as Godly utterances, some of which may be satan, others will hear their own inner voice but attribute it to God. Others will simply fear they're not saved, and begin a fruitless search for ways to 'hear' Him. Discouraged, some will lose heart, or be burdened with needless doubt.

Seeking to hear a voice sets aside the sufficiency of the bible as guide for all things. This is the most important point of all. Warren adds to the conditions for faith, dismisses prayer as insufficiently communicative, encourages congregants to pursue a fruitless path of voices and promptings, and worst of all, sets aside the bible for our guide for all things. Whisperings, promptings, voices,all bunk. Read the bible, pray, and watch as God works out Providential things in your life.

Oh, and watch out for wolves like Rick Warren.



16 comments :

  1. After my husband left me for another woman, there were times where I had to be around the both them together at various children's activities. The first time I was face to face with my husband's paramour did not go well. The thought 'just show love' went through my mind constantly. I would tell people God was talking to me, telling me to just show love. I am still confused about that because that thought was not one I chose to think about would invade my mind at various times during the day. Whether it was God's voice speaking to me or the Holy Spirit prompting me to obedience or what, but I know there was a supernatural source of that thought. I do know, however, that being told 'just show love' does line up with scripture, and I did try to obey what I heard. My friends would tell me how they could never do what I did (be nice to my adulterous husband and his girlfriend) but I could say that it was God that empowered me to be able to do that. I can't say that my showing love made a big difference, but after my son's wedding reception two years ago, 14 years after my husband left me, his girlfriend, now wife, tearfully apologized to me for basically tearing my family apart. She thanked me for always being nice to her and said that was really hard to deal with sometimes because she was so ashamed of what she did that my niceness made her feel guilty. Now I still didn't get an apology from my ex-husband (and probably never will) but I am grateful that God showed me how my obedience, as difficult as it was at times, did have an impact. --Linda Dodson

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    1. That was a great testimony Linda! Thank you for sharing it.

      Matthew 5:44 says 44 But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,

      Proverbs 19:11 says A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense.

      1 Thessalonians 5:15 says Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

      If you did those things, you did hear God, through His word to us.

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    2. That was the point I was trying to make, but didn't do it so well, is that I don't think I heard God's audible voice as much as the Holy Spirit reminding me of what God's word says and wants me to do. I wasn't always perfect, but, as my ex's wife's apology attests to, my consistent effort to 'just show love' (and yes, it was those three words I heard over and over and over) made a difference.

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    3. You did make your point, exactly! I understand that the Spirit was speaking through the word to you. The Holy Spirit was working wonderfully through you. Showing that kind of love must have been very hard to do.

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    4. Linda, I understood you perfectly in your original comment as well. Thanks for sharing your testimony.

      I just wonder if, in many cases, this issue of 'hearing God' in the Christian community is a misunderstanding of terms, or a misapplication of terms. I know many people who say, "god said...." and I believe what they mean is what Linda experienced, the Holy Spirit impressing biblical truth on their hearts in an appropriate way applicable to their current situation. I don't know of many people who really believe they have heard the audible voice of God. What I DO think the problem is, is that many Christians do not read the bible regularly, so then when they have a "feeling" they automatically attribute it to the HS, when it may or may not be Him. If they don't know the word well, it would be easy for them to start attributing their own emotions to God. I think that is the major issue.
      ~Jennifer

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    5. Jennifer I agree with both concepts in your comment. I think many Christians use a Christian-ese shorthand of 'God told me' when what they mean is they they decided based on prayer and scripture. I think we should say "I decided to..." and that way we take responsibility for our decisions. I have quit saying 'God told me" as shorthand and I simply now say I decided to move forward with X based on prayer and biblical consideration.'

      I also agree that many others who do not make prayerful, biblically considered decisions, that they go forward on feelings, hunches, and intuition and attribute it to the HS.

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  2. My pastor had an excellent sermon yesterday entitled "Putting Religion in Its Place." (I don't have my notes handy--they're out in my car and it's dark and cold and I don't want to go back out so I am going from memory.) He talked about where our relationship with God starts--what God did first--which was love us and cited several verses affirming that truth. He used a first/therefore format: God loved us; therefore...and cited verses to support how we respond to his love. He explained that is how we build relationship with God, responding to His love for us. Not once did he mention hearing God's voice as part of that relationship or having personal revelation. He made it clear that we know and learn about God through His word and His word alone. --Linda Dodson

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    1. You're blessed with an excellent pastor!

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    2. And he's fairly young, just turned 34 last week, but he preaches from the bible with a power and boldness that I have very rarely seen.

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  3. Haven't heard much from RW lately... and seems like he's still teaching error, as always. My heart breaks for the Christians who cannot understand that this man is a false teacher.

    -Carolyn

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    1. I'm sure RW is plotting...something. Them wolves are always busy.

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    2. You are very correct, Stephen. Like I said, my heart hurts for the genuine believers who have fallen under this man's sway, or for those Christians who can see his error, but who had to flee their churches, because they have been torn to shreds by his pd agenda. The Lord will recompense.

      -Carolyn

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  4. This might be a coincidence, and not what it seems, but today an article at
    www.endtimeheadlines.org is entitled
    Woman Who Prophesied Reagan's Shooting Speaks Again. This woman is telling people that they must learn to recognize God's voice for the end. Thank you for your article; definitely something to keep our eyes on, using
    our discernment.

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  5. What bothers me about this...and another issue I dealt with yesterday regarding discernment...is how blind people can be to the error of this kind of teaching. I've heard the phrase 'drink the Kool-Aid' to describe people who blindly follow some kind of leader or ideology. What I'm seeing is that false teachers have somehow gotten their followers to drink their Kool-Aid (or whatever they're selling) to the point that trying to discuss the error of the teaching is an exercise in futility. I consider myself to be an 'average' Christian and over the past several years have been surprised, disappointed, and even appalled at people I know, who I think should know better, who just blindly swallow whatever Christian teaching, movie, book, etc., is popular. I pray for believers to exercise discernment and become like the Bereans, examining the scriptures daily and holding teachings to God's standard, not the world's. I pray for 'watchmen (and women) on the wall" defending and contending for our faith, speaking the truth in love. --Linda Dodson

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  6. This conversation has cleared up this idea of God verbally talking to me. I do know a lot of Christians who tell me God does speak to you. What I need to do it find out if they mean verbally or aligned with the Bible verses that come to mind. I do think this is confusing to many Christians. It was for me.

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    1. Thank you Deby, I'm so glad it cleared things up for you. You're right, for many it is confusing to think that God does speak verbally or individually to us. We Christians make things more confusing by our Christianese shorthand when we say "God told me" when we really mean He answered prayer or He spoke through the scriptures.

      He does speak by bringing scripture to mind. The Spirit does this to convict us of sin, or to encourage us, or to prompt us to action or to prevent us from action, or simply to illuminate the attributes of God. Or many other reasons! But the main point is that the scriptures speak to all of us, the Spirit uses the scriptures to help us individually- but the same scriptures are available to all of us.

      For God to speak thru scripture, a Christian has to read scripture. Many Christians don't take the time to read, and therefore deny themselves the opportunity to hear God speaking (or having spoken (Hebrews 1:2). Then they wait to *actually* hear Him, because it's easier, but that is only their own inner voice speaking, or the devil.

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