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.