theolog shmeolog

Liver Shivers, “God told Me” Redux (Tridux?)

Posted in challenging human thinking, Communion w/ God, discernment, Spirit-gifting by Sam Hendrickson on 26 February , 2015


There is a certain thrill, be it self-satisfaction, even self-aggrandizement, or something similar found in seeking “revelation,” “messages,” “prophecies,” “prophetic words,” “anointed words,” “spirit of prophecy,” or similar non-scriptural, and extra-scriptural sources. These can take the form of anything from “God told me” moments wherein we mean we somehow gained a knowable intuition or discernment about a life decision, all the way up to a claim of direct revelation from God as some sort of post-apostolic evidence of a signed Spirit-gifting.

A seeking and acceptance of this kind of spiritual approach is in my long and more recent past, in three phases of life: From my religious experience during the ages of 3 yrs to 18 yrs old, then from 21 yrs old to 24 yrs old, and from 28 yrs old until my mid 30s.

  1. When I was a Seventh Day Adventist, such extra-biblical seeking and dependence was not only part and parcel of the religion, but was actually a requirement of acceptance as an SDA initiate (i.e. a baptized church member)–to be a member of an SDA church one must essentially accept the writings of Ellen G. White as inhering of Divine truthfulness and as Spirit-produced-prophetical products. Otherwise, no entry.
  2. During my years involved in the Assembly of God denomination and other 1st Wave charismatics, nothing changed all that much from my SDA days. The difference was that I was told that in order to achieve full salvation (and be able to join an AOG or similar church) I must speak in tongues as evidence of the falsely-labeled “baptism of the Holy Spirit.” Also, the manifestation of the gift of prophecy/spirit of prohecy was being claimed by living people around me, not just by a deceased 19th century authoress.
  3. As a Baptist, the church I was part of advocated a “God told me”-kind of guidance-seeking, promoting varying levels of mystic and pietistic intuitive, discernment efforts. Much of the preaching, discipleship efforts and itinerant “evangelists” partook in this kind of “will-of-God-for-your-life” method. Compared to the other religious groups I had been involved in, at least this was more mingled with, or overshadowed by honest and willful attempts at seeing the Scripture as the lone guide for the Christian church.

I am sure elements of all this mysticism and pietism still influence me now. God willing, they have drastically lessened power. Sola scriptura.

But here is the thing: I have yet to meet any person embracing any of these types of phenomena who does not initially or eventually view himself as having achieved a better, higher or more informed Christian status than the lowly “Scripture alone” Christian. This has proven true whether he claims to receive such messages, or he embraces those who claim the same. “Danger Wil Robinson!” Colossians 2:18.  I know that at times I greatly desired this–to be among “the elite.”

I am sure that elements of pride, self-aggrandizement and self-satisfaction mark my character now. Many of you have experienced the hammerfalls of my arrogance. The fact of this does not negate the thrust of this little article.
Rather, if we understand Paul’s concerns in Colossians, and in any of his writings regarding the Judaizers, we can make a straightforward observation: The presence of pride, etc. in our seeking and embracing of extra-biblical revelation and guidance does make such seeking sinful. My experience is that these two go hand in hand. and

%d bloggers like this: