How many times have you head a pastor, church leader or other believer say something like, “The Lord told me to do this or go there or make a certain decision?” Chances are, many. I have done it myself in the past. Phrases like, “I heard the still small voice of God” or “I was led by God” are common among many believers. On the more extreme side some have claimed to have had conversations and even arguments with God and some even claim to have visited heaven. How about a pastor telling a story about how in prayer he had a conversation with God? Something like, “I asked the Lord if I should go and talk to that person. The Lord said to me, of course you should, I have commanded you to go into all the world and preach my gospel.” It sounds biblical and true on the surface, however, it is not!
We need to stop and ask the all important question, does God speak to us outside of His written word? Does he have conversations with His people? Does he speak though signs, impressions, voices, open and closed doors, fleeces, dreams and visions? Note that I am not saying, is he able to do these things? Psalm 115:3 and other scriptures make it clear that he sovereignly does as He pleases. This is a point of theology and one of actuality.
As is probably clear already by assumption, I have come to understand that the Lord does not speak His children as a matter of practice. There are no longer prophesies being spoken, visions being given and direct revelation being show to the church. On a basic level, this is what made up the Bible that we hold up as inspired, inflatable and inerrant. If the Lord were communicating with His church in that way it would constitute adding to scripture. In addition, you could practically fill a library with all the false prophesies spoken by charismatic leaders over the decades that this theology has been taught. I have head many of these false words from God my lifetime alone.
An important verse to begin this journey with is Hebrews 1:1-2 God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. The final word of God was Jesus, the Word made flesh. John 1:14. With the death to of the last apostle, John and the completion of the canon of scripture the complete revelation of God was handed down to man. This even came with a warning. Revelation 22:18-19 There is even the same warning in the old testament regarding the law. Deuteronomy 4:2.
Though I have a good understanding of this subject, I am going to defer to an excellent book on the subject by a pastor I trust and respect. Jim Osman is the long time pastor of Kootenai community church in Idaho. Though I have heard other good teaching on this subject, this book covers all the bases and gives a thoughtful treatment of the subject.
In God Doesn’t Whisper, Pastor Jim Osman examines the assumptions, practices, and proof texts of those who promote a theology of hearing the voice of God. Dig into the texts often cited in defense of trying to hear God speak outside of His written Word. Scripture is clear: God doesn’t whisper. https://jimosman.com/books/god-doesnt-whisper/
I know that for many who have been a part of the a charismatic or Pentecostal fellowship that this will be a difficult thought to process and understand. I though that I was hearing from God for over 30 years. I looked for signs and words of knowledge, visions and interpretations of dreams. I have found a great peace in the settled word of God over trying to figure out if He is speaking, what He was saying and what it meant. I was exhausted looking for signs and listening to others who, though well meaning, told me what they thought God was saying to me. That is not what the truth of the word teaches. We already have all we need. 2 Peter 1:3.