Column: God’s word or what I want God to say

Published 11:29 am Tuesday, May 28, 2024

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By April J. Buchanan | Religion Columnist

“When there’s something in the Word of God that I don’t like, the problem is not with the Word of God, it’s with me.” R. C. Sproul

When God’s Word doesn’t give the comfort one desires, there’s temptation to twist Scripture or seek private revelation.

Years ago someone I love said God told her all her family would be saved. How did she come about this revelation? A correct study of Scripture couldn’t give her the comfort she wanted, so her theology allowed her to hear God speak outside of Scripture. One day while reading her Bible, she explained, a verse leaped off the page; she believed God was telling her that He was going to save all her descendants.

I thought of Scripture that Jesus didn’t come to bring peace but a sword, that there will be those of one’s own household divided because of Christ. I asked if “all her descendants” meant just her children and grandchildren. She replied, “all!”, explaining that included their spouses, families and generations to come. She asked me to “come in agreement with her”, “claim it” and “believe God for it”. She said, “God is not a man that He should lie” and  “His promises are yes and amen in Christ”. So, it was as good as done then, right?

I struggled. I knew what Scripture clearly said but she said “God told her”. How do you argue with that? At that time, I didn’t know how. My theology then allowed for such clear contradictions.

The verse she claimed God gave her as a promise had nothing to do with her or us. She was reading her desires into Scripture.

Chris Rosebrough calls this Narcigesis, Greg Koukl calls it Silly Putty Bible Study and Voddie Baucham reminds us that this doesn’t even pass the common sense test much less the exegetical test.

Consider Oral Robert’s own crisis of faith and the resulting heretical prosperity gospel. Claiming instantaneous insights and revelations, one of which when he read 3 John 2. A greeting from the Apostle John to Gaius was turned by Roberts into a promise that it’s always God’s will for Christian’s to be healthy and wealthy.

Many today are being led away from the more sure Word of God and being taught to seek a personal word from God. It’s not surprising when these claim to hear God say what they desire to hear even when it’s contrary to Scripture.

It’s not uncommon for proponents of such teachings and practices to have a low view of God, poor approach to studying scripture, little understanding of church history, or have ever studied the Attributes of God. Some have even adopted or infiltrated the visible church with heretical doctrines.

What we believe and practice is based on what we believe about God. Are we learning about who God is from His Word – rightly exegeted and applied – or, from what we feel or imagine?

Scripture is Sufficient

Grace and Peace

Soli Deo Gloria