Friday, January 19, 2007

Does God still speak?

Have you ever noticed, when reading the Bible, that God speaks to people? From Genesis 1:3 (“Let there be light”) to Revelation 22:20 (“Surely I am coming soon”), again and again we see God speaking to people.

The following verses are by no means exhaustive, but merely just a small sampling to illustrate that God did indeed speak to people:

“But the LORD God called to the man [Adam] and said to him, ‘Where are you?’” (Genesis 3:9)

“When the LORD saw that [Moses] turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’” (Exodus 3:4)

“After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant, ‘Moses my servant is dead, Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel..’” (Joshua 1:1-2)

“And the LORD came and stood, calling as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel said, ‘Speak, for your servant hears.’” (1 Samuel 3:10)

“And when David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to the prophet Gad, David’s seer, saying, ‘Go and say to David, “Thus says the LORD, Three things I offer you. Choose one of them, that I may do it to you.”’” (2 Samuel 24:11-12)

“At Gibeon the LORD appeared to Solomon in a dream by night, and God said, ‘Ask what I shall give you.’” (1 Kings 3:5)

“In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. And Isaiah the prophet the son of Amoz came to him and said to him, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.”’” (2 Kings 20:1)

“Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: ‘Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?’” (Job 38:1-2)

“[Jesus] was still speaking when, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.’” (Matthew 17:5)

“And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.” (Acts 9:4, 7)

“Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go to the street called Straight…’” (Acts 9:10-11a)

“And the Lord said to Paul one night in a vision, ‘Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people.’” (Acts 18:9-10)

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you…” (Revelation 22:12-13, 16)

Cessationists would have us believe that, since the canon of Scripture is now complete, God only speaks through Scripture. Or, to put it in a slightly different way, God no longer speaks, except through Scripture. First of all, let me make myself perfectly clear, I do believe the canon of Scripture is closed. There is no new revelation from God. The Scriptures—the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments—are fully sufficient, “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16). Along with my cessationist brothers and sisters in Christ, I affirm that truth. Scripture is the Word of God.

But, does it of necessity follow that God can only speak through Scripture? Cannot God speak directly to men and women, as He did in Bible days?

(To be continued…)

1 comment:

Andrew Chapman said...

Yes, and He almost always spoke in words rather than by quickening a scripture (Daniel 9 v 2 is an example) or by giving someone a burden (Nehemiah Chapters 1 & 2 is an example) or through a preacher, which I believe is the preferred method of our Reformed brothers (help me with an example).