Oliphint on “getting a word from God”

Hearing from God

Picture credit: Some rights reserved by epiclectic

Back in September, K. Scott Oliphint penned an article over at Reformation 21 on the tension between the concept of “getting a word from God“, and the Reformed and Evangelical doctrine of Scripture. I only read it quite recently, but found it tremendously helpful. I’ve been wrestling with this issue for a number of years, and have found a lot of helpful material on both sides of the argument. The reason I point to this article in particular is that it articulates something which others never quite managed to. And it made me go “Ah ha!” Here’s an excerpt:

“Imagine this – we speak to someone who is outside of Christ and we affirm to them the absolute authority of the Word of God. They are convicted by the Spirit of God, and we begin to study that Word together. We then bring this new convert to a church, and the minister stands up and announces, “Thus saith the Lord to me, it is incumbent on all who are here to give to this church 50% of their income each month.” (I wish this was a far-fetched and made up example, but it is not.) What will you say to your new convert friend?

Or what about this one? Your friend is trying to figure out if he should marry the woman he’s dating. He goes to see his pastor. The pastor says that he has prayed about the situation and the Lord told him that your friend must marry that woman. What do you say?

Once the sufficiency of Scripture is challenged in this way, no matter how well-meaning the challenge, then there is no consistent way to hold to the absolute authority and sufficiency of Scripture. In such circumstances, Scripture’s status is little different from its status in the Roman Catholic church – there is the authority of Scripture, and there is the authority of  (insert person with “word of knowledge” here). As in Catholicism, this drips like a leaky faucet on Scripture’s sufficiency and authority until it is eventually worn completely away.”

Hills Bible Church does not have an official position on the charismatic gifts, so this is more of a “What do you think about this?” sort of moment, not a “This is what We hold to be true” moment. Read the rest of the article here.