We often hear Evangelicals say that God spoke to them. They do not mean that He speaks to them in the Scriptures. They mean that He gives them a special message. Sometimes His voice is audible, and sometimes they just have a sense of His presence. I was watching a recent podcast in which both the interviewer and interviewee said they believe God speaks to us in that way.
This was on the radio show run by Eric Metaxas. Metaxas has both an Orthodox and Episcopal background. I think he would consider himself an ecumenical Christian. He believes that Christians should be heavily engaged in the political scene in order to change society for the better. He was interviewing a man named Benjamin Thomas. Thomas, an intelligent and gifted communicator, said that he formerly believed in the imminent Rapture of the Church. He had also been a dispensationalist. But God spoke to him and told him that this view of eschatology was a serious error. This led Thomas to an intense study of the Scriptures. He rejected his old views and now promotes a view of the kingdom that calls for Christians to engage the culture in which we live. This would involve Christians running for political office and getting serious about making our country more godly by electing the right people. He wrote a book, The Rapture Riddle, about this experience with God and his resulting study.
We so often hear people say God has spoken to them that we become immune to the ramifications. Let us set aside for a moment the issue of whether or not Thomas’ previous view of eschatology was the Biblical one. When he says that God spoke to him to show him the error of his ways, he is saying–whether he means to or not–that anybody who still believes in an imminent Rapture is teaching false doctrine. Who can argue with Thomas’ new views if they came straight from God?
Think about what he is saying. God is disappointed with all the Christians who are looking for a coming kingdom and who see this world as passing away. We are to pick sides in the political battles going on, secure in the knowledge that we are siding with those candidates chosen by God. I assume that God will speak to us as well (if we are walking in holiness, of course) to let us know which man or woman He wants in each position. We have a responsibility to create heaven on earth, as much as we can, before the coming of the Lord.
Obviously, Thomas’ view of eschatology is not a minor issue. It involves how we see the world in which we live. It involves how I dedicate my time as a believer. In the conversation between Thomas and Metaxas, they said that this will cause some Christians to run for the local school board, not in order to make things better for the children in their community, but to do the work of the Lord. It is what God calls us to do. If we accept what Thomas says about God speaking to him, it will impact how we use much of our time as well as how we use our finances.
We can discuss whether or not Thomas’ view of the last days is Biblical. We can discuss whether or not the dispensational framework is Biblical. But what we should not do is start the discussion based on the nonsense that God audibly spoke to Thomas to let him know the truth. That’s stacking the deck in order to win a debate! Who wants to argue against God?
This is just one example of why we must reject the notion that God speaks to us outside of His Word. We often laugh at people who make such claims or think that such statements are quaint. They are neither quaint nor funny. If God is speaking directly to us, there is no need to discuss anything. We don’t need the Bible.
I will give Thomas the benefit of the doubt. I believe he sincerely believes that God spoke to him to let him know we should not be looking for an imminent Rapture and that we should be staunch conservatives who engage in politics at the local, state, and national levels. He believes that is the battle the Church is to fight today. After all, God told him.
He is sincerely wrong, however. Even if his new eschatology were correct, I would prefer we leave the voice of God out of it.