Just because we have an emotional experience, goose bumps, warm fuzzies, or a dream doesn’t mean it came from the Holy Spirit of God. A man once told me, “The Holy Spirit gets a lot of credit for saying things the Holy Spirit never said.” He was spot-on. I’ve had people say to me: “God-told-me-to-tell-you . . .”. If it truly was God, we should reduce it to writing and staple it to the back of our Bible. “Why?” they ask. Because if God said it, it constitutes divine revelation.
Maybe it’s just me, but I seem to attract people who’ve had the strangest spiritual experiences imaginable. A man in Ft. Worth, Texas once told me a wild tale about how he’d died and gone to hell. He looked up and saw a bright light. Jesus told him he could return to the living if he would tell everyone of his experience. When he opened his eyes, he was on a gurney, in a morgue, with a sheet over his head! He even claimed he had a tag on his big toe! He got up, walked out of the morgue, and ran home . . . completely naked! You may think I’m joking, but this conversation truly happened. I met him in the Ft. Worth Stockyards.
Did this this man meet Jesus? I can neither prove nor disprove his experience. Yet, these stories seem so appealing to people, even Christians. Surely, you’ve heard similar stories (without the nudity, we hope!). Perhaps this example is extreme, but how can we verify when people claim God spoke to them?
Scripture is Sufficient
D.A. Carson’s book, The Gagging of God, deals with the key issue at-hand:
“Many [Christians] now rely far more on inward promptings than on their Bible knowledge to decide what they are going to do in a situation.”1
Donald Whitney, in The Compromised Church, states:
“The evangelistic method of Jesus and the apostles was not to urge people to seek direct experiences with God; instead they went about preaching and teaching the Scriptures (see, for instance, Mark 1:14-15). And Jesus did not say that once we have spiritual life we live by direct mystical experience with God; rather, we ‘live . . . on every word that comes from the mouth of God’ (Matthew 4:4). . . .