Saturday, July 31, 2010

Is God still speaking?

I just finished a powerful little book (96 pages) by Dr. Gary Gilley refuting the increasingly popular notion that God is continuing to speak to directly to His people outside of the canon of Scripture. The book is entitled "Is That You Lord?" (ISBN 978-0852346525) and would make a great read for any who are struggling with understanding biblical decision making, or are simply wondering about the validity of claims by prominent Evangelicals to receive personal words of direction from God in response to their prayers.

Once the realm of charismatic Christians, it is now quite common for believers of all stripes to rely on intuition, hunches, "still small voices," feelings, and "words of prophecy" to direct their lives and govern their choices. In short "subjectivity" has replaced "sola Scriptura" as the means for knowing God and His will. In his book Dr. Gilley includes a short history of Pietism before critiquing the idea of ongoing errant prophecy as taught by Wayne Grudem et al.

The book surveys, and corrects the misinterpretation of a number of important passages that are typically thought to teach that God has a specific, individualized plan for our lives that we must ferret out in order to be in the "center of His will." Dr. Gilley also includes a helpful chapter dealing with common questions raised in response to his critique, as well as chapters on a biblical decision making - explained and illustrated.

Over the years I have read several books on biblical decision making as well as teaching on the topic among collegians and I have to say that this book will now be my number one referral to those who are earnestly struggling with knowing and doing God's will. This is a good read and well worth its modest price - buy it and read it - you will not be sorry.


  1. Pastor Forsyth,

    Not sure if you will remember me. I stumbled along your blog by accident. I pray all is well with the ministry at FBC.

    Cliff Kvidahl

  2. I also read Gilley's book, and mentioned it while speaking to the men at the I.F.C.A. So. Ca. Regional that was held at my church (Centinela Bible) in Hawthorne on 9-18-10. As I encouraged the men to memorize God's Word so that He could better speak to them directly through that Word, I also battle with the idea that God can "not" speak to your mind through His Spirit. I have always thought that His speaking through the Word is far, far more prevalent and trustworthy, and that any speaking of God through the Spirit must be evaluated in light of that Word. If in fact the only way God speaks to us is exclusively through His Word, then I found it shocking that the majority of those at the regional that took my little test on where familiar verses are found in the Bible totally failed it. For instance "What is the scripture address for 'The Golden Rule'" In our country's "pioneer days" most Sunday School or church kids all knew that one, yet our pastor's of today do not. When those kids sometimes had only the Bible in their personal library, they knew "The Book" better than pastors of today, that have so many other books in their libraries. Greg Merrill