A Lesson Learned from Being Dumped: A Postscript to Levy

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I hate to acknowledge that Paul has ever said anything worthwhile but I believe his last post is on target, both theologically (a surprise) and (by and large) in terms of grammar, syntax and spelling (thanks to Gibby for that, I believe).

One further problem for the 'God actually said -- he really, really said -- this to me!' brigade is that it renders the statement being made unanswerable.  To give a trivial personal anecdote, I remember seeing the difficulty with this when I was unceremoniously dumped by a girlfriend at university whom God had told -- directly, though she did not tell me what accent he used -- that I was not the one for her and she should get rid of me forthwith.  In that case, it was undoubtedly the correct call for both of us -- we have both gone on to be blissfully happy with other people.  But at the time I remember thinking: if she just wants to dump me, then she should just do it; this whole 'God told me' thing is highly manipulative and unanswerable; and why did God only speak to her?  Wouldn't it have made better sense for him to speak with both of us?

Of course, when a thoroughly decent, gentle and thoughtful person thinks God is telling him over dishes to be pastor of Bethlehem -- when the external call is already clearly and appropriately established by due biblical process -- then no harm is really done.  But what happens when I am washing the dishes one day and God tells me I am to be the next Jim Jones.   Who can argue against that?  And on what grounds?

I think the answer to those questions makes the problem with the 'God spoke to me' shtick rather clear.  It is dangerously subjective and it is simply superfluous.  Just because we approve of the occasional results of such guidance does not mean that this notion is at all acceptable or safe.

Posted February 4, 2013 @ 1:45 PM by Carl Trueman

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