God speaks only in the way God says He speaks

Be very careful when you say God told you to do something. Surely, you do not want to use God’s name in vain, do you?

Here is an example (an extremely typical American evangelical example) from a pastor I know. He said: “When we began [our church] we were certain that God wanted us to begin this work with a service at 5 PM on Sundays.”

With the risk of sounding like the devil, did God really say that? “Well, I don’t mean that God spoke audibly to us.” Then what do you mean? And why don’t people say what they actually mean?

Plus, you say that “God wanted” you to have 5pm services. Does this mean that if you had service at 4:30pm, you would be sinning? If you say yes, then you have put a moral category on something that God never does in the Scriptures (time of service). If you say no, then in what reasonable sense do you mean “God wanted” you to do it.

“No, what I mean is God speaks to us through circumstances! That’s how He spoke to us!” Does He “speak” through circumstances? Be very careful about mishandling the Word of God or about misapplying key pieces of revealed redemptive history before you answer that question. And doesn’t God “speak” through His Word, either through Scripture or audible prophecy or visible visions (those are the only clear examples of God speaking I can think of)?

And if you tell me nature declares the glory of God, I say ‘amen’, but that has nothing to do with a specific time of service! I really am willing to converse about this with people who can show real Scriptural examples of God “speaking” in any other way, besides speaking. Because God is a God who speaks, and His speaking is the only way we know Him and His redemptive work in Christ, and the only way we know how to please our Father in Heaven, I would be very careful to say God told me to do something in a way that was unlike any example we find in the one Book we know God SPOKE.

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