Over at Parchment & Pen (a blog that often has thought-provoking and informative posts), a recent post comments on hearing the voice of God and specifically Jack Deere’s book of the mid 90s, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit.
I read this book many years ago and have returned to it from time to time. I have found Deere’s own ‘journey’ somewhat analogous to my own and the book very helpful.
The blog contributor contends:
“Deere proposes that in order to have a vibrant walk with the Lord, we need to model the way in which God spoke to the people in the Bible, namely the prophets, apostles and even Jesus himself. He uses a plethora of examples, including his own, that portrays a staid and rather lifeless Christian existence by relying on the Bible alone and the inability to really hear from God. This is contrasted with an energized Christian walk that relies on the ability to hear God speak beyond the Bible. The thrust of his proposal is that if you want to really experience the Holy Spirit then the Bible is not enough.”
And then expresses this concern:
“But Deere’s proposal exposes a festering concern that I’ve had and that I hear frequently from many believers. To varying degrees, it is the idea that the Holy Spirit is only partially present in Bible and that if we really want to experience the Holy Spirit it requires going beyond the bible to “hear the voice of God”.”
I am unable to comment on “many believers” but I certainly did not read Deere and conclude that he thought that the Bible is not enough. As I recall that is not his focus. Rather Deere’s Christian walk has been energised by the reality that the Lord continues to speak – not in the sense of adding to the Canon but in the everyday situations of life and in the church.
One of the great delights of my walk with Jesus over the last 5+ years has been the (non-audible) frequent voice of God in my life – in stacks of varied situations. This has in no way diminished my view of Scripture or clouded out the Lord primarily speaking into my life through Scripture. Not at all.
But there is a ‘presence’ and may I suggest (hopefully humbly) vibrancy in my spiritual life that has been wonderful and refreshing. As the blogger encourages, “I can only recommend that you read [Deere] for yourself to make up your own mind about his proposals.” Yep I agree!