This summer, raccoons were unusually destructive in our neighborhood, stripping several peach trees. Suddenly one morning, all we saw of our ripening peach crop was hundreds of pits lying on the ground under the tree. Raccoons also ate all of both crops of our sweet corn. We didn’t get a kernel! Usually, the corn and peaches we preserve last us all year until the next harvest so the ‘coons looted a lot of food from our table. In response, some of us started trapping them. Naturally, we didn’t bait with something unappealing, but with something tasty, something “good”–in this case, peanut butter (seeing as we had no peaches left).
The last post on subjective means of hearing from God (mysticism) countered the challenge, “But isn’t Scripture a filter?” In answer, metaphorically speaking, if the fruit didn’t come from a peach tree then I don’t need a test (or “filter”) to see if it’s a peach. Today’s post looks at a rationalization baited with something appealing. It answers the challenge, But the impression was to do something good, implying that if the idea is good then it must be from God.
Good? That almost goes without saying. Christians don’t say God prompted them to theft or lying. They ascribe to God only their “good” promptings. “God prompted me to phone her.” “I had a ‘God Nudge’ to buy a gift card for that homeless man.”
Good content doesn’t necessitate a divine source. Parents tell us to do good. Civil laws tell us to do good. Habit urges us to do good. Even the consciences of the unregenerate tell them to do good. It isn’t unusual that people do good because it makes us feel good about ourselves. Just because a proposed action is good doesn’t mean the idea came from God.
Good content can enhance deception. Peanut butter is a good, nutritious food, whether on a sandwich or in a trap. The person who believes the faulty reasoning that because an idea is good it must be from God is taking bait to ascribe such sensations to God. She labels feelings “God impressed me…” Notice the trap: her claim takes God’s name in vain by using His name to elevate the credibility of what she will say next.
Satan disguises himself with light (2 Cor. 11:14-15). Why? Light and goodness deceive. In the dark, can you see the person pointing a bright flashlight at you? Satan’s cloak of light and goodness blinds to the darkness or evil on the back side of that light.
The enticement of “good” is working. Just read the testimonials on blogs about “God Nudges.” Just look at the thousands who follow highly popular women’s speakers who promote “feeling led” and “God spoke to me,” never realizing the mysticism they are being taught.
I am concerned on two counts. One is the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture in sola scriptura. The moment we listen for God inside we are, by definition, not listening for Him in His Word. Then, no matter what we profess, we are not behaving by sola scriptura. Whoever it is we’re listening to, it isn’t God and, therefore, God isn’t being honored.
My other concern is for the women who are unwittingly led farther away from the Word than they realize. Over several decades I’ve observed a curious inconsistency. That is, many women in Bible studies, sincerely professing and practicing a love for the Word, also practice subjective listening for words from God apart from the Word. Everyone has blind spots and I believe that this inconsistency is a blindspot of epidemic proportions in the church in America. Compartmentalizing, in one context they attend a Bible study and consider themselves students of the Word. But when it comes to prayer time they listen to feelings as words from God. When it comes to decision-making, they go with their gut and felt peace instead of doing the hard work of studying the Word for God’s guidance. Dear Christian ladies, we must give God glory by listening to Him where He is speaking–His Word and only His Word–sola scriptura.
But the impression was to do something good. Like peanut butter in a trap, “there is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Prov. 16:25). There is a way of supposedly hearing from God which seems right to many women, but it leads away from the life-giving written Word.
This series continues in God spoke, just less authoritatively.