Books like Dallas Willard’s Hearing God: Developing a Conversational Relationship with God and Bill Hybels’s The Power of a Whisper: Hearing God, Having the Guts to Respond and Henry and Richard Blackaby’s Hearing God’s Voice continue to popularize the idea that a true relationship of intimacy with God requires ongoing private and personal revelations as a normative part of the Christian life.
In the latest issues of Solid Ground Greg Koukl—who is not a cessationist—looks carefully at the biblical texts offered in defense of this idea. He writes:
Virtually everyone seems to be “hearing from God” in some fashion these days—pastors, writers, worship leaders, even the regular folks at our weekly Bible studies—so the basic idea must be right.
But is it? Must I “hear the voice of God” in order to know what He wants from me. . . Is this what Jesus meant by, “My sheep hear My voice,” or what Paul meant by being “led by the Spirit”? And what if I hear nothing but silence when I listen? Does this say something about my spiritual well-being? Am I living a substandard Christian life if I don’t have a hot-line to God? . . .
In my mind, there’s only one way to address such questions. They cannot be answered by appealing to personal experiences, but only by appealing carefully to the text. What does Scripture teach.