16 October 2010

BSF Hears God's Audible Voice

Those of you who are in Bible Study Fellowship may or may not have noticed the subtly injected  reference to God's audible voice in last week's notes. In Lesson 5, the BSF notes are discussing Isaiah 6. On page 3, if you read carefully, you will notice the following. Forgive the lengthy quotation, but I want to make sure that I offer this in context.
"There are applications from Isaiah's life to the way God calls individuals today. He gives a high view of Himself for His servants. He gives a sense of need for the called ("I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips"). He cleanses before He calls. He calls those who are humble and willing. He issues an invitation and allows men the privilege to respond willingly. Sometimes His call may come in rhetorical questions that stir the heart of a listener. True, God usually does not use an audible voice as He has used here, but the call is no less definite if it comes from reading God's Word, by way of circumstances, or from the events in one's life."
Isn't that oh-so-sneaky how they slipped in their acknowledgment that God may speak in an audible voice today? I'm so glad that BSF is trying their very best not to offend anybody. It would be a shame if their 50+ years of ecumenical efforts were thwarted now. In actuality, if they have been so dedicated to the truth of God's Word for over 50 years, then they should be aware of Hebrews 1, wherein we learn that Jesus Christ was the final revelation.
"Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world." Hebrews 1:1-2
And if the leadership at BSF would simply re-read the lesson that was taught to junior high students last week, they would remember that, "The only clear and saving knowledge of God comes from the written revelation of the Holy Scriptures."

BSFers, I urge you this week to offer an answer for Question 2 of your lesson. This question will ask you, "What was interesting, challenging, or informative in the notes?" Raise your hand and mention this erroneous teaching that was in the notes! I regret that I was unable to provide my answer to this question at my discussion group this morning. I was a victim of peripheral vision and was seated out of the leader's view. (For the record, I did challenge Question 15 which asks, "Give specific examples of how God might use you to point others to or away from the Lord Jesus.") But wouldn't it be great if those who are discerning, who are not drinking the BSF Kool-Aid, would speak up and challenge this organization which seems to think that it sits on a throne just barely lower than God's?

The leadership at BSF has made it clear by their silence that they endorse The Message, as well as contemplative authors Tim Keller, Dan Allender and, worst of all, Dallas Willard. I've been informed that BSF headquarters will never make a statement either in defense of or in rejection of these works. Their apparent position is that "it takes two to argue" and so they will remain silent in hopes that the "troublemakers" will just go away. It saddens me that they do not realize that those of us who are speaking up are not doing so in search of an argument, but are doing so out of concern! Most of us have seen God use BSF in a mighty way in our lives or the lives of our family, and so it is with heavy hearts that we raise these issues. But as the deception grows stronger the darkness deepens. At some point, we will all have to dust off our feet and leave BSF because we will be continually silenced. But until that time comes, keep being a very noisy "watchman on the wall!"
"For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths." 2 Timothy 4:3-4
"But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet, so that the people are not warned, and the sword comes and takes any one of them, that person is taken away in his iniquity, but his blood I will require at the watchman's hand." Ezekiel 33:6 


  1. Amen! The fact that BSF now speaks of the San Antonio office as the 'compound' and the possibility of providing protection to the Executive Director because a pastor questioned BSF's use of the Message and effectively endorsing emergent writers, together with the other issues arising in the past year, such as the China connection, leads one to believe BSF is going cult. Yes, it IS with heavy hearts that we sound the alarm - alas, to deaf ears. Who is making the Koolaid?!? More importantly, why would they follow what the Board of BSF is saying rather than God's own Word?!? (Such as we are not supposed to pray for the U.S. government or even mention the government anymore.) Keep praying that no one attending gets confused and led astray.

  2. I would encourage this blog poster to re-read the passage quoted.

    Hebrews says "but in these **last days** he has spoken to us by his Son"

    Respectfully.. you're blatantly missing the point the author is making. Hebrews says nothing one way or the other about God speaking in an audible voice.

    If you'll recall, the God spoke (and will speak) in several ways after Jesus' resurrection:

    1. Jesus speaking **audibly** to Paul on the road to Damascus (Acts 9)
    2. The Holy Spirit inspiring the authors of the New Testament (I mention this point because the Bible does not say whether the inspiration of the NT authors was audible or not, but does say that the inspiration of the OT authors was (eg, Moses receiving the commandments from God and angels), so in all fairness, we can't exclude a possible audible inspiration.
    3. The two witnesses in Revelation speak.

    Unfortunately, it appears you've run afoul of your own eagerness to criticize BSF. I suggest you post an apology since your attack on this particular point is unfounded.

    (btw, if you choose to ignore my comment, then I would ask you to consider whether you're perpetuating a Toxic Movement by refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing)

    Thanks for your consideration.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Anonymous. Before I respond to your main concern, allow me to address your final statement, “btw, if you choose to ignore my comment, then I would ask you to consider whether you are perpetuating a Toxic Movement by refusing to acknowledge any wrongdoing),” as I found this statement to be not only unnecessary, but a bit offensive. If you were at all familiar with this blog, you would know that I welcome comments and discussion. This is not a blog that seeks to grind any personal axes, but instead seeks to warn readers of dangerous deceptions creeping into Christian circles today. Your implication otherwise is completely unfounded. While I am happy to engage in discussion, I can assure you that if you choose to merely spout unqualified assumptions or accusations in your comments, then your comments will be deleted. Intelligent, cordial discussion, however, is welcome.

    Moving on, perhaps you misunderstood my intent in using Hebrews 1 for this particular post. My point was that God’s final revelation was/is complete in the person and work of Jesus Christ. We do not require further revelation, be it in the form of voices, visions, or liver shivers, in order to know the will of God. To imply otherwise is to denigrate the authority and supremacy of Scripture. We know from 2 Timothy 3:16-17 that Scripture is sufficient and we see warnings within Scripture that it should not be added to. My issue with anyone (not just BSF) affirming personal revelation from God, whether it is through voices or some other means, is that it takes “the faith once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3) and turns it into something subjective, blown along by whatever whim, fancy or feeling we may be experiencing that day. God’s word and revelation in Scripture, however, is objective, sufficient, and delivered by God. Until God speaks again at Christ’s return, new revelation is not something we should seek or desire.

    We must test everything by Scripture. It is our measuring rod, full and complete and it needs no aid. If an alleged voice or vision contradicts Scripture, then God’s Word must take precedence. If an alleged voice or vision reiterates Scripture, then we have to ask...why wasn’t the Scripture enough in the first place? What need is there for the voice or vision?

    I am unsure of whether your main point of contention is your disagreement with my use of Hebrews 1, or if you are actually affirming new revelation through God’s audible voice today. If it is the latter, then I hope that you will search the Scriptures and decide for yourself whether or not they are good enough for you to build your faith on in these days of apostasy and deception.

    Perhaps I could have offered further Scriptures in this particular post, but I stand by my original intent that it is worrisome that BSF is affirming something so subjective and dangerous as one hearing God’s supposed audible voice. So, in response to your call for an apology, I am afraid that I cannot comply. I hope that the additional explanation provided above is sufficient explanation as to why I believe that this particular teaching was erroneous.


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