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Adventures in Bible deism, Pt. 2

Continued from Adventures in Bible deism, Pt. 1 The Bible is the account of a God who speaks directly and relationally, not obliquely. When we see examples of him speaking using Old Testament scripture in the New Testament, it is often to confirm what he has said in other ways. …
By Seth Barnes
By Seth Barnes

Continued from Adventures in Bible deism, Pt. 1

The Bible is the account of a God who speaks directly and
relationally, not obliquely. When we see
examples of him speaking using Old Testament scripture in the New Testament, it
is often to confirm what he has said in other ways.

As Hebrews 1:1 says, “In the past God spoke
to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various
ways…” There are many examples in Acts,
the last of which is in 28:25-29, where Paul cites Isaiah to show that God
has sent salvation to the Gentiles.

One of my favorite
experiences in the world is to see Bible deists hear the voice of God. This happens periodically on AIM trips and in
our training. A Bible Church
pastor and his coworker were at one of our trainings and sat in the back of the
room with folded arms. His seminary had
taught him to be a good Bible deist.

had tried to engage our trainers in theological debates in advance of the
training. But our trainer, said, “All we
ask is that you come and watch God work.”
He and his coworker came, but they were obviously at odds with what was
being taught.

Then our trainer
said, “OK, it’s time to go off by yourself and ask God to speak to you.”

They disappeared,
full of unbelief. When the time was
over, everyone else returned except for the pastor and his coworker.
Eventually, they returned ashen-faced. Our trainer asked the group, “Did
anyone hear
from God?”

Sheepishly, the two
men raised their hands along with others in the room. “What did God say?” The trainer asked.

“He showed us
visions and gave us words. Afterwards, we
got together and saw that he’d said the same thing to both of us. This
was obviously God. He
does speak. So now we need to repent to the

Is it any wonder
40,000 people a week are leaving the American
Church when our pulpits
are filled with Bible deists? People
just want to know the reality of a living God without weighing him down with
all the theological reasons why he can’t speak.

Comments (4)

  • Here’s what I’ve been struggling with lately: should the Bible be our primary source for getting divine inspiration? I realize that it shouldn’t be the only, but is it the best place to go for a sure word? Is it the first place we should go? How can we be “people of the book” and still be powerfully Spirit-led? When I feel led in prayer, I find myself questioning myself more than I’d like. I feel like I need to have biblical justification, but as one of my friends recently told me, maybe that’s not a bad thing. Thoughts?

  • What do you do when you have a map to the place you are headed and then meet someone that claims to know exactly where you are going? Do you ask for his directions and then confirm with the map, leave the map alone or just ignore the guy outright? Let’s not even consider our instincts and perceptions here we’ve all be misled by then even while looking right into the Bible.

    The Bible (the map) is a MORE SURE WORD (2Pet 1:19). Majoring on the “Surer Source” is safest.

    Seth said something remarkable in Pt 1 of this topic, “that an entire chapter of Matthew (23) describes Jesus’ stern rebuke of those who sought to define men’s relationship with God in terms of their interpretation of Scripture. There are many well-meaning Bible teachers who do the same thing today, but can’t see it.”

    Whether the Bible is consulted first, second or last is not really key as long as we do the will of God in the end and get to the desired destination.

  • Thank you, Seth, for addressing “Bible deism” and the story of the two who repented. What a powerful work of God! I’ve heard my husband give the illustration: What if he went to bed each night with a book that told all about me or full of letters from me? Uh…it falls way short of the desired relationship. On the other hand, I’m praying for the generation reacting to Bible deism that there’s not that “swinging of the pendulum” to the place of devaluing the God-breathed Word. I’ve smuggled Bibles into restricted lands and seen more than I can speak about; and reading stories of jungle lands where the Bible’s been translated into their heart language and seeing the results make for the most exciting reading!; Memorizing and meditating on the Word brought healing from cancer. Even with all that I still need to reread the Word’s claims about itself. We have an enemy that knows the necessity of God’s written Word and works to always undercut it. I love the variety of ways God speaks. But where could we end up some years from now if the Bible is not treasured for what it is? And for what it’s done through thousands of years all over the world? Knowing the Word and getting to know His Word better all the time gives me freedom to hear from Him in other ways, not fearful that I’m getting off.

  • Thanks for this it is a timely word for my life at this moment. I recenlty had someone confront on an issue and “prove” that I was wrong based on scripture… I was really taken a back… but this word has helped me to see the tendency to swing back and forth and the importance of relationship… it doesn’t mean that I am going to completely ditch what they said but I am going to take it all in context to my Father in heaven and He can answer my questions and bring peace where I may doubt!

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Seth Barnes

I'm motivated to join God in his global reclamation project. He's on the move, setting his sons and daughters free from their places of captivity. And he's partnering with those of us who have been freed to go and free others.

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