My readings in fideism brought me to Henry Blackaby’s popular book, Experiencing God: How to Live the Full Adventure of Knowing and Doing the Will of God. I would like to hear from any of you who have benefited from this book. Please don’t be shy about letting me know (kindly) what I may be missing.
My take on this book is that Blackaby puts a lot of pressure on people to hear and obey the commands of God but gives scant help in discerning his voice. He says that God wants to tell us what is “on His agenda for your church, community, and nation at this time in history. Then you and your church can adjust your lives to God, so that He can move you into the mainstream of His activity before it is too late.” He assures us that God gives us these specific instructions through Scripture, prayer, circumstances, and the church but he does not explain how. He concedes that he cannot give us a formula or method to discern when and what God is speaking, but says that if we develop a relationship with God then we will just know when it happens.
He raises the stakes when he warns that “If you have trouble hearing God speak, you are in trouble at the very heart of your Christian experience.” On the other hand, “You also need to be very careful about claiming you have a word from God. Claiming to have a word from God is serious business. …If you have not been given a word from God yet you say you have, you stand in judgment as a false prophet.” And “Be very careful how you interpret circumstances. Many times we jump to a conclusion too quickly.” On the other, previous hand, you should not be too slow in claiming a word from the Lord, for “The moment God speaks to you is the very moment God wants you to respond.”
I’m guessing that this back and forth advice is bound to load up many sincere Christians with false guilt. It seems unfair to tell people that they must hear God’s specific, regular directives (or their relationship is in trouble) and then not tell them how.