Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear has recently tackled the question of whether God still speaks to people audibly as described in the Bible.
In a video posted by The Gospel Coalition, Greear discussed the question by noting that he has “never been comfortable putting God in a lot of boxes that He doesn’t put himself in.”
“I don’t know of anywhere in the Bible that says, ‘no, He will absolutely never speak audibly again to man on the earth,’” explained Greear.
“I will say that the Bible does indicate that the way that His Spirit speaks is obviously through the Scriptures, in these last days, God has spoken to us through His Son and this includes the writing of the Bible.”
Modern believers “shouldn’t expect we’re going to hear from God the way the apostles did,” he said, adding that the Bible has “ambiguity” about how God spoke to the early church.
“In Acts … the Holy Spirit shows up 59 different times in the Book of Acts, and 36 of the 59 He is speaking. Now, what’s a little frustrating for me about this is that it never exactly tells us how He speaks,” he continued.
“It doesn’t say. And I think that ambiguity is intentional because God does not want us to have the assurance that He is saying things that aren’t written in the Bible because more havoc has been reaped of the church following the words ‘God just told me’ than probably any other phrase in Christian history.”
Despite the ambiguity, Greear explained that he believed it was “clear that God still speaks,” but noted that this includes the Bible and that with the Bible, Christians “don’t need additional voices or things like that.”
Pastor Tim Challies of Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Ontario, also made similar comments in a blog last summer titled “How God Speaks To Us Today.”
Challies noted that the Bible was a key way that God still spoke to people in the modern day, saying that “God can guide us in many ways but today the Son speaks to us through his Spirit in the Bible,” adding that “God does not promise that he will speak in any other way.”
“In other words, we can all expect and believe that God will speak to us through the Bible. But he does not promise to speak in the ways he has spoken before, or in new ways,” wrote Challies.
“Of all the ways we may hope or long for him to speak, he promises only that he will guide us by his Son, through the Spirit in the Bible.”