Ed Dingess treats us to yet another round of his trademark confusions:
When God speaks, men must listen.
Pity Ed doesn't take his own advice and heed Jas 5:14.
Steve Hays and other Continuationists have repeatedly made no distinction between the acts of God in Scripture and the claims about God’s actions outside of Scripture.
To the contrary, we can certainly distinguish between acts of God in Scripture and claims about God's actions outside of Scripture.
In other words, my dream cannot be distinguished from Joseph’s dream in Scripture.
Keep in mind that Joseph's dream didn't originate in Scripture. He had that dream centuries before Moses wrote it down.
Steve Hays holds to the view that the continuation of revelation and personal prophecy do nothing to detract from the principle of Sola Scriptura. However, I contend that Hays could not be more wrong for one very simple and easy to understand reason: God’s word, regardless of its form is always authoritative. Man is obligated to do whatever God has directed him to do without regard for the form of that direction.
The fails on several counts:
i) A dream is not the same thing as "God's word." A dream is an essentially visual medium rather than a propositional medium.
ii) By the same token, there's nothing essentially directive about a revelatory dream. A dream is not synonymous with a command. It's not something you do. It may be descriptive or predictive rather than prescriptive of proscriptive.
Now, the idea of additional revelation today, be it personal prophecy, or dreams or visions, is in direct conflict with the principle of Sola Scriptura. Suppose you walk into Church today and one of your elders prophecies that you are to leave your current job and accept another job, which requires relocation. The elder says that God has plans for you to do some particular work in a specific city. You walk out of church that day and discuss this “word from God” with your wife and family. You really don’t want to go. You don’t like the company or the man to whom you would report. Is it up to you? Can you inform God that you really don’t want to take that job and simply ignore His word? In so doing, have you sinned against God? Should your church family begin the disciplinary process outlined in Matthew 18? How can we hold to the position that refusing to submit to this prophecy is nothing short of an act of blatant sin? And if it is sin, then discipline must follow.
Let's compare this to something else Ed said just day ago:
When was the last time you actually witnessed a genuine miracle? I don't mean you heard of someone who knew someone that told you about this person that got healed.
Notice that yesterday, Ed was making firsthand experience the litmus test. Unless you personally witness a miracle, you should withhold assent. But today, he's saying secondhand information would be binding:
Suppose you walk into Church today and one of your elders prophesies that you are to leave your current job and accept another job, which requires relocation. The elder says that God has plans for you to do some particular work in a specific city.
So what is Ed's evidentiary standard? Firsthand information or secondhand information?
Ed poses a specious dilemma. If an elder says God has plans for you, it is not a fact that God has plans for you. The elder's assertion that God spoke to him carries no presumption that God spoke to him. Is there any evidence that God spoke to the elder? The elder's say-so doesn't make it so.
Why is Ed unable to draw that rudimentary distinction? For instance, there was ongoing revelation in OT times. That doesn't mean anyone claiming to be a divine spokesman was what he claimed to be.
The rejoinder might be that such prophecies are not dependable. Therefore, we cannot be morally compelled to acquiesce to them. But this position impales God on the spear of obscurity. God is perceived to be unable to clearly communicate His plan to His followers.
As far as that goes, if God wanted to communicate his plan to one of his followers, he could reveal himself directly to the interested party. Not tell an elder to tell you his plan for your life.
It also places Continuationists in the position of needing more from God to be able to walk more perfectly in His will. The more perfect will of God is the will of God that is beyond Scripture and customized specifically to you. And you are responsible for growing to a place in Christ where God can reveal this will to you so that you can be a super-Christian, walking perfectly in God’s will for your life, marrying the right person, living in the right home, and working at the right company and in the perfect field.
No, it's not a matter of seeking a revelation. You could go your whole life without God giving you a revelatory dream. That may never happen to you. Not something you plan on or count on. The default method of decision-making is to learn what is obligatory, prohibitory, or permissible in Scripture. Where Scripture is silent, that's an area of liberty.
You apply Scriptural norms to the providential opportunities God has given you, acting on the best information you have at the time. You don't wait for a revelatory dream. It's only if God intervenes that you change your plans. I daresay many, perhaps most Christians, lead lives in which nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. We should be content with that.
This is why Pentecostals are obsessed with discovering God’s secret will.
In which case they should read Bruce Waltke's monograph on Finding God's Will:
Continuationists argue that modern prophecy is different. It is not binding like prophecy was in Scripture. This is nothing less than special pleading. Hays wants to apply a stricter standard to the word of God as written or to prophecy within Scripture than he does to prophecy today.
Ed is like a blindfolded boy swinging at a piñata. He doesn't bother to inform himself on my actual position. He just swings blindly at the imaginary piñata.
In the view of Steve Hays and others, there is nothing really any more special about Scripture than there is about modern prophecy and revelation. They are just as much the special revelation of God as is Scripture. The fact that it did not become written down is little more than an afterthought.
Many prophecies in OT and NT times were never written down. Is that just an afterthought?
The concept of open revelation at best gives sovereignty and Sola Scriptura nothing more than a wink and a nod. If open revelation is true, Scripture is not the only source by which we know God’s will. In fact, we know more of God’s will through dreams, and visions and personal prophecy.
This is silly on the face of it. Ed is so fixated on the imagery piñata that he doesn't stop to consider obvious counterexamples. But divine providence is often a way of discovering God's will.
Jimbo and Juno plan to marry right after high school graduation. But June dies in tragic boating accident when she is 16. Now he knows that it wasn't God's will for them to marry after high school graduation.
Reggie plans to be a pro football player. But he suffers a traumatic knee injury. Now he knows it wasn't God's will for him to be a pro football player.
Dilbert plans to attend MIT on a full scholarship. But in his senior year of high school, his dad is crippled in freeway pile up, forcing the boy to drop out of high school to work full time so that he can help support the family. Now he knows it wasn't God's will for him to go to MIT.
Does discerning God's will from providential events like that negate sola Scriptura?