Do you believe that God has audibly spoken to anyone since the apostolic age?
I don’t know for sure whether God has or not. Certainly there are abundant cases in church history where people claim to have heard voices that were the audible voice of God. Joan of Arc would be Exhibit A. That testimony has come more than once from people whom we generally recognize as being reputable saints, and so I hesitate to cast aspersions on their testimony. On the other hand, we find that even in sacred Scripture, during a time when God was giving direct communication of divine revelation, the occurrences of an audible voice of God were extremely rare. I can only think of three times in the New Testament that there’s a record of God speaking audibly, and all three of them were occasions where the Father made a public declaration about his Son, who incidentally is no longer with us on this planet in the flesh. There’s no other record of anyone being talked to by God audibly, with the exception of Saul (Paul) on the road to Damascus. Even in the Old Testament, though it happens with those who are agents of revelation, those occurrences are very rare indeed. In biblical times, even at the height of divine revelation, audible revelation direct from heaven was rare. I don’t think we are in a period of redemptive history in which we’re getting special revelation from God. It would seem to me it would be even less likely that you would get that kind of audible expression from God today. Add to that a factor that many Christians don’t like to consider: Hearing voices when there’s no discernible source can be a manifestation of a psychosis. I’m not saying it is, but it can be. There are people who do suffer from hallucinatory experiences in which they hear voices as a result of chemical imbalances and so on. I can’t think of anyone who has ever told me they actually heard the audible voice of God, but if they did, I would be concerned about their mental state. I wouldn’t conclude immediately that they were crazy, but I don’t think it’s normal or expected in the devout Christian life to be hearing the audible voice of God.
©1996 by R.C. Sproul. Used by permission of Tyndale.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. ©1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.