Hearing God's Voice
At the heart of some of his disputes with other Christians is a theological difference. All evangelicals believe that God answers prayer (although often not as we in our fallenness might choose) and speaks to us through the Bible. Mr. Robertson, like some other charismatics, believes that God speaks to him directly "all the time": For example, "The Lord spoke to me last year. Israel is entering into the most dangerous time in its history as a nation."The full text of the article is online here.
Mr. Robertson explains, "It's not conceited. We ask for leading . . . God did speak to me directly concerning this university, and it was real simple. He said, 'I want you to buy the land and build a school for My glory.'. . . This is the heritage of every Christian believer. If some people haven't had that blessing, I'm sorry, but I have. . . . You read Jeremiah. He said, 'The word of the Lord came to me.'. . . You read the Torah, 'the word of the Lord came to Moses,' 'The Lord said to Moses, tell the people.' The Lord spoke to Joshua. The Lord spoke to David."
As one who has felt led by God to seminary, to start King of Peace Church, to create The Preschool, etc. I can't dismiss Robertson's assertion that God still speaks to the faithful. But how does God speak to us?
The traditional Anglican answer is that God does still speak to us and we come to hear God's voice in community. We discern God's will together knowing that God will not send The Answer to one person alone, but will also confirm the message in other ways. As I often put it, "God speaks in stereo." So in determining whether God is leading us (rather than me doing the leading alone) we trust a community of the faithful, which through scripture and the traditions of the church is broader than those who are alive today. And we pray for the Holy Spirit to guide us as we discern what is God's will and what is our own will. It's not easy and can be messy in fact, but I do believe that it is a faithful way to ensure that we are hearing God's voice and not our own inner monologue.
Back in the interview linked above, Pat Robertson admits that he now listens to other voices to prevent having to take back the strongest of his rhetoric. The article states,
Mr. Robertson said he was taking precautions to avoid more eruptions: Before broadcasts "I didn't use to review the news. Now prior to the air we go over the news stories. . . . I now have a former news producer from Good Morning America. I'm going to have an earpiece in my ear . . . he's going to be whispering in my ear . . . he's going to be in the control room, as the news comes up [he'll say], 'why don't you say this, why don't you suggest this, let's discuss this.'"Now Robertson has someone speaking to him during his broadcast to help him discern what he should say. Not exactly the Anglican ideal of communal discernment, but it's closer.
How do you hear and discern God speaking to you?
The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor + King of Peace Episcopal Church