Extrabiblical is Not Necessarily Unbiblical or Anti Biblical – Rosebrough, Osteen, Extrabiblical Revelation and Promptings – Denying one of the Works of the Holy Spirit
I listened to this Rosebrough critique of Osteen’s sermon:
(Link): Osteen Proves That God is NOT Speaking to Him
I sometimes agree with Pirate Radio / Fighting for the Faith host Chris Rosebrough, but this is one of those times where I’m not in total agreement.
In the Osteen sermon portions aired on Rosebrough’s show (see link above), Osteen describes how, years ago, he got an inner feeling, or message, to start preaching at his father’s church. Osteen feels that this was God speaking to him.
That Osteen preaches in a style that Rosebrough disagrees with, or that Rosebrough believes that Osteen does not rail against sin and Hell enough, is proof enough for Rosebrough that Osteen’s inner prompting was not of God but of Satan – which I first of all find to be overstating one’s case.
I do not always agree with Osteen’s preaching style or focus of his messages, but I think it’s going overboard to attribute his ministry, or all his views, to Satan.
(As a side note, does Rosebrough grasp or not that two people can be sincere Christians but still have legitimate disagreements on some matters?
Sometimes I listen to Rosebrough’s show, or read his writings, and he makes it seem as though unless you agree with him 100% of the time on 100% of topics that you are an anti-Christ, or unsaved heretic.
Nobody but nobody (including Mr. Rosebrough) has across- the- board absolutely perfect biblically- related opinions, positions, or doctrine on everything – and that does not mean that person is unsaved, a pagan, or an anti-christ.)
Getting back to Rosebrough’s insistence that Osteen heard a prompting from Satan and not God:
I can see how a man can be a false teacher without necessarily being under direct Satanic control.
Some preachers are motivated by greed, control or power, not Satanic influence. Or maybe Osteen only thought he was hearing from God but was simply mistaken. Maybe Osteen’s inner prompting was due to emotions, feelings, and not from God. But Satan?
I mean goodness, Satan? We’re really going to go there? That’s pretty drastic.
I think Rosebrough is totally wrong on gender complementarianism (ie, women should not be preachers, etc).
How charitable would it be for me to accuse Rosebrough of being under Satanic influence, since his views on gender roles is so obviously wrong and unbiblical, and he is in error on this?
Secondly, whether Osteen’s claim that God prompted him to preach or not does not really prove or disprove if such a thing – God speaking to folks outside the Bible – is possible.
I also am not seeing a connection between these points:
1. Some Christians claim that the Holy Spirit speaks to them inwardly
2. Osteen is supposedly a Satanic or false teacher who believes the Holy Spirit speaks to him inwardly
3. Ergo, claim number one is supposedly false
That’s a bit like saying,
1. Some Christians say that two plus two equals four
2. Christian church piano player Mr. Hank Smith beats puppies for fun and says that two plus two equals four
3. Ergo, point one, that two plus two equals four, is incorrect
Sorry, but I don’t see how point 2 contradicts or disproves 1.
One point does not necessarily cause or lead to another, or the guy in point 2 being a heretic or puppy beater does not necessarily negate or disprove the claims, beliefs, and experiences of people in point 1.
What if I could find a Christian preacher who agrees with Rosebrough almost 100% on doctrinal matters, who preachers in a manner that Rosebrough approves of, EXCEPT for in this one area: that the preacher in question believes that God does speak to people today outside of Scripture?
This would make Rosebrough’s argument against Osteen rather moot, it seems to me.
As the Bible says, God did in fact communicate with people outside of the written word – sometimes audibly, through jackasses (literally; see Numbers 22:30), in or through burning bushes, and via angelic messengers in the Old Testament, and God spoke to humans via angels in the New as well.
God also spoke to people in dreams and visions – on record in both Old and New Testaments. Samuel heard God’s voice; Paul and John claimed to be taken up to Heaven and heard God.
Where is your verse saying these things are applicable to ONLY John and Paul? Where’s your one single verse or passage?
Bearing in mind that the first Christians already had the Scriptures: they had the OLD TESTAMENT. However, the New Testament records that the Holy Spirit spoke to them inwardly.
These first Christians did not always consult the written Old Testament to figure out what God wanted them to do.
The Holy Spirit spoke to some of the earliest believers; for example,
“2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” (Acts 13:2)
“4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. (Acts 13:4)”
“It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements… (Acts 15:28)”
“I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. (Acts 20:23)”
“Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’” (acts 21:11)”
“I speak the truth in Christ — I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit … (Romans (9:1)”
He did not have his conscience confirmed by reading the written word of God, but by God speaking to him in his conscience.
Regarding the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts Ch 5),
Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land?
4 Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing?
You have not lied just to human beings but to God.”
(— end quote —)
Now, how did Peter deduce that this couple had lied, if the Holy Spirit did not tell Peter in his spirit or mind about it?
There is no Old Testament passage that explicitly says, “Ananias will lie to Peter about the money.” It’s not as though Peter could consult the written word of God (for his era, the Old Testament) to figure this stuff out.
Rosebrough kept asking for an explicit passage of Scripture that says that God can or will or does speak to Christians today, outside of the Bible, or in addition to.
I want to see the opposite: where does the Bible clearly state that God never, ever will, can, or does speak to believers outside the Bible today?
As far as I can recall, there is no single passage or verse that says, “After the time of Acts (early church), God will never speak to believers outside the written word, not ever.”
Because I don’t see any such passage.
I see no indication that God limited any of this only to Peter or Old Testament believers only.
2 Tim 3.16 only supports the importance of Scripture but does not say, “And God will never speak to people outside the written word.”
2 Tim 3.16,
All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness,
(— end quote —)
Nothing in there with time-limits on the Holy Spirit speaking to folks.
Yeah, Scripture is useful for rebuking, and it’s profitable for preaching and so on, but this verse is not claiming that God will never use another method to speak to a Christian. It’s not in there. That verse is not addressing that topic.
It just says the Bible is useful for rebuking and so forth. It does not claim that the Holy Spirit will halt speaking to believers inwardly at some stage of history.
I want to clarify: I believe in sola scriptura.
I think some people or denominations, such as Roman Catholics, err to elevate their Pope’s ex cathedra statements and their church’s Tradition on the level of the Bible.
I also don’t automatically assume, when someone claims God speak to them, that God did in fact speak to that person.
I find a lot of Pentecostal, Charismatic, Word of Faith guys just go totally off the range in this area. They are constantly claiming “God spoke to me on this, that, or the other.”
I do think that the written word should be used as a standard by which to judge someone’s claim that God spoke to them and said, “X.”
You should certainly go to the Bible and see if the Bible would in fact support “X” or not.
I see nothing in the 2 Tim 3.16 passage – which is the go- to, clobber passage by folks who feel that people today can never hear from God outside a printed book – about all Scripture being useful, yada yada, to negate the passages from Acts about the Holy Spirit speaking to people.
I also see nothing in the book of Acts or Romans, where believers mention that God spoke to them, indicating that the Holy Spirit would not speak inwardly to future believers as well.
The Book of Romans (see chapter 1) says God speaks to humanity via nature, that nature testifies to His existence; nature in that case serves as an extrabiblical revelation. (Romans 1:18-20)
The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19 since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20 For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.
(— end quote —)
- A psalm of David. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
- (— end quote —)
Where does Romans 1, or the Psalms, say that the existence of, wrath of God, and His invisible qualities are made known to people only when they read a printed text (ie, the Bible)? It does not. It is alluding to the creation (nature).
The NT – and even the Old – also says God speaks to people via their consciences. Some examples:
Genesis 20:5 Did he not say to me, ‘She is my sister,’ and didn’t she also say, ‘He is my brother’? I have done this with a clear conscience and clean hands.”
1 Samuel 24:5
Afterward, David was conscience-stricken for having cut off a corner of his robe.
I will maintain my innocence and never let go of it; my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live.
Paul looked straight at the Sanhedrin and said, “My brothers, I have fulfilled my duty to God in all good conscience to this day.”
And (emphasis added),
“They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts,
their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.”
(— end quote —)
The Bible itself records people getting revelation about God, or by God, from sources outside the written word, and I see no teachings in the Bible that indicate that this has halted past the original apostles.
And I’m not a charismatic person. I don’t know if I believe in the speaking in tongues stuff.
I’m surprised that Rosebrough would keep demanding a specific verse that reads something like “God sometimes speaks inwardly to a believer,” when some concepts Christians believe cannot be found neatly summarized in a single verse, such as the trinity. (Sorry, but there is a lot of dispute about Johannine Comma, 1 John 5:7.)
If you have to skip through the Bible – pointing to one passage that mentions the Father speaking to the Son while a Dove descends on Jesus and such – that does not meet the criteria. You’re having to flip through different Bible books and chapters to stitch this all together. There is not a lone verse which neatly wraps up the Christian belief of the Trinity.
In a similar vein, Rosebrough wanting a single verse on the issue is kind of like homosexual apologists who repeatedly yell, “Where is a single verse where Jesus discussed homosexuality? Show me one verse where Jesus said homosexuality is a sin!”
As anyone knows, the Gospels do not explicitly have Jesus condemning homosexuality as a sin (but nor does he mention abortion, bank robbery, check forgery, or pedophilia).
Something not being clearly condemned in Scripture, in one specific place, does not necessarily mean God is fine with whatever that behavior or view is.
Something not clearly being supported in Scripture, in one specific verse or passage, does not necessarily mean God is against whatever that belief or view is.
Just because there is not a specific New Testament passage that says in a nut shell, “The Holy Spirit will always speak inwardly to future believers” does not mean it is not so.
Seems very simplistic to insist on that criteria.
Even sadder is that there are in fact many examples of the Holy Spirit directly, guiding, and speaking to believers in the Bible. Yet, someone like Rosebrough is choosing to ignore those.
If we go by views such as Rosebrough’s, I’m not sure what the roles of the Holy Spirit are thought to be for the believer are today. I guess the Holy Spirit is of no effect, does nothing, sits about by a pool sipping tea?
Saying you disagree with Osteen’s theology or teaching, or that he does not preach on Hell and sin enough for your preferences, and that Osteen claims he founded his calling to minster on an inward prompting of God, does not disprove the belief that God may, or can, or does inwardly speak to followers today.
The one thing does not disprove the other.
Maybe Osteen is a huge heretic, let’s say I grant you that point. Maybe he’s the biggest Satanic heretic to ever live. That still does not disprove that the Holy Spirit may in fact speak to people in their spirits or minds – there are numerous examples in the written word of the Holy Spirit in fact speaking to a person’s mind, spirit, or heart.
Just because something is extrabiblical does not necessarily mean it is anti biblical, or unbiblical.
The Bible just does not claim on this subject what Rosebrough wants it to claim, or wishes it to say.
If you say God has never spoken to you inwardly, it could be precisely because you are not open to that approach, but you insist God will speak to you ONLY in words printed in ink in a book.
In the past few years, I’ve seen numerous interviews with Muslims who converted to Christianity because they claim they had visions of Jesus Christ, or Jesus appeared to them in a dream and spoke to them.
These Muslims explain that in their religion (Islam), they believe that God will only speak to a person via a dream (or vision).
Some of these Muslim guys giving these testimonies were living in Middle East nations where Bibles are banned, so they could not read the written word to learn of Jesus Christ. I’d like to hear a guy like Rosebrough address a phenomenon like this.
I recall reading many years ago a true story of an American fighter pilot. I can’t remember all the details. He claimed to be a Christian.
I don’t remember if he flew for USN or USAF. I believe his story took place in the 1980s or the 1990s.
He explained that while out either on a practice flight or a sortie, that his plane crashed. His plane, with him in it, went underwater.
The pilot said he tried to get the cockpit open but could not. He was trapped. He panicked.
He said he prayed and asked God for help right then and there. He said he heard God speak to him (inwardly) and told him to calm down, he was going to be okay.
The pilot said God spoke to him, directed him on how to free himself step by step – pull this lever, push that button, now do this, do that, etc – and that is how the pilot freed himself.
Here’s the thing: how many pilots are going to carry a Bible with them in a fighter plane?
If they do, in a situation like that, how are they going to calm down enough to read the thing? Would they even have the time to read it with water starting to pour into a cockpit?
Even if the pilot has a Bible with him and cracks it open to read it, please tell me, where in the Bible are there step- by- step instructions on how to free one’s self from a plane underwater?
Also inform me: where does the Bible say,
“Thus saith the Lord: any man who says he was trapped in a plane underwater and called out to me for help and says he heard my voice in his time of peril is a lying liar. Stone him to death, for I never speak outside the written word.”
Yeah, good luck finding such a passage.
While there may be no verse in the Bible saying “God speaks to someone trapped in a plane,” there is also nothing in the Bible saying it’s a sin for someone to pray for guidance in a time of danger, and that one will never receive a word from God on what to do in their specific time of calamity.
It’s very limiting, and I believe false, to insist a person can or does only hear from God in a published book.
Some people live in parts of the world where they have no access to the Bible at all (not even online), nor are their missionaries to preach to these people, as I was explaining above about Muslims in nations that are hostile towards Christianity.
The Bible, as I’ve noted before, does not address every situation a Christian person will face in life, such as (and for some people, these are very real concerns, and they want divine guidance):
Where shall I attend college? What major shall I pick? What career shall I follow?
Shall I marry or stay single? Whom should I marry?
Where do I find this potential spouse?
Should I stay here in City X or take the promotion which requires a move to City Z?
Yeah, the Bible does not discuss all major life choices and obstacles, which means a person will have no choice but to pray and wait for some sign, guidance, or input from God, if they want an answer to their specific issue that the Bible does not cover.
Even appealing to “biblical principles” does not cover some of these specific situations.
I do usually agree with Rosebrough on some subjects, but every so often, I disagree, and this is one of those times I’m sympathetic to the basis of his concern but can’t fully agree with some of his conclusions.
Edit. I wrote a Part 2:
(Link): Extra-Biblical Knowledge – My Thougts Expanded and Clarified – And: Christian Deism vis a vis Pneumatology
(Link): Hyper Sola Scriptura
This page also discusses what I have termed “Hyper sola scriptura”
(Link): Christians Who Can’t Agree on Who The Old Testament Is For and When or If It Applies
This mentions Rosebrough – who criticized this guy:
(Link): A Preacher Who Actually Reminds His Congregation that “Family” in the New Testament is Not Referring to Nuclear Family, Encourages Them to Include Non Relatives