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God Spoke to Me

Updated: Jun 20, 2023

Written by Evi Idoghor


My cousin called me one Saturday evening. I could sense the uneasiness in her voice before she said: “God has never spoken to me.” “Okay, what is happening?” I thought. “You know how people have dreams or say they heard the voice of God, that has never happened to me.” I paused for a second to articulate my thoughts then replied, “Open your bible and read it; that is God speaking to you. Don’t be carried away by those who are quick to say: “God spoke to me,” most of the time, they are usually wrong.” Then she let out her deep breath and replied, “I should have called you earlier, now I feel better.”

There is a recent craze centered on one's ability to hear God's audible voice. While this isn't anything new and I don't believe it can never happen, the recent surge has given birth to a plethora of lies that if one isn't careful, can cause them to fall prey to the enemy's ploy.
God spoke to me

There is a recent craze centered on one's ability to hear God's audible voice. While this isn't anything new and I don't believe it can never happen, the recent surge has given birth to a plethora of lies that if one isn't careful, can cause them to fall prey to the enemy's ploy.


The film Come Sunday was recommended to me one night during the 2020 lockdown. I decided to watch the movie because I was bored with what was on at the time. The starring role was played by a brilliant actor (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and the story was based on true events. Anyone who knows me knows how much I enjoy a good true life story, whether documentary or film.


The plot followed the life of a mega-church pastor (Carlton Pearson) whose church was located in Oklahoma. The church's weekly meetings were attended by approximately 6000 members. Everyone seemed to be pulling on the pastor in different directions. He was also burdened with the great commission that Christ gave before his ascension for believers to go out into all the world and preach the gospel to everyone (Mathew 28:19-20).


As such, whatever opportunity he had, whether it was on a plane heading somewhere or in a restaurant enjoying a warm meal with his family, he used to talk to people about God. This was an admirable trait he possessed, though his family suffered as a result of his lack of time to spend with them.


While I watched, I kept on saying to my cousin, “you see, this is the reason why I can’t marry a pastor.” The responsibility of a pastor and being a pastor’s wife can be enormous. If I get to marry one, I am just going to be like former US first lady, Melania Trump. The energy she gave compared to Michelle Obama, was — abeg make una no stress me.


So, one day, while watching television, this man of God caught a glimpse of some Rwandans who had suffered the consequences of the genocide. He was extremely bothered by what he saw. He believed that the vast majority of those who died had never heard of Christ, and because of this they would end up in hell. On a Sunday morning, he told his congregation about what he had seen on TV and how it made him feel, and then he said, "God spoke to me."


They were accustomed to hearing him say this phrase. But what happened next made the hair on the back of their necks stand up - and mine too. "God said that all those people in Rwanda affected by the genocide would not perish, but would be in heaven with me." He backed up his claims by quoting 1 John 1-2, which states, “My little children, I am writing these things to you that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.”



Then he said, “If Jesus died for everyone, then everyone would spend eternity with him in heaven.” He didn't stop there; his discoveries led him to the conclusion that hell did not exist. Most people leapt from their seats and stormed out of the building unable to believe the heretical statement made by their beloved pastor. Some church elders attempted to speak with him about the matter, but he was firm in his belief that he had heard God's voice.


He refused to listen when one of them told him that the voice he heard wasn't from the Lord. His newfound epiphany which he believed was directly revealed to him by God, caused him to lose his church and many of his supporters. He then deviated completely from what he normally preached, to the doctrine of Christian Universalism. Christian Universalism simply means that “all sinful and alienated human souls, because of divine love and mercy, will ultimately be reconciled with God.” (Wikipedia)

 

I will be honest; I was angry and devastated at the same time. Angry because how can someone taint the word of God in that manner? Devastated because he began to travel down a path he had no business with.


When he realized he couldn't save everyone, he began to lose faith. Growing up, the gospel was presented to him wrapped in the terror of hell, which he didn't want to end up in, nor did he want anyone else to end up there. So, he made it his life's mission to save everyone with whom he came into contact. "If you want," he told a woman on a plane, "I can get you saved right now." She agreed, her eyes welling up with tears.


There were some like this woman who decided to become Christians after he spoke with them, and there were others, like his uncle who rejected the Christian worldview. That broke his heart. He believed his responsibility was to save people. Somewhere along the line, he missed the point that he wasn’t part of the Holy Trinity, and as such could not do the saving.


Jesus speaking in John 6:37 said, “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.” It is not our responsibility to save people; even if we are successful in "convincing" them, God is the one at work in us to will and to do for his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Our responsibility is to share with others the hope we have in Jesus. And to pray that God does his work of drawing people to himself.


God Spoke to me


The reality is that this pastor is far from the first to stray under the guise of—God spoke to me. Many people have used this phrase erroneously and so led others to do outrageous things because of their ignorance of the written word and how it should be properly applied. I was in a group when someone shared something they had heard from someone else. The individual claimed that the Holy Spirit had instructed them to watch pornography. If anyone is familiar with the bible and everything it contains, there is no way that the Holy Spirit will ever support the despicable porn industry.


I think the issue here is that many Christians don’t read and understand their bible. Acts 17 shares the story of some Jews who were in a place called Berea. Verse 11 says, “Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” They didn’t just take the apostles word for it, they searched the scriptures. Many people say a lot to others, buttressing their claims with phrases like, "God spoke to me," or "God told me." If what "God" says cannot be supported by the bible, then the claim is false. We must remain vigilant.


It was humorous how the pastor did not go over the entire chapter of 1 John 2. Reading the entire chapter would have raised some concerns about his claims. There, John discussed the exclusivity of Christianity, stating that if you choose to follow Christ, you must obey his commandments. And whoever does the will of God was going to abide forever. Yes, Christ died for everyone. And if you will accept him, your sins are already atoned for, so you don’t have to bear the burden of paying for your sins.


There is no hell?


The pastor had hastily concluded that the victims of the genocide in Rwanda were not believers. So, to soften the blow of the fact that suffering on earth does not exempt one from eternal suffering, he became convinced that hell did not exist. People often believe that they are more compassionate or loving than God. So, when they see something in scripture that makes them uncomfortable, or when they see the scriptures condemning a lifestyle that they or their loved ones are accustomed to, they rewrite the bible in their hearts. No, no, this can’t be true; they say, and so deceiving themselves.


However, God is a just God. While there is an atonement for sin, there also has to be punishment for it (for those who reject Christ) because his wrath must be satisfied. 2 Corinthians 5:10 says all must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so we can receive what is due for what we have done whether good or evil. Verse 11 says, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men…”


According to Jesus' words in Matthew 25:41, hell (or the lake of fire) was originally created for the devil and his angels. Unfortunately, those who do not believe or who violate God's laws will perish there. Christ spoke more about hell than anyone else in the bible, and to conclude that it does not exist would be equivalent to calling him a liar. There was a scene in the film where the pastor was speaking to his pianist who was homosexual. he said, "Just because there is no hell, does not mean I condone sin." If there is no eternal punishment for sin, then sin is non-existent, and God's commandments are also non-existent.


So, if everyone will eventually end up in heaven, there was no point in Jesus' death and resurrection, and there is no point in sharing the gospel with others. There will be no gospel at all. But we know that is not the case, despite what the enemy would want to have us believe.


Leslie Schmucker a writer for The Gospel Coalition said in an article where she addressed the topic of hell: "The doctrine of hell is uncomfortable for most of us. However, our understanding of hell shapes our view of the gospel, God’s holiness, and our depravity. If we don’t accept the reality of hell, we won’t rightly understand the glory of the gospel."


Finally, God will never say anything to you or me that contradicts his word. It really is that simple. People frequently succumb to the enemy's antics after he has worked on them for some time. He begins by getting you to question some things, and then he hits you with the hard one, causing you to abandon everything you once knew and forge a new path.


Paul in Galatians 5:7-9 while addressing the people of Galatia said: “You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump.”


This scripture summarizes the pastor's story; he began his race well, but was deceived along the way by the enemy. The sad part is that he persists in his deception. He has a new book titled: The Gospel of Inclusion. Part of the about the book reads: “Following a revelation from God, he began to preach that a loving God would not condemn most of the human race to hell because they are not Christian. He preaches that God belongs to no religion. The Gospel of Inclusion is the journey of one man's quest to preach a new truth.”


Here we go again with this my truth, your truth thing. There is only one truth, and that is Jesus Christ (John 14:6). As wonderful as it is to hear God's voice, we must not place our faith in what we "hear" over the written word.


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All images are courtesy of Unsplash


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16 de abr.
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More people need to hear this

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Convidado:
24 de jun. de 2023
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Well written, articulate and important

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Evi Idoghor
Evi Idoghor
27 de jun. de 2023
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Thank you for reading and leaving a comment.

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