How good is your caller ID? (Updated) 23

Perry Noble advised pastors on how to hear from God last week.

One of the KEYS to receive REVELATION is PREPARATION!  It’s not that God isn’t wanting to download HUGE vision into us as leaders…but many times we just aren’t ready for it.

Now, I might have said that the key to receive revelation was to open the Bible and read it, but perhaps that’s because I’m just not ready for Noblesque visions. Noble and many other leaders like him promote themselves as special vessels for God’s direct messages, to which all their followers must submit without question.

Noble certainly believes God continues to speak beyond the Bible. On Sunday, he seemed to rebuke the Bible-only approach to God’s word.

It is a dangerous thing to say God is silent when the Bible says that His Word is living and active!

The crazy thing is that this gets it all backwards. Folk who believe that the Bible contains, and closes the book on, God’s revelation to us do so because we believe that that revealed Word is eternally living and active. When you think you need to have new revelation downloaded by God, it is a good indication that you don’t really believe that the Bible is sufficiently living and active in 2009.

Besides holding a low view of Scripture, Noble’s position is inherently weak and dangerous in its susceptibility to error, especially when it’s combined with a violent intolerance to being tested and criticized.

John Calvin warned that when we think we hear God in our gut, we can’t always be certain that we’re not hearing yesterday’s lunch or the Devil himself.

Since Satan transforms himself into an angel of light, what authority can the Spirit have with us if he be not ascertained by an infallible mark? …but these miserable men err as if bent on their own destruction, while they seek the Spirit from themselves rather than from Him. (Ch IX.1)

The only infallible mark of the Holy Spirit’s authorship is the written Word of God–the Bible. The Scriptures are the Spirit’s finest and complete works, to which he need not add even a single comma.

When a leader tells us that he has “heard” God speak to him in any way that comes from inside him or was downloaded to him, we should wonder whether he has a special spiritual caller ID. There’s a good chance that it’s not actually God.

There’s enough in the Bible for clear-eyed biblical leaders to lead with. Anything beyond that is red-alert territory.

Calvin again:

With no less confidence than folly, they fasten upon any dreaming notion which may have casually sprung in their minds. Surely a very different sobriety becomes the children of God. (Ch IX.3)


Brad Cooper reports this Noble quote from an all-staff meeting yesterday:

We must continue to dig into God’s Word because ”˜Today’s Church cannot be lead on yesterday’s revelation.’

What was yesterday’s revelation? How is that different from today’s revelation?

How many revelations are there?

Does revelation have to conform to and change with culture?

How did the New Testament church survive for 2,000 years based on insufficient revelation?

23 thoughts on “How good is your caller ID? (Updated)

  1. Anthony Oct 16, 2009 6:34 am

    “It is a dangerous thing to say God is silent when the Bible says that His Word is living and active!”

    Can you possibly explain how this quote made you think that Perry has a negative or low view of scripture? He preaches it weekly from Newspring’s stage!

    Also, way to quote John Calvin in your post, I thought I always knew where you stood but now I know for sure! CALVINIST!!!

  2. Paul Oct 16, 2009 8:34 am

    it’s almost as if noble and others like him almost view the pastoral office as a mediator type of priestly office where God speaks to them and then they speak to the people…very much like the roman catholic priest. instead of

    One of the KEYS to receive REVELATION is PREPARATION! It’s not that God isn’t wanting to download HUGE vision into us as leaders…but many times we just aren’t ready for it.

    I think the Bible teaches…

    The ONLY key to receive REVELATION is PREPARATION. We are to study the Bible and pray for the Holy Spirit’s help in understanding and obeying it. God has already DOWNLOADED a huge vision to ALL believers in Christ. Sadly many times we aren’t ready for it because we fail to read the Word, pray for the Spirit’s help, and submit to it’s teaching.

  3. James Duncan Oct 16, 2009 9:28 am

    It’s a low view of Scripture, Anthony, because he doesn’t believe in its sufficiency. He thinks he needs to add more to it. Quoting a few verses on Sunday does not prove your belief in sola scriptura.

    FYI, Calvin wrote about biblical doctrine, not about Calvinism. Quoting his view of Scripture no more makes me a Calvinist than singing songs from AC/DC makes Perry Noble a Satanist.

    And what would be so extraordinarily wrong with being a Calvinist anyway?

  4. JT Oct 16, 2009 9:55 am


    I’m not surprised to see that you’ve left off part of the quote. Here’s the context:

    “#1 – What are we doing to get ourselves ready to hear the Word of God?

    God is always speaking…the question is are we listening!

    The first thing God commands Jeremiah is to get himself ready! One of the KEYS to receive REVELATION is PREPARATION! It’s not that God isn’t wanting to download HUGE vision into us as leaders…but many times we just aren’t ready for it.”

    Yes, it is clear that Noble believes in extra-Biblical revelation through the Holy Spirit.

    However, why do you assume that every time he mentions hearing from God that he is referring to extra-Biblical revelation?

    • James Duncan Oct 16, 2009 10:10 am

      I can play the context game, too, JT. What’s the context of the passage Perry quoted? He’s comparing himself to Jeremiah and assuming that God is about to speak to Noble in the same way that he spoke to the prophet. (I think he also misinterprets the application of this passage. Jeremiah was to prepare himself to obey, not necessarily to hear.)

      When Perry speaks about hearing God’s word, unless the context is clear that he’s talking about Scripture, I do interpret it to mean extrabiblical revelation. That is his self-described primary job–to get “vision” downloaded from God. He talks about that ALL THE TIME.

      I included the second quote as additional context to support my interpretation. My interpretation is perhaps debatable (as we’re doing), but not without warrant.

  5. Corner Coffee Oct 16, 2009 10:07 am

    1. I’ve heard this quote from both Noble and Furtick:
    “You can’t expect God to show you his concealed will until you’ve discovered and followed his revealed will”

    Lest you misunderstand what they mean by that — You can’t expect to receive revelation from the Holy Spirit until you obey what he already revealed in the Scriptures. Scriptures come first.

    What a low view of scripture, indeed.

    2. I find it odd that you scream sola scriptura and revelation from scripture alone, yet feel the need to quote Calvin to make your point. Was scripture alone not good enough to prove that we should rely on, umm, scripture alone?

  6. James Downing Oct 16, 2009 10:20 am

    To say scritpure comes first, and divine revelation comes second IS a low view of scripture. Scripture IS the divine revelation. To infer that you should be waiting around for another dump of information is a denial of Sola Scriptura.

    I can’t stress enough what a big deal this is. The Reformation basically happened over two things, one of which was Sola Scriptura. Were the reformers wrong?

  7. James Duncan Oct 16, 2009 10:20 am

    Golly gosh, CC, I’m sorry I missed your comment before composing my last response.

    “You can’t expect God to show you his concealed will until you’ve discovered and followed his revealed will.”

    That quote it PERFECT!

    It totally supports my point, and I wish I’d had it to use to defend myself against JT.

    They’re saying that God has hidden revelation that goes above and beyond his revealed Word. That is NOT Scripture alone. It also says that it’s revealed only to special people.

    The concept of concealed revelation is such a tried and–sadly–effective method for heretics everywhere. Using that logic, SF and PN can claim that they have found something that is concealed from the rest of us, but has been wondrously revealed to them. How might one ever test this previously concealed revelation?

    As for #2, I knew that silly objection was coming, but didn’t know who it would make it. Preaching God’s Word is something we are told to do, and that’s what Calvin was doing. Calvin is applying Scripture, not looking for wisdom outside it.

  8. JT Oct 16, 2009 10:34 am

    >>Duncan: “When Perry speaks about hearing God’s word, unless the context is clear that he’s talking about Scripture, I do interpret it to mean extrabiblical revelation. That is his self-described primary job–to get “vision” downloaded from God. He talks about that ALL THE TIME.”

    But again you are assuming that getting vision from God is always extra-Biblical, which is a big jump, especially considering he used scripture to make this point.

  9. Corner Coffee Oct 16, 2009 10:35 am

    So I guess when people have a big decision to make, and they say something to the effect of “I need to pray about that”, they’re just dummies who need to read their Bible more?

  10. Lane Chaplin Oct 16, 2009 2:17 pm

    Thanks, James. It’s pretty apparent that New Spring has abandoned Sola Scriptura. It seems there are all kinds of elements afloat in this movement now: an emergent church flavor, a “seeker” sensitive flavor, revivalism, prosperity “gospel” lite, etc. Which ones have I missed?

  11. Paul Oct 16, 2009 5:06 pm

    Brad Cooper is eerily sounding like Rob Bell…

  12. Corner Coffee Oct 16, 2009 6:12 pm

    Serious question for those of you who believe differently than me:

    Can the Gospel message, though never changing, have a different affect depending on who the message comes from, and who it is going to?

    For instance, can a man with no family, no job, and no hope find in the Gospel something different than a rock star?

    To the poor man with no family, Jesus is a friend and God a father.
    To the rich man, Jesus is the peace that he couldn’t find in money or drugs.

    To both men, Jesus is their Savior and Redeemer. But to each, His salvation and grace may mean something different.

    I know that, during my walk with Christ, the message of scriptures has changed based on where I am in my journey. It doesn’t actually change, but to me, I might see something new that I hadn’t noticed before, but it just happens to be exactly what I needed to see.

  13. Jim W Oct 16, 2009 8:12 pm

    I don’t see why there would be any difference. Everyone needs their sins forgiven because we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and Jesus is the only way we can have our sins forgiven. Why would a rich man need something different from a poor man? A rich man may “want” something different than a poor man, but that doesn’t change the actual gospel.
    As far as you learning as you go, perhaps that is the Holy Spirit granting you the ability to see the truth when before He did not because you wouldn’t have understood it at an earlier point in time. But to expand on that: what message has changed over time?

  14. Corner Coffee Oct 16, 2009 9:35 pm

    At its core, the Gospel message never changes. But our circumstances affect how and why we receive it.

    Jesus is always our Savior, but to a man with no friends He is a friend. To a man who poor, He is his sustenance. To a man on death row, He is hope.


    If the Holy Spirit shows me something new, that is BY DEFINITION a new revelation. Could that be what Noble was talking about? Could it be that (gasp) he wasn’t talking about something no one has ever seen before, but something HE has never seen before? Could it be that, as the Pastor grows, so grows the church (as he leads the church)???

    Could it POSSIBLY be that you read into that quote what YOU wanted it to say? It sure does make for good material.

  15. James Duncan Oct 16, 2009 9:56 pm

    CC, the Holy Spirit is not giving us any new revelation. He leads us into truth, but it’s been there all the time.

    By “HUGE vision,” I somehow doubt that PN is talking about new nuanced insights into the Bible, especially when they never appear in his sermons.

    The Bible has been studied pretty intensively for the last 2,000 years, so what new revelation from the Bible is he finding that’s fresher than “yesterday’s revelation”?

  16. Corner Coffee Oct 16, 2009 11:06 pm

    He leads us into truth, but it’s been there all the time.

    So, he leads us into truth. The word “revelation” couldn’t fit there? Was it hard to avoid the word “reveal” and its derivatives in that sentence?

    We Value His COMMANDS – Scripture will always lead our way. “God’s Word illuminate God’s Will” – “Hear His Word… Speak His Word… Do His Word” — “Our Theology must drive our Methodology” — We must continue to dig into God’s Word because “Today’s Church cannot be lead on yesterday’s revelation.”

    To me, that’s good stuff. Here’s a paraphrase:

    We must always be in the Word, because we always need fresh revelations from the Spirit in order to grow as a Christian and lead the church effectively. Don’t be satisfied with what you learned yesterday or last year. He ALWAYS has something new to teach you that you didn’t know before, and from that teaching (or revelation), you will grow.

    Or, to go all “Spurgeon” on you:
    “the diligent reading of the word of God with the strong resolve to get at its meaning often begets spiritual life … I have seen a text of Scripture flame forth in that way to my soul; I have known that it was God’s word to me, and I have gone on my way rejoicing”

    Now, if that’s what he meant from the quote above, would you have any problem with it then?

    Question: If a person won’t respond to your emails because he knows you’ll turn everything he says around on him on your blog, is it OK, when presented with a statement that you might misinterpret, to publish your (potentially incorrect) assumption and interpretation on your blog anyway?

    Just curious.

  17. Tommy F Oct 16, 2009 11:43 pm

    Corner Coffee,

    Be honest:

    Are you now or ever have been an employee at NS?
    If no, then you should get an application.
    If yes, are you Perry Noble?

  18. James Duncan Oct 16, 2009 11:54 pm


    PN uses the words of false teachers to open space for himself for extrabiblical revelation. You can paraphrase away, but that’s not what he said.

    What’s the deal with the question about emails? If you’re an NS staffer, your message is too cryptic for me.

  19. Corner Coffee Oct 17, 2009 12:53 am

    I just assumed that if you were going to publish your interpretations of people’s words, you would at least give them the common courtesy of emailing them and asking “is that what you meant?” before you publish it.

    FYI, not associated with NS at all. Not that it matters one single bit.

  20. Corner Coffee Oct 17, 2009 1:05 am

    OK after re-reading my comment about the email, it does sound weird and freaky. Hopefully my last comment clarifies it a bit. If not, here’s a recap:

    If you read someone’s words and they seem fishy to you, but you know they may not have meant it in the way you took it, it’d be nice if you emailed them and asked what they meant by that.

    If they ignore your email, does that mean it’s OK for you to publish your (potentially incorrect) interpretation of what they said?

    Hopefully that makes more sense.

    • James Duncan Oct 17, 2009 10:06 am

      CC, that does make more sense.

      Part of the reason it was freaky was because there’s no way they would respond to such an email. PN and SF tell us repeatedly from the pulpit that we need not email them about what they say.

      If that was going to be the plan, should every reader of their blog be expected to do the same thing?

      Might I propose two alternative solutions.

      1) Stop preaching in slogans.

      2) Open up comments on their posts so that readers can ask for clarification for the benefit of all readers.

  21. Jeff Oct 17, 2009 8:02 am

    To CC:

    Maybe not flowing with the rest of the stream here, but thanks very much for the one comment made earlier: “…Gospel message, though never changing, have a different affect “…

    Excellent thought (for me at the moment). Is the Gospel message like ice cream, in that it comes in different flavors? No, definitely not. It’s all the same, and the outcome is meant to be all the same, that is, conform us all to Christ, and into His image. It is above culture, above language, above age, above education, above social standing, even above city location, etc. (See 1 Cor 1:12 for ‘context’).

    This speaks to the issue of personal preferences, likes and dis-likes, in the church, which ultimately is nothing but flesh and immaturity, and carnality, not spirituality.

    Thanks, CC.

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