I always appreciate people who are willing to grow and be stretched, and here is a comment from Jackie who took our training on Hearing God’s Voice and is struggling.
I took the Hearing God's Voice course and have realized that this material is not Biblical. Though it is littered with Bible references, and seems to promote careful discernment at first, the scripture verses are out of context and the material promotes false ideas. Yes, we are called to be still at times, and yes God does prompt and lead His people, but the idea that all positive spontaneous thoughts are from God and any negative thoughts are Satan, and all analytical thoughts are from us, is totally unBiblical. I find instead that the Bible urges us to use our minds, to use wisdom and discernment and test everything to ensure it lines up with the Bible. In 2 Peter 2, it urges us to "crave the pure milk of the word" in order to grow, not tune to spontaneity. The Bible is the only trustworthy source of truth. Our spontaneous thoughts change depending on mood, circumstances, etc. How can we depend on them to lead us in godliness?
Following is Mark Virkler’s response
I appreciate you and the fact that you are hungry to grow and took the time to work through this course. I am sorry that you felt uncomfortable with some of the training. Let’s see if I can help. It’s nice that we agree that God does prompt and lead us, and that it is helpful to be still so we can hear His voice.
I agree with you that not all spontaneous thoughts come from God. We teach that spontaneous thoughts come from the spirit world, which can include Holy Spirit as well as evil spirits. I can be in the midst of prayer or worship and have a spontaneous evil or perverted thought drop into my mind, and I consider that coming from a demon. That is why we test all things and hold fast to what is good. If the spontaneous thought lines up with the names of satan (accuser, liar, deceiver, thief, adversary), then I suspect it came from him. If the spontaneous thought lines up with the names of Jesus (Comforter, Healer, Teacher, Wonderful Counselor, Giver of Life), then I am inclined to believe it came from Jesus.
We teach that the spontaneous flow comes from the vision being held before your eyes. If I have my eyes fixed on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1,2) and tune to flow, then I expect that the Holy Spirit Who flows within will be giving me the answer through flowing thoughts (John 7:37-39).
The Bible says to test all things (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21). We have several ways of testing flowing thoughts. We make sure they are compatible with Scripture, and then we submit them to three spiritual advisors. EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES (2 Corinthians 13:1). The Greek word “fact” in this verse is “rhema” which means spoken word. Any spoken words we receive in our hearts we submit to our three spiritual advisors, asking them “Does your heart bear witness this came from the Lord Jesus Christ?” If they all say “yes” then we move forward with confidence that it has been confirmed through a multitude of counselors (Proverbs 11:14).
I surely agree with your point: “like newborn babies, long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may grow in respect to salvation.” (I assume this was a typo as you mention it is in 2 Peter 2, but it is actually 1 Peter 2:2. No problem here though, as I have often made such mistakes.)
You did not provide any Scripture to support your final statement, “The Bible is the only trustworthy source of truth.” I disagree. I do not believe that is what the Bible teaches.
The Bible tells us we can receive truth from several sources, one being the Spirit. "But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth" (John 16:13).
Actually the Bible mentions numerous ways of coming to truth which I explore in my book How Do You Know?. Personally, I combine six different ways God speaks when I am seeking out truth. Obviously if one has an unbiblical paradigm for coming to truth, it will be extremely hard to arrive at the truth.
You did not provide Scripture to support your statement of disagreement with my teaching that “all analytical thoughts are from us.” You feel this is totally unbiblical. I have looked up every verse in the Bible with “reason” in it and did not find an injunction for me to use my mind myself. Actually, every time “reason” shows up in the Gospels, Jesus is rebuking them for using their minds themselves, without having spiritual discernment and insight (Matthew 16:5-12; Mark 2:5-12; 8:15-18).
The only command that I could find in the Bible to reason is Isaiah 1:18, "'Come now, and let us reason together,' says the LORD.” I choose to do this, reason together with the Lord, rather than reason on my own. As I reason, I ask the Wonderful Counselor Who is at my side (Acts 2:25) for His wisdom. Then I experience what the disciples experienced on the Emmaus road, "Were not our hearts burning within us while He was explaining the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32) The commanded biblical lifestyle is to live and walk by the Spirit (Ephesians 5:25). Wow! That is crystal clear!
So in summary, we have the Bible and the Holy Spirit and the counsel of others and we need them all plus more. I want to reiterate thanks for being willing to stretch and grow. Struggle is simply part of the growing process and is to be celebrated. Keep pressing on!