Christianity -- Christian Living/Did God talk?

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Question
Sir, how do I know if God has spoken to me.

Months ago when I was a deist I fell into a situation that got me seeking God over it, he told me pray, have patience and faith.

Later he told me that I need to return to church, the situation also prompted me to pray for another's salvation, yet I've been told I never heard from God

Answer
5 February 2014

Dear Raul,

While there are many things about you and about your situation I do not know, I'll do my best to answer your question.

God speaking to you is what one would call a mystical experience. If you are a person of sound mind and not suffering from schizophrenia or another serious mental illness, if God spoke to you and it was a reality to you, then it happened. It is a subjective evidence of God's reality and care for you.

That means it was evidence to you personally; but, of course, it would prove nothing to unbelievers of whatever label they might give themselves. They can no more tell you that it didn't really happen than they could tell me that the profound sense of Christ's Presence that I feel every time I receive Holy Communion isn't a subjective reality.

The results of your hearing God speak to you are certainly good if the effect caused you to return to church and care about another person--that he or she might come to Christ.

Moreover, you are certainly in the company of many others--such people as St Augustine of Hippo, Sadhu Sindar Singh, and I myself once had a profound sense that God spoke to me although it only happened once in my life when I was twelve. Often times, people in unbelief or great distress of one sort or another are given a special grace of hearing from the Lord directly.

All that being said, one must always "test the spirits" by the objective teaching of God's written Word, the Sacred Scriptures. If one were "told" that some behavior is all right when the Bible tells us just the opposite or "the voice" or "strong impression" teaches some ideas about God that don't reflect Biblical teaching and the Apostles' and Nicene creeds, then obviously "the message" doesn't come from God; it comes from the enemy of our souls and should be rejected.

If you will obtain and read Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli's HANDBOOK OF CHRISTIAN APOLOGETICS, that gives us the kind of objective evidence that is needed to convince unbelievers of the truth of Christianity. Subjective experiences rarely do!

I am going to be out-of-town until 17 February 2014. If you wish to address a follow-up question to me after that concerning anything that I wrote that you don't understand or something else that occurs to you that you might like to ask me, then please do so; and I'll do my best to help you.

Your friend in Christ,

Harold

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Rt. Rev. Harold L. Trott, SSC

Expertise

I am able to answer general questions on the Bible, Christianity, Christian Living, Theology, and devotional life.

Experience

An Anglican priest, I have been in Holy Orders for 49 years and served in pastoral ministry all that time. I consider myself an Evangelical Catholic.

Organizations
Society of the Holy Cross

Education/Credentials
B.A. cum laude in History M.A. Equivalent of an M.Div.

Awards and Honors
Outstanding Young Educator in Albuquerque (1976) (Junior Chamber of Commerce)

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