I’ve written previously on the false notion, in my opinion, of “felt-led” theology (see here and here). Felt-led theology, as coined by Greg Koukl at Stand to Reason, is a mindset among Christians, in which life decisions are based on whether or not one feels led – presumably of the Spirit – towards said decision. This experiential approach is heavily dependent on interpreting inner feelings and urges as potential messages from God. In a broad sense, such an approach is also used as a measure of one’s “connectedness” with God. In other words, your walk with God is determined by how well you decipher those inner nudges; the better you decipher, the more closely aligned you are with His Will.

Unfortunately, though pervasive within contemporary evangelical culture, felt-led theology has no scriptural foundation and, in my opinion, is tantamount to Christian superstition.

How many times have you encountered a fellow Christian who has made an important commitment decision or, worse, has left a previous commitment, mainly because they felt that God was leading them in such and such a direction? How many times have you encountered a fellow Christian, while contemplating a decision, state that they are “praying for direction”? It seems to me that the Bible makes it clear that we should pray for wisdom (and then use our own minds to make the decision).

Maybe it’s the introvert in me, as I deal with a decidedly extroverted Christian culture, but I tend to find the notion of relying on inner nudges and feelings, while we have access to God’s Word, to be a bit counter intuitive. Recently, I saw a discussion pertaining to how one should expect an answer from God, after prayerfully asking, especially when no answer seemed (felt) to be forthcoming. Some comments were (with my emphasis),

Yes, the waiting time can be very difficult. However, sometimes we have to ask ourselves if we are really listening or if we are really waiting for an answer.

Sometimes we’re so afraid of what the answer might or might not be that we’re not ready to listen to what he has to say.

He’ll only answer if you want him to.

While it’s sad to see such lame theology coming from other Christians, it’s even sadder to realize that such notions are commonly held beliefs within the evangelical community. One has to wonder if those who hold such beliefs have ever considered that God not only has the ability to deliver a message to us in any manner he chooses, regardless of whether or not we’re “listening” or whether or not we’re afraid of the answer, but that scripture does not support the notion that we have control over whether or not God speaks to us. Indeed, when one looks at scripture, one finds that God has no problem at all getting His message to whomever He chooses (ref. Saul on the road to Damascus); and that those who happen to feel that God is not answering them do not conclude that they aren’t listening hard enough, but understand the distinction of who they are and who God is (ref. David calling out to God).

Unfortunately, the message behind the idea that we can control whether or not answers from God get through is that we can conjure up God. That makes God our puppet – and that’s sending the wrong message to our fellow Christians.

For additional reference:
Just Do Something – Kevin DeYoung
Decision Making & the Will of God – Greg Koukl

Filed under: ChristianityCultureEvangelicalsRusty

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