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"Why I Am Still Surprised by the Voice of God: How God Speaks Today through Prophecies, Dreams, and Visions" by Jack Deere from a Reformed Experiential Perspective

Updated: Jun 18



Jack Deere's "Why I Am Still Surprised by the Voice of God: How God Speaks Today through Prophecies, Dreams, and Visions" explores the dynamic and often extraordinary ways in which the author believes God communicates with His people today. While Deere's work is both intriguing and inspiring to many within the charismatic movement, it poses several theological and practical challenges from a Reformed experiential perspective.


Positive Aspects:


  1. Personal Testimonies: Deere's narrative is rich with personal testimonies that are both compelling and thought-provoking. His transparent sharing of how he believes God has spoken to him through various means provides a vivid account of his spiritual journey.

  2. Emphasis on God’s Immanence: The book highlights the immanence of God, stressing that God is not distant but actively involved in the lives of believers. This emphasis is an important reminder that God is near and attentive to His people.

  3. Encouragement to Seek God’s Voice: Deere encourages readers to be open to hearing from God in diverse ways, fostering a spirit of expectation and attentiveness to God’s guidance and direction in their lives.


Critical Analysis:


  1. Scriptural Authority and Sufficiency: From a Reformed perspective, a key concern with Deere's book is its stance on the sufficiency and finality of Scripture. Reformed theology holds that the Bible is the complete and sufficient revelation of God's will for salvation and life. Deere's emphasis on extra-biblical revelations such as prophecies, dreams, and visions can be seen as undermining the sufficiency and finality of Scripture, leading to potential doctrinal confusion.

  2. Testing and Discernment: Reformed theology places a high value on discernment and testing all things against the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21). Deere's book occasionally seems to lack rigorous criteria for discerning the validity and origin of these supernatural communications. Without careful testing, there is a risk of mistaking personal or even deceptive experiences for divine revelation.

  3. Historical Continuity: The Reformed tradition emphasizes the historical continuity of God’s revelation through Scripture. While acknowledging that God has spoken through dreams and visions in biblical times, Reformed theology asserts that these were unique to the foundational period of redemptive history. Deere’s assertion that such revelations continue today in the same manner raises questions about the closure of the canon and the uniqueness of Christ’s revelation.

  4. Focus on Experience: Deere’s book tends to prioritize personal experiences of God’s voice over the normative means of grace—preaching of the Word, sacraments, and prayer. This experiential focus can lead to an overemphasis on the subjective, potentially detracting from the objective means by which God ordinarily communicates with His people.

  5. Corporate vs. Individual Revelation: In Reformed thought, the primary context for God’s communication is the corporate body of Christ, the church. Deere’s individualistic approach may inadvertently minimize the role of the church in discerning and interpreting God’s will, leading to a fragmented understanding of God’s guidance.


Conclusion:


"Why I Am Still Surprised by the Voice of God: How God Speaks Today through Prophecies, Dreams, and Visions" by Jack Deere is a passionate and engaging exploration of charismatic experiences of hearing God's voice. However, from a Reformed experiential perspective, the book presents several theological and practical challenges. The concerns about scriptural sufficiency, the need for discernment, historical continuity, the balance between experience and normative means of grace, and the corporate context of revelation all need careful consideration.


For those within the Reformed tradition, Deere's book can serve as a catalyst for deeper discussions on how God communicates with His people today. However, it should be read with a critical eye, always ensuring that experiences are evaluated and understood in light of the clear and authoritative teaching of Scripture.

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