Surprised by the Voice of God Review

The following posts will comprise a series of smaller parts that make up the whole of the bigger review. This review was issued to seminary students to do a critical review of the Jack Deere’s book, “Surprised by the Voice of God.” Part of this review is to identify the good and the bad parts that make up this book. While the book challenges the reader to look at their own life and not be happy with a static life with God, it calls into question some of its methods or what it tends to elevate. I hope that all of us will be able to experience the fruit of the Spirit, but also the gifts of the Spirit will be exhibited.

SURPRISED BY A DIFFERENT REVELATION

If you are a humble, willing and available Christian, then there is a way to hear the audible voice of God and have prophetic visions, dreams and impressions. All this could happen on a regular, normal basis that far exceeds what most Christians experience and could even exceed what the church of Acts experienced. In the book, “Surprised by the Voice of God,” Dr. Jack Deere provides a simple formula to experiencing God on a normal, direct, consistent basis.

There are various claims throughout the book that Deere makes about himself and his associates receiving divine messages about the future, as well as information regarding others and their issues. These experiences reportedly include precise information about other people (13-17), events that are both past and future (343-58), and specific direction regarding one’s life (286-88). Each one comes with some amount of success to make the stories sound plausible. At the heart of the book, Deere explains why he believes God is speaking to Christians today on a frequent basis to those that are keen to listen. According to Deere, the same phenomena that a Christian reads in Scripture, should represent what our normal Christian life is like today. He believes those experiences did not cease once the apostolic era and New Testament canon was closed.[1] Throughout his book, Deere subtly and convincingly structures his argument by: appealing to Scripture to validate his case, claiming to hold Scripture as an authority and frequent illustrations that support his ideas.

However, as he makes his claims he sends the reader down a very dangerous path. He calls into question the authority, canonicity, inerrancy and sufficiency of the Bible. He elevates experience to the same level or authority as Scripture. In his generalizing of Scriptural interpretation, he makes the miraculous into something normal, which is also to say that his Christianity is superior to others, or that if we aren’t experiencing what he does, it is because we are prideful idolaters. The goal of this essay is to review the claims that Deere makes in his book and provide an alternative view to his conclusions.

[1] Jack Deere, Surprised by the Voice of God, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 276-278.

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