Blackaby's Experencing God

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Deacon, Nov 5, 2014.

  1. Deacon

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    Has anyone worked their way through Henry and Richard Blackaby's book called, "Experiencing God"? [Lifeway Press, 2007]

    Did you go through it as an individual or as a group? (or both?)
    What did you think of it?
    Was it a faith-building experience?

    Did you have any problems with their presentation?

    What were the strengths? ...weaknesses?

    Rob
     
  2. Revmitchell

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    I have never been through it. Everyone I have talked with about it has had nothing but praise over it. I do not remember one criticism.
     
  3. Deacon

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    Well Rev, if you want that record clean, you should probably forgo reading any more of this thread.

    Rob
     
  4. Revmitchell

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    Why? You have issues with it?
     
  5. annsni

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    You can google it and see some criticism against it and some of it is valid but we've done it in groups (our ladies' Bible study did it years ago, we have done it in small groups and our college study did it as well) and it works well with a good teacher guiding it. I think it's a decent study. Not earth shattering but decent.
     
  6. Use of Time

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    Yeah, that's my take on it. I have it and at times it can be kind of simplistic but it's good if you are pressed for time and want to get a quick devotion in. I used it in the morning before I left for work and did a more in depth bible study before bed. Kind of attempting to bookend my day spending time with God.
     
  7. Revmitchell

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    Is that a problem?
     
  8. Use of Time

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    Did I say it was?
     
  9. Revmitchell

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    I asked a very civil question. I will leave you to your misery.
     
  10. Use of Time

    Use of Time
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    What in the world is your problem? Has it come to this now? If I was miserable I know which Pastor wouldn't help me out of it. Goodness gracious.
     
  11. Jedi Knight

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    By divine providence I read this book when God was working very strong in my life. One word that sums it up.....Confirmation.
     
  12. Deacon

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    Our church is going through the book both in sermon and in small groups.
    I find the book elementary and helpful but at times I strongly disagree with the bold and uncompromising statements that are made. He seems to imply that he has figured out the way God works.

    Here are some isolated quotes that I've had problems with.
    Rob
     
  13. asterisktom

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    I would like to show you two articles I wrote on Blackaby. Our church at the time went through his material. Upon researching it for my part in teaching I went from charitably enthusiastic to concerned.

    Here is the first article:

    Foundational Error in "Fresh Encounter"
    A Review of Henry Blackaby's latest Devotional offering.

    It may seem bad form, in reviewing someone's work, to go right for the points of disagreement. So let me start with this:

    Yes, the church today is one sick patient, in need of reviving.
    Yes, there is a lot of formalism and superficial Christianity in today's churches.
    Yes, I am not the spiritual person I need to be. I have far, far to go.

    But having said that, this latest offering by Henry Blackaby is not what the church needs. It is not what I need - nor you.

    For Other Foundation Can No Man Lay...(1 Cor.3:11)
    Rather than go into nitpicky details, let me get to the foundational problem, as I see it - the foundation. I see in "Fresh Encounter" (from here on, FE) a different foundation than the Bible shows. Blackaby reveals his view on page nine of FE (Members Book 1). Referring to "God's Plumb Line", our author begins with
    "In Scripture God uses the idea of a plumb line to describe what He is doing with His people (see Amos 7:7 - 8). God built His people like a straight wall-true to plumb. When we depart from Him, one of our problems is that we do not realize how far we have departed."
    Later on he illustrates his point with the Leaning Tower of Pisa, rightly pointing out that no amount of straightening will correct the tilt of the tower, seeing that as well. What needs fixing is the foundation, and the foundation has always been inadequate, and is now damaged,then straight walls can be confidently constructed. Blackaby then - again quite correctly - applies this to the church today and to many Christians, that as long as the foundation is faulty, the Christian life will always be faulty. Here is the problem. Again quoting Blackaby:

    "In a similar way your spiritual life has its foundation in a love relationship with God."..."That your life or your church is out of line with God's plan is only the visible symbol of a root problem. The problem is in your love relationship."

    The foundation, then, is "our love relationship". This is a recurring phrase in this little book. A dozen times in the first two pages of the book (p.8 - 9). But the problem is, it is just not true. The Bible is quite clear what our foundation is. It is Jesus Himself. And for us on this side of the Cross, He is revealed in the Scriptures. Here is our foundation. It is not our relationship with Him.
    It is Christ Himself. He is our High Priest, our King of Kings, our Prophet who has spoken (and, in the Scriptures, is speaking) all the Word of God that we need. According to Heb. 1:1-2 He is the Prophet who replaces all other prophets.

    Confidence in Him, obedient belief in Him and His Word, is what makes us right-standing.
     
  14. asterisktom

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    Blackaby and Charismatism

    Henry Blackaby: Charismatic Teacher in the SBC

    ...and this is not a good thing.


    The issue is a personal one, since my church has decided to devote six weeks to this "anointed teacher" who "hears from God".

    [This article was written a few years ago]

    The first question I had was, "So, who is Henry Blackaby, anyway?" I actually knew something about him, that he had written "Experiencing God" a decade ago. What I did not know - until I did some further checking online - was the extent of his agreement with both Charismatics and neo-orthodoxy.

    Whatever Happened to the Southern Baptist Church?
    And this after having such promising victories within the denomination, thanks to the efforts of such spiritually astute scholars like Tom Nettles, in wresting the SBC from various unscriptural "isms" and compromises, I find out that now Henry Blackaby is officially part of the missions branch of the SBC. We get rid of one group of compromisers and get another. We now believe (officially) - and again - the inerrancy and plenary inspiration of Scripture, but then we throw that belief out the window - or we heavily sedate it - when we adopt the teachings of Blackaby.

    So which do you choose: The Bible or Blackaby?

    Here is the Bible. Let me quote it with context:

    "But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work." - 2nd Timothy 3:14- 17

    Here is Henry Blackaby:

    "In our times, God primarily speaks by the Holy Spirit through the Bible, prayer, circumstances, and the church. These four means are hard to separate." (p. 163, Experiencing God)

    You might think that these are somewhat similar, at least that both put the emphasis on the Bible. But that would not be the case. But does not Blackaby name the Bible first? No, the first mention goes to the Holy Spirit.- and herein lies the problem: The inferred working (speaking?) of the Holy Spirit must always be a subjective thing. Even Blackaby admits the difficulty of discerning the Spirit's (extra-biblical) communications. By contrast, the "You shall", "You shall not" of Scripture is quite objective. The Bible is clear in most places, unequivocal. Because of that, it causes us that good "holy discomfort", as God does His work in our lives. As we read His Word, His Word reads us (Heb. 4:12) - like a spiritual x-ray. Or like a skilled surgeon's laser. As we seriously and prayerfully read God's Word He probes our defenses and built-up sin; He cuts away the cancer of our selfishness and pride. The means of all this divine working, this having Christ formed in us, is the Holy Spirit's applying the Scriptures to our hearts. The Bible is central to all this work. The Bible is how God speaks.

    By contrast, Blackaby insists that the Bible is only one of four means of God speaking to us. And by "speaking through the Bible" he does not mean what Christians - and especially Baptists - used to mean by that phrase. His view is quite similar to Charismatics, and to the Neo-orthodox (like Karl Barth), that the Bible "contains the Word of God", but is not necessarily and exactly the Word of God for us. In other words, in order for us to receive God's communication to us we must first "pray through" (a favorite phrase) certain verses, and see how, when - and if - God will speak us. Well, this all just takes away from the simplicity of the faith that is in Christ Jesus. It adds a layer - a huge fuzzy one! - between "Thus saith the Lord" and our pitiful place of need. We can never be sure of anything that God might have said to us. By Blackaby's charismatic-gnostic approach (God may be speaking in the Bible - or it may be through a circumstance, etc. You need to pray though until you are sure!) he causes confusion and complicates what God has made simple.

    The Simple Truth of God's Word is just to be Believed.
    What does Scripture say? ""The Word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart" (that is, the word of faith which we preach):", Rom. 10:8. "Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light ot my path", Psa.119:105. We don't need to approach the verses in Scripture and wonder "In which one of these is God speaking to me?". We need only read all Scripture - ah, but there's the rub - and trust God to continually be speaking, encouraging, cutting, finding, growing, forming.

    But to read all Scripture means, well, a lot of reading. Yes, that's the point. The very reason that articles like this need to be written is that so many Christians have moved away from - or have never known - the practice of diligent personal Bible study, and the blessedness that comes from it. There is no other way to grow in grace. Instead of falling for the newest quick-fix fad we need to be asking for the old paths, Jer. 6:16. (Take a look at that whole passage, Jeremiah 6:10- 20, and you will see that the old path (implying a "well-trodden path") refers to God's Word and commandments. But the Israelites then - as christendom today - "have no delight in it"

    A Closer Look at Scriptures from 2nd Timothy 3:14-17
    Notice what is spoken of Scriptures - the written Word of God on your bookshelf. (not that imagined, subjective "word" in the prayer closet):

    1. They are holy in their value and worth, and should be treated as such. (More on this later)
    2. They are holy in that they produce holiness in us.
    3.They make us "wise unto salvation". (Implied: We are not completely saved! We may be justified, but we are still a work in progress .)
    4. Our salvation is founded on Jesus Christ, the Word.
    5. They are all ("all Scripture") inspired by God. We have no other inspired words to go by.
    6. They are "profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness". Much more can be said here. Notice that it is exactly at this point that Blackaby would have us turn elsewhere. But who is to say that we can't get our "doctrine, reproof, correction, instruction in righteousness" from other sources as well? Well, take a look at the last point.
    7. The Scriptures make us "complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work". Every good work. Is repentance (or "revival") a good work? Well then the means for it are found in the pages of the Good Book. The written Word of God gives us a complete and thorough education, a thoroughgoing renovation.

    Or it should.

    The reason why it doesn't is that we are so addicted to other programs and techniques that take away from simply reading, praying, believing and doing the Word of Life.
     
    #14 asterisktom, Nov 5, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 5, 2014
  15. preachinjesus

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    I used Experiencing God with others in a group study when it came out in the 1990s. During those years, which were formative for me, this book and group ministered deeply to me. Blackaby's work became important for me for where I am today.

    It is a good study and good book. For thousands of faithful Christians, it has been helpful and encouraging for them.
     
  16. righteousdude2

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    Never heard of the book, and I don't mean to be judgmental , but I believe the Bible is enough of a book to help me experience God. :type:
     
  17. JonC

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    This is my problem with such programs (and, actually, many "study guides"). I am not sure when churches came to the conclusion that Scripture is either not enough or not sufficient....or that there is an inherent difficulty in reading Scripture that cannot be overcome with study...but it appears that this is where many stand because this is where they arrived decades ago. It is entirely possible, however, that I am missing the point of these programs. I am open to others explaining their necessity, but right now my view is "why not just study Scripture?"
     
  18. Jerome

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    Found this evaluation in the Winter 1999 issue of the Southern Baptist Journal of Theology:

    "One of the most books published in the 1990s was Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby and Clyde King. . . .the authors of Experiencing God resolved the tension between doctrine and experience on the side of experience. Blackaby and King's understanding of discipleship has little doctrinal content. . . .For Blackaby and King, the result is a thin, sentimental view of the Christian life. . . .there is a connection between these contemporary positions and [longtime SBTS President and contributer to The Fundamentals E. Y.] Mullins's own views. By so emphasizing experience, Mullins often sounded no different from the theological moderates. . . .For over seventy years, Southern Baptists have harvested the shallow discipleship and vapid theology that resulted from sowing Mullins's theological seeds of experience. It is time to return to the emphases of the founders of the Southern Baptist Convention, trained in the hearty doctrinal tradition of the Princeton theology." —Sean Michael Lucas of SBTS's Center for the Study of the Southern Baptist Convention [Not surprisingly, Lucas has since defected to the Presbyterian Church]
     
  19. MNJacob

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  20. go2church

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    Meat and bones. There is good stuff, take that.

    You really think the average person in the pew is going to discuss the finer points of experience verses doctrine, Mullins verses Princeton theologians (false dichotomy, false dichotomy). I seriously doubt it. Get what you can get, move along.
     

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