Wednesday, 30 June 2010


Elliff describes the illuminist as someone who ‘seeks guidance from God by getting a series of impressions, which [they] believes come as God directly impacts [their] spirit.’ Waltke seems to come close to this when he writes: ‘Simply read a passage from God’s Word, then close your eyes and reflect upon what you have read. I encourage you to write your thoughts down … Some people find themselves writing message to God, or receiving messages from him.’ Similarly Blackaby and King emphasise God’s speaking through verses that come into our mind as we pray.
Elliff points to a particular brand of illuminist who seeks a ‘word’ from God through the Scripture. They read the Bible until the Spirit impresses a passage or phrase upon them in such a way that they believe it has been ‘given’ to them. ‘Often these verses are wrenched out of context or are interpreted in such a way that is not known to anyone else but that individual.’ He suggests that the Bible ‘used in the illuminists way is reduced to no more value in terms of guidance that a phone book or an advertisement on a billboard.’ Surely the proper reading of Scripture results in the text having the same meaning to every Christian that reads it.

Willard writes that ‘[a]lthough reoccurring thoughts are not always an indication that God is speaking, they are not to be lightly disregarded.’ However DeYoung seems more sceptical saying: ‘If a thought or impulse pops into your head, even if it happens while reading Scripture, don’t assume it is a voice from heaven.’ Elliff suggests that ‘If I sense God speaking to me in a way apart from Scripture, I need not rule it out … But I am still without final assurance that it is his voice. I must use my reason and knowledge of Scripture to test what I feel I am hearing.’


jools said...

Good warnings about tying feelings alone with Scripture here Paul ...

Also - is the ancient practice of lectio devina an illuminist practice? Just wondering - I love lectio devina, but recognize the need to be holistic with reason when practicing it ... I'm thinking 'illumination' is what this ancient practice began to be termed when reformed theology realized they had to call it something new to distance it from ancient practice?!?

Timely advice for now, as ancient practices are once again sweeping the denominations ... not that they shouldn't be of course!

cheers, j

To whom it may concern said...

Thanks Jools
As I am no expert of lectio devina I can't answer your questions.