Doctor of Leadership in Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Talking With God

Written by: on April 25, 2015

The book, When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God, focuses on communication between between people and God. The author, Luhrmann, gives varies accounts of how God speaks to His people. The author explains God speaks to a person through the personal relationship that they have with God. Luhrmann explains, “you develop the relationship through prayer; prayer is hard work and requires effort and training; and when you develop that relationship, God will answer back, through thoughts and mental images he places in your mind.”[1] While I agree with the author, I believe we must be careful not to put God in a “box” on how he communicates when his people.

Prayer is only one-way in which God can speak to us. He also uses Scripture to speak to us. I believe that one reason American Christians fail to have the relationship they would like with God is due to the fact that many are not studying His word. While I don’t know the percentage, my impression from discussions and serving in ministry, is that many Western Christians have never read the whole Bible and many do not read it daily. How can we expect to know God’s will, nature, or character if we are not study the book that He wrote for His people? The Scriptures are not God’s rulebook for our lives. The Bible is God’s self-revelation of Himself to mankind.

I can honestly say that I have never heard the audible voice of God speaking to me, although I know some Christians have claimed they have heard God’s voice audibly. Certainly, Scripture testifies that God has spoken to His chosen people many times. All the way through the Old Testament, we find examples where God spoke to individuals and even physically walked with them. Starting with Adam and Eve, through the time when Christ ascended into heaven, God audibly communicated with mankind.

As leaders in the church, we must teach and train our congregations that it is not how God talks with you that is important, rather it is that he does talk with you. God can speak through His word, creation, prayer, other people, dreams, etc. There is no limit on ways God can speak to us.

Luhrmann’s approach or explanation on how God speaks to his people is unique. Her views aren’t drawn from the traditional Christian point of view, but from seeking to understand how individuals come to faith in Christ. We tend to learn about God through listening to the experience of other Christians. I think that Luhrmann’s approach is good, as we must consider the way that God also talks to non-Christians.



[1] T. M. Luhrmann: When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2012), 41

About the Author

Richard Volzke

4 responses to “Talking With God”

  1. rhbaker275 says:

    Great post, good observations.

    Do you think that Luhrmann is saying belief in a personal God, even a God who is invisible, “entirely good and overwhelmingly powerful” (xiii) is not the most difficult part of being Christian? Rather, the most difficult part is continuing to believe even when there is disappointment, failure, and often a contradiction in what one believes and what God does? I think one take-away from Luhrmann’s observations is that being Christian, belief maintenance, growing in faith formation is HARD WORK!

  2. Liz Linssen says:

    Hi Richard
    Great blog 🙂 You make some great points. I especially how you end talking about the fact that God speaks to non-Christians. Indeed, he does, though they may not always immediately recognise it.
    I also agree with you where you say that the reason we sometimes don’t have the relationship with God we desire is because we’re not investing in our time with Him. So true. We reap what we sow in every area of life, including our relationship with Him.
    Every blessing to you Richard on this final weekend of assignments!

  3. Michael Badriaki says:

    Hi Richard. Great work on this post! I agree with you that God interacts with both believers and non believers. God is everywhere in this world and there are people who encounter God and people who for one reason or another are not able to God’s marks on life.

    Sin is definitely an issue for humanity and this is why the church has been sent out to witness of God’s love and forgiveness. Perhaps people with interact more with God’s ways through the church. May be that was Luhrmann’s experience too.

    Thank you

  4. Clint Baldwin says:

    “We must consider the way that also talks to non-Christians” Yes. Love it. Vital.
    Wouldn’t it have been nice for Luhrmann to further consider that God might well have been talking with her through the interest she had and followed through with in undertaking this study, etc.?

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