Is that you, Lord?
Gary E. Gilley
92 pages; £6.95; ISBN: 978-0-85234-625-5
Christian guidance is such a perennially thorny issue for so many Christians that any good material is to be jumped upon. Gary Gilley’s book provides much that is helpful.
His major argument is that the Bible is absolutely our only source of guidance and, outside of that, there is no way and no need to discern the specific will of God for our lives. In arguing this, Gilley very helpfully protects the Christian from subjectivism, freeing people from unnecessary heartache. He clarifies that prayer is us speaking to God, with the Word being the place where God speaks to us. He outlines principles to shape our decision-making and provides some worked examples.
As a book that underscores strongly the absolute authority and finality of the Bible, it’s good. He is zealous in encouraging Christians to base their lives and their decisions squarely on its precepts. I am in wholehearted agreement. The Bible is the only infallible and undoubtedly trustworthy guide that is available to us. Everything else is subject to question. The Bible is not.
Personally, however, I found Gilley’s treatment of New Testament prophecy, which is a complex area that needs careful thought and argument, at times inadequate and his conclusions unsubstantiated.
His key argument is (as he notes twice) an argument from silence – never the strongest place to argue from. Also he states that only those who adopt his position take the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture seriously enough. But there are conservative authors, for example J. I. Packer, who would say that God does indeed lead his people directly and subjectively, but that we can never entirely trust those impressions as being from God. To dispute their convictions regarding Scripture would seem a little churlish.
That said though, this is a helpful book – but it would be worth reading other books on the subject of guidance alongside it for a more balanced view.