I get very uneasy when I hear teachers explain how God gives them theology through conversations. Can it happen? Sure. The Holy Spirit is with us to reveal all truth. I am charismatic, believe in the gifts of the Spirit, and long for the power and presence of God. He speaks to us in a variety of ways. However, I have never had a conversation with God over theology. Someone sent me an article by a very well known pastor—much of it I enjoyed and agreed with—but there was one part that alarmed me:
Then God asked me another question, “Was Lot’s wife righteous or wicked?” I found myself saying, “I don’t know.” God continued, “What was her name?” I responded, “I don’t know.”
“What was Abraham’s wife’s name?” He asked. “Sarah,” I answered. (I was sure of that one.) “That’s right,” God said, “So she had an identity apart from Abraham.” Now I was getting it! Lot’s wife was not named because her identity was attached to Lot’s righteousness!
“That’s right,” the Lord said, and continued, “Was Lot righteous or wicked?” “Righteous,” I replied. “What did she turn into when she looked back?” Jesus asked. “Salt,” I said. “What is salt?” God asked. “A preservative,” I said. “Yes! She lived with a mantle of intercession. She knew they were preserving that city.”
Finally, I understood that her body turning into a pillar of salt was a prophetic metaphor for the role that she had played in the city.
“She could not let go when I did. Her own ministry killed her.” God explained.
I was very troubled by after reading this. I shared it with several leader friends of mine to see if I was overreacting and they were also disturbed.
“Rules of Engagement” with Biblical Texts
When we speak of getting revelation on the meaning of a Bible text, it has to be supported by the exegesis (the plain interpretation—the author’s intent) of the text. Dan Juster gives two points for such Holy Spirit initiated interpretation (Of course, all inspiration from the Scriptures is through the Holy Spirit—but I am referring to a voice explaining things to you.)
- The exegesis of the text or texts in context have to support the interpretation as probable, as the best-case scenario.
- Sometimes we can support such revelation when the exegesis makes the interpretation reasonable.
However, here there is no reasonable or probable conclusion from reading the text that:
- Lot’s wife was not named because she, unlike Sarah, did not have an identity of her own.
- She was an intercessor.
- She looked back because of her prophetic burden, as opposed to something less noble.
- She was turned into salt as a prophetic metaphor regarding her calling as a “preservative.”
From Scripture we see that Abraham is the intercessor for Sodom and Gomorrah, not Lot’s wife. He bargained with God to get him to spare the city if there were just 10 righteous people there. It was because of Abraham that God spared Lot, not because Lot and his wife were interceding for the city.
So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived. (Gen. 19:29)
Yeshua’s warning to not be like Lot’s wife, gives no hint of a noble motive, but quite the opposite.
On that day no one who is on the housetop, with possessions inside, should go down to get them. Likewise, no one in the field should go back for anything. Remember Lot’s wife! Whoever tries to keep their life will lose it, and whoever loses their life will preserve it. (Luke 17:31-33)
He seems to say that she was trying to save her life. She was reluctant to leave her old life. Remember, they initially hesitated to leave when the angels they told them to flee. (Genesis 19:16)
What this teacher is doing is the opposite of exegesis, called eisegesis. While exegesis is the clear meaning of the text, eisegesis is our personal interpretation or what some call, ‘reading into the text.’ Exegesis leans toward objectivity; eisegesis is more subjective—like a voice giving you information that is not in the text.
Now there is no great negative consequence to believing all those things about Lot’s dear wife. The alarming thing is having a voice or some being explaining things that are clearly not in the text. The word of God is our compass. Whatever we think we have heard in the Spirit must be tested by the word of God. Not long ago, and some of you might know about what I am referring, a “prophet” shared about when he released a minister back into ministry after moral failures of the sexual kind, following his divorce and remarriage to the woman with whom he was cheating. He said:
“I was told [by the Lord] to expect [the minister] to have some repeated failures in his life, but that his falls did not displease The Lord as much as him getting back up and fighting on pleased Him. So, I was not shocked when the issues [of severe sexual perversion] rose in 2013, or that he may have done some of the things he is presently accused of.
“Then why did I release him when I knew he would have repeated problems and falls going forward? I understand that question, and why others would think this was a mistake. I had my own debate with The Lord about it, but the clarity I was given to release [the minister back into public ministry] was such that I could not deny it.”
The problem here is that the New Testament has clear standards for leadership. One of them is being married to one wife. The prophet says that God showed him that this man would continue to sin sexually with others, but he was instructed that this was not so bad, as long as the minister kept fighting to be free.
The outcome of that extrabiblical “instruction” has resulted in some sixty accusations of some level of sexual sin, ranging from sexting with women to offering interns money to be able to perform oral sex on them, and worse. It has resulted in ruined lives. If we trust this man’s “conversations” with God, then God has no concern for the pain, suffering and abuse that this man’s victims have endured. We are not to be enamored with famous prophets, but to test all prophecy against the word of God. Being captivated with their gift is a door to deception.
The problem is that “God” told him something unbiblical. Paul said:
“No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (1 Corinthians 9:27)
Whether he speaks of disqualification from ministry, rewards or eternal life itself, it is clear that repeated sexual sin has no place in the life of a functioning minister and allowing this has wounded many.
The long and short of it is that any revelation about Biblical scripture must be tested by the Bible. As we come closer to return of the Lord, ‘faulty’ personality cult prophets will become more common. I hate to use the term “false prophet”—but instead “faulty” prophet, because the New Testament refers to these men as leading people to hell. Oh, they will come as well, but I am referring to believers who stray from the word into the extra-biblical arena. Be on your guard.
question: Do you have experiences like this when reading Scripture—God asking you questions in order to teach you? Leave your comments below.