By Elizabeth Prata
Oprah has made a big splash with her interview of media and real estate moguls Chip and Joanna Gaines.
A few days ago, I’d posted an essay discussing the issue of women who claim to hear direct personalized revelations from God and what a danger that is. The essay was called “Satan whispers, women start a movement.”
For example, stay at home mom Jennie Allen founded the IF:Gathering movement because in her words, “A voice from the sky” told her directly “to gather an equip this generation.” She was assured by a friend that if the voice was from God He would definitely give her all that she needs to accomplish it. Satan can do that, too, a notion that apparently had not occurred to them.
I’d also mentioned Joanna Gaines as negative examples of career-ambitious women who claim to hear from God. Joanna Gaines is not a Christian Bible teacher as the other women I’d mentioned, but she has started a movement (“Magnolia”) which serves to show women that they, too, can have ambitions of celebrity and public platforms outside the Christian home, especially when God directly assures her so.
The Joanna Gaines issue is especially aggrieving to me because she trades on motherhood to grab celebrity and fame. As a self-professed Christian, Gaines insists her priority is motherhood first. In 2016, I wrote several essays about this couple, since they seemed to be climbing to heights of popularity. My essay “The Hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper” garnered 131,000 views. I received a lot of push back on the essay, even though I showed from the Bible, used primary documents, and their own words what hypocrites they were, saying one thing and living another, all under the name of Jesus. I’d warned and warned about them.
That essay was followed by a close look at Joanna’s testimony, which was making the rounds and published from Joanna’s Alma Mater, Baylor. In it, Joanna claimed direct revelation.
Mrs Gaines used the video to speak not of sin, grace, redemption, and Jesus, though she mentioned Him once at the end. But instead the video is a testimonial to Mrs Gaines’ ambitions, Mrs Gaines’ dreams, Mrs Gaines’ plans, and how God was going to fulfill them by giving her what she wants- which wasn’t to be a stay-at-home mom. She mentions 4 times in the 4 minute video that God spoke to her. When her two children were young God called to her and said she had to close her store which had been open for two years. In order to salve her disappointment at having her dreams of running a business shattered just so she could perform her biblical function as a mother, God comforted her thus-
“I heard Him specifically say, ‘Joanna, I have a calling for you. You’re going to have a platform one day.'”
I remember hearing God say, ‘Joanna, there’s going to come a time when I’m going to say for you to go, and I’m going to need for you to step out and go.'”
I heard God say very clearly, ‘If you trust me with your dreams, I’m going to take Magnolia further than you even dreamed. Just trust me.’ And I remember hearing that and feeling completely peaceful about it, and I walked away.”
I find it curious that God told her to stay home with her first two babies when they were young but that it was OK to become a business woman a few years later while the second two were young.
Now the TV personality Oprah Winfrey has interviewed Joanna Gaines and her husband about their upcoming tv channel, Magnolia Network. In the interview Joanna related all the times that God has spoken to her. Not only does the supreme Deity give her personalized business direction, individual timing of her business propositions, but directs her on who to marry.
“This is when I heard God’s voice more than ever,” Joanna says. “I heard him say, ‘This is the man you’re going to marry,’ and I’m arguing with God. I said, ‘No it’s not.'”Source: SF Gate
Apparently Joanna only likes what God has to say when it matches up with her business dreams.
Here are my points:
Point #1 – Claiming direct revelation is exceedingly dangerous. Jeremiah 23:16 says, This is what the LORD of armies says: “Do not listen to the words of the prophets who are prophesying to you. They are leading you into futility; They tell a vision of their own imagination, Not from the mouth of the LORD. Joanna Gaines’ revelations are abhorrent to God. She is putting words into His mouth He did not say. He hates that.
And you notice that her communication with him is all one-way. God tells Joanna about Joanna and Joanna’s dreams and Joanna’s ambitions and Joanna’s husband. In all her interviews where she stated the communications she’s supposedly received from God, Joanna has not expressed interest in hearing what God has to say about himself.
Point #2 – The couple had previously claimed a form of Jesus-Christianity and said they attended Antioch Community Church. Church going people who follow Jesus. But then they drifted away from that, with husband Chip saying he never was that interested in the Bible. Chip Gaines said,
“I’m not a theologian. I don’t understand. We both grew up in pretty conservative Christian families, and we were brought up in Church in the very traditional sense. But I didn’t love to open the Bible and read the Bible for hours a day,” he admitted.
Now Joanna says that religion isn’t for her. She drifted away from church, from the Bible, and now the religion itself. She said that her unique and beautiful relationship with God is outside the bounds of any religion and His connection with people is so relational, she just stays away from religion altogether. (Source).
She seeks experience that confirms her ambitions, not the Deity who should be worshiped.
HERE IS THE DANGER of relying on personalized revelations. In a few years, church is abandoned and the Bible is abandoned, religion is abandoned, and all she seeks now is that voice. Because, if you hear a disembodied voice specifically and clearly telling you what you want to hear, why ruin it with Bible verses that convict your soul of its sin?
Point #3 – Joanna’s style of religion foments a yearning in women that they should not try to fulfill. Joanna’s experiential style of closeness with God is a false road. The Bible is the standard, we should seek His word. It is not boring as was intimated in the interview. The Holy Spirit’s ministry is to point to Jesus, convict hearts through the written word, and encourage us when we need it. Joanna’s brand of personalized audible voice religion denies the Spirit’s work and ministry of His own inspired scriptures!
The “God told me” religion is dangerous in the extreme- especially to women. The Gaines’ will discover this on the last day unless the Spirit intervenes and points them to the God who actually exists and not the one in their vain imaginations. If you want to hear God’s voice, read the Bible out loud.
Below are some resources addressing the closed canon and personal revelations etc.
Josh Buice on the G3 Ministry Network covers the issue of personal revelation on his podcast-
Does God Talk to Us? by Michel Horton
God Doesn’t Whisper video by Jim Osman and Justin Peters. Part 1 of 3
The Lord told me – I think! By Gary Gilley
The Hypocrisy of Chip and Joanna Gaines of ‘Fixer Upper’ by Elizabeth Prata
A loud voice told her…She heard a whisper… by Elizabeth Prata