I was able to make Dr. J.P. Moreland's presentation at a conference that Biola University put on, When God Seems Silent. I missed the beginning of Dr. Moreland's lecture due to traffic, but as an experienced public speaker, Dr. Moreland frequently recapped his points.
It may seem counterintuitive to begin a conference on the supposed silence of God by pointing out the ways in which God speaks to us but I thought it fitting. Dr. Moreland acknowledged that there are times when the believer is not hearing from God and that speakers to follow would address dealing with those periods of silence, but it was his role to point out that God often is communicating with us and we should learn the ways in which He communicates. Too often we can pity ourselves as abandoned by God when we are not listening.
- Gifts of prophecy, wisdom, and words of knowledge. 1 Corinthians 14:11. Dr. Moreland is no cessationist. God speaks to us Today through words of prophecy, wisdom and knowledge. He encouraged Christians to pray for and about these words and give God time to speak in through the gifts of the Spirit.
- Dreams. God spoke to people throughout the Old Testament through dreams, but God's speaking through dreams is also attested in the New Testament. Most memorably in Matthew's Infancy Narrative but remember also Peter's preaching that "Your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams." Acts 2:17.
- Putting Thoughts in Your Mind. Unfortunately, I missed most of this one, but derived from references back and allusions that Dr. Moreland believes that God will speak to us through verbal statements in our mind, such as "Speak to that Person About ___."
- Angelic Visitation. Angels communicate God's word to people throughout the Old and New Testaments. Dr. Moreland emphasized that angels speak to people today or may just communicate by their visible presence. He shared a personal experience he had that was confirmed by at least one other believer. It was during this point (as I recall) that Dr. Moreland made a simple but -- I think -- crucial point. "We live in a supernatural world." Do not be shy about things such as angelic visitations or even dreams, for our worldview is a supernatural one or it is nothing.
- Impressions. Dr. Moreland describes impressions as "prelinguistic" and "not thought," but a "sense of something." He provided a personal example, were he was at a meeting and had an impression about someone there who he did not know. As Dr. Moreland approached the man he prayed and received a word of knowledge that he relayed to the man. The man received the word and confirmed that he had been struggling with the particular issue that Dr. Moreland addressed.
- Providential Circumstances. Sometimes God speaks to us through circumstances, things that happen in our lives. Dr. Moreland suggested using the following criteria to help determine whether God is speaking in this way. First, the event at issue should be something that is very improbable. Second, the event should have special significance. Dr. Moreland used the example of trying to choose a place to live and having had an ideal house in mind and one becoming available in an unlikely way in a particular location that fit he and his wife's dream home.
I also enjoyed the worship that follow Dr. Moreland, led by Lovelite. Many of the approximately 500 students left after Dr. Moreland left -- it was getting late to be at school on a Friday evening and I took it that the lecture was all that was required for chapel credits -- but a good 200-300 students stayed for the worship.