It was my assumption upon picking up Don Matzat’s little book The Lord Told Me, I Think, that a debunking of the mystical approach to decision making would be found. Was I ever wrong!! Matzat, a conservative Lutheran, pastor, author, and radio personality claims to have seen, years ago, the errors of the Charismatics, subsequently leaving that movement. But he had better look behind him – he left one foot behind.
This book takes as mystical view of God’s leading as almost any Charismatic one; Matzat just leaves out tongues and some of the extreme claims of revelations. The author takes the tired and misguided position that God gives personal leading and direction through circumstances, advice, hunches, feelings, prophetic words, visions, dreams, etc (e.g. pp. 22-23, 69, 112, 119-128).
Over and over he makes the unfounded claim that Scripture gives “clear commands and promises about being led by the Spirit” in personal decision making, and actually teaches us how to be led by Him (e.g. pp. 19, 24, 59, 113, 142, 149, 152). Scripture teaches no such thing. Every passage used by the author to prove His point is taken out of context – as must be the case.
Throughout the book Matzat demonstrates the errors of those who take a more extreme position than he does: Kenneth Hagan (p. 33), Rodney Howard-Browne (p. 34), Benny Hinn (pp. 37-38). But their assertions are only different by degree from Matzat, not in essence. The author does not believe that Scripture is able to set in judgment upon many of our experiences (pp. 52-56). He states, “When we evaluate our inner experience, we are always in the dimension of uncertainty . . . . For this reason, when we declare the leading of the Spirit in our lives, we should say, ‘The Lord told me, I think’” (p. 56, compare to pp. 60 & 69). Of what possible value is such nebulous, questionable leading? Matzat claims, without Scriptural support, that the early Christians trained their minds to discern the voice of the Holy Spirit, with the implication that we can do the same – but of course he does not tell us how because the Bible never mentions this subject (pp. 59, 79, 177).