True Prophesy

“We have different gifts according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith.” ~Romans 12:6

According to what we know of Scripture and history, culture and context, prophesy has much more to do with  “forth-telling” than “fore-telling.” Real prophesy — way back then and right now today — means applying the message from God to the current situations of our times. And I think God’s Church today desperately needs a renewed emphasis on this kind of prophesy.

A resurgence of true prophesy would cause us to take firmer stands against the evils of the world. God’s people would speak out against injustice, violence, aggression, war, unfaithfulness, and crime. We wouldn’t allow lying or back-biting or gossip or pride or greed to corrupt our congregations. We would speak more and act more in ways that indict and convict, liberate and transform.

The key to prophesy, though, is to realize that it’s always been intended for the Church. Prophesy is first to God’s people, only secondarily for the rest of the world. Study Isaiah and Jesus, Amos and John, Habakkuk and Paul — that’s the way it works. Only when God’s people are changed by prophesy can they then offer the message to the surrounding community. As we truly learn to live as members of one another, our alternative lifestyle will ultimately challenge the culture around us. But only as we become a truly Christian community with a truly biblical lifestyle will that work.

The Church needs more prophets. We need more men and women proclaiming the powerful Word of God. Even when they don’t feel like it. Even when they know that Word is going to upset some in the faith community. Even when a situation seems to be a lost cause. We need more prophets exercising their God-given graces according to their faith. Then our God, who promises his Word will never return to him empty, will bless both us and this world as we preach and teach, trust and obey.

Peace,

Allan

4 Comments

  1. Clay

    Do you have specific topics in mind?

  2. Allan

    A resurgence of true prophesy would cause us to take firmer stands against the evils of the world. God’s people would speak out against injustice, violence, aggression, war, unfaithfulness, and crime. We wouldn’t allow lying or back-biting or gossip or pride or greed to corrupt our congregations. We would speak more and act more in ways that indict and convict, liberate and transform.

  3. Clay

    So do you see such prophecy coming from “the pulpit”, or from a broader range of the Christian community? If broader, what forum? Most of our gatherings are fairly well planned and structured, except perhaps small groups.

    Perhaps I’m coming from a perception that prophecy was “inspired” and somewhat more spontaneous. As opposed to ” perspired” that we normally get in a Bible class (not that thorough preparation is a bad thing).

  4. Allan

    Yes. And, yes. I am more and more convinced that our God actually dwells inside every Christian disciple by his Spirit. And, by his Spirit, every follower of Jesus is equipped and capable — even commanded! — to speak the “oracles of God.” Our words of encouragement and truth, of love and peace, of Gospel and warning, are “inspired” by God’s Spirit.

    Joel said it would happen and on the Day of Pentecost Peter pointed it out to everybody when it did: God has poured out his Spirit on all people; sons and daughters are prophesying; both men and women are speaking the words of God.

    You’re a prophet, Clay.

    Karl Barth wrote extensively about this in his three-fold doctrine of the Word of God. According to Barth, the Word of God is delivered in three forms: revelation by Scripture, incarnation by Christ Jesus, and proclamation by the Church. Both the words of your Christian confession, “Jesus is Lord,” and your life that witnesses to those words are “inspired” by God. You’ve had people speak God’s truth to you before at just exactly the right time. And you’ve looked back on that and believed that it was God speaking to you through that preacher or teacher or good friend or even random brother or sister in Christ. I believe we’re all equipped and charged to speak that way every day.

    As people of God, we need to have the conviction and confidence to speak his truth into our friends who are not being faithful in their marriages, into our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not being faithful to our Lord, into our churches that are not being faithful to the Kingdom. When the church speaks war instead of peace, we need prophets to call us out on it — from the pulpit and over a cup of coffee on a Tuesday morning. When the church lives for itself instead of others, we need prophets to speak words of correction to us — in our Bible classes and over the phone.

    Justice. Faithfulness. Forgiveness. Mercy. Righteousness. Love. Reconciliation.

    We have nothing at all to say to the culture or to society about the Gospel of Jesus if we ourselves aren’t living it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For spam filtering purposes, please copy the number 7692 to the field below: