Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making too little of Prophets?

I am a bible guy. Both in theological content [I am on a quest to know him and be known by him], as well in the architectural artistry of the divine designer, the scripture is beautiful in its creative revelation. There is a tendency by the church community to either live comfortably with modern expressions of form and shape more than with the textual design. Then of course there are those who carry the design like a badge of honor as self proclaimed, self promoted deliverers who view their gift as a divine right. and to be obeyed at all costs.

Can we enter a conversation on one of the most gracious gifts from the Father, when he gave us "prophets"? I am not adding the great disclaimer "-ic" as we do not want to simply speak of being 'prophetic' although that is certainly a most worthy conversational piece.

The subject of "prophets" is charged with dynamite. The vociferous protagonists who share their view that the prophet's voice ended at the end of the so-called "Apostolic Era," I am not sure we can truly engage meaningfully after we both communicate our differences, I guess we can have coffee together and talk about football.

The other extreme is equally challenging. Many prophets have such bruised souls, that they have retreated into their own reality — a world where God speaks to them endlessly and their hearing is the only one that can be trusted. This is a very dangerous world.

However, when John Wimber spoke of the "Quest for the Radical Middle," there was no element of compromise or reductionism. I suspect he simply wanted to re-empower the world with the wondrous reality of a super — natural collaboration that is not weird, damaged or excessive. I would love to see us celebrate the return of the office of the prophet — taking their rightful place in the plethora of other gifts and offices. To see the celebration of these offices, each honoring and appreciating the value of the other, is a dream that resides in my heart.

With no axe to grind, nor agenda to promote, I believe that the Father gave the church [his bride] all these gifts [not most or some of them] to ready her for this journey of faith. It requires true humility to say: "I have need of you". And then of course the scripture records the Father's heart by saying: "For the Lord God does nothing without revealing his secret [ plan-NIV] to his servants the prophets" Amos 3:7 ESV. If that is true, then maybe it is time to listen a little.

I would love to hear your story...


  1. Nice conversation starter Chris.
    I have seen many pastors get nervous when a prophet operates in the church because at times they stir up the waters of complacency. It is important to know that no prophet should go with the agenda to be arrogant, disrespectful and confrontational under the banner of “I’m a prophet so deal with it”. This is a very misguided understanding of what the role of a new testament prophet is.
    This is a very long conversation and I believe that it is one that needs to take place. I also note that each prophet is different to the other in how they act and speak and the way the perform their tasks. If we look in the scriptures we can see that the prophets came in many forms and shapes, some would call down fire and strike the water with a cloak and make it part, others like Daniel were more “refined” for lack of a better description. So it is key that we don’t place this gift into a one size fits all.

    I believe that one of the primary roles of the new covenant prophet is to turn the hearts of the sons toward their fathers and the fathers towards their sons. This for me speaks of restoration. In building the church to maturity this gift must serve to bring restoration, restoration of truth and of relationship between man and God.

    Many think that the role of the prophet is to share a prophetic word in a worship time or speak a nice word of encouragement over some people at the end of a sermon. I believe that this is giving the gift a very low level of operation. Prophets have the ability to see and hear clearly into the revelatory realm and then through word or deed shift a spiritual atmosphere over a person, situation, church or city by bringing, with authority, those words from the heavenly realm.
    This will cause things to shift and change and with it should come freedom, strengthening, vision, encouragement and empowerment. This happens as they reveal the heart of the Lord to the people. It is vital that the prophets operate from a place of love as this is the framework through which Gods power will flow.

    Prophets are not rude, although they could be abrupt at times, especially when they stand against oppressive atmospheres that prevail over the church. Often times they are addressing those atmospheres and not people. To see the church come under things that stop them from walking in their true calling can become frustrating, especially if the people are complacent due to this prevailing mood. These prophets then seek to break this off the church and draw her into her true purpose in relationship with Jesus.

    Are these gifted people going to make mistakes? You can be certain that they will, but I believe that as true apostolic fathers emerge they will give the prophets a safeguard to speak once again.

    It is important that all the gifts function, including this one. There is a need for the Prophets to work with the Pastors and not against them, and vice versa. This is all for the building of the church and the advancement of the kingdom.

    There is so much to cover and discuss that could never be properly accomplished in a forum like this but I would love to hear what others have to say from their side in this journey.



  2. Hi Chris, I have been following you for a while nope and love the way you engage with the bible, culture and church. I am from newfrontiers and work closely together in 'apostolic teams', as a prophetic voice I find the retreating back into principles over presence and pragmatism before revelation interesting, partly because it is the apostles who primarily get revelation in the bible and structures are then built around that.

    I would personally love to see more robust discussions about the role of the prophet in a new testament context. How they work together with apostles, and what that looks like. Too many of my prophet friends have been derailed by misunderstandings and not being able to fit-does it have to be like that I wonder? Love to hear more thoughts from you!

    Julian Adams

  3. Agree Chris. Prophets often so misunderstood, but if they picking up the mind of God on a subject-we, the church had better listen. Failure to hear would mean going against His will. May we learn to listen, with genuine humility... we need their voices desperately right now to paint a picture of Gods intent & purposes re. His desired future!
    love Andrew Selley