Prophets, introduction

philippulusThe words prophet and prophecy evoke mixed feelings in the Christian world. There are people who say prophets doesn’t exist any more, there are people who attend a school of prophets ad everything in between. And, being Christians we defend our position by fire and sword. I noticed that the arguments are mostly based on feelings, experience and a hear say use of bible texts. This is if you once have heard a bible verse as an argument and now Pavlov it every time the subject is on topic, ending the discussion.

This reminds me of a remark by Stevo Akkerman, which translates as; “Then that belief will be annoyed and starts foot stomping. It has the answers and it only wants to give space to questions, when they will emphasize the own answers”.

This is a trap we all fall into from time t time, but I try to avoid it as much as possible by thinking through the self-evident and traditions of the Christian faith.

In the area of prophecy I myself have experienced a few things in the course of time. Brought up reformed without prophecy and grown up evangelical who didn’t really do anything with prophecy, I spent the last 20 years in the charismatic movement where almost all guest preachers greets the church with ‘God is going to do great things in this church/city’.

I have heard everything from wishful thinking till being interesting, from sugar sweet charlatans till sincere strengthening personal messages. After initially being enthusiastic about this speaking by God, about the great things that were going to happen and about Gods direct involvement in my life, I started wondering what was correct and what was not? What is true and how should I value it? How do I know if people with a prophetic ministry that are being received so enthusiastic, really are people with a prophetic ministry and thus pass through Gods words?

The same goes for people with a prophetic ministry within the church. What is their role, their place, how are they being tested? Are they being tested? In haven’t ever seen a prophet being corrected, while I did see a prophet stating clear nonsense.

Personal prophecies can strengthen but also manipulate or make unsure. People can give great value to a prophecy and in addition to that to the person who gives the prophecy. Because of the influence of prophecy on myself and other people, I started to look into prophecy. What I found doesn’t fit in one blog, so there will be four. November will be the month of the prophecy.

First blog will be about what a prophet is exactly and what kind of predictions there are. (Nov. 9)

The second is about; is prophecy valid in this age? and if yes, what is the place of prophecy in the church. (Nov. 16)

The third will address what we should do with the predictions of the future and personal messages. (Nov. 23)

Finally I was surprised by the role of prophetesses in the bible. This I will share with you in the last blog on 30 November.

The conclusion of the blogs I want to share with you in advance.

It is strange that a phenomenon that played such an important role in the entire bible, almost completely vanished in the church. The reasons that are given for the disappearance are super thin and easy to to refute. It is extra strange because with the outpouring of the holy Spirit in principal everybody can prophecy, contrary to the practice in the Old Testament. That’s why it should be necessary to learn how to use it and how you can separate real from false. But in the past the church has chosen to to ignore this gift rather than to embed it in the faith practice. Especially within the charismatic movement you see prophecy getting a place again. That this goes with falling and stumbling may be obvious. But lets learn from our mistakes and acknowledge this edifying gift of God and give it space within the church.

“Whoever welcomes a prophet as a prophet will receive a prophetʼs reward”

Image is Philippulus from Tintin, The Shooting Star