October 6, 2016 at 6:46 pm #20430
Where is the Prophetic Voice in the Church Today?
Brother Lawrence Damien CoS
Many preachers seemed obsessed with trying to predict the future and prove that our generation is in fact the final generation and the second coming of Jesus is just around the corner and could happen at any moment. I believe they prey on people‚Äôs ignorance of the Bible and what true prophecy is convincing the gullible into believing that prophecy is all about the second coming of Christ and finding the signs and understanding them so they can be ready for the return of Jesus. They believe the ‚Äúrapture‚ÄĚ can take place at any second when those who are ready will be caught up to be with Jesus while everyone else gets to go through terrible suffering for seven years. However that is a misinterpretation, a misrepresentation and a 100% non biblical view of prophecy which leads to much false prophets.
Biblical prophecy and a biblical prophetic voice isn‚Äôt to predict the future. It can give us insight into the nature of things in any given generation and provide the wise a panoramic view of where trends may be headed. However I repeat that is not its primary goal. Instead the primary role of prophetic preaching is to interfere with the status quo and to disrupt reality as it is. It is a call to the faithful and all others to reassess and take stock of where they are at and the madness and insanity they may find themselves in. Once having done that they then can change their minds and return to a place of trust in God.
That is the true prophetic voice the church needs to embrace today. In the Bible its called repentance which is a military term meaning to do an about face. Thus the true prophetic voice is one which calls people to reassesses ¬†and take stock of where they are at and if they are not satisfied give them the chance to do an about face turning away from the path they have been on and turning towards God and following him on the path he has set before them. This was the role of the Old Testament Prophet to call people to stop and consider where they were at and then turn around towards God and away from all the things they were doing wrong. It is the same Spirit of prophecy in the New Testament as seen in the messages of John the Baptist, Jesus and that of the Apostles and the early church. The early church and the Apostles became the real deal that through their lives, their testimonies, their martyrdoms, they called people to reconsider their lives and come to repentance and Jesus. They changed their world by creating a hunger in others for what they themselves had and causing them to come to find it and receive it for themselves.
It is my personal belief that God is not really worried about our cultural wars and so called ‚ÄúChristians‚ÄĚ trying to pass laws forcing everyone to believe as they do and impose their vision of an ‚Äúideal‚ÄĚ and ‚Äúspiritual America‚ÄĚ which they believe will result in a spiritual revival that will change America and the world to what they think it should be. This election that we will be voting in within a few weeks is not the ‚Äúfinal‚ÄĚ attempt by God to return America to its alleged favored and divinely elected status or else. When this election cycle is over no matter who wins I predict there will be no Second Coming of Jesus, no ‚ÄúRapture‚ÄĚ of the church and definitely no end of the world. Instead the world will be like it is now and life will go on as it always has and even as it is doing right now today.
I believe that those who rally behind a particular candidate or party expecting them to fulfill their entire agenda and checklist will be disappointed and are doomed to fail. They have chosen not to see or to ignore the true prophetic voice within the church today. God has not called us to impose or force our beliefs on others forcing them to believe as we do. Neither has God called us to judge others by some self imposed set of rules we have made up or some creed we insist everyone has to subscribe to before we will consider them to be Christians. All that is I believe false prophecy which will not lead to God.
Again it is the true prophetic voice that needs to resonate within the church and then out to all she encounters. Since God is not parochial but global so will the true prophetic voice of God be. We need to be concerned about our country, her needs and educate ourselves on the issues and vote. However we don‚Äôt to get stuck there but see as God sees and have global vision. Is there injustice anywhere in the world then we need to fight it until all anywhere on the planet can live with dignity and respect as equal to anybody else and able to become when they were created to be. It is to work to banish all wars from earth until all can live in peace and harmony without fear. It is to combat all prejudice, bigotry and hatred based on color of skin, sex or sexual orientation or identification, religion or a myriad of other issues we use to discriminate and build walls between us. It is to realize we are all children of God and a part of the human family. It is to follow the teaching of Jesus and treat other as we ourselves would like to be treated It is to be like the early church the real deal which creates in others a hunger for what we have so they will come and find out how to get it for themselves. That is how our world will be won and changed. May that true voice of prophecy govern our churches and our lives. May its voice ring out loud and clear to all without exception as we become the hands and feet of Jesus to all we encounter. Lastly may we always remember the church is a hospital for sinners to come to not a luxury hotel for the saints to come hang out at and feel good about themselves. It is to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, give clothing and maybe a shower to the naked who may smell like they haven‚Äôt seen a bar of soap for a decade at least. It is to set the prisoner free from the prison and bondage of evil and to restore the fallen back to the path God has for them so they can go on to become all God intends for them to be. That family I believe is where the true spirit of prophecy resides with the church and within each of us. May it always be so now and eternally.
Would love to hear back any ideas or thoughts you may have
Brother Lawrence Damien CoSOctober 6, 2016 at 9:44 pm #20441
Dear Br Lawrence Damien,
I really enjoyed this essay and your treatment of the role of prophets in the Hebrew Scriptures and what the “prophetic voice” is really all about. Ditto your discussion of how this prophetic voice is also found in the Christian Testament. The prophetic voice is what makes the Bible a transcendent, timeless piece of literature; I’m convinced of that. It is also why we Christians are bold enough to call the Bible the “Word of God”. The whole prophetic voice of the Scriptures, continues to call us to daily “metanoia”. However, one must be careful in one’s use of Scripture because it lends itself to easy distortion by religious fanatics who literalize things that were never meant to be taken literally, such as the “Rapture” and the “Second Coming” of Jesus, which you point out. But this is not a new issue. It appears blatantly in the Pauline corpus, where one finds Paul often trying to make theological sense of why the Lord hadn’t returned yet. Inquiring minds wanted to know for the Early Church expected Jesus’s return imminently. Many are still in the grip of that expectation to the exclusion of building “the Kingdom” here on earth. I’m curious to know whom you would consider to be contemporary prophets? Does anyone or several people come to mind? Whose Christian voices are calling us to “metanoia” in October 2016? As for the upcoming election, this election is as important as the Election of 1860, which ended slavery, and to our collective shame, the Civil War. However, I believe that because this election is so important and pivotal, whoever wins will markedly change the course of the USA. In essence, this election is about the continued rise of “Progressivism”, which is Socialism/Communism/Marxism packaged in a new word or “Traditionalism”, that is, adherence to the Constitution and all of the principles that have made this country great. To me, the choice is clear, and I think the voices standing up to Progressivism are, indeed, prophetic voices. Imagine if you will going to sleep one night only to wake up in the morning to a new Soviet Union right here on our shores. This is possible as a result of this election; it is THAT serious. This is why the entire world is paying close attention, or should be, to this election. The results will be felt globally. Will the USA devolve into a gulag or will we keep our rights and freedom intact? The tag line of the Canadian Free Press comes to mind, “without America there is no free world”. Pretty strong words, but I believe highly prophetic. Would you agree? I believe that if the Democratic nominee wins, life WILL NOT go on as usual. Yes, it is that serious. To believe otherwise is profoundly naive. I am hoping with all my heart that the majority of Americans will see through the smoke and mirrors of this person’s campaign and will vote to “make America great again” because if we don’t, there is NO ONE to save us. Thank you for an engaging essay and for reminding me of the purpose of a prophet and the prophetic voice. I know I have gone out on a limb with this response, but I write from the heart and a place of political savvy. The Kool Aid that people have been drinking for the last eight years is poisoned and it will destroy us if we let it. Let s/he who has ears to hear, hear. My best to you. Your brother in Christ,
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