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Discussion Forum : Articles and Sermons : A Letter to a False Prophet in the Church

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KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 A Letter to a False Prophet in the Church

Dear False Prophet,

I almost didn’t recognize you. But there you are. You fit in so nicely at our Church. You are well liked, respected, and many even look up to you. You are something of a celebrity. You easily find company to sit with at Church pot-lucks. You have a way with words, and never seem to lack anything to say. Indeed, you are even called on to preach from time to time, and with the response you usually receive from many within the congregation, there is no doubt you’ll be invited to speak yet again. You can regularly be found in the company of the pastor, and at times, seem to be his right hand man. A smile can regularly be found on your face.

But something just isn’t right. Something is off. You regularly say many things that are right and true. You say that Jesus is Lord, and I can even drop an “amen” while I listen to you preach. But while doing so, I find myself a bit troubled. For it isn’t so much anything you are saying that troubles me per say. It is the fact that when I listen to you, I never find myself troubled by anything that you do say. Indeed, troubling words never seem to run across your lips. I feel quite comfortable listening to you, and in retrospect, that is what troubles me about you the most. I am troubled for my lack of being troubled while listening to you preach.

You are quite skilled. You manage to successfully avoid offending or shocking anybody with your preaching. Jesus and His apostles couldn’t even avoid doing that. Instead, your sermons are regularly light-hearted and uplifting. They are even funny, and make me want to be a better me. But you regularly avoid certain things in your preaching.

Like for instance, you don’t talk about sin very much. And when you do, you seem to simply gloss over it, or treat sin as if it were just a mere mistake, or something merely holding me back from reaching my full potential. Sometimes, you even seem to excuse it altogether. And I’ve also noticed, you don’t talk a lot about the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, and you almost never mention His resurrection from the grave. Might Jesus Christ return in our life time? From your preaching, I honestly wouldn’t know if Jesus Christ is ever coming back one day. And even if I suspected He might come back one day, after listening to you preach, I wouldn’t know what to really expect if He did.

But why talk about such lofty and abstract things? You are practical, and you want to talk about the here and now. You want to help people find joy, peace, and fulfillment. You want to help husbands be better husbands, and wives to be better wives. You want to help them succeed at work and in play. You want to help them manage their finances, and help them enjoy the finer things in life. You just want them to have their best life now, so that they can be all that they want to be!

As you are reading how I describe your preaching, you probably find it an accurate portrayal of what you say and do. In fact, you probably are scratching your head thinking, “And how exactly does all of this make me a false prophet?” But you see, that’s exactly what makes you a false prophet. You don’t even see your preaching as being off. And being deceived, you can in turn deceive others effectually, because ultimately, you are sincere. You see, the thing that makes you false is not your contradiction of the word of God, or making predictions that never come to pass. It's much more simple than that. What makes you false is that for all your speaking, you never begin to declare the word of the Lord. For you are just too busy declaring everything else.

At any rate, I just wanted to take a moment and write and let you know that I see you. I hope others will as well.

Jimmy Humphrey


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Jimmy H

 2010/9/24 0:27Profile
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 Re: A Letter to a False Prophet in the Church

Great job Jimmy.

Blessings.


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Paul

 2010/9/24 0:44Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re:

I am glad you enjoyed it. I just hope this opens up our eyes and helps make us a more discerning people.


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Jimmy H

 2010/9/24 0:48Profile
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 Re:

It is amazing how many false prophets are in the Church today!

There are so many people who are too quick to speak for the Lord -- or to attribute every little "burning ideas" in their hearts as the voice of God. Of course, most of these "words" or "prophecies" are a little short on specifics. Those who are "specific" are often opaque with the meaning behind their words...or, at most, controversial with them (where, oddly, their "words from God" often mimic the views of the so-called "prophets").

There was a very loud group of "prophets" who almost ruined a congregation that I once attended. This group (of mostly women) would walk around giving bold "words" from God to folks in the congregation. As typical, most were vague "words" (i.e. "you will heal the sick and cast out demons when you play music" [to musicians] or :you are worried about your finances" [to poor or middle class believers] or the good ol' "you are concerned about loved ones" to everyone else). Of course, there are also those "preachers" who declare the "truths" of God very forcefully -- even if what they are proclaiming is not quite so "clear as pie" from the Word of God.

Of course, there are also those who are quick to speak "words" about other matters too. Some of them ARE specific...but mostly incorrect (as proven over time). Yet, people actually DEFEND those incorrect "words" as the well-meaning person just "missed it." I remember hearing one preacher declare something boldly...and a few years later proclaim the exact opposite to be true. Oddly enough, those same individuals would have been stoned under instructions from the Old Testament.

I think that it is a good reminder to tell people to be "slow to speak" for the Lord. It should be a fearful thing to realize that some would-be prophet is bearing false witness against the Lord Almighty!

That particular congregation was greatly hurt by the false prophets who were too "free" with their false "words." Many good believers left the congregation due to the leadership's inability to bring those perpetrators to "decency and order." Eventually, however, those "prophets" ended up leaving too. It seems that the great amount of words eventually wore off...and no one really paid enough attention to those folks. They counted it as "persecution" and eventually shook the dust off their shoes and shoulders and moved elsewhere (where they repeated the same thing -- plenty of "words" that caused lots of "division" and eventual leaving).

We all need to be spiritually discerning. I don't think that any REAL prophet (or pastor, teacher, evangelist, etc...) would mind anyone else testing their "words" by the Word of God. In fact, I think that a REAL man of God would actually encourage it.


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Christopher

 2010/9/24 1:16Profile
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 Re:

Hi Jimmy...

By the way, this letter brought to mind a local congregation.

I live in the San Francisco Bay Area -- a cesspool of selfishness. There are people living here who openly proclaim "pride" in their sin -- and their elected legislators try to force the government to protect their sinfulness.

After having attended college and grad school in Texas (right in the heart of the Bible belt), it was a bit of a "culture shock" when we first moved here. There are "cosmetic surgery" clinics everywhere! Some homosexuals proudly walk down the street and display their lifestyle in the pretense that it is "normal." Abortion isn't just legal -- these folks consider it a fundamental human right to kill unwanted unborn babies! There is a new "embrace of all cultures and religions" -- except when it comes to good ol' Christianity. After all, Christians are the new "bigots" to the "new morality" or people-centric "religion" of Earth worship.

There is a large congregation that is just two or three miles from my house. Brother Zac (Poonen) actually preaches in the congregation from time-to-time. While I enjoy attending to hear Brother Zac speak, I am shocked at what is NOT SAID during regular congregational meetings. During the several times that we attended regular Sunday meetings, it bothered my wife and I to hear "sermon-lite" messages. The pastor would say good things...but it seemed like he purposely danced around preaching about avoiding sin...or being consumed with a hunger for God...or longing to know Jesus more than anything else. In fact, it was rare to hear more than one or two short passages during a sermon. Rather, you heard plenty of sermon "illustrations" (mostly funny or witty) that were meant to "illuminate" our minds.

Granted, it would be difficult to judge the congregation and its pastors by the handful of times that we attended the "normal" meetings. However, it was enough to make us decide to look for fellowship and encouragement elsewhere.

Last year, I read an article about that particular congregation in one of the local papers. In the article, one of the leaders of the church boasted about purposely avoiding "controversial" topics -- like abortion, homosexuality, fornication, adultery, divorce, etc... It seemed that the leaders of the congregation didn't want to "scare away" any of the "flock."

Around Christmas, we read in the newspaper that the "senior pastor" of the congregation abruptly quit for reasons of "marital unfaithfulness." In other words, he cheated on his wife by having a sexual relationship with another woman. He was removed from leadership and he left the church. He asked for prayer for "restoration." Within a few months, he had his own website, a twitter feed and is already involved in limited forms of ministry -- and is planning on starting another church in this area. He seems so sincere (and seems to be a nice guy).

Sadly, I don't think that this particular celebrity pastor understood that he was missing the point about preaching the "whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:17-35). Paul told the elders in Ephesus that he was "innocent of the blood of all men" because he had proclaimed the FULL counsel of God. In other words, he didn't leave out the offensive parts..."boring" parts...or "sinners don't want to hear it" parts. Likewise by reversal, Paul was stating that -- had he NOT proclaimed the whole counsel of God -- he would NOT have been "innocent of the blood of all men" (verses 26-27).

It seems that we have a great famine in the land. There are folks who just aren't proclaiming the Word of the Lord...and there are those who are proclaiming FALSE "words" from the Lord.

The Church needs discernment to know the difference between the wheat and the chaff. The Church also needs men of God who will boldly proclaim the truth (in love) -- like John the Baptist! The world once asked about the "God of Elijah." Leonard Ravenhill once echoed, "Where are the Elijahs of God?"

We need men who are motivated by a passionate love for Jesus and love for the truth of the Word of God! We need men who have compassion on others, seeing them as "sheep having no shepherd." We need shepherds and not hirelings. We need men who can be used by God to break up the fallowed ground of this dry, dead world and patiently and tirelessly plant the Word of Truth.


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Christopher

 2010/9/24 1:54Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re:

Good thoughts Chris. No doubt, false prophets are as diverse as the colors of the rainbow, and we have to be on the look out for everything from the Peter Wagner's to Joel Osteen types, and then some. You know, in my 12 years in the faith, I can't recall any pastor preaching against false prophets from the pulpit, with perhaps the exceptions of short cheap shots against Mormons and JW's. But never about the false prophets actually in our midst, and sitting in the chair next to us. Such isn't good business it seems.


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Jimmy H

 2010/9/24 6:25Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re:

I added the following comment at the end of my original post:

You see, the thing that makes you false is not your contradiction of the word of God, or making predictions that never come to pass. It's much more simple than that. What makes you false is that for all your speaking, you never begin to declare the word of the Lord. For you are just too busy declaring everything else.


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Jimmy H

 2010/9/24 8:28Profile









 Re: A Letter to a False Prophet in the Church

Quote:
Dear False Prophet,



Jim, you found me!

Thank you for your letter enjoyed it very much. It spoke many things about me in true detail. Though I do preach against sin and never gloss over it, I leave that for the wimpy preachers.

 2010/9/24 8:30
KingJimmy
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Joined: 2003/5/8
Posts: 4419
Charlotte, NC

 Re:

Well snuf, I certainly hope you are not. I don't know you well enough to say one way or the other. But if you are, please stop being one today.

An old friend made an interesting observation, that I've yet to see otherwise in Scripture, so please do correct me if I'm wrong. But nowhere in Scripture are false prophets ever commanded to repent. Indeed, the idea of them ever repenting, and becoming faithful followers of the Lord, simply seems to be wanting. The only exhortation we see, it seems, is for people to stop following false prophets. Maybe it has escaped my attention, but it is something I have searched the Scriptures for and yet to find, and that is a false prophet turning from the error of his way.


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Jimmy H

 2010/9/24 9:09Profile
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 Re:

Very clear and convicting. Praise God for this. May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His sufferings. My He use this to show His love and mercy to a false prophet in the church today and to warn others of their subtile ways.


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2010/9/24 9:11Profile





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