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Discussion Forum : General Topics : How would we respond to a true prophet?

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TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4140
NC, USA

 How would we respond to a true prophet?

On another thread, Frank (Apollus) quoted Ravenhill regarding characteristics of true prophets and how other Christians like us here on SI might respond or view a true prophet. That thread was locked for good reason but I thought this was worth discussing. Here is Franks post:
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Let me first of all state that I do not believe that there are any prophets here on SI. So the following excerpts from Ravenhill as to what a prophet is and looks like does not apply to any of us. But I do contend that many, if not the majority on SI and in Christendom in general would totally reject the prophetic. Here is just a partial list of what the prophet is and what he looks like from Ravenhill.

He is unquestionably controversial and unpardonably hostile (he would be certainly be castigated for that here on SI)

He marches to another drummer

He is a "seer," who comes to lead the blind.

(people never see their blindness and hate the very notion that their is a possibility that they are indeed blind to the workings of God)

He shares some of the foreknowledge of God and so is aware of impending judgement (This would always be rejected by almost all on SI and in Christendom)

He lives in splendid isolation (he would be castigated for this)

He is forthright and outright and claims no birthright ( oh boy, you can hear the criticism now that he is unloving)

He brings torment but his voice is never void ( what!he isn't loving all the time!)

His message is, repent and be reconciled to God ...or else ( people will hate the or else part)

He is the villain of today and the hero of tomorrow

He is excommunicated while alive and exalted when dead

He is friendless while living and famous when dead

He is against the establishment in ministry ( oh boy, you can hear the howls now)

He announces, pronounces and denounces

He has a heart like a volcano and his words are like fire

He is naturally sensitive but supernaturally spiritual

He is ordained by God but disdained by men.

So, there is just some of Ravenhill's thoughts about what a prophet is and how he is treated. Now, an interesting exercise for those on SI would be to go through this list and see how you would react to someone who had the chracteristics of the prophet. Would you accept it or would you be part of the crowd and tear him to pieces?........bro Frank


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Todd

 2017/9/12 23:32Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4140
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 Re: How would we respond to a true prophet?

Frank wrote:
"Now, an interesting exercise for those on SI would be to go through this list and see how you would react to someone who had the chracteristics of the prophet. Would you accept it or would you be part of the crowd and tear him to pieces?"

My honest answer is, it all depends.


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Todd

 2017/9/12 23:35Profile
Gloryandgrace
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Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 179
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:

I love Ravenhill and have some of his books. Yet, Evangelist Ravenhill is depicting the prophet very one-dimensionally. Basically a thorn in everyone's shoe, but God's chosen thorn.

If you want to know ( in my opinion) vastly better and far more fleshed out understanding of the prophet listen to Art Katz talk about the prophetic and apostolic, from him you will gain a far better understanding of the prophet than Ravenhill.

You see, Ravenhill's depiction of the prophet shows the prophet as utterly rejected. But I will tell you now this is simply false. Some will reject and for a variety of reasons but the godly and true believer will recognize the anointing and the truth of God's scriptures brought forth by the prophet.
What is lesson 101 of Christianity "we are all indwelt by the Holy Spirit and we all are equally sons and equally loved and equally accepted by faith, justified and are being sanctified".

What I don't care for...actually I despise it, are those who speak under the pretense that they have some anointing to rebuke, correct, chasten and bring forth the hard words that "no one else will speak". Sorry but that's just silly zealousness without godly wisdom. I don't find them prophetic in the slightest what I do see is an unbalanced and unchristlike example thrust upon unsuspecting readers/hearers. Guys like that who are heavy on bold assertions, quick to broad-brush large sections of God's people, relegate the "few" "who buy their woes" as the true followers of Jesus. Of course when asked for explanation or submission to anyone's simple questioning...its ignored and more bold assertions made with veiled implications against those who question their legitimacy.
You see, when someone claiming to be a prophet or not throws out the "few will believe card" which is supposed to trump any questioning Berean among them and cannot exegete the passages or at least address civilly his dissenters I find he/she has failed the first test of a new testament prophet.
When that man or woman implies by varied words and phrases they are "in the know" and the rest of us worldly dirt bags just need to repent you can rest assured this is no prophet for a godly man with wisdom from God will not violate the simplest apostolic injunctions to teach, instruct, counsel, pray for, be patient with those whom he speaks to.
You see, the 1-year-old newbie Christian has more on the ball than some pretended hard-liners.

Some of you are probably thinking I am referring to recent discussions and you would be right. Here on this forum, we have the advantage of obtaining the best in Christian teaching and preaching for the last 500 years. When we avail ourselves of that kind of scripture instruction we are able to distinguish the swiss cheese from just the cheesy.

Lastly, a clarification, when I say I despise pretended hard-liners I have a very good reason. They are unbalanced, maximizing on the sinfulness of their hearers and minimizing the power of God's spirit to correct, empower, renew, redirect and make abundantly fruitful. Jesus love and grace are simply footnotes to the next woe. If you know the grace of God in truth, you know the love and grace of God are the foundations for our lives and any minimalizing them is grounds for distrusting this vocal rebuker.

You want to begin to recognize a true prophet, you will find someone who maximizes Jesus Christ in character, establishes all his ministry in New Testament doctrine and practice, demonstrates the cross-carrying heart and mind by seeking to impart its power and delivering spirit through a very easy to understand and clearly proven death to self. This prophet is going to lead the way in selflessness and contrary to Ravenhill he will be loved by those who love Jesus. So Ravenhill gets to be right because there are plenty of fakes and they despise Jesus...therefore they will despise us too let alone some prophet. But Ravenhill should have said more about what the true believers will do...and there are many many on this website who would happily listen and obey the Prophet.
But remember too, that prophet will not have a different message than the old apostles and he will not have a different cross for us to bear, nor a different spirit to unify us to one another and to Christ.
When any of us...whether it's a warning or its a humble prayer for each others blessing the spirit prophecy is the testimony of Jesus Christ. We all can prophesy and we all can testify of Jesus Christ because we have the Spirit of God.


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Marvin

 2017/9/13 2:28Profile
Gloryandgrace
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Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 179
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:

I've heard many a sermon here given by some who seem to be "prophetic" towards the sinfulness of their generation. Allan Redpath's sermon on the first chapt of Isaiah was one of the best...and we all know Paris Reidhead's "ten shekels" is tremendous.
But after listening to Jackie Pullinger "the Seer", I will tell you that sermon should be preached in every church in America. Why? Because Jackie dealt with the idol of our culture, the unbelief alive and well in myself and (it would be easy to surmise others as well) But Jackie used by the Spirit of God didn't have broad-brushing anathemas thrown out indiscriminately she went to where we live and pointed right at the idol and said...this is what is keeping you from obeying Christ. Listen to it. It shows our wanna-be watchman and prophets are children at handling God's word.


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Marvin

 2017/9/13 2:45Profile
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 Re: How would we respond to a true prophet?

I appreciated Frank's post, but the thread was locked before I could say as much. There is one very important thing that I would add to this list:

A true prophet preaches Christ.

I've walked in the light of the Lord long enough to have seen many different types of preachers, evangelists, self-proclaimed prophets of all different shapes, sizes and temperaments.

I've seen and interacted with individuals who were generally regarded as "prophets" who were little more than charlatans. Some had a message that strayed from the faith and meandered into something terribly wrong.

Some of these people actually fit some of the aforementioned descriptions from Brother Ravenhill. They were abrasive, bold, rejected by some believers, isolated, anti-establishment and seemingly unconcerned with whether or not other believers received their message or proclamations.

In other words, on the surface, they fit much of the previous descriptions -- but with the exception that their message brought a message that wasn't centered on Christ Jesus.

The things mentioned by Brother Ravenhill are certainly a good description of how prophets are received or perceived. However, such descriptions are moot and incorrect if such a person is presenting a message or motivation that meanders beyond Christ and his Word.

I met one preacher with a hellfire and judgment message who visited a church for a series of meetings. He was abrasive and forthright. He told stories of what "God was doing" in his ministry -- from healing the sick to actually raising many people from the dead. He said that his message was one of repentance too -- and he boldly denounced anyone who rejected his words. He even spoke of church people and sinners alike who died at his meetings (similar to Ananias and Sapphira).

Initially, I was intrigued by this sort of boldness. Yet, there was something wrong. Not only were there certain "checks" that just didn't add up with his message of Christ, but there were parts of his story that just didn't pass the musters of Biblical truth. His stories were filled with supernatural tales of miracles and evil. He mentioned that a 12-foot tall owl spoke to him and that the devil once chased him (even opening and closing the gate of a fence).

That man was all about forcefully proclaiming a message that wasn't entirely within the realm of truth. He was all about people being "slain in the spirit" -- and even belittled anyone that he prayed for who didn't "fall under the power of God" as "resisting the Holy Ghost" (talk about on-the-spot peer-pressure for some people). In the end, that man walked away with some enormous "offerings" to "further the work of an apostle."

In other words, that man exhibited many of Brother Ravenhill's descriptions but his message (and methods) weren't from the Lord. For obviously reasons, such men -- apostolic and prophetic impersonators -- are somewhat easy to spot to those who know the Word.

While there are some outright phonies out there who will actually play upon such things (even modeling their "prophetic" ministry with a certain air of abrasiveness that is actually attractive to some people), I do think that most would-be prophets in the church are well-meaning.

Whereas the preacher that I mentioned before was proclaiming a Gospel that was very different from the one that Paul preached, there are others who meander in much more subtle ways.

One thing that I have noticed is that some people cannot rejoice with someone examining their words to determine if what they've said is really from the Lord. I think that a real man of God will rejoice when believers search the Scripture to verify that his words align with and do not exceed God's Word.

What happens when the words cannot be confirmed by Scripture?

In keeping with recent examples: What happens when a person declares that a particular natural event or phenomenon is a sign from God or an act of God's judgment?

It would be easy to proclaim ANY event as a sign or act of God's will. We can say that high tide each and every day is because God wills it. We can say that the Sun "rising" in the east and setting in the west is because God wills it. Consequently, it wouldn't surprise us if we determine that a solar eclipse is a "sign" that God determined -- because it would certainly be in keeping with that sort of vague determination of "God's will" (as in determining that EVERYTHING that every happened or will ever happened is God's will). Such thinking begs the question why people pray for God's intervention if all things are predetermined by Him and are assigned to His "will."

Yet, it is in the specifics that determining the validity of a message or proclamation can be difficult. God's omniscience doesn't mean that we can assign the blame to God. This is what confused unbelievers do when they question how God can allow evil to happen in this world or let babies die. I don't think that we would rightfully dismiss the horrific killing of children during the Holocaust, believers during the Roman persecution or believers who were tortured and executed by communists as little more than "God's will" any more than we can declare that Christians who died in various natural disasters throughout history were under "judgment."

That is exceeding the general nature of God by pointing at specific events and claiming that they are specific acts of God in judgment for a particular reason. We aren't capable of making that determination outside of Biblical anecdotes.

No one should confuse someone question such a specific declaration with that of "scoffing" or "mocking" God's Word. Rather, they are simply questioning the specific nature of the declaration and trying to rightly divide the Word of Truth and determine the validity of the claim.

I am blessed to have had the opportunity to sit, speak and pray with Brother Ravenhill in his home outside of Lindale, Texas when I was a young teen. When I met with him (shortly before he died), he was very gentle, humble and patient with me. One thing that he pressed in me was the need to "test everything." Like I stated earlier, I think that most men of God would welcome that sort of godly scrutiny and verification. It is important to remember that scrutiny should't to be confused with cynicism or even worldly unbelief.

It would be a foolish man who quickly believes another man -- even a man of God -- simply because he knows him. If the Word of God teaches us anything, it is that even the best of men can be wrong or even fail.

*EDIT - I clicked "submit" before I mentioned one other thing on my mind.

I listened to a message by Brother Ravenhill a long time ago and I can't remember the specific message title. However, he spoke about the importance of a "weeping prophet." He mentioned how Jesus arrived to Jerusalem and wept over it just moments before driving out those who were selling things at the Temple. His point was that we must "weep before we whip" (or something like that).

There's an old saying that "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." The same is true with preaching the Gospel (literally GOOD NEWS). I remember hearing Nicky Cruz share his testimony about how he knew that David Wilkerson loved him. Although he treated Wilkerson with contempt and scorn, Cruz said that it is nearly impossible to hate someone who you know truly cares for or loves you.

Thus, I would add that a true prophet is brokenhearted with pure love for others -- and this love is evident to those who hear him.


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Christopher

 2017/9/13 2:52Profile
markuskiwi
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Joined: 2009/7/25
Posts: 346
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 Re:

This partial list of what the prophet is and what he looks like is from Ravenhill. It does not come with any Scripture references at all. It is just one man's opinion and I see no point to discuss it.

However I did a bit of research about the topic and here is a very brief summary.
(from BibleStudyTools)
"Prophets were the immediate organs of God for the communication of his mind and will to men ( Deuteronomy 18:18 Deuteronomy 18:19 ).
The whole Word of God may in this general sense be spoken of as prophetic, inasmuch as it was written by men who received the revelation they communicated from God, no matter what its nature might be. The foretelling of future events was not a necessary but only an incidental part of the prophetic office. The great task assigned to the prophets whom God raised up among the people was "to correct moral and religious abuses, to proclaim the great moral and religious truths which are connected with the character of God, and which lie at the foundation of his government."
Any one being a spokesman for God to man might thus be called a prophet..."

I think we lost the Biblical meaning of the word and created our own ideas.

 2017/9/13 5:27Profile
JFW
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Joined: 2011/10/21
Posts: 867
Dothan, Alabama

 Re: How would we respond to a true prophet?

Very well stated brothers!

Brother Marvin,
I very much appreciate the salience of your tenor, as your words are well measured and your maturity is apparent. Also I appreciate your contributions here on SI and tho we are on opposite ends doctrinally, your heart for Jesus is quite clear and for me that is gold, I'm not so concerned wether it's white,yellow or rose.... as long as it's gold;)
Also thanks for the recommendation of Jackie's sermon- will def check it out!

Brother Chris,
Yes and Amen to your observations as you hit on the points I most share in,... firstly that brother Len's descriptions aren't to be confused with cynicism and secondly the broken-heartedness of the prophet. There have been more than a handful of times where I have imagined (and commented) on how it would be taken if a Jeremiah or John the Baptist figure were to walk into most any church in America? Raw, real and with a message of repentance that had the thundering authority of God upon it due to the broken-heartedness the prophet shares with the Lord. I believe most assemblies/fellowships would respond just like they did back in the day and call the police, ha!
Sure there would be a few in most every church whom could receive their message and would rejoice and be grateful for it, but IMO they would do so quietly as the "corporate structuring" has all but taken over even the most sincere churches.

As the apostle Paul says, "we should all long to prophecy" and as Marvin pointed out from Revelation "the spirit of prophecy IS the testimony of Jesus Christ" so it would seem inevitable that anyone who is and stays filled and yielded to the spirit of the living God will be used by Him to speak, and that is prophecy at its best and purest form. Doesn't the apostle Peter say something like, "we should all speak as the oracles of God, otherwise we should remain silent"... Ha! Imagine that!!?? what if we only "really spoke" regarding the Lord to prophecy!!?? and completely abstained from vain wranglings... also doesn't Paul state that the prophetic word would convince the unbelievers?
Perhaps there is something to the prophet being rejected more for his message than for his person but his person is an easier thing to reject and discount in a world where appearances and pleasentries are a premium and yet we are (as a society) generally obsessed with the very personalities that brother Len describes... kinda crazy when you think about it. It's like we hold them in contempt for not comforming and yet secretly envy their ability to not have to...



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Fletcher

 2017/9/13 6:22Profile
TMK
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Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 4140
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 Re:

Marvin- your post was tremendous and expresses exactly how I feel about the matter.

A true prophet may make a true believer squirm, but a true believer will be convicted by a true prophet of the reason for the squirming and address it

An unanointed bombast will not have this effect.


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Todd

 2017/9/13 7:48Profile
twayneb
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Joined: 2009/4/5
Posts: 1780
Joplin, Missouri

 Re:

Ephesians 4 gives us a picture of the gifts that God has placed in the body and the process by which the body grows to maturity. If the evangelist, pastor, and teacher are valid, then we must also accept that the apostle and prophet are valid, new testament ministries. This is perhaps the first hurdle we must cross, acknowledging that these gifts are in the body today.

Second, we must overcome the perceptions we have developed by seeing the, how can I say this, nutty stuff that people sometimes do in the modern prophetic movement. Most of us have either seen or experienced those who call themselves prophets and are not.

Third, I tend to agree that the idea that prophets must etherial, otherworldly, solitary, and harsh is not a proper view of things.

A prophet is a person whom God uses in a special gifting to minister to the body for the purpose of bringing the body into maturity.

"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul."

We are not clear about who was who in this passage, but we know that some of these men were prophets. Yet we find no major foretelling of the future recorded from these men. We find them ministering to the body, establishing believers, encouraging believers, and growing the church.

I am not totally sure that I can give a description of a modern day prophet. I have known a select few men who I believe operate as the gift of prophet to the body. They seem to have a unique ability to bring a comprehensive understanding of the pulse or heart of what God is doing and saying in the body at any one time and bring the word of the Lord to the body in the right time. But if I were to go out to coffee with them, I would not find them any "different" then other men of God that fulfill other roles in the body.


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Travis

 2017/9/13 8:34Profile
StirItUp
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Joined: 2016/6/4
Posts: 826
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 Re:

A prophet speaks for God to men, and therefore, in this age of grace, speaks the Word of God to men, the Word being Jesus Christ Himself.
They should bring a fresh vision of Jesus Christ, Who He is, what He has accomplished, His pre-eminence and His authority over all things.

They are pre-eminent preachers of the gospel.

Blessings,


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William

 2017/9/13 9:15Profile





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