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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Prophetic Credentials II

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Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


Ironman: 2007/12/31 22:24
i bow my knees and thank God for the Mercy and Grace shown us here. if none of this which i have believed over these last few yrs comes to pass i take some comfort in that i won't be continuing in that error into '08. i'm not sure what i would do but there would certainly be much agony. i'd be sure to apologize before God and before you all dear brethren and seek forgiveness from you and God knows thereafter. there wouldn't be anything left to say (i don't think anyway) except to admit gross error and seek forgiveness. bro Chris said and hoped that i'd not go into depression and i don't think i'm prone to that. however to think that i don't know God's Voice and/or how to listen to Him and obey may leave me depressed and a bit more guarded.i'd post little if anything i suppose, fearing stumbling anyone.if this burden has been self imposed, i don't know how i'd deal with anything in the future resembling would be a hard thing to come to grips with if it's proven i've been foolish all this time and caused God and you my brethren undue grief from the moderators on down, to my brethren at the church i attend...Romans 8:28 does say He works all things for the good but this would be a tough lesson...all the same i'd rather that than continue in error.

I have taken up my pen two or three times to rejoin this discussion. It was because of concern of the after-effects of this ‘prophetic word’ what I once counselled Rahman to ‘cut himself some slack’. What I meant by that phrase was simply a counsel not to paint himself into a corner but to leave room to say “this is my conviction; one day I may be proved wrong and be wiser.” The problem with what I have frequently referred to as ‘self styled prophets’ is that by claiming to be ‘a prophet’ there is a built-in expectation that the words of such a ‘prophet’ are beyond question or examination. This is always dangerous. It is particularly dangerous to the person whose claims make the ‘prophecy’ the litmus test for his ‘hearing of God’s voice’. If this is wrong, he reasons, everything else I ever thought I heard from God is also wrong.

If I say that I do not believe that Ironman and Rahman are prophets I risk the wrath of many, but ‘here I stand, I can do no other’. The failure of the 2007 financial collapse prophecy is not my reason for saying so; I was saying it long before that particular “prophesy” failed. Others have made similar ‘prophecies’ but I rejected those too. I am not returning to this topic to say ‘I told you so’. I claim no victory for not believing in the ‘prophecy’. It is no virtue ‘not to believe’. I couldn’t believe these ‘prophecies’ nor that these men were ‘prophets’. Was that due to a lack of faith or a lack of gullibility? My interest is not so much in the wrong prophecy but as to why it was wrong and why it could never have been right. In other words I regard the wrong prophecy as a symptom rather than the disease itself.

Perhaps if we examine the historical context we might find some clues. It seems that the phenomena of disaster prophecies is very much a post Charismatic thing. In earlier generations there would not have been the communication channels to propagate such prophecies. Such a prophecy given in a local assembly would have nothing like the publicity available in our day. The temptation to use the web as a mass communication tool is hard to resist to someone who believes God has given them a ‘word for the Church’. The hospitality of Greg and Sermonindex has often been abused by such. The folly of fake prophecy is much more easily remedied in a local setting than on the web.

Another historical aspect might be the eschatological hot house that has prevailed for many decades. Predictions of the immanent return of Christ create a climate of waiting for the next evidence that we are in the last minutes of the countdown. This, in turn, leaves people very vulnerable to the latest scare prospect. So many predictions of disaster are really offshoots of the “any moment” eschatology which is now the norm in much of the evangelical world. The Kansas City Prophets and John Wimber embraced the world view of the Latter Rain movement which taught that the last days would experience greater extremes of tribulation and blessing than in any previous era of the church. This led to an expectation of super apostles, super prophets and the like. There is no biblical justification for such an expectation but many still harbour the notion.

The final ingredient may well be the Charismatic emphasis on personal leadings. Personal impressions can easily become the ultimate authority for a Christian’s understanding of the bigger picture. We have at least one SI poster whose ultimate authority is his ‘inner witness’. He is prepared to take the testimony of his ‘inner witness’ in preference to anything else; even the plain statements of scripture. Most ‘pastors’ will have had the sobering experience of trying to advise people who believe they have heard God speaking to them. Their bottom line is ‘the Lord told me’. This is the effective end to discussion or pastoral care. The man with the witness is beyond advice or counsel; God has spoken to him.

How did the early church cope with such problems? One aspect which becomes clear in Paul’s references to prophecy in 1 Corinthians is the issue of accountability. The utterances of the ‘prophets’ were to be a judged by their peers.

1Cor. 14:29 (NKJV) Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.

The word ‘judge’ here signifies ‘to make a distinction’, not to condemn or sentence. Prophecy was expected in a context in which other prophets were functioning. This builds in an immediate safety factor. It is interesting to see how frequently the word for ‘prophet’ appears in the plural in the story of the early church. (Acts 11:27; 13:1; 15:32; 1Cor 14:29) The nature of the web means that it is impossible for this kind of protection to exist in a public forum. For all its many benefits, SI is not and never can be a church. There is no face to face relationship and no authentic accountability. To my mind this is why such ‘prophecies’ are entirely out of order in the Discussion Forums. They are ‘loose cannon’ prophecies and are a danger to everyone, not least, the man who provides the spark.

Ron Bailey

 2008/1/10 7:34Profile

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