The Prophetic Gift
The divine enablement to reveal a Spirit inspired message from God and proclaim it in a timely and relevant manner for understanding, correction, encouragement, comfort, repentance or edification. There may be immediate or future implications. The gift operated in the New Testament in a forth-telling way (I Cor 14:3) and, more rarely, in a fore-telling way (Acts 11:27-28).
Our guiding principles
- DO NOT DESPISE PROPHETIC WORDS: (1 Thes. 5:18ff) We must not treat prophecy lightly or cast it off as empty “supernaturalism”. Though the danger exists that the church can be taken captive by sensational edicts and predictions and run amok, the elders must not for that reason prejudice ourselves against prophecy. We believe that the gift is valid and given by the Holy Spirit to build up the church.
- TEST EVERYTHING: (1 John 4:1ff) We must not believe that every word that purports to be from God is genuine. We must not be gullible and believe every prophet, but each prophetic word must be tested for authenticity so that the church holds unswervingly to truth.
The Biblical Tests we must apply to every prophetic word:
- is the prophet committed to the Body? Prophets that demonstrate an unwillingness to be a part of the Church, claim to stand above the church, show disdain for the church or who do not function under any legitimately constituted church authority disqualify their own message. (1 John 2:19)
- is the prophet demonstrating a submitted life of devotion to Christ? Prophets who do not bring their moral lives into conformity with the gospel show that they have not accepted the first principles of following Christ (IE repentance) and must not be trusted with leadership through prophecy. However, a humble obedience shows a submitted heart, filled with the Holy Spirit. (1 John 3:22-24)
- what is the fruit of the ministry and service of the prophet? If the prophet’s work brings about greater confusion in the hearers, more distraction from kingdom work (reaching and teaching), disobedience to Christ, a rebellious attitude, or less Christ-likeness, then the prophet has some bad root that needs to be addressed before their message should be followed. A person may, in fact, perform spectacular works in the name of Christ, including exorcism or healings, but if the net results of their life do not lead to more people, more devoted to Christ, theirs is a self serving ministry that Christ has not condoned. (Matt 7:15-23)
- does the prophet’s message match the Scripture? Prophets who speak a different word than the one the Spirit has already spoken through Prophets and Apostles speak a different gospel and should not be listened to. The Spirit of Christ will not speak in ways that are contrary to the way he has ALREADY spoken through his Word. (Gal 1:6-7)
- is their view of Jesus consistent with Scripture? Prophets who do not accept Jesus Christ as the Word of God, One with the Father, come in the flesh, crucified, and resurrected have rejected God’s message. To alter the nature of Christ as revealed in Scripture is the major error in every pseudo-Christian religion and shows deep deception. Their words may carry some weight, or may accurately predict the future, but their fundamental denial of Christ means their power rests in a source other than God. (1 John 4:2-3; Deut 13:1-3)
- is the message consistent with reality? Prophets who make proclamations about the future that do not come to pass have spoken apart from God. These messages are clearly false, but also prove that how a prophet believes they are hearing from God is flawed and presumptuous. (Jer 28:9)