SHOCKED BY THE VOICE OF GOD

"Sure, God spoke to Noah, Isaac and Phillip," we sometimes think. "But he would never speak to me." Little wonder that when he does speak directly today, it is often a shocking experience. At my request, gracEmail subscriber Jack Outhier has reluctantly but kindly given me permission to relate his shocking encounter with the voice of God -- and the good fruit that resulted from it. (Jack's email … [Read more...]

PROPHECY: RATIONAL WORDS

After I related a modern story of Christian prophecy, a subscriber asked how often "similar situations lead to disaster," whether this does not open the door to "deceit" and if I am saying that we should be ruled by "feelings rather than by rational content." * * * Good brother, you ask how often "similar situations" lead to disaster. Not often, I would think. For consider the "situation." What … [Read more...]

PROPHECY ILLUSTRATED

"Can you give an example of ordinary Christian prophecy today?" someone asks. "What does it look like when it occurs?" * * * The long-time preaching minister at my home congregation resigned early in 1996, sending us into a search for God's replacement which lasted into 1997. About October 1996, after much prayer and diligent labor, we elders invited Rob McRay and his wife Judy of the Northtown … [Read more...]

CHURCH FATHERS & PROPHECY

The year 1918 saw the publication of Counterfeit Miracles, in which Presbyterian theologian Benjamin B. Warfield argued that supernatural prophecy stopped shortly after the New Testament was written. According to Warfield, spiritual gifts (charismata) served only to authenticate the Apostles' gospel message -- and only to people of their generation. Warfield said that the gifts ceased when the … [Read more...]

PROPHECY: SAFEGUARDS

"If we say that God speaks through prophetic words today," someone asks, "do we not open the door to every form of abuse and exploitation?" * * * Obviously this very beneficial gift can be abused or misused, as can any other gift (including, for example, uninspired preaching). Scripture therefore provides rules, caveats, safeguards and tests. Christians have always been cautioned not to believe … [Read more...]

PROPHECY’S PURPOSE

"Why would we need prophecy today?" someone asks. "We have a completed Bible." * * * The question reflects a common misunderstanding that the purpose of the ordinary Christian grace-gift (charisma) of prophecy is the production of Scripture. Yet that was not even its purpose in the first-century church. Canonical Scripture serves the whole People of God, concerning the entire scope of faith and … [Read more...]

CHRISTIAN PROPHECY

"Does God still speak directly to his people today?" someone asks. "Does the prophetic gift belong to the Christian age?" * * * Yes, God still speaks directly to his people, as it pleases him to do so. Receiving and communicating such a word from God is the exercise of the Christian grace-gift (charisma) of prophecy. As the Christian era formally began, the Apostle Peter announced that it would … [Read more...]

WHAT ORDINARY CHRISTIAN PROPHECY IS (Prophecy – 6)

We have seen that ordinary Christian prophecy does not result in new Scripture, new doctrine or new commands from God. It does not necessarily mean foretelling the future. It is not an infallible word from God. It is not the same ministry as preaching or teaching. If it is not all these things, just what is ordinary Christian prophecy -- that gift which Paul says we should especially desire and … [Read more...]

WHAT PROPHECY IS NOT (Prophecy – 5)

According to both the Old Testament (Joel) and the New Testament (Peter), one manifestation of God's Spirit in this messianic era is the widespread gift of prophecy -- not through a select few as in past ages but through God's children in general -- men and women, young and old, servant and master alike. Because God bestows this gift so indiscriminately, I refer to it as "ordinary Christian … [Read more...]

HEBREW PROPHETS AND CHRISTIAN APOSTLES (Prophecy – 4)

Ordinary Christian prophecy comes through ordinary Christian people -- "your sons and daughters," to use Joel's words which Peter quoted on Pentecost (Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:17-21). As we learn more about ordinary Christian prophecy we will learn also not to confuse this kind of revelation with the "Thus says the LORD" messages given through Moses, Elijah, Isaiah and Jeremiah. The great prophets of … [Read more...]