Prophetic voice

Good message from Eliot on the churches role as a prophetic voice.

This aspect of the church has been misused in these ways.
1. As a manipulative tool by people seeking to exercise control.
2. As a tool for those angry, bitter and disinfranchised, as a battering ram against the established church
3. As a awful way to avoid being involved in ministry yourself by attacking others who are involved in ministry.

These above abuses do not mean we should not exercise these gift, but they should guide us and govern us to be sensitive and loving in speaking the truth. They should also inform us as to why Christians are wary of this gift being used.

Speaking the truth…in love…..

This does not mean we wont offend, the truth does offend. This does not mean we wont confront, true love confronts evil.

Practically speaking, true prophets don’t use blogs, mass email and anonymous letters to fire shots across an individual or a specific churches ‘bow’.
Thats crap, garbarge…and should be ignored or thrown in the bin without being read.

True prophets who are truly effective will generally be your friend, someone who is in relationship with you, someone you have chosen to make yourself accountable to.
Also true prophets dont have ulterior motives. They have nothing to gain, in any sense, from telling the truth. You get those who say they are reluctant prophets…but in fact they are gaining a sense of control from being seemingly reluctant.
True prophets dont pretend to have a hotline to Gods voice…they share humbly and carefully.

The church needs to be careful that it is not in a compromising relationship with the government, or in fact with any other body, which may compromise its prophetic voice. We need to speak the truth in love.
If there is anything the religious right in the US has taught us…it is that aligning itself with any political party is fraught with danger.

11 thoughts on “Prophetic voice”

  1. Very good post Mark. I like this statement “True prophets who are truly effective will generally be your friend, someone who is in relationship with you, someone you have chosen to make yourself accountable to”.

    I have found this to be very true in my own life. The best prophecies are from people you know and you know their walk first hand.

  2. mark,
    i think you sometimes undermine the good you have to say when you add throw away comments like…

    “Practically speaking, true prophets don’t use blogs, mass email and anonymous letters to fire shots across an individual or a specific churches ‘bow’.”

    A prophet can and will use whatever tools they have on hand – in an age where technology allows Truth to be televised and transmitted around the globe in a millisecond i think you might need to broaden your definition of how a prophet may work.

    Do you have a problem with reading the prohpetic books of the bible or listening to prophetic sermons on tape?

    I think it would be more helpful if you focused on the message of the prophet and not the mode of delivery – and speaking as our suburb is on bulk rubbish roster this week – there’s lots of amazing things getting thrown out in the trash these days 😉


  3. True prophets dont do that, because a true prophet will follow the scriptural mandate of Matthew 18.

    Name one prophet in the OT who remained anonymous?

    Most of them were in relationship with the people they confronted.

    There are far too many internet warriors with too much time on their hands…
    this post from Mark Batterson is excellent.

  4. and it was not a throwaway comment, by the way, but an essential part of the post. The emphasis for me is on the ‘specific’ part….

  5. i guess my focus was not on the anonymous (although I’m not going to box out the possibility of the prophetic stanger) but was questioning whether a prophet is invalidated by his or her use of blogs or email to spread a message.

    it seems contradictory to me when you are happy to read a book that contains prophetic letters and apply them to your context in the 21st century and upload podcasts of prophetic messages onto the internet in the belief that people can be touched by God through them.


  6. “to fire shots across an individual or a specific churches ‘bow'”

    this is what I am talking about. Gutless attacks from anonymous sources, at a church or ministry that they may know very little about. Even if they do know about it….the internet for some has become a very public forum for something which the scriptures are clear should be kept inhouse, preferably between the two people involved.

    I am not talking about someone who thinks they may have something to say prophetically to the church at large, but I think shots taken from afar at a specific church or pastor are gutless, and unloving.

  7. fair call re: voicing a problem with someone publically instead of talking to them about it first.

    I’m still a little unsure though of why matt 18 is being used in reference to prophetic voices – i’m not sure that many of the OT or NT prophets abided by this principle.

    I always thought it was more to between individuals within the church – prophets don’t seem to necessarily operate within these paramters though.

    so maybe much of what you were alluding to was more to do with people using a prophetic tag to slag off other people anonymously.
    is this right???


  8. In answer to your last question…yes…
    In answer to your general question…I think prophets need to be a part of the body of Christ, accepted, the gifts embraced, and kept accountable to leadership…the same as everyone else. I also think they need to accept that sometimes their prophecy will not be right, will come from self interests..or may be ignored completely (like a pastors message is sometimes 🙂 )

  9. You say that a prophet has to submit to leadership.
    What about times when leaderships wrong and the prophet would be disobeying God by doing that?
    I read this great quote from Erwin McManus which speaks to that.
    “Two thousand years ago God started a revolt against the religion He started. So don’t ever put it past God to cause a groundswell movement against churches and Christian institutions that bear His name.”

  10. Thats a good point Gareth.
    I think they need to be in relationship first…and know the people they have issues with.

    I also think there is a time for the prophet to leave, shake the dust off so to speak, and say something like…”The Lord judge between you and me” and leave it in the Lords hands.

    My experience of some who call themselves prophets is that they refused to be in relationship, did not care about those they sought to prophesy against. It is these examples I rail against.

    Jesus loves the church…so should we, even with all its faults.

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