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.