Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Acid Test of All Prophecy

when a prophet speaks in the name of the LORD, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the LORD has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.
Deuteronomy 18:22

Prophets were meant to speak only the words of the Lord. To interject any other statement into their message was to risk false prophecy and even death (Deuteronomy 18:20). The prophet had to be absolutely faithful to the message God had given him to speak.

The final test was simple: the words of a prophet had to be testable by truth. And the way this was known was clear. There was a one to one correspondence between prophetic message and reality. The words that were spoken by God's prophet came to pass... not mystically... not with ridiculous reinterpretation or fantastic numerological tricks. The straightforward language of prophets was real with life experience. Prophets had a perfect grade.

Some modern theologians (best-selling Wayne Grudem among them) have abandoned this clear Old Testament standard when defining any possibly of prophecy continuing into current New Testament times. They believe that modern prophetic words exist, but with a caveat that this Old Testament standard simply does not apply anymore. In short, they would say that prophets might speak in New Testament churches, just not with any kind of accuracy. They can fail and still be gifted by God as prophets, which makes no sense with any kind of prophecy that ever existed before among God's people. Nowhere in scripture are we told that a prophet sent by God is wrong.

I choose to see this reworked theology of prophecy for what it is: a means to try to uphold elicit practices in charismatic circles. It should be seen for what it is: a man-made theological prop to charismatism and an unbiblical one at that! It is better to hold to this Old Testament insistence upon accuracy as the final arbiter of the prophetic.

- Posted with my iPad. The Apple Kool-Aide tastes fine.

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