Last April I posted on inaccuracies in prophetic words and thought maybe time to revisit that. The original post is at
Before getting into some of the principles that I consider are important there is another area I am wrestling with. Gayle works inside the Authentic Lives framework and the wonderful transformation that takes place is amazing. It is essentially holding space so that there can be self-discovery (as far as I understand it). The prophetic is within it, but the foundation is self-discovery. I am, to be honest, not sure how prophetic and that holds together. The weakness of prophecy as we have seen it develop within the charismatic world is a culture of ‘I am waiting for (another) prophetic word’, and we can create a dependency culture, something I increasingly see with prophetic conferences. If it does not lead to self-discovery (which is really the ‘word of God entering’) it will prove to be ineffective. That probably is the crux of the matter, and perhaps there is no inherent clash between the prophetic and (for example) what takes place in the Authentic Lives environment. The only clash is when self-discovery is not present.
So to a couple of foundations. I usually say to people that anyone who prophesies has the easy task. They are not to be focused on getting it ‘right’. There is no fundamental requirement on them getting it right as Scripture is clear that all words spoken need to be weighed. If all words are to be weighed it is possible that they might simply be out and out wrong. The requirement is (as always) to love. If love is not present then keep quiet. If the desire is there to correct, just keep quiet.
Second do not prophesy to prove how great one is at with receiving revelation. The person receiving the word is the key, not the person delivering it. What is given needs to facilitate a deeper level of self-discovery, not a deeper level of being impressed with the one speaking – that will often result in less of a self-discovery, as part of self-discovery is about who we are in God and that s/he leads us and speaks to us in unique and personal ways.
[I had a great personal revelation a few days ago. In the context of a few of us together I saw Jesus coming to me and giving me an ordinary looking key. Others received keys also – fancy ones, gold ones, in the shape of a leaf etc… Mine, just a normal non-descript key. Others had a great interaction with Jesus. He gave me that key, shrugged his shoulders as if to say – no point saying anything to you, no point giving you any instruction as you will only go off and do what you want to do anyway. Just pondering whether it means I don’t really walk with Jesus, but very glad he walks with me… Anyway all very helpful, with a little bit of self-discovery and quite a lot of discovery about the graciousness of Jesus.]
Getting it wrong…
Although we cannot guarantee that we will get it ‘right’, we should close down avenues that will only increase the possibility of getting it ‘wrong’. One such avenue is asking ‘what would I say to this person if I were God?’ That is quite a question, and would only be effective if we knew God at that level. I think we have such a reliance on knowledge that that sort of question is not going to get us very far. (For the non-Catholics here) consider meeting someone who says ‘I am the head of a large organisation, we have unbelieveable levels of wealth, the organisation covers over certain abuses at times, we have very strong hierarchy within the organisation, and as head I obviously represent Jesus on the earth, we also tend to dress in ways that sets us apart from others… blah blah…’ Now we ask ‘If I were God what would I say…’ I think we would miss it all-together. Our knoweldge of what is right and wrong would simply mean we would get it wrong.
Don’t ask that question!!!
And my illustration about the person who sits in the Vatican will bring me to the second aspect of the prophetic… It is in part! We don’t speak the word of God as in its entirety, and I suggest that God does not speak in entirety – hence laws in the Old Testament that are major compromises. That also is a challenge. Prophecy can limit what we say… ‘my’ revelation (read for revelation, my knowledge) can go further than prophecy, cos I am so full of insight (!!!). That will be the second post.
3 thoughts on “Prophecy & inaccuracies”
Thank you Martin for delving into this subject. It is of great interest to me as I have often been sceptical (perhaps unfairly) of the use of the gift of prophecy in particularly charismatic churches and ministries and the proliferation of individual prophetic words and the dependency this seems to create. I have not received many maybe that is why, perhaps it is a deep seated resentment about being ‘left out’ – I don’t know? However in a way I feel released by the fact I haven’t as I don’t have to live with the pressure and frustration when such words fail to become manifest in people’s lives. I am frustrated with other aspects of my imperfect walk with God and my weakness in trusting him at a deep level and my present lesser ability to feel his presence though. When I do get revelation for people and myself it mostly comes in dream form. Also I don’t know if a person can ‘learn’ to prophesy if they don’t possess the gift? What do you think about that or will you be addressing that in later posts? So interesting!
Hi Joanna. I always value your comments, and also the way you wonderfully probe deeper. As for the ‘gift’ of prophecy I tend to see the 1 Cor. 12 list as a set of tools that are situational. So the Spirit is given and the Spirit comes with tools that we can be used by God to release into any situation. In that sense I do believe we can ‘learn’ to prophesy. We hear God more than we realise. We can grow in that, though (and I don’t know the language to use at this point) we cannot just decide I will now be a prophet. Seems that is something different, so Agabus was a prophet, but not all who prophesied were prophets.
Love that you dream. If that is regular I suggest you journal them – not all might be ‘direct from heaven’ but they will be highly educational for you, working in your subconscious… you will discover you are further on than you realise – and using the ‘further on’ language is probably not the best language. I like my revelation that Jesus walks with me and as I was meditating on that this morning I realised he is so generous that he says I am walking with him. I am but only because he walks with me, hence we are together because of his kindness to come over to me!
Thank you Martin. As you say it is is so great that he walks with us wherever we are and however we feel and is so affirming of us in our weakness and yes so kind. If we’re in the deepest valley or on the highest mountaintop he’s present or anywhere else in between!! Immanuel – God with us thankfully.
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