Wednesday, August 22, 2018

New Covenant Prophecy (3) Violent Prophets

During his talk at the School of Prophets, Dan McCollam describes some of the prophets he worked with when he first began to follow Jesus. It seems that there was a cohort of prophets at that time who would go into public places, expose the sins of the people they encountered, and prophesy judgments over them. They would use their prophetic gift to reveal people’s sin and tell them that they were going to hell as a way of getting them to accept the gospel. They would scare people to come to Jesus.

I understand that this type of behaviour needs to be left behind. Hearing Dan’s stories helped me understand why he and Kris Vallotton are so insistent that new covenant prophecy must be different. It helps me understand where their urgency about this comes from. However, when we discover that something we were close to was wrong, we need to be careful that we do not overreact, and throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I wonder if the problem is more a lack of understanding of the gospel than the consequence of following an old covenant prophetic style. We need to understand the old covenant prophets were sometimes wrong in the way they behaved. This was not surprising, given that they did not have a revelation of Jesus that we have. No one should blindly follow the example of the Old Testament prophets, without testing their actions against the standard of Jesus.

As far as I know, we did not have this type of prophecy in New Zealand, so I have not seen this kind of behaviour. The worst that we had was evangelists who could persuade anyone who drew near that they had broken at least one of the ten commandments. They would tell them they are going to hell, because they have broken God’s commands. This type of evangelism needs to be left behind too. We should not be scaring people into the Kingdom of God. Our gospel must be good news, not bad news. Our preaching must not convey God as being harsh or cruel. Prophetic Evangelism should stir up the receiver's heart by revealing God's love for them.

With regard to people following Jesus, correction should come from pastoral people, if needed. Only in rare cases will a jolt from a prophetic word be needed.

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