April 13, 2012, rev. May 11
The following paragraph is taken from C. Peter Wagner’s Aug.18, 2011 update on what he calls “The New Apostolic Reformation.” As of April 10, 2012 it was posted at: http://www.globalspheres.org/.
“Prophets are prominent in the Bible, both in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. As we just saw above, apostles are first and prophets are second. Every apostle needs alignment with prophets and every prophet needs apostolic alignment. One of the reasons why both should be active in our churches today is that the Bible says, “Surely God does nothing unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets” (Amos 3:7). And also: “Believe in the Lord your God and you shall be established; believe His prophets and you shall prosper” (2 Chronicles 20:20). I want to prosper and I want you to prosper.”
I appreciate all of the spiritual gifts of I Cor. 12, including prophecy as in v9. I Cor. 14:3 identifies the fruit of this gift: “But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.” Prophets may also speak of things to come, either for individuals, a church, a nation or whatever. It is sometimes instructive, and often for warning. However, their “word,” even if proven to be accurate, is in a very different class than the Truth of God’s Word. It is never to be revered or held sacred in the way the scriptures are.
Those who promote the gift like to quote the “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy” of 14:1; and the “be eager to prophesy” of 14:39. However, they typically overlook the; “If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing,” of 13:2; the “we prophesy in part” of 13:9; the “prophecy, however, is for believers” of 13:22; and the several instructions in chap. 14. The qualifying characteristic of love, and love’s superiority in making God known to others (John 13:35), are less important and are hardly the accepted mandate for today’s so-called prophets.
The “prophets” of today’s NAR, and the larger Dominionist and signs and wonders community, are different from the Biblical model in that they are given authority to proclaim “truth” to God’s people. They assume an authoritative “Office of Prophet” rather than the New Testament “gift of prophecy.” They err in that and we’ll look at that further under “Extra-Biblical Revelation.”
“Prophets” in the Wooster Area
There has been a pronounced movement toward such modern day prophets in Wayne County. I have seen Graham Cooke’s books including “Coming into Alignment,” used in leadership training. Cook represents the contemporary prophetic community and has a “school for prophets.” I cannot understand why we Evangelical Christians align ourselves with this material.
In mid-2010 I was at a meeting in an otherwise evangelical church where a pastor said something to the effect that: “We are waiting for the prophetic anointing, and it will be here soon, and it is by the prophetic anointing that truth is revealed.” I took great exception to that, and in Aug. 2010 had a meeting with several pastors to discuss this and several other issues.
Part of my subsequent concern was that one pastor insisted that if the words of a prophet today came true, that they have the same weight as the Truth of scripture, i.e. the words of Jesus and others. We discussed that extensively. I gave him several opportunities to extricate himself from that position but he wouldn’t. In addition to other concerns about his statement, such a position is ignorant of or rejects the principle of Deut. 13:1-3 - - one that I believe is very active among us today. Men are doing signs and wonders and are thus able to lead Christians into following the false religion of Dominionism.
UR120 in Wooster
A Dec. 31. 2010 message on the UR120 blogspot said: “The Prophetic Word of the Lord through Prophet Chuck Pierce was to have 120 days of prayer and worship and build an upper room in Ohio. This would start a great awakening in Ohio and it would shift America. After months of prayer and meditating on how to do that, the following is our advisory council's strategy.”
They then outlined a strategy that is represented in a March 11, 2011 news release in the Wooster Daily Record which said, “There will be 120 days of prayer and worship throughout the state with the intent to build an Upper Room experience in Ohio that would start a spiritual awakening that would continue to the nation.” Three local churches were listed as participating.
In the Aug. meeting with several pastors, one insisted that this waiting, and the expected “coming upon” of the Holy Spirit as on the Day of Pentecost, is normative for the church today. Another pastor asked him to confirm if that was what he was saying, and he did.
How should we respond to the fact that the prophesied “great awakening” has not taken place, unless one sees the recent establishment of the (unbiblical) “Modern Day Seers” in our community as evidence that it has? And how can an otherwise Evangelical pastor declare that the “Upper Room, Day of Pentecost” experience is normative for the Christian today?
True prophets today would be warning us of our love for the world and our pursuit of the American Dream; our imbalanced national patriotism; and our refusal to surrender our hearts to the rule of God. They would encourage us to trust God and look to Him as we see dark clouds on the horizon.
Further, they would warn us of the errors of the dominionist culture and its false prophets rather than perpetuating them with their own false prophesies. And they would caution us to never, ever, supplement (add to) the scriptures - - which is in defiance of numerous scriptures (as listed here) and in violation of the historic Christian doctrine of Sola Scriptura, or Scripture Alone!
I predict that as Christians open themselves to mystic-based prophecy, we will see a growth in unwise and ungodly plans, decisions, relationships, conduct and “ministries” which are based on unbiblical “thus saith the Lord” types of messages. This will lead to confusion and division among God’s people and will bring shame to His Name and disrepute to their congregation. I don’t claim to be a prophet and I don’t need to be one to predict that.
Other study resources:
- The Pitfalls of False Prophets, Bob DeWaay, Critical Issues Commentary
- Assemblies of God statement on apostles and prophets, scholarly but very readable, excellent, PDF
- Truth and the Prophet on www.john2031.com
- See Links Page for more
Ken Stoltzfus, P.O. Box 228, Kidron, OH 44636
Tel. 330-857-6312 firstname.lastname@example.org