But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: for to one is given … prophecy. 1 Corinthians 12:7–10
As stated last week, prophecy is a wonderful gift. But among the charismatics, prophesying, or being prophesied over, is a great obsession, and this has led to some being overtaken by fraud or abuse.
Everyone seems to be looking to give or to receive “a word.“ A word is something that has come into the mind of a person, presumably from God, and it is to be passed on to others. Sometimes it is a word for an individual, sometimes it is for an entire congregation, and sometimes it is for the church Universal. Often these alleged prophecies contradict Scripture; some refer to God‘s plan to bring nations and kings groveling in repentance at the feet of a mighty spiritual army which will be raised up in these last days to usher in the kingdom of God. Of course, people in this movement are longing for a “piece of the action,” and they are hoping for a word that they are one of the chosen members of this mighty spiritual army.
A Word from the Lord
Not only that, we are presently hearing claims that God has raised up generals, or “mighty men of God,” who are said to be a new generation of prophets to lead this mighty army. Some even say that this new generation of prophets is superior to the original apostles of Jesus Christ! Prophets and prophecy are the buzzwords of the charismatic movement.
What conclusions are we to draw from all of this? Should we expect a word from the Lord every time we meet together in fellowship and in the study of the Word of God? Is there really a new generation of prophets being raised up today?
Let me begin answering these questions by sharing my own experience. After 30 years of pastoral ministry, I have probably received no more than 10 prophecies. By prophecy, I mean a word directly from the Lord through an individual. Now this does not mean that only 10 people have ever approached me with a word presumably from the Lord. I’ve had that happen many times over the years. Unfortunately, most of these acclaimed words from the Lord turned out to be nothing more than the wild imaginations of men!
What Does God Say?
I am certain that the majority of words given in charismatic circles are just that. How do I know this? I know it because many of those in the charismatic movement have little regard for the written Word of God. They might deny this charge, but it is true. All you have to do is observe them in action to verify it. They will quote a verse here and there, but it is merely a springboard into their “pet” doctrines, generally those that emphasize miraculous power and material prosperity. Since they obviously have little regard for the written Word, and God says He has magnified His Word above His name (Psalm 138:2), I conclude that God has nothing to say to people who have little interest in what He has said. Lest you think that this is merely my opinion, read what God has to say through the prophet Isaiah: “But on this one will I look: on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word”(Isaiah 66:2, emphasis mine).
“The prophet who has a dream, let him tell a dream; and he who has My word, let him speak My word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat?“ says the Lord. “Is not My word like a fire?“ says the Lord, “and like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?“ Jeremiah 23:28-29
God’s Main Method of Communication
God certainly speaks to people today, but He does so, not exclusively, but primarily through His written Word. If we think God primarily speaks to us through other people, then we have totally misunderstood God’s main method of communication, and we are setting ourselves up to be greatly disappointed and even deceived! If we understand that God speaks to us primarily through His written Word, either expounded by His gifted servants of by the illumination of the Holy Spirit as we meditate on it ourselves, then I believe we have every reason to expect God to speak to us daily.