Editorial Foreword [By Dr. Steven Lambert]: Prophetic Publishing Responsibility. While browsing through some articles published on a partnering ministry’s email messaging group site, I stumbled upon the following article, with which I wholeheartedly agree, and felt an urgency and unction of the Spirit to transmit it also to those of you on our email list. I am republishing it by permission of the author. Please read and absorb it…the points Bryan makes are poignant and apropos. I urge those of you who maintain email lists or websites to obtain permission from the author to republish the article as well, and to do so through your various means of distribution. I feel that strongly about the importance of the issue he raises in the article. As those who follow this ministry know, I am a lover of the prophetic ministry, which I myself have been operating in for more than three decades. Moreover, some twenty years ago, I authored a prophetic manual and course that has been used by Bible colleges and church leaders, which is a product of my personal study, research, and ministering in prophetic seminars, conferences, and other prophetic gatherings since the early 1980s, before “the prophetic movement” began. I have ministered prophetically to literally thousands in hundreds of venues.
I recite this information not to boast, but to affirm I am no novice to the prophetic. Many ministers who have attended my meetings can attest to that fact.
I believe in the prophetic, but I personally feel that despite the expansive surge of interest in and awareness about the prophetic that has thus far transpired, in many ways, the prophetic “movement” is still an immature movement. Perhaps, it could be equated to being in its adolescence at this point, having advanced past childhood, but it still is not matured. I still see a lot of “prophetic playing,” wherein people are more or less playing with the prophetic gifts, rather than using them for God’s intended purposes for them. Moreover, there still are a lot of people making usury of the prophetic gifts for self-aggrandizing or self-promoting purposes, rather than for bringing glory to and exalting Jesus. A few of the “pappa prophets,” as some have so distastefully elected to promote themselves, have even become quite wealthy or at least well-off through the ill-motivated usury they’ve made of the prophetic emphasis since the mid-1980’s.
Indeed, much of the responsibility for the immaturity of the prophetic movement, in my view, is directly attributable to the “organizationalism” that has so pervaded the movement. By that I mean the fact that so many who have become prominent figures in the prophetic awareness have been more concerned with using the prophetic as a means to “build” — promote, develop, increase — their own ministries (in many cases, kingdoms), than they have been concerned with the “building up the Body of Christ,” which is the God-intended purpose of the prophetic giftings and office.
Many years ago, the Lord specifically told me that one of the “downsides” of the prophetic movement that was coming would be a “flooding of the market,” to borrow a phrase, or a saturation of prophetic utterances. At the time, I had no way of envisioning the advent of the Internet, which has certainly been the greatest contributing factor to the superfluity of prophetic messages being published worldwide. This super-saturation of largely untested prophetic words by everyone and his brother claiming to be operating in the prophetic is now causing a set of problems that never existed a few years ago.
My how the pendulum swings! and how quickly! In just a few years, we’ve gone from a virtual prophetic drought to flash flooding, from being a non-prophet, non-prophetic church to a place now where “prophetic problems” are pandemic in the Neo-Pentecostal church. At the top of the list, and this is what the Lord warned me about way back there, was that true prophecy and prophetic operations would be devalued by the superabundance of unproven purported prophecy that we are now seeing.
As this article indicates, our need for greater accountability grows exponentially by the day, with the plethora of messages being published on the Internet claiming to be prophetic, and the ever-increasing number of purported “prophetic” organizations that are publishing those messages,
unfiltered, untested, untried, unproven. My sense is that very few of these prophetic organizations would know what a true prophesy was if it was hand-delivered by Jesus Christ Himself in a cloud of glory. The principals of these organizations are no more prophetically anointed themselves than the proverbial “man in the moon,” and the Word of God straightforwardly commands, “the spirit of prophets (meaning also prophesiers) are subject to prophets; for God is not a God of CONFUSION” (1 Cor. 14:32,33).
Moreover, the beginning verse of that immediate context declares that it is the PROPHETS — those who have been anointed and appointed by God to the OFFICE of the PROPHET — who are to “pass judgment” on prophetic utterances.
The Body of Christ needs a whole lot of education from God’s Word on the difference between “one who prophesies,” those operating the MANIFESTATION gift of the Spirit, and those who are set into the OFFICE of the PROPHET, who operate a MINISTRY Gift which emanates from the Lord Jesus as the Head of the Church. (For more information on this matter of Gifts Vs. Offices, see my Prophetic Manual).
I agree wholeheartedly with Brother Huppert’s remarks on this vital issue set before the Church in this hour and I call upon every leader in the Church that Jesus is building, and especially the prophetically oriented leaders, to begin to seek God about what He would have us to do to bring forth some effectual safeguards and some means of greater prepublication scrutiny of purported prophetic messages. I also invite dialogue with other leaders and lovers of the prophetic in this regard as we heed our collective responsibility to protect the precious prophetic gift which Christ bestowed when He ascended on high for the primary purpose of edifying the Church. [end Editorial Foreword]
Call this an open letter of concern to the global prophetic community. Several years ago the Lord showed me a vision of prophetic ministers urinating and defecating into a beautiful, flowing stream. Downstream, people were dipping silver cups into the flowing waters and were gagging on the human impurities and waste! Because of the prophetic pollution problem upstream, there was precious little ‘clean water’ to drink.
The reaction to this vision was mixed. A pastor friend of mine was outraged that I would dare share such a thing and it eventually broke our relationship. Lots of fingers were being pointed at me, baseless accusations made, dark whispers about my motives, I was labeled a ‘troublemaker,’ and on it went.
The prophetic office and gifts were not given to the church so that someone could discern via word of knowledge the first three numbers of your cell phone number and wow the crowds, but for, according to Ephesians 4: 11-14:
“The equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting.”
Like all other fivefold functions, the prophetic office has certain functions and should yield very specific kinds of fruits. First, they should be for the work of the ministry bringing about the unity of the faith. Next, they should bring increasingly clearer revelation and knowledge of Jesus. They should also hold up the pattern of Christ as the mark for which to grow and model our lives after. And why? So that we grow up and can stand fast so that we can discern a genuine move of the Spirit of God from often hurricane force winds of doctrine interjected into the body of Christ by tricky, crafty, deceitful men.
SheepTrax Media was born on the web, thrives by the web, and has a global reach because of the web. Sometimes when I get letters from countries I cannot pronounce about how God has blessed or challenged people or churches through my work, well, it’s scary stuff to contemplate. It has driven me to be more and more a student of His Word.
Having said all of this, I am perplexed by a dilemma which I believe the global church can help resolve. There are many ministries that take alleged “words from the Lord” and publish them via forums like the wonderful service provided by InJesus without taking any sort of responsibility of godly oversight as to what they are actually publishing.
On several occasions I wrote to the proctor of one such list which numbers in the thousands of subscribers. Sighting a number of glaring examples of prophecies that proved to be demonstratably false; predicted earthquakes, bombs falling in Los Angeles on a certain date, and such, I asked this person if his ministry was providing any sort of corrective feedback to authors of these wildly inaccurate predictions.
His response? That isn’t our place. We just provide the forum (while selling loads of books, video, tapes, and rake in the special conference fees) and what is of God will stand. This individuals’ cavalier reply prompted me to coin the phrase “Prophetic Irresponsibility.”
Much of the church needs to embrace this verse: 1 Corinthians 14:29, “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.” Indeed, let the prophets speak! However, prophetic forums, especially those with global reach, need to obey the second half, the counterweight, of this verse. “Let others judge.” Here judge means to weigh, evaluate, to discern.
I am asking the body of Christ to begin exercising some spiritual discernment and begin holding those responsible who publish and promote alleged words from the Lord that prove false. I’m not suggesting we stand with a stone in each hand waiting for someone to trip over their tongue, but I am strongly advocating that there be accountability.
If the ministries who provide global access for words that prove wrong, please write to the proctors of those lists and ask them to begin exercising some authority. If the word was wrong, publish an account of it and issue a retraction. Be responsible. Hold its author accountable and bring some godly correction into their life. For instance, there is a group on the web run by two brothers who believe they are the two witness of the book of Revelation! I’ve never known them to be right with any of their predictions yet people still circulate their work! Another man believes that God revealed to him that prophets only need to be right about 40% of the time; it keeps the body of Christ humble while we learn to hear the Lord!
Beloved, if the prophets can’t tell which ‘word of the Lord’ is genuine, then how in the name of love can the everyday saint discern such things! How can we even know if this man’s “40%” word was right? Such foolishness is human waste and impurity that is polluting the river of God, and it is the downstream saints who are suffering for it.
If those who proctor such prophetic lists refuse to exercise authority and develop accountability, then quit reading and circulating what they publish. Stop buying their merchandize. When the finances dry, perhaps they will reconsider. These abuses have to stop and the body of Christ brought back into order. I don’t blame hapless pastors who come to despise prophecy! They are being deluged with so many false words, the prophetic gift has come into disrepute.
Well, let the stone throwing begin. Nobody ever promised this would be easy or popular, but it is the Truth.
Bryan Hupperts © 2002 SheepTrax Media ™
PO Box 270256 St. Louis, MO 63127 USA
SheepTrax is the Christian “wit, wisdom, and deepthinking” of Bryan Hupperts.
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