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-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

Author: Teresa Seputis ts@godspeak.net http://www.godspeak.net
Editor: Bob Hawley

Finding Your Place In God's Kingdom Order

Lesson 6
Clarifying A Few Things About Prophets

By Teresa Seputis

Clearing Up Point Of Confusion About Prophets

A lot of people confuse when God speaks to them personally (which is true for every believer) with being a prophet. John 10:27 makes it clear that each believer is expected to hear God's voice and that God will speak personally and directly to them. For the most part, God speaks to His children through one or more of these methods:

A lot of people hear God speak to them in one of these manners. Some get confused and think that if God is speaking directly to them (which He does for all believers), that this places them in the "Office of Prophet." But a prophet is one who is called to speak for God to others. There is a big difference between hearing God speak to you personally and being a prophet.

Just because God speaks to you personally about something, that does not necessarily make it a message for the Body of Christ. Let me give an example from my own life. In my youth, I used to read a lot of science fiction and fantasy books. I got caught up in fantasy and eventually a demon got involved in it. Then I committed my life to God and committed to Jesus' Lordship in every area of my life. After a while, God brought me deliverance from that spirit of fantasy. Then He instructed me not to read science fiction or fantasy books because that would give the demon grounds to come back and bother me. God's instruction was specific for me - I used to be an avid science fiction reader, but I am not to read science fiction books anymore. If I had taken God's instruction to me as instruction to the Body of Christ, then I would be preaching that all Christians should abstain from reading science fiction and fantasy books. (That may be good advice for some individual believers, but it was NOT a mandate from God to the Body of Christ.)

The problem comes in when a believer assumes he is in the office of prophet because he heard God speak to him. God speaks to each one of His children, and it is His desire that we all be able to hear His voice and respond to Him. Hearing God speak to you does not automatically make a person a prophet.

The 'Bad Reputation' Factor

Misconduct of flaky prophets can give real prophets a "bad reputation." There are so many of the "imitations" out there who behave poorly. And they pre-condition people to assume all prophets are flakes or are false prophets. There are some really wounded people out there who cannot interact healthily with other people. They claim to be prophets, but instead of delivering God's words, they deliver their own issues and critical nature. This turns people off to the real thing.

Let me share an example of what I mean from nature. There are jellyfish on some beaches. They are in the shallow water that laps your ankles when you walk on the beach in the tide. The jellyfish is an amazingly pretty creature, but it has a really nasty sting. People who get stung by jellyfish learn to avoid jellyfish. The sting hurts a lot. Once you have been stung once, you learn to recognize a jellyfish and give it a wide berth to stay clear of it so you won't get stung again. It might be "pretty," but it is not something you want to touch you, because if it touches you, it stings you. People don't stop going to the beach because they've been stung by a jellyfish. They don't stop wading in the water or body surfing, but they learn to recognize a jellyfish as dangerous and avoid it.

Likewise, a person who has been abused or injured by a flaky "prophet," may become suspicious of the legitimate ones. Some of the people who mistakenly call themselves prophets are very wounded people with a lot of their own issues. Many times these people are lacking in interpersonal and communication skills. When such a person comes into a church and disrupts the service, that is going to affect the pastor's perspective on prophets and prophecy. (It will also affect many people in the congregation.) A person may start out feeling natural or open about prophets and prophecy. If they end up being exposed to a flaky and disruptive "prophet" before they see the real thing operate, it may sour them against prophecy. I have visited churches were it is a big no-no to prophesy in the service because of past abuses. It happens. The fake can ruin it for the "real."

Along those lines, prophets-in-training sometimes make serious mistakes. (A prophet in training is someone who has a prophetic gifting and is in the process of learning how to use them and one who God is still molding/developing/maturing and has not released as His prophet.) Mistakes are a part of the learning process, and it is OK to make them so long as the trainee is not trying to pass himself off as a seasoned prophet. When people know you are in a learning curve and you may still occasionally make some mistakes, they will usually give you grace and be understanding. But if you try to pass yourself off as a seasoned prophet while you are still in training, you may inadvertently misrepresent the prophetic to people. Those who have not been exposed to the real thing may get a wrong impression and conclude that prophets are inaccurate, unreliable, immature, emotionally unstable, etc.

An Example

Let me share a recent exchange I had with someone who I think was an excellent example of a flaky "prophet" - the kind of person who tends to ruin it for the real prophets.

One day the Lord prompted me go to the prophetic-school chat room during a non-facilitated time. To my surprise, there were about 10 others there. Shortly after I arrived, a fellow came in. I knew he was going to be problematic when the first thing he started talking about was how prophets are always rejected because of the message that they bring and how hard it is to be a prophet "because everyone hates you."

I said that this has not been my experience at all. I find that God likes to encourage His children to excel in Him, and most people I meet are eager for a word from the Lord and love the prophetic. This fellow suggested that perhaps I was not a prophet since everyone did not hate me and reject what God spoke through me. I did not respond to him on that.

He then began spewing about how he was ordained even though he was not a pastor. Most of us sort of ignored him and let him rant. He dropped the name of what he thought was a big name prophet (only one person in the room was familiar with the person he named). Then he went on and on about how he had this person's home phone number, was buddy-buddy with him, etc. Then he said that this "big name" person was supposed to go minister with him to this church in Kentucky, but he cancelled it because the pastor of the church had been lying to him. He went on for a while trying to convince the people in the room of how important he was. Unfortunately, he did not impress them very much.

He knew I was the "leader" and took jabs at me and put me down about three times in front of everyone in the room. I simply ignored his jabs and did not respond to any of them. The people in the room got tired of him and started a corporate worship session. He began to talk to me in private messages. He had some really odd twisting of scripture and wanted to involve me in a debate, but I did not want to waste the time with him because I was busy with some other stuff and he clearly had an "attitude."

He found some very creative ways to twist scripture. He did not belong to any church because he could not find a pastor who respected him as a prophet. (I wonder why?? ) He was not submitted or accountable to anyone. Yet he tried to convince me that I was to submit my ministry to him and be accountable to him because he was a prophet and 1 Cor. 14:29 says that prophets are to judge what the other prophets speak. (The actual verse in NIV says, "Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said." The passage is talking about order and corporate words in the service, not about prophets submitting their ministries to other prophets.)

He suggested that it was out of God's order for me to be accountable to my pastor, to the ministry organizations who credential me, and to the GodSpeak ministry's board of directors. He told me that I was to be under him and accountable to him because he was a prophet and, according to 1 Cor. 14:29, I must submit to him. (And he would not even tell me his name!) He felt God had sent him to take over the GodSpeak ministry because I was running it wrong and was outside of God's order. He implied that I was a false prophet because I would not submit to him and let him control how GodSpeak was run. He finally left in a huff, with a veiled threat that God would get me because I was rebellious and out of God's order.

I am familiar with the true prophetic and have had a lot of exposure to it because I head a prophetic ministry. So I knew this person was simply off-base. I understood that he was not really a prophet coming to me with a message from God. But what would someone who has not been exposed to the true prophetic think of this type of encounter? If this type of thing were their initial contact with the "prophetic," do you see how this could sour them against the prophetic and make them leery and suspicious of it?

There are many godly people out there who have been exposed to the imitation or exposed to the flakes. This sort of inoculates them against the real thing. So sometimes a prophetic person has to face a level of resistance to the prophetic because people like the one in this example. It is sad that some people are exposed to abuses in the name of prophecy, but it does happen.

-- © GodSpeak International 2002 --
-- Do not republish without written permission from <copyright@godspeak.net> --

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