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Prophetic Accountability!

Jan 17, 2008 at 21:27

By: Steve Hill

Our recent article, "A Prophetic Word for 2008" generated more comment and was republished more than any other we have written.  Thank you all for your encouragement and trust in sending that word on to your friends!  However several asked for more comment on how we arrived at this place where the prophetic ministry is exempt from discernment, judgement and accountability.  

Let me begin with an overstatement but an overstatement which is too true to be dismissed!  One reason there is no accountability is that the prophets operate within a kind of club, guild, union which only has one rule- get published, get conferences, sell products.  If you do that you are in and you will be supported and covered by the others.  If it works (that is,  if it draws a crowd)- it must be God!   You do not question the other guy because if you do he will not invite you to his conference!  If you do not scratch his back, he will not scratch yours!

Do people start off this way?  No.  But something happens on the platform.  We force people to perform!  It seems to me that the New Testament set up for prophecy (like all ministry) was the home where folks would all share and all question everything!  Who dares question someone doing his thing in front of a crowd?  Especially if they are a "name"!  We simple do not have any framework to question.  

In 2006 a  well known person prophesied all across Canada that a same sex marriage bill would not pass.  When it did pass, they moved to the States.  I did not see or hear of a single question or call for accountability!  I did not see or hear any apology for getting it wrong.  The show must go on!

Recently friends in Holland gave me a refreshing example of respect for the prophetic ministry when they had another friend come to their community.  They value prophetic insight and questions.  They value the seer.  They asked my prophetic friend to spend a couple of hours with each of their leadership team to talk about their function, place and future.  After spending that individual time, they all gathered together for a meal and for a group discussion with the prophet.  That is a safe yet stimulating environment for the gifts of the prophet to be fully expressed and processed.  Well done friends!

However there is a another problem.  Remember the excitement surrounding speaking in tongues in the seventies?  Remember the excitement surrounding personal prophecy in the eighties?  In the nineties it was the manifestations of the Spirit plus angelic encounters and  prophetic experiences.  Since the beginning of the year 2000 we have seen an increase in talk of heavenly portals and third heaven experiences.The experiential component keeps increasing! 

I believe in the gifts of the Spirit, spiritual experiences and encounters with Jesus.  However, it seems to me that those in the New Testament happened as the men of old were on their way to their destiny.  They were on their way to serve, to suffer and to die for Jesus.  He came to them as they went.  Today people as seeking these sorts of experiences as an end in themselves and those who claim to have them are the superstars whether or not they have any Kingdom fruit!

The problem of "selling" religious experiences is this.  How do you get the folks who came to your last conference to come to your next?  What new thing do you have to talk about?  What new experience do you offer to them?  The problem about selling stuff is that you always have to have something new to sell!  This is basically new age spirituality where you become consumers of religious experiences with out obedience or moral responsibility.  

A problem with the personal prophecy stuff is how the leaders, their children and the others on the front row get most of the prophecies!  Why?  This becomes nothing more or less than "prophetic flattery".  I heard one prophet in the "green room" explain how he simply goes "deep into his spirit to say the nicest things possible".  I heard another say that one of the easiest ways to get to a pastor's heart and to get invited to his church is to "prophesy over his children".    Much of personal prophecy is flattery and has one purpose which is to create soul ties so that the prophet is invited back for another meeting and another honorarium.

Another way of saying this is that the prophetic ministry has become separated from the true apostolic ministry.  The prophets and the apostles are to be the foundation of the church.  They are to be first in pioneering new areas for the Kingdom of God.  They are to be the first in suffering, first in sacrifice, first in obedience.  These are not platform ministries.  These are plowing the field ministries.  

For some very sobering stuff you may want to look at Derren Brown- cold reading and Derren Brown- instant conversion on You Tube.

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