By Editorial Staff
Published March 31, 2008
By Keith Green
It all started in a small Bible school that my wife, Melody, and I went to during our first year as believers. One of the teachers had recently been to a seminar where the speaker had gone through all the aspects of each of the gifts and callings on men and women of God. He had talked about teachers, administrators and so on.
The teacher in that class was very excited about sharing all the aspects and characteristics of a prophet to the class. He started reading his notes from the seminar he had been to, and he read things like, “Prophets are very moody, they are often hard to get along with, they see things in black and white and might seem to lack compassion. They are often considered to be rude and brash, but inside they mean very well, and only want to share the truth – but they don’t seem to mind if they step on people’s toes while they do it.”
While our teacher was reading from these notes, I’m sure he didn’t notice the smile spreading across my face from ear to ear. Why, everything he was reading fit me to a tee! I just couldn’t believe my ears … at last, I had found my calling!
To top all this off, when our teacher was through reading, he turned to the class, pointed his finger at me and said, “My friends, we have a prophet in our midst!” Well, that was it – I was hooked. That’s all I needed to hear! It took the Lord about another five years to completely deflate my head from the delusions that innocent and well-meaning Bible teacher helped to promote in my life. A lot of what he shared was true, but it certainly needed a good deal of warning to go with it.
The Prophet Syndrome
This article is sort of a confession. You see, I have struggled with the problem of being labeled a “prophet” for the past six years, and that’s quite a long time, considering I’ve only been a Christian for about seven. I must admit it has kind of a nice ring to it – the word prophet – but I think it causes a lot more trouble than it’s worth.
Because we at Last Days have a nationally-known ministry, many people show up at our door from all over the country and want to see first hand what’s going on. From time to time though, someone shows up with a “word from the Lord.” (I’m not trying to be sarcastic. We’ve had some pretty interesting characters show up at the door.)
We had one guy show up and when we invited him to eat a meal with us, he said that God had told him not to eat. We asked him, “How long?” He said he didn’t know, but he wasn’t supposed to eat. Another time, we had a guy with long robes show up who said that God told him to come and tell all the ministries around here that the Garden of Eden was in the state of Georgia!
These are some extreme examples of something I think is a very common problem in the church today – young people (usually men) who believe that God has raised them up to tell people what is wrong with their ministry or their lives, or both! These people are usually hurt, independent, talkative, stubborn, unteachable and unyielding. I know, because I have been one of them!
What is a true prophet?
God does speak to His people today – not just His special ones – but to all His people. He speaks to them in many ways – through the Holy Spirit who lives in them, through men and women of God in their church and around them, but mainly through the Word of God, the Bible. Whenever the Holy Spirit gives us guidance, it will always line up with the Word God, or it isn’t from Him.
As I was studying His precious Word over the past year, it suddenly dawned on me that my whole view of myself and my calling was all backwards. So many people had told me that I was a “prophet” over the years that I believed “they must be right.” I saw myself as a spokesman to my generation in the church – not the spokesman, but one of a number, chosen by God to be used to correct and exhort believers to obey God and thus win this world for Jesus.
It’s not that I no longer believe that I’m called to do that, it’s just that now I see that every believer is called to do that – to call all Christians everywhere to obey God and win the world for Christ!
The main thing that God has shown me through all this is: I’m not called to be a prophet, I’m called to be a CHRISTIAN – a servant of the living God! That is the HIGHEST calling that anyone can realize. And the most beautiful thing has happened in my heart. My whole goal in life has completely changed – the only thing that I want to achieve, is to have the Lord tell me when I stand before Him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant! Not, “Well done, thou good and faithful prophet.”
To be a Christian, to live up to that wonderful word – that is my ONLY goal. After all, Paul starts out that meaty book of Romans with these words: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle.” Not “… an apostle of Jesus Christ, called to be a servant.” No, Paul had his priorities straight – he knew what went first!
A lesson to be learned
I’m sure you know someone in your fellowship who has all the earmarks of being a potential “prophet.” They don’t beat around the bush, but they say exactly what’s on their mind. They aren’t very popular, but they don’t care because they believe that they’re “being persecuted for righteousness’ sake.” They’re always finding fault with almost everything and rarely have a kind word to say.
And the thing that usually happens to these misguided souls with all the rough edges is that somebody tells them, “Hey! I know what you are, you’re a PROPHET!” And then they say to themselves, “ Wow! That’s why people are so down on me all the time! Why that’s just the way they treated Elijah and Jeremiah!”
And then they start getting “words from the Lord” and all the rest that comes along with being a “prophet.” The saddest thing about all this is whenever someone is brash, obnoxious, or loud, we label him a “prophet.”
But you know, deep down inside, most of them really do want to please God, but now they’re so insulated from criticism and protected from rebuke (because they think they’re a rejected “prophet”) that no one can help them or reach them. And unless God intervenes in their lives, they cannot be used in any long-term way because of their unteachable, uncorrectable spirit.
One of the main problems for them is that most of what they see as wrong, really IS wrong! But they have little love or grace to share the truth with – they just aim their big cannons and BOOM! They blow their hearers to bits.
I’m not trying to say that what I wrote or preached in the past was wrong. It’s just that some of it could have been said a little differently – and with a lot more grace. Even so, if the Lord says to speak out on an issue, I’ll be glad and ready to do it – but I must do it as a servant, not as a prophet. That is Jesus’ way.
Hallelujah for the freedom that comes with repentance! Oh, how He makes us new, forgiving us and changing us into His glorious image!
Forerunner - Home » The Forerunner Newspaper » Restoration
Your comments are welcome!
Download the Free Study Guide!
God’s Law and Society powerfully presents a comprehensive worldview based upon the ethical system found in the Law of God.
Speakers include: R.J. Rushdoony, George Grant, Howard Phillips, R.C. Sproul Jr., Ken Gentry, Gary DeMar, Jay Grimstead, Steven Schlissel, Andrew Sandlin, Eric Holmberg, and more!
Sixteen Christian leaders and scholars answer some of the most common questions and misconceptions related to this volatile issue:
1. Are we under Law or under Grace?
2. Does the Old Testament Law apply today?
3. Can we legislate morality?
4. What are the biblical foundations of government?
5. Was America founded as a Christian nation?
6. What about the separation of Church and State?
7. Is neutrality a myth?
8. What about non-Christians and the Law of God?
9. Would there be “freedom” in a Christian republic?
10. What would a “Christian America” look like?
Perfect for group instruction as well as personal Bible study.
Ten parts, over four hours of instruction!
Running Time: 240 minutes
Watch over 60 on-line video interviews from God’s Law and Society.
$19.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“Give me liberty or give me death!”
Patrick Henry’s famous declaration not only helped launch the War for Independence, it also perfectly summarized the mindset that gave birth to, and sustained, the unprecedented experiment in Christian liberty that was America.
The freedom our Founders envisioned was not freedom from suffering, want, or hard work. Nor was it freedom to indulge every appetite or whim without restraint—that would merely be servitude to a different master. No, the Founders’ passion was to live free before God, unfettered by the chains of autocracy, shackles that slowly but inexorably bind men when the governments they fashion fail to recognize and uphold freedom’s singular, foundational truth: that all men are created in the image of God, and are thereby co-equally endowed with the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
This presentation is a similar call, not to one but many. By reintroducing the principles of freedom that gave birth to America, it is our prayer that Jesus, the true and only ruler over the nations, will once again be our acknowledged Sovereign, that we may again know and exult in the great truth that “where the Spirit of the LORD is, there is liberty” (2 Cor. 3:17).
Welcome to the Second American Revolution!
This DVD features “Liberty: The Model of Christian Liberty” along with “Dawn’s Early Light: A Brief History of America’s Christian Foundations.” Bonus features include a humorous but instructive collection of campaign ads and Eric Holmberg’s controversial YouTube challenge concerning Mitt Romney’s campaign for president.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!
These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.
Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.
Watch these pro-life videos on-line.
“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California
“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter
$4.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
High Quality Paperback — 200 pages
A Reasonable Response to Christian Postmodernism
Includes a response to the book Christian Jihad by Colonel V. Doner
The title of this book is a misnomer. In reality, I am not trying to get anyone to shut up, but rather to provoke a discussion. This book is a warning about the philosophy of “Christian postmodernism” and the threat that it poses not only to Christian orthodoxy, but to the peace and prosperity our culture as well. The purpose is to equip the reader with some basic principles that can be used to refute their arguments.
Part 1 is a response to some of the recent writings by Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Francis Schaeffer. This was originally written as a defense against Frank’s attacks on pro-life street activism – a movement that his father helped bring into being through his books, A Christian Manifesto, How Should We Then Live? and Whatever Happened to the Human Race? These works have impacted literally hundreds of thousands of Christian activists.
Part 2 is a response to Colonel Doner and his book, Christian Jihad: Neo-Fundamentalists and the Polarization of America. Doner was one of the key architects of the Christian Right that emerged in the 1980s, who now represents the disillusionment and defection many Christian activists experienced in the 1990s and 2000s. There is still great hope for America to be reformed according to biblical principles. As a new generation is emerging, it is important to recognize the mistakes that Christian activists have made in the past even while holding to a vision for the future.
$14.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)
“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981
Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House.
The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.
“… a high technology “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” arousing public opinion just as Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1852 antislavery novel ignited the abolitionist movement.” – Sen. Gordon Humphrey, Time Magazine
Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese
Running Time: 28 minutes
$17.95 — ORDER NOW!(We accept all major credit cards and PayPal.)