Here I am, sitting in a cinema next door to the conference center. Those of you who read regularly will realize that I’m feeling very at home, since the London church of which I’m a part also meets in a cinema. There is something about these venues that encourage you to shut out the world and close yourself in with God. I love the banked seating that enables you to see what is going on down below. That’s another point — in an age when some churches elevate the role of the pastor too much, it somehow communicates something good when our leaders are standing beneath us rather than up on the stage. There is nothing wrong with stages, but it’s possible for them to be misinterpreted as raising our leaders too high. If you have a large room and fill it with people, there are only two choices — either lift the leaders up on a stage or lift the people up on tiered seating. Anyway, back to the seminar.
Julian is originally from Bay Community Church, Cape Town, South Africa, where he was an elder. He moved to the UK last August in response to God’s leading for him to be with Terry Virgo for a season and become part of Church of Christ the King, Brighton. Julian has an amazing prophetic gift and has travelled widely over the past few months serving the Newfrontiers churches in the UK.
Guy Miller leads the Bournemouth Family Church, UK and leads apostolic teams that serve the Wessex Region with seventeen churches. He also overseas the work of 21 churches in the North and West of India and two churches in Portugal. He is a passionate family man, married to Heather with four children, and loves fishing.
Julian began by explaining that we need to raise the level of prophecy. We need to avoid the weird mystical things that go on in the world of prophecy. Our prophecy needs to be full of truth and must be weighed with a clear biblical understanding and application. We must be able to spot false prophetic ministry.
Guy then spoke about how Jesus has given to his Church power gifts to know him and extend his kingdom. Sometimes these gifts are trivialized and treated like wrapping paper, or they can be placed to one side and we are told we don’t need them. There is sadly so much rubbish that goes on. It’s no wonder that the Scripture warns us both to not put out the Spirit’s fire and to test and weigh prophecy.
The roots of prophecy are found in the OT. Genesis 20:7. God spoke of Abraham as a prophet. But the one which is used as a normative one is Moses. Deuteronomy 18:14. Prophets in the OT are clearly people who are called and have a clear role among the people of God. The prophet’s primary role is to bring a clear proclamation. There is a connection between the people of God and the living God. Prophets bring a living connection to God. Prediction is not primary, God is primary. The prophet brings the presence of God. Our God reigns.
Prediction is, however, a part of the prophetic movement. They see something over the horizon. The scope of the prophet is wide. Prophets see. Prayer is also a key part of the life of the prophet. These men knew where the power came from. The prophet himself was not the final judge of the validity of their own revelation. Fulfilment is not the supreme and genuine test of a prophet. False prophets can get it right sometimes. The true test is much more theological. The false prophet will draw people away from a true relationship with God. A true prophet will draw people into adoration and a closer relationship with God and the holiness that results.
Prophecy forms the greatest line of continuity between the Old and New Testaments. The last OT-style prophet was John the Baptist, who pointed to the One who was the fulfilment of all prophecy.
Shoots of prophecy. 1 Corinthians 14:1-5. The NT gift is something to be eagerly desired. Paul wanted everyone to prophecy. ALL. Men and women, young and old. We should be a prophetic community. Prophets are those who are recognized and move in a continuous way in this gift. The truth is that the Holy Spirit’s gifts are gifts of a loving God to be used in love by God’s loving people. How much do I love God? How much do I love these people? If you have a prophetic impulse, the motivation should be to share it — it should bring encouragement and maturity to the hearers.
This gift speaks to men for their strengthening. Prophecy is not adding in any way to the bible. It is under the bible. We judge it by the bible. The bible is like our map, we judge everything by it. Prophecy is like a compass which helps us know where we are on the map. We need the prophetic, and we must also be devoted to the scriptures.
How do we prophecy? We must be submitted to authority. We must be under the word of God, but also in the context of the local church. We must be submitted to the church’s leaders. Prophecy should not lead to individualism, but rather it should be part of a loving community. Prophecy is clear, intelligible, scriptural, and truthful. There can definitely be too many prophecies in a meeting.
How does God speak? In visions. In words. Preaching can be prophetic. It can be through things we see in the world around us. We want this gift to not be in the isolated “Lone Ranger” world. We want to be a part of the community of God. The fruit of prophecy is edification — strengthening, encouragement, and comfort.
Edification — there must be a building process. We should feel closer to God and closer to our brothers and sisters.
Encouragement and comfort — there should be a courage transfusion that takes place.
Unbelievers falling down — prophecy is not always seeker-sensitive. They need to experience the power of God! Prophecy is intended to bring people to Jesus. Meeting with God. Let’s not try and tame our meetings. We need the dynamic of the Spirit.
Those of you who read my blog and who were there will know that I was singled out for some specific personal prophetic words during the ministry time. They impacted me so much that I didn’t get the chance to jot down some of the things that were said. If you heard the words, do feel free to send me an e-mail with what you remember at email@example.com — but as they are, of course, personal, don’t share them in my comment box or elsewhere on the web!