I believe in the prophetic. And not the Benny Hinn I’ll-speak-and-you’ll-pass-out-but-give-me-50-dollars-on-the-way-down variety either (Yep, I said it.) I mean, the ability for one to hear from God and speak the truth of what was heard to both the spiritual and natural powers that be. I believe that it is our job as believers to be “on post.” To get clarity on what God is saying, speak that truth, and because it will resonate with those who also share the Holy Spirit, act accordingly.
But the “prophetic voice” has been perverted in the American Church. For me, the politicizing of our faith during the elections and the vitriol spewed afterward was evidence of this. See, we’ve got it WAY twisted. This new version of the evangelical movement seems to think that it is the job of the Christian to police the sins of the unbeliever. To MAKE the unbeliever…or anyone we have deemed secular…do what we believe is right and if they don’t, condemn them to hell.
Uhh, no. That’s not our job at all.
See, the biblical record of how God directs his people to act in the midst of a sinful or ungodly environment is in direct opposition to what some in the church do today. Some alleged Christians stand on their posts and shout loudly and proudly at the so-called baby-killing, homosexual marrying, hand-out giving, secular or back-slidden folks that supposedly are overrunning our country; forgetting that those same voices should actually be directed inward (and be just as LOUD) as opposed to outward.
In fact, from the Old Testament to the New Testament, scriptures show that God has always been more concerned with the heart of His people; what’s going on INSIDE of us as opposed to what was happening on the OUTSIDE. Through the prophets and later Christ, he challenged his people from within. We don’t see chapters and chapters and chapters of scripture detailing the explicit sinfulness of the Hittites or the Babylonians. They are named as sinful but that’s generally it. Yet we DO see chapters upon chapters upon chapters of scripture in which the prophets denounce the behavior and the sins of God’s people. We DOsee God challenging the sinfulness within His people as opposed to calling out the sin of those who were not His people.
Get this: Christ’s earthly ministry occurred during the height of the Roman empire! The Romans were notorious for their sinful behavior and yet, Christ spent a great portion of his time challenging the religious! Yep, the “insiders.”
The Apostle Paul lived during a time when intellectualism was the idol of the day, and yet he didn’t spend too much time denouncing the gentiles for their sins or unbelief. He simply preached the Gospel. In fact, while standing before the council of philosophers in Athens and surrounded by all the graven images of idols and the sinful acts associated with them, Paul simply chose to talk to them about the unknown God. (Acts 17:22-31) He shared with them Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection and that by God’s grace through their faith, they could obtain salvation.
That’s it. No condemnation. Just the Gospel.
And guess what? He spent the rest of his time writing letters of edification and challenge and REBUKE to the CHURCH!
So help me understand why many evangelicals today feel the need to stand on the mountaintop (or on political platforms) and scream “YOU ARE SINNING”?
Uh, duh. The world sins. Unbelievers…umm…don’t believe.
Shouldn’t we (as the Bible models) spend time challenging ourselves—the church—about our OWN SIN? I’m certain that God is not pleased with the sins of materialism and racism and spiritualism and pride and sexual immorality found right INSIDE the church today. He is sending genuine prophetic voices to challenge us in these areas. YET, we more often than not, choose to turn a blind eye to our own internal failings in favor of further condemning a world that, from the standpoint of eternity, is already condemned. Does it make sense to repeatedly call out the sins of the sinful as opposed to sharing the awesome life-giving, love-saturated, redeeming gift of the Gospel? It is reprehensible that some of us hold back the very thing that can heal the hearts of people in exchange for some kind of pseudo-righteous satisfaction. Could it be that some of us actually have no real relationship with God to share with the world and so we have to rely on our religiosity in order to cover up that fact?
It’s true. Sadly, many of us have become the white-washed tombs Christ talks about in Matthew 23.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean. In the same way, on the outside you appear to people as righteous but on the inside you are full of hypocrisy and wickedness.” – Matthew 23:27-28 NIV
It’s a shame that we don’t realize that by screaming out the sins of the world (or maybe just the democrats) and not cleaning up our own insides…we taint our witness and handicap our preaching of the Gospel. We, as the old folks used to say, cut off our nose to spite our face. And for the BODY of Christ…that is supremely detrimental.