Updated: Aug 23
Some scholars and theologians have decided God no longer anoints apostles and prophets, only the Twelve operated in the Holy Spirit's power, and His gifts are no longer active today. I respectfully disagree with this position as I believe it's rooted in extra biblical doctrine and a theological perspective that suppresses faith in the supernatural.
Our relationship with Christ demands a capacity and willingness to accept things which cannot be justified by human reasoning. We should weigh every spiritual encounter against the word of God and thoroughly examine every minister who declares, "I have a word from the Lord!"
As for the skeptic
Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" and walked away before allowing Him to respond (Jn. 18:38). If your mind's made up and you don't believe in God, what Jesus accomplished on the cross, or the work of the Holy Ghost, then you could stop reading here. Those who hunger and thirst for more, I'm telling you there's more. You don't have to go through your Christian walk like a zombie, check in on Sundays just to hear how much God wants to bless you, and leave the way you came. Lift up your faith, seek truth in the Scriptures, ask Him to show up in a powerful way, then, wait expectantly to see what He does.
As for the super-spiritual
I've been hanging around Charismatics/Pentecostals for nearly 15 years. I've seen the real, the fake, the weird, and the wannabe. I've experienced healing, been given accurate words of knowledge, and received revelation through prophetic teaching. Someone also invited me to step into a divine "portal" that was accessed by standing in a certain spot near the altar. I quickly learned to guard my soul. Signs, wonders, and miracles are not for chasing, manipulating, or recording to share with subscribers. These are holy things the Lord said would follow believers (Mk. 16:17-18). To the prophecy hunters and miracle crusaders, I say, stop looking around and keep moving!
As for the self-righteous
I love knowledge and I'm not ashamed to admit there's no greater high than being right! That is the nature of pride. I'm thankful for the prophetic and the unexplainable, for without it I would readily align with modern day Pharisees. Religious zealots have almost no tolerance for mystery. They offer a seemingly biblical explanation and defense for everything, but upon closer examination, their criticisms are causing strife and division in the Body. They dispute the interpretation of ambiguous passages and compel fellow believers to feel insecure in their relationship with God. When religious factions challenged Jesus' authority, He rebuked them and warned His disciples to "beware of the [doctrine] of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matt. 16:6).
"God told me..."
The Bible tells us, "Do not despise prophecies but test everything [and] hold fast what is good" (1 Thess. 5:20-21). The word also says, "[D]o not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world" (1 Jn. 4:1). Most importantly, the Savior warned, "See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray" (Matt. 24:4-5).
Dreams, visions, and prophetic utterances are from God's realm. Unless He gives us supernatural insight, revelation, or interpretation, these things are of no use in the natural world. I want to encourage prophetic people: don't be weird; discern when to keep something to yourself. If an idea comes to mind or you feel some sort of way, then just say so. You are not more spiritual for leading a sentence with "God told me." Also, the Lord does not operate outside the boundaries He established among prophets like Elijah, Isaiah, and John the Baptist. What I mean is, God won't drop "fresh revelation" on Gentiles that doesn't align with what He's already spoken to the Jews.
A true prophet's prayer life is all consuming, their character is excellent, their faith is firm, their predictions are accurate, and their ministry is a manifestation of the Kingdom of God. Prophets, and those who prophesy, are a remarkable class of believers and their anointing comes at a high price. When I consider the Scriptures, I see something entirely counter-cultural to the American church today. From Genesis to Revelation, I find even major prophets have more silent years than speaking, more dependence on God than material possessions, more persecution than acceptance, and more enemies than followers.
Chances are, if you want to be a prophet, you're probably not a prophet.
The undiscerning generation
There's a young YouTuber, with over half a million subscribers, that's very popular right now. Individuals from my church have posted content from this channel in prayer group chats. Many videos consist of exposing false preachers and releasing "words" and warnings frequently received from God. I'm perturbed with his hyper-focus on speaking in tongues as the essential sign of salvation, and his confusion on whether God is one in three distinct Persons, or if God manifests in three ways at different points in history. Why and how is this a thing?
First, no New Testament Scriptures establish the supernatural ability to speak in tongues as a requisite or consequence of salvation. This "super Pentecostal" interpretation of Act 2 is rooted in arrogance and error. Second, although Trinity doesn't appear in Hebrew (Old Testament) or Greek (New Testament), Scripture reveals God is one in three Persons. Examples: Gen. 1, God uses pronouns us and our during creation; Matt. 28:19, Jesus commissions His disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (not Jesus only); Matt. 3:16-17, when Christ emerges from water baptism, the Holy Spirit descends upon Him as a dove at the same time the Father speaks from heaven.
If you cannot rightly interpret Scripture, you are not authorized to prophesy. Don't attempt to bring a "word" if you cannot grasp the fundamentals of Christian doctrine. No doubt, the manifest presence and power of God is real. Christ appointed apostles and prophets for the end times (Eph. 4:11-16) and the Holy Spirit's gifts are all active today (1 Cor. 12:7-11). However, my generation is failing the test on biblical soundness and spiritual accuracy. God does not anoint pride, foolishness, or blasphemy.
Lastly, I feel the need to say, in Scripture, angels were sent by God to protect His people and deliver very specific messages. Celestial beings do not regularly appear and engage in ongoing dialogues with humans. Not every dream is from God and not every sign is divine. It is impossible to know truth if you are not praying and reading the Bible on a daily - yes, daily - basis.
Discernment is not knowing the difference between right and wrong. It is knowing the difference between right and almost right.” — Rev. C. H. Spurgeon