The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy (and, perhaps, others)
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:30 pm    Post subject: The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy (and, perhaps, others) Reply with quote

The spiritual gift of prophecy recently came up as a sub-topic on another thread. I posted on it there but decided to make a new thread to discuss this gift specifically (a new thread/topic). This post is basically a copy & paste from the other thread...and my thoughts and opinions about the gift of prophecy in the Church today.
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The Spiritual Gift of Prophecy

1 Corinthians 12-14 gives guidelines on the exercise of spiritual gifts. Chapters 14, in particular, outlines how prophecy, and tongues with the interpretation of tongues, are to be done. I don't want to do a full 'teaching' here but want to point to a few things and get a discussion going, Smile
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Foretelling Prophecy:
Predictions Along the Path

Acts 21, NIV
7We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied.

10After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, 'In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.' "

12When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done."


This example of Agabus and Paul perfectly illustrates foretelling or predictive prophecy. It differs from forthtelling prophecy in one way: it predicts events. I've known several people, maybe about five or so, who were used in the gift of prophecy like this. I could give two examples from my own life when two people "spoke to me in the name of the Lord." What they said was much more than "an encouraging word from Lord." They were given precise details about my life that only God could know. I won't go into what they said other than to say, "They spoke for, or as, God: And it changed my life!"
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Forthtelling Prophecy:
Instructive Words of Strength, Encouragement, and Comfort to the Church

1 Corinthians 14, NIV
2For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. 3But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort. 4He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified.

29Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said. 30And if a revelation comes to someone who is sitting down, the first speaker should stop. 31For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.


Here Paul touches on how the gift of tongues for the church (as distinct from "personal prayer language") with the accompanying interpretation is equivalent to prophesying: The "utterance" in tongues is interpreted. Many people (like some of we FBFF folks) have never seen these gifts in operation. And from what I've been hearing from a reliable source, they have been waning in many Pentecostal churches in the last couple decades.

I was "used" in these vocal gifts some time ago and fairly often (utterance in tongues with interpretation for the church, and prophecy). In the gift of prophecy (or tongues/interpretation, which is equivalent to prophecy) I was used as a "forth-teller" with the exception of one time. This exception was about something---which at that time, I said to myself, "I can hardly believe I'm saying this"---as it predicted that God would strictly discipline someone or any number of people that were in a prayer meeting: "I will afflict you if you do not follow Me!" (was close to the wording). To this day, I wonder who that prophecy was for, or if it was just "me" speaking. But it just now occurred to me that: Perhaps it was for myself?! (as my life later demonstrated, which is another story)....

We should have weighed the prophecy out, as Paul instructed (in verse 29 above). I still know a couple people who were there, and recently spoke with one of them. But they they couldn't recall it, so let's move on....

Back to forthtelling prophecy.
Paul doesn't specifically say it, but in my experience, people who are used in the gift of prophecy speak for God in the first person. They may or may not say "Thus says the Lord." But they will say "I" (or "Me" as with my above) as God speaking directly.

Let me give a recent example.
Not long ago, I got back in touch with someone I've known since the 70s. She (her name is Jeannie-Marie) was used by God in prophecy and was one of the two people who spoke to me in a "foretelling" and life-changing way. I went to visit her church, which she and her husband, Ron, pastor.

A week or so before the visit.
I was in a deep study of Revelation 20-22, which I'm still doing. This study has led to considerations of The Temple in both testaments. In the NT, and without citing passages, The Temple of God is depicted in different ways as: (1) Jesus' own body; Jesus who embodied everything the Temple really stood for, (2) The Church or Body of Christ, "Do you not know your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit?" wrote Paul, (3) in Hebrews The Temple of the Old Covenant was a mere "shadow" of the reality to be found in Christ; we have a new and better High Priest in Jesus, (4) in Revelation, The Temple is in some way, the New Heavens and New Earth, the New Jerusalem coming down from God: the True Holy of Holies. We have approached Mount Zion and that heavenly city, for she is our mother, wrote Paul.

Forthtelling Prophecy: Instruction, Strength, Encouragement, and Comfort in Action.
Just before going to Ron & Jeannie-Marie's church, I scanned over some notes I had made in this study, being in a state of meditation, contemplating these things. During the service and before the sermon, Jeannie-Marie prophesied. These are close to her actual words:

"Thus says the Lord, O My people! Come!
I have prepared The Way for you to enter into My Courts with thanksgiving! O rise up, come, and enter! I stand as your Advocate in the Holy of Holies. O Come! Enter into My Presence! O My People, I hear your prayers! Come, O come! and receive all that My Father has prepared for you! Lean not on the flesh but enter in, enter in! O My people, arise, come, and draw near to Me, says the Lord!"


This prophecy spoke directly to the insides of my heart in confirmation of all I had been studying....

Praise God!
Jesus reigns!
Does anyone have thoughts, questions, or observations?
If so, please join right in! Thanks, Smile
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Last edited by Rick_C on Sat Jun 28, 2008 11:28 am; edited 10 times in total
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Michelle



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Rick,

you wrote:
Back to forthtelling prophecy.
Paul doesn't specifically say it, but in my experience, people who are used in the gift of prophecy speak for God in the first person. They may or may not say "Thus says the Lord." But they will say "I" (or "Me" as with my above) as God speaking directly.

What I take this all to mean is that it doesn't matter if you use the phrase, "The Lord says," or not, but it is important to speak in the first person, otherwise it's not normative. Is it not considered a prophecy then? What if your friend Jeanne-Marie had something like, "God has prepared a way for us to enter His courts with thanksgiving....Jesus stands as our advocate in the Holy of Holies..." Would you have been less strengthened, comforted, encouraged, or confirmed about what you were learning?

Michelle goes autobiographic:

Once I was in a worship service and the leader was talking about God's love while I was thinking something to myself about that (which was pretty bleak.) Suddenly the worship leader said exactly, word for word what I was thinking and said it was wrong. Do you think that was from the Lord? Was it prophetic? It certainly got my attention. It was comforting, encouraging, and edifying -- especially since what I was thinking was pretty negative. Or, was that just a coincidence, albeit an amazing one, (did I mention it was word-for-word exactly what I was thinking,) since he neither said, "The Lord says," nor used the first person?

Also, have you ever heard someone claim to have a prophecy, either foretelling or forth-telling, that followed that structure: speaking in the first person, that you later were sure was wrong? That I think is the core of the other thread. I am becoming more and more convinced that there is something really wrong in Todd Bentley's ministry, and yet I'm still a little leery, worried that it may just be a knee-jerk reaction left-over from my upbringing.

edited because those little words will get you every time and it's so embarrassing.


Last edited by Michelle on Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:02 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle,

Rather than doing a quote & reply...I'll just post for now.
I also changed the thread title, as things you asked pertain to other gifts, imo.

Isaiah 1, (NIV)
18 "Come now, let us reason together,"
says the LORD.
"Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool."


Compare and contrast:

Isaiah 1, (not the real Bible, taking out "God speaking")
18 Come now, let us reason together,
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.


In the Bible (NIV in this case) the prophet writes or speaks for God by literally quoting him. Yet "quoting" isn't exactly the correct term for this, as prophets are conduits through whom the Word of the Lord comes to us. How to describe the mental and/or spiritual state of prophets as they prophesy could be said in various ways. On the Lord's Day I was in the Spirit (Rev 1:10a, NIV) comes to mind; a state of being filled inside and surrounded by the Spirit of God.

In the not the real Bible (taking out "God speaking") we would have Isaiah the preacher speaking, not Isaiah the prophet. If Isaiah had written as a preacher, what he wrote could be just as true if God himself had spoken. With this verse, such would be the case. However, if we were being given Isaiah's "reasoning" (1:18a) with him as a preacher or teacher, we would be being taught or encouraged to consider important things, which is quite different than hearing directly from the Lord himself---through a prophet.

A chief feature of Judaism, and Christianity by extension, are the prophets and prophecy. Try to imagine the entire Bible not having any "Thus says the Lord." A Bible like that could, potentially, tell us true stuff about God. But we would be dealing with preachers and teachers alone, which might call into question: On what basis can they say these things about God? Are they credible? How can we verify that what they say about 'what God thinks'?

In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways (Heb 1:1, NIV).

The God of the Bible is a personal God who used the prophets to personally to speak to humanity. Of course, the OT Era prophets fulfilled their foretelling mission: Christ has come! They also forthtold "Thus says the Lord" to their own generations with their current issues: Like with the call to repentance at various times throughout OT history.

NT Era prophets and the spiritual gift of prophecy continue today, imo.
The technical theological term is I'm a: "continuationist" (as opposed to "cessationist" or "semi-cessationist").

I'll get to your other questions and comments soon, Michelle.
I hope this helps explain things from my POV, Thanks! Smile
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Here Paul touches on how the gift of tongues for the church (as distinct from "personal prayer language") with the accompanying interpretation is equivalent to prophesying: The "utterance" in tongues is interpreted. Many people (like some of we FBFF folks) have never seen these gifts in operation.


Interesting that you see this equivalence, Rick!

The disciples with whom I meet, are part of a circle of fellowship who, because of this equivalence, do not speak in tongues in the meetings, but prophesy only. The prophecy which is given is of the edification/encouragement type, and is always given in the first person as God speaking.

They do speak in tongues as a prayer language, but only in private.
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TK



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paidion wrote:

Quote:
and is always given in the first person as God speaking.


michelle asked if this is the way it has to be done. i personally think not. the gentleman i know who is clearly prophetic rarely speaks it in the first person.


and michelle- the example you gave of the worship leader speaking to exactly what you were thinking, is in my view, the HS at work, whether you want to call it a "prophecy" or not.

TK
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Michelle



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TK wrote:

and michelle- the example you gave of the worship leader speaking to exactly what you were thinking, is in my view, the HS at work, whether you want to call it a "prophecy" or not.

TK

Well, going by what Rick and Paidion have said, I suppose it was of the Holy Spirit, but not God speaking personally to me. I'm not sure what difference it makes, because it meant a lot to me anyway.


Edited to add: Rick, I think I just figured out what you were talking about when you said you changed the title of this thread because I was asking about other gifts. I bet you're going to tell me that what I experienced was a word of knowledge, not prophecy. So....okay, God doesn't talk to me personally, is this a problem?
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quick reply to Michelle,

Someone tells another, "God loves you."
These words are encouraging and, therefore, could in some sense be considered a type of prophecy. Or they might be the gift of the word of knowledge in operation, which someone was given to to another. One might receive it as "That was a nice thing to say" or one may have desperately needed to hear those words! There aren't any hard and fast rules on the gifts along these lines, imo, God knows where we're at. Yet there are certain guidelines for the Church.

I'm thinking of the High Priest, who unwittingly prophesied that "it is necessary that one man die for the people." He thought he was saying one thing but was actually saying something else!

Okay. Let's say there's a prayer meeting and the Spirit of the Lord is moving mightily. Someone feels led to go to another and say,
"This is what God says, I love you."
(This would be the kind of prophecy with: God speaking in the first person) and resembles the incident with Agabus and Paul.

The "someone" would have spoken the words, but it was God himself who said them. Subtleties are involved here, to be sure. Obviously any time we get an inspiring "word" or "words" from someone, God is using them to speak to us personally. We're persons, God's a Person.

"God loves you."
"This is what God says, I love you."

Depending on the setting, circumstance, and the spiritual and emotional atmosphere, both of the above sentences (being said) could have any number of effects...as the Holy Spirit wills.

Had y'all been there when Sister Jeannie-Marie prophesied, you would have heard from the Lord: No mistaking about it. God spoke through her to us in the first-person prophetic mode. Thanks, Smile
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Last edited by Rick_C on Fri Jun 27, 2008 1:46 am; edited 7 times in total
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Michelle



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For some reason this conversation is putting me in an argumentative mood and I promised myself I wouldn't argue on this forum any more. The topic of this particular discussion is all the more reason not to argue, I suppose, since the subject is so near to everyone's heart. Thank you Rick, Paidion, and TK for your responses, especially you, Rick, for your thorough answers.
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

God bless you, Michelle.
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TK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 4:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle-

you wrote:

Quote:
For some reason this conversation is putting me in an argumentative mood and I promised myself I wouldn't argue on this forum any more.


may I ask why this topic puts you in an argumentative mood? i think its important that we try to help each other, and learn from each other, but I am not clear about what is "bugging" you (for lack of a better term).

quite a few things bug me about the gifts of the HS, but much less so than they used to. I still think there is a lot of play-acting, for one thing. but that's why we are to be discerning. the problem, of course, is being over-discerning to the point that we throw the roses out with the weeds.

TK

P.S. - i'm right there with you when it comes to Mr. Bentley- red flags all over the place.
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Michelle



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TK wrote:
Hi Michelle-

you wrote:

Quote:
For some reason this conversation is putting me in an argumentative mood and I promised myself I wouldn't argue on this forum any more.


may I ask why this topic puts you in an argumentative mood? i think its important that we try to help each other, and learn from each other, but I am not clear about what is "bugging" you (for lack of a better term).

quite a few things bug me about the gifts of the HS, but much less so than they used to. I still think there is a lot of play-acting, for one thing. but that's why we are to be discerning. the problem, of course, is being over-discerning to the point that we throw the roses out with the weeds.

TK

P.S. - i'm right there with you when it comes to Mr. Bentley- red flags all over the place.

Hi TK,

The sentence I bolded in your quote states quite nicely what it is that I'm afraid of doing, so I'm struggling to keep an open mind. I really want to learn more; I want to know everything I can about the Holy Spirit and the gifts. However, this discussion veered off into personal experiences and I'm reluctant to examine and pick apart someone's experience in order to analyze it. I'm worried about seeming to dismiss a moment in someone's life that means a lot to them emotionally and spiritually.

Rick is making a distinction between God speaking to us through a person and God using a person to speak to us. He says there is a subtle difference and implies that it is that subtlety that makes all the difference. I believe that it's a subtlety without distinction. In order to make my point, I'm tempted to stack my word of knowledge against his prophecy to compare, and that, I think, would be a horrible thing to do. Obviously we've both had God touch our hearts in remarkable ways; why make a big deal about which gift He employed to do so? What difference does it really make? In my case it is simply pride; I got the niggling feeling that Rick was saying my experience wasn't as, well, special. So, when I said I was in an argumentative mood, that's what I meant: part of me wanted to argue with Rick, part of me, thank goodness, decided that was a wrong thing to do.
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Michelle



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 7:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rick,

I appreciate you for taking my name off the examples you gave above. It's less jarring for me to see a nameless someone than to see my name used as an example. Thanks

In my first post on this thread I asked you this:

Quote:
Also, have you ever heard someone claim to have a prophecy, either foretelling or forth-telling, that followed that structure: speaking in the first person, that you later were sure was wrong? That I think is the core of the other thread. I am becoming more and more convinced that there is something really wrong in Todd Bentley's ministry, and yet I'm still a little leery, worried that it may just be a knee-jerk reaction left-over from my upbringing.

I'm still curious to know what experiences you've had with false prophecy.
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Paidion



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to make clear that my post in no way indicated how the gifts of the spirit should operate. There is no "should" involved. God does what He pleases. I was merely stating what in fact is done in the assembly with whom I meet.

Michelle, you mentioned false prophecy. The only two times in my entire life of 70 years in which I know God revealed His truth directly to me in the form of the miraculous, both involved false prophets.

I will relate one of those incidents. My wife and I had been attending a certain Christian camp where the gifts of the Spirit operated. This camp was not connected in any way to the circle of fellowship to which our local assembly belonged. In our local assembly, my wife and I had both received our spiritual gifts by the laying on of hands by the presbytery (I Tim 4:14) as the Holy Spirit indicated.

At this camp, a "prophet" had been invited in, one who professed to impart spiritual gifts. A meeting was called for the purpose. I was thinking of going, but it seemed as if the Lord was saying, "Don't attend that meeting. You have received my gifts." But I wanted to be certain that it was the Lord who was speaking to me, and not simply my own thoughts. So I said, "Lord, if this man is a false prophet, let the next person who walks by have blue jeans and a white top." I opened my eyes and immediately saw a person with blue jeans and a white blouse walk by. I said to myself, "Well, that's a common combination. That could have been accidental." Then I asked, "Lord, if that was really your word to me, then let the next person who walks by have white jeans and a blue top." I looked up and immediately saw a person so dressed! You can be sure I didn't attend after that clear indication!

However, at a later time a special meeting was called around the fireplace in the Tabernacle in the Woods. I was shocked to find that the "prophet" was laying hands of people, administering their "gifts" and "prophesying" their future. I wanted to run out of there, but somehow I stayed. And somehow I was so faithless, that I still wasn't sure about the man. So I prayed again, "Lord, if this man is a true prophet, let him prophesy next over J. ("J" was a man who has been seeking the gifts of the Spirit for some time), but is he is a false prophet let him next prophesy over that man (and I indicated to the Lord some man whom I didn't know). There were dozens of people in that room, but the "prophet" next prophesied over the unknown man I indicated! How gracious the Lord was to continue to tell me this man was a false prophet!

I shared with some of the brothers what the Lord had done to show me that the man was a false prophet. They wanted to inform C, one of the camp leaders, who was himself a powerful man in the Lord with a great anointing. For some reason I was reluctant to tell C, and so the brothers gave it up.

Next day, the final day of camp, this "prophet" prophesied over C himself!
He actually revealed himself as a false prophet, when he said over C, "... and your name will become a household word in America!" I realized that these words could feed C's pride, and I asked God to protect C from succumbing to this demonic flattery.

Gradually through the years that followed, it seemed that C did deteriorate spiritually, and I wondered to what degree I was responsible for this through my failure to act.
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TK



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 8:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michelle wrote:

Quote:
Obviously we've both had God touch our hearts in remarkable ways; why make a big deal about which gift He employed to do so? What difference does it really make?


I agree with you there- when I have had "God" experiences through other people, I have never sat there and wondered "now was that a prophecy or a word of knowledge?" all i know is that I like it, and wish it would happen more often. More importantly, I am praying that God will use me to be the one that can give a word to someone now and then. I am somewhat resigned to the fact that perhaps he chooses to use me in other ways. I do some writing for the church- devotional type things, and people tell me they get a lot out of them. I would not claim that my writings are "prophetic" in nature, although I do sense God's leading in what I am to write.

Nonetheless, I still "eagerly desire spiritual gifts."

TK
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Rick_C



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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 11:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi, Michelle. You wrote:
Also, have you ever heard someone claim to have a prophecy, either foretelling or forth-telling, that followed that structure: speaking in the first person, that you later were sure was wrong? That I think is the core of the other thread. I am becoming more and more convinced that there is something really wrong in Todd Bentley's ministry, and yet I'm still a little leery, worried that it may just be a knee-jerk reaction left-over from my upbringing.

I'm still curious to know what experiences you've had with false prophecy.


I've never met or heard a false prophet.

I listened to the Hank episode Sean linked on Todd Bentley. And while I've seen people get very emotional, and heard people loudly prophesy, and speak in tongues, and interpret tongues; I've never seen anyone say or do things anywhere remotely similar to what was reported about Bentley on Hank's show.

On someone "claiming" to have a prophecy.
I've experienced this. One time will probably be forever in my mind and heart. It was what has been called a "personal prophecy." On this occasion the person politely and humbly came to me, and asked a series of questions. After I answered, they gave some very encouraging words. This experience was what I referred to in an earlier post. Only God could have known the things that were said to me...but they were revealed to a prophet.

Actually, this person was Jeannie-Marie and this happened in about 1979.
We haven't discussed the office of 'modern-day' or NT Era prophets and I don't know if Jeannie-Marie considers herself one. She has never made that claim. At any rate, after getting back in touch with Pastor Ron and Jeannie-Marie for the first time about a year or so ago, Pastor Ron and I were reminiscing. He said, with a huge Smile on his face, "God has been using Jeannie-Marie in this manner through all of these years, Rick."

Don & TK,

I want to reply to you but have some do's to do, bbl, Smile
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