Have you had a prophecy over your life that you’re not too sure about? Did a prophet say you should take a certain course that you don’t really want to? Are you in a church where prophecies are common, but create anxiety not peace because of the added pressure on believers?
What does the Bible say about the gift of prophecy and other “miraculous” spiritual gifts?
Last weekend my wife and I went shopping and we noticed a new children’s game called, “Fortune Telling Fun”. The makers of the game probably think it’s just a bit of fun, but it’s really not. The Bible prohibits all unauthorised or illegitimate communication with the supernatural, spiritual world; whether through fortune tellers, the occult or modern-day mediums because of the tremendous danger involved. Little attention is paid to the Bible’s warnings today. In African Traditional Religion many visit the witchdoctor or sangoma who communicates with the spirits and ancestors. Many people today claim to receive messages from the spirit world and angels, then write books about it. Even some Christians claim to receive “words” from God which they in turn relate to other unsuspecting believers. All throughout history people have sought to communicate with the spirit-world in order to receive guidance, help and advice.
We live in an age of professionalism and specialisation. If our air-con breaks we phone the air-con specialist. If our child is sick, we don’t go to the GP but the paediatrician – who sends us to another specialist. If the bulb goes in our car’s headlamp, cars today are so sophisticated, we often have to take the car to the specialist at the dealer to replace a simple bulb.
Even in the church, the minister is seen to be the professional. The thinking is that we need ministry done – so we pay the minister to do the ministry. If he does his job well we are happy and might put more money in the thank-offering.
Ephesians 4:11-12 breaks this Christian professional mindset. It says,
(v11) And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, (v12) to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…