Immediately we receive revelation of a prophetic nature, we are involved in a process. Other revelatory and spiritual experience do not necessarily require communication, or do not require a prophetic communication process. While other spiritual capacities, gifts of the Spirit, produce revelation, spiritual things revealed by His Spirit to and through our spirit, prophecy is particularly defined and design to communicate.
While the work on God’s part is always perfect, the process of revelation is designed to include the human part. In this, the New Testament functions of prophetic revelation express revelation through a process. Prophecy is communication. Other revelations may be processed in different ways, but technically we aren’t being “prophetic” until we are communicating. So, communication begins the prophetic process, the revelation being prophetic, revelation enters the human mind.
The Scriptures are uniquely revelatory: “Every graphe of Scripture is God-breathed and useful for teaching, confrontation, correction, and discipline.” Not so with prophetic revelation. Every “graphe” isn’t God-breathed because the process immediately engages the human part to communicate the revelatory part. God guaranteed that every writing of the Bible is inerrant, eternal, immutable, and inspirational. No such guarantee has ever been given to prophets and prophecy, and the New Testament Ecclesia function of the prophetic requires a set of protocols to validate and secure the process and function.
Beware any sense of “well God told me, so I know that’s it!” You have brought into the process an expectation that God is guaranteeing that you are inerrant. You aren’t. While the spiritual capacity, the charismata, functions because Holy Spirit gave you this capacity, the process of the prophetic isn’t a guarantee that you are perfectly representing God’s meaning, heart, consequences, or intention just because you received a valid revelation.
Writing Scripture was a process, not automatic writing done by robotic penmanship in which the character, disposition, and language skills of the author were suddenly suspended, but a process through which God carried writers along so as to guarantee a revelation communicated without error. God didn’t allow any corruption of the revelation of Scripture.
Immaturity and Arrogance Recently, a young man challenged the process and protocols of prophecy by stating to me that “No word that God has spoke through me needs to be judged.” Pretty much guaranteed that I would stop listening altogether to what he had to say! If he were attempting to function prophetically within our company or ministry, I would protect the validity of our ministry by telling him to be quiet as gently and kindly as I could. I would insist that this is exactly the problem with immature prophetic function that moves many people to avoid it altogether. Exaggeration being the great enemy of authenticity in this instance.
I certainly give greater respect and trust to some prophets and apostles, to people assigned in some way to my leadership and ministry, to leaders with whom I am aligned, but I don’t give anyone complete trust in communicating, interpreting, applying and implementing the word of The Lord, the oracle of God.
Paul says, Don’t despise prophesying. Hang on the good stuff and void out the bad. But don’t trash the prophetic entirely just because you have failed to find a function of it that follows proper protocols and process. We need to mature the prophetic! We need to mature the people so that prophetic function can be matured. To lead prophetically, we need to prepare a prophetic people.
I have come to counsel people who say, “God told me to,” to take much greater care in using that motivation or justification for their decisions and attitudes. God is often blamed for things in which He wasn’t involved, stuff He had nothing to do with and is currently ignoring. Such justification often accompanies the moves of people who wish to shut up any dissent or discussion about their made-up minds by pulling rank: “God told me to” is intended to shut up any further counsel or questions. a crude and immature way of saying, “I’m gonna do this, so don’t try to convince me with logic, wisdom, counsel, or rebuke.”
Immaturity in the prophetic process certainly begins with communication. While the spiritual capacity to receive revelation information can begin function rather easily – it is easy to teach people to hear and see in the Spirit – that elementary activation should call those same people to spiritual maturation so that the prophetic communication can be matured.
God likes His own language. He likes to fit the revelation into the infallible by speaking to us about our situation within a context of how He dealt with other people and other situations. He will direct our attention to Scripture contexts in order to assist us in the first step of communicating what He is thinking or has decided about something or someone in a given situation. This process of communication, then, can best be matured by having prophetic people get their noses into the Bible! The Scriptures are God’s textbook for the prophetic.
Immediately I hear someone prophesying and their tone and intentions are inconsistent with the God of the Bible, I know they have short-circuited the communication step in the prophetic process. Training prophets and prophetic people requires more than activating them to receive revelation! Communication is often filtered in this very first step of the prophetic process, filtered by what has patterned the mindset and “how I process information” parts of the mind. So, a thorough “renewing of the mind” will greatly enhance the prophetic process by bringing another level of purity to the initial step, communication.