Recently, a friend asked me what I thought of a document that was released regarding prophetic standards. The document was in response to some of the prophecies made during the recent Presidential election. I commented that I got a sense the document was a reaction to what was prophesied and possibly a desire to create distance between the authors and what was perceived as a prophetic error. The creators of the document did make some valid points. Like anything any of us would write, nothing is perfect. My friend said it sounded like we could do the same thing with a pastor. I agreed. We could extend that inquiry to include all the five equipping gifts – apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, and teacher.
Peter wrote something along this line when he penned the verse, “But there were also false prophets in Israel, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will cleverly teach destructive heresies and even deny the Master who bought them” (II Peter 2:1). Already, there is among us this kind of false teaching, but it is rarely addressed because it sounds so appealing to those who seek inclusiveness at the expense of truth. It is a teaching that reduces the majesty and uniqueness of Jesus as the only Savior of humanity. A universalist kind of deity is constructed to replace the biblical Jesus, creating a false lord of our choosing who has an equal place on the mantle of our theology along with every other offering of faith. This error is taught by some popular teachers, theologians, and entertainment personalities, but it is a spiritual death sentence. I haven’t seen any document calling out this gravest of all errors.
It is never a bad thing to make sure we are healthy and accountable to biblical truth no matter what our gift or calling. We just need to make sure we apply the same standard to all who speak in God’s name, no matter what their place might be in the Body of Christ. I have found most of these kinds of documents only appeal to those already convinced of a particular viewpoint. They seem well-intentioned, but many times fall short of bringing any real and lasting correction. The Church is organic and local. A correction that creates a healthy direction change must always be done in a relationship, not on the Internet. The latter only entrenches us in our opinion.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on Garris Elkins