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John Piper tells the story of when he and his wife, Noël, were expecting their fourth child, and a woman shared with John a very dire “prophecy”: Noël would die in childbirth, and the baby would be a girl. This prophecy seemed wrong. There was nothing edifying, encouraging, or consoling about it (1 Corinthians 14:3). John wisely said nothing about it to Noël. The child was born a boy, and mother and baby came through just fine.
This article is the fourth in a series of four articles on the gift of prophecy in the New Testament. In the series, Jon Bloom explores both of the major positions, looks at examples in the church today, and answers some frequently asked questions.
Kind - Use - Prophecy - Towards - Gift
This is the kind of scary use of prophecy that can understandably make us cynical towards this gift of the Holy Spirit, and understandably make many pastors want to steer away from its use in their churches. What we need to remember is that damaging false prophecies foolishly delivered without prior evaluation by wise, pastoral counsel have occurred throughout church history. Even in the apostle Paul’s day, he had to exhort churches and their leaders to “not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:19–21). The easiest way to avoid the messes this gift can make is to avoid the gift.
However, we also could list examples of the scary uses of other spiritual gifts, such as teaching or healing, yet we would not say that we should therefore avoid teaching people or praying for their healing. So we must also not let the misuse of prophecy cause us to miss out on the benefits the Spirit wants us to receive through this gift’s proper use. I have benefited from it many...
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