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Prophets of the "New Thing"
Stand Firm ^ | 5/03/2006 | Matt Kennedy

Posted on 05/03/2006 5:14:02 PM PDT by sionnsar

The Episcopal Church humbly tells everyone and anyone who will listen that when gathered together at Convention she hears directly from God. After she prays, she votes. And in the very act of coming to “democratic” decision “the Spirit” makes his will known to the world.

It is fascinating that God has chosen the Episcopal Church, of all places and people, as his primary revelatory vehicle to the modern world and even more fascinating that, by way of contrast with his past utterances through lesser vehicles (like the bible, tradition, the Church as a whole), God has chosen not to critique and challenge human social norms, but to embrace them.

It turns out that God’s new thing looks a lot like the world’s old thing. Whereas before God was not quite on board with things like gay sex and gnosticism, now he’s not only willing to give them the old college try, he’s ready to take the lead.

We know all of this because the Episcopal Church is “prophetic”.

What exactly do people mean when they say that something or someone is prophetic? We are familiar with the Old Testament prophets all the way up to John the Baptist and the New Testament prophets as well, like Agabus and Philip’s daughters, but what does it mean to be “prophetic” now?

Biblically speaking, prophecy generally falls into two categories: foretelling and forth-telling.

Foretelling prophecy reveals some future event or state of affairs before it comes to pass. Jeremiah, for example, was “foretelling” when he revealed the ultimate disastrous outcome of the Babylonian invasion of Judah before that outcome had come to pass.

Forth-telling prophecy on the other hand reveals, expounds, and/or proclaims divine truth in an eternal or lasting sense. Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount is a great example. In one sermon Jesus revealed, proclaimed, and expounded divine law.

The truth revealed, expounded, or proclaimed can be “new” in the sense that it is new to the world (not to God) but it does not have to be.

A good preacher or teacher is standing in the “prophetic” office in so far as he or she is teaching divine truth even though it has usually already been revealed.

Equally, and still in the forth-telling sense, someone may speak prophetically when he or she applies divine truth (previously revealed or not) to contemporary circumstances. John the Baptist, for example, was prophetically forth-telling when he criticized Herod’s relationship with his brother's wife.

It is in that last sense, prophetic forth-telling, applying divine truth to contemporary circumstance, that the Episcopal Church claims to have received new revelation at General Convention 2006 and on that basis, to have taken “prophetic” action in confirming the election of VGR to the office of bishop.

But all of this talk of prophecy begs the question: by what standard? How are we supposed to know whether something is truly, “prophetic”?

It’s interesting to pose this question to ECUSAn hierarchs and Integrity apologists.

You’ll usually get something along the lines of, “When God’s people gather together Christ is present. We gathered at Convention and were moved through prayer and by the Holy Spirit who spoke through our democratic process, confirming VGR’s election and affirming our (non-celibate) homosexual brothers and sisters.”

I asked a friend who is very much in agreement with the outcome of GC2003 how the Church could possibly assent to such a dramatic change in doctrine by virtue of a vote of all things. I was told, and I quote: “With a great deal of deep prayer”.

General Convention, in other words, is God’s revelatory vehicle. Through it God speaks "prophetically."

But again, how do we know?

The bible, helpfully, provides two tests applicable to prophetic speech.

The first test applies primarily to foretelling prophecy. What is foretold must actually come true (Dt 18:21-22). Otherwise the prophecy is false as is the prophet.

The second test is applicable to both foretelling and forth-telling prophecy. This is the test of non-contradiction. Is what the “prophet” foretells or forth-tells in contradiction with what has already been revealed? (Dt. 13:1-5; Acts 17:11; Gal 1:6-9; 2nd Pet 2; 1st Jn 4:1-5:10; 2nd Jn 9)

The underlying assumption is that the eternal God who sees the end from the beginning does not change (Js 1:17). His Word, therefore, will never be overturned.

We need to be careful with this test. We are looking for bona fide contradictions not differences. The New Covenant is quite different from the Old Covenant. And yet they do not contradict each other. The purity and kingdom laws of Leviticus, for example, have been fulfilled in Jesus Christ the new Temple, not overturned.

New prophecy may very well be quite different and quite new. God does apply his truth to every age. But it will not contradict what has been said before. God can do a new thing but his new thing won’t make his old thing out to be a lie.

And that’s the problem orthodox people have with GC2006. The confirmation of VGR’s election and the further promotion of homosexual behavior as good and blessed cannot represent new prophetic revelation precisely because it makes God’s previous revelation out to be a lie. It stands in direct contradiction to what he has already revealed to be true.

I know that this is an old point but I don’t think many revisionists really grasp the importance of it.

They prefer, it seems, to think of orthodox believers as modern-day Pharisees unable to see a new move of the Spirit.

In fact, Jesus’ primary critique of the Pharisees was not that they cared too much about the Law and not enough about the Spirit, but that their own teachings actually stood in contradiction to the Law (Mk 7). The Pharisees’ myopic focus on their own teachings and traditions over and above the true Word of God as revealed through Moses and the prophets blinded them to Jesus’ true identity and to the inherent consistency of his new proclamation with older revelation. Had they been devoted to revealed truth, they would have been far better suited to notice when the Truth was revealed.

Focus on the Word, study of the Word, a firm rootedness in the Word provides a believing community with the spiritual eyes to recognize a counterfeit.

In that sense, the Episcopal Church’s claim to possess “new” revelation that contradicts the old, is sadly symptomatic of a core spiritual blindness far more reminiscent of the Pharisees than the prophets.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 05/03/2006 5:14:03 PM PDT by sionnsar
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To: ahadams2; meandog; gogeo; Lord Washbourne; Calabash; axegrinder; AnalogReigns; Uriah_lost; ...
Traditional Anglican ping, continued in memory of its founder Arlin Adams.

FReepmail sionnsar if you want on or off this moderately high-volume ping list (typically 3-9 pings/day).
This list is pinged by sionnsar, Huber and newheart.

Resource for Traditional Anglicans:
More Anglican articles here.

Humor: The Anglican Blue (by Huber)

Speak the truth in love. Eph 4:15

2 posted on 05/03/2006 5:14:45 PM PDT by sionnsar (†† | Iran Azadi 2006 | SONY: 5yst3m 0wn3d - it's N0t Y0urs)
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To: sionnsar

It turns out that God’s new thing looks a lot like the world’s old thing. Whereas before God was not quite on board with things like gay sex and gnosticism, now he’s not only willing to give them the old college try, he’s ready to take the lead.

God is immutable. The world unfortunately is not.

3 posted on 05/03/2006 5:20:48 PM PDT by trubluolyguy (It wasn't the spikes that kept Him on the cross.)
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To: sionnsar

That's all we need:
Someone else who thinks they get cell calls from God.

4 posted on 05/03/2006 5:21:00 PM PDT by dinok
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To: dinok

Maybe they do: Afterall, the decline into debauchery is prophesied in Revelations, etc. Maybe the "word" they are hearing is being delivered from a different source.

5 posted on 05/03/2006 5:31:36 PM PDT by TaxRelief (Wal-Mart: Keeping my family on-budget since 1993.)
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To: sionnsar

The Episcopal church can't be God's vehicle for prophesy. Everyone knows it's Hal Lindsey.

6 posted on 05/03/2006 6:24:19 PM PDT by connectthedots
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