One of the concerns that is often expressed by charismatics about the reformed presbyterian churches is the lack of emphasis on the “gift of prophecy.” How can a person move from a church where “God’s voice is welcomed” to a church where there is “no room for God’s voice”?
These are important questions — but the real issue is deeper than than this. The real issue is that there is some wide-spread confusion about the nature of prophecy. Even since the early days of pentecostalism (1900s) the “gift of prophecy” has evolved. The charismatic movement, and the “prophetic movement” have changed the “gift of prophecy” beyond recognition — even to the point where many classical pentecostals do not recognise it. The modern “gift of prophecy” has become individualistic, narcissistic and very often prophecies are ambiguous and vague to the point of being meaningless.
In the modern church, “the gift of prophecy” may mean someone standing up and saying, “I see a dandelion — does anyone know what it means?” In the Bible, prophecy means — “thus sayeth the Lord.” Prophecy is packed with clarity and conviction.
With that being said, let me now quote Paul Washer — a man who is more prophetic than anyone else I have ever read or listened to — save perhaps the late Leonard Ravenhill and A.W. Tozer.
Quotes from Ten Indictments against the Modern Church by Paul Washer (although these words are often addressed to people living in North America — they are just as relevant for European churches).
A church ought to be seeker friendly, but the church ought to recognize there is only one Seeker. His name is God!—and if you want to be friendly to someone, if you want to accommodate someone, accommodate Him and His glory, even if it is rejected by everyone else.
Do you know why all your Christian bookstores are filled up with self-help books, and five ways to do this or that, and six ways to be godly, and 10 ways not to fall?—because people don’t know God!
I would submit to you that it would be better not even to have a Sunday morning service. Sunday morning is the greatest hour of idolatry in the entire week of America, because the great mass at least of people are not worshipping the one true God. They instead are worshipping a god formed out of their own hearts by their own flesh, satanic devices, and worldly intelligence. They have made a god just like themselves—and he looks more like Santa Claus than he does Jehovah. There can be no fear of the Lord among us, because there is no knowledge of the Lord among us!
The average scenario in North America with regard to churches, by and large, is that the churches are democracies. And I don’t want to get into the pros and cons of that. But here is what happens. Because the preaching of the Gospel is so low, the majority of the church is carnal lost people, and because it is a democracy, they by and large govern the direction of the church. And because the pastor doesn’t want to lose the greatest number of the people; and because he has wrong ideas regarding evangelism and true conversion, he caters to the wicked in his church. And his little group of true sheep, who truly belong to Jesus Christ, are sitting there in the midst of all the theater, worldliness, and multimedia, crying out, “We just want to worship Jesus. We just want someone to teach us the Bible!” Dear friends, these pastors are going to pay for this terrible condition of their churches.