A Prophetic Temper


Years ago, when those “spiritual gift” tests were in vogue, a pastor told he didn’t like them because Christians were using them as an excuse to be slack in the areas where they were not “gifted.”

From what I have seen, spirituals gifts tend to be giftings for definite tasks. Some people are natural pastors, or natural kings (administrators). I’m not, but I have learned a great deal from watching and working with men who are.

Certainly, our gifts differ, and we should delegate what we’re not good at, but our maturity must be well-rounded. I’m more “prophet/teacher,” but that doesn’t mean my ministry doesn’t require gentleness or competent organization.

It’s easy to be harsh on a blog, (I’m much more mild mannered in person!) and everything written here is pointy for good reason. But I’ve found the harshness flows straight out of the way I often “speak” to myself. If my speech is sharp in any way, it should only be because God has broken me first. Judgment surely begins at the house of God, but within the house of God, judgment must begin with the preacher.

This is exactly what we see in Israel’s prophets. Transcendence and Hierarchy always come before Ethics. God’s prophets have tempers, but God’s prophets are tempered. He cuts them into bread and wine. These men of God knew when to be harsh and when to deal gently. Behold the goodness and severity of Jesus.

Here’s the example that got me thinking, an excerpt from Dan Braga on re-planting a church:

The tri-perspectival arena is important for [church] replanters. I have a super dominant personality. That’s the way I lead. I’m a prophet—through the roof. But this is why the Lord called me to re-plant. In many ways I mocked the priestly arena—pastoral ministry. Priests were weak and wimpy. Mercy is something to be sung about. It doesn’t really exist. That was my mentality.

But I’ll tell you that there, in the pastoral realm, the priest, there is the ministry of Jesus. It took four little grandmas to change a young arrogant guy. I had been counseled to take the building, plant the church in it, and just bowl them over. But in my candidate phase, the Lord said to me very clearly, “You will pastor them until they come to be with me.”

In a church re-plant, you cannot back away from any of the three perspectives. In sick churches, you’ve got demonic strongholds, egregious sin, structures and systems that are not only fallible but have actually promoted the failure of the gospel. And it really does take a strong prophet to say, “Look, this is black, this is white. This is what the Bible says. This is the way it is and this is the way we’re going. Throw me into the dungeon. Pin me up on a cross. Strip me down naked and spit on me, I don’t care. This is how it’s going to happen. Float with us or get off the boat. And if you drown, fine. It’s your fault.” It often takes that attitude.

By complementing that you must have a priestly attitude. The prophet just told you to get off the boat. Fine. Follow up on that. “How are you doing out there in the water? Are you ready for a life raft?”

Re-planting A Church, 2010 Phoenix Boot Camp, Acts 29 podcast, 10 Nov, 2010.

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