Prophetic Passions and Protocols

By Francis Frangipane
(En EspaƱol)

When I came to Christ in 1970, America was already pre-wired with end-of-the-world forebodings. Nuclear war seemed inevitable, as Barry McGuire's dire hit "Eve of Destruction" warned. Revolution and lawlessness were spreading everywhere. Yes, the "times" were certainly "a-changin'" as Bob Dylan sang, and indeed so were we. From the rapture-ready hippie revival in the Jesus movement to Hal Lindsey's culture-shaping book, The Late Great Planet Earth, the charismatic movement emerged on the world scene overstocked with prophetic anticipations.

Thus, our preoccupation with all things prophetic has been a kind of spiritual birthmark; it is a prominent characteristic of who we are as last days Christians. Indeed, the '70s produced at least eight major end-of-the-world warnings from prominent authors and various church groups. Other warnings came in the 1980s, punctuated by the book 88 Reasons Why the Rapture Will Be in 1988. When that failed, the revised edition came out with the same failed prophecies: The Final Shout: Rapture Report 1989. In the 1990s, especially with the approach of the year 2000 and the widespread computer failures expected from the Y2K Millennium bug, still more warnings came.

I do not doubt the sincerity of anyone who sounded the alarm prematurely. To me there is a difference between a false prophet and a wrong prophet. Yet when will we honestly look at this issue? False alarms have repeatedly misrepresented the Lord's coming over the last forty years.

On the front end of these apocalyptic warnings, evangelists report certain benefits: increased participation in altar calls and certainly more prayer and repentance among Christians who respond. Yet when the pre-announced date passes uneventfully, the effect of being repeatedly, but wrongly, warned leaves many hearts hardened and cynical. Meanwhile, the non-believing world observes the self-induced anxieties spilling out from the evangelical world, and in response, they fortify themselves against a religion that, to them, has symptoms of some illness.

We Can Do Better
While some may be offended at my words, all I am saying is that I believe the Lord has an upgrade coming to the prophetic ministry. I am not talking about losing sight of our prophetic times, but there are procedures, biblical guidelines, that would increase prophetic accuracy and thus bring more glory to God.

First, in defense of prophetic ministries, let's remember that it was God who placed prophets in the church (1 Cor. 14). The power released by a humble, accurate, new covenant prophet can be a revelation of the Lord Himself, causing people to fall on their faces in worship (v. 25). I have often been encouraged and guided by a prophetic word. Confirmed prophetic words, as Paul wrote Timothy, are spiritual weapons. They help us "fight the good fight" (1 Tim. 1:18).

Yet there are boundaries. Writing as "a wise master builder" (1 Cor. 3:10), Paul counseled, "Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge" (1 Cor. 14:29 NKJV). First, the admonition to minister as "two or three" tells us that prophets were an active part of the early church. However, Paul is seeking to present an important safeguard: no matter how spiritual we consider ourselves, we still see through a glass darkly. We need others. Jesus sent His disciples out in twos. He also spoke of the power that is released when two or three disciples are gathered in His name. The Revelation of John tells us that the last great prophetic move will be heralded by two prophets (not one) speaking and ministering together (Rev. 11).

Paul again repeats the principle of two or three in his second letter to the Corinthians, saying, "By the mouth of two or three witnesses every word [Gr: rhema] shall be established" (2 Cor. 13:1 NKJV). It is important to note that when it comes to discerning an actual word from the Lord, typically the best a prophet has is a witness of an unseen reality; he does not have a completed "word from the Lord." I know that statement might cause some to react, but let's be honest: there are times when prophets just miss it. By downgrading the weightiness of our communication to a "witness" instead of an irrefutable "word from God," we give the Lord time to confirm our words supernaturally, perhaps through another ministry at a different time.

Are you a prophet? Instead of saying, "Thus sayeth the Lord," it would be wiser and probably more true to say, "I have a witness for you. Let the Lord confirm it." If you are being ministered to by a prophet and have any question about what is being said, give the Holy Spirit time to confirm His word through one or two more people (unless you have an immediate confirmation in your spirit).

What if you have a national ministry and believe you have a warning to issue? There may be exceptions to this, but I'd suggest you present it first privately to your peers, as well as to the church leaders in the geographic region where the warning applies. Let someone outside your local ministry team confirm it independently. Give God time to arrange a supernatural presentation of His will. The combination of words that have been confirmed supernaturally by prophetic leaders from different ministries is a powerful catalyst for faith.

The restraints I suggest are not to hamper the prophetic but to place prophets as background players on a stage where the Word of God is the main attraction. One prophet may have a genuine warning yet miss completely the timing of his insight; another ministry knows something will happen on a certain date but isn't sure of the details. Remember, when Paul urges us to "let the prophets speak," he also counseled, "and let the others judge" (1 Cor. 14:29 KVJ). Do not be afraid to let your witness be judged, and if you question a prophetic witness, don't be shy about humbly saying that you don't bear witness.

Additionally, the witness of the prophetic should be measured against the truth of Scripture, as well as the voice and redemptive motive of the Holy Spirit. Prophetic ministry does not come to condemn, but to encourage and build up the church (1 Cor. 14:3).

If you have felt manipulated or wounded by false prophetic words, whether concerning the Lord's return or an imminent disaster or a personal word you were given, I pray you will not lose faith or become cynical. I urge you to heed Paul's words: "Do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good" (1 Thess. 5:20–21).

Remember also that just as we have had certain problems administering prophecy, so there were also problems in the first century. Our era is not unique. Yes, there is a mess at times, but there are also blessings, as God's Word affirms. Therefore, as we move deeper into the end times, let's seek God for a new prophetic anointing to fall.


Adapted from Francis Frangipane's book, Spiritual Discernment and the Mind of Christ, available at www.arrowbookstore.com.

17 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. We "take heed" to a lot of things… It is good to take heed to Balance. Thank you, Francis. As always, thank you for biblical balance! I love our five-fold fighters!!! They love and feed the Lord's church so honorably… God bless us, everyone!

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    2. I have been the flow of prophet, prophcey for many years. Even in the era you mentioned. I agree with what you said. I have found that as the spirit gives utterance it makes life bearable, yet now i dont mind the testing of my words or the accusations that come. We need each other n should walk transparent. I found out that its not about the gift but the giver. Also i hardly ever say thus says the lord for i dont need to prove who i am. Thanks for thhis info its so needed.

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  2. Thank you pastor. I've been through the 70s and seen all these prophecies come and go. I do not despise the prophetic. We are getting more understanding,

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  3. Thank you for this article. I came to faith in 1977 and was part of a "prophetic church" until eight years ago, when I had to relocate. I know I became pretty leery of prophetic "words", although, I do believe in this ministry and have personally been very encouraged at times when personal prophetic words were spoken over me. However, it seemed like there was such a constant stream of the so-called prophetic (and some of it just weird, i.e. "While we were worshiping I saw the Holy Spirit descend from that corner (pointing) of the room into our midst,saying...") that I became turned off. And this from our pastor, whom I believe really IS anointed with this gift. However, I think what he so desired to see happen in our midst became confused with what he thought was actually happening. He began to lose credibility in my eyes. After I moved, I looked for a church that was "safer", but they can be pretty dry when the gifts are not freely used. Of late, I'm missing the prophetic utterances when the church gathers, tho' I occasionally see the stream trickle in when we gather in our home groups. I'm crying out to the Lord for the real deal. Again, thank you for this article, brother Francis.

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  4. I left a ministry when exposed to "a person speaking on behalf of Gabriel". First, I never saw in the OT or the NT where Gabriel needed anyone to speak for him. Second, we have all read of the consequences of those who scoffed at the angel's message. Thus, that ministry was trying to silence any doubters. I voted with my feet and got out of there after observing that nonsense for one conference.
    As always, this is why I appreciate the balanced message of Mr. Frangipane.

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  5. Good solid word, thank you pastor, God bless you as I know He does.

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  6. Thank you for this truth. It speaks to me on so many levels.

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  7. Thank you Pastor Frangipane for your words of wisdom.

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  8. Pastor Frangipane, thank you so much for wise counsel regarding the prophetic gifts. We DO need Scriptural balance --- especially in an age where everyone seems eager to prophesy at every turn, yet lax in seeking sound prophetic witness. Many hunger for a word in season, and I too am thankful for such words. However, ultimately, we aren't to look for signs or a 'word' but to Jesus. We must honor the spiritual gifts, yet ultimately lay them on the altar and put our trust in Him who is Faithful and True, and whose truth always sets us free. All glory to God!

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  9. A very good word, brother Francis
    Sanford Yoder, Asheville, NC

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  10. Pastor D Georgewill, Ontario, Canada.September 10, 2016 at 4:08 PM

    Thank you so much Pastor Francis for the wise and timely words. The Prophetic Ministry, like other aspects of the five fold ministry given by the Lord Jesus to build up and empower His beloved Church, has been abused and rendered suspect by many contemporary ministers parading themselves as one. What is perhaps tragic is the lives and families being ruined by the avalache of fee-bases false prophets operating online misleading throngs. Another aspect of this is how the American merchant prophetic groups have exported this brand overseas causing even greater harm to the truth of the gospel.

    May voices like yours continue to provide guidance and comfort to the disillusioned.

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  11. Very good article! Very balanced. It is wise encourage prophetic words and humble acceptance of discernment of the church. I am sorry to hear of others being jaded because someone was either off or there was a wrong word. Remember too there are tares amoung us. Yes it can be messy and above all the word of the Lord has to confirm it but hearing prophetic words is powerful and can change lives!

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  12. For almost 2 years I was involved in a music ministry group and it looked like we were gonna change the world.
    Things looked so hopeful, so awesome.. until out of the blue, the leader (to this day I do not know if he was simply a master shaman) used "divination" and falsely accused me in front of the whole ministry team in a violent verbal rage.
    He did this in the name of "prophetic ministry", clearly seething with jealousy against me and the gifts the Lord has given me.

    After his rant, he encouraged others in the group to "take a shot" at me verbally.
    Not one person in that group had ever come to me with any supposed "concerns" that were presented in that meeting, including the leader.
    The people in that meeting - some of whom are intertwined with well-known music ministry groups - have treated me worse than an unbeliever since that day.

    Long story short - and needless to say - I have been absolutely disgusted with most "prophetic ministry" for years since, and extremely cautious of anything of that realm.

    Francis, this message spoke to me - to specifically to hold fast to that which is good.
    Thank you for the encouragement.
    Its good to be reminded that there is true prophetic ministry out there, regardless of the impostors.

    I pray others who have gone through similar circumstances will stay strong and remember that ultimately, we look to our Heavenly Father for Truth, and HE has promised that HE will not condemn those who are in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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  13. Awesome article and insight. It really helps me as I seek to understand this ministry. Thank you Pastor Frangipane!

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  14. Very well spoken! The three or four times the Spirit spoke through me it was short and sweet and very very accurate. I was not compelled to put on a performance every year let alone every meeting. I do wish we could follow 1Corinthians 13 & 14 and have three prophets work as a team. Being prophetic can be lonely at times. I've heard of churches filled with prophets and that wouldn't be good either. We need the full complement of spiritual gifts done decently and in order. Not a one man show from the pulpit. Or worse yet a dead lifeless church.

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