A Word About Cessation

Although there are no Scriptural or historical justification, there are those within the church who assert that, along with spiritual gifts, the prophets died out at the  turn of the 1st-century, about the time the Apostle John died.[1]

The legacy of the Prophetic Voice and Prophet found its renewal after the 400 years of silence when John the Baptist emerged. Preserved beyond the Cross, Prophets were among the order of those called to serve and train the Body of Christ and were established to serve the Household of Faith “until we all attain to the unity of the faith.” (Ephesians 4:11-12)

 

Prophets were an expected order within the ranks of Church gatherings, not only expected to address the congregation, but also to serve as judges for doctrinal error. (1 Corinthians 14:27-33).

Together with the Apostles, the Prophets anchored their teachings and efforts upon the teachings and works of Jesus Christ, who served as the Cornerstone of the Household of Faith, becoming its foundation (Ephesians 2:20). The Apostle Paul admonishes the Thessalonian congregation:

Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:19-22

If there appeared to be a cessation of Prophets it was not because their service was no longer needed as some suggest, but when the Church took on a higher hierarchical form, their challenge to the status quo made it necessary to suppress the pointing finger, the alarming cry.

The prophet is a lonely man. He alienates the wicked as well as the pious, the cynics as well as the believers, the priests and the princes, the judges and the false prophets. But to be a prophet means to challenge and to defy and to cast out fear.[2]

In our Post-Modern, Post-Christian Era, doctrinal error finds a spiritual vacuum to flourish because of the Church’s failure to recognize the Prophet. The true Prophetic Voice is often ignored or drowned out by the clamor of pseudo-prophets proclaiming smooth words to sooth itching ears. We have not heard or heeded the voices of Tozer, Brueggemann, Ravenhill, Reidhead, Schaeffer, Wilkerson and others. Rather we seek out those who proclaim “peace and safety” and all the pleasantries serving a humanistic, accommodating, idolatrous message of false hopes of personal prosperity and success.

​Yet, there are True Prophets among us, men and women who have heard the voice of the Spirit, who have received the true anointing, and are unfazed by current events, political correctness, partisan politics, or religious fads and trends, men and women who have been raised up by God to serve in the traditions of Elijah, Hosea, Amos, John the Baptist, Judas, Silas, Agabus, and others, individuals who speak as the Oracles [Burdens] of God, crying out for repentance, return to the Word of God and reformation. 

They stand outside the confines of religious and worldly order. Their inspiration and insight sees beyond the obvious and penetrates the evil of darkness, not just in the world, but in the Church as well. Though rejected and repudiated their words will serve as a dividing line between the Remnant God is preparing for the return of our Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ, and those who are either content or fearful.

If ever there was a need to reclaim the Prophetic Mantle, the return of the true Prophetic Voice, it is in uncertain times as these. If ever there was a time to give heed to their voices, their warnings, their cries for repentance and spiritual renewal in the Church it is now!

“I am a voice of one crying, ‘In the wilderness make straight the way of the Lord.’”

(Isaiah 40:3f; John 1:19-23)

 

[1] This thought was espoused by 4th-century church man, Augustine, who taught gifts were intended for the early church and no longer needed when the apostles  died, or after the canon of Scripture established.

[2] Abraham J. Heschel, The Prophets, The Jewish Publication Society of America: New York, NY (1962), 18.