The Heartbeat
"Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.” – 1 Corinthians 14:29 (ESV)

As I survey the modern church, few verses of scripture are as significant as 1 Corinthians 14:29 in helping us discern God's plan for us.

The modern church is divided over spiritual gifts. This division exists not only in reference to the "sign gifts" (tongues, interpretation of tongues, and healing), but also in regards to the gift of prophecy. This is somewhat ironic in light of the fact that the apostle Paul – the man to whose teaching on spiritual gifts we consider our guide – deemed prophecy as the spiritual gift which should be the most sought after (1 Corinthians 14:1).

Many, if not most, modern evangelical churches have pretty much buried the role of the prophet with the gift of prophecy. Being uncertain as to what to make of the gift, instead of it being "earnestly desired" (1 Corinthians 14:1) it has been neglected, relegated to a time past, redefined or simply glossed over. Non-charismatic Bible colleges make the case that the gift of prophecy has to do BOTH with "foretelling" and "forthtelling." And as pastors are considered "forthtellers" – telling forth the word of God – they can be deemed our modern prophets. But this defining or redefining of prophecy makes the manifestation of the gift appear quite different that the examples of prophecy or prophets that we find in the book of Acts. Agabus, mentioned in Acts two times and there called a prophet, made clear predictions of the future. Given that, a valid question to ask of these non-charismatic Bible colleges would be "If a pastor never makes predictions of the future, should he still be considered a prophet?"

In charismatic churches we find Christians that openly and eagerly speak of their prophets and the predictions of their prophets. In that sense these churches show that they embrace 1 Corinthians 14:29. The problem here is that while they embrace the first part of that verse the second part appears to fall on deaf ears. For whereas the non-charismatic churches fail to embrace the prophets and their speaking, the charismatic churches fail to embrace the call to "weigh" what has been said.

The word used in the Greek text for this weighing is diakrinetwsan (pronounced dia-krin-e-toe-san). This word means "to make a distinction, to separate, to discriminate." Here the listener is being challenged to pass judgment on what has been said. Just because someone says, "The Lord told me," does not mean the Lord has said anything to that person. The Old Testament scriptures record the many false predictions of so-called "prophets" (see Jeremiah 23:25-29). Just because someone says, "The Lord has told me" or "The Lord is showing me" doesn't mean the Lord has told or shown that person anything at all. There is a DESPARATE NEED in our age for those who have real discernment to hear these prophets and then to accurately "weigh" what has been said.

So the non-charismatics have failed in not embracing the role and gifting of the prophet, while the charismatics have failed in swallowing whatever every so called prophet has to say. At least that is how I see it.

Lord, please help us! Help us to be led by your Word and by your Spirit. Please, guide us into all truth. May we neither quench your Holy Spirit, nor be played for fools by your enemy. Help us. I pray in Jesus' name. Amen.

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