by Rayola Kelley
Q: "Noticed article had no email addy of author who wrote on how to discern false prophets, so reader can't contact author; rather cowardly I think. She wrote: 'the church does not need prophets', (scripture says it does, but that we're to test prophecies…etc.) She (Rayola Kelley) goes on to use words like: 'blowhards', 'heretics' to describe prophets. There are false prophets, but there are true prophets also, and God judges swiftly those who 'touch his prophets and do them harm'. Ms. Rayola's article isn't 100% factual, and ignores some scriptural (New Testament) basis and support for prophets and prophecy being viable for the church TODAY. Her harsh words are not compatible with the name of your website: Gentle Shepherd Ministries–there was nothing gentle about her denunciations of prophets/prophecies. She borders heresy in her article."
A: To set the record straight, your conclusion about me hiding or being a coward is total speculation on your part. Since I am one of the founders of Gentle Shepherd Ministries, my name is all over the Web Site as well as my testimony and other information about me. As you can see, you were able to contact me through the site without any problem. I would like to advise you that before you jump to any more unfair conclusions about someone else, you might take a bit more time to investigate.
You will have to excuse me that I do not remember specific details about the article in question. However, I will try to answer your concerns about it. I have to admit this puts me at a disadvantage. The reason is that it is not unusual for people to take a sentence out of context in order to distort the spirit or intent of a matter. In such cases, the person is not interested in the truth, but interested in trying to discredit the person by presenting them in an unfair light. To be honest with you, the statement you have quoted me as saying does not sound like me. Granted, I may have made the statement, but it probably was in relationship to a greater picture, which appears to be missing in your e-mail.
Therefore, let me set the matter straight as to what I believe the Word of God is saying. Do I believe that there are prophets, like those in the Old Testament, walking around today? My answer is no. Do I believe there are people who hold the position of prophets for today? My answer is yes. Is this confusing? Not really, if people understand that the function of the prophet has changed where the Old and New Testaments are concerned. The reason for this is because God spoke through the prophets in the Old Testament, identifying and establishing the foundation of our belief, which is Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 3:11). This fact is brought out in Ephesians 4:20, and the writer in Hebrews 1:1 confirms this as well. However, Hebrews 1:2tells us that God will speak in the last days through His Son, not the prophets. After all, Jesus is the complete fulfillment of the Law and prophecies that were clearly brought forth through these great men of God (Matthew 5:17-18).
This brings me to the function of those who hold the position of prophet in the Church. If you read the position of the prophet in relationship to the text of Ephesians 4:11-13, you will realize that the responsibility of the prophet is clearly being defined. For example, there are two functions of a prophet, that of foretelling (the future) and that of forthtelling (exhortation). Most of the foretelling has been clearly established in Scripture by the prophets of old. This does not mean that the Holy Spirit will not prepare God’s people for future events through prophecy. After all, prophecy was brought forth as He moved on holy men of God in regards to the establishment of the Old Testament. His work to prepare men for future happenings has not changed. Prophecy is one of His responsibilities as well as one of His manifestations (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 12:7-10 1 Thessalonians 5:19-20; 2 Peter 2:19-21).
However, the main responsibility of the prophet of today is not establishing a foundation that already exists, but to edify or bring saints to spiritual maturity by establishing them on the solid foundation of Jesus Christ. This responsibility would point to the responsibility of forthtelling (exhortation). Therefore, the prophets of today are watchmen who guard the truth of the Word and the souls of men. They would be more in the business of identifying false prophets and heretical teachings, rather than the exercise of claiming they are prophets whom everyone better listen to or they will be judged. My understanding of judgment is that it is not based on whether I bow down to someone who insists he or she is a prophet, but whether I receive a love for the truth and bow down to Jesus Christ as Head of the Body, Savior of my Soul and Lord of my life (2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). After all, truth will ultimately confirm that a message is true. Therefore, those who love the truth will come into subjection to the message, not the messenger.
The problem that I see with all of these prophets running around, claiming they have a word from the Lord, is that in almost all the cases I have personally encountered, these people are not edifying the Body by confirming the foundation or cornerstone that has already been established by the prophets of old and the first apostles of the new Church. Rather, they are trying to redefine the foundation, so that they will become the cornerstone. As the cornerstone, they will replace Jesus with their own importance and erroneous teachings, bringing people under an antichrist spirit. Ultimately, they will indoctrinate people as to how they will perceive, interpret and handle the Word of God. To me, such people fulfill prophecies that can be found in Matthew 24:11 and 24 concerning false prophets. Jesus warned that in the end days, there would be many false prophets who would go about deceiving many, and if it were possible, they would even deceive the very elect.
To set the record straight, false prophets are nothing but ravening wolves in sheep’s clothing, expounding doctrines of demons. These wolves pretty well know what they are doing. Jesus told His disciples that He was sending them among wolves (Matthew 7:15, 10:16; Luke10:3; 1 Timothy 4:1). The Apostle Paul talked about grievous wolves that had entered among the believers (Acts 20:29).
The question is how do we handle wolves among us? Granted, we are to instruct those who are in sin in meekness. We are to contend in gentleness for those who are weak in faith. For the heretic, we are to admonish or warn twice, then separate from them. Clearly, we must discern the condition and the spirit of the person to determine how to properly contend with them. In some cases, we must show compassion; while for others, we must save with fear, pulling them out of the fire of damnation. (Titus 3:10; Jude 22-23). As James 5:19-20 states:“Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him, Let him know that he who converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”
However, how do we handle wolves? They are not interested in the truth because they have their own agendas. They are heretical in their claims, but they are not ignorant or deceived about their goals. Do we love them while they destroy the faith of new converts, undermine the authority of God’s true leaders, and scatter the sheep away from the true Shepherd? Do we pamper them in their deception and sin in the name of Christian tolerance?
Since Jesus is our example, let us consider His reaction towards the Pharisees that opposed Him and His truth. He made an important statement to them: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15).
What is the real issue here? Is it some person’s reputation or is it the truth? You appear more concerned about whether I recognize that there are prophets, when clearly my article was concerned about the false prophets that are running around and making converts out of their way of thinking. And, as Jesus said, they are making them twofold the children of hell. Please understand my heart. I do not care about the opinions and claims of those who call themselves prophets; I care about God’s truth being maintained and the welfare of souls. The harsh reality is that souls cannot make it into the kingdom of heaven unless they possess the real Jesus and love His truth. If those who call themselves “prophets” adhere to the spirit and truth of the complete counsel of God, I will come into agreement with them. Otherwise, I will not give them the time of day, unless it is to warn others of heretical teachings they may be expounding on.
The real test of a great man or woman of God is simple. For example, do these people, whom you feel the need to defend, uphold Jesus, or do they exalt their position as prophet? Do they exhort you to love Jesus or do they demand you follow them? Do they love the truth and exhort you to love the truth, as well as follow them as they follow Jesus, or do they claim they are the ultimate authority, and you must not question or touch their “so-called” anointing?
The problem I have with your emphasis is that you seem more concerned about people and positions, rather than the real issue of my article, which I suspect dealt with the deception of false prophets acting in the same capacity as the Old Testament prophets.
Let me leave you with a bit of warning. It is easy to get caught up with the cause of man, but such causes will often leave you standing with egg on your face. However, to stand for the truth will ensure that you will never be ashamed, for you will always find yourself standing on the immovable Rock of Ages (Romans 9:33).