A DISCOURSE ON THE NEW TESTAMENT GIFT OF PROPHECY
Assembled and authorized by
The Elders of the Table Mountain Chapel
Old Testament Prophets
This statement is not concerned with the Old Testament prophet. We acknowledge their existence and their importance, but do not feel that, since they are not relevant to the functioning of the gift in the Church, time and space is unnecessary for that subject here. Let it be said, however, that the primary function of prophets, even in Old Testament days, was to bring the Word of the Lord to the people. Even in situations where the future was predicted, it usually had to do with the coming of Messiah.
The Greek word for prophesy is propheteuo. It means to speak under inspiration, or to exercise the office of a prophet.
The Greek word for prophet is prophetes, and it means an inspired speaker.
The Greek word for prophecy is propheteia, and it means to predict, either from the Scriptures, or otherwise.
Prediction of Future Events
There is an aspect of prophecy as it is identified in the Bible that has to do with predicting future events, as the daughters of Philip predicted the imprisonment of St. Paul. We are not concerned with that, nor are we involved in it.
Prophets at Large, or Roving Prophets
The book of Acts may present the idea of roving prophets who did not hold office in the Church and who went from place-to-place predicting things. We know little about this matter, and are not inclined to pursue it. If there be such prophets, their conviction and their work must be their authority, and their reward. The Church cannot authorize nor ordain such people.
Prophets of the Church
It seems clear to this elder body that there were and are to be prophets in the Church who will be concerned with understanding the Scriptures in-depth, and guarding the doctrine of the Church. In that interest, we cite the following passages.
Rom 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;
This seems to us to say that St. Paul told the Gentile Church there should and would be prophets among them, and that the prophets were to pursue their office with sobriety and diligence.
I Cor 12:28 And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.
This passage says to us that God has established the office of prophet in the New Testament Gentile Church, and that it is one of the first-line gifts.
I Cor 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing.
We make of this that the prophet has the gift of the Spirit of understanding, and bringing out the deeper things of the Word of God that are not available to the one who has the gift of preaching or teaching only.
I Cor 14:1 Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that ye may prophesy.
This tells us that prophesying is connected with preaching truth, that it is an honorable office, and godly men are encouraged to seek it.
I Cor 14:29 Let the prophets speak two or three, and let the other judge.
This tells us that prophets should be in control of the preaching ministry of the Church.
I Cor 14:31 For ye may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted.
I Cor 14:32 And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.
This passage, having to do with order in the Church, tells us that the gift is given to the man, and that he has control over it. Nothing in the New Testament Church will take a man against or without his will and choice and begin to speak, or otherwise demonstrate through him.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;
Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:
Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness whereby they lie in wait to deceive;
Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
This tells us that the gift and the office of prophecy is much needed in the Church to prevent heresies and the seizing of control by deceivers who are looking for their chance.
II Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.
I John 4:1 Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.
False prophets could not function effectively and commonly unless the prophet were a common and expected figure in the Church.
The gift of prophecy that we are interested in, and the one which we have ordained, and will ordain if appropriate in the future, is the prophet in the Church. Prediction of the future, except in the most incorporated of ways with the Bible itself (i.e. "in the last days evil men and seducers will wax worse and worse") is outside the scope of our interest, as are women and girl prophets, and other prophets at large who are not authorized by the Church, and have no office in it.
We believe that there are prophets in the fundamental and theologically conservative Church today that do not have that ordination or title, but who are nonetheless performing that duty. We have no fault to find with that. However, we have chosen to ordain our prophet and give him the title and the office because of a desire to rescue the theology and doctrine of the Church from the soiled hands of the scholar and put it back in the hands of the prophets of the Church, where Ephesians 4 says that it belongs. We hope that this notoriety will stir in other churches a conviction to do the same.
We trust that this definition will give context and parameters to any ordination that has been or will be performed by this elder board and this Church.
THE ELDERS OF THE TABLE MOUNTAIN CHAPEL
/s/ Steve Pardina
/s/ Earl Cripe
/s/ Dave Munroe
/s/ Cletus Leadbetter
/s/ John Walsh
/s/ Dave Sampson
/s/ Rev. Darryl Peavy