We read in the NT of Jesus calling individuals to follow him. Peter, Andrew, James, and John, fishermen of the Sea of Galilee. Matthew, the tax collector. We read of Jesus praying on the mount all night and then choosing twelve apostles. In more modern times we hear of individuals like Hudson Taylor, D.L. Moody, and Billy Graham being called to ministry. Missionaries, evangelists, and many others.
In my own experience I believe that there is a call today to a prophet ministry. One day I was praying downstairs in the basement of our family home. During those earlier years I was trying to pray an hour a day. I was not working a job. I was a stay-at-home mother of two young children. Suddenly during my prayer time I heard a voice that was not audible in the room say ‘prophet’. I heard it inside my head, or my heart, so to speak. I was stopped short. This voice had interrupted my prayer. I began to cry.
What does this mean exactly? I’m thinking that for me it means something like Jeremiah’s experience in the OT. He tried to stop being a watchman or give warnings to the people of Israel, but as he watched the Israelites in their error(s) he was compelled to speak out and exhort them. This caused him a lot of trouble. Jeremiah had so much trouble that he lamented before God that he had ever been born! The apostle Paul states that God has placed the apostles last. It was while they were being beaten down and trodden upon that the church in his day prospered.
I have difficulty when I hear someone in a Christian teaching ministry say that the time of apostles and prophets has ended. To me, this teaching is just not true. I think this is due to my own experience and reading in the Bible that the ministries spoken of in the NT are to build up and encourage the saints. In the book of Ephesians it says that the city is built upon the foundation of the prophets and apostles. We cannot decide that we will accept some NT ministries and make a decision that others listed within the same sentence in scripture are not for our day.
The prophet is never going away as we see demonstrated today. Many false prophets are abounding in influence and power in the church, in Christian TV, or in other ministry. This can be partly attributed to the false teaching of our day that we believers cannot judge those among us. We read in the NT that believers and elders in the church are to judge and test the spirits of those who lead us. We read in I and II Corinthians that we are to execute discipline upon the sinful behavior of those in the church. In Corinthians Paul’s instructions concerning the gross sexual sins of an individual were to put him out of the assembly. When and if repentance is demonstrated by the offending individual the church can then go forward with reconciliation. Today Christian leaders seem to be saying that we don’t need to do this. Instead, we are to encourage this individual who is committing gross sexual sin to stay in the church. God’s grace has covered over his sin in God’s eyes, and hopefully someday his thinking and actions will change when he sees what a great bunch of people we are.