Guessing or prophetic? - Pastor says true Christians are led by God's spirit
The new year is often heralded with prophetic words for the country and the world at large from apostles and prophets..
It is also the norm to hear a church member speaking at length in tongues, sometimes followed by a word or a warning from the Lord.
Many sceptics have issues embracing that the words being delivered come from the Almighty. For them, it's just good guessing or speaking from their own conviction.
To them, the idea of God actually delivering messages through mere mortals seems far-fetched.
Family and Religion reached out to Pastor Dwight Bryan of the Dominion In Christ International Ministries, who wholeheartedly supports preachers or apostles who speak under the inspiration or anointing from God.
Regarding speaking in tongues and following up with a message, Bryan said that it is actually a manifestation of one of the nine gifts of the spirit.
"These gifts, as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12, are given for the common good (verse 7 NIV). This provides us with a biblical foundation that these gifts are God-given and provided for the benefit of His church. That said, any good gift has to be used properly. Otherwise, it can be abused and not provide its intended benefit," he said.
Citing prayer as a universal means of communicating with God, Bryan said that Christians are still admonished by Jesus in the Bible not to pray as the hypocrites do - standing in public to be seen of men and using vain repetitions.
"This shows that even something as good and beneficial as prayer can be abused. This certainly does not mean that we should not pray!" he said.
Bryan said that tongues, interpretation and prophetic words should be embraced in faith while allowing them to be used within the framework of godly principles.
"In 1 Corinthians 14:27, we see that messages in tongues must be given decently, and in order, and that there should be interpretation. Verse 29 goes on to state that prophetic words should be given in an orderly fashion and that they should be judged. By that, [it means] prophetic words, which include tongues and interpretation, should be judged in light of scripture. The spoken word by the Holy Spirit will never contradict His written word in the scriptures. So this is one key element for determining whether or not a word is from God," shared Bryan.
He pointed out that true Christians are led by God's spirit, with the Holy Spirit bearing witness with theirs.
"So there is an inward witness of the Holy Spirit that guides us and alerts as to whether we hear is from Him or not. So now, we have two safeguards: the alignment with the written word in the Bible, and does it bear witness with our spirits as we are led by the Holy Spirit?" he opines.
According to Bryan, the gifts of the spirit operate in the local church, where God has set shepherds in place to provide protection for His flock.
Pointing out that one of the roles of the pastor is to watch over the souls of the congregation, he said that part of that responsibility includes setting boundaries as to who is permitted to speak messages from the Lord to the congregation.
"God will give the pastors heightened discernment to allow them to carry out this duty," he said.
For the sceptics who questions, the truth of the prophetic words, sometimes fulfilment is long in coming to pass, Bryan says that God does not often move according to human timelines. It is for this reason he cautions in using that line of argument as a measure of accuracy.
"The Prophet Isaiah could have been stoned as a false prophet because the virgin birth of Jesus did not occur until centuries after his death. So, in summary, in order to ensure that the gifts are used according to the will and desire of the giver, we need to use the following safeguards," he said, advising that first, "one must be planted in a local church under the authority of a local pastor, who watches over your soul, who acts as a safeguard in terms of who is allowed to speak over the congregation. Spend time feeding on the word of God so that you can judge messages based on the Bible, and finally, make a lifestyle of prayer and godly living so that you have a spirit that is tender to the Holy Spirit so that He can guide you to determine whether or not what you are hearing is from Him."