Defining strangeness!

upsidedownRichard Baxter, one of the great Puritan ministers said that, “there is no divinity in devices”, I would take that to include ’strangeness’ too!

Prophets throughout history, even in Old Testament days, have done some strange things. The message, and at times the delivery, are to say the least, controversial.

More often than not, it is the delivery that causes anxiety to the people who are looking on. Why do prophets have to do such strange things?

Many people are pursuing prophetic ministry and it seems there is no lack of confusion surrounding its proper function. Whether you are called to prophetic ministry or just serving Christ with all your heart, you will be faced with many odd, even strange things that will require much spiritual discernment during your walk with God. Spiritual discernment will come from the Holy Spirit and find confirmation in many Scriptures throughout the written Word of God.

The Agabus feature
Agabus tied Paul’s hand’s, and then shared a message that this was how God was taking Paul into Rome.

Why didn’t he just say it instead of showing it? Scripture is silent.

It seems that that is how God will reveal His will at times. Sometimes the reason prophetic people do strange things is because they want to show or demonstrate visually, the things that God has brought to mind, but Prophets (must) humbly accept the truth that they see through a glass darkly, that they know only in part.

In other words, they make mistakes. Mature prophets urge everyone to who they prophesy to judge, test and compare with scripture everything they say. They are not offended when people are careful and want scriptural support to what is being said. In fact the Bible commends this. Scripture will always bear willingly, the scrutiny of the serious heart searching for confirmation of what God is saying, or doing.

There are some that have made outrageous claims. Their strangeness in what they do is not so much pointing men to the Living Christ, but towards supporting their ministry;

“In my generation, Jezebel and Baalim prophets are the prevailing enemies of true prophetic ministry. In the last 20 years these spirits have grown sophisticated. They’ve built their own network of churches, followers and training schools. They’ve written books and produced many training videos. These spirits intend to hijack the prophetic ministry and hold themselves out to be the “experts” in the field. They condemn criticism as irrelevant, unloving, ignorant and judgmental. More than likely things will grow worse. If so, you will find them as your strongest opponents.” ~ Jonas Clark

Don’t be quick to dismiss anything though – there are some things that authentic prophets did, that raised eyebrows!

Prophets did strange things in the Bible from laying on their side for extended periods of time, to cooking with dung to throwing sticks in the water to retrieve axe heads. Oddness is a way of life for some – but what is significant is that when this occurs, everyone is aware that God really has spoken, and it is usually – almost exclusively, a call to repentance and fresh dedication to Christ alone.

I have purposely not ventured into discussing the strange behaviour of some in detail. It would indict too many folks and that is not the intention here. We are called to weigh carefully the prophetic ministry that comes before us. Weigh it so that we are not deceived or lead astray, weigh it so that we can see when God has been speaking to us and thus whole heartedly embrace what He is lovingly sharing, affirming, encouraging or leading us into.

Prophecy is a valuable gift – please don’t be put off by the way that the messenger brings the message. Test the fruit – not the methodology. But if the methodology is ‘wrong’ then correct them…

Moving forward . . .

  • Prophetic people; ask those who you are accountable to if the delivery of the message you bring is stopping people from hearing the message. You are not infallible. People want to hear – humble yourself and take advice!
  • And my plea to those who look on; please speak carefully to the one who you feel is communicating ‘good things in a bad way’, and express to them your desire to hear the valuable things they are looking to contribute. Offer to help them work on their delivery in such a way that folks can receive gladly the encouragement that they bring.

We don’t want to be folks coming with a gift for the next door neighbour and just throwing it over the fence, or cramming it under the fence, and then wondering why it has not been received with gladness! Learn to find the gate, open it and offer what you have!

I’m not perfect – sometimes I use a catapult to get stuff over the fence. It goes so high and so far that I wonder if the recipient ever received the message that I sent. Join with me in the learning curve!

I’ve missed lots of issues here and I will address them further in the days to come.