Why Does the Church Need Prophets?

Yesterday I blogged about the task which prophets of God are called to.  In doing so, I raised the question of where are the prophets today.  As I said, in my own tribe, the Churches of Christ, there is little talk about present day prophets in the church.  Someone on Facebook said that it has to do with the fact that we have scripture and therefore have no need for prophets.  Really?  Such a view, in my judgment, just assumes to high of a view regarding humanity

In the comment section of yesterday’s post, Julia explained that a mentor told her that there will always be a need for prophets, “…Because men still depart from His ways and do not listen to the Holy Spirit.”  I think that pretty much sums up the reason why we still need prophets as well as the flawed reasoning which believes that scripture negates the need for prophets.

I don’t want to be misunderstood.  I hold a very high view of Scripture as God’s word to the church.  Scripture is our story, the story we are living out.  I believe it tells the truth and that it has been passed on to us by the church through the providence of God.  We cannot do away with scripture.  Now can we do away with church tradition (in the best sense).  Church tradition must be our constant conversation partner when we read and interpret scripture.  But…we never read scripture and listen to church tradition in a purely objective sense.  We all come to scripture and tradition within a context that shapes how we understand the Christian faith.

Consequently, at times we begin to lose sight of what being the church is all about.  Even with the best intentions, we can fail.  I always think of the scene from Alex Haley’s movie Roots where the master is sitting in his office reading the scriptures while Kunta Kinte is unmercifully beaten into submission (see clip below).  How can this seemingly sincere Christian slave owner read his Bible, presumably have some familiarity with church tradition, and yet fail to comprehend the injustice taking place right outside his window?

Well, this is why the church still needs her prophets.  It is these prophets who see where God’s people have strayed from their calling, run afoul, etc…and raise a critical voice in hopes of bringing God’s people to repentance.  Consider this recent article on CNN’s Belief Blog written by the Rev. DeForest B. Soarles Jr., My Take: Stop Supporting Buffoonery in the Pulpit.  Though Soarles Jr. serves as a Senior Pastor for a church in Somerset, New Jersey, God has apparently raised up a prophet in this pastor and now he is calling for repentance.

Does this make sense?

See also the previous post on Prophets:

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