12 Points on Prophecy, a Pentecostal Perspective

February 24, 2020

Learning About Prophecy

In my time as a Pentecostal, I was given personal prophecy on a few occasions.  Sometimes I received those words from someone who was obviously prophesying.  At other times I received them from people who were simply speaking as they felt led by the Holy Spirit.

In other words, I knew what prophecy was in a I-know-it-when-I-see it kind of way before I decided to study Pentecostal doctrine at the Berean school of the Bible.  But by the end of the course I had a better understanding of how the Assembly of God sees it.  I thought I'd share some of that below.

12 Points of Prophecy from a Pentecostal Perspective

  1. Prophecy is speaking divine truth in your own language as prompted by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:5).
  2. Prophecy is not, and should never be taken as, fortune telling as fortune telling is specifically forbidden by Scripture (Deuteronomy 18:10-13). This isn't to say that prophecy never has any connection to future.  Only that prediction isn't its purpose.
  3. The purpose of prophecy is to edify and build up the church.  There may be a personal or individual application. But that is not the primary purpose. (1 Corinthians 14:26, 40)
  4. Prophecy is a gift (Ephesians 4:11) but it is not a lifetime gift in the way that ministry or teaching often are.  An individual may prophecy once or twice or twenty times but there is no guarantee that the gift will be ongoing.
  5. I can personally take that one step further and say that if there is no ongoing prophet for life guarantee there is no on-demand option either.  
  6. While prophets did exercise influence in the early church (1 Thessalonians 5:20), there was "no provision made for qualifying or appointing prophets as a part of a church leadership hierarchy for succeeding generations."*
  7. Prophecy was to be tested. The gift of discernment can help with this but the ultimate authority is ALWAYS Scripture. A prophetic word that is in anyway contrary to Scripture is false. (Corinthians 14:37)
  8. Prophecy should always glorify God, not the individual who delivers the prophetic message.
  9. Prophecy is the only gift of ministry of the Holy Spirit listed in all four New Testament passages the topic.  Specifically 1 Corinthians 12:8-10, 1 Corinthians 12:28-30, Romans 12:4-8 and Ephesians 4:11.
  10. We should, according to the apostle Paul, desire prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)
  11. As Christian's we are to cooperate with the work that the Holy Spirit intends for us.  We should not stifle (1 Thessalonians 5:19) or resist (Acts 7:51) the Spirit in regard to prophecy. (Romans 12:6-8)
  12. We must receive all gifts of the Spirits with humility, always remembering that as with any gift we have done nothing to them. (Romans 12:3)

My Perspective

I agree with much of what I learned in the Berean School and treasure the time I spent in the Assembly of God.  But now that I have returned to Catholicism I'm learning to look at personal and private revelation in a very different way.  In many ways, I'm still putting the pieces together but as I do I will be sure to share!

* Quoted material with an asterisk are taken from Apostles and Prophets (Official Assembly of God Position Paper) available at:   https://ag.org/Beliefs/Position-Papers/Apostles-and-Prophets

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