A Warning Against Young Head-Strong
Prophets and False Teachers
What to Watch out For
In a Church such as the New Covenant Church of God which trains in the ministry all those who are willing to fully follow Christ, and encourages the spiritual gifts, there are bound to be head-strong men (and sometimes women) who are either young of age or young of spirit (or both) who, lacking sound spiritual knowledge, self-control and discipline, occasionally race beyond the mark set by God in their ministry and try to usurp authority. It is not long before such people create considerable difficulties for not only themselves but also for others immature and na´ve in spiritual matters, sometimes leading them away from the household of faith.
This is by no means a new problem. We find that this has happened throughout all dispensations of the Church. In the New Testament we read about a rebel called Diotrophes who rejected apostolic authority (3 John 1:9-10) and began exerting unrighteous dominion over God's people by excommunicating those who did follow his rebellion. In the sub-apostolic period we also learn of a group of young men who rejected the authority of the elders in the Corinthian colony of the Church of God and who caused chaos, preaching false doctrine and encouraging others to rebellion (1 Clement). The tragedy of such situations is that it is not only the leaders of rebellions who suffer but also those whom they mislead by their folly.
Throughout the short history of the New Covenant Church of God there have been prophetic warnings of imminent rebellions. There have been three thus far, all foretold in advance. And there have been many other prophecies relating to specific individuals who have led rebellions or enticed others to be a part of them.
Today I would like to share with you some of the revelations that the Lord has given the Church to warn the people not to overstep the mark and to learn humility and obedience to the Word and those who have been called to be its custodians. These revelations, given at the beginning of this Church's work in Norway in 1988, come as a timely reminder of man's propensity to rebel against the Lord and of the one who is behind such rebellions -- Satan -- which, by interpretation, means "the lawless one".
Extracts from God's Word to the Young and Unruly
Teachers and Prophets
" "The Word of the Lord to those arising in their endowment in Me, even Jesus Christ: let your souls be filled with zeal for Zion and let your minds seek pure doctrine, knowledge, and wisdom...Some of you have knowledge but do not know doctrine because ye do not understand the heavenly pattern; and most of you do not have wisdom because ye neither understand the doctrine nor are ye girded with the true love of Christ which ever seeketh to move outwards... Behold, there are many who think they are good helmsmen, saith the Lord, but I say unto you that their doctrine is weak and they would take the vessel, which is the Church and the souls therein, into dangerous waters, where it would strike hidden rocks and sink.
"And one or two are jealous of the gifts with which I have endowed My servants, and have seized hold upon the rudders of their own souls, and have expounded nonsense, saith the Lord, and know not where they are going. And feign they would take the rudder of the Church and lead the Church unto destruction.
"And because they are jealous and puffed up with pride they will not yield themselves unto pure doctrine, but seek only their own counsel, and are led captive by vain and flowery imaginations. Unless such repent speedily, hard will be their fall.
"Thou shalt not compromise the true pattern in any degree else the vessel shall be lost and many souls shall perish...
"I have come unto this, the New Covenant (Church of God), not to coddle your fallen natures, but to burn you that you might be truly free. Seek after the pure love of Christ, and it shall go well with you, for all else will fail without it" (15 November, 1988).
" "Hearken, ye children of light, and be ye in no wise deceived, for in the last day ye shall not find many willing to follow the Son of Man unto perfect obedience; and thus cometh the saying: when the Son of Man returneth, where will He find faith?...
"For the proud and wicked will not hear My Voice; and those who have some Light will be lifted up unto boastfulness saying that we need no more. And when My servants who have the greater Light come unto them, they shall be persecuted and reviled by those with less Light, for the guilty take the truth hard, for it cutteth them to the very centre [of their souls]..." (27 November 1988).
" "There are many who claim to be prophets who walk after the imaginings of their own hearts, for they have neither stood in the counsel of the Lord, nor received and heard His Word (Jer.23:18). For a prophet is one who has stood in the Heavenly Council, even the General Assembly and Church of the FirstbornHeb.12:23, before the throne of God, and the host of heaven standing by Him on His right hand and on His left hand1 Ki.22:19. These are they who received their calling and anointing before the world was, whom the Father of Lights foreordained and sanctified thereforJer.1:4-5. These are the prophets after the Order of the Patriarchs whom I, the Lord, send down to bring the erring sons and daughters of men to repentance and to wage war against darkness....
"There are many who desire to be prophets because they desire the gifts to consume upon their lusts, and neither know nor understand the sacrifices and sufferings that these, the servants of God, must make and undergo. And on account of their unwillingness to sacrifice and be obedient to every Word of God, many false prophets have arisen, sowing confusion in the souls of men from their own confused minds and hearts. Unto such cometh the indignation and wrath of an offended God unless they repent and learn humility.
"No man became a father before he was a son, saith the Lord, and therefore no man can become a prophet until he is grounded in the elementary principles of the Gospel and hath learned obedience; else he will be as unstable as water, being tossed to and fro by every wind of change, until he is cast upon the rocks and smashed...
"Therefore let all those who seek to be prophets beware, for a man cannot seek after this calling, but God shall call him, and ordain him, and set him apart for the work. Amen" (NC&C 84, 8 December 1988).
There are, in the Church of God, both teachers and prophets, and theirs are sacred callings (Ac.13:1). They are accountable before the General Assembly and Church of the Firstborn (Heb.12:23, AV) which exists in heaven and which has its early manifestation in the Holy Order, a ministry of the New Covenant Church of God. Those who were not commissioned by the Lord and placed under the authority of this Council who then attempt to usurp authority or prophesy are false prophets.
The office of teacher is similarly a most sacred one and is contained especially in the calling of an apostle (1 Tim.2:7; 2 Tim.1:11). They rank third place in importance in the Church of God (1 Cor.12:28). Teachers may only be called and set apart by apostles, or elders commissioned by apostles to do so in the local colonies. Not everyone is a teacher (1 Cor.12:29) and just because someone confidently affirms a doctrine does not make him a teacher either (1 Tim.1:7). A characteristic of Satan's activity in the churches will be the proliferation of false teachers (2 Tim.4:3; 2 Pet.2:1-3). It is true to say that many so-called teachers actually need true teachers to teach them the elementary principles of the Gospel again (Heb.5:12).
There are only therefore ever a few teachers in the colonies, and they are judged strictly (Jas.3:1) and must be trained well to ensure they are teaching the apostolic doctrine. Those who are not are to be removed quickly in order to protect the flock. This has always happened in the New Covenant Church of God when teachers or elders overstep their mark and begin to teach false doctrines or attempt to exercise authority they have not been given. It is for this reason that the teachers and elders of the third rebellion were quickly silenced in order to preserve the apostolic unity and doctrine of the Church.
The New Covenant Church of God is a Church of order and discipline. It is founded on the Law of God. Though it permits tremendous berth for those wishing to express the spiritual gifts, allows freedom of expression in a spirit of love and mutual respect, and gives those who err time to consider their position and make restitution, it tolerates no deviation from apostolic teaching and acts swiftly upon the rebellious who are unrepentant. It is a fine balance and not always understood by those first coming to the Church. Learning the importance of this balance of Freedom vs. Responsibility is most important for those who wish to thrive in the New Covenant which very much reflects the relationship between the freedom of the New Covenant and the responsibility of the Old which underpins it. This is one of the Church's hallmarks. If the Church does not maintain this balance, it will either become authoritarian and fossilise, or become weak and ineffective and lose the endowment of the Holy Spirit with which it has been blessed from the beginning.
It is a lesson all the sons and daughters of God must learn sooner or later.
This page was created on 17 April 1998
Last updated on 17 April 1998
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