Prophets or Babysitters? by Jeff Beacham

INTRODUCTIONSocial acceptability was never the agenda of any true prophet of God in the Old Testament. Whether seer or challenger of the backslidden state of a people or nation, they confronted the status quo, sometimes reluctantly, to either prepare the people for the future or for a restoration of lost righteousness.

John the Baptist, the last but 'greatest' prophet of the Old Testament ("For I say to you, among those born of women there is not a greater prophet than John the Baptist...." Luke 7:28), was so unusual that his dress and diet received a special mention in Matthew's gospel ("Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey." Matthew 3:4).

Nonconformity can almost be said to be a necessary commodity of the prophetic ministry.
ME, MYSELF AND IIn the western world, nearly everyone alive today has been weaned in a consumer culture, which promotes the 'me, myself and I' mentality. Our conditioned expectation is to be served rather than to put others ahead of ourselves.

This attitude has invaded the church over the last four decades, with the result that people come to church asking, "What's in it for me?" Consequently, most decide where they will be in the Kingdom, not so much on the call of God for their lives but on the best deal available.
In turn, political correctness (read unbiblical), another ethic of this age, has fostered a thin-skinned sensitivity that encourages us to take offense at the slightest discomfort - emotionally, physically, and spiritually.

As a result, we leave and go to the other church across town. This easy offendability is one of the biggest hindrances to advancing the Kingdom of God in this nation. With 98% of church growth in America coming from transference, some churches that have become 'mega' have done so aided by consumerism's best ally - television.

Just like Wal-Mart coming to town, these churches have grown at the expense of all the 'mom and pop' churches. However, the fact remains that the vast majority of congregations in America number well under 100 members.

CHRISTIANITY LIGHTThe lack of significant growth in the American church is compounded by associated issues such as a lack of spiritual boldness to be a witness, which suggests that the church is slacking off from a true and empowering baptism of the Spirit.

Also, diversity, an offshoot of political correctness, makes it unpopular to 'proselytize,' pressuring Christians to keep their religious views to themselves, at the same time forcing us to accept the views of others, which may be at odds with the Christian world view. This pressure is not just confined to the pews; it is also touching the pulpit.

Our preaching may be addressing the 'felt' needs of the people, but shies away from the root issues! God's words are not minced; they cut to the quick!
POWER PREACHINGThe most powerful force in this world is not nuclear but verbal! The power of the spoken word has changed more on this earth than anything else. That's why the Lord chose preaching as the main way to communicate the Gospel.

The written word affords a collective continuity of human thought beyond just one generation. That's why the Bible is still the biggest selling book after hundreds of generations.
God's Word revolves around the message of the Cross and, if it is truly foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Corinthians 1:18), it is so because it does not conform to the logic of this age.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM!The Cross is not about 'me' - it's about others. True Christianity is not about individuality; it's about a community called the Kingdom of God, which has only one commission - to advance like an army! If the church is supposed to be an army, as in "...onward Christian soldiers," we don't have time to get offended any more than troops on the frontline would have the luxury of endless 'counseling' sessions in the face of an onslaught from the enemy.

In a battle, you must follow orders, whether you like it or not. Minuscule matters of offense dissolve before your eyes when death is staring you in the face!
THE FEAR OF THE LORDThe war over the human soul is the greatest battle of all time! Many pastors today have felt the pressure to pull back from the battle front. Proclaiming God's truth is the responsibility of all leaders in the Body of Christ.

In this sense, we are called to speak for Him as prophets to this generation. Otherwise, we just abrogate our role to that of 'babysitters' to an immature church.
May courage infect our souls and the fear of the Lord overcome the fear of man, and when the day comes, let us all be able to stand before God with confidence in anticipation of those desired words, "well done, good and faithful servant, now come into your rest." #


About the Author

Jeff Beacham is the director of Firepower Ministries International (FMI), founded in Australia and based in New Jersey since 1999. As well as conducting a mobile ministry, Jeff is also in senior leadership with City Covenant Coalition in New York City, NJ FAITH Alliance, the NJFPC Clergy Advisory Council. He writes regularly for several Christian publications. www.firepowerint.com

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