I took a year of high school Spanish from a disturbingly coiffed woman named, if I remember correctly, Mrs. Whitley. She was at least sixty-five, and she wore a dangerous blonde-type wig. (Well, if it wasn’t a wig, it sure looked like it.) I hated that class.
College French was a lot more fun. I had Dr. Krickel for four semesters, and she regularly tore me a new one (sometimes even when I wasn’t in class). I actually retained some of this language, and can probably remember enough to insult a Frenchman.
I have also had limited exposure to what my friend Lee Phillips calls “prophetese.” If you’ve moved in Pentecostal/charismatic circles for very long, you’ve heard it.
Perhaps you’ve done better than I have, but I can’t for the life of me make sense of this language. But I’ve identified some of the rules. Before I get to them, however, I’ll risk excommunication and offer an example (completely made up, but not far from the truth):
This will be a time, and a place, and people will be here. where people will grow to become more than they were before they began growing. And you will say, Yes. And then I will say, Yes.
(Come to think of it, it sounds a lot like the Book of Armaments: “Hold aloft the holy hand grenade and count to three. Three is the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, noyther count thou two, unless thou then proceedest to three. Five is right out!”)
I guess I’m surprised a little when someone says, “So-and-so’s prophecy came true!” I look at the word or listen to it, and it’s general enough that it could have a lot of fulfillments. And I see that the person quoted says similar things wherever they go.
Let me add that I believe wholeheartedly in the gifts of the Spirit, and I believe that prophecy is for today. I have heard some things, and seen them come to pass, that make my hair stand on end. But I’ve heard many more “words” that do nothing but nullify the Word of God, and others that bring disgrace on the God of the Scriptures.
And I guess I lament the fact that no one from within accuses false prophets anymore. Stoning is not the answer; don’t go saying I said that we should stone ’em! But we must give up our addiction to the “now” word. If we do, the times God does speak dramatically will have much more effect in our churches and our communities. As it stands now, I think we’ve cried wolf so much that some people’s ears are dead to the voice of God.
I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this, but I’ll let that stand for now.