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Do Prophets Exist Today?

He has appointed some with grace to be apostles, and some with grace to be prophets, and some with grace to be evangelists, and some with grace to be pastors, and some with grace to be teachers (Ephesians 4:11 TPT).

Do prophets exist today? Yes.

Ephesians 4 states there are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers and that… 

… These grace gifts will function until we all attain oneness into the faith (Ephesians 4:13).

All the leadership gifts of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers – all – will exist until the church reaches its full potential. The book of Acts gives a glimpse of the church at full potential in Acts 2 and Acts 4. 

In the end-times revival, the church will also fully manifest in power and in love.

A year ago, I noticed my wife watching a TV show with five prophets speaking about a politician. They all seemed to affirm the same specific prophecy. A prophecy that didn’t come true. Since that unfulfilled prophecy, I summarize the comments I’ve heard…

… All Christians are crazy, prophets are out of control and not in submission, and the catchphrase, “How about having Old Testament standards today as they used to stone prophets with unfulfilled prophecies?”

New Testament gifts are different than Old Testament gifts. I like The Passion Translation of Ephesians 4 describing grace to be apostles, grace to be prophets, grace to be evangelists, grace to be pastors, and grace to be teachers.

The New Testament has grace, the Old Testament doesn’t.

Are prophets who make a prediction that doesn’t come true, and then don’t admit error, living in grace? Are those critical of prophets, wanting them to be stoned, understanding grace?

Grace withholds judgment toward others while humbly seeking forgiveness for self.

New Testament prophecy focuses on comfort, edification, and encouragement (1 Corinthians 14:3). But the New Testament still gives an indication of predictive prophecy. Reading the story of Agabus, when he predicted a famine throughout the Roman Empire, we witness the newly formed Christian church starting its first worldwide compassion ministry (Acts 11:27-30).

In Interruption #243, I shared my personal story:

Years ago a prophet put a coat over my head and said, “As you are hidden today when you grow older, this coat shall be gradually removed, and you will become increasingly visible to the nations.”  

Yep, I was standing in a room surrounded by people that I didn’t know when someone walked up and put a coat over my head. I don’t like to hug. I like to keep my personal space – even before COVID – so can you imagine my thoughts while under the coat? 

Yes, I thought of those stones from the Old Testament. Perhaps I could even throw a few at the coat holder, but the predictive prophecy came true and has been a great source of encouragement.

With the prophets mentioned earlier, I have read their books and been blessed by their ministry. I believe in predictive and comforting prophecy, but I know prophets can be wrong. Errors should be admitted and when they aren’t…

… it’s problematic for me and a source of stumbling for less mature Christians and those who don’t follow Jesus.

James teaches a stricter judgment for Christian leaders (James 3:1). Higher visibility makes humility more difficult. The key to Ephesians 4 leadership is not spectacular miracles or potential influence but grace expressed in humility.

And then our immaturity will end! And we will not be easily shaken by trouble, nor led astray by novel teachings or by the false doctrines of deceivers who teach clever lies. But instead, we will remain strong and always sincere in our love as we express the truth (Ephesians 4:14-15).

As a teacher, I have made mistakes and I’m glad those listening were gracious. Prophets make mistakes. I pray for grace in their victories and in their mistakes. The New Testament clearly indicates that a mistake or even a series of mistakes does not disqualify the gift.

The gifts and calling of God are irrevocable – but effective only in love, mercy, and grace.