Recently thru Facebook, I saw a video posted of a panel of reformed theologians answering a question about the validity of Christian Rap as a ministry tool. I thought it both interesting and strange that an all Anglo male group of theologians would even take on this topic. As I listened to their answers it was obvious that they should stay away from the topic from here forward. I would make one exception. I would love to have a healthy and respectful public conversation with any of the reformed theologians on that panel as one who has written on Hip Hop, the Church, and theology. If not me, I would encourage these reformed theologians to have a public conversation with folks like Dr. Daniel Hodge of North Park University in Chicago or Pastor Phil Jackson also of Chicago. I could name many others more qualified to provided a rich and biblical approach to Hip Hop and specifically the element of rap as a tool for the advancement of the Kingdom of God. Some say this issue has already been dealt with and I’m late to the party. Well, I have a feeling this won’t be the last time Anglo, evangelical, suburban, and male theologians speak as if they know more about God, urban culture, and people of color than urban people and people of color with ministry experience and theological credentials.
There is something else I want to briefly mention here as well. I am amazed by all of the recent conversations that Anglo male reformed theologians and pastors are having lately on issues of Hip Hop, race, and justice. On one hand I would say this is very wonderful. I’m glad to see Pastors such as Dr. John Piper and Dr. Tim Keller leading these conversations. At the same time, I’m very disappointed that rarely do these conversations include evangelical people of color and women who have been writing, speaking, and leading ministry models around these topic for years. Where is John Perkins, Brenda Salter-McNeil, Soon Chan Rah, Greg Yee, Dave Gibbons, Larry Acosta, Ed Delgado, Debbie Blue, Cecilia Williams, Robyn Afrik, and Eugene Cho? Until the conversations become more diverse and represent the broader community of evangelicals, reformed theology will lose ground in an ever-increasing multi-ethnic and evangelical Christian movement.
Since the reality show Preachers of LA debuted on the Oxygen cable channel this fall, I’ve watched every episode. There have been times when I’ve been deeply touched by this reality show, but many other times when I’ve been embarrassed by it. This show has also caused me to reflect deeply on my own calling as a preacher and minister. Since, I now lead a national ministry with global influence that happens to have its headquarters in LA, I guess I’m now an LA preacher too in some way.
Preachers of LA presents 5 preachers. Four are African-American and one is an Anglo with Southern and Skateboarding roots. Four are leading congregations over 2,000 each and one is a leading urban gospel music artist. They all live in large, mansion like houses and drive luxury cars. They are all ministry celebrities. Two of them are so well known that they have security and drivers. So that I don’t come across as a “hater” I actually don’t mind that they live this way in one sense. If you happen to lead a ministry that pays you a salary of a marketplace CEO and the congregation desires their pastor to be “celebrity like” because of the status it brings them in being connected to that pastor, go for it. I guess.
With my background in urban ministry, I’ve been up close to the urban poor and urban middle class. I’ve had many opportunities to hear their commentary on urban pastors. In many cases they were talking about urban African-American pastors. As one who desires to see Kingdom advancement and transformation among the urban poor especially, I care deeply about their perceptions of preachers. I have sat in barber shops and heard urban folks call urban pastors pimps, hustlers, and gangsters. These comments have been sometimes based on what the pastors drive and how they dress. Some of this has been based on their personal experience with urban pastors. It is the view of some of the urban poor and urban middle class that they sometimes can’t tell the difference between the pimps in their communities and the preachers. I’ve heard these comments for over 25 years in barbershops, community centers, at high school basketball games, and at soul food places. When I’ve shared these comments with some of the urban African-American pastors that I’ve know over the years, some join me in concern over this perception. Others look at me and seem to care less.
I care so much about the transformation of the cities across the nation and hold so much love for the urban poor in my heart that it has led me to make some decisions. Decisions on how I dress and what I drive. Now, don’t take my comments the wrong way. I’m not all that and never will be. There are decisions that I’ve made that could put into question my love for urban America. I live in the suburbs and have not made the type of sacrifices that urban missionaries and committed urban residents that refuse to leave “the hood” have made. What I have decided though is that living like a secular corporate CEO, a rap mogul, king of an empire, or NBA player may have a direct impact on my witness to the urban poor. So I drive a Hyundai instead of a BMW. I don’t have a driver or security when I travel across the country each month as a speaker. Maybe I shouldn’t travel alone and should have someone with me, but if I do make this choice, I don’t need them to be a traveling butler. This position on my ministry calling doesn’t make me a better pastor or Christian than others. I’m just attempting to live out my calling without judging someone else’s. Preachers of LA doesn’t show us the hundreds of other Preachers in LA, with a calling different from the celebrity preacher. Please know that this is just one preachers opinion and reality.
“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.”
1 Peter 4:12-13
“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.”
“Therefore, as twenty-first-century discourse, Christian theology must take its bearings from the Christian theological languages and practices that arise from the lived Christian worlds of dark peoples in modernity and how such peoples reclaimed (and in their own ways salvaged) the language of Christianity, and thus Christian theology, from being a discourse of death- their death. This is the language and practices by which dark people, insofar as many of them comported themselves as Christian subjects in the world, have imagined and performed a way of being in the world beyond the pseudotheological containment of whiteness. To the extent that they have done this, they mark out a different trajectory for theology as discourse. The language and practices, therefore, of dark people who have lived into a Christian imagination can no longer be deemed theologically irrelevant nor made invisible, which is what white intellectuals in the theological academy have tended to do.”
J. Kameron Carter, “Race: A Theological Account” Oxford University Press, 2008, Pg. 378
SPOILER ALERT: I will be discussing some of the scenes of the film, 12 Years A Slave. If you haven’t seen the film, you may not want to read this yet, though I’m not giving away any main story line, which hasn’t already been told in the advertising of the film. Neither am I giving away any surprise ending (which really doesn’t exist).
Sitting thru the entire almost 3 hours of the film “12 Years a Slave” was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but I had to. I had to watch the violent and brutalizing realness of the enslavement of Africans in the history of the nation of which I am a citizen. 12 Years a Slave is the story of a free Black man named Solomon of New York, who is tricked into going to Washington D.C. and then kidnapped and sold into slavery in Louisiana. Not much is held back in showing the demonic evil that the slavery of Africans in America was. What is very troubling is that this evil was practiced for the most part in the name of Jesus. Speaking of Jesus-
Another movie that was hard for me to sit thru a few years ago was Mel Gibson’s version of The Passion of the Christ. There is a scene in The Passion that is hauntingly similar to a scene in 12 Years a Slave. In The Passion, Jesus is tied to a post and whipped violently. We are brutally treated to witnessing skin tearing and blood pouring all over. The body of Christ looking like butchered meat. In 12 Years a Slave, there is a scene that is similar, except the victim is a Black woman. I couldn’t help but see a connection between the suffering Christ and the suffering Slave. This is not to bring the same divinity to the African slave that was upon Jesus, but to proclaim the way in which the Son of God is so connected to the oppressed, Brown and Black skinned sufferer. But the again, maybe by seeing the suffering slave that is something divinely planted that we might know the work of Christ.
By making Jesus European, White, and privileged, the non African or African-American Christian is able to watch 12 Years a Slave from a distance. You are not granted this opportunity once you accept the biblical truth that Jesus was born as an oppressed, Jewish, Brown, and ethnic minority, when coming into this world over 2,000 years ago. For more on this you have to read, Radical Reconciliation by Allan Boesak and Curtiss DeYoung. Jesus can bring liberation to the oppressed because He is God and because He came to earth packaged in the human form of a non-privileged, ethnic minority.
If we want to truly understand the oppression of first century Christians in the New Testament, one way is to gain a deeper understanding of “slavery past” in the United States of America. This could assist the church closing the gap between being privileged and having a closer, transforming relationship with the poor and oppressed of today. Please go see the film 12 years a Slave. It may help us realize the true work of Christ needed in our nation and world today.
This week has presented an opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic March on Washington. This event focused on such important issues that needed to be addressed at the time including racial equality, economic justice, and the empowerment of the poor. What was amazing about the March on Washington and the message from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., now know as the “I Have A Dream” speech was that these issues weren’t presented as liberal or conservative ideas, but moral and spiritual ones.
Yes, Dr. King referred to the constitution and elements that were political in nature but he wasn’t speaking as a political liberal, but as a prophet and theologian, equipped with a strong understanding of American history and the social dysfunction of his present time. The event and the speech is truly American history for all citizens of the United States of America as well as those around the world still willing to learn from it today.
As I watched events from this past week celebrating the March on Washington, I must say that I was grieved by the liberal political takeover of it. Some of this is the fault of extreme political voices from the left hijacking the March on Washington by taking away its spiritual soul and replacing it with a liberal pregnant belly, birthing ideas not even connected to the core of what the event and the speech was about. Politics became the core of many festivities this week, while the March and King became some kind of chocolate covered coating.
One the other hand this liberal political interpretation of the event and the speech was made possible by the absence of conservatives and evangelicals from the public events that took place at the Lincoln Memorial, at least as named visible speakers and participants. Conservatives in the 1950′s and 60′s didn’t embrace Dr. King, including politically and theologically conservative African-Americans. It’s interesting how African-American conservatives like to quote Dr. King’s I Have A Dream speech today, when conservatives back then were so against him. One example of this was the leadership of the predominately African-American denomination that I’m originally credentialed in, The National Baptist Convention USA. The president back in the day, Dr. John Jackson was a strong opponent of Dr. King. Today things are much different within this denomination, but the reason the National Progressive Baptist denomination had to be formed was because of the opposition. Just thought I’d provide that brief history lesson. On the other hand there were also theological liberals who were White that thought Dr. King was moving too fast. Dr. King didn’t perfectly fit in either a liberal or conservative political or theological box. This is why I choose to be a moderate politically.
My main point here though is that The March on Washington should be celebrated as a great American event. It should not be owned by either political liberals or conservatives. The Civil Rights Movement should be seen as both another Great Awakening and Revival of powerful spiritual and social transforming proportions. Without this approach and celebration of the March on Washington and the Civil Rights Movement, we kill The Dream and its true foundation.
I recently saw the movie, The Butler and I believe that this is a must see movie. I realize that this film is taking some criticism because of the liberties that Director, Lee Daniels takes in moving away from the real life story. To this, I want to provide just a couple of reflections-
One, Lee Daniels stated in many interviews leading up to the premiere of the film, that this movie is less about a Civil Rights Movement story and more about the story between a Black Father and Son. To this degree, there is still a Black History lesson that can be learned by watching the film for what it truly is and not making it something it’s not. There are parts of the film that I thought could have been done better. I didn’t think it made the film stronger to have the Son character, in every facet of the Civil Rights Movement, including being both a Freedom Rider and a Black Panther. I wasn’t sure if I was watching the story of the Butler’s Son or the life of Stokely Carmichael. But again, the powerful lessons from this movie is understanding the impact that slavery, Jim Crow segregation, and modern systemic racism has on the relationship between Black Fathers and Black Sons. This is in no way intended to take away from the important issue of individual responsibility. What it does is bring needed balance in understanding the challenge.
Second, the criticisms of the liberties that Lee Daniels takes in moving from all elements and the issues surrounding the real life Butler create a double standard as far as I’m concerned. This same artistic license has been taken by Spielberg in Lincoln, Stone in JFK, and recently in the Cable series on the Bible. It doesn’t bother me that Daniels puts his perspective into the story, he’s the director and this is universally done in Hollywood. Remember, he states that it’s, “inspired by a true story” and “based on a true story.” It’s not intended to be a film shown on the biography channel. I have more issues when European/White license is taken in movies made portraying the Bible than what Daniels does in this film.
The larger question that this film raises, especially in light of the recent George Zimmerman verdict is, “Will this country continue to examine the impact that continuing broken systems in the United States have upon the live of Black Fathers and Black Sons?”
Saturday evening, July 13th, 2013 will be remembered as a moment that revealed once again the ongoing need for racial righteousness and reconciliation. After the George Zimmerman verdict was announced, much of the reaction occurred across racial lines and caused my heart to be even more grieved. As a Christian and African-American male, I had already spent many months grieving the fact that Trayvon Martin died much too soon. On July 13th, I grieved over the continued racial divide in our nation.
Sunday morning, July 21st, 2013 for me personally, will be remembered as moment of great hope. I participated in the worship service at Valley Hi Covenant Church in Sacramento, California. After preaching a sermon called, The Reconciling Church, I was invited to have a lunch discussion with a multi-ethnic group of leaders in the congregation over how the church should respond after the Zimmerman verdict. It was a powerful time of sharing and praying. I was so encouraged by this multi-ethnic and missional church’s desire to grow even deeper in being a vehicle of reconciliation in a broken and divided world.
Sunday afternoon, August 4th, 2013 I stepped off the bus at the conclusion of The Sankofa Journey. This initiative of the Evangelical Covenant Church, retraces elements of the Civil Rights Movement in order raise awareness around the ongoing need for moving forward in ministries of compassion, mercy, and justice. This initiative is a three day and two nights bus ride with a multiracial group of people looking back together so that a stronger reconciling future can be forged. I experienced healing, learning, and transformation on this trip that will deeply inform my ministry calling. By remembering and discovering key moments of the Civil Rights Movement, I was so touched by this event a both a missional movement and a Kingdom revival of sorts. A movement in this nation that focuses on individual evangelism with systemic Kingdom of God transformation is limited indeed. The Kingdom showing up on earth as it is in heaven ought to lead to social change.
The Sankofa Journey brought about the needed healing that I needed in my own soul. Trayvon Martin’s death caused me to wonder if the nation I live in collectively values the life and body of the African-American male. The Brothers and Sisters on the journey with me helped me in my healing, but also in a deeper discovery of my ministry calling.
I continue to be reminded how important it is for the church to be a vehicle of God’s love, reconciliation, and transformation. In Jesus name, let it be done. I now turn my attention to how God wants that to be done in my own life.
This morning as I prepared to go for a run, I thought of getting my hooded sweatshirt from the closet because there was somewhat of a chill in the air. As I thought about this further my heart once again became heavy. I wondered if by some, I’m still seen as a mysterious Black Stranger in my own community. As I went on my run without the sweatshirt, I wondered how I was being perceived. Could they see the Christian, highly educated, professional, married, and father that I am? You see, I have had many experiences of being racially profiled during my lifetime.
To my non-African American Brothers and Sisters, please don’t see me as bitter, angry, or overly emotional (though these feelings should bring me more grace and love instead of isolation). You see these thoughts are not all of who I am. I am still passionate and committed to the advancement of the Kingdom of God. I still sense a tremendous call to reconciliation as well as Kingdom compassion, mercy, and justice. The tensions, mostly across racial lines over the George Zimmerman verdict is a reminder of the sin-filled and upside down world that we live in. It is an opportunity to forge what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. called, The Beloved Community. This is the experience of the Kingdom of God on earth, right now. We must still believe that as Jesus proclaimed, “The Kingdom of God is near.” This is where my hope and action is still rooted.
The Christian Church like never before must be a vehicle of God’s love, grace, truth, compassion, transformation, and justice. The Church must become the glorious bride of Christ by bringing the reconciling revolution of the Kingdom of God to the lost, the broken, and those in denial about this broken world.
My heart is heavy over both the lost life of Trayvon Martin and the current life of George Zimmerman. Why? Because this is the call on my life. I have been in ministry for over 21 years. My ministry began in Minneapolis, Minnesota serving mostly African-American, at-risk boys through Hospitality House Youth Directions. This continued with my work with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Park Avenue United Methodist Church, and The Sanctuary Covenant Church. The Trayvon Martin’s have been on my heart for years. My thoughts, feelings, and theology didn’t just develop over a verdict. This is a major part of my ministry calling. This passion has always been there because I am Trayvon Martin. I join President Obama by saying, over 25 years ago, I was Trayvon Martin. I was followed in stores by security, I was stopped by police just for walking in my neighborhood. But, these experiences led me to another part of my calling.
My experiences in a race-based society also led me to a ministry of racial reconciliation and righteousness. This calling is why I can’t ignore George Zimmerman in all of this. Or, I can’t simply be angry with him for getting out of the car and following Trayvon when he was told not to. I have to love him too. I am called to pray for him. Because he is still living, there is an opportunity for his life to be committed to reconciliation in new and powerful ways. As hard as it is, I’m called to minister to those who support Trayvon and those who support George. This is the heavy cost of reconciliation ministry. This is exactly where the Church needs to be right now. The Church must be a force of reconciliation ministering to both the Trayvon’s and the George’s of this broken and sinful world. We can make a difference so that other rainy night, cross-cultural, and violent experiences are thwarted in Jesus name.
“When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream. ‘Get up,’ he said, ‘take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him’…When Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled:
‘A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.”
The following is just a few of my thoughts. It will take more time for me to share more of what’s on my heart beyond this post.
The death of Trayvon Martin and the not guilty verdict given to George Zimmerman must be placed in a larger context. Based on the responses by some, there are those that are not willing to dive deep into this context. Even though I am saddened by this, I will provide the larger context anyway.
We live in a sin-filled and broken world. When Jesus was born, this sin-filled and broken world included the mass murder of boys who looked like Jesus. Today, because we still are presented with images of Jesus being European and White, we are unable to see that those boys were ethnically profiled by the powerful and privileged Herod just because of what they looked like and because of the threat of the significance of Jesus’ birth. Jesus was not born a person of privilege and power from an earthly point of view. The Roman Empire was the earthly government that represented the people of power and privilege. Jesus would have been considered today a minority, a person of color, should I say a Trayvon Martin.
Just for what he looked like Jesus would have been followed in malls, with the evidence that people that looked like him steal. Jesus would have been followed around the city because of the evidence that people that looked like him break into houses. Even though we can be pretty sure that Roman citizens committed crimes as well. Christians will never be able to understand the significance of the death of Trayvon Martin as long as Jesus remains White and is not presented as the Hebrew, Jewish, Asiatic, and Northern African that He was in human form. Jesus walked the earth as a multi-ethnic, multicultural, and minority human being who most importantly, was God in human form. Understanding this truth is the key to racial righteousness and reconciliation. This is the on-ramp to peace, transformation, and the dismantling of the sin of racism, prejudice, demonizing, and division.
The mass murder that took place after the birth of Jesus could be seen today as the combination of the problem with the number of abortions committed each year and the mass murder of young African-American males. Herod could call for the mass murder of Hebrew boys because not only was he threatened by Jesus’ birth, but ultimately he had no value for young Hebrew male lives. Today, there is not a collective value of African-American boys. If there was, George Zimmerman would not have followed Trayvon Martin. If there was, police would not profile them the way they do. If there was, there wouldn’t be so much Black on Black crime. If there was, more African-American men would be raising their African-American sons. If there was, the music industry wouldn’t keep presenting Rappers who show the worst of African-American male stereotypes. I could keep going.
The United States of American began with the devaluing of Black men and women in order to support the economic engine of slavery. I don’t want to take away from how this impacted Black females at all, but the focus of my thoughts here are the impact on African-American males. I know what it’s like as a kid to be in a 7 Eleven and be accused of stealing when I didn’t. I know what it’s like to be pulled over by the police for no reason. I know what it’s like to be followed around malls by security acting like they’re a part of the SWAT Team. I know what it’s like to be on an elevator and a White woman holds her purse tighter. I identify both with the minority Jesus of the Scriptures and with Trayvon Martin. Now, don’t read these thoughts wrong. Trayvon Martin is not Jesus. Jesus is the Son of God, but as the Son of Man, he walked the earth looking like Trayvon Martin and in today’s reality would be treated as such. If I wear a hoodie today and walk in a major shopping mall, I could be treated as such.
Even with all this, I am hopeful because I know that the Kingdom of God is near. I realize that race is a man-made social construct influenced by Satan to keep the children of God from understanding their true identity and purpose. I will continue to fight with spiritual weapons to bring the reconciling message of Jesus Christ to the lost and the broken. I will not give up.
In this same month that a movie on Jackie Robinson, who integrated major league baseball years before the Civil Right Act is released, a high school in the state of Georgia has its first racially integrated high school prom (google it, if you don’t believe me, I saw this on a cable news and entertainment station, Headline News this morning). This is happening in a nation that some claim to be post-racial. Think about this, students in Wilcox County, Georgia had to fight for an integrated prom. They received backlash from some and some of those folks held their own White Only Prom.
There are many of my evangelical Christian Brothers and Sisters that don’t want to deal with race, believing that we are either now in a colorblind and post-racial reality, or think that talking about race is only about bringing on “White Guilt.” My purpose in dealing with issues of race is four fold-
1.) To show that race is unbiblical and was never from a Scriptural standpoint, God’s idea for defining humanity.
2.) To show the race structure and racism individually and systemically for the sin and demonic force that it is.
3.) To create healthy ways to raise awareness and have discussions about race, so that the church can be fruitful and effective in an ever-increasing multi-ethnic and multicultural mission field.
4.) Through ministry initiatives of reconciliation and righteousness, create a movement of Kingdom Community.
This mission will be difficult for the church if evangelicals on one hand want to promote the Jackie Robinson movie, “42″ as great, but are silent about segregated high school proms in the Bible Belt. We can’t have real movement around Kingdom citizenship and community if there is still a great fear from some Christian White families that their daughters are at risk of being asked to prom by a Black or Brown young man. Why else would you want a prom to be segregated? I also wonder if the same churches in the Bible Belt that are silent on segregated proms are still practicing the homogenous principal when it comes to church planting and revitalization?
I realize that there are many churches that are striving to be Christ-centered, multi-ethnic, and reconciling communities. I think of church like Voice of Calvary in Jackson, Mississippi and Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas in Little Rock. There are many others in the Bible Belt that are champions of developing Reconciling Churches. At the same time there are still too many evangelical leaders denying the reality and impact of race in the United States and beyond. Because of this the church is not having the Kingdom impact it could on issues such as immigration, incarceration rates, and disparities in the areas of housing, employment, and education. The issues of race at the end of the day are much bigger than the high school proms that will take place around the country this weekend.
My heart was grieved last week after the tragic events that took place in Boston for two reasons. One, was the senseless violence that led to injuries and death brought on by two young men. The second were some of the things said by Christians claiming to be prophets or prophetic voices. Once again there were so-called prophetic voices trying to explain the Boston tragedy by including God’s judgement upon a sinful nation as the ultimate reason behind it. This unfortunately happens a lot after large tragedies.
After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, there were so-called prophets speaking to God ultimately willing these events to happen as warning shots to a sinful United States of America. I call these the Modern Judgement Prophets. I call them this because they are unable to see how their take on prophecy is enslaved to Western Modernity. They also fail to acknowledge a theological stream that would debunk the God’s Judgement Theory by seeing Jesus as the greatest expression of God’s response to sin. If you want to know how God responds to sin for the most part today or better yet how God’s people are to respond to sin, just look at Jesus in the Gospels. How does He treat a sinful woman caught in adultery? How does He treat a sinful Samaritan woman who lives with her boyfriend? How does He treat a sinful man who is economically oppressing people in the role of a tax collector? How does Jesus respond to the sinful people who crucify Him?
Another group of so-called prophetic leaders and voices are what I call the For Profit Prophets. They mostly show up on Christian television stations or take over other cable channels on Sunday morning and evening. For a “Seed Offering” they will speak prosperity, happiness, healing, and promotion into your life. You can pay by cash, check, or credit card to have these prophetic voices speak into your life.
Just for fun, let me add another group, that I call Individual Warning Prophets. These are so-called prophets that sit down with you one on one and begin by saying something like this, “I happen to be a prophet and I have a word for you. I hope that you can receive this…” Then they tell you something bad that will happen in your life if you don’t make certain decisions.
I believe the people that find themselves in these three so-called prophetic groups begin as devoted Christians that mean well. They love the Lord and they desire to know and live into their spiritual gifts and calling. Many of them move into one of these three groups because of lack of a mentor, local church support and accountability, or they are under spiritual leadership that is emotionally unhealthy and immature.
I very much believe in the spiritual gift and office of prophecy and the prophet. I have been challenged, encouraged, and edified on a number of occasions by prophetic people. True prophets need the accountability of a healthy church, with sound biblical rootedness. They also need to see how the prophets of the Scriptures had training, accountability, and walked humbly with God. Prophets of the Scriptures did speak to God’s judgement, but this also included God’s call and work for justice, reconciliation, covenant relationship, mercy, and revolutionary love. Without these components, you get an army of false prophets doing harm and misrepresenting God.