Thursday, March 08, 2007

Is some prophecy supposed to cause division?

I was in a meeting yesterday and we were talking about prophecy and someone asked, "Is prophecy supposed to bring division sometimes?"

Now most of use who believe in this sort of thing believe that prophesy today is used for the edification and building up which makes it a positive thing (see 1Cor12 and 14), even if it's directional or correctional - and we can get into all that at another time. I was curious about how you would answer this question.

In certain cases, is the intention of a prophetic word supposed to bring division? Which begs the question, is division a bad thing?


Mark H said...

Great question! If I may offer some experiences and some thoughts...?

The purpose of prophecy is of course to make known the specific, "now", heart and will of God. We must be careful not to tighten our definition! Prophecy is used for edification of the body, but what does that mean, and WHOSE body is it anyway?

A few years ago I was privileged to be on an apostolic trip in another country, visiting a number of different churches to equip leaders. One morning I awoke very early and God was speaking to me very clearly with a prophetic message for the conference we'd been invited to that day. I wept and wept as God took me to scripture and spoke to me about warning the assembled leaders from the region concerning attitudes towards their people and their offerings. I felt God was saying that there would be terrible wrath for those who took the things (people) that should be dedicated to Him. We knew nothing about the churches we'd been invited to and I went to check out what I felt God was saying with my colleagues before breakfast - to find that they'd been up early too and were similarly disturbed.

As we prayed on our way to the conference, we felt God was saying that there was going to be division: that some would repent and some would not, and this would cause a split amongst the churches. This really broke my heart. I couldn't imagine what we were going to.

When we arrived we discovered a church building that was far more affluent than any other we had seen in the country and a leadership style which "lorded it over" the church. I shared the prophetic word with the people with tears in my eyes. I pleaded with them. I wept for them. I taught what God had shown me from the scriptures and I warned them concerning what God had shown me in the spirit. God gave me a time-frame for them to get right with Him, promising tremendous fruitfulness if they would, and terrifying consequences if they would not. I don't think I've never felt so humble and genuinely heart-broken under the anointing before or since.

Half the people were broken-hearted and repentant. They fell to their knees right there and then weeping before God. The other half were stiff-necked. They asked us to leave before the end of the conference. The repentant folks followed us out of the building to thank us and to ask us for more prayer. I'm weeping now as I remember the scene.

Even the idea that division can be in the plans of God, and that prophecy can reveal it, was totally new to me then, and it broke my heart. But Holy Spirit has reminded me many times since that our Father is the gardener who prunes and who casts rebellious branches into the fire (John 15), and that Jesus taught that it is better to cut off those parts of the body that cause it to sin (Matthew 5, Matthew 18, Mark 9).

It can sometimes be heart-breaking to move in the prophetic. Our Father's heart breaks over certain issues, and the prophetic is getting in tune to His heart.

Michael Dean said...

A great example Mark.

Ultimately, it comes down to your definition of "division" is.

A house divided can not stand. That includes God's house. Unity is the end goal, not division.

But our unity must be found in Christ, and Christ alone.

Anything that stands in the stands in the way of that should cause a division, at least from the world's perspective.


The Other Michael

Michael Dean said...

Wow, can you tell that I wrote that on the fly!

John Lynch said...

Awesome question, David! And powerful story, Mark! Thank you both! I think you (Mark) really captured the often mixed feelings of living in both LOVE and TRUTH ... the integrated lifestyle Jesus lived and continues to live in us. David's post also seems to relate to the question "Unity at what cost?" that was recently introduced by Mike Moore in his post on pluralism. And all this overlaps into the arenas of love vs. tolerance and different concepts of "peace". I'm eager for more dialog on these issues either here or at Mike's post or on a new post, if someone would like to contribute. (Feel free to email to write as a contributor to Hungry & Thirsty.)

Mark H said...


Unity requires there to be a line which we choose to stay on the same side of. Where there is no line, there is no unity - just indifference. This line is inevitably a divide, though the aim can be unity, not division.

Within unity there is opportunity for enormous diversity - but there is still the line.

The important thing for us is God's line. We cannot define it ourselves, and neither can we move it for some noble sounding cause.

The amazing thing about the gospel is the divide between ourselves and God. God didn't move the line that divides us. He stepped over the line and carried us back. He created unity where there was no other hope of unity - between us and Himself.


David said...

Well they are good ramblings Mark. Thanks for sharing your story, that's one I'll keep in my mental file, which could be scary considering my mental state! But great experience nontheless, and one I'll glean from I'm sure!