This post will make some Christians feel uncomfortable. I like to talk about my experiences with prophecy.
To some Christians, especially Evangelicals, they believe that with the death of the Apostles, certain gifts of the Holy Spirit creased. They are known as Cessationism. If you are Charismatic, you will believe that the gifts ain’t cease and miracles still happen today (known as Continuationism). If you Google these terms, you will see so many arguments for and against spiritual gifts. Some called them a fraud. Others testified by them.
I came from a Chinese church belonging to the denomiation Christian & Missionary Alliance (C&MA). This is an Evangelical conservation denomination. No one practices speaking in tongues or performing miracles (though the founder, A.B. Simpson, believes in divine healing). When I went to Singapore and serve with OMF, I attended Cornerstone Community Church. This is a charismatic church where spiritual gifts (speaking in tongues, healing, visions, prophetic) are commonly practice. As you can imagine, I spent much time evaluate my own theology.
One experience that helped me ease into a Charismatic church was my previous pastor. During one Bible study he challenged us that Charismatic has a very strong argument for speaking in tongue as an outward expression of Baptism of the Holy Spirit because it is Biblical (Acts 19:1-6). That helped me open my mind to Charismatic theology.
I am sure if you are in the Christian circle, you will know or heard someone who can perform miracles and later is a fraud or someone who is a miracle worker and later got arrested for some crime. Yes, I heard of those as well. But this doesn’t mean that all who are performing miracles through the name of Jesus.
I picked prophecies because of the experience I journeyed while in Singapore. I can pick other Spiritual gifts to discuss but it will be a very long post to write.
Before I get started, I am going to define what prophetic means to me. If you think about prophets in the Old Testament, they are God’s messenger or mouth piece to speak on God’s behalf. It is usually to address an immediate situation.
The first time I received a prophetic message was while I was serving in the Telugu service in Cornerstone. A New Zealand pastor (belongs to Assembly of God), Pastor Alex, was the guest speaker. Before he started, he gave me a prophetic message. He envisioned that Wai Jia and I will be travelling all around the world supporting other ministries. We are like the beams that support a building as it is being constructed. I never told Pastor Alex what we were doing. He spoke to me before we got married. I can confirm that the message was true since then we helped raise funds for Daughters of Cambodia on our wedding, we went to Smokey Mountain to deliver vitamins for kids with Empowering Lives Asia and now we are in Uganda, supporting Cornerstone Missions Africa.
So what does this mean? Prophecy is not fortune-telling. This is not something I take it lightly and as always interpret every message against the Bible to see if it stands. We need to be able to discern correctly that the message is the Lord’s will and not our own. The Lord speaks for a reason and it is always to glorify Him. It is to build His Kingdom. Sometimes we need to time to let the prophecy to fulfill itself. Lastly, and more importantly, when we are laboring for His Kingdom we need His mind and His direction. This is not Cliff and Wai Jia’s idea to do the work for Him. Holy Spirit is in charge of this and we need to seek His guidance.
As you can see from my post, I am a Continuationaist and not a Cessationist. Personally, in most discussions I’ve read, rarely does anyone mention about 1 Corinthians 14:1. If Spiritual gifts died when the Apostles died, then why do Paul suggesting the Corinth church to pursue these gifts?
Holy Spirit, Spiritual gifts, how do they work? I don’t have all the answers as I am still discerning and reading my Bible. This topic will probably some of my posts in the future.
For now, seek the Holy Spirit. Stay prayerful. Be obedience.
Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.1 Corinthians 14:1