Weigh in! Is the prophetic gift for today?


For all of those I love and respect who believe that all of the spiritual gifts are for today. If I have erred in any of the discussion or my manner, please forgive me and pray for me.

Brethren, if you have insight, please share!


Part I

by A. W. Tozer

[Emphasis added.]

A prophet is one who knows his times and what God is trying to say to the people of his times.

What God says to His Church at any given period depends altogether upon her moral and spiritual condition and upon the spiritual need of the hour. Religious leaders who continue mechanically to expound the Scriptures without regard to the current religious situation are no better than the scribes and lawyers of Jesus’ day who faithfully parroted the Law without the remotest notion of what was going on around them spiritually. They fed the same diet to all and seemed wholly unaware that there was such a thing as meat in due season. The prophets never made that mistake nor wasted their efforts in that manner. They invariably spoke to the condition of the people of their times.

Today we need prophetic preachers; not preachers of prophecy merely, but preachers with a gift of prophecy. The word of wisdom is missing. We need the gift of discernment again in our pulpits. It is not ability to predict that we need, but the anointed eye, the power of spiritual penetration and interpretation, the ability to appraise the religious scene as viewed from God’s position, and to tell us what is actually going on.

There has probably never been another time in the history of the world when so many people knew so much about religious happenings as they do today. The newspapers are eager to print religious news; the secular news magazines devote several pages of each issue to the doings of the church and the synagogue; a number of press associations gather church news and make it available to the religious journals at a small cost. Even the hiring of professional publicity men to plug one or another preacher or religious movement is no longer uncommon; the mail is stuffed with circulars and “releases,” while radio and television join to tell the listening public what religious people are doing throughout the world.

Greater publicity for religion may be well and I have no fault to find with it. Surely religion should be the most newsworthy thing on earth, and there may be some small encouragement in the thought that vast numbers of persons want to read about it. What disturbs me is that, amidst all the religious hubbub, hardly a voice is raised to tell us what God thinks about the whole thing.

Where is the man who can see through the ticker tape and confetti to discover which way the parade is headed, why it started in the first place and, particularly, who is riding up front in the seat of honor?

Not the fact that the churches are unusually active these days, not what religious people are doing, should engage our attention, but why these things are so. The big question is: Why? And no one seems to have an answer for it. Not only is there no answer, but scarcely is there anyone to ask the question. It just never occurs to us that such a question remains to be asked. Christian people continue to gossip religious shoptalk with scarcely as much as a puzzled look. The soundness of current Christianity is assumed by the religious masses as was the soundness of Judaism when Christ appeared. People know they are seeing certain activity, but just what it means they do not know, nor have they the faintest idea of where God is or what relation He has toward the whole thing.

What is needed desperately today is prophetic insight. Scholars can interpret the past; it takes prophets to interpret the present. Learning will enable a man to pass judgment on our yesterdays, but it requires a gift of clear seeing to pass sentence on our own day. One hundred years from now historians will know what was taking place religiously in this year of our Lord 1956; but that will be too late for us. We should know right now.

If Christianity is to receive a rejuvenation, it must be by other means than any now being used. If the Church in the second half of this century is to recover from the injuries she suffered in the first half, there must appear a new type of preacher. The proper, ruler-of-the-synagogue type will never do. Neither will the priestly type of man who carries out his duties, takes his pay and asks no questions, nor the smooth-talking pastoral type who knows how to make the Christian religion acceptable to everyone. All these have been tried and found wanting.

Another kind of religious leader must arise among us. He must be of the old prophet type, a man who has seen visions of God and has heard a voice from the Throne. When he comes (and I pray God there will be not one but many), he will stand in flat contradiction to everything our smirking, smooth civilization holds dear. He will contradict, denounce and protest in the name of God and will earn the hatred and opposition of a large segment of Christendom. Such a man is likely to be lean, rugged, blunt-spoken and a little bit angry with the world. He will love Christ and the souls of men to the point of willingness to die for the glory of the One and the salvation of the other. But he will fear nothing that breathes with mortal breath.

This is only to say that we need to have the gifts of the Spirit restored again to the Church. And it is my belief that the one gift we need most now is the gift of prophecy.

( The Size of the Soul, Chapter 28 )



50 thoughts on “Weigh in! Is the prophetic gift for today?

  1. Maria, I’m not in agreement with my Pentecostal and charismatic brothers and sisters regarding the subject of the gifts of the Spirit. Scarlett and I have already had a few exchanges on this topic. I don’t seek rancor and contention within the Body of Christ and I hesitated in commenting on your post. Generally, my attitude is to leave it alone. But as an ex-Catholic, I am very troubled by the bridge that has been built between evangelicalism and Catholicism via the charismatic movement.

    160 million Catholics claim to have the apostolic gifts of the Spirit (healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy) yet they fully support their church’s false gospel of salvation by sacramental grace and merit. These people are trusting in obedience to the Ten Commandments rather than Christ for their salvation and yet they have gifts of the Spirit? How could that be? Pentecostals and charismatics do not speak in known languages as was done by the Christians at Pentecost. I don’t see anyone raising people from the dead or drinking deadly poison these days as the Bible speaks of. And we all know about the many false healers. Sarah Young’s books sell like hot cakes because Pentecostals believe everyone gifted with prophecy can get a direct thus-saith-the-Lord revelation from Jesus Christ. The apostolic gifts were present in the early church to establish the authority of the apostles but they ended with the apostles.

    But because charismatic Catholics who believe in works salvation also display the requisite “gifts of the Spirit,” Pentecostals are forced to overlook the Biblical Gospel of grace by faith and accept works-righteous Roman Catholics as brothers and sisters in Christ because of their shared ecstatic experiences. It’s no coincidence that the majority of the evangelicals who are currently in the news embracing the pope and Rome are Pentecostals and charismatics. There is a great and horrific danger to the Body of Christ because of this common bond between charismatic Catholics and evangelicals and we see it unfolding before our eyes.

    Christians need to educate themselves regarding this subject. I suggest “Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit with Counterfeit Worship” and “Charismatic Chaos,” both by John MacArthur.

    Humbly submitted.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Tom,

      I agree with some of what you’re saying. I’m troubled too about the bridge that has been built between charismatics and Catholics. This has to be the doing of the papacy, for as you know, one of the pope’s titles is Pontifex Maximus or the greatest bridge builder. However, and a big however – the charismatics that are promoting Rome and kissing up to the pope are mostly from the heretical Word of Faith movement people, not Trinitarian Pentecostals or solid charismatics, I believe.

      You said, “Pentecostals and charismatics do not speak in known languages as was done by the Christians at Pentecost.” The believers who shared the Gospel with the multitudes after Pentecost may have spoken in known languages, but perhaps what happened is best understood as “understood” what was said in their own native tongues. This is probably closer to what the Bible speaks of. And there is a true private prayer language, and prophetic tongues which is equivalent to prophesying as long as interpreters are present. These are things attested to in Scripture. Why would these cease?

      As to the prophetic gift, which is the subject here, this is most likely the men of Isachaar – those who understood their times. We have these people in the church and they are speaking and warning. Further, about the office of prophet, this is what I believe is Biblical – Hebrews 1:

      1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,
      2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

      So prophets today aren’t mediators between us and the Lord, for we have the Son, so they don’t speak to us with “Thus saith the Lord,” but rather:

      1. open the Word of God to us, as Jesus did on the road to Emmaus
      2. foreworn of danger, as Agabus foretold of a coming famine

      Yes, there is “Charismatic chaos,” but there is Lutheran and Presbyterian and Baptist apostasy. The apostasy, which began early I believe, has become a huge flood spewed out of the dragon’s mouth pursuing us to destroy us. Part of this flood of false doctrine is coming from charismatic quarters and washing us back to the feet of the great Harlot. Part of it is coming from Protestant/Evangelicals doing the same thing.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for replying, Maria. I can see we’re in disagreement on this issue and I won’t belabor it except to emphasize one point I made earlier. The great conundrum for a non-charismatic such as myself is the following:
        120-160 million people are part of the Catholic charismatic movement including tens of thousands of Catholic priests. The VAST majority of these people are completely faithful to their church’s false gospel of sacramental grace and merit. They are religious unbelievers. So how does a Pentecostal explain how the Holy Spirit can indwell these millions and millions of unbelievers and give them these charismatic “gifts of the spirit”? Evangelical Pentecostals and charismatics must accept these religious unbelievers and defenders of a false gospel as “brothers in Christ” because they manifest the same requisite gifts of the spirit that are the cornerstone of their movement.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Dear brother Tom, you’re not belaboring this – I’m grateful that you feel free here to discuss this and to stand.

          Yes, you’re right – it is a puzzle that so many Catholics have the sign gifts. Can it be that the Lord is displaying the fact that He is no respecter of persons by giving gifts to believing Catholics? For though it seems impossible – since Rome actively suppresses the Gospel – some Catholics, I believe, are trusting Jesus to save them, not their own merits, either through sacraments or obedience.

          About my own history, after I came to the Lord, my Mother became involved in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. (I believe Rome allows and promotes this renewal for her own reasons.) Mom would invite me to go to MCCR conferences and so I attended with her. It was a temptation for me to return to Catholicism because my view of the gifts was rejected in my Christian Missionary Alliance fellowship, although it had been promoted to the women by the wife of our first pastor (CMA holds the view about gifts that we are to “seek not, forbid not.) My pastor was so troubled at my temptation to return to the Catholic Church. He reasoned with me and prayed with and for me, and my husband prayed for me, and the Lord kept me from doing this. You are right that there is danger because of this movement, but some people come to the Lord through it – hopefully these people leave after the first glow wears off.

          God bless you, Tom, for speaking up. I have a different view of what is happening but to be truthful the greatest thing is not spiritual gifts – though we are told to desire them – but the greatest thing is to belong to a Biblical fellowship of whatever denomination, where the whole counsel of God is preached and love is demonstrated and the Lord Jesus Christ is exalted.

          Liked by 2 people

  2. That we need ‘prophetic insight’ is without question. From where the prophetic insight is to come is, for this old guy, the question at hand. Is it to be from OT style Prophets or have they served their purpose in God’s plan as having become, along with the Apostles, the foundation of the church? (See Eph 2) Or is it to be from the pages of scripture, which is sufficient for ALL things, as we are told in 2 Timothy?

    Do we NEED ‘Prophets’ who hear the audible voice of God and have visions, or is scripture sufficient for the discerning of the signs of the times?

    There are many today who say God spoke to them directly. Some claim to be in the ‘office’ of Prophet, Apostle, or both at the same time! There are others who do not claim to be in an ‘office’ but nonetheless claim to have direct communcation (outside of the Bible) with God on a regular basis, and so can you! Just reading and studying the Bible, praying, and walking in faithful obedience is not enough. They will tell us, in essence, that being born of God, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, with God working us to ‘desire and do’ what pleases Him, and Bible in hand, is NOT enough.

    Food for thought.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. (**This says bornagain732 it is me Elizabeth! I went to start a blog and needed help So if you click on it to see who I am my page is not started! I do not back the quote on that page I will have one of my computer literate children help me 🙂 )

    I need help understanding EXACTLY what a prophet for today is? So please correct me if I am wrong. Aren’t prophets people who also tell about God through Jesus The Christ. They tell what Jesus came and finished for us? They foretell the future through God’s Written Holy Word? We are inspired by His Holy Spirit. Does God SPEAK to us today as He did Abraham.Moses and the other Prophets that were here before Jesus was on earth?
    My question is the Bible tells us what the future holds. What more of a Word from the Lord do we need?
    Thank you so much, Sister!
    Love in Christ Jesus

    Liked by 3 people

    • Elizabeth, hi, sister!
      Some of your questions you’re answering yourself. About the prophetic future, yes, we’ve been shown that and reading and hearing it blesses us, while changing it by adding or deleting is… well, damning.

      However, sometimes the Lord has told Christians certain things in some way He ordains – I return to Agabus as an example. Most prophecy is expounding and opening the Word of God, a good example would be Spurgeon who was a man of insight and a man like a son of Isachaar. There are many men in our day but they don’t say I’m a prophet or apostle – they preach and teach and warn.


  4. I agree with Tom’s view. I don’t believe the Spirit operates as He did in NT times because it isn’t necessary. We have the Word of God completed. I do agree with Tozer in the sense that we need preachers who will measure current things by the Word of God. We’ve just become so self-centered and so imbued with the idea that “God has done all He can do and now it’s up to us,” that, no wonder, we tend to leave Him out of the picture. After all, “it’s up to us.”

    Liked by 3 people

    • Clarence, yikes! So grateful that though we labor in love things aren’t up to us. Believers know that the “it’s up to us” can be carried just so long, because it’s a terrible impossible burden! If some believers don’t know yet, they will, I believe. :0)


  5. Great post and question.

    Well, I believe all of the gifts are for today (as in 1 Corinthians 12) but not in the way they are being manifested presently-and I don’t believe these manifestations are from the Holy Spirit but are, sadly and un-discerningly, attributed to Him! Paul tells us to desire the gift of prophecy and explains it in 1 Corinthians 14:3

    But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort.

    This is what I believe Tozer is talking about. And these men are out there if one looks for them. They are able to take the events going on in the Middle East concerning Israel and show in the scriptures, like Ezekiel 38, how things are lining up. Not to cause fear for the tribulations that are coming upon us, but to give comfort that our redemption draws nearer. We say, Maranatha!

    Now, calling Trump the God-sent Cyrus and 45th POTUS because of Isaiah chapter 45 is not being a prophet or prophesying! Its witchcraft. One needs to tremble mightily if they are called a prophet today! But none of them do as far as i can tell by their false predictions and/or leadings to another god (usually their belly).

    Now the spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Christ Jesus. Revelation 19:10

    Have a blessed day, Maria!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Sherry, I agree with you with the exception that I believe that according to Hebrews 1 the office of prophet in the Church is done, for Jesus Christ is our prophet, priest, and king. But prophesying as a gift to the Church goes on and should in the local assemblies. You quoted 1 Corinthias 14 – thank you, sister! Here is a little more of this passage:

      14 Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy. 2 For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries. 3 But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men. 4 He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church. 5 I wish you all spoke with tongues, but even more that you prophesied; for he who prophesies is greater than he who speaks with tongues, unless indeed he interprets, that the church may receive edification.

      Thank you also for reminding us of the essential verse in Revelation 19. Here is a little more:

      9 Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10 And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Tozer considered himself a prophet when he spoke of the day when the Holy Spirit would call the remnant out of the evangelical church. In redemptive history there has always been a spiritually enlightened remnant that has remained steadfast and faithful.

    In his book, The Dangers of a Shallow Faith: Awakening from Spiritual Lethargy, Tozer wrote:

    “Let me go out on a limb a little bit and prophesy. I see the time coming when all the holy men whose eyes have been opened by the Holy Spirit will desert worldly Evangelicalism, one by one. The house will be left desolate and there will not be a man of God, a man in whom the Holy Spirit dwells,left among them.”

    “I hear Jesus saying…Mat 23:37-38: “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one killing the prophets and stoning those who are sent to her, how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate”

    “As the Church now stands, the man who sees this condition of worldly evangelicalism is written off as somewhat fanatical. But the day is coming when the house will be left desolate and there will not be a man of God among them. I would like to live long enough to watch this develop and see how things turn out. I would like to live to see the time when the men and woman of God — holy, separated and spiritually enlightened — walk out of the evangelical church and form a group of their own; when they get off the sinking ship and let her go down in the brackish and worldliness and form a new ark to ride out the storm.”

    Liked by 4 people

    • Hi, David! This view of the Church is held by many loving Christians and groups such as the Plymouth Brethren. But even the devout Brethren missionary E.H. Broadbent, author of the amazing and instructive book The Pilgrim Church, saw that ditching what we have to build something else – an ark? – ends in the same problem. There will always be tares. There will never be an absolutely pure visible church. The only pure church is the true believers – born again by His Spirit and purged of our sins by His blood. Broadbent demonstrated this from history. (He also nixed the importance and reality of apostolic succession by demonstrating that the Lord brings new assemblies into being wherever the Bible comes and is gratefully received.)

      I like Tozer and he had insight from experience and God’s Word. What He said that I like best is that Jesus is given a pat on the head and then ignored most of the time in Evangelical assemblies – assemblies that actually love and want to serve Him – that they don’t seek His mind on matters that come before the assembly but do their own thing and tack on a prayer before and after. You can read about this here:

      The Waning Authority of Christ in the Churches

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It seems Tozer here is talking about prophetic insight and prophetic preaching that applies God’s Word to the issues of today? If so I think there’s definitely prophetic preachers for today but I hesitate to see it as an office active today giving new revelation.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. We are certainly in need of wisdom. Scripture warned us about wolves in sheep’s clothing. But when the very term “Christian” is co-opted by charlatans offering “holy water” in pre-packaged pouches — water with the supposed guarantee of a monetary return — it is easy to understand why many are misled. It can be nearly impossible to distinguish between true and counterfeit faith. God, of course, calls His own.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. yes the prophetic gifts are absolutey for today, i have walked in this gift since i was 7 years old. we are in a day and age where prophec, intercessory prayer, evangelism, and all other gifts of the holy spirit are required. we are all immmportant pieces of the body.


  10. Maria, excellent post. I liked your dialog with Tom, and I agree with your understanding of the gifts and especially Prophecy. There are abuses surrounding the gifts, but much of what we Blog about are abuses in various doctrines. One such abuse can be grieving the Holy Spirit, who is the source of our gifts and our ministry. I’m not going to respond as being in favor of what is prevailing in the church in this area, other then to say there are abuses.
    Now in terms of my own experience I have had occasion where I could not help but speak out in response to what I would need to call an overwhelming urging from God The Holy Spirit in the inner man. Those urging’s always involve some aspect of His word, and in my own opinion have never contradicted it. Otherwise it would not be the Holy Spirit doing the urging would it. To not speak out in these situations would be disobedience and sin. To not have these encounters in our inner man would concern me. For what is the evidence that the Holy Spirit is leading us in ministry. David said “take not Thy Holy Spirit from me”. What was his evidence of the Holy Spirit? More food for thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Jerry, my brother! Thank you for weighing in on this.

      By the way, did you notice my comment to SLIMJIM (Pastor Jim)? “Pastor Jim, I’m planning not to do this kind of post again – it’s easy to injure others and in my comments I’m teaching men. I’m unhappy with what I did.” I have considered deleting this post for this reason and because I’ve come to question many of Brother Tozer’s statements.

      You wrote: “much of what we Blog about are abuses in various doctrines,” and this is certainly true, as you just did in exposing the gross error of the so-called “two gospels.” Our faith so often involves contending against errors and admonishing one another for unworthy attitudes, for example, grieving the Holy Spirit as you noted above.

      You spoke of the Jeremiah-like necessity to speak and this reminded me of Romans 8:14: “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” And of this statement of Moses, recorded Numbers 11:29, “But Moses said unto him, Enviest thou for my sake? yea, would God that all the Lord’s people were Prophets, and that the Lord would put his spirit upon them.”

      Lord bless you! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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