When the Prophets Won’t Come

Posted by Worldview Warriors On Friday, September 9, 2022 1 comments

by Charlie Wolcott

In his sermon “A Cry Against the Wickedness of American Youth,” David Wilkerson said something like this: “Woe to the church when the prophets of God will not come.” He was talking about when a man who truly has the word and the heart of God refuses to come to a church because they know that church does not teach sound doctrine and is full of death. We often hear about churches who refuse to invite a sound preacher. Leonard Ravenhill was known for saying, “I preach in a lot of places once.” He gets invited to speak, and he gives a message that exposes that church’s sin, and that church doesn’t invite him back. That’s bad enough, but if a good preacher refuses to come to a church, that’s because that church has a reputation for being bad and God has already put His sign of judgment upon it.

Today, we hear messages where over and over and over again, God is a God of many chances and no matter how broken or messed up we are, God will receive us and love us. There is a lot of truth to that, but it is nearly universally unbalanced because God’s patience has limits. God’s mercy has limits. I know that is hard to hear. God has His hands out. With one hand He is beckoning us to come to Him; with the other He is holding back His wrath. The day will soon come when both hands will drop. At that point, it’s “Game over!” When God does not send His messengers to a church, there is a reason and it’s not good.

Who are the prophets of God today? Now, I want to make clear that I am not talking about prophecy as predicting the future. I’m not talking about the position of prophet as used throughout the Old Testament; I am talking about those who have the ministerial gift of being a prophet. A prophet in this sense is someone who is naturally receptive to the spiritual realm and is able to hear from God on what He has to say about a given situation. Now, I am also not talking about anyone who goes around proclaiming themselves to be prophets or prophetesses. I’m talking about those who speak the truth, are not concerned about their reputation, say what needs to be said, and reveals what God is saying about the matter.

Leonard Ravenhill was one such prophet. He had the heart of God and while he was kind and gentle in person, when in the pulpit, he became like fire – not a warm, comforting campfire; but rather a cleansing, purifying fire. Paul Washer is another. Voddie Baucham and Steve Lawson also come to mind. While I love listening to Eric Ludy, Todd Friel, Adrian Rogers, and others, I would not quite put them in this particular category, not because they are wrong but because they have a different role. Adrian Rogers was a teacher, not a prophet. Todd Friel is a “sheep dog,” but not a prophet in this sense. Eric Ludy is an exhorter. These are all important, but I’m emphasizing prophets here.

What would cause these people to reject a call to come preach at a church? I know many who would take advantage of preaching at a place they knew was pagan to present the truth. But would Ravenhill, Washer, Baucham, etc. accept an invitation to come preach at a known heretical church? Washer gave his “Shocking Youth Message” prior to really becoming known. Ludy’s first sermon was about holiness in relationships in a conference and the guy that followed him said, “Well, I’m not here to preach about holiness.” Wilkerson said he was invited to conferences to be the “let’s get serious” guy, while everyone else preached the fluffy stuff. The prophets know whether an invite is legitimate or whether it is a trap, and often, they don’t go to those meetings. The Bible has some of these accounts too.

King Saul sought the knowledge and advice from God on what to do, but after disobeying God twice, God rejected him. Samuel wept over Saul and God even told Samuel to stop praying for Saul. The prophet, Samuel, never saw Saul again. He did not go back to give him another chance. Even when Saul tried to summon Samuel to get a better word from God, Samuel just pronounced the final doom upon Saul. Saul was a case where the prophet refused to come to him or give him a word.

Ahab had at least four chances to repent. He was the worst king of them all, and yet in four instances, God gave Ahab the chance to repent from his sin. He refused to listen, so God sent a lying spirit to convince him to go to war and he would be slain. Even in this case, Micaiah the prophet was summoned but he refused to give him the message right way, because he knew Ahab was going to listen to the false prophets anyway. Why Jehoshaphat, who knew God, still went with Ahab is something I don’t get.

Jehoshaphat also joined Ahab’s son, Jehoram, and they got lost in the wilderness with no water. Jehoshaphat asked for Elisha for help. Elisha told Jehoram that he wouldn’t even talk to him if not for Jehoshaphat being with him. Let me make this clear. There comes a point where man sins so frequently and so often and repeatedly refuses to listen to God that in the moment of desperation, God will not answer. This is one of God’s promises He makes multiple times. The only reason why God was so patient with the wicked kings of Judah was because of His promise to David, not because of His patience with them. Jehoram would have died in the desert if Jehoshaphat was not with him. But Elisha asked Jehoshaphat a key question: “What are you doing with these guys?” This was Jehoshaphat’s key blunder, and it had serious consequences because Jehoshaphat’s daughter-in-law was Athaliah, daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. Bad things happened under Athaliah.

Judgment comes to the house of God first, and one of the first judgments we see is the removal of sound preachers. How will people know if sound preachers are being removed unless they are in Scripture regularly and continually themselves? So many people get their theology from the preachers they listen to rather than from Scripture itself, nor are they checking what they are hearing with Scripture. As a result, they will never know if their preacher is actually pointing them a different direction than the Bible.

When the good guys are not welcome, that is evidence that a church/ministry is in judgment and has drifted long from the truth. When the good guys refuse to come to a church/ministry because of its reputation for ungodliness, then you can be certain that said church/ministry has already been judged by God as unredeemable. They are dead, and no amount of truth will resurrect it. When that happens, get out of the sinking ship or go down with it. Find a church that is still preaching the truth, supports those who also preach the truth (not idolizing them), still calls out sin, and always and continually points toward Christ as the standard. But beware of those who preach of themselves, preach of self, seek self, and whom the good guys refuse to support. They will do you no good.

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Unknown said...

Man are the leaders who must move slower than the desired speed of the impatient saints under their charge. The shepherd cannot press any more speed from the newly-minted saints, being babes in Christ, or from the saints with their houses full of children who are time-hogs, or from the elderly who have sometimes fought the good fight longer than the pastor has been alive. It's an excellent notion to constantly go full steam ahead, but the costs to many in a congregation are enormous. A shepherd who ignores the strength of his flock would soon have no flock.