Formations Lesson for February 6- Unauthorized Prophets
January 21 2011 by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association

Focal Passage: Numbers 11:10-15, 24-30  

A number of years ago, Robert McAfee Brown asked the question “How is it possible to see the hand of God in the work of non-Christian writers?”

This question was asked in a series of lectures that became the book The Pseudonyms of God. He responded that theologically believers have responded in three ways.

First, some have stated non-Christians have been unintentionally influenced by a Christian environment, therefore whatever they write that portrays truth, goodness and beauty is Christian.

Secondly, there are those who believe that “All truth is God’s truth” (Justin Martyr) thus one need only selectively look for the truths exhibited in the work.

The last response is Brown’s. He writes that “God can use all things for the fulfillment of the divine purposes, including the full message of non-Christians rather than only selected congenial portions.”

Perhaps, literature and the media (films, art, music, etc.) can serve as unauthorized prophets for the purposes of God.

Our God is full of surprises.

He speaks through His Word and He speaks “in divers manners” (Heb. 1:1) in order to make known and accomplish His will and desire. Our Lord works in uncommon ways.

Robert K. Johnston, professor of theology and culture at Fuller, tells of such a moment when God spoke to him.

He had sensed a calling to the Christian ministry, but felt inadequate and unholy.

He saw his pastor and minister of youth as very holy individuals and himself not very saintly.

Struggling with whether to respond positively to this calling, he went to the movies and saw the film “Beckett.”

As he watched the transformation of Thomas a Beckett from close friend of Henry II and companion in wine, women, and song to a faithful, uncompromising Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnston heard God say, “You need not be holy. Thomas was not. You only have to be obedient to my call.”

He responded to the Lord, “God, I will be loyal to you with all my being.”

Like Eldad and Medad in today’s text, there are those individuals or circumstances that may not follow the right format or procedure or instructions and yet are used of God. 

Though this may make us feel uncomfortable, we should rejoice at God’s unpredictability and grace in expressing Himself.

In Luke 9:49-50, a similar incident occurred where John stopped someone from ministering in Jesus’ name.

Jesus replied to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.”

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1/21/2011 7:52:00 AM by John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association | with 0 comments

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