Tim Keller On Prophetic Gifts


Pastor Tim Keller is such a gift to the body of Christ. He is certainly not charismatic, but in this quote from his sermon, he argues for the exact point I make regarding the distinction between Old Testament and New Testament prophecy.

“The understanding of prophecy in the Old Testament was very simple, God gave special revelation to certain people, and that revelation was so powerful, so pure that what they said, and what they wrote down was God’s word.

Now in the New Testament, suddenly, we see this word prophecy everywhere in every church. In these days, people are prophesying all over the place. Everybody that wants to give an exhortation Paul says that (is) a revelation. He calls it a prophecy. Several people prophesy now what is this all about? Here is the first question, does this mean that every Christian in every one of those services was bringing new revelation from God just like Moses, just like Abraham, just like Isaiah; is that what it means? And a lot (of) people think so, and I just think common sense says that’s ridiculous.

Paul would have been saying, write everything down, and send it to me. Can you imagine every church everywhere, all upon the Mediterranean, every week were getting reams and reams of new prophecies? It couldn’t be. And not only does common sense say it couldn’t be, but Paul says that when the prophets are done, evaluate them, evaluate the prophets, but does he say evaluate me?

Oh no! As an Apostle, he has what he calls the Lord’s command. His words are the Lord’s command he doesn’t say; now listen when 1 Corinthians is read evaluate it. Oh no, he doesn’t do that. He would never do that. He says if you will not listen to my word, 1 Corinthians, you are ignored. In other words, Apostolic revelation evaluates prophecy. However, the prophets don’t evaluate back. What this means is that this (type of) prophecy is not the same.”

[1] Timothy Keller, “Tongues and Worship,” http://www.gospelinlife.com/sermons/tongues-and-worship

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