Prophet Killers

"He answered, 'Then I beg you, father, send Lazarus to my father's house, for I have five brothers. Let him warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'

"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

" 'No, father Abraham,' he said, 'but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.'

"He said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.' "

Luke 16:27-31

Jesus was a prophet. And in this parable, Jesus is setting himself up as greater than all the other prophets. Like all the other prophets before him, the people killed Jesus instead of listening to him. But unlike all the other prophets before him, Jesus would rise again, come back from the dead, prove that there is an afterlife, and STILL there are many who do not listen.

Being a prophet is not a fun job. Prophets tell people what they don't want to hear. So if you're a prophet, at best the people don't listen. At worst they kill you.

"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous. And you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our forefathers, we would not have taken part with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.' So you testify against yourselves that you are the descendants of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up, then, the measure of the sin of your forefathers!

"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell? Therefore I am sending you prophets and wise men and teachers. Some of them you will kill and crucify; others you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town.

"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.

Matthew 23:29-34, 37

I think churches and pastors and ministry leaders kill prophets all the time. We don't like to work with prophets. We don't want them on our teams. Prophets are the "negative" ones that "bring everyone down". They're always asking tough questions, telling us we're making the wrong decisions, pointing out our faults, our shortcomings. Shouldn't they just humbly support us? We ARE the pastors after all! But NOOOO, they have to keep being negative and tell us everything we're doing wrong all the time...

So we kill them. We ostracize them. We sideline them. We refuse to work with them. We call them aside and have a "talk" with them about their "authority issues". In our hearts we want them to leave our church and go somewhere else. But we know its wrong to say that. So we just make it impossible for them to use their gifts and serve. Then after a while they go away and we forget about them. To us, they're dead. We killed them.

Who are the prophets in your life? Are you listening to them? Or are you killing them?

Ken Bussell
Minister of Music & Administration
Our Place Christian Church

>sent via blackberry

Emerging Worshiper


Anonymous said...

How very honest and true. I have never heard anyone say it with such honesty. It touches very close to home. I left my church of seven years for the very treatment you describe. Coming to a new church has been very scarey. I have chosen to stay in the background in this big church to make sure I do not stir up any trouble. A prophet's life is very iscolating.

Ken said...

I've seen it too many times.

Anonymous said...

The question is, how have you been changed by this?

Ranjit said...

This is very insightful, Ken. When I usually think of 'prophets' what comes to mind is an image of someone dressed in flowing robes, a long beard, with a stern look and a tough message - all in all, someone straight from the old testament. This reminds me that there are prophets all around us, and not very many of them are going to fit this erroneous stereotype I have in my head!

shrina said...

slacking. again.

Shrina said...

oh yeah...GREAT post though. Made me think and ponder. Having been in the Adventist church and had Ellen G. White forced down my throat, I tend to be way wary of "false prophets" or wannabe prophets like she is thought of by the Adventists. But hmmm...this is definetly a new perspective I hadn't thought of.

So I'll check back on May 22nd at the 1 month mark of this post and see if you are alive eh? o_O

Ken said...

beat you to it :-)