The prophetic voice makes clear the Word of God for the present generation and at times, beyond. We need prophetic leaders and voices who will speak about hard topics and challenge the conscious of the people. I wonder if the church has lost some of its prophetic leaders.
Historically, church leaders have spoken prophetically about complex problems and systemic sins. Prophetic voices like Martin Luther King, Jr. became the leading voice of The Civil Rights Movement. One of Dr. King’s most powerful and poignantly prophetic speeches was his “I Have Been to the Mountaintop” speech in front of a crowd of sanitation workers who were on strike protesting low wages.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr shared several significant prophetic statements related to the church:
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” He also said:
“There was a time when the church was very powerful. … In those days the church was not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular opinion; it was the thermostat that transformed the mores of society.”
In these perilous times, a large part of the evangelical leadership remains silent. In a hurting world that is divided by politics, race, immigration and many other critical issues, Dr. King’s words says much about where the church stands: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal” is very fitting.
Many times church leaders are afraid to speak out for fear of offending someone. They are afraid of being ostracized or accused of being divisive or meddling in politics. Yet, in these divisive times we need prophetic leaders who are willing to take the risk and speak the truth in love.
As a prophetic voice, many times I wrestle with the words I share. One important thing I’m settling within myself is that I cannot worry about whether people like or don’t like what I post or write. People need to hear the truth.
When the church rises up to speak to our culture, we are making clear what God says in His Word to everyone. This means that we must be like the men of Issachar as recorded in 1 Chronicles 12:32, “who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.” If the church is to be an effective voice to the culture, we must know what is really going on and speak the Word of God in the most effective way. Certainly through the power of the Holy Spirit, our God is able to empower us to be an effective voice in the culture.
“I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenge of this decisive hour,” – Dr. Martin Luther King
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.
Note: All Scriptures are taken from the New International Version unless otherwise noted.