An open letter to the Body of Christ
Before I formed you in the belly, I knew you; and before you came forth out of the womb I sanctified you, and I ordained you a prophet to the nations. – Jeremiah 1:5
Now therefore you all are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief cornerstone in whom all the building fitly framed together continually grows up into a holy temple in the Lord: in whom you are built together for a habitation of God through the Spirit. – Ephesians 2:19-22
- Exist without malice or ill will toward those who believe their existence and attestation to the same are aberrant.
- Accept the prophetic calling as a matter of sovereign grace and divine mandate, as legitimate as any other ministry gift, regardless of all protests to the contrary.
- The prophetic ministry is not merely a persona, facet, style, or emphasis, of other ministries. It is a distinct gift and calling.
- Different, not deficient
- A prophetic perspective is not inherently a fault to be remediated by other gifts.
- Prophets are not the equivalent of a spiritual appendix. They are neither optional nor perfunctory.
- The purposes of Christ in and through His saints require a full expression of all graces and gifts.
- His fullness is expressed in our togetherness: we need one another.
- Neither better nor more spiritual than other gifts.
- Prophets bear no malice or ill will toward those who would try to conform them to their understanding. Prophets reject all pressures born out of artificial attempts at conformity for acceptance.
- Their calling to speak the truth in love, remembering their own frame, and susceptibility to sin and failure. Prophets are what they are by the grace of God.
- Their responsibility to reveal the fellowship of the mystery, to make Christ accurately known through the Scriptures, by the Holy Spirit.
- The responsibilities that come with their calling.
- The divine process of maturation that accompanies this calling.
- A ministry of tears that accompanies this calling.
- Identification with our Lord in His prophetic ministry.
- Prophets accept that misunderstanding and rejection by others routinely accompany this calling. Prophets accept this reality and forgive those whose response is rejection.
We repent on behalf of ourselves, and others of like calling. We sincerely ask the Body of Christ to forgive us:
- For the ineptness and immaturity of our youth in which we did harm with our gift. We thank our heavenly Father for the chastening we received and continue to receive, even through vessels who may mean us harm.
- For taking our identity and sense of self worth from the exercise of our gift, rather than our status as beloved sons and daughters of God, regardless of any expression of “ministry.”
- We often illegitimately project our psychological needs for validation on others in the Body of Christ.
- For at times functioning independently and in relational isolation out of a spirit of rejection, woundedness, spiritual superiority, elitism, separatism, hyper-spirituality, and judgmentalism, thus misrepresenting the heart of God in Christ for His people.
- For teaching and practicing Old Covenant models of prophetic ministry:
- In the Old Covenant prophets sat apart from the community, speaking for God, to the people. In the New Covenant prophets sit among, and speak from, the community, as representative members.
- Since Pentecost the prophetic spirit rests upon every genuine son and daughter of God. Together, we have the mind of Christ.
- Putting God’s people into bondage and servitude to legalism, merit-based, performance and reward, blessing and cursing systems of thought, rather than a revelation of the unmerited grace of God, effective all the days of our lives.
- For allowing numerous Gnostic, New Age, and psychic belief systems, doctrines, and practices to be introduced into the Body of Christ unchallenged, including from among our own number, under the guise of “prophetic,” “deeper,” or “third heaven” revelations.
- For promoting and facilitating a culture of unbridled subjectivism in dreams, visions, prophecies, declarations, ideas, experiences, and systems that undermine the uniqueness of Scripture and the uniqueness of the revelation of God in the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
- No subjective experience or manifestation outranks the accurate exegesis of Scripture, which brings forth a revelation of Jesus Christ, His cross, and His resurrection.
- Supernatural experiences do not validate doctrine. Doctrine validates supernatural experiences.
- The primary ministries of the Holy Spirit are to convict of sin, righteousness, and judgment and to testify to Christ in resurrection. He, the Holy Spirit, does not establish His own centrality . . . never.
- God in Christ, can, and does speak to people through dreams, visions, etc., especially in lands and cultures where a biblical record is not readily available. However, this fact should not and does not supplant the primacy of Scripture, as the revealer of the Person of Christ, as the more sure and final Word of God.
- For promoting and facilitating a culture that equates being “spiritual,” “mature,” or “prophetic” according to various ecstatic enthusiasms rather than transformation and configuration to the image of Jesus Christ.
- For failing to preach repentance, transformation, and conformity to the image of Christ as the core gospel message.
- For believing, teaching, and encouraging that an increase of endorphins in our blood stream defines the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
- For failing in our role as watchmen.
- Prayer is the language of intimacy. The mind of Christ is known through intimacy, and knowing His mind is the fountainhead of discernment. We repent for prayerlessness and a failure in exercising and vocalizing Christ-centered discernment.
- For facilitating an “anything goes” mindset as allegedly being “open to the Spirit” and allowing false, psychic, and demonic manifestations which have resulted in human trauma and pain.
- For an unhealthy fixation upon various end time schemes to the detriment of a present reality of the life of Christ in our mortal bodies.
- For allowing the fear of rejection and a desire for acceptance, to keep us from speaking out boldly to those in positions of authority and power.
- For allowing personal friendships and the esteem of peers to prevent us from saying what should, and must be said.
- For allowing our voice to be managed, manipulated, and muzzled by those who control access to pulpits, purse, and media.
- For elevating giftedness above character.
- For blame shifting: projecting our own failures and lack of discernment on the devil or the alleged failure of other members of the Body of Christ who supposedly “don’t understand us” and didn’t adequately “support and pray for us.”
- For using the grace of God and the universality of human frailty as an excuse for a lack of holiness, self-control, and self-government in life and ministry.
- For failing to govern and discipline ourselves according to the revelation of Christ in the Scriptures.
- For believing that in the presence of aberrant belief systems and practices that remaining silent is a manifestation of God’s love.
- For believing that getting along with one another means never discussing anything potentially uncomfortable to human concepts of etiquette and propriety.
- Our unity is in core apostolic truth, or it is nonexistent.
- For engaging in corrupt, extortive, and wicked financial teachings and schemes which result in significant personal enrichment at the expense of the Body of Christ and to the neglect of the truly needy of the world.
- For complicity in building, supporting, and sustaining hierarchial Babylonian systems of man under the guise of kingdom honor and submission.
- For promoting a culture of elitism, rank, and privilege through erroneous doctrines of honor and authority, which result in the extinguishing of a kingdom culture of mutuality, love, service, and gift (charis/charismata) exchange.
- For failing to engage our culture in the issues of the day with wisdom, tact, lowliness of spirit, and truth.
- For indifference to the plight of the poor, the widow, the orphan, the unborn, the oppressed, and all those who have no voice.
- For tolerating racism and gender bias.
- For tolerating rampant immorality, adultery, marital failure, and sexual uncleanness of all sorts in our midst, while wagging our fingers at homosexuals.
- For defining prophetic ministry as solely the prediction of future events, thus “out-ranking” the foundational work of the revelation of the Person and Work of Jesus Christ.
- For a complete lack of functional accountability for those who make predictive prophecies that do not come to pass, or who make them so generically that evaluation is impossible.
- For being impressed with success, celebrity, fame, and rank and for allowing these attributes to make us slow to speak, quick to overlook, or purposefully ignore sin and troubling issues of doctrine, character, or practice in our midst.
- The presence of “anointing” alone in ministry is an utterly meaningless indicator of spiritual legitimacy and heaven’s validation.
We, by the grace of God and the strength of the Holy Spirit are from this day forward committed to:
- Speaking the truth in love to power in all forms: secular, spiritual, religious, and hierarchial.
- Speaking the truth in love to those within our spheres of influence who have erred in core apostolic doctrine or who have embraced aberrant belief systems and practices.
- Discern and function in relationships across the Body of Christ based upon truth, transparency, and honesty.
- Not allowing our own insecurities or the insecurities of others to keep us from speaking those things that are needful and necessary for the health of the Body of Christ.
- Serving the Body of Christ in our gift and calling, not as micro-managing doctrinal police requiring monolithic adherence to every nuance of doctrine, but rather as spiritual guardrails to the life and ministry of the Body of Christ.
- Maintaining our passion and commitment to the centrality of Christ, His Cross, and His resurrection; that He would be preeminent in all that we say and do.
- Gladly identifying with Jesus Christ in the care of His Church and in His burden for others, though we may be rejected and scorned by the objects of His love and the objects of our service.
- We forgive in advance, and carry no offense. Dead men cannot be offended.
- Being satisfied in our calling and our obedience to it, rather than from the responses of those to whom we might minister and any temporal results we might see.
- Embracing a call to repentance and walking in humility with God and humanity.
- Serving and equipping a younger generation of prophets, if they will walk with us and listen to us.
- We will not project our psychological need for validation upon them.
- We will give our selves to them as grains of wheat, embracing death for them.
- It is our sincere desire that they would excel beyond us and that they would avoid the pitfalls of this and previous generations.
- Resisting all attempts to build systems and organizations of man that are dependent on the resources of man and mammon in order to be sustained. Our faith started in relationship, it is maintained in relationship, it goes forward by relationship, and will be consummated in relationship.
We deeply regret that many churches and individuals have experienced abuse and pain from distorted and corrupted representations of what should be legitimate New Covenant prophetic ministry. We have both caused pain, and been the recipients of pain. We forgive and pray that we might be forgiven. We cannot control the teachings and behaviors of others, but we do apologize for them.
However, by the grace of God and with your prayers, we are determined to not let past abuses and corruptions hinder us from legitimately manifesting authentic New Covenant prophetic ministry. We desire to bring honor to Christ and increase to His Body through the ethical and honorable stewardship of His prophetic grace that has been planted in us.
To this end we covet your love, friendship, and prayers.
By the grace of God:
Stephen Crosby, Stephanos Ministries
Mike Hicks, New Horizon Christian Fellowship
Steve Hill, Harvest Now
John Marcus Stead, Into His Image Ministries
David Orton, Life Messenger
The undersigned individuals and ministries, while not primarily prophetic in calling, wish to indicate their concurrence and support of this manifesto by adding their names herein:
Bob Byron, Mid Valley Christian Center
John A. Crosby
Pedro (Peter) deJesus
David Fredrickson, Family Room Media
John R. Mazarella
Mark Setch, Peace Community
Jon Zens, Searching Together
If you would like to add your name to this list, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright 2014, Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references. For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact email@example.com.
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