After a long hiatus, I’m finally getting back to the “prophets or posers” series. Because it’s been awhile I’ll share the first five prophetic fallacies with the links to their posts, followed by the sixth prophetic fallacy.
- Part 1: “I must have God on my side if those I disagree with are turning against me or if they are leaving me out in the cold.”
- Part 2: “If I’m clearly right on one thing (in my mind), then God must be on my side and I’m likely on the side of truth in other things as well.”
- Part 3: “Since God ‘anointed me’ or placed me in the position of leader, then my convictions and insights about reality and truth have more authority and weight to them (in terms of being right, not in terms of their impact on other people).”
- Part 4: “I’m functioning prophetically because I’m cutting edge and the people around me are old school and behind the times.”
- Part 5: “I’m a prophet or have the gift of prophecy because a spiritual gifts inventory told me I was; therefore, I probably see reality for what it truly is most of the time.”
Here’s Prophetic Fallacy #6:
“I’m leading change or functioning as a change agent, therefore I’m functioning prophetically in my community or organization.”
Counterpoint: You might be leading change – much needed change, but organizational change in the name of relevance and efficiency is in a very different category than offering a powerful witness and word that testifies to an alternative kingdom.
I read tons about leading change – books, articles, blogs, and now even podcasts. Most of it is really good stuff. The transitions to post-modernity and the digital age have really laid the foundation for constant change. The rules are constantly changing, whereas previous generations enjoyed significant stability.
As a result, today there is a constant tension most of us face between doing things the way we’ve done them in the past and innovating new solutions for an unpredictable future. We all must develop an aptitude for adapting and changing in both our methodologies and our assumptions – or else we’ll get left behind.
However……functioning as a change agent organizationally in order to help keep with the changing culture, while important in many ways, is not equal to a prophetic witness in community. Some of the dynamics may be similar, such as the role of challenging an establishment of strong power or the prevailing power of the imagination over mechanisms of control. However, those dynamics tend to be common to all systems in which the status quo is being challenged.
Change agents challenge the status quo for the sake of efficiency, relevance, and success. Prophets challenge the status quo for the sake of justice, for the sake of hope, for the sake of God’s intervention into a unjust and dehumanizing context. It’s important that we recognize the modern tendency to place the “prophet” label on change agents because of the role they play in challenging the status quo. In some ways I’m okay with doing that as long as we’re clear that we using the term in typological kind of a way as opposed to a real designation of one who God is using to witness to His true nature, resist injustice and advocate on behalf of the oppressed.
There will be one or two more posts in this series pertaining to prophetic fallacies. Then I will post several entries about what prophetic witness is, as opposed to what it is not (as I have been doing thus far).