Partners in Christian Mission

June/July 2020

June/July 2020

Prophets - The Haunted Advocates

theological reflection:

Liam Conway is the under-25 ministry apprentice at Hobart Baptist Church. In this issue of ADVANCE | step by step, he begins a three-part series* based on his studies for his Masters of Divinity.

Christ exists in three offices: Prophet, Priest, and King.

As Co-heirs and benefactors of Christ's actions I wonder, to what extent do these offices pass on to us? What are the offices to start with? And can knowing about the offices improve our knowledge of ourselves and Christ? This article looks at the Prophetical office, "God's Haunted Advocate".

Who are the Prophets and what did they do?

The Prophets are not Gandalf-like wizardly figures that have some obscure supernatural connection with God. The Prophets are simply a group of people that continually interact and describe their interactions with God. Whereas a Priest may speak for the People to God, the Prophet is the advocate for God who is haunted by their interaction with the Creator.

Prophets seek to bring something of God to people or call out the image of God from within their hearts.

How does Jesus sit in this role?

From the 1693 Baptist Catechism: 'Christ executes the Office of a Prophet, in revealing to us, by his Word and Spirit the Will of God for our Salvation.'

If we're using our previous understanding of the Office of Prophet, of them being a Haunted Advocate who calls out the gold in your heart, we can see many people like this in our world. Maybe you've seen or heard them, the impassioned voice that stirs something in our hearts. Maybe the speaker is Martin Luther King Jr, maybe Winston Churchill, maybe JFK, maybe your pastor.

When our eyes turn from GodWhen we read the Gospels we hear it in Jesus, the man who was haunted by the circumstances of his birth and coming death. Yet he advocates for the least in his community, and calls out the power of God's heart in people.

Jesus's teachings always do this. In his critique of the powerful and abusive, in his elevation of the poor and social outcasts, and in his patience with those who were looking to him to see if he was the Messiah.

Jesus is God's full revelation to us. He, the Father, and the Spirit are identical in their godliness, and their revelation of God to us.

When our eyes turn from God and we don't see him through our iniquity and sin, it is the Prophet who reveals God to us again. He calls us back to relationship with him, and to act righteously. Jesus is that High Prophet, and we are those Prophets who follow him.

Who are the Prophets?

Jesus is the fullest Prophet that our universe will ever see. But the basic call of a Prophet is to reveal God to the world - first to his people, then to those outside of his people.

As Baptists we should cling hard to this. We all believe that we have the Spirit of the Almighty within us, renewing us, and displaying himself both to us, and through us. We believe that we have unfettered ability to communicate with YHWH, and come before him in our fullness whenever we need. Our entire Baptist governance system is built on this idea: that a membership, full of the Spirit and dedicated to their church, will discern the will of God together by their connection to the Spirit of God and knowledge of the Bible.

Our actions communicate God's words better than fumbling lips ever can.

We then take this Spirit and show it to others in our communities. I believe the core mode of Baptist evangelism is not the complex intellectualism of Bible colleges, but the simple honest calling out of the dormant or dying Spirit of God in people, over and over, until they have a moment of confrontation.

Yes, the Bible does that, and Bible study is good. But we should also encourage godly living. Perhaps more so. Our actions communicate God's words better than fumbling lips ever can.

What do we do?

We are God's voice, hand and feetOther people have spoken and written many better things on Prophecy than I have. But I believe the core idea is that a Prophet reveals and advocates for God to the people. God is for his creation, God loves his creation, God is proud of his creation. And when we fully realise that we are that creation, our powers of Prophets in this world are magnified.

We are God's voice, God's hands, God's feet, and Paul calls us to this when he likens the church to being a body. We are invited to know God and to be his Prophets for the sake of our friends and families. This looks different in every family and context, but it is the role of each person to see how they can be a Prophet of God for their community.

Blessings to you, and thank you for reading.

Liam Conway
Hobart Baptist Church

* READ: Part 2 - Jesus the Priest.
Part 3 - Jesus the King, will be published in the August/September edition of ADVANCE | step by step.

Recently married and having grown up in the Baptist Church, Liam Conway is presently studying his Masters of Divinity by distance, through Malyon Theological College in Queensland. He and his wife live in Mount Stuart with their cat, Lilly, who is an adorable terror, with some very serious opinions on the comfort of laptops.

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