Formations Lesson for February 6: Unauthorized Prophets
John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association
January 21, 2011

Formations Lesson for February 6: Unauthorized Prophets

Formations Lesson for February 6: Unauthorized Prophets
John Pond, associational missionary, West Chowan Baptist Association
January 21, 2011

Focal Passage: Numbers 11:10-15, 24-30

A number of years ago, Robert McAfee Brown asked the
question “How is it possible to see the hand of God in the work of
non-Christian writers?”

This question was asked in a series of lectures that became
the book The Pseudonyms of God. He responded that theologically believers have
responded in three ways.

First, some have stated non-Christians have been
unintentionally influenced by a Christian environment, therefore whatever they
write that portrays truth, goodness and beauty is Christian.

Secondly, there are those who believe that “All truth is
God’s truth” (Justin Martyr) thus one need only selectively look for the truths
exhibited in the work.

The last response is Brown’s. He writes that “God can use
all things for the fulfillment of the divine purposes, including the full
message of non-Christians rather than only selected congenial portions.”

Perhaps, literature and the media (films, art, music, etc.)
can serve as unauthorized prophets for the purposes of God.

Our God is full of surprises.

He speaks through His Word and He speaks “in divers manners”
(Heb. 1:1) in order to make known and accomplish His will and desire. Our Lord
works in uncommon ways.

Robert K. Johnston, professor of theology and culture at
Fuller, tells of such a moment when God spoke to him.

He had sensed a calling to the Christian ministry, but felt
inadequate and unholy.

He saw his pastor and minister of youth as very holy
individuals and himself not very saintly.

Struggling with whether to respond positively to this
calling, he went to the movies and saw the film “Beckett.”

As he watched the transformation of Thomas a Beckett from
close friend of Henry II and companion in wine, women, and song to a faithful,
uncompromising Archbishop of Canterbury, Johnston heard God say, “You need not
be holy. Thomas was not. You only have to be obedient to my call.”

He responded to the Lord, “God, I will be loyal to you with
all my being.”

Like Eldad and Medad in today’s text, there are those
individuals or circumstances that may not follow the right format or procedure
or instructions and yet are used of God.

Though this may make us feel uncomfortable, we should
rejoice at God’s unpredictability and grace in expressing Himself.

In Luke 9:49-50, a similar incident occurred where John
stopped someone from ministering in Jesus’ name.

Jesus replied to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against
you is for you.”

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