When posting my last article concerning the Homemaking Degree at SWBTS, I got side-tracked by a comment concerning the definition of a prophet of God. Brother Les Puryear began this rabbit chase with the following statement:
Please tell me that your last paragraph does not mean that Paige Patterson is always right and those who don’t think so don’t believe the Bible. Please correct my misunderstanding about what you are saying. Please!
His reference was to a comment that I made as a concluding statement concerning Dr. Patterson’s leading in establishing this degree. My concluding remark is as follows:
Well, all I can say is that Dr. Paige Patterson is a true prophet according to Scripture. Therefore, if you have any gripes about Dr. Patterson not being a true prophet and you say you believe the Bible, then take it up with God. But if you do not believe that Dr. Patterson is a true prophet, then you have just told the world that you believe the Bible, but…..
The concern that Brother Les raised was not that much of a concern for me due to the past differences that he and I have had. I knew that Brother Les and I have had, and maintain, ongoing differences concerning different doctrines and personalities within SBC life. However, what caused me more concern and is the real reason for this article, comes more with the comments from others.
First, I will admit that if you take that comment out of the context of the article you have a basis for the questions from Brother Les. I must admit that I do not understand the basis but it is possible for one to read what they would like into that last paragraph. However, you must look at the entire article along with the concluding statement.
Second, there was a statement made by my, always lurking while looking for a weakness to pounce, Brother Aaron Weaver (aka Big Daddy Weave; B Diddy). He stated;
Like Les said, as it stands the paragraph does indeed suggest that The Prophet Paige, Peace Be Upon Him, is always right and those who dare dissent just need to read their Bible’s again.
Once again, if that statement were made by itself, I would understand such a response, but the statement is in context of the Homemaking degree being on the cutting edge of education. Even, my Brother BDW gives me the benefit of the doubt.
Having said all of this let us look at a Biblical understanding of the Prophets. Is there a basic understanding that a Prophet was always right in everything he/she did or said? The answer to that would be a resounding no! There has never been any instance in the Old or New Testament that a Prophet was 100% correct in everything he/she did or said. One cannot find Scripture to support that line of thinking without doing hermeneutic gymnastics. What one can find Scripture to support is the Prophet’s voice of direction, when ordained by the True God, will come to fruition. If the Prophet spoke and said it was of God and did not come to fruition, then it was revealed to be a false prophecy. If the person continually gave false direction that he/she said came from God, then they were revealed as a false Prophet.
Also, one needs to remember that during Old Testament and New Testament times, the cannon was not closed. Thus, God was continuing to give new revelation. How did He give this new revelation? Through the Prophets. This is the reason for the Deuteronomy 18 and 1 John 4 guidelines concerning the discernment between true and false revelation. The question at hand concerns the overview of these passages. Do these passages mean that everything a prophet says is scripture? Or, do they mean that the only time a prophet speaks saying it is coming from God, then it is scriptural? I submit to you it means the latter. Do these passages mean that since the cannon is closed then we no longer have the gift of prophecy today? Leaving the continuationist and cessassionist arguments aside, suffice it to say that it is rare that a cessassionist has to argue for the continuation of a gift against some that have professed to be continuationist. But, suffice it also to say, that while I do believe the office of Prophet is no longer needed, the principle of the Prophet is still very much needed.
However, some have tried to paint me as saying in my last article that Dr. Patterson is above criticism and is infallible. Something I have never said. The Prophets of Scripture were mere mortal men and women that were fallible and prone to the same temptations as you and I. Being referenced as a prophet did not mean that you attained any mystical status with no sin in your life. As I read the Bible I am drawn to the fact that the reason these prophets were not considered prophets in their day was for the reason they were not in any mystical sense different. Many viewed the pagan prophets in mystical sense and thus the children of Israel had to be given the guidelines before they went into the Promised Land. You can look throughout scripture to find many Prophets of God that had huge failures. Jonah is one that comes to mind. Also, if I needed advice on how to raise children Eli would not be a Prophet I would choose for that kind of council. Furthermore, I do not believe you will find in the Bible any place that Jeremiah, Isaiah, Hosea, Malachi, or any other prophet was without sin and did in fact sin and make various mistakes. But when God spoke through the Prophet, or the Prophet spoke for God, whichever semantic you chose to use, it was proven to be truthful.
Therefore, in my last post I do not intend to change anything that was written. For the simple reason that I have not expressed what some are trying to say that I have expressed. As I said, if you desire to pull that last paragraph away from the post and try to make it stand alone, be my guest. That is not what I am saying. However, if you keep the paragraph attached to the post, then you have to admit that Dr. Patterson has stated he believes God has led in beginning this course because there is a huge need for it in the society from which we are getting our students. Now the secular world has affirmed this truth so Dr. Patterson, no doubt, is hearing from God concerning the need. When the secular world addresses a need that is rampant among today’s society, they are lauded as being on the cutting edge. When the Christian world tries to address the same need that is rampant in the Christian community, the ones leading the way are maligned as backwards and stuck in the 1950′s. Go figure!
Dr. Paige Patterson has proven to be a Prophet addressing a need in a non-profit world. What a refreshing wind that is blowing out of SWBTS. Dr. Patterson is speaking prophetically the direction that he senses the Holy Spirit of God is leading him and not responding to the negative issues that come out trying to derail his vision.