Friday, May 23, 2008

What is a Prophet?

On the progressive side of the Church, much is made of "prophetic" speech or actions. The progressives are trying to bring the Church into the new truths to which they believe God calling them.

In truth, however, prophets do not bring people to new truths. There are very few (if any) "new truths." If we look at the biblical record, the prophets did not announce or proclaim anything new in terms of our relationship with God. They called people back to the covenant that they made with God.

One of the tasks of a deacon is to interpret to the Church the "needs, concerns, and hopes of the world." I take this to be a prophetic call to the Church to remember its covenant with God. As a deacon, I am to remind the Church of its obligations. I am to call her people back to their covenant.

Our covenant with God is found in the Baptismal Covenant found on pages 304-305 of the Book of Common Prayer. It is in two parts. The first part is our subscription to orthodox belief. It is the Apostles Creed in question and answer form. We state we believe certain things about God.

But the second part is much harder to listen to and to keep. The first question that we are asked (and that we answer affirmatively) is "Will you continue in the Apostles teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of the bread and in the prayers."

By answering "I will with God's help" we promise to eschew heretical belief, heretical practice, and schism. Because I answer this positively, I will not leave the Episcopal Church until I am kicked out. I will stay and be the prophet that God calls me to be. I will continue to call the Church back to her Baptismal Covenant.

Phil Snyder


Anonymous said...

Good for you, Phil If I thought my brother and sisters were all falling into heresy, I wouldn't want to leave them alone, either.

I would be all the more wanting to stay, and make a difference in the love of Christ.

And, sometimes the folks in the church who we disagree with the most, are the ones we need to be hanging out with working through differences together.


TLF+ said...

Thanks for this, Deacon Phil.

It was the prophet Jeremiah (31:31) who opened our expectation of the New Covenant - the Covenant in which we have life through the blood of Christ.

I very much appreciate your call to the Baptismal Covenant - not just the last, lately created, largely political part favored by the institutional "prophets" - but the ancient renunciation of the world, the flesh and the devil in order clothe ourselves with Christ.

You are right that the prophets were the advocates of return to the covenant relationship with God. Such an irony (for TEC) that some described this as a "husband -wife" relationship.