Pentecostal Apologetics

prophesying forthtelling
 "Prophesying can either be foretelling or forthtelling"

This is the most blatent of all of the cessationist errors (and the impetus for this entire site). For in studying it, it is not difficult to see that cessationists have an agenda, and that they are scared of something--there may be psychological factors involved with their trying to believe the above statement.

Cessationists often say: "Prophesying can be either fortelling or forthtelling." When questioned about the above statement, they say that prophesying is either predicting the future (fortelling), or proclaiming God's truth (forthtelling) with passion (it is surprising how many times they say "with passion" as if passion had anything to do with anything). However, what they really mean is that whenever they preach a message that they think God laid on their hearts, they are actually "prophesying."

Prophesying is Preaching?

There is a reason that cessationists are determined to prove that prophesying is preaching. The reason is that there are enough references to believers prophesying that it is obvious (even to cessationists) that prophesying is for the church-age. Therefore, cessationists have contrived the idea that when a Bible writer mentions "prophesying" he means "speaking for God." In other words, anyone who preaches or evangelizes can be said to be prophesying (supposedly forthtelling--speaking for God), This way cessationists do not have to regret their inability to prophesy when they read verses such as those found in the books of Romans and Hebrews (below):

"Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith" Rom. 12: 6

"But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned , he is convinced of all, he is judged by all: And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth" 1 Cor. 14: 24-25

Cessationists say that in both of the above occasions, the scriptures can be obeyed by one who merely "preaches" the word with conviction (for some reason they like to add "with conviction"), a message that God laid on his heart. What this means is that there are cessationist prophets (How?). Cessationists can claim to be prophesying any time they speak or preach. In fact, according to their definition, any encyclopedia salesman can be said to be prophesying while he is giving a sales-pitch, because he is actually speaking (forthtelling) for the book distributor who pays him.

Cessationists believe in modern-day prophesyings (if it is simply "preaching" that they call "prophesying"). Pentecostals believe in modern-day prophesyings (or prophecies--note that "prophesying" is the act of speaking forth a "prophecy"). Since niether group believes that prophesying has ceased; we just have to find out what prophesying is. However, when it is seen that "prophesying" is only miraculous prophetic speech; that is, not "preaching," it will be too late for cessationists to change their minds and say that prophesying has already died out--for with their statement (that prophesying can either be fortelling or forthtelling) they are already committed to the cause that prophesying is for today.
But there are cessationist prophets today. For they actually believe in supernatural revelations as they say things like the following:
"God really put this sermon on my heart" (when they write a sermon)"

"God just gave me that" (when they remember something good to say during their sermon)
"God gave me that song" (when they write a song)

"I have a real peace about it" (when they decide to buy a house)

"I have a feeling we should pray for so and so"

For what reason, then, do they decide that Biblical (real) prophecy is not for us today? It needs to be realized that in the book of Ephesians; Paul, speaking of the church-age, mentions that the office of prophet is to exist alongside of pastors and teachers. This is a clear indication that prophets are the ones who prophesy, and are needed because pastors and teachers cannot fill that role in the church. From Eph. 4: 11 (and others) below, we can deduce that "apostles" start the church, "pastors" pastor the church, "evangelists" evangelize, "teachers" teach, and "prophets" prophesy.
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ" Eph. 4: 11-12

An Agenda

When cessationists make their statement defining "prophesying" they do so with an agenda in mind. To show that they have an agenda, notice that they never say: "teaching is either teaching or forthtelling" "preaching is either preaching or forthtelling" "Evangelizing is either evangelizing or forthtelling" Why, do you suppose that they single out prophecy to say that it can be forthtelling (speaking for God). That is because their agenda is to show that prophetic speech is not here; but that prophesying means to simply speak for God.

It is no secret that the ones who claim that tongues, dreams, and visions have ceased, are the same ones who also say that prophecy can be simply preaching (and thus all prophetic speech is non-existent). The issue is not "what" the message will be (whether a teaching or preaching, or evangelistic message), but "where" it comes from. As mentioned in a previous chapter: "teachers teach using the previously revealed word" Evangelists, evangelise using the previously revealed word pastors preach, using the previously revealed word but prophets do not prophecy the previously revealed word. Their message comes from divine revelation--directly from God's Spirit.
The cessationist idea is that if "A" is equal to "C," and "B" is equal to "C," then suddenly, "B" is also equal to "A"

A=C (A) "prophet" = (C) mouthpiece for God
B=C ( B) "pastor" = (C) mouthpiece for God
B=A (B) "pastor = (A) "prophet"

This illustration is made clearer by the story of a simple fry-cook wanting to get the same pay as a high-priced, trained saute chef. The fry-cook's reasoning is as follows:
A=C (A) High priced Saute chef = (C) a cook

B=C (B) minimum wage fry cook = (C) a cook
B=A (B) minimum wage fry cook = (A) High salaried saute chef

In order to bolster their argument, cessationists have come up with every conceivable Hebrew and Greek etymology for the word "prophesy." What they are hoping to do is show that prophesying can mean, "one who speaks for another (for God). But that is not the point. The issue, as mentioned earlier, is not who they are speaking for but where the message that they speak comes from (from the already revealed word, or as direct revelation from God's Holy Spirit). It really does not matter whether the message is predicting the future, or just speaking; but is it supernatural (prophetic) or not? Notice there are words such as the list below that may be called "forthtelling;" but that does not mean that the speaker will be "prophesying."

preach, speak, talk, teach, proclaim, revealed, declared, testifying, reasoning, explained, refuted, proving, commanded, suggested, exhort, tell, discuss, says, warning, and etc.

Prophesying is Always Miraculous

In looking at all of the New Test. occurances of the word family of "prophecy;" it is overly obvious that on every occasion (except the 2 written below) of someone "prophesying" it is always miraculous. The two exceptions are:

1) Matt. 7: 22 "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied [as prophets, not "preached in thy name" ] in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works [ the Greek word for "works" here is "dynamis" which is always translated as "miracles"]?"

2) Acts 21: 9 "And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy."
The two verses above are not overly obvious that prophetic speech is meant by "prophesy;" but for anyone who sees that all other references to "prophesying" is miraculous, it would be hard to deny.
The differnce between "prophesying" and "teaching, or preaching" is seen in Paul's words to women speaking during the church service in 1 Cor. For he states that women are not to preach or teach men in the church, as they are to be silent; but they may prophesy (as "prophesy" is different from "preaching") in the church. This is because "prophesying" is a spiritual speech that all may do (at the right time)
"But every woman that prayeth [out loud] or prophesieth with her head uncovered dishonoureth her head" 1 Cor. 11: 5

Error #9 was the impetus for this entire book, as it is too silly to go unchallenged. This entire site (not just this section) exists to refute #9

Copyright 2006 - 2007. Peter Kwiatkowski. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Public Domain License.