The Biblical Definition And Function Of A Modern-Day Prophet -- By: Ralph D. Mawdsley

Journal: Central Bible Quarterly
Volume: CENQ 19:1 (Spring 1976)
Article: The Biblical Definition And Function Of A Modern-Day Prophet
Author: Ralph D. Mawdsley


The Biblical Definition And Function Of A Modern-Day Prophet

Ralph D. Mawdsley

Central Baptist Theological Seminary Minneapolis, Minnesota

The true prophet rises above his age and race like a towering mountain peak piercing heaven itself and enveloped in the eternal mystery of divine revelation. He rests, however, squarely on earth, for common human experiences and needs are the basis of his work and teaching.1

The purpose of this study is an understanding of the role of the modern-day prophet based upon the Scriptural definition of a prophet. The basic elements and purposes which designated a Biblical prophet should also be true of prophets today. The approach adopted in this study will be to examine the positive and negative characteristics of a prophet, to apply these characteristics to modern-day prophets, and to examine some of the problems peculiar to prophets today.

Positive Characteristics Of The Prophet

Enduement Of Power From God

A true prophet is, and always has been, a person remarkably prepared for his particular task. The first characteristic of the true prophet is that he must have an enduement of power from God. In the Bible all true prophets possessed power from God as a result of a personal relationship with God (1 Ki. 17:1 — Elijah; 1 Sam. 3:10

Samuel; Jer. 1:5–6 — Jeremiah; Dan. 1:8–9 — Daniel; Mt. 4:18–19 — Peter; Acts 9 — Paul). Although there is much controversy concerning the direct source of the power, the Bible teaches that God’s enduement of power has always been through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. The matter of indwelling of the Holy Spirit is no problem for church-age saints (Acts 1:8), but the Old Testament has clear evidences also of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Gen. 41:38; Num. 27:18; Dan. 4:8; 5:11–14; 6:3) and similarly of the Holy Spirit coming upon a person (Jud. 3:10; 6:34; 11:29; 13:25

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