LAWSON: It would depend on how you define prophecy. The word means “to stand before.” If you mean it in a revelatory sense, that you are receiving direct revelation from God and, therefore, have become the mouthpiece of this direct revelation, the answer is no. That gift does not exist today. If you define prophecy as a reiteration of what has already been revealed or the gift of preaching, the answer would be yes. There are men gifted to preach what has already been revealed in the Word of God. So, it would depend on how you define it. If you are a part of a ministry in which someone says, “God told me this in the shower this morning,” you need to turn his water off.
PARSONS: I forget who said it, but, “If you want to read the Word of God, just get alone with the Bible and read it. If you want to hear God’s Word spoken to you, just read it out loud.”
LAWSON: Oh, that’s been passed down through many people.
GODFREY: Of course, this question immediately brings Huldrych Zwingli to mind. He organized regular meetings for the ministers in Zürich where they would discuss the Word of God and how to preach it. Those gatherings were called “prophesyings,” which is very much in line with what you’re saying. The word prophecy can still be used to refer to the exposition and application of the Word of God, but not as a revelatory exercise of the Spirit.
LAWSON: William Perkins’ The Art of Prophesying, the first Puritan book on how to preach, interprets prophecy as a reiteration of divine revelation that has already been given. Then, prophecy is about how to preach and apply the Word of God. If you take it in that sense, we would agree.
GODFREY: Would you agree that Perkins stole that from Zwingli?
LAWSON: Stephen Nichols told me, “Just say yes.”