As the world becomes more radical on one hand and more oblivious on the other, I look for prophets to guide us. The muslims seem to have a great deal more than the Christians. The need of prophets in our world, or what they address, may be changing.
Certainly Martin Luther King Jr. was a prophet. Ghandi, in our celebration of the 50 year anniversary of his death, was a prophet. Mother Theresa was that I consider a prophet. Each of them, in their own ways, devoted themselves through the course of their lives to God and doing for his people.
Matthew Sweet wrote “Prophets of the 21st century” on 12/2/96. In it he listed 40 people he considered Prophets. These included people from Quite a few fields. Under religion he only listed two men. David (Paul) Yongi Cho, a pastor with a flock of 700,000 who uses faith healing and prophecy to stir his audience. I’d find it hard to believe all those members are devout. Yet his writing is scooped up by other Evangelists hoping to grow their own churches and are read by millions. He says only members of his church will be those who go to Heaven during the Rapture. The other person he notes is Matthew Fox – called the Nostradamus of the Digital Age. Neither of these would make my definition of a prophet.
My pastor recommended Rev. King, William Coffin, and, in some ways, Billy Graham. William Coffin’s career was an odd mix, a CIA agent turned Evangelist and Chaplain at Yale Seminary and member of Skull and Bones, the highly elitist group our Presidents and other leaders coming from Yale were part of. William was a very active proponent of peace talks during the Vietnam War and was an advocate of gay rights. He led a war-torn country to a place where peace was given a chance to grow.
Billy Graham was founder of BGEA – an evangelism group with the mission of spreading the word of God to as many people as possible. He used global media to spread his word, with four huge meetings per year and internet programs. He knew how to spread the word. Many who read or heard or saw him may have been influenced to believe in God due to the mass scale of his organization’s dissemination of God’s word.
There are others – ones who I haven’t heard of myself. And some I am suspicious of. Marianne Williamson has written a Course in Miracles which she says was channeled by God and was very popular for a few years. I’m not sure she was prophetic or not. I didn’t get feedback from God on it.
When the Bible spoke about prophets like Issiah, it was about a smaller world, fewer people. In our time, we need more evangelists and prophets to bless this world with their understandings. This is a crowded, angry, hungry and frustrated world. We need those who can lead us.
We need all the help to find ourselves on the path to God’s Way, to Peace and understanding of the other humans in our world. To be protectors of the environment for wildlife and for future generations. To be messengers our-selves. Not necessarily prophets but pointers to the Way. May your life and all others be blessed.