Worshiping the Prophet & Vision

A find from Teddy:

Shooting wildly with blurred vision

Posted: May 27th, 2009 | Author: James Duncan | Tags: Bible, Leadership, Vision | 18 Comments »

If you spend any time listening or reading modern church leaders like Perry Noble and Steven Furtick, you know that they are driven by vision. Their job is to cast vision, and everybody else’s job is to follow the leader’s vision.

It’s a leaders job to cast vision and focus people on the future, not to be in a constant state of comparison. I wrestle with this–every leader I know does; however, I honestly believe that the more passionate and obsessive we become about VISION…the more of a difference God will allow our churches to have.

Church members are expected to believe the vision religiously. They are something to be believed in.

People DO BELIEVE in the vision God has placed IN you.

Violations of vision obedience usually prompt vigorous discipline. As I’ve documented before, that can range from strong questioning to involuntary resignations.

As much as they build their careers and churches on the first part of Proverbs 29:18, visionary leaders rarely quote the entire verse:

Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.

(Check out the Google results from Noble’s blog for “vision and perish” and the results for “vision and perish and law.”)

The word vision is not the same as we use in corporate vision statements. The word has a number of possible meanings:

  • a) vision (in ecstatic state)
  • b) vision (in night)
  • c) vision, oracle, prophecy (divine communication)
  • d) vision (as title of book of prophecy)

In the context of this verse, it refers to God’s inspired Word. Notice the contrast in the but. People who don’t listen to God’s Word cast off restraint, but blessed are the people who listen and obey it. The antidote to perishing is not to cast vision, but to keep the law.

In fact, visions in the Old Testament usually describe things to be avoided. Scan the minor prophets, for example, to see how often visions are descriptions of God’s consuming punishment for sin. They are never blissful dreams of future goodness; prophets who cast such positive visions are condemned (Ezekiel 13:16, Jeremiah 23:16-18). Another way to translate the verse might be something like

Where there is no certain threat of God’s devastating punishment, the people will act carelessly and without restraint, but people who obey God’s law will be blessed. (Proverbs 29:18, Duncan translation)

As Lance Rowlett points out, the common misapplication of the verse is ironic.

Properly interpreted, this passage is a timeless call to proper proclamation of Truth. But in order to properly proclaim God’s Word, we must properly interpret it.

Of late, though, the passage has been improperly interpreted, thus improperly applied to ministry. And that is the irony–a verse that implies the need for correct handling of God’s Word has been improperly handled (cf. 2 Tim. 2:15), and thus ends up extinguishing its own intent.

So-called visions can be dangerous and wrong. Many times in the Old Testament, God’s people are warned away from false teachers casting their own visions.

See Jeremiah 23:16, for example (all of these verses use the same word for vision as Proverbs 29).

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Do not listen to what the prophets are prophesying to you; they fill you with false hopes. They speak visions from their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord.

Here’s another example from Ezekiel 7:26.

Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor. They will try to get a vision from the prophet; the teaching of the law by the priest will be lost, as will the counsel of the elders.

One more from Jeremiah 14:14.

Then the Lord said to me, “The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.

At least Perry Noble realizes that his own visions are risky.

I believe that if a leader is consistently spending time with Jesus and being set on fire that, from time to time, he or she will cast a vision that is so bold that everyone in the room becomes uncomfortably excited!

The comforting thing for Noble is that if someone points out that the vision is false, it’s actually proof that it’s correct.

He must understand that if the vision is from the Lord it will be attacked…people will not like it…it will get personal…BUT, even when all of these things happen he simply will not back down from what he knows the Lord has spoken into him.

Confidence is casting a strong vision and asking others to join you…

When someone asks you to follow a vision, especially when it’s not God’s certain revelation, run for your lives.

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From: http://sn129w.snt129.mail.live.com/default.aspx?wa=wsignin1.0

When people choose to be slaves to a vision or person and worship them, I always am reminded of the Great Gideon who turned Israel to worshiping his ephod.

Judges 8:22-27

The Israelites said to Gideon, “Rule over us—you, your son and your grandson—because you have saved us out of the hand of Midian.”

But Gideon told them, “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.” And he said, “I do have one request, that each of you give me an earring from your share of the plunder.” (It was the custom of the Ishmaelites to wear gold earrings.)

They answered, “We’ll be glad to give them.” So they spread out a garment, and each man threw a ring from his plunder onto it.  The weight of the gold rings he asked for came to seventeen hundred shekels, not counting the ornaments, the pendants and the purple garments worn by the kings of Midian or the chains that were on their camels’ necks. Gideon made the gold into an ephod, which he placed in Ophrah, his town. All Israel prostituted themselves by worshiping it there, and it became a snare to Gideon and his family.


3 thoughts on “Worshiping the Prophet & Vision

  1. This is a truly great article.
    First it addresses the way this verse is strangely used by preachers and secular motivation speakers, who usually say “Even the bible says without a vision…” and then all the Christians go woo hoo!

    Secondly, it begs the question. Does a church need a vision (e.g new church building, TV station, radio station, newspaper”.

    The visions always seem to cost money…

    I wonder what the vision of the church in Ephesus was?

  2. “I wonder what the vision of the church in Ephesus was?”

    I know. It was probably to build a huge theater so that they could produce Christian plays – greek tragedies etc, because that was on the cutting edge of society. But they’d have to do it with “excellence” – so well that the unsaved would flock to see them. And,of course that would cost money so in order to really reach out and win Ephesus for Christ and have impact on the community, in this new season of the river of God they would have to make sacrifices and….
    And if people couldn’t get with the vision..then maybe they could move to Corinth, but they’d be robbing themselves of untold blessings …

  3. What is the vision for the church? Jesus already gave it – preach the gospel. Over at “Letter of Marque” blog by Chris Rosebrough is this timely article.

    Tertullian, from his work “Prescription Against Heretics”……..

    “We, however, are not permitted to cherish any doctrine coming from our own will, nor to choose those doctrines which another has introduced from his private fancy. In the Lord’s apostles we possess our authority; for even they did not choose to introduce anything of themselves, but instead faithfully delivered to the nations the doctrine which they had received from Christ. If, therefore, even “an angel from heaven should preach any other gospel” than the one delivered by the apostles, he would be called accursed by us.”

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