The Need for Prophetic Pastors

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This is the second part of two podcasts with Alan Eason. Alan has been in various forms of ministry for over 30 years - in the pastorate, the mission field, and working with Chuck Colson at Prison Fellowship Ministries. We talk about the need for pastors to be more prophetic in their ministry, as well as Alan's message for today's family of God.

Reuel Sample:
All of this has been happening while we still have an active church here in this country. We can't deny that we have seen megachurches across the country in explosive growth in the last 20 years. They are technologically advanced. They bring in thousands of people every every Sunday. They are savvy in the way they go about marketing. The people who go to these churches, they're young. They're they claim to be worshipping and I won't dispute that. Is the church effective in this assault on our faith today?

Alan Eason:
I've seen and you've seen too, and probably many of our listeners have seen case after case after case where a lot of the churches tha are trendier, more trendy don't stand real strongly against some very obvious things that the scripture blatantly says we're supposed to speak against. You know, I'm sure a lot of these churches and I've been a member of several megachurches here in Texas and for a little while in northern Virginia. They're good in a lot of ways. A lot of them put more emphasis on the real preaching and the real pastoring being done at a lower level like in community groups or life groups. And they do a great job there. But I've always wanted to see in the public assembly where the truth is boldly spoken. A lot of times I've been disappointed. I understand what they're trying to do, it's sort of Bill Hybels approach up in Chicago, when he started Willow Creek, and all of that was to get people to come in who were Seekers. And they've had great success with that. The idea was to get people to come in and then get close enough to where they can be discipled by individuals, and a lot of that worked.

Alan Eason:
However, maybe because I'm more of a public person and because I ended up becoming a journalist as well, and because I take more of the prophetic mantle than even the pastoral mantle from my own life. The way I see it,the pastors are supposed to be also prophetic, or at least some of them are. Some are more pastoral, some are more prophetic. The church needs to have prophetic pastors. And when I say prophetic, I'm not talking about necessarily getting visions about the future - that may happen. I'm talking about speaking to the present and speaking like a prophet spoke. Like Ezekial said - if you're the watchman on the wall and you see the enemy out there and you come down and you don't tell anybody what's coming, then the blood of the city is on your head, you know, and I feel a lot of these megachurches have have let Christians down.

Reuel Sample:
It's not just the megachurches, it's everywhere. And I like I like your emphasis on the prophetic voice of the pastor. They're not trained to be the prophetic voice anymore. They are trained. I'll forever remember this, and I actually had a really good hermeneutics professor at Princeton. But even he said, well, it's not the job of the pastor to be prophetic. It's the job of the pastor to come out of the congregation, to speak the words of the congregation. And that's not it. Is that the pastor is quite often called to come down from the mountain and say to the people of God, these this is what God says today, and I think we are missing that.

Alan Eason:
That's true. You know, I mean, there's there are three offices in the Bible you often hear about there is that the prophet, there's the the priest. And then there's the pastor. And the prophet is more usually the fire and brimstone, preacher and pastor is more of the let's get the group together and sing Kumbaya, but let's also try to heal each other's wounds and help each other. I'm not against. I love singing Kumbaya. I sing it a lot in the 70s, especially. But then you had the priest who is a representative of the people to God and who leads, who's the intercessor, who leads people in prayer. And and they are all vital. All those offices and the other offices in the church are vital, but the church needs that fire from the pulpit. You know, the Methodist Church still has the image of the circuit riders and the fire, the flame of fire coming up around the cross. Those guys, when they went across the frontier from cabin to cabin during the second great awakening in America, they were fire breathers. John Wesley was a fire breather. You know, that's what caused that great revival in Wales and England and then in the United States and then in this country and you got to have some of that.

Reuel Sample:
So the question is there there is a lack of the prophetic voice from pastors. A lot of whom have to just been trying to lay low, bury their heads and just try to get by and take care of their flock. And I can understand that it's been a tough couple of years for pastors. How can we encourage pastors to take up that prophetic mantle and to say this is what this is what the Lord says? How can we encourage them to do that?

Alan Eason:
Well, you remember the story of James Kennedy. I read that story way back when I was in Bible school because it was real fresh. He had just come out with Evangelism Explosion. He with T.M. Moore and some others had done that book, which was one of my favorite books that I was reading in school. And do you remember in his story, he went to that church when he started? I can't remember the numbers, so I'll throw some in. But it was kind of for effect. It was wasn't big. It was like they had 100 members coming in. After you've been preaching about six months, they were down to 40. You know,

Reuel Sample:
That's D. James Kennedy.

Alan Eason:
Yeah, yeah, that's what I'm talking about. And I love that story. And then then people started to wake up and he didn't change his preaching that much. But the congregation changes are the ones that were left changed, and then it started to grow and then it started to explode. And that's where they got the Evangelism Explosion from. And that often happens, you know, and that's there has to be. There, the pastor has to take a stand on the Word of God and speak of thus sayeth the Lord and just stand up, and now more than ever, if you do that, you don't even have to necessarily talk about real controversial subjects. Just stand up and say, This is what God says. This what the Bible says, you know?

Reuel Sample:
And pastors don't do that because they're afraid of the consequences, they're afraid of ticking somebody off or offending some powerbroker in the church or driving somebody away or somebody disagreeing with them. And we have to encourage our pastors. It's fine. Is that the if we preach the Word of God correctly and none of us can do that perfectly on this side of the veil. But if we are, if we are faithful in preaching, then the spirit of God will transform the people in our congregation and and therefore our communities. And we have to encourage our pastors to do that,

Alan Eason:
It's God who builds the church. It's not us. We just go to say you. We wanted to see God's the one that gives the increase. Paul said if I preach to please men, I'm not the servant of Christ.

Reuel Sample:
What is your message for the family of Christ today?

Alan Eason:
Well, I'll tell you what God's really been putting heavy on my heart for months now. I every morning I do, like many people do, I do a pretty extensive Bible study and prayer time before I start the day. And I've been working through the prophets actually for the last year through Isaiah Jeremiah Lamentations. Now I'm almost all the way through Ezekiel. And one thing is, and I've read them many times, but this time it's really sinking in, maybe because of what's going on in our own country and around the world more than anything and in the church. The weakness that we feel and much of the church around is not all of it, but in much of it. And God is speaking through all the prophets at the time of the fall of Jerusalem at the time. The Babylonians are coming and they came in a number of times. They took out people different times in different ways. Kings tried to buy them off. Kings of Judah tried to buy them off. And then everybody tried to align themselves with Egypt, and then they Nebechanezzer just had it and they got smackdown destroyed. Mass killings. What was left taken to Babylon, Jerusalem razed by the Babylonian armies and God was telling them, This is coming. This is coming.

Alan Eason:
And what what he was doing. He wasn't just warning them of the consequences of the sin of their idolatry, which he often called adultery spiritual adultery in those prophetic messages. He was telling them. And he often says there is only one hope for you. First of all, there were two hopes he talked about, one was the hope for the people of God for Israel, and that's where he began. The different prophets Isaiah, Jeremiah, Zeke, all of them talked about the coming messiah and the messianic kingdom that was going to come. That's the hope for Israel. But they weren't going to see it in their lives. And but there was a hope for them individually, and that hope was for them individually to seek God. And if you do that with all your heart, Jeremiah prophesied - then you can find him. But you're going to have to see out with all your heart individually, and then even Ezekiel talks about how the destroyers are going to go through the city, but they will spare those who have been marked by the man with the inkwell. And this is all symbolic.

Alan Eason:
Very much like the Book of Revelation, where you have the mark on the forehead of those who are pleasing to God, and Ezekiel says they will be spared. Those who sigh and cry after the afflictions of Jacob are the ones that received the mark from a man with the inkhorn. The others would be destroyed. And they were at the end. There was no more hope for them. But for those who are still sighing and crying and seeking God, they would be passed over. Sort of like the Passover in Egypt. So the message, I think for the church today is it's got to start with you individually. Whether you're a pastor, whether you just open the door to the church in the morning or shovel a parking lot when it snows or whatever. Seek God with all your heart and and you will be close to him and let him work through you and then to the congregation as a whole. Speak up the truth, if you're a pastor or a teacher or a person of influence, speak the truth out there and it may be difficult because a lot of people may not want to hear you doing that.

Reuel Sample:
My friend, thank you for being with us, Alan. It is it's it's an honor that you are on our first podcast. I wish you all the best in your your new company, but continuing your old ministry?

Alan Eason:
Thank you Reuel. God bless. And I appreciate it.

Reuel Sample
Reuel SamplePodcast HostThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Reuel Sample is the host of The Pastor's Voice Podcast. He has a Bachelor Degree in Sociology and Business Administration from Grove City College, and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has served as a church pastor and a Navy Chaplain. He is a staunch churchmen - which is why he criticizes it so much. He is an avid sailor and wood worker. He is blessed to be married to his wife Pam. They make their home in Wilmington, NC.

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