36. Doesn’t the belief in a modern-day prophet automatically make the SDA Church a cult?
No. What matters is whether the prophetic claimant passes the test of a prophet (Deut 18:14-21), with the prophetic utterances being carefully weighed against the precedence of scripture (1 Cor 14:29). Many 'mainstream' and 'orthodox' Christian denominations acknowledge the possibility of contemporary prophetic ministry.
The New Testament unequivocally lists prophecy as a spiritual gift (Eph 4:11), for the edification of the Church, and in preference to other gifts such as Tongues (1 Cor 14:1-4). It should be remembered that the
was full of prophets and prophetesses of different roles, shapes and sizes. Early Church
There is no Biblical indication that this gift would suddenly cease effect arbitrarily after the 1st Century A.D. Rather, Constantine the Great claimed to have visions from God, as did Martin Luther, Blaise Pascal, René Descartes, Emmanuel Swendenborg, Nat Turner, Benny Hinn and other modern Evangelical leaders, together with John Paul II, Joan of Arc and a whole host of other popes and professed saints – to name but a few.
Likewise, the official position of the Assemblies of God
(the largest Evangelic-Pentecostal denomination), acknowledges modern-day prophetic ministry: USA
“The Assemblies of God believes wholeheartedly in the contemporary prophetic ministry. We have some reservations, however, about current emphases that seem to go beyond the biblical description and guidelines for prophets and prophecies… The Assemblies of God believes the four gifts (apostles, prophets, evangelists, and pastors/teachers) were given to the Church, and that none of the gifts has been eliminated... Prophecy is a continuing gift of the Holy Spirit that is broadly distributed as the Spirit wills throughout Pentecostal churches.” (emphasis added)
Within this context, the Adventist claim of a contemporary prophetic ministry is not new or unusual. If anything, the scriptures make it clear that the gift of prophecy would be bestowed in the last days (Joel 2:28-32).
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