Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Interreligious Dialogue as Prophetic Dialogue

I am absolutely sick unto death of this need in mainline Protestantism (and apparently semi-liberal Catholicism) to keep referring to everything as "prophetic".  Every word we say and deed we do has become somehow "prophetic".  I actually think it's really arrogant and manipulative.  It's no different than when your average "spirit-filled" non-denom says, "God told me to tell you that....."  Once something has been declared "prophetic", anyone who disagrees with it is now anti-prophecy and anti-God.  Have something to say that other people aren't going to like?  Slap a "prophetic" label on it, and you're granted immunity. 

So now we come to the concept of "interreligious dialogue" as "prophetic dialogue".  First of all, a prophet is one who mediates the mind and will of God.  One.  ONE.  Prophecy is not a group activity.  In the Old Testament, Israel is not called to prophesy anything.  Specific individuals, members of the nation of Israel, are.  And they are called to do so in certain times and locations only.  It's a charism, not a character or lifelong imprint.  Thus, "the Church" is not a prophet. Second, the bottom line of virtually all "interreligious dialogue" these days is "can't we all just get along?"  No one will come right out and say it, but that's really the upshot of it.  The Church is terrible at claiming her authorization to witness.  We don't really care what anybody actually believes, let's just all stop killing each other.  But that is not even close to "prophetic".  The problem with is that nowhere in the Old Testament is there any sort of "can't we all just get along" mentality when it comes to the prophets' approach to "interreligious dialogue".  God wants to make sure that He is known as the maker and ruler of the world, He wants to communicate that knowledge even to "the nations" (i.e., everybody that's not Israel).  Extrapolated to the New Testament, this is "at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth."  (Philippians 2:10). 

There is no "can't we all just get along?"  Prophets, real, true prophets, were 100% sold out for YHWH, and YHWH alone.  Anything that isn't that, isn't prophetic.  It may be good, it may be worthwhile, it may be helpful, it may be a good idea, it may be an alright endeavor.  But it is not "prophetic". 

Thus saith me.

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My Comments Policy: "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law." Galatians 5:22-23