On Court Prophets and Wilderness Prophets

ChristianityToday.com | 7/19/2019 | Staff
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Recently our president made the latest in a long line of comments demeaning immigrants and minorities. The furor brings to mind two biblical prophets, both for their differences and for what they hold in common.

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Nathan - Advisor - Court - Messenger - God

Nathan was an advisor to the royal court and a messenger of God. He pronounced God’s covenant with David, supported the ascension of Solomon, and wrote histories of the legendary kings. The Bible rarely speaks positively of court prophets, who often serve as apologists for rulers who flout the will of God. Yet Nathan was a court prophet, and a good one. Most memorably, he approached King David and convicted him of his sin against Bathsheba and Uriah. Nathan might have lost his head. Instead he won a repentant king.

John the Baptist is the very image of a wilderness prophet. His ministry raises a clarion cry in the desert, far from the center of political power. He wore a camel-hair shirt, ate locusts and honey, and heralded the kingdom of God. John the Baptist condemned the marriage of Herod Antipas. Unlike Nathan, he ultimately paid with his life.

Court - Prophet - Prophet - Precincts - Power

One was a court prophet and the other a wilderness prophet. One was welcome in the precincts of power. The other was not. What does this have to do with us today?

Some of our readers voted for Trump, in enthusiastic support or in reluctant pragmatism. Others rejected him. Christianity Today should be a place where brothers and sisters in Christ reason with one another passionately and charitably. Let’s seek to understand as much as we seek to be understood.

Court - Prophets - Era - Wilderness - Prophets

As for me, I wonder if we have too many court prophets in an era when wilderness prophets are needed. I also wonder if our court prophets are willing to call...
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