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Danny the Prophet

September 7, 2006

I live in Polokwane, South Africa, think ‘farming and mining town of about 75,000 from the American West of 40 years ago’ and you get the idea. We are pretty much the last stop before the middle of nowhere Africa, some even say we are the beginning of nowhere. We are off the edge of the map, like the place Jonah was sailing to, but we have everything here when it comes to religion. All the cults are here and one of the biggest false religions in all of Africa, the ZCC, is headquartered right outside of town. Their Easter gathering brings in well over a million people each year. Yes, over a million people.

I’m not really interested in talking about the cults right now, but about one man from one of the many flavors of Christianity that are all represented here. I’m talking about Danny the Prophet, my new barber. He is an interesting man, a white gentleman about 60, born in Zimbabwe, went to Bible college here in South Africa, was a pastor for about 12 years, left the ministry, and is now a full time barber, but back serving in the church in the capacity of a prophet.

I had never met him before today, but he knew who I was and what I do. Now, Polokwane is not that big and everyone knows everyone else here so I can only guess that he heard about the new American professor at the seminary in town, but he knew quite a bit about who I am, what I am doing and about my family, maybe he knows too much. Anyway, I sat in his chair, he greeted me with my first name, even though we did not introduce ourselves, and he immediately began talking about his history and how he had been looking into Ephesians 4. He had come to understand that the church needed more teachers like me because so many Christians were tossed here and there by every wind of doctrine and strange teaching. So far I was agreeing with everything he had to say. He has a kind and gentle spirit and he loves the Lord and His Church and he was desperately trying to encourage me in my work and he was thanking me for moving all the way to Polokwane to help out the church here.

When he was done cutting my hair he said that the Lord had revealed to him that one of my older sons would follow me into the ministry and that I would be getting more and more involved in church ministry. Danny and I are on nearly opposite ends of spectrum when it comes to the sign gifts and these kinds of things, but I did not try to correct or refute or instruct or confront him in any of his “prophesying.” He is a good Christian man trying to serve the Lord as best as he knows how, but I know this does not excuse any error he might promote. Over the months and years to come we will have many more conversations, Lord willing, and we will no doubt talk about these kinds of things. It would be foolish and ham-fisted of me to smack him with an exposition of the spiritual gifts and, right now, that would just destroy any Christian fellowship we have.

I don’t go around picking fights and looking for reasons not to fellowship with other Christians. Any fool can find fault and start a fight, but faithful are the wounds of a friend and Christians will readily receive instruction from a brother or sister in Christ that loves them. I am all for confronting error that is leading people astray, and I think I do that more than the average Christian, but it seems a lot of what is trying to be passed off in the Christian blogosphere as “discernment” is nothing more than “finding fault with people who are not exactly like me.”

Not everyone with a blog or web page or pulpit for that matter is qualified to examine another person’s ministry. No one has been called to the fulltime ministry of confrontation and condemnation.

I wonder what messages from God Danny the Prophet will have for me next time.

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