Lynn B. Fowler

A prophetic teaching by Lynn Fowler, a member of Women’s Apostolic Alliance.


Some time ago I heard statements from two men, both of whom have my deepest admiration and respect but who take widely divergent views on this matter.

The first is a friend of mine in the USA: a prophet of the old school, hard-hitting, pull-no-punches and in your face. He takes the view that no prophet has the right to ever prophesy about God’s love and goodness. People don’t need to hear that, he says. They need to be called to repentance and commitment and set on fire for God. Prophets should not talk about God as “Daddy” – He is the God of might and power and judgment!

Now let me be very clear that I have absolutely no doubt about my friend’s prophetic call and anointing. I am one of the people who have been prodding him to accept it and publicly acknowledge it. However, I also recognise that we are all products of our history as well as of the working of God in our lives. My friend’s history includes a father who was cruel and distant, and a life of hardship struggling to survive. I am sure that at least some of his understanding of God is seen through those coloured glasses.

At the other end of the scale is a pastor whom I have never met, but whose ministry through the internet has blessed me enormously. The leader of a huge church in the USA, he regularly sees incredible healings and miracles released, not only through his own ministry, but through the ordinary people in his church. They are encouraged in their daily lives to look out for people who may be in need of a touch from God, and to pray for them. The result has been impromptu healing meetings in supermarkets, cafes and even on a trans-Atlantic flight!

I love this man’s ministry, because so much of it is parallel to the vision that the Lord has given us for the ministry I lead. However, there is one point where I disagree (at least, the only one I have found so far) and that is his insistence that prophets should only ever speak good things. His reasoning is that the Word tells us that we prophesy according to our faith, and it takes far more faith to prophesy good outcomes than bad.

Much as I admire and respect both of them, I believe both these brothers miss the point. Very simply, if we are truly moving in the prophetic, God does not give us the option of choosing what we will say. Yes, the Word tells us that the spirit of the prophets is subject to the prophets, but that is concerning the timing and manner of delivery of the message, not the subject and content of the message. Prophecy is not about man giving man’s opinion. It is about God speaking to His people through a vessel who is totally yielded to Him and prepared to deliver His message, regardless of whether the prophet himself likes the message or not.

Often in Scripture the message was a hard one, precisely because the time when God needed to send the prophets was generally the time when His people were not listening to what they already had, His written Word in the Law. The role of the prophet has changed somewhat under the New Covenant, because the people of God now have the Holy Spirit living within, and we are supposed to be led and directed by Him, not by God speaking through someone else. However, just as it was true that the people of Israel often ignored what they had (the Law), so it is true that Christians often ignore the Spirit. When we do, God sends His prophets, and we can expect their words to be sharp and to the point (enter my friend!) There are times when, as much as God wants to tell us of His love, He has to warn us of His judgment to shake us out of our complacency.

On the other hand, prophecy in the New Covenant also has another dimension: edification, exhortation and comfort. It might be said that, if we were walking perfectly in the Christian life as it is available to us, external edification, exhortation and comfort should not be needed, because all would be supplied by the indwelling Holy Spirit. But then, at the end of the temptation in the wilderness, God sent angels to comfort Jesus – and there has never been a person who walked more fully in the Spirit than He did. In any case, I have yet to meet anyone who walks perfectly in the Christian life as it is available to us, so this role for prophecy is valid for us all. There are times for all of us when we need confirmation that what we believe we have heard from God is right. Times when we need His reassurance that we are on the right track. And, yes, times when we simply need to hear Him say, “I love you. I am pleased with you.”

From a human viewpoint, we can’t always know where someone else is at. We might well perceive someone as needing a sharp rebuke, when what they really need is to hear God’s acceptance and affirmation. Or we might want to say, “God loves you”, when they really need “Wake up and turn around, before God has to discipline you severely.”

That’s why prophecy must have its source in the heart and mind of God. He alone knows the depths of people’s lives. If we limit ourselves to only bringing prophecies of rebuke and judgment, we may miss giving someone the word of hope that could turn his life around. If we bring only prophecies of goodness and light, we may fail to issue the warning that could save a soul – or a nation – from destruction.

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