Moving in the Prophetic

October 14, 2017

A Biblical Guide to Effective Prophetic Ministry Today

 

“It has been said that some Roman Catholics tend to believe in a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Virgin; that some Protestants (particularly High Anglicans) believe in the Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Sacraments; and that the Evangelicals believe in a Trinity of Father, Son and Holy Scriptures. But of course, the real Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who becomes conspicuously present and manifest among God’s people when the prophetic dimension has been restored to the Church’s life and ministry, particularly within the regular activity of preaching. It is possible to make the Bible our god, and yet to become stone deaf to the voice of the God of the Bible.”

 

Moving in the Prophetic is comprehensive, sometimes overwhelmingly so. Haslam strays ceaselessly from one topic to another; from the theoretical sufficiency of Scripture, to the Old and New Testament understandings of prophecy, to the Complementarian view of gender, to the role of prophetic “watchmen” in the church, to how, actually, one goes about prophesying. His odd, sprawling structure makes it difficult to see how he was aiming to do anything other than mind-dump everything that he could think of about prophecy, and then attempt to tidy this up into rough sections. Because of this, all the way through one can draw all manner of wise, penetrating and convicting ideas. But without an overall and clear aim, doing so is draining. Moving in the Prophetic just does not stop, and could honestly be half the size.

 

Perhaps the most disappointing facet of the book is that it is unpersuasive. Haslam sacrifices depth and rigour for his (unnecessary) comprehensiveness. He makes bold, sweeping claims that are sadly endemic to much of the charismatic writings that I have encountered. His occasionally brilliant challenges to a cessationist or functional-cessationist tradition that must be given serious meditation are too swift and much more could be made of them. Haslam’s exaggerated, poetic writing style is clearly supposed to be exciting and exhorting, and sporadically manages to be. But more often than not it falls flat and makes the reader wary as to what Haslam is trying to emotively sneak through. Moving in the Prophetic is the product of a man who is so persuaded in his own mind (which Romans 14 lauds) that he finds it tricky to engage effectively with those who are not.

 

Despite all of the above, when it comes to those who are already persuaded of Haslam’s position, Moving in the Prophetic is beautifully and shockingly practical. The reader will come away knowing how to prophesy in a variety of contexts with a mature understanding of the inherent dangers entwined with this spiritual gift. She will also be deeply, deeply moved to do so, a boast that not many books can match. To the cynical reader, I urge her not to reject all that she reads because Haslam’s description of the Spirit’s work is not her experience. She should wrestle seriously with why this is not her experience, and engage soberly with the plethora of prophetic stories that are sprinkled throughout Moving in the Prophetic. If Haslam is right, then this book is a triumph. It is a shame that he is not persuasive. It is the deepest shame that I think he genuinely could have been. The material is there.

 

5/10

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