Friday, January 4, 2013

How Can Bob Thiel Be a Prophet?

First, just a short announcement, I have updated my COG Blogs webpage to remove some entries that are obsolete or out of date and to add a few more blogs to the list I have found. See link on the right, "Church of God Blogs". This is a listing of about 26 Church of God blogs showing COG affiliation (when known), the name of the blog, a link to the blog, whether the blog accepts comments, etc. I have updated it to show that Bob Thiel is no longer associated with LCG.

Also, some corrections and updates on what I have previously posted about Bob Thiel. Dr. Thiel emailed me and corrected a couple of things I had in my posts. LCG members other than family members were not part of the first CCOG service. Also, he began to remove statements in his site that LCG was Philadelphia starting on 7/14/12, so my statement previously that he was not honest because he kept publishing that LCG was Philadelphia while he had doubts was incorrect. It seems that as soon as his doubts became serious, he began to change his site to reflect what he believed.

He also reminded me, to balance the statements I made about his advantages, that he helped LCG a lot in its growth but was not paid by LCG. He had to hold a job while he did the work of his blog, and what he has done he has financed from his own pocket.

This is my fourth post in about a week in this blog about Bob Thiel leaving Living Church of God to form Continuing Church of God (CCOG). Friday afternoon a week ago he posted an announcement in his blog that he had quit LCG because he no longer thinks LCG is Philadelphia. He has also listed some events, which I have talked about in my previous posts, which he seems to think indicate or suggest he may be a prophet.

Can Bob Thiel be a prophet?

What I am saying in this post applies not just to Bob Thiel but to anyone in the Church of God who claims to be a prophet, now or in the future.

Prophecy is more than God-inspired wisdom and insight. It is more than knowledge of scripture. It is more than good guesswork or estimation, even if that guesswork or estimation is accurate and backed by solid understanding and spiritual perception.

Prophets receive and deliver direct messages from God. There is no ambiguity about the source, that it is from God and not from the prophet's own thinking.

Any Christian can be inspired by God with understanding and wisdom he would not otherwise have. If you are facing a trial and have to make a serious decision and do not know what to do, you may pray for wisdom and direction, and God can inspire you to see the answer. If you going to tell your boss you have to take time off for the Feast, and you are nervous about it and don't know what to say, your can pray and ask God to put the words in your mouth that you should say, and He can do that. If you give the opening or closing prayer, or a sermonette, or a speech in club, you can ask God for help and he can help you. If you give the sermon, you can ask God to inspire your speaking, and the congregation also prays that God will inspire your speaking, and He can do that. He can speak through you when you give the sermon in order to give the members the spiritual food they need.

But you can still make mistakes in what you say even though God helps you overall.

That is not prophecy.

A prophet, when he faithfully delivers a message directly from God (and he better be faithful and not change the message), is only the delivery man - it is God speaking through the prophet. But when the prophet speaks of his own opinion, even if he is a wise man, he can make mistakes. Nathan was a prophet, and king David told him of his desire to build a temple for God. Nathan told David to go ahead. But Nathan, though a prophet, was not speaking prophetically when he said, "Go, do all that is in your heart, for the Lord is with you". He was speaking for God perhaps in a sense, because that may have been the reason David went to him, but he was not delivering a prophet message. He was speaking from his opinion. Though sincere and probably wise, he was in error. God did NOT want David to build the temple. Yet Nathan, a true prophet of God, was so sure that God approved David's plan, he told David God was with him in this.

So God spoke DIRECTLY to Nathan that night and told him to tell David NOT to build a temple. This must have come as a surprise to Nathan. God did not rebuke Nathan, but he made it clear he had to correct what he told David. The thing is, no matter how wise and righteous Nathan might be, he could not know everything God knew about God's plan for the temple. He could not have all facts about what God had planned unless God told him, and up to that time God did not tell him (1 Chronicles 17:1-4, 2 Samuel 7:1-17).

Prophecy is not just God-inspired wisdom and insight. Sometimes the message God delivers to a prophet is the exact opposite of what the prophet would think.

Suppose Robert Thiel has a very good understanding of prophecy. Suppose God has given him a lot of wisdom and spiritual insight into prophetic events and their endtime fulfillment. Suppose that because of that wisdom, he has been able to correctly predict events in his books and blog. That does not make him a prophet. What will make him or anyone else a prophet is one or more DIRECT MESSAGES from God.

In the examples in the Bible, prophets received messages from God, not just wisdom, and the messages appeared to be messages given directly from God word for word. The prophet might hear a voice in his ear, as with Samuel (1 Samuel 3:1-21). Or God might speak to the prophet from a burning bush or face-to-face as with Moses. Or the prophet might have a vision or dream in which God directly speaks with him. Anyone who has read the Bible cover-to-cover many times will remember these things. But whatever it is, there is always a clear distinction between God's message and the prophet's thinking.

Bob Thiel reasoning out how the details of end-time events will work out, even if God gives him enough wisdom and insight to reason correctly, does not make him a prophet. If God gives him a direct message through a dream, a vision, or a audible voice, or through Christ or an angel meeting with Dr. Thiel face-to-face and giving a message, that would make him a prophet, provided events showed that the message was true and that Bob Thiel was faithful in his overall teachings.

So for example, looking at the life and circumstances of Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, and predicting that he may be the beast, even if such reasoning and predicting is correct and based on wisdom and understanding, would not be prophecy. But if Bob Thiel, still thinking Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is the most likely person to be the beast, was directly and clearly told by God in a dream, no, it is not Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, but it is someone else, someone Bob Thiel and everyone else in the Church of God never heard of, if that message was really from God, that would be prophecy.

"...knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit" (NKJV - 2 Peter 1:20-21). Also, here is the NIV translation of that same verse: "Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit."

Also, being anointed for a double portion of God's Spirit does not make Dr. Thiel a prophet. There is no promise in the Bible that such an anointing makes one a prophet. Here is the one account of such a request: "Elisha said, 'Please let a double portion of your spirit be upon me.' So he said, 'You have asked a hard thing. Nevertheless, if you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be so.' " (2 Kings 2:9-10). Notice that there was no anointing here. Also notice, Elijah did not assume that because Elisha made this request that it would be done for him. God could say yes or He could say no.

So just because Mr. Gaylyn Bonjour anointed Bob Thiel for a double portion of God's Spirit does not mean that God gave Dr. Thiel a double portion of His Spirit.

Could God in the future make Robert Thiel a prophet? That is God's call. Dr. Thiel seems to have certain problems to overcome in his teachings and attitude, I think. But a man does not have to be perfectly righteous for God to use him as a prophet or in any other capacity. Balaam was a prophet, but he was not righteous. Jonah was so carnal, he ran from God and refused to deliver the prophetic message until he was put through the severe trial of being in a fish's belly for three days and three nights (even Paul didn't have to suffer that). And then, to top it off, after he delivered the message and Nineveh REPENTED and God spared the city, an event that should have filled Jonah will joy, Jonah instead was so miserable that he wanted to die! Safe to say, Jonah had a lot of carnality to overcome.

God used Solomon to write two books of the Bible and much of a third, and He gave Solomon everything: wisdom, health, power, money, and peace, yet Solomon did not remain faithful. Christ used Judas as one of the twelve, sending him and the other out to preach the gospel, cast out demons, and heal the sick, but Judas was not a righteous man.

Does a man have to be personally righteous to be a prophet? Look at Balaam.

Does someone have to be wise and handsome for God to speak through him? Ask Balaam's donkey (Numbers 22:28-30).

So I don't exclude the possibility that God could use anyone in the future as a prophet. But members in the Church must require solid evidence before believing that anyone is a prophet.

Also keep in mind that the pattern in the New Testament is that prophets have not had administrative authority in the Church. If that pattern continues, if God makes Bob Thiel a prophet someday, then it is unlikely he will be leading a Church of God fellowship, rather, he would deliver messages from God to someone who does have authority in the Church.

For the rest of us, we must not be gullible. If God makes someone a prophet for the Church of God or for the public, God is quite capable of making that known. It will be clear, and we should require solid evidence.

At this point, Bob Thiel has not even once claimed that God directly spoke to him giving him a message to deliver to the Church, either through an audible voice, a dream, a vision, or face-to-face. And if he does claim that, then God can make it clear, through the fulfillment of a prediction, that Dr. Thiel is his prophet. Unless or until that happens with Bob Thiel or with anyone else, we should be skeptical.

And I still feel that Dr. Thiel needs to remove his books from publication that dwell on prophecies from non-biblical spiritual sources, because as long as he publishes those books, he seems dangerously close to falling into the category of those who say, "Let us go after other gods", described in Deuteronomy 13:1-3, and then, even if he claims prophetic messages from God, messages that are fulfilled, it may be that God is testing us, and that these messages are really from Satan. He needs to clean up his act and avoid listening to demons and teaching others to listen to demons by reading and publishing non-biblical, pagan prophecies. Until then, I am not inclined to accept him as a true prophet of God even if he predicted some unlikely event with 100% accuracy.

There is a monumental, all-important need for a warning message to go out to our nations before the tribulation begins, while there is still time for people to repent. Right now, I think Living Church of God is doing more to get that warning message out in a balanced way than any other group or person, and I do not want to see their income diminished.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said!