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Prophets cannot be tolerated

by on May 5, 2013


Prophets must be killed, or at least, marginalized. Doctor Karl A. Menninger (1893-1990) makes that observation in his book, What Ever Became of Sin? In his words, “They hang prophets. Or ignore them, which hurts worse.”

Menninger was a noted psychiatrist when that discipline was in its infancy. He built a successful small empire for the treatment for emotional problems. He cared deeply about people. Medicine, as well as politics, was moving away from a religious approach to life. They were moving in a secular direction. Menninger called them to account in his book. Though he was a doctor, he disagreed with the approach that medicine was taking to the treatment of emotional struggles.

That disagreement placed him outside of the medical system. He asked the hard questions. He made the strong statements. He talked about sin – sin with an “I” in the middle of the word. He asked, “Is no one guilty anymore?” Sin that could be repented of and atoned for. Wrong things are being done but, no one is responsible. What ever  became of sin?

Prophets will not be cowed by popular opinion. Prophets will not be drafted into politics because it is the popular way to do things. Prophets are needed in every discipline. They are especially needed in the Church. Unfortunately they are treated badly there also. Unfortunate because they are the voice from God. God speaks through men who do not fear to speak the truth. They may pay dearly. They may die. But, they will speak truth. They will speak God’s words by the power of God’s Word.

Every politician knows that prophets cannot be tolerated. One prophet will destroy all your politics. So, prophets must be killed, or at least marginalized and kept quiet. History and the Bible are replete with examples.

From Jeremiah to John Baptist to Jesus – prophets are not welcome. Their voice is critical but their welcome is refused. Not only are they not welcome. They are jailed, mocked, fed on bread and water, placed in the stocks and sometimes killed.

Their lives are not important but their message is. “Neither count I my life dear unto myself” are the words of the Apostle Paul. He did not “shun to declare all the counsel of God” to the people. Whether they wanted to hear it or not. Whether it made him popular or not. He preached and presented the truth about the Truth.

The Brethren have not listened to the prophets that God sent to them. In the early 1900’s, Elder Benjamin E. Kesler brought concerns to the Church of the Brethren. He asked them to respect their earlier decisions in Annual Meeting. The Brethren, however, were moving on. It was the time of the “Forward Movement.” They blamed Kesler for “moving backward.”

They used their power to refuse him a seat as a delegate at Annual Meeting. He lamented, the very people who should be supporting us are against us. He was a prophet. They desperately needed his voice. They silenced him. Prophets cannot be tolerated. They will ruin your politics.


The more things change the more they stay the same.

God still sends prophets.

They still speak God’s truth.

People still reject them.

That rejection makes those people guilty before God.

Because He sends the prophets.

To speak His words.


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