Why "Yes" to Prophecy, but "No" to "Rhema" Words: What's the Difference?

19:44

On Monday I endeavored to debunk the idea of the "rhema"-word and show why the concept is such a serious problem. But perhaps you're wondering what's the difference between the idea of a "rhema" word and prophecy. After all, they could both, in some ways, be thought of as God's word for the present time. So why say "Yes" to prophecy, but a very strong "No" to "rhema" words? Just what is the difference? Let me try to answer that question by way of a few contrasts.
I don't want to repeat the arguments here, so if you want to see the reasons for rejecting the whole concept of "rhema" words, then have a look at Monday's post.

1. Objective versus Subjective
Prophecy is something objective. It comes from the outside. "Rhema" is subjective, resting on an internal feeling. That makes it depend on how well we understand our feelings, which ultimately makes it dependent on us.

2. Corporate versus Individualistic
Prophecy is given for the edification, exhortation and comfort of the church (1 Cor. 14:3), and so it always finds its expression in the corporate body. Now, that's not to say that all prophecy must be delivered from the front to the whole congregation. Prophecy can be for an individual, but yet it still comes in a corporate context, for someone prophesies and another listens, and usually there's someone else there to hear and help weigh the prophecy too. So, it's not just an individualistic word to me, but rather a word that comes to me through the Body and is weighed by the Body. "Rhema", on the other hand, is an individualistic thing.

3. Tested versus Untested
Prophecy must always be weighed and tested (1 Cor. 14:29; 1 Thess. 5:19-22). It isn't just accepted automatically - first it's tested to make sure it's in line with the Scriptures and that it's pointing us to Jesus. But so-called "rhema" words seem to get away quite often with twisting the Scriptures out of context without being submitted to any testing.

4. Biblical versus Unbiblical
Prophecy is biblical. The Bible describes it, tells us to desire it (1 Cor. 14:1), and gives us guidelines for how it should be used. "Rhema" words, however, are, not only not mentioned or described in the Bible, but also, as I demonstrated in Monday's post, the very concept itself is unbiblical.

5. Christward versus Selfward
'The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy' (Rev. 19:10). So prophecy points us to Jesus. It has a Christ focus. That's not to say that prophecy can never tell us anything about ourselves, but what it does tell us about ourselves is in the context of its Christ-focus. So true prophecy will ultimately point us away from ourselves and to Jesus. "Rhema" words, however, seem to do the opposite. The whole concept of a "rhema" word is self-focused - it's about what God is saying TO ME NOW. And not only is the concept itself self-focused, so is the emphasis that's placed upon it. The supposed "need" for a "rhema" word is self-focused, whispering loudly that what God has said about Jesus is either not relevant or not enough FOR ME, so I NEED something more. And then it becomes about MY ABILITY to receive or hear a "rhema" word. "Rhema" just keeps pointing us to self in all sorts of ways. Prophecy though, like Scripture, points us away from ourselves, to Christ our only Saviour.

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The Unity of the Godhead, and Trinity of the Persons therein.

The utter depravity of human nature, the necessity for repentance and regeneration and the eternal doom of the finally impenitent.

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