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Loren Sandford: Purifying the Prophetic

 

 

R. Loren Sandford, Purifying the Prophetic: Breaking Free from the Spirit of Self-Fulfillment (Grand Rapids: Chosen, 2005), 203 pages.

Loren Sandford writes with a twofold purpose: He seeks to confront the culture of self-centered Christianity and to refocus the Charismatic Church on the work and the imitation of Christ. He speaks with a prophetic tone throughout the book—pointing the bony finger of the prophet at sin—while at the same time he nurtures with a pastoral heart, bringing healing to the wounded. Calling attention to the public prophetic errors, such as the fear-filled predictions of Y2K disasters, he asks why there has been no public reprisal against them, or any discrediting of their ministry. In all of this, Sandford names the self-centeredness as parallel to the worship of Baal. To combat this mindset, Sandford sets before the reader a proposal for correction.

Sandford opens with the scriptural illustration of Agabus and the prophetic warning of danger and persecution that he brought to Paul and of the warning of impending famine. In like manner, he calls the contemporary prophets to task with Columbine, Y2K, and 9/11 events as descriptors of failure to prophesy accurately. Leaders of the church, he warns, must be cautious with “the seemingly innocent words” that are spoken. He asks, where is accountability? Pressing further, he confronts prophetic errors with his term “prophetic psychic reading”. Likewise, he disparages the frequent misnomer, “God told me…” In our self-centered culture, we are quick to hear what we want to hear and to ignore the rest. Sandford calls for a course correction.

Sandford uses the scriptural analogies of the Jezebel spirit and Baal worship to describe the same errors in western culture. The corrective, according to Sandford, is to reestablish the foundational things that God has desired for His people: To be a people of faith and to know what it is to love one another—even as Jesus summed up the whole of the Law—to love God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself. Self must be subjected to the service of others.

Primary to the thesis of Sandford’s book is the fresh emphasis on the Cross of Christ. Without mincing words, he confronts the excesses of the “word of faith” movement and its “prosperity doctrines.” Nowhere in these does Sandford find the work of the cross in the life of the believer. Further, he pointedly exposes many of the movement’s distortions of scripture. Sandford emphasizes the teachings of Jesus and draws the reader to recall the repeated admonitions to take up ones own cross. Here he also pleads for the teachers of the church to place a fresh emphasis on the precious blood of Jesus Christ. It is the suffering of the cross and the purchase of the blood that will bring the needed corrective to the self-centeredness of the twin errors of the above teaching. Further, these correctives will bring maturity to the infantile and rebellious.

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Category: Spirit, Spring 2007

About the Author: John R. Miller is an ordained minister with Elim Fellowship of Lima, NY and serves as Pastor of Education with Living Word Temple of Restoration, Rochester, NY. He has a degree from Elim Bible Institute, a B.Div. (Trinity Theological Seminary), C.P.E. (University of Rochester), M.Div. (Northeastern Seminary), and Ph.D. (Regent University). He teaches at Regent University and Elim Bible Institute & College.

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