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Seven Tests of a True Prophetic Word

God is speaking today and Pastor Loren Sandford urges all of us to pursue biblical discernment.


With so many questionable prophetic words circulating these days, concerning both the wider world and personal prophecies, wouldn’t it be a good thing for the body of Christ to sharpen its discernment? I fear that to fail to do this will ultimately result in a tragic disillusionment with prophetic ministry at a time in history when accurate plumb line prophetic ministry is desperately needed. What are some ways to sort true words from false?

#1: Does this supposed word from God stand the test of Scripture?

Colossians 2:18 warns against the one who takes his “stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind.” It can be supposed revelatory visions we believe reveal a truth or it can be receiving a vision for some ministry you want to do or a position you’re convinced you hold that fills you with an energy that isn’t the Lord. In any case, it must square with the eternal Word. The apostle Paul wrote: “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed!” (Galatians 1:8)

#2: Does this word reflect the revealed nature and character of God?

Begin this test with I John 4:8: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” God is love. His love may take many forms, ranging from tenderness to discipline and even anger, but it will always be love for our sake – love in the content of the word and love in the spirit of the word.

#3: Does this word line up with what God is already doing and with what the Bible tells us God wants to do? 

Question words that lead us in different directions than those already in evidence, bearing fruit in our lives and ministries. For instance, we founded the church I pastor on a vision for mercy—that we would be a place of refuge and healing. But for a time, we allowed ourselves to be side-tracked by those who called for a spiritual warfare emphasis. The result was predictably wounding. Until God brought about a cleansing, removed the competing voices and restored us to the original vision, warfare nearly destroyed us. We should have known. There have been others who called for a primary emphasis on prophetic ministry as our foundation. It resulted in deception and harm because God had dictated and confirmed a different foundation.

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Category: Spirit, Summer 2017

About the Author: R. Loren Sandford is the eldest son of John and Paula Sandford, widely recognized as pioneers in the charismatic renewal, prophetic ministry and inner healing. A graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary, Loren has been in ministry full time since 1976 and is the founding pastor of New Song Church and Ministries in Denver, Colorado. As well as traveling internationally as a conference and seminar speaker, he is the author of numerous books, including: Burnout: Renewal in the Wilderness (1998), Purifying the Prophetic: Breaking Free from the Spirit of Self-fulfillment (Chosen, 2005), Understanding Prophetic People: Blessings and Problems with the Prophetic Gift (Chosen, 2007), The Prophetic Church: Wielding the Power to Change the World (Chosen, 2009), Renewal for the Wounded Warrior: A Burnout Survival Guide for Believers (Chosen, 2010), Visions of the Coming Days: What to Look for and How to Prepare (Chosen, 2012), and Yes, There’s More: A Return to Childlike Faith and a Deeper Experience of God (Charisma House, 2015). Married since 1972, he and Beth have two daughters and one son who have collectively given them nine grandchildren. Loren is also a member of the Osage Nation, a Native American heritage he deeply treasures. Twitter: @pastorrls

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