You might have noticed that the last few months have been a different type of article on Azusa Report. The reason being is that I have let the Holy Spirit deal with me about the “name and shaming” mentality that so many get into, especially in the Pentecostal church. I have been way too guilty of it. It has went way past “confronting false prophets.”
Am I saying that there is not a biblical place for naming and shaming? Not at all. There was times that Paul did it. There was times that Paul did not address the people by name though as well. I use to believe that the apostolic model for prophetic people was name and shaming. However, I no longer believe that based on a more honest reading of the New Testament.
Paul and Peter were always slow to shame and did so with regret. If I were to be honest, I was quick to shame and found a “told you so” in doing it. This attitude that many prophetic people have today is not of the Lord and it grieves the Holy Spirit. It is not found anywhere in scripture.
Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message. (2 Timothy 4:14-15)
The focus on this passage for many years was “Alexander did me a great deal of harm.” It was that Paul was calling him out for his actions. However, in the recent times, I have began to believe the focus of the passage is actually on, “Be on the guard….. he strongly opposed our message.” Paul confronted people for the cause of Christ alone. The same can’t be said about me in every case.
Why I personally stopped naming and shaming
As I said, there seems to be a biblical basis for both doing it and not doing it. I am not in the “touch not the anointed” group. (It is not even sound doctrine!) I would hold little back and just let it rip about bad teachings in the Pentecostal movement for many years. Today, I must say I regret some of these articles. Was there a place to stop some false prophets? Yes. Did I go past that and get into “bearing false witness” because of a doctrinal disagreement? I did.
I have chosen to leave all the old articles up because I do think they serve a purpose. However, I must say there has been a great lack of compassion and empathy for people who have differing views. Paul, the same Apostle that did a little naming and shaming told us to speak the truth in love and season our words with grace. In most cases, I said some really harsh things without considering grace, compassion or empathy.
This is not to say that there is not times I will not feel a need to directly confront a problem and do it by name. I am sure these times will happen and I will not back down from them. What this does not mean I will not name and shame people just for having a doctrinal disagreement.
False Prophets must be exposed
One thing I will not pull away from is when there is a false prophet to expose. Having a doctrinal disagree does not make one false. Let’s be clear about that. A false prophet must be one that is giving prophetic words that lead people away from sound doctrine and the heart of God. A false prophet was also who was giving prophecy of another Jesus in the New Testament. They were trying to literally lead people to another person that claims to be Jesus Christ raised from the dead. The issues of false prophets was about keeping the saints from astray in cults. True prophets that have moral failures, struggles or minor doctrinal issues but point to the Bridegroom, Jesus are not false prophets.
When I look at false prophets, I think of people who leave us from the truth and the Spirit. If they are giving prophetic words such as “there is no rapture” or “there is 7 levels of heavens,” they must be rejected because the scripture is very clear. If they do not hold to traditional theological confessions; they must be labeled as a false prophet. People who give words that are in this realm of fighting the scriptures is all too common. Most of the people who are claiming great spiritual experiences make them into false prophets often!
In this case, I will not mind one bit naming and shaming. The scripture is very clear about false apostles and prophets. They must be confronted and harshly. There is no backing down on that.