Issue #5 - June 1993
"Salvation cannot come without revelation; it is vain for any man to minister without it. No man is a minister for Jesus Christ without being a prophet. No man can be a minister of Jesus Christ except he has the testimony of Jesus, and this is the spirit of prophecy" Life of Joseph the Prophet p. 493
The apostle Paul suggests that it "pleased God to save men by the foolishness of preaching" (1 Corinthians 1:21). If Zion, or the Kingdom of our God and His Christ is the salvation of the world; then would He not purpose to save it the same way-by preaching? Today magazines, newspapers, pamphlets, newsletters, books, television, videos, etc. all seem to offer more to our people than the pulpit. Why? Perhaps it is because many of our men are not really preaching. Much of our 'preaching' is insipid and stirs neither heaven nor hell. If the preaching of the everlasting gospel is to rise above these other avenues to save men and families which are daily dying and don't realize it, our preaching must become resurrected. The men of the ministry must begin to speak with divine certainty, declaring the word of God with boldness instead of "speaking unto us smooth things" (Isaiah 30:10).
Early in the work, the Lord counseled Hyrum Smith to "seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word; then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire you shall have my spirit, and my word; yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men" (D&C 10:10ab). Perhaps even more revealing is the testimony of Alma, the younger, regarding his brethren, the sons of Mosiah; "they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth, for they were men of a sound understanding, and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God. But this is not all; they had given themselves to much prayer and fasting, therefore they had the spirit of prophecy, and revelation, and when they taught, they taught with power and authority, even as with the power and authority of God" (Alma 12:3,4). Finally, Mormon testifies regarding Alma II and his sons, "Now we shall say no more concerning their preaching except that they had preached the word, and the truth, according to the spirit of prophecy and revelation" (Alma 20:2). If our preaching is to be revived it must become prophetic. Those who occupy in such a capacity must stand in the light of the glowing vision of the cause of Zion and call others to walk therein. Prophesying is preaching at its best. We are not necessarily referring to prediction, but rather declaring the truth "by the comforter" (D&C 50:5c). Such preaching seeks -not to satisfy the curious about the future, but rather, to determine the future by guiding men's lives in the present. This was the heart of the message given to those first associated with this latter-day work: "seek to bring forth and establish the cause of Zion" (D&C 11:3b). Those who preach by the spirit of truth, see what needs to be realized and follow that divine imperative to make it real by declaring it.
Prophetic preaching is more than moving men and women to consider the Lord Jesus. It is actually Jesus visiting his people. Cleopas and his friend on the road to Emmaus testified, "Did not our hearts burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened unto us the scriptures" (Luke 24:31). Such preaching must be bold, courageous and resolute, being fired with passion because of the vision the preacher has been privileged to see. As Wesley said "out of breath pursuing souls".
The prophetic preacher must, without apology, speak out against those specific sins that have encamped about the Lord's people, reminding his hearers that "the wages of sin is death" ( Romans 6:23). He must speak of the requirements of true repentance (D&C 58:9d) as well as offer his listeners the hope of the redeeming love of God (Alma 14:30-32).
Prophetic preaching will make of us new creatures in Christ Jesus by inspiring men to move out in faith and experiment with the word of God (Alma 16:151) to bring the desired changes which the gospel requires. We must recapture the power vouchsafed in this ordinance and in its strength revive our people. Many have been called, but few are chosen. The divine choice which our Lord makes is not capricious. Careless and ambitious men are not chosen to carry the testimony of Jesus, nor bear the fruits of his ministry. As our pulpits become afire with the word of God being preached in its purity, then will the God of Israel pour out His blessings upon his ancient covenant people.
Patrick S. McKay Sr.