School Of The Prophets: Advanced Training For Prophetic Ministry, by Kris Vallotton
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Chosen Books in exchange for an honest review.]
When I saw the title of this book, the second book of the author’s that I have read , I thought that this book would examine the biblical record of the schools for the Sons of the prophets set up by Samuel that survived to the time of Elijah and Elisha . That was not the book that I was delivered. In fact, what I got was a book that was so double-minded that it was hard to tell exactly what the author was attempting to accomplish with a book that was supposed to be advanced training but at best has a lot of tension between what appear to be contradictory aims at every level of this book. How such basic tensions totally escaped the realization of someone who claims to be an expert at insightful prophetic ministry, who is an untaught and often insecure and highly demanding person who nonetheless considers himself a powerful prophet, has an interest in educating others to be like him, and likes to jet set with dictators and other high-ranking international officials (who he is careful not to namedrop) is itself nothing if not curious.
The tensions and contradictions in this book are numerous and serious. On the one hhand, the author claims through his mistaken dispensationalist approach (which is almost Marcionite in its heretical leanings) that the many examples of the OT prophets are nearly useless because of their harsh and judgmental approach to prophecy, but yet he characterizes the types of prophets that exist into six basic categories by using the examples of those very same OT prophets that he dismisses so casually. He has a lot of negative things to say about other prophets who call nations to repentance or who use their prophetic bully pulpit to rebuke others, yet in rebuking them for their own judgmental attitude he shows the same attitude and lack of love himself. The author claims that a prophet should please God rather than men, but then brags about his ability to schmooze with unnamed corrupt foreign generals  without trying to convert them to Christ and in acting with politeness and discretion. The author claims a great deal of scriptural insight that is then derailed by long passages that show few scriptural references and blatant misrepresentations of the NT propehtic examples that we find, showing John as the Apostle of love who was harsh in his youth and totally neglecting the harsh “Babylon is fallen” judgement to be found in Revelation. Worse, there is a blatantly unbiblical and even heretical guide that asks forty subjective questions in two types, asking would-be prophets to score themselves as to whether they were a harsh and uncristian prophet or a lovey dovey prophet like the author.
That said, despite this book’s serious issues, it is a worthwhile book, but not for the reasons why the author probably originally intended. On a fundamental level, this book is useful in showing what the Pentecostal movement thinks about raising up prophets in an institutional sense, accepting a fair amount of chaos as long as it is channeled in an institutional fashion and done so openly and honestly. I can accept that. The book is also useful for all of those who wish to be the modern equivalents of the Middle Eastern court prophet who spoke circumspectly and wisely and avoided any embarrassingly candid criticisms of the corruption of the powerful autocratic ruler . For more spiritually inclined readers whose moral sense is more godly than that of the author, there is much of use in a practical sense, most importantly the fact that for a prophetic gift to be useful, it must be connected to a godly life as well as institutional recognition. A prophet can only usefully serve when he (or she) serves in an office of respect, and has respect for other servants of God, in whatever capacity they may serve. All too often people seek to claim prophetic ministries for themselves while disregarding the importance of respect (albeit respect that comes with godly rebuke) for other God-ordained authorities. This is a useful and salutary reminder for any would-be prophet.
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