Prophecy in +Pittsburgh

7 04 2008

(Hat tip to Fr Jake)

Normally I do not comment heavily on our issues in The Episcopal Church, but I thought this was very interesting ….

Bishop Robert Duncan is claiming to have received a prophecy, as stated here. It has been very difficult to log onto the page all morning, but here is the text:

Beloved in the Lord,
As the Februar y TRINITY was going to press, a prophecy was sent to us by the Revd. Mark Stibbe,
Rector of St. Andrew’s, Chorleywood, Diocese of St. Alban’s, England. Most of the clergy remember Fr.
Stibbe as the keynote presenter for our fall clergy conference. The conference was a spiritual high-
light of the year and extraordinar y time of fellowship and ministry among our ordained leaders.
Mark has of ten been to Pit tsburgh and is a great friend of Bp. Joseph Garlington and of our brothers
and sisters in Covenant Church. The prophecy speaks for itself in the context of the momentous events that swirl around us. Our God loves us and loves His bride, the Church. I hope you will find as much encouragement in these words as the Leadership Team did.

Faithfully your Bishop,

+Bob Pittsburgh

The Year of the Gate —

Pass through, pass through the gates!
Prepare the way for the people.
Build up, build up the highway!
Remove the stones.
Raise a banner for the nations.

Isaiah 62:10
In Hebrew, the number eight is rendered by the letter CHET, which is depicted in the form of a GATE
The number eight is related to new star ts and new life in the Scriptures – the most notable being the resurrection of Jesus which occurred on the eighth day…
Eight is the number of the gate… And I sensed the Holy Spirit saying simply this:
2008 is the year of the open gate. Prepare to pass through the gate. There are new beginnings ahead for those who have been waiting patiently for their moment to come. Obstacles are being removed. The Father is breaking his children out of a sense of captivit y to past restrictions. The anointing for new beginnings is on many in this year. The time of frustration and exile is coming to an end. This is the Lord’s time for his people to rise up and follow him through the gates of opportunity. New star ts are looming. Many are on the point of experiencing the new life that convergence brings. And the true church – even though it will know many trials – is on the point of experiencing new life, a new season of vitality and creativit y, a brand new Reformation. A highway is being built, stones are being removed, and a banner is being raised for the nations. So get ready… and do not be afraid. Do not be anxious. 2008 is the year of the gate… And there is a BREAKER ANOINTING on those who are pushing up to the threshold of their opportunity:
One who breaks open the way will go up
before them; they will break through the gate and go out.
Their king will pass through before them, the
LORD at their head

Micah 2:13

Now, some of you may know that I spent some time in the Assemblies of God and considered myself a Pentecostal for a number of years. At 17, quite by accident and totally unlooked for, I was “slain in the Spirit” and “Baptized by the Holy Ghost.” As such, I am familiar with things like speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecy.

Some background … Prophecy is generally preceeded (though not always) by speaking in tongues. Generally during worship someone speaks in tongues as if they are in a trance and another person (also as if they are in a trance) interprets the message which is assumed to be from the Lord. Most of the time the messages or the prophecy is rather general and not geared towards a specific event. It is more of an exhortation, an encouragement or admonition. These things are given a lot of weight in the life of the community, for obvious reasons. On the very rare occasions when things get move to the realm of the specific or seem to lead the community in a specific course of action (such as this), then it is up to the pastoral staff and elders to determine its legitimacy through discernment, as Discernment is also a gift of the Spirit along with the more flashy ones.
Quite frankly, I am surprised at a number of things, not the least of which is the Hebrew numerology. It just doesn’t seem like the Lord’s style to speak to us in the UK or US through New Age-y type stuff. That’s point one which causes me to be skeptical. Anglicans in the UK and Episcopalians in the US raise an eyebrow at this stuff. Also, I just think the irony in starting off a word from the Lord using numerology (granted, it’s Hebrew numerology) when TEC is constantly accused of being unChristian is just remarkable. Will the Network start using Kaballah in their liturgy? Film, as they say, at 11….

Secondly, call me crazy, but if the messenger of this prophecy were someone who was of a more inclusive bent (say a member of Integrity or InclusiveChurch) then it could easily be read as a call to stop bellyaching with the weeping and gnashing of teeth over +Gene Robinson’s presence (or lack thereof) at Lambeth, gay marriage, and full inclusion of all the baptized, and just get on with it!  Alternatively, it could used to encourage us folks in Integrity, etc not to lose heart and to keep pressing towards the mark.

As a person of faith, I do not rule out Divine messages, but experience has taught me to be skeptical. When God speaks, in whatever form, he does not serve to foment discord or to make a bad situation even worse. This kind of missive seems manipulative and leading people to a course of action that could ultimately not serve the people it is trying to encourage. True prophecy in my experience builds up the Body of Christ. It encourages and comforts as well as criticizes all for the good of the Body.

My two cents.

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5 responses

7 04 2008
Doorman-Priest

That’s the joy of prophecy: its meaning lies in the perception of the receiver.

7 04 2008
Reverend boy

Exactly!

9 04 2008
Grandmère Mimi

RB, as I read the prophecy at Fr Jake’s, I had the same thought as you, that the the meaning of the prophecy could be that the gate would be opened to a church that welcomed everyone equally. So there.

11 04 2008
episcopalifem

Sign me up for your interpretation too, RB – It’s somewhat like astrology…no? So general as to apply to all specific situations…

13 04 2008
Pisco Sours

Gematria has been used in Christianity before: “Gematria carried over into early Christianity which helped make the dove a representation of Jesus; the Greek word for dove, peristera, equals 801 as do the Greek letters in alpha and omega, which represent the Beginning and the End.”

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