Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Modern Prophet

What would a prophet look like today?

As I’m reading Jonah, Amos, and Isaiah I’ve been pondering this question. These guys were bold, many times unpopular, and believed what they said—because they believed in the God who said it first. They weren’t (contrary to popular belief) just crazed preachers who flew-off-the-handle every chance they got. They were neither gluttons for punishment nor did they have some kind of martyr-complex. And they certainly weren’t out for personal gain. They were lovers of God in a world that was running away from God as fast as it could. They were lone voices proclaiming hard truth when all other voices were spewing lies. They were people who loved their nation and loved people enough to warn and admonish—sometimes through tears.

A few months ago, Ron Brown, an assistant football coach for the University of Nebraska Cornhuskers, found himself in the news for being, well, a modern-day prophet. I know Ron. He and I were the speakers for a Fellowship of Christian Athletes leadership camp in Shreveport, LA a few years ago. Quite frankly, he may be one of the godliest men I know and perhaps the best speaker I have ever heard. Yep. You read that right. He’s not hateful—quite the contrary. He is a compassionate and loving man. I saw this in the way he treated his wife with honor and how he spent many hours with high school and college students that week that he didn’t even know. He was vulnerable and humble. He genuinely wants people to know the Christ that saves sinners. He’s also passionate and uncompromising about God’s word. Of course that means he's a lightning rod for controversy. That’s what makes him, in my estimation, about as close as we can get today to a prophet.

He proved it when he weighed in on a hot issue this April—perhaps the hottest of our time: homosexuality. It’s the same issue about which I get pushback almost every time I mention it in light of God’s word.
Of course, the popular media frame his words and edit his comments to make him seem like an unloving, extreme fundamentalist. He’s not. He’s a prophet. And like those of old, after the names of all the “kings” that “rule” today are relegated to obscure lists that no one knows except to note their collective complaisant (read: cowardly) attempts to be considered tolerant and hip, Ron Brown will be remembered for much more. He is FAR from hateful. He is faithful to be a lone voice of grace, love, and truth to sinners like me whose salvation is found in no other name but Jesus. He could just enjoy his own redemption and wait around for heaven. But he chooses to put his reputation on the line to invite others to find new life in Christ.

We need prophets today.


Anonymous said...

Bryan McKaig from Facebook:
Dude seems to have a good head on his shoulders - and loving in his presentation of the truth.

Brett said...

Amen! Good word, Chad.

I wrote about Ron in May and received a thank you email from a close family friend of Ron's:

Chad Sparks said...

Just read your article. Good stuff Brett!

Anonymous said...

Yeah I remember when Ron Brown led the prayer with both the Huskers and Penn State after the Sandusky stuff broke. I thought, wow that guy is bold. There's a real shortage of courage in the world today. Everyone has been made in to cowards by the politically correct forces of tolerance. When someone finally tells the truth in the media, they are shouted down in an attempt to marginalize them forever.
Before I became a Christian, I remember thinking that Christians were narrow-minded, arrogant, zelots who always went off half-cocked. I believed that because that's what Christian-haters want others to think and they control the conversation. Thankfully Christ found me when I was broken and I learned what he really is- AND I learned what real Christians really are. They (we) are recipients of God's amazing grace who want other people to experience it too. I guess when we act on this desire to help, we are too pushy for some. I'm sure the prophets were pushy too.
Go Ron Brown. Don't ever stop. Thank you for being true to your God.
Seth J.

Mitsy Townsend said...

I thought you were going to talk about prophesy today like the people on TV who say they are a prophet and that God speaks to them. Do you think God does still speak to people today? I know the bible is God's word and that he gives us feelings in our heart that something is wrong or right, but what about the people who say that God has told them something? Just curious!!!

Chad Sparks said...

Great comment, Seth.

Chad Sparks said...

Yeah, I figured the title would make some think I was talking about the pentecostal/charismatic "prophecy for today." There's a reason you and I get a little nervous when someone claims to get an extra-biblical "word from God." I'll try to address the issue while we're studying the prophets in the Journey (if I can get some time).