“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22, NKJV).
What is Paul saying to us here? How can these words be applied in our experience? What “form of evil” must you, in your own situation, work extra hard to avoid?
In 1 Thessalonians 5:12-15 Paul was admonishing the church. In verses 19-22 he brings up another form of admonition, the gift of prophecy. The two negatives with which he begins this section are both continuous in emphasis: “Stop quenching the Spirit” and “stop despising prophesyings” (1 Thess. 5:19, 20, author’s translation). He’s basically telling the Thessalonians to stop something that they were doing on a consistent basis.
Though we don’t know what specific issue Paul was addressing, he seems to be telling them to be open to more light, while at the same time he’s telling them to test it, just to make sure it is indeed light (2 Cor. 11:14).
There are various ways to undermine the gift of prophecy. One of these is to “quench the Spirit.” We do this when we ignore or resist the work of a true prophet. Look at all the opposition, even from within our own ranks, to the prophetic gift we have been given in the life and ministry of Ellen White.
A second way to undermine the gift of prophecy is to accept what is said but misinterpret or misapply it. We can approach a prophetic message with an open mind but apply what is said inappropriately to the immediate situation. This is something about which we, as Adventists, need to be very careful. We have been given a wonderful gift; we don’t want to undermine that gift by misusing it.
A third way to undermine the gift of prophecy is to give prophetic authority to persons or writings that have not received the gift from God. The church must be continually vigilant, testing everything in order to see whether the prophetic message builds up the church.
What has been the impact of Ellen White’s prophetic ministry in your own life? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.