In the Hebrew Bible, God seeks to guide and save his people through the words of his prophets. But what happened after the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ? Did God fall silent? This is the main question of “Christian Prophecy – The Post-Biblical Tradition”.
The dominant position in Christian theology is that prophecy did indeed cease at some point in the past -- if not with the Old Testament prophets, then with John the Baptist, with Jesus, with the last apostle, or with the closure of the canon of the New Testament. Nevertheless, throughout the history of Christianity there have always been acclaimed saints and mystics -- most of them women -- who displayed prophetic traits.
Scholarly theological attitudes toward Christian prophecy range from modest recognition to contempt and mainstream systematic theology, both Protestant and Catholic, has mostly marginalized or ignored the gift of prophecy. The argument of this book, however, is that that prophecy has persisted in Christianity as an inherent and continuous feature in the life of the church. Through a historical overview of prophecy from ancient Israel to the present – as well as the development of the theological discourse that surrounds it – it becomes clear that prophecy never died, but rather proved its dynamism by mutating to meet new historical conditions. Throughout, though, there has always been a need for the critical discernment required when evaluating the charism of prophecy.
The study of Christian prophecy is not only interesting because it tells us something about an overlooked historical phenomenon. Rather, it leads to some profound insights about the very nature of Christianity and the church. For example, some have argued that Christianity is a perfect state and that all that is required for salvation is acceptance of its doctrines. Instead, an awareness of Christian prophecy suggests that God continues to intervene and guide his people onto the right path, even through prophecy. The prayer “Your kingdom come” is fundamental to Christianity as God’s promises in Christ are still are to be realized.