The Lifestyle of a Prophet: a book review

James Goll is a well known voice among charismatic-prophetic types. He has written several books  on the ministry of prophecy, which among charismatics amounts to exhorative words of knowledge given to build up and encourage the church (as opposed to the ‘social critic’ understanding of prophecy–I am not saying that Goll doesn’t also affirm this function of prophecy but there is less emphasis on it).  In The Lifestyle of a Prophet, Goll has written a 21 day manual which distills some of his earlier volume, The Coming Prophetic Revolution (Chosen books, 2001). This book is intended to help those called and gifted for prophetic ministry to make the most of their calling.

The 21-day-format enables Goll to divide his book into three one-week-long sections. The first section describes ‘the lifestyle of intimacy,’ the second, ‘the lifestyle of wisdom,’ and the third, ‘the lifestyle of revelation.’ While charismatic prophetic types occasionally reverse this order, Goll exhorts prophets to first develop an intimate relationship with God and the character appropriate for this charism. Likewise wisdom (i.e. knowing how and when to share prophetic words) is an important part of effective ministry. The final section, gives some practical advice for prophets to exercise their gift.

This book is not really written for non-prophets. I am a non-prophet with some questions about the contemporary practice ( I am not dismissive, just have some bad experiences). So much of this book was talking past me. However I thought Goll was evenhanded in his presentation and offered some good advice.  He obviously affirms and celebrates ‘the prophetic’ but he cautions against chasing prophetic words instead of being rooted in scripture.  Likewise his approach of first cultivating our relationship with God and the practice of wisdom before delving into the experience of the gifts is correct.

I happily give this book four stars for what it is: a practical manual for charismatic prophets. As an introduction to those exploring the prophetic gifts, other books are better. But this is the sort of grounded book you want prophets to read. It doesn’t hurt that Goll is a good writer.  So prophet friends, I commend this book.

Thank you to Chosen books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

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