Several years ago, a Muslim background believer told me that God had shown him my face in a dream. In the dream it was revealed to him that I was the one who would lead him spiritually when he came to the USA. I was naturally skeptical of such visions, understanding the parameters, which Scripture provides for walking with God. Still, knowing that many phenomena off this sort had been occurring in the Muslim community, yet being committed to the sufficiency of Scripture, I sought too disciple this interesting person. Now, after years of Bible study, counseling and prayer with him, I am more skeptical than ever about extra biblical visions, and remain totally committed to Scripture as our guide unto God. Here are some reasons why:
- Being the focus of such a vision is a temptation to pride. What Christian minister does not want to be an answer to a person spiritual needs. Yet, we must keep firmly in mind that we are not ultimately the answer. God is the answer through Christ, energized by the Holy Spirit and communicated by means of the Scripture. We simply point individuals to Christ through the Scripture.
- Being the focus fo such a vision may create an unhealthy reliance. If an individual focuses on you instead of the Savior, they will become dependent in an unhealthy way. Rather than finding answers in the Word of God and comfort in their relationship and communion with God, they depend on you. This is ultimately destructive on every level.
- This kind of relationship tends to take time away from other people and other areas of ministry, as the dependent person demands attention and desires to be the focus of your activities.
I remember desiring to be with the person who led me to the Lord without interference from others. I wanted my spiritual father to myself. Thankfully, he did not allow this and immediately eased me into the larger community of believers. The teaching of the New Testament is that ministry happens best in community– in the body of Christ with each of member doing their share.
So while evangelistic ministry is best done one on one, discipleship is best done in community.