I have recently found a wonderful YouTube video series on The Local Church by Christian Research Institute. They have done a thorough, in-depth study of the Local Churches and their practices, giving an outsider’s point of view that is balanced and Biblical.
In this particular video, Hank and Elliot discuss the practice prophesying, in which all of the members of the church practice speaking for and speaking forth Christ from God’s Word (1 Cor. 14:1, 3-5, 26).
Hank Hanegraaff, the Bible Answer Man, says:
“The Local Churches involve their members in worship, in oneness, and in witness. In worship, through prayer, praise, and the proclamation of the Word. So you don’t have a clergy-laity distinction in the same sense that many other denominations do.
When someone comes to church, they have prepared themselves by feeding on the Word of God, immersing themselves in Biblical passages, so that when they go to church they can prophesy. Not prophesy in the sense of foretelling the future, but in the 1 Corinthians 14 sense of edification and strengthening other believers. So they immerse themselves in the Word so that the Holy Spirit can speak through them in the edification of other believers.”
Elliot Miller, Editor-in-Chief of the Christian Research Journal, goes on to say:
“And boy, you just hit something on the head. This is immersing yourself in the Word of God in a way I’ve never seen people do before. You know, the unique approach to it. They’ve developed their own devotional practice, and it is full of content. At the Sunday morning services, they’ve all studied, they’ve all prayed, they’ve all been in the Word…They have a particular topic they’re going to deal with Sunday morning and they each have a few minutes. Whoever is led by the Holy Spirit, exactly like Paul describes in 1 Corinthians 14, they will get up, they will preach, they will proclaim, prophesy in the sense of exhorting by the spirit of God. You know, believers on that subject. And it seems orchestrated by the Holy Spirit, because each new person adds something meaningful to what the person before said and you really get into that passage of scripture in a way that just expositional – not that expositional teaching isn’t extremely valuable and shouldn’t continue full force – but just that in addition to that, this particular method of approaching the Word of God is by no means Eastern meditation. It is Biblical meditation, which means to chew on the cud. It means to really turn something over and go at it from every direction and get every bit of nutrition out of that piece of food.”