Saturday, July 7, 2012

Testing Prophecy

Well it seems that the timing of my study into prophecy was rather ‘prophetic’ itself! A couple of days ago my church hosted a preacher who is touted as having prophetic abilities, some were actually referring to him as a prophet.

He was a great preacher no doubt, and his message was impeccable. Afterwards he called up a number of people from the crowd to deliver messages which he felt God was telling him (he termed these messages as ‘words of knowledge/wisdom’or something to that effect), and I was one of them.

Most of what he spoke of was from my past and present, telling me things that he couldn’t have known himself, and it was all spot on. There was only once piece of information which dealt with the future, and it was that I would have my own business, which is something that I had indeed been wanting to set up. So this was great confirmation for me, and has given me extra impetus to persue this path.

So ultimately the whole experience was positive for me, I tend to believe that the things which he said really were from God, but the experience did raise many questions in my head. First of all, I wonder whether any of this should be called ‘prophecy’, which I see no biblical basis for as my previous post details. In fact he was upfront enough to admit that his ‘prophecies’ are at best only 30-40% accurate, which rang alarm bells in my ears! God made it abundantly clear that if a prophet is wrong even once then he is a false prophet. I think that the things he was saying should be best classified as ‘revelations’.

In the end almost the entirety of the church came forward to receive a ‘word of knowledge’ from him. So it wasn’t just that God gave him a revelation for only a few select people, but rather he all too easily gave a revelation to every single person that came forward. This seemed rather curious to me, I would have expected him to draw a blank for some people and say “I’m sorry, but God isn’t revealing anything to me about you”.

Another thought that was running through my mind was how strikingly similar the whole thing is to what a fortune teller does. It’s odd that as Christians we are so defiantly opposed to mediums and fortune tellers (and rightly so), yet we are so quick to openly embrace our own version of it (in fact, other than the preacher getting his revelation from God and the medium from a spirit, it is all exactly the same thing!).

I also haven’t seen any biblical basis for this kind of thing. Where in the Bible are the prophets going around telling everybody their future on demand? In fact the only people who did these things were described to as mediums and witches!! I’m not at all suggesting that this is what these modern ‘prophets’are, but when you look to God’s Word for guidance on such matters one is left furiously scratching one’s head!

It may be said that I’m being overly critical, but I would rather be a little over critical than under critical, which would be just plain dangerous! One will be sucked into all sorts of heretical teaching by failing to test the claims of teachers.

Do all these failed predictions mean that he is a false prophet? I don’t know. My compassionate side tends to think of him as slightly misguided, and simply changing his title from ‘prophet’ might be sufficient correction. But my better instinct tells me that anybody who claims to be a prophet, but their prophecy does not come to pass is a false prophet, Scripture is crystal clear about this.

It also might be said that I am getting far too caught up in what ultimately is nothing more than an issue of semantics, that it is ‘revelation’not ‘prophecy’. But there is great power in the Word, and the words that the Word uses, if you follow what I mean!

For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart” Hebrews 4:12 KJV

It then follows from this that this power and sharpness will certainly be diminished by careless use of the Word. Many Christians in their zeal for God go out evangelizing and preaching but have failed to gain an adequate knowledge or understanding of the Word. Not only is this frowned upon in Scripture (Prov 19:2 Rom 10:2), but also is a guaranteed way to limit the efficacy of your work. I know from person experience that my lack of firsthand knowledge of the Scriptures has severely cumbered my work, this is something that I am now furiously working to rectify. The simple fact is that we need to test the words of man by the Word of God.

Ultimately I don’t have a big problem with what this guy was doing, and I feel that it is from God, I guess I just feel a little uneasy with it because it is essentially the same things as what a medium will do! Except a medium will charge a fee for the service!