Prophecy or Fortune-telling?

Noshic's picture

A friend of mine told me yesterday about how his church invited a 'Prophet' over from the US, and how this Prophet/preacher prophesized over each member - concerning their career/ business/ international travel/ relationships etc etc. My friend was mighty impressed...But somehow I felt very concerned - It sounds to me more like fortune-telling than genuine prophecy.

From my understanding, even if a person is given that gift, it is not something that is used lightly and at will to predict everyone's future. It has to be an inner, powerful moving by the Spirit for God's specific purpose.

And this is not even a one-off incident. Most of the Christians I've personally come across in this part of the world tend to be heavily into prophecy, speaking in tongues etc.. People like Benny Hinn and other tele-evangelists have a lot of appeal here. And I've known people who've been left really scarred and disillusioned when the superficiality of all this is exposed.

I can't help feeling that most of this phenomenon arises from a forced imitation of a faulty mental picture of the early church. Or worse, it is something that is deliberately done to exploit in-built cultural superstitions. Some people certainly are building highly-paying careers out of religion and taking the gullible for a ride.

Am I wrong to feel concerned? Is it just my scientific, skeptical temperament that makes me question things that seem overtly emotive or out of order?

I'd like to hear other people's views / experiences in this area. Is this a uniquely Indian phenomenon, or are you seeing more of this in the West too? Do others too feel concerned? How do you deal with it?

JeffLogan's picture

"I'd like to hear other people's views..."

Noshi writes, "I'd like to hear other people's views / experiences in this area. Is this a uniquely Indian phenomenon, or are you seeing more of this in the West too? Do others too feel concerned? How do you deal with it?"

No, it's here in the USA, too.

I have two thoughts.

1) people want a miracle. They want to get without effort whether that be a cure or wealth.

    A man noticed a grouping of men sleeping on the sidewalk. He walked over to them to try out a theory of his. He announced, "I will give $5 to the laziest one of you."

    One man managed to sigh, "Just roll me over and put it in my back pocket."

2) miracles are still assumed to be a sign that favor has been found with God.

    Jesus performed many miracle. His apostles did as well. It was a sign that God was with them. But today we have a lot of Simon the Sorcerers around today. But we don't see many blatantly miraculous things from God. I believe that is because people have come to trust in the manifestation of the miracle as a sign from God and believe because of the miracle rather than because of truth. Didn't Jesus refuse to perform miracles on request merely to prove Himself?

    But there will be miracles.

      The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.

    And not just in a closed setting.

      And he performed great and miraculous signs, even causing fire to come down from heaven to earth in full view of men. Because of the signs he was given power to do on behalf of the first beast, he deceived the inhabitants of the earth.

    They did not seek after righteousness and truth--that is, they did not seek after God--but sought after the miracles. They are caught up in feeling, emotions, and fanaticism. They want the excitement rather than the still, small voice of God.

      They will consider nothing sacred. 3They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

Don't you think we are already entering this period? How much more we ought to warn others of the deception. With these little miracles they are getting warmed up for the big one. They are learning to trust to miracles and those who perform them accepting what they have to say as truth based upon the miracles they perform. It ought to be the other way around. They ought to judge truth and then accept the miracles. These power-grabbing, money-hungry, covetous men are worse than Simon the Sorcerer but share his greed.

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“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you."