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?

ElderDad's picture

Excellent concern


I appreciated both your concern and Jeff's response.

When people get excited about prophecy and miracles, they usually fail to grasp the nature of them in Scripture. First, prophets told the future in order to change lives and bring people into conformity with God's will, not to tell them about their abundant futures. Therefore, most prophets in Scripture spoke with a sword at the tips of their tongues. So, how many repented of their sins and turned to righteous living as a result of these prophecies?

Second, the penalty for false prophets was the stone pile on top of them. How many modern prophets can claim absolute God-given inerrancy?

God performs miracles, He heals, and He provides miraculously even today. But seldom does He need the emotionally-charged antics of these "divine" miracle workers. Most of them are false to the core, and Scripture warns us to beware. The one you mentioned appears to be of that kind.

God bless you, strengthen you, and guide you in all you do. It is an extreme pleasure to read your posts.

Dave S.
Senior Moderator, Volunteers for Proofreading
2 Tim. 3:16--All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable
for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness.