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?

Noshic's picture

Thanks for the great insights

Jeff and Elderdad, thanks for sharing your valuable perspective and for your encouragement...I feel a little less isolated in this matter.

I really cannot imagine why otherwise honest and sincere Christians fall for all this. May be the sort of lifestyle we are leading does not leave room for contemplation. The name of the Holy Spirit is much misused as people forget that His primary purpose is not to give us a 'high' but to take us 'deep' into the knowledge of God.

What really makes me cringe is the damage this is doing to Christianity. What about the people who mistake this farce for the real thing, and get put off Christianity? Living amongst mostly non-Christians, this question does trouble me. If someone rejects a 'misrepresentation' of the gospel (not knowing that it is a misrepresentation), then is he guilty of rejecting the gospel?