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

Getting a little deeper into these things..

Mike says,
I guess if we were to get back to basics .... prophesy should be, at least, a doctrine of the church.

Noshi: And yet, there is genuine prophecy, in God's own time, for God's specific purpose, through God's own Spirit...and there is hyped-up fortune-telling being passed off as prophecy, all for the wrong reasons. The Lord Himself warns us against false prophets.

Mike: Part of the prophesy was this ...
Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
But yet ..... even that simple message is watered down to mean next to nothing in some circles!

Noshi: And Mike, how about the words of our Lord elsewhere? " Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my father who is in heaven" Matt 7:21
When you look at these verses together, you realize that there must be a 'right' way of calling on the name of the Lord, and a 'wrong' way which does not save.
Things that seem simple on the surface are not necessarily so - especially in the Scriptures.

Mike says,
I am not overly concerned about the ability of Jesus to build His church and to preserve it!

Noshi: If you mean that Jesus can help those who have a living faith in Him to overcome despite all odds, I agree with you. But if you mean 'limited election', 'irresistible grace' and 'perseverance of saints' in the Calvinistic fashion, then I completely disagree for various reasons. I think you mean the former.

Mike :I take some movements with a grain of salt, remembering that error can be more easily traced by an acceptance of the "establishment" than it can "out of the blue".

Noshi: Sorry, that one's a bit cryptic. Maybe you can explain it further?

Mike: Thankfully, God has a "Witness" system that guides and directs His sheep.

Noshi: And yet, even our judgment of fruits is so subjective that Christians widely differ in their assessment. The same wide differences are experienced in what each Christian perceives as revealed by the Holy Spirit.