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

Mike: "Here's the key .....

Mike: "Here's the key ..... if a "prophet" says that your eternal welfare depends on your participation in their organization and the only thing you can be sure of is their voice .... then I think you're on the trail of a false prophet!"

Noshi: In a sense, that's true..In fact, the one thing that I and some others have experienced with various churches which are part of this denomination is their insistence that all mainstream churches - whether Catholic or Protestant- are spiritually dead and hopeless. Also that unless you have a gift of the Spirit as they understand it, there's something lacking in your faith. There's a lot of other superstition too which makes me very uncomfortable.
I personally have always stayed miles away from those churches, but I do have a few friends who're or have been part of them...I simply am not sure whether I should share my concerns with them or just stay quiet..As I grow older, I'm beginning to feel that it's impossible to convince those who don't want to be convinced.But sometimes it's hard to see something you love being so terribly misunderstood and misused :)
Having said all that, I don't make judgements about their eternal welfare though - I'm sure there are many, many people who are genuine within that denomination too..As a matter of fact, I think it's a really poor idea to make such judgements about anyone - that's God's prerogative alone.