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

Justin, that's an interesting

Justin, that's an interesting and balanced perspective on this issue. I agree with you that fear and and need for security are the main reasons why people want this sort of knowledge of the future. And I also believe that not every leader or 'prophet' is working for selfish gain. However even they should be very careful before they label anything as 'Prophecy' guided by the Holy Spirit. For even if their motives are not selfish, errors in such matters can wreak havoc on a person's life, and worse still, shake their faith badly (making them throw the baby out with the bathwater, as you said)...Remaining quiet when in doubt, is generally a good policy :) In fact, remaining quiet per se is a pretty good policy..LOL!

Ultimately God wants us to rely on Him and trust Him, rather than seek security in such personal predictions. Perhaps if we can see life itself as a miracle and become more conscious of God's hand in everyday events, we won't feel so scared and alone, nor feel so starved of the supernatural.