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

Problems of a "prophet"

This may sound a bit sharp, but when we know someone who claims the gift of prophecy, we need to ask ourselves whether the person is truly a prophet or a blasphemer.

Prophet -- the spokesman of God, speaking God's message.
Blasphemer -- a person who attributes to God the works of another, or attributes to another the works of God.

If a person "prophesies" under the claim of being a prophet or prophetess, the message is either from God or it is not from God. If it is from God, it will come true. If it is not from God, it is from another source. It may or may not come true, since even a human with no knowledge of God can make correct observations and predictions. In some cases, the source is Satan. In some cases, the source is the "prophet." Either way, the source is not God, and claiming it is from God is blasphemy.

I fail to see a Scriptural middle ground.

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.