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

Self- delusion too?

ElderDad, I hear what you're saying, and there's no doubt that many are actually misusing the name of God to serve their own ends - and are guilty of blasphemy.

But is it possible that there are some people who are themselves deluded about what they perceive to be the voice of the Holy Spirit? Especially people in certain church traditions, who are almost conditioned to expect such gifts? I've seen that sort of pressure to speak in tongues/ prophesy / heal in otherwise decent Christians...It's almost as if they are brainwashed into believing that their spiritual growth is incomplete if they don't possess such a gift. Under those circumstances, they might mistake for the voice of God, what is simply a strong intuition or the subconscious mind at work. Ofcourse that's spiritually immature and it causes a lot of damage to themselves and others, and it might also be playing into the hands of the devil, but it may not be deliberate blasphemy. What do you think?

Anyway, that's one reason why I feel that a lop-sided view of the Scriptures can be very dangerous, as also placing more faith in people than in God. Reason is also a gift of God and it should be used a little more liberally.