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

"Cast out"

Thank you for chipping in a thought here, Justin. I always appreciate your insights. However, I wasn't aware that any believer would be "cast out" for blaspheme or any other sin (Christ's comment on the unforgiveable sin notwithstanding, because that was a specific form addressed to a specific audience). But you and Noshi are correct, as I pointed out in my response to her. Self-delusion, or as you point out, "sibling" pressure (that is, pressure from brothers and sisters in the Lord), can very well cause a person to go through the motion. My point was not to condemn, but to suggest we all should be careful what we attribute to being God's word to or through us. Perhaps we are defining "blaspheme" slightly different, which is why I posted a definition which simply defines it as attributing to God that which is from another source, which might well be from us. And I believe that some who have been pressured into the sort of activity you mention should go beyond, if they conclude they were mistaken, should go beyond "I made a mistake" and get to "I'm sorry, Father, that I attributed to You messages that were not really Yours." It's a simple, humble prayer.

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.