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?

Thanks Lee

I appreciate the feedback. What do you think of this? Below is a passage I want to share which I have never heard a non-Pentecostal teacher/preacher try to address. I bring it up because I concur with the need to take heed and to have discernment. But I don't want to encourage the attitude of rejecting the spiritual and supernatural. I don't want to lead people to call profane what God still does today. God is Spirit and He is, of course, God. So is there a point in all this where we should acknowledge the possibility of realities we can't explain. Does the Spirit who spoke through James to have the elders lay hands on the sick and pray the prayer of faith cease to be effective because not all are healed? Is all a fraud because some is.

1 Cor 14 Therefore, my brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak in tongues.

I reject the idea of a prophet/apostle today in the same foundational sense as in the New Testament because I believe all messages must be lined up to the Living and Written Word of God. In fact at the end of Paul letter to Corinth (1 cor 14) Paul points to his writings as the type of canonical rule to judge all messages against. Yet one is hard pressed to scripturally support dismissing all present day manifestations of 1 Cor 12:8-10.

Submitted as a poster,