Friday, May 26, 2006

Modern Day Prophets

Recent headlines once again have Pat Robertson in the headlines, this time sharing with us that he believes the Lord has warned him of storms to come. As usual, the critics love this kind of story, and are quick to point out the scam potential, and use these things generally to tarnish the world's perception of Our Faith.

Which has had me thinking about the possibility and fate of modern-day prophets. Does God really still use them? As a pentecostal believer for over ten years now, I've heard a number of prophecies, some which I've taken quite seriously. For instance, I've seen this prophecy from Kenneth Hagin on video, and it is quite powerful, and I'm watching quite closely for signs of its fulfillment, since it is pretty time-specific. Brother Hagin was powerfully gifted in prophecy, and the 2003 prophecy above tracked pretty closely with others he made in 1980 and 1997 .

And of course, we received a somewhat prophetic word at the Round Table back in 2003, from the words of the prophet Isaiah, concerning the impending invasion of Iraq (we won't go back into that just now :-)

This link is a good compilation of scriptures that direct us on the possibility of modern-day prophets.

Faire brothers-in-arms, how does Our Lord lead you in this realm of knowledge? Should we make a diligent effort to discover and discern current prophecy, or just leave it alone?

8 comments:

  1. Sir Chuck,

    This is a very timely subject. We have gotten plenty of prophecies, both real and false. There is no question that prophecies are for us today.

    Joe 2:28-28 "It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. "Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

    On the other hand, people claiming to speak for God have to be accountable for what they say. I has to be 100% correct scripturally and it has to come about.

    Deu 18:20 'But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.'

    In our church we had to ask one man to stop giving prophecies because they were not from God. There were at least two prophecies that did not meet the test, one involving an earthquake and another that involved a woman who was supposed to marry him. neither of these happened. He was very hurt that he could not prophecy but we had to follow instructions and the congregation had to be protected from false prophecy.

    Sir John

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  2. Good example, Sir John, and good for your church for putting a stop to that. When the "prophet" makes that specific a prophecy, it's pretty straightforward to discern its truth or not.

    But my thoughts concern those prophecies, similar to Brother Hagin's on the original post, that are a little tougher to dismiss. Like the OT prophets, Brother Hagin's prophecies (similar to many of the other modern day prophets) tend to be grander in scope and refer to future occurences, usually soon, but how soon?

    Now if the prophecy is linked in some way to calls for contribution to a ministry, as Pat Robertson's apparently was (as were infamous "prophecies" of Oral Roberts, Jim Bakker, etc, for starters), then the red flag goes up. But lacking that, and lacking any violation of scripture, should we be paying attention to a prophecy and acting accordingly?

    Certainly, as Sir Paul recently noted on his blog "Beside the Point", unusual things are happening in the Body of Christ even as turmoil in the world escalates. In that context, the prophecies of Brother Hagin, even though they span 23 years in time, seem to meet the criteria for truthful prophecy. And to the extent that certain warnings seem irrelevent, so must the prophecies of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and Amos must have seemed in their day, not to mention the Pharisaical resistance to Our Lord's pronouncements.

    So, I pose the question again...should we be carefully seeking out, discerning, cataloguing, and tracking these prophecies, or would we be better off intentionally keeping ourselves free of the difficulty of their messages?

    Sir Chuck of the Foggy Visor

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  3. Sir Chuck,

    I have been thinking about what you said about the prophets. I admit we walk a tightrope between not rejecting the true and not accepting the false.

    1Th 5:20 do not despise prophetic utterances. 1Th 5:21 But examine everything {carefully;} hold fast to that which is good;

    One the other hand, this is what our major battle is, determining truth and following in it. Deception is, by far, Satan's greatest weapon.

    As a practical matter, it makes a lot of difference whether the prophecy is close up and personal. For example, Rev. Hagan's prophecy does not really require us to do anything. Also, though the date is specific, the content could be interpreted a lot of different ways.

    The Bible Answer Man keeps score on prophetic utterances and holds them accountable. I admit to being disturbed by some of the big names in Pentecost having been way off in their prophecies. Once they miss, I no longer listen to them, as directed by scriptures.

    Then there may be prophecies like those of the Old Testament prophets that will remain a mystery until they do come to pass. So, we should not feel too bad if we don’t really comprehend it right now.

    I am sure this helps you very little since you knew all of this anyway.

    Sir John

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  4. "The Bible Answer Man keeps score on prophetic utterances and holds them accountable."

    Sir John, is there an internet source where this is catalogued? I couldn't find it on HH's website...

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  5. I could not find it either. He discussed a number of them on his radio program, though it has been a while since I have listen to him.

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  6. Sir John and Sir Chuck have both made good points. So much that they have said most of what needs to be said on the subject. I really can't say much more about prophecy in itself. I will add a further point about a related phenomenon.
    That is there is a tendancy toward presumption. Obviously all false prophets are presumtuous and it is hard to describe what I am getting at. This is those who make proclamations which while not claiming prophecy as such,seem to claim divine authority without warrant.
    The recent example is Pat Robertson's "God is punishing Sharon" thing. In this case he is speaking on an issue that is complicated. It is obvious that someone did an injustice to someone else. It is not so obvious that Sharon was the one who did injustice. Given the circumstances it may be that what he did was the only thing he could do. I would imagine that if a prophet were to denounce an act of tyranny, it would be a fairly obvious one.
    In any case it seems like it is an example of useing the sanctity of a clerical office to give a political opinion that may or may not be legitimate. This was the sort of thing that the Medieval church was condemned for.
    To judge Robertson to harshly would be wrong. One Christian commentator said essentially, "poor thing-he's getting old". Though patronizing that may be the most charitable assumption.
    However this habit of rashly claiming to speak in God's name is a bad one, and unfortunatly is not uncommon. Not only is it deceptive, it takes the bite out of those few occasions when it is appropriate to act in such a fashion.
    If giving such a claim is actually commanded by God then obviously it is legitimate. However to often it is not. If God did not actually give a command on an issue then it is a tricky judgement. For instance I believe it was the Pope's responsibility as an elder of the church to denounce the "bad priests of New England" very strongly, for the behavior of people in such a position is something that must be watched carefully. However it may not be clear from scripture. Or is it? Paul's letters would seem to indicate that I am right.
    But political issues often tend to have lots of tricky "yeah, buts" about which the honest can differ. And rashly saying, "Thus saith the Lord" when God has given no word is a misuse of a trust.

    Sir Jason the Longwinded

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  7. We had our own false prophet experience here in Portland. I am only glad the media somehow missed it.

    A pastor from a church in Salem Prophecied that there would be a great earthquack on Sunday, Gay Pride Day. This would virtually wipe out Portland.

    I did not really think this would come about since we have these kind of prophecies before, yet I had an escape route planned.

    I think what happens is that people become so upset about the agressiveness of Gay's that they think surely that God will act to punish them. What they are forgetting is that God has many children left in this wicked city and He really cares about them.

    Also, God is long suffering, waiting for people to come to repentance.

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  8. I definitely believe in modern day prophets, but I believe we should let God bring them to our lives rather than search them out. There are too many false prophets out there, and I think if we seek God, He will bring the right ones to us, and protect us from the wrong ones. After all God speaks to us foremost through His Word, and through prayer, local church leaders, our trusted friends and mentors, etc. Through these methods we should have no problem discerning His voice for today. Occasionally God will send a prophet to confirm what He's already saying to us. Sometimes He might to challenge us in areas we might not be listening correctly. But once the word is received there should be peace and clarity, not confusion. I never felt at all God wanting to destroy Portland and so hearing a prophecy about an earthquake sounded whacked out rather than a confirmation. As for the gay community I believe God want to save them by bringing them to repentance, not destroy them, and a false prophecy like that just shows typical judgemental attitudes and the very prejudice the world accuses us of having.
    What I've felt is that God want to save our community and I've never felt such an urgency of the Spirit for the coming generation who, despite the many problems they have are becoming open to the Gospel. When I hear prophecies that line up with the Word as well as confirm what I'm feeling God speak to me in my own life then I'll know it's true.

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