A few Bible passages have been going through my mind this morning:
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.”
2 Timothy 4:3-4 NIV
“If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed.”
Deuteronomy 18:22 NIV
“So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV
Over the past years, I’ve grown increasingly disenchanted with self-proclaimed prophets who seemed to act more and more like fortune-tellers. I’ve had a few “prophetic words” spoken over me that struck me as ear-ticking and ego-flattering rather than a message that would help equip me or accomplish anything in keeping with the Ephesians passage I just quoted. And there’s been at least one “prophecy” about me that seems quite false in retrospect.
False prophecies do great damage to the Church. Attempts to explain them away do great damage to our credibility and to our witness. Claiming they really did happen, only not in the literal sense in which they were prophesied — that just makes us look like crazy people. (I’m reminded of a prophesied earthquake that never took place, only to have the “prophet” claim it actually did “in the heavenlies”.)
“What if some were unfaithful? Will their unfaithfulness nullify God’s faithfulness? Not at all! Let God be true, and every human being a liar. As it is written: ‘So that you may be proved right when you speak and prevail when you judge.’”
Romans 3:3-4 NIV
Where do we go from here?
“Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.”
Psalms 141:3 NIV
May we walk in humble repentance.
Lord, have mercy.