False prophets in the Church

Background

Sam Storms writes in the appendix to Michael Brown’s book Authentic Fire (a response to John MacArthur’s book Strange Fire) regarding modern-day prophecy. (bold face is mine)

The single most oft-heard argument by cessationists in defence of their view that revelatory spiritual gifts such as prophecy and word of knowledge are no longer given by God to the church is that this would pose a threat to the finality and sufficiency of Scripture. How can we argue that the canon of Scripture is closed, asks the cessationist, if we believe that God is still “revealing” inspired truths to contemporary Christians? This is a critically important question that we who are continuationists must answer. So, what reason is there to believe that NT prophecy does not result in “Scripture-quality” revelatory words? In other words, why do continuationists believe that the authority of NT prophecy is of a lesser order than that of OT prophecy? Undoubtedly the most oft-heard objection of cessationists to the validity of prophecy today is their belief that any prophetic utterance that is decidedly from God must be infallible and equal in authority with canonical Scripture. To embrace contemporary prophecy is, therefore, a fundamental denial of the finality and sufficiency of canonical Scripture. Referring to the NT gift of prophecy, Doug Wilson insists that “we must treat such words as the Word of God, which means that we must treat them as Scripture” (www.dougwils.com), August 11, 2011). Why do I believe Wilson and like-minded cessationists are wrong on this point? Here are ten reasons.

What Sam Storms is saying here is that modern-day prophecy does not have to conform to the same standards as Old Testament prophecy.

It is, of course, a fallacy to say that all “Scripture quality” prophecy eventually become Scripture. We read of numerous prophecies in the Old Testament that did not make it into Scripture. An example is Saul, who started prophesying with other prophets.  The fact that these prophecies did not make it into the Bible does by no means prove or even imply that they were of any other quality than “Scripture quality”.

The controversy is around this text:

Deuteronomy 18:20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’ 21And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’— 22when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.

The traditional orthodox view is that this text is still valid today. Therefore all prophecy, regardless of when it is produced, must 

  1. Conform to previously revealed truth and must be theologically orthodox (not speak “in the name of other gods”) and 
  2. When it is a predictive prophetic utterance, it must be 100% correct. Each predictive prophetic utterance must be evaluated to see if it is 100% accurate and if it is not, the prophet must be declared a false prophet. In the Old Testament, he or she had to be killed. 

The new apostolic movement posits that the command in this text is not valid anymore. While many do not dispute the fact that all prophetic utterance must be orthodox (some, however, will introduce new doctrine) they say that:

  1. Predictive prophecies do not need to be 100% accurate, and that each individual prophetic utterance must be evaluated on its own merit. 
  2. A wrong prophecy is not necessarily bad or evil, it is neutral in the sense that it does not mean that the person who made the prophecy is a false prophet. A prophet who “gets it wrong” may still be a good prophet, called by God and anointed with the Spirit. He simply got it wrong this time. 
  3. If a prophecy is not accurate, it is the individual believer’s responsibility to heed the prophecy or not. 

Important points about prophecy 

1. The function of the prophet is to SPEAK FOR GOD. He has to speak the literal Word of God. In today’s terms, it means he must speak the Bible.

Jeremiah 1:7 But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for to all to whom I send you, you shall go, and whatever I command you, you shall speak.

Deuteronomy 18:15 “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen— 16 just as you desired of the Lord your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the Lord my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17And the Lord said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him. 20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die.’

It is clear that any real prophetic utterance is the very Word of God. 

  1. It is God’s own words in the mouth of the prophet.
  2.  The prophet only speaks what the Lord commands him to speak.
  3. When a prophet speaks, God demands absolute obedience from the listener. It is not up to the listener to decide whether to believe or obey the prophecy or not.

It is also clear that when a prophet makes a “mistake” there can be only one of two reasons

  1. God lied.
  2. It is a false prophet.

We know that God cannot lie, therefore the prophet is a false prophet. 

And here is the important point: Predictive prophecy is not about the prophet, it is about the character of God. A prophet who “makes a mistake” implies that God is a liar. A prophet who makes a “mistake” robs God of His glory. 

Isaiah 44: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god. 7 Who is like me? Let him proclaim it. Let him declare and set it before me, since I appointed an ancient people. Let them declare what is to come, and what will happen. 8 Fear not, nor be afraid have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me?

In Isaiah 44 God uses the accurate past prophecies of His prophets as proof that He is the true God. Other gods are false gods because their prophets cannot accurately predict the future.  A prophet who makes a predictive “mistake” declares by implication that the god he speaks for is a false god. 

2. Not all prophetic utterances are predictive. 

In our culture, we tend to think of prophecies only in the predictive sense of the word. We tend to think that being a “prophet” means that you predict the future. 

The Hebrew word “Nabi” which is most commonly used for “prophet” prophet in the Old Testament is derived from the word root that means “to call” or “to announce”.

The Strong’s entry for “prophecy”:

προφητεία, προφητείας, ἡ (προφητεύω, which see), Hebrew נְבוּאָה, prophecy, i. e. discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God, whether by reproving and admonishing the wicked, or comforting the afflicted, or revealing things hidden; especially by foretelling future events.

Even though Strong’s says “especially by foretelling future events” it is clear from reading the prophetic literature in the Bible that foretelling is not the only or even the defining aspect of prophecy.

We see in the text in Deuteronomy that the defining aspect of a prophet is somebody who speaks for God or speaks in the name of God. While all of the prophetic books in the Old Testament contain predictive prophecies, the proportion of predictive prophecies to rebukings, calls to repentance, encouragements and consolations varies. Much of the prophetic literature in the Bible is not predictive at all. 

The following also counts as prophecy: 

1. Speaking for God regarding general theology: “The prophet who speaks for other gods.” in Deuteronomy 18. 

2. Rebuking people for their sin. 

2 Samuel 12:7 Nathan said to David, “You are the man! Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘I anointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you out of the hand of Saul. 8And I gave you your master’s house and your master’s wives into your arms and gave you the house of Israel and of Judah. And if this were too little, I would add to you as much more. 9Why have you despised the word of the Lord, to do what is evil in his sight? You have struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and have taken his wife to be your wife and have killed him with the sword of the Ammonites.

3. Upbuilding, encouragement, and consolation, convicting people of their sin, calling people to repentance and teaching.

1 Corinthians 14:3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation.

1 Corinthians 14:19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue.

Remember the context of the verse! Paul is contrasting prophecy with speaking in other languages here. So in this instance, prophecy is explicitly instructing others. Even though he differentiates between prophecy and teaching in other places, here he equates the two.

1 Corinthians 14:24‭-‬25‭ But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you. 

There is some misunderstanding about the meaning of this verse. The reason is that many translations are ambiguous: The text may mean either that 

  1. The prophets supernaturally know what the secrets of the person’s heart are and that they expose it. 
  2. The prophets do not expose the secrets of the person’s heart, but they are disclosed as a result of the person’s exposure to the Gospel. This interpretation is corroborated by the writer of Hebrews:

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

This is also borne out by many Bible translations:

New Living Translation

As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, “God is truly here among you.”

New King James Version

And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.

Prophecy is also teaching and encouraging:

1 Corinthians 14:31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged,

So, proclaiming sound doctrine, rebuking people for their sin, and upbuilding, encouraging or consoling people while speaking for God, is according to the Bible, prophecy. 

It is appropriate to talk about the relationship between prophecy and teaching here. It is abundantly clear from the above that prophecy definitely does involve teaching. But we also know that Paul differentiates in a few places between teachers and prophets. So while there is overlap between the two, there are also differences between the two. My opinion is as follows:

  1. Prophets speak for God. Teachers speak about God.
  2. Prophets rebuke people’s sin and call them to repentance and holy living. Teachers will generally just impart knowledge. 
  3. Prophets will always make an appeal on the person’s heart, on behalf of God. Teachers do not necessarily do that. 

While this distinction may seem a bit contrived, it is important to note that Paul often uses categories that overlap, as a form of repetition to stress his point. Also remember that both prophets and teachers belong to the same office, that of elder, in the church!

3. True prophecy is always directly mediated by the Spirit. 

It always involves direct revelation by the Spirit.

1 Samuel 10:10 When they came to Gibeah, behold, a group of prophets met him, and the Spirit of God rushed upon him, and he prophesied among them. 

2 Peter 1:21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

4. Proclaiming the Gospel from the Bible is true prophecy. 

The conclusion from the above is that if a preacher or anybody proclaims the Gospel, and in the process encourages, uplifts and consoles his hearers,  he is a true prophet as long as he “speaks for God” by speaking the Word of God, that is the Bible. 

The immediate criticism of this is that preaching from the Bible is not supernatural, and prophecy is always done under the control and revelation of the Spirit. Preaching therefore does not qualify as prophecy. Unfortunately, this opinion seems to stem from a basic disbelief in the sovereignty of God. Some forms of Arminianism claim that we can understand the Gospel without the direct involvement of the Spirit of God. (And choose in libertarian fashion  to believe it or not.)

The answer is simply this:

The Bible as the Word of God is the literal words of God.

2 Timothy 3:16‭ All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.

We believe in the plenary verbal inspiration of the Bible, which means that every word of the Bible is there because God put it there, purposefully. This means that when you read the Bible, God speaks to you. When you read the Bible out loud, God speaks to you out loud!

Proclaiming the Gospel is a good work, and ALL good works are done by believers as they are “carried along by the Holy Spirit.”

Ephesians 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Phillippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

Proclaiming the Gospel pleases God, and it is impossible to please God without the indwelling Spirit of God. 

Romans 8:7 For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. 8 Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Truly understanding, and therefore interpreting and explaining, the Bible is only possible under the direct revelation of the Holy Spirit. We may read the Bible and understand its grammatical meaning, but if the Spirit does not reveal Christ directly to us through the Word of God, we cannot truly understand it. The Gospel will not make sense to us and we cannot believe it. So interpreting and proclaiming the Word of God rightly can only be done under the direct revelation of the Spirit of God.

1 Corinthians 2:10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. 13And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one. 16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Please note from the bold text: 

  1. We have been given the Spirit of God so that we can understand the Gospel, that is the Bible, which is freely given to us by God. 
  2. When we preach (impart in the Gospel in words) we preach what has been taught to us by God the Spirit Himself, and we interpret it with the help of the Spirit for our audience.
  3. Unless we are anointed with the Spirit we cannot understand the Bible, because it can only be spiritually discerned. Unfortunately, there are many who “presume to speak a word in God’s name” (Deut 18) who are NOT under the control of the Spirit and twist the Word of God – often intentionally, but also often without even knowing – because they cannot understand the Word of God without the Spirit of God. 

This sentence encapsulates and defines the essence of New Testament preaching: “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”

We can, therefore, state without a doubt that every time somebody proclaims the Word of God rightly and truly, to encourage, uplift and console his hearers, he speaks for God and is “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” 

For those who would object that Paul only talks about himself and his co-workers and not about all believers in this text, John confirms that the Gospel knowledge of all believers is supernatural:

1 John 2:27 But the anointing that you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone should teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie—just as it has taught you, abide in him. 

The anointing he refers to is, of course, the anointing of the Spirit of God. 

Proclaiming the Gospel from the Bible is

  • speaking for God
  • with the very words of God Himself
  • while being carried along by the Spirit of God
  • in order to teach, rebuke, uplift, encourage and console

and is therefore prophecy in the true Biblical sense of the word. 

Making predictions about the future is not a defining nor necessary component of true prophecy. 

The problem of false prophets in the New Testament church. 

  • False prophets may make true prophecies. 
  • False prophets will  inevitably appear. 
  • False prophets arise from WITHIN the church
  • Because false prophets arise from within the church, EVERY SINGLE prophecy in the church must be evaluated to see if it is true, even if the prophet is known to us. 

1. False prophets may make true prophecies. 

Acts 16:16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour. 

Deuteronomy 13:1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if he says, ‘Let us go after other gods,’ which you have not known, ‘and let us serve them,’ you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams. For the Lord your God is testing you, to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. You shall walk after the Lord your God and fear him and keep his commandments and obey his voice, and you shall serve him and hold fast to him.

Many people will say “So and so made a predictive prophecy that came true, therefore he is a true prophet”. The problem is, getting it right sometimes, most of the time or even 99.9% of the time does not fulfil God’s requirement for being a true prophet. A prophet has to be 100% accurate 100% of the time, otherwise, he is a false prophet. A broken clock gets it exactly right twice a day.  And while demons cannot see the future, they do have supernatural knowledge that humans may not have, like the woman in this verse. 

That is also why the accuracy of a prophecy is not the only criterion by which it is to be evaluated. The content must conform to the Bible, and the prophet’s life must conform to the Gospel. 

2. False prophets will inevitably appear. 

Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. 16 You will recognize them by their fruits. 

Matthew 24:9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. 11And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 

2 Peter 2:1 But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.

3. False prophets arise from WITHIN the church

Matthew 7:21″Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

Note that these people who are condemned by Jesus as “workers of lawlessness” prophesied in His name, and did miracles in His name! They were IN THE CHURCH.

Acts 20:28 Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. 29I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; 30  and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. 31Therefore be alert…

1 John 2:18 Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. 19They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

Jude 1:12 These are hidden reefs at your love feasts, as they feast with you without fear, shepherds feeding themselves; waterless clouds, swept along by winds; fruitless trees in late autumn, twice dead, uprooted; 13 wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame; wandering stars, for whom the gloom of utter darkness has been reserved forever.

The whole letter of Jude is dedicated to the topic of false prophets in the church. Jude writes with a sense of urgency: He says,

Jude 1:3 Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints. 4 For certain people have crept in unnoticed who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into sensuality and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

 

4. Because false prophets arise from within the church, EVERY SINGLE prophecy in the church must be evaluated to see if it is true, even if the prophet is known to us. 

 1 Corinthians 14:29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said.

1 Thessalonians 5:19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not despise prophecies, 21 but test everything; hold fast what is good. 22 Abstain from every form of evil.

The text in 1 Thessalonians 5 is very important: 

  1. Do not despise prophecies but test everything: We are to test every prophecy because false prophets are inevitably in the church. 
  2. Hold on to the good (prophesies): When a pastor preaches the true faith in our church, we should support and nurture him. 
  3. Abstain from what is evil: It is important to note the context here: The word “BUT” between “do not despise prophecies”  and “Test everything” means that it is the prophecy that should be tested. When we test something we see if it is good or not. The next sentence is “Abstain from all evil” Since the “good” that we must hold fast are prophecies, the “evil” that we should abstain from are also prophecies. 

It is clear from the context here that prophecies that are not “good” are in fact “evil”. This is why God said in the Old Testament that inaccurate prophets, who were evil, had to be killed. Since the state and Church are now separated in the New Testament and only the state carries the sword of justice, we do not kill people for false prophecies in the New Testament era any more. 

Here are the three rules for testing prophecy: 

The character of the  prophet. 

Matthew 7:16 You will recognize them by their fruits.

The content of the prophecy. 

Galatians 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.

If it is predictive prophecy, its accuracy. 

Deuteronomy 18:22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. 

Arguments from the new prophetic movement to prove that New Testament prophecies do not fall under the Old Testament rule of 100% accuracy for predictive prophecies. 

  • These rules are Old Testament laws and do not apply any more in the New Testament.
  • We should want the gift of prophecy.
  • New Testament prophecies should be tested. This means that they may be accurate or not without being evil, or without blemishing the prophet who speaks them.  
  • Agabus’ prophecy regarding Paul was inaccurate.

1. These rules are Old Testament laws and do not apply any more in the New Testament.

The problem with this position is that Jesus does not agree!

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

 So NO, we cannot just disregard the laws of the Old Testament. Jesus did not abolish them, He fulfilled them.

There are three types of laws in the Old Testament.

  1. The purely moral laws, like the decalogue.
  2. Ritual laws: These laws are metaphors for moral principles and mostly point to Christ. 
  3. Civil laws. Since there was no separation of church and state, the church had laws for governing the state. The administration of civil punisment, like the death penalty, falls in this cotagory.

Every single law in the old Testament has an underlying moral principle.

  • Why was eating pork forbidden?  Because it was a metaphor for abstaining from unclean acts, i.e. sin. 
  • Why was wearing a garment made of two types of cloth prohibited? Because it was a metaphor for spiritual purity. 
  • Why did the Jews slaughter animals for the remission of sins? Because it was a metaphor for Christ who would be slaughtered for our sin. 
  • The civil laws regarding servants, punishment for crimes and so on are all implementations and interpretations of specific moral laws in that specific application. 

The moral principles of the ritual purity laws are still just as valid as they were in the time of Moses. The principle of the sacrificial atonement laws are still just as valid as in the time of Moses. In fact, without them, Jesus’ sacrifice for us means absolutely nothing, without them we are still lost in our sins with no chance of atonement with God. 

But because these laws were prophetic signs of Jesus’ coming as Messiah, and Jesus has already come, we do not practice them as before. 

Lastly the Kingdom of God in the Old Testament was the state of Israel. The church WAS the state. So obviously there had to be civil laws, or laws regarding the state, in the Bible. Since Jesus came and declared “My kingdom is not from this world” the New Testament church is separated from the state. And the state, being instituted by God, carries the sword of civil justice. But every single civil law of the Old Testament’s moral principles are still just as valid now as then, even if the state today have different laws that we follow now.

The principle of Jesus fulfilling but not abolishing the law means that the moral law, and the moral principles of the whole law (ritual and civil included) are still valid today. 

So with these principles in mind: What is the ritual part and what is the moral principle of “You shall not murder?” The answer is, it has no ritual part. It is simply a statement of a moral law. 

Now use the same principle for the law: “You shall not make predictions in My name that do not come true.” Again, it is obvious that this is NOT a ritual or a civil law. It is a purely moral law. Therefore it stands today, just as in the time of Moses. 

“False prophets must be killed” is a civil law because it commands civil punishment, therefore we do not do it anymore. The state now carries the sword of civil justice.

2. We should want the gift of prophecy.

1 Corinthains 14:39  So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy,

Does Paul mean we should desire to prophesy within or outside the rules and boundaries that God has set? If prophecy is good (which it is), does this mean that we are allowed to do it outside of God’s law? 

Think about it: Sex is good, but what happens it we practice it outside the rules and boundaries God has set for it?

God’s law states unequivocally that if we make predictive prophecies, it must be 100% accurate. 

Secondly, does this mean we have to desire to make predictions? Absolutely not. We have conclusively proved that predictions are just one type of prophecy, and that proclaiming the Gospel faithfully from the Bible in order to rebuke, teach, uplift, encourage and console is prophecy.

3. New Testament prophecies should be tested. This means that they may be accurate or not, without being evil, or without blemishing the prophet who speaks them. 

Umm… No? 

This is twisting the scriptures to mean exactly the opposite of what is meant!

We have shown that the reason prophecies should be tested is because of the absolute inevitability (because God said it would be so) of false prophets in the church. And that false prophecies are evil and are to be abstained from. 

So all prophecies in the church must be tested, in order to keep the church pure and to protect the flock. Paul says that false prophets are ravenous wolves who slaughter the flock. 

4. Agabus’ prophecy regarding Paul’s arrest was inaccurate.

Seriously? If we have to follow this same reasoning for the four different accounts of Jesus’ resurrection, then we have to conclude that the four Gospels are full of mistakes. Do you really want to go there? Because if you want to use this argument you HAVE to go there. 

It is very easy to reconcile the Agabus’ prophecy of Paul’s arrest to Luke’s later account of the arrest. You just have to do the work. I am not going to do it for you. 🙂

Conclusion

  1. Accurate prophetic predictions are proof that God is God. Predictions of the future are not about the prophets or their hearers, but about the Person and Character of God. 
  2. False predictions imply that God has lied, or that God is not God. Therefore God absolutely prohibits the idea of predictions that are not 100% accurate. Because it is about His glory, God ordered the death penalty for it in the Old Testament. 
  3. There is absolutely NO Biblical proof that this law was abrogated in the New Testament, or that New Testament prophecy is somehow different from Old Testament prophecy. In fact, when one reads the New Testament one comes under the impression of how serious God regards false prophecy. The whole book of Jude is just about this one subject. 
  4. The Charismatic doctrine of inaccurate predictive prophecies is a false, blasphemous and ultimately dangerous doctrine. God will not be mocked. 

Lastly think about this:

God ordered the death penalty for adultery and homosexual intercourse in the Old Testament. He ordered the death penalty for inaccurate prophesies. This places inaccurate prophecies at least on the same level of seriousness as adultery and homesexual intercourse. 

You would not go to a church where adultery and homosex are encouraged.

Then why go to a church where inaccurate predictive prophecies are taught and encouraged?

Wynand Louw, September 2019


Proclaiming the Gospel from the Bible is

  • speaking for God
  • with the very words of God Himself
  • while being carried along by the Spirit of God
  • in order to teach, rebuke, uplift, encourage and console

and is therefore prophecy in the true Biblical sense of the word.