FALSE PROPHETS ABOUND 2021

Is your church embarrassed by her false prophecy?  Or are your prophets running around trying to “walk it back”?

I am stunned by all the false prophets exposed this past election season.  I hear about them on the TV news, the internet, and even personal friends in conversation these days, and I must say: That’s a lot! And it’s rather sudden too.

Don’t get me wrong here.  I have heard of false prophets before.  When I was a kid, I heard about them a lot in Bible class or in sermons at church.  I didn’t hear about them in the news media or covers of magazines in the check out stands in those days, and friends rarely brought up the concept in regular conversation, but false prophets certainly were fodder for many a sermon.  Once in a while we might hear the term “false prophet” associated with someone like Jim Jones who claimed prophecy and led his followers into murder and mass suicide.  (That seems like a pretty good indicator of a false prophet to me, alright.)

The Bible gives one clear indication of a false prophet.  There maybe many indications, actually, but one is very clear and spelled out sternly.  If the prophet’s prediction fails to come to pass, you know he was not speaking God’s Word.  That is a fairly simple test.  (Of course, if a prophet predicts things which won’t come about for more than a lifetime, then you would have to wait a long time to determine his prediction based on this test, but otherwise it is pretty simple.)

I think, though, that prophecy gets pigeon holed by that idea unfairly.  There is a common misconception that all prophecy is about predicting the future.  But it is not.  Predicting the future is prophetic if someone claims it is the Word from God, but pundits predicting outcomes based on their research are not even attempting prophecy.  Thus, a prediction might not have anything to do with prophecy, and even if it does, that is only one small piece of the overall category of speech or acts we call prophecy.

Prophecy is a Word from God, not from the prophet.  It is God’s Word shared THROUGH the prophet, and God says a lot of things about the past, the present, and the future, not just the future.  A false prophet making bogus predictions about the future is speaking his own word, not God’s, and that makes him false.  He claims to speak for God when he does not.

The Bible says such a prophet should die.  You cannot trust him.  (See Deuteronomy 18 for some of the clearest passages on this.)

That is really harsh, but prophets who speak presumptively cannot be trusted, and God wants you to trust him.

But now we have pastors turned prophet coming out of the woodwork claiming that Donald Trump will be president come-what-may, yet it has not come to pass.

I hear of pastors in Tennessee, California, and elsewhere, some of them leading massive congregations of Christians grabbing headlines with these claims, and proving, biblically speaking, that they do not in fact speak for God.  This is not just some innocent mistake.  These prophets claimed to speak for God but really spoke their own wishful thinking instead.  They are leading people astray.  They are promoting power-grab ideals which would sooner speak for Mars, Zeus, or Jupiter than for Jesus Christ.

Let me fill out the picture just a little more for you.

Though there is not a single passage of Scripture which outlines this observation, if you study prophets all through the Bible and look for characteristics between good ones, bad ones, true and false ones, you see trends arise which are informative for this discussion.  False prophets tend – TEND – tend to work for the king (different kings at different times and places).  They are courtiers, court prophets on the king’s payroll.  They are the “king’s wise men” in a sense.  Much like the president’s cabinet, his top advisors.

In that court position, there is a strong temptation to give the king news he WANTS to hear rather than the truth irrespective of his desires.  Who wants to be the prophet to tell the king his plans will not work or that he has failed or brings up the king’s sins?  That could cost a prophet his life, his livelihood, and tank his resume on grounds other than whether he speaks for God.

The exception proves the rule.  Look at Nathan who confronts King David.  In fact, he confronts David (see II Samuel 12) over his sin with Bathsheba putting his own life and career at risk (David has already proven himself willing and capable of murder to keep this thing quiet!)  And we know that Nathan faces the temptation to counsel the king favorably according to the king’s desire based on a conversation he has with David about building The House of God.  There (II Samuel 7), Nathan is too quick to endorse David’s plans, plans which are in no way evil anyway, yet afterward hears from God about it.  This requires Nathan to walk back and amend his earlier endorsement with God’s Word on the matter.

Nathan was a good prophet.  He risked his life in the way of Elijah, Elisha, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and so many others.  He did not settle on the word which felt good to share with the king, but relied on the Word God actually spoke to him.

Hmmm…

Funny strange, not funny ha ha, but a prophet who speaks falsely deserves to die.  A prophet who speaks truly is likely to die.

So, over the course of the past few months, I find the stories of false prophets bursting out of the church’s witness to the world around us.  By far, most of these instances have to do with predicting that Donald Trump will win the election.  But that has proven over and over and over again to be “THE BIG LIE.”  And yet pastor after prophet after pastor has spoken up in public, gone on record no less, to claim a Word from God on this, and then to falsely predict that Trump would win.  Let this trash the credibility of these “prophets” and not God, in whose name they vainly speak!

There false prophecies certainly stroke the ego of their (president) king!  And if they had been true they certainly would have stroked the ego of many a prophet, would have earned him a nice cushion in the court.  As it is, though, it has watered down the church’s witness in America yet again, and done so in a big way.

Where are all these followers going for the truth now?  What witness should America turn to for truth now?

Did those churches where these “prophets” spoke up so boldly just dry up afterward?  Or are these sore losers licking their wounds, justifying themselves in their own eyes, and continuing on as if this is all just okay with God?

Somebody talk to me about “absolute truth” NOW!

Think about it.

7 comments

  1. Agent X · May 2, 2021

    This response via email (thus, I keep the identity hidden):

    The absolute truth is that Trump did win the election but the democrat party (from Satan) stole it and will destroy America if God allows it…and I believe He will bc bondage and persecution will turn people’s hearts back to Him. Pray that we don’t fall away.

    Like

    • Steven · May 3, 2021

      The past four years with the rise and fall of Trump and so many professed followers of Christ following after him, have taught me much about our proclivities toward self-deception and groupthink. I once foolishly thought people sought truth in a vaugely scientific fashion, but I see more clearly than ever that we believe what we want to believe and will find whatever data, whatever tortured arguments, to keep us firmly wrapped in our cocoons of of belief where things make sense on our terms.

      Like

      • Agent X · May 3, 2021

        Short on time for response here, but I definitely want to explore this dialog more. Thanx to you Steven and Pedro for your comments! And to the anonymous email responder too. I am working through my thoughts as carefully as I can, and these comments are important for that.

        Will be back soon…

        Like

    • De Benny · May 4, 2021

      Guess the other absolute truth would be God really broke the yoke Nebuchadnezzar put on the neck of all nations. What we’ve been told in sunday school is certaily all just fake news propaganda from that socialist named Jeremiah…
      If God wants America to be destroyed, you can hardl do anything about it. But look in your bible how nations went where God turned His back on them. The book of Jeremiah might be a good place to start, but there’s more.

      Like

  2. therooflesschurch · May 2, 2021

    Hey again X,

    I like to think that prophets don’t tell the future, they tell the truth. Some translations of 1 Corinthians 13:8 say prophecies will fail. That can happen for a lot of reasons. But as it goes on Love never fails. God is Love. There is no fear in Love. Perfect Love casts out fear. Anyone who says they love God who they cannot see but hates their neighbors who they can see is a liar. All of these are statements of truth from the Bible. As long as there is fear in the prophecy, it is doomed to fail at some point. And if Love is the inspiration of a prophetic word, it will manifest at sone point. I grew up being taught that Jesus was coming back any day now despite the fact that the very Bible people say they followed explicitly says no one knows the day—NOT EVEN THE SON OF GOD. And even though Romans 10 says that no one should say who will ascend or descend, many church’s bread and butter is earned on making those very claims. So what is someone looking to live Christward to do? To me, the answer is to choose Love. Many of my friends were telling me up to the last minute that Trump was going to be inaugurated. Some after Joe wheat had been. Others that the election was stolen. To that I say, “Let God be true. And every person a liar.” Are we so arrogant that we think we can steal God’s truth from God? What happened happened. But this widespread prophetic failure is nothing new. This happens daily in fear based theology.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Agent X · May 3, 2021

    I don’t actually know if, or how bad, anyone wants to engage in dialog with this or to what extent they want my further input.  AND, I fight constant interruptions to read, write, and respond on the blog already anyway.  So, please bear with me patiently (or disregard if you don’t want more of this).  But, since I did elicit some response, I expect that means I have engaged somehow somewhere.

    I see myself as a critic from within.  “Critic from within” is a phrase I picked up from N.T. Wright years ago as he discussed the prophets of old.  These prophets had a word from God for the people of God, frequently a rebuke no less, but there never was a point where the prophets stood against Israel.  They critiqued from within.

    I am not, currently a Republican (nor a Dem), but I am, by virtue of my lifestyle and many of my values, very conservative.  I once was registered Republican, and I voted accordingly (we lost).  But I have since decided to be Christian.  Simply Christian and not partisan, not factional.  And as a conservative, I am a critic from within.

    No doubt I have great sensitivities with many liberal values too, but not all, and not across the board, and certainly not with some of the really big ones which oppose Christian values (abortion for instance).  But, I can say the same, perhaps to a lesser degree) about conservatives, especially recent conservatives (last 30 years or so).

    Let me now say something to each comment I have received here so far.

    To Anonymous emailer:

    Wow!  A stunning and stinging comment.  I sense rather strongly that anything I have to say in response will be a conversation KILLER.  But, I don’t wish that.  Not at all.

    For those not knowing the identity of this commenter, let me say we are blood relations, AND I did solicit this viewer to come read and react.  So, I am thankful for a response at all, AND I have LOVE for this person which goes beyond our interaction here.  So very many interactions I have on the web are with people I do not personally know at all.  I have to take the whole person at face value and work with the limited view I have of them through the words shared.  They may not be entirely anonymous to me, but I don’t know them.  I will have to put both Steven and Pedro in this category vis-a-vis me.  Of course, the longer I spend (months/years) interacting with such internet friends, the deeper that relationship develops, and so I begin to get a better more rounded view of people in that way, but this commenter is family.

    But not close kin.  Not to me personally.  We are both far closer to some other family members than each other, but we have a long history together.

    I will, then, try to respond FIRST to the bits I sense a kindred spirit with – which is the bit near the end where Agent Cuz (we will call him) speaks of “turn[ing] people’s hearts back to [God]” and the notion that God is, as we often say, “in control”, though he did not use those words, instead he said, “allow.”

    In those thoughts/sentiments, I find some connection to this commenter, a connection I hope to build on.  Pedro comments about “LOVE”, and I think that buried in these words we might, hopefully, find/realize the LOVE of God connecting us.

    I too want peoples hearts turned back to God, American hearts in particular (as per this dialog). I can, and often do, quibble about whether and to what extent they ever were originally turned to God to begin with, but, I can also resonate at some levels with the hope that we get back on that track to the extent we have left it, and/or get on it finally if not.  Jesus died a terrible death in LOVE, God’s exceedingly great LOVE, for them, and I think America, to whatever extent she ever valued you that and understood it and wanted to live meaningfully in light of it, has to a very large extent turned away from that.  And I too want people’s hearts to come back to the LOVE of God.

    Let me say, I THINK,  I REALLY THINK, MY RESPONSE SO FAR HONORS THIS COMMENT AND DOES NOT IN ANYWAY REFUTE IT.  I CERTAINLY HOPE SO.  AND I DEEPLY VALUE THIS CONNECTION I HAVE AT EXACTLY THIS POINT WITH THE ONE MAKING IT.

    I yelled that in all caps so as hopefully to be heard there.  I am laying down that marker now because I think that to respectfully engage this comment, I must say something to the other bits too, but I definitely do NOT share the sentiments in the rest of it.

    Make sense?  

    But I hope to express good will and to build on the part where we share in GOD’s LOVE.

    This commenter claims that the election was stolen.

    I happen to disagree.  I see no evidence (none which is honest and forthright) that even suggests it in the slightest.  I do see, on the other hand tons of dishonest – sad and lame – attempts to produce very broken, flawed evidence.  But, I think that is entirely secondary to the real point anyway. I don’t AS A CHRISTIAN have a dog in that fight.  As a conservative, I might (but still, I don’t), and as a Republican I almost certainly do (but I am not a Republican).  However, as an American, I still am a witness to this process, and I don’t see the election as stolen at all.

    The founding fathers of this nation (not of Christian faith, but of the USA) gave us this electoral process.  It is not a perfect process, but it has served us for well over 200 years quite well.  We have always put our TRUST/FAITH in it before now, even when it wasn’t entirely fair.  Look how Bush beat Gore!  That followed the process we all agreed upon, but it was not actually a most votes wins election.  When Trump beat Hillary, it also followed the process, but was even harder to accept!  And I recall lots of people claiming “NOT MY PRESIDENT” for a long time after, but, we put our faith and trust in this system, and that is how it works.

    Now all of a sudden, you don’t like the outcome and claim it is rigged.  That is a sore loser reaction.  Not really a good attitude.  And all the crying foul, especially the demonizing of Dems (from satan???) is very factional and alienating, AND it demonstrates idolatry.  As a Christian, I put my real hope in God, I become a citizen of the Kingdom of God and give my allegiance to him.  I take up a cross daily and follow my king. I love my enemies and forgive them.  

    Now.  I am not gonna try to snow you readers into thinking I do this perfectly.  I don’t.  Jesus, did, and he is my ideal.  But I don’t.  

    But neither do I excuse myself and try to have his kingdom my way like McDonalds or something.  Besides, the character the Republicans and conservatives have been championing the last five or six years is a scoundrel of the first order, a dishonest, draft dodging, divisive, self professed pussy grabber who feels he need not repent of anything.  He does not love the poor, and shows no love of God to them or anyone else.  He carries no cross, but inflames, belittles, stirs up strife, all to stroke his own arrogant, proud ego.  He can’t make his contempt for God any clearer.  So, if the election was stolen, perhaps in God’s mysterious ways, that was God moving on behalf of the country who seems to be following after that rather than a crucified messiah offering the grace of God’s LOVE.

    Hubris was always, as I understood it, right at the heart of the fall of mankind.  Why champion that now and try to claim it for God?

    As to some of the background I know about Agent Cuz, we are both members of the churches of Christ.  This membership, historically eschewed other Evangelical and political groups as apostates.  It didn’t matter, historically speaking, if Jerry Falwell was right about a “moral majority,” since Falwell was a hellbound apostate.  It didn’t matter what Pat Robertson, Billy Graham, or the good people at Liberty University or any of the rest had to say since they misunderstood the Gospel, misrepresented it, and were themselves leading Americans astray into damnation!

    And America didn’t really matter, not in the final analysis, since this world was going up in Judgement Flames ANYWAY.  

    (I do not agree with most of that either, as put) but there was a time not too long ago when THAT kind of thinking was the norm in churches of Christ.  We used to be people OF THE BOOK, and while I believe we needed to make worldview adjustments to what that means, I in no way ever thought it meant we should abandon the ideal or especially to run headlong into the grip of these leaders’ brands of Gospel.  They obviously were not cross carrying disciples either, but now we seem to have joined them and fallen uncritically in lock step with them over American politics – none of which is IN THE BOOK.

    To borrow from Pedro again, I think we should be shining our light, and being the salt, of loving our enemies (liberals and democrats, gay kids, and the poor).  The LOVE of God calls us to it.  

    I think, Agent Cuz, you want very desperately to cling to God’s LOVE.  You express a desire for the people’s hearts to turn back to him.  I join you THERE.  RIGHT THERE.  And, I confess that with sin in my life, I must move some steps from where I am currently to get there more fully.  But as a critic from within conservatism, I must call the bluff on whether OUR hearts, as conservatives, are even trying to get there.  We are kidding ourselves if we think that the Dems are from satan and only dems are from satan.  We sure presume a LOT when we allow soooooooo much unchecked hubris in our ranks, express ABSOLUTEly no faith in the election and claim it was stolen when in fact the process we all agreed upon worked very well AND when that process serves American politics which is on its best day a distant second to the Kingdom of God. (Unless of course, God, in his mysterious ways, changed the outcome of the election, in which, if that is the case, you should not oppose the outcome AND cannot prove otherwise!)

    I invite you to turn your heart back to God.  How about we start with ours, yours and mine.  Let us humbly come before God, the God of cruciform LOVE and devote ourselves to loving even liberals?  If Jesus can love and forgive the people who drove nails into his flesh, surely you and I can show charity toward liberals, even Biden.

    Hmmm…

    I will stop with that for now.

    I hope I get some response.  Maybe you few readers here can help me shape up my response.  I am not a know it all.  But, I certainly do not want to discount a cousin I love over some Millionaire from New York City.  There was a day when us Texans didn’t like his kind.  I never dreamed we would become his priests and devotees in his cult – not in my life time.

    Now to Pedro…

    Pedro, I am challenged by your words.  LOVE is the answer.  Any conclusion I come to which is not loving, is not biblical and not from God.  That idea, I think you did say something to that affect, helps me. I think it is right.
    I will, however, challenge it to this extent:  God’s LOVE is cruciformed LOVE in particular – as you already know.  (I am not trying to suggest you don’t know this already, but to clarify, to sharpen it up a bit).  The ancient languages use different terms for different kinds of LOVE, whereas the English treats the concept with a generic word which becomes all the more sappy in country music or “easy” listening music and chick flicks and romance novels.  

    Jesus loves cruciform, and I may never reach that in perfection… certainly not on my own steam.  It remains my ideal though unless and until I receive the Spirit of God.

    For me, the post above is about CHURCH.  The Church at large actually.  And the church has these prophets who, it appears to me, have chosen selfish/partisan/factious agendas to promote rather than God’s LOVE.  Certainly not God’s cruciform love.  Not at all.  AND, they now are shown to be false in doing so.  

    The church is the witness in the world, the bearer of the Gospel for the world.  We are NOT the bearer of the Gospel of Republican, conservative politics or of making American great, but of God’s salvation for sinners, even sinners who sin LIBERAL as opposed to conservative.  Even sinners who don’t work hard to earn a living – lazy.  Even sinner who sin sexually in rainbow sins.  Even sinners who abort their unborn babies.  Even sinners who lie, cheat, and steal elections!  We bear THAT gospel for the world, and if we don’t no one does.  If we champion some lesser Gospel, we are no longer true prophets and maybe not even true church.

    When I address the prophets and the church, it turns out I am addressing people – a LOT of people but not all – who have majored in the minors of American greatness, of tax relief, and antiabortion agendas.  (That last bit is a can of worms as I put it here, but I will leave it.)  On a Venn Diagram, there is a LOT of overlap between the church and people who make these kinds of things their end-all/be-all  And their prophets are making the news!

    I find it particularly stinging that the prophets are promoting THE BIG LIE!  (I didn’t invent these phrases, and as the old man once said, even a perceived problem is a problem, so…) we have a watching world looking at the church’s prophets predicting the future, getting it completely wrong, and then trying to promote the Big Lie anyway.  The church has come a long way, baby, to get HERE.  

    As a critic from within, I want to call the church to get humble and get back to Jesus’s business.
    In LOVE of course, cruciform love of God and sinners.

    Steven…

    Groupthink…
    I feel ya.

    When you look around your church and see the pastor and everyone else talking this nonsense, you might be excused for thinking it too.  Not all critical thought is godly thought, but nearly any critical thought calls this mess into question at least.  I am thinking that most liberal thought is critical, but not godly.  But that still means that liberal thought is witness… is watching to see how this will go.

    When liberals who think critically, yet still not godly, see a proud, arrogant church and her prophets supporting a proud arrogant president, that is bad.  When the church, the people supposedly carrying crosses and following Jesus as witness to the world of God’s LOVE become sore losers over stuff so temporal as Republican losses in an election (Wow, this has only been a thing at all for the last 165 years on the whole stage of world history!), they are rightly turned off.

    We have a chance, a big chance here, to be relevant!  But we are blowing it on the cult of Trump.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Forsake the Fake Prophets – Jeremiah Journey 2021 Week 27 | Revbruce's Blog

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