Are there modern-day Christian prophets?

QUESTION:

What do you believe about a random “Super Spiritual” (I say this loosely) guy comes up to you and tries to look into your life and tell you about your future? So what I am asking is do you believe in people being able to prophesy about your life (like Agabus or Barnabus who were¬†considered prophets in the Church)?

Answer:

The person who tells you that he or she is a prophet of God and has God’s direct revelation for you is either deceived or a deceiver or both. There are many people like this. They are especially easy to find in charismatic/Pentecostal churches. Such groups believe in modern day prophecy and revelation, so naturally fall prey to the person who thinks that he or she is God’s spokesperson for the church. My advice is this: avoid such people with a ten foot pole–avoid them like the plague. Do not listen to such people. They are not real prophets, but are speaking for themselves, not God. Some who do this might just possibly be quite sincere. In that case, they are simply deceived, as I guarantee that they are not a prophet. Others are like those Paul warned against in 2 Tim 3:6 who “worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women.” These people have “a form of godliness, but deny its power.” Paul’s advice: Have nothing to do with them (1 Tim 3:5). It is possible that such a person is some sort of hybrid between the two: deceived and deceiver. It is possible some started out sincerely thinking that they had special, miraculous insight into God’s will for people’s lives. Over time, such people tend to slowly evolve into cynical people who are well aware that they are making up their supposed prophecies in order to manipulate those they are leading.

How do I know that what I am saying is true? First of all, because Paul warns us against such people. Secondly, because I know that we do not have modern-day revelation. The scripture is complete and like it says in 2 Timothy 3:17, this is “sufficient for every good work.” Bottom line, there is no longer a need for personal revelation. Like Paul said in 1 Cor 13, where there is prophecy, it will cease. There is an interesting prophecy in Zechariah 13:1-6 in which God tells his people that “in that day, a fountain will be opened… to cleanse from sin and impurity…. He continues to describe how “At that time I will remove… the prophets… from the land.” God tells his people that some time after the coming of salvation (presumably the gospel), prophecy will cease and anyone who continues to claim to be a prophet will be put to shame.

You may want to explain to such people that you do not believe they have the ability to prophecy–that they are deceived. It is my experience with such people that this will not be effective. Probably, it is best to simply ignore such people and warn others to avoid them.

John Oakes


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