Thursday, January 04, 2007

Prophetic accuracy

There are a lot of Christians out there who say that 100% acccuracy isn't necessary for a true prophet. They'll say that even a true prophet will sometimes get things wrong. They'll be mistaken at least part of the time. Giving false prophecies does not, necessarily, make somebody a false prophet. I want to mention a few reasons for why I have a hard time accepting that.

First, what is a false prophet if not somebody who gives false prophecies? I wonder if there's a scale or something. Maybe if you get 50% or more right, and the rest wrong, you're a true prophet, and if you get 50% or more wrong, and the rest right, then you're a false prophet. Or maybe you have to be 100% wrong all the time in order to be a false prophet. Or maybe you have to be wrong more than 70% of the time to be a false prophet. I would like to ask some of these people how much you can get wrong and still not be a false prophet. I suppose they could argue that you could get 99% wrong, and as long as you still got one genuine prophecy from God, you are a true prophet. They might respond to the above question by saying, "What is a true prophet if not somebody who gives true prophecies?"

Second, it's hard enough discovering that somebody is a true prophet and really hears from God. In all my life, I've never met such a person. But imagine if, on top of that difficulty, is the added difficulty of discovering whether any particular prophecy uttered by a true prophet is really from God! No matter how many times a prophet proved himself, you could never confidently listen to them.

Third, if a true prophet is sometimes mistaken, then they obviously can't distinguish between the voice of God and their own imagination. Why should they even trust their own prophecies if they know they can't make this distinction? If they are in no position to tell, think how much less the rest of us are in a position to tell!

Fourth, and finally, I've just never seen any Biblical justification for this position, while I have seen plenty of Biblical justification for calling somebody a "false prophet" who speaks presumptuously in the name of God.

10 Comments:

At 1/05/2007 5:56 PM , Blogger Paul said...

I think there are two causes for people accepting imperfect prophets.

1) They hold to open theism, where God is more a really good forecasters but doesn't have absolute knowledge of the future choices of free human beings (God is within time, not outside of it).

2) They are profoundly caught up in the "experiencing God" theology, where they believe that the really mature Christian can sense the will and leading of God in some mystical subjective way. Since it is not a clear audible voice of God (as with Samuel), or a divine visitation (as with Moses), then there is room for error. The "better" prophet then becomes the one more gifted at detecting God's communication and quieting his own thoughts.

 
At 1/17/2007 3:08 PM , Blogger daleliop said...

haha nice pic

 
At 1/18/2007 3:45 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Happy second anniversary! I sent you a gift. Hope you're not out of town this week.

 
At 1/18/2007 5:12 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

That was right nice of you, Paul. Thanks!

 
At 1/23/2007 3:15 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Hope it arrived okay. I thought you needed a boost. That new photo of yours has you looking a little down.

 
At 1/24/2007 12:19 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Everything arrived just fine. What an unexpected surprise!

Of course I wasn't really down in that picture. I'm actually looking at my book shelf in that picture. I'm probably just deep in thought, but I couldn't possibly be down considering what I was looking at.

 
At 1/24/2007 2:38 PM , Blogger Paul said...

The laborer is worthy of his wages.

Grace us with some more good posts and maybe I'll do it again some time :-)

 
At 1/24/2007 3:58 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Is that you racking up my web stats today (1/24)?

 
At 1/24/2007 6:12 PM , Blogger ephphatha said...

Yes, it must be. I remembered from your congratulating me last year that your anniversary was around the same time as mine, so I decided to go read your very first post (Feburary 2005). After that, I started going through every one of your posts up to the present. I didn't read all of them, but I read some of them, and whenever I saw a lot of comments on one, I went and read the comments. So yeah, it was mostly likely me.

 
At 1/24/2007 6:32 PM , Blogger Paul said...

Wow! You've got a strong stomach then. A lot of people just bypass the comments, but I like to treat them as a continuation of the thinking in the related post. Probably why I ramble on so long in my comments. It's also why I thank God I don't get too many commenters. My time and waning mental faculties can't handle too much.

Unfortunately, I never really offered an inaugural post. I probably would have mentioned that I wanted some place to do less formal, or experimental, writing. And someplace to put older stuff that I had done. And maybe sometimes generate things that were good enough to elevate to the LifeWay.com site. A lot less pressure in writing for a blog. But then Melinda Penner arranged a link to me from the STR site and I kind of lost the sense of freedom to hack things out. A mixed blessing.

 

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