Wednesday, November 02, 2011

What To Do With False Prophets?

From Religion Today Summaries:
Family Radio Stations, Inc., founder and chairman Harold Camping said he was wrong to predict Christ's return and confessed that, after decades of misleading his followers, he regrets his misdeeds, the Christian Post reports. Camping, 90, who falsely predicted the world would end Sept. 6, 1994, then May 21, 2011, then finally on Oct. 21, 2011, also said he was wrong to say that God had stopped saving people after May 21. Since 1992, Camping has claimed that he had discovered a special numerical system in the Bible that allowed him to calculate the exact dates of biblical events such as the flood, the crucifixion and the day of Jesus' return to earth. When Camping's final doomsday prediction failed to happen, Family Radio removed its teachings regarding both the purported May 21 and Oct. 21 rapture dates. According to a member of Camping's staff, he is no longer able to lead Family Radio or his ministry.

In an analysis of the NT, it spends a lot of time talking about false teachers.  What they act like, what their false teachings are and how they approach "ministry".  Some main passages include Matthew 7, Matthew 23, II Peter 2 and Revelation 2.

But what the NT doesn't say, with any of the detail we would appreciate, is how to deal with false prophets.  The Hebrew Scriptures are clear: stone them or curse them (Deuteronomy and Jeremiah).  Clear cut answers to a serious problem.

But in the NT, the issue isn't so clear.  If you've got a false prophet, you discern the truth and you don't let them teach, sure.  But what else do you do?  Do you kick them out of the church? Publicly rebuke them?  The NT doesn't say.

In fact, the only thing that is clear is that Jesus will be judging the false prophet Himself (see the letter to Thyratia in Revelation 2 and the end of Matthew 7).  And this judgment is extremely harsh.  But shouldn't the church get more involved, more than just not letting the person teach?

Not necessarily.  And this is because Jesus is just as concerned about the false prophet as He is about the rest of His followers.  He doesn't want to lose even a person who taught lies in His name.  Jesus has not come to judge the world, but that through Him the world might be saved.  This doesn't mean that He doesn't judge... but the church should always be ready to catch a fallen disciple.

We need to be clear about what is true and what is false.  But let's always be there to accept the fallen, to forgive them, to love them, even when they hurt the church.

1 comment:

ChristAlive said...

False prophets come in different ways. Some will do more harm to people if left unchecked. One can only know how devastating the effects of false prophecies if they have been in and out of such leadership. Imagine a few of these scenarios:1. A couple who has been barren for 10 years told that God will give you a child this year...this couple will obviously do everything they can for the prophecy to come to pass, including abnormal commitment of time and funds to the church...but imagine the breakdown they will have when it dawns on them that the child will never come? 2. A poor person who is deeply in debt is told that he should sow a seed, to get out of debt supernaturally...and out of his poverty he gives, but sadly gets deeper in debt....Too many scenarios that I have experienced that would take away faith from God if you are involved. I believe some form of law should hold these people accountable. The fact that thieves, rapists, etc are incarcerated in this world does not mean that they will not be judged by God. visit my website to see how we are dealing with this.