Ask An Evangelical: False Prophets

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By Scott McIntyre

What is recommended to be done when you know of someone who claims to be a prophet, and is invited by many organizations to share his “testimony” but his entire background story/life is false? Shall his family and childhood friends speak up with the truth? Or shall everybody mind their own business and let the Lord handle that?

Let me start by saying I’m an evangelical who is also a cessationist, one who accepts the doctrine that spiritual gifts such as prophecy ceased with the apostolic age.  That said, I think a nearly universally accepted standard can be applied to this question. 

If we know that someone’s words or actions will cause emotional, physical, or spiritual harm, and we do nothing, we can, to some degree, be held jointly responsible for the outcome.

You’re sitting on a jury and one of your fellow jurors admits to you that they believe in the defendant’s guilt but plan on voting for their acquittal because of their personal relationship to the accused, which they lied about during jury selection. 

You’re not obligated to confront them with the error of this type of thinking but, your responsibility as a juror probably makes you legally obligated to share their conversation with the judge or someone else in authority at the court.

During your visit with jailed individuals as part of your church’s prison ministry, you meet a person who is about to be released.  With much pride, and a greater level of stupidity, they share how they’ve figured out a way to continue fleecing people out of financial assets, while greatly minimizing the possibility of being caught again.

You find out they will be released far away from your friends and family, but that doesn’t mean you can remain silent, just because the chance is very small that anyone you know and love will be adversely affected, by this person’s ‘soon to be re-launched’ criminal behavior.

According to several passages in the Bible (Jeremiah 23:13-24; Deuteronomy 13:1-5; 2 Peter 2:1), God had no love for false prophets because they were directly and harmfully affecting the people He created and loved.  But there is one other thing that needs to be considered before ‘going public’ about a person’s past…the level of permanent change in behavior that’s occurred over the years of the person’s life. 

When I was a child, lying was a big problem for me.  One day, after I had taken some coins from my mother’s purse, my parents found them in my room and asked where they came from.  Liars are not always very smart, and when I told them I’d found the money in our bed of ivy, which was nearly deep enough for people to hide in, they knew I was lying.

After becoming a Christian, lying was one of the things God dramatically removed from my life.  I’m not 100% lie free, but it’s the exception to my behavior and not the rule.  Someone who knew me as a child but didn’t know me as well today, would be doing me a disservice if they told people they couldn’t trust what I would tell them.

About Scott McIntyre

Scott McIntyre is glad his parents didn’t name him Vladimir or he’d be listed last on this page. While a long time California resident, he was the Oakland Spirituality Examiner for from 2011-12 and about the same time began blogging on several topics. The first, teaching Christians how to lovingly share their spiritual beliefs, emphasized skills that can benefit all forms of one-to-one interaction. He also writes on marriage, travel, downsizing, humor, and the motive behind people’s words and actions. After retiring in 2016, Scott embarked on some major ‘R & R’; Relocating and Rebranding. Following in his sister’s footsteps from the early 80’s, and later in the decade, his parent’s, Scott left the Golden State to become a Washingtonian in a small town just west of Spokane County.

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