Prophets or Con Artists

Exodus 20:7 says: “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name”. (NIV) 

US Election fever has gripped the entire world during this last week. As I write this blog, Joe Biden has become the projected President of the USA.  

This result has caused dismay to some Christians and great joy to others, depending on their political viewpoint. 

I want to state at the beginning of this article, that I am not sharing any opinion about the result of the election. Rather, this article is about the need to test the prophets and weigh the prophecies, that are given to the church worldwide. Especially so, when they try to affect political outcomes. 

I wonder how many Christians in America, voted for a party because they were influenced by the 'men and women of God' – a term I dislike – who claim to have inside knowledge of what God wants for their nation; and has told them which candidate He has anointed. 

They have a hotline to God which we mere mortals do not have. When someone says: “Thus says the Lord”, it is very difficult to argue against it, because you are then arguing against the Almighty himself.  

Is it this acquiescence to spiritual authority that gives rise to abuse of all kinds, be it spiritual, emotional or sexual; like that inflicted by countless Catholic Priests and church leaders worldwide? 

When God's servant is speaking to you, influencing you, or touching you in an inappropriate manner, it is hard to resist; because he or she represents God. 

These self-styled prophets are financed and supported by the masses who hang on to their words and whose world view is shaped by their insights. Some own private planes, live in mansions and amass vast 'treasures on earth' at the expense of the faithful. Perhaps these are the people the French philosopher Voltaire had in mind when he said this: 

“Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.”  

Perhaps I should substitute the words 'False-Prophecy' in place of religion, in the context of this blog? 

I am writing because I was appalled and disgusted by the video I saw this week of Paula White-Cain, who has been dubbed the spiritual adviser to Donald Trump.  

In her praying and intercession for Donald Trump, while counting for the election result was happening, this is what she claimed God was saying: 

1 Victory for Trump 

2 The Lord says it is done 

3 Angels are being dispatched from Africa & South America (presumably to overcome the demonic forces that would make Joe Biden President?)

If you want to see this short video, click on the image. 

Am I wrong in thinking this is stomach-churning stuff? Do you not think it is a terrible advert for the prophetic ministry of the church? In fact the video has been ridiculed and lampooned widely. 

Paula White-Cain also ranks among other Christian leaders who are claiming they are right and that Donald Trump will have four more years.  

Contrast their arrogance and certainty with the uncertainty of Kris Vallotton from Bethel Church in California. He posted a video admitting he prophesied wrongly concerning the result of the election and apologised for it. Then he changed his mind and withdrew his apology, saying he would wait and see how things turned out. So if Biden's victory is upheld he is not a prophet but if Trump gets four more years, he is. Sounds more like guesswork than prophecy! 

We will know in the next few weeks, once the election dust has settled, just how credible these 'prophets' really are.  

If they are proved to be wrong should we not expect them to give an account?  

Jeremiah 23 has some very strong words for the prophets who take the Lord's name in vain, in violation of the third commandment.  

Verse 31 Yes,” declares the Lord, “I am against the prophets who wag their own tongues and yet declare, ‘The Lord declares.’ 32 Indeed, I am against those who prophesy false dreams,” declares the Lord. “They tell them and lead my people astray with their reckless lies, yet I did not send or appoint them. They do not benefit these people in the least,” declares the Lord. 

I am raising some further questions. 

Is it now time for the Body of Christ to exercise a greater level of discernment, rise up and call these people to account?  

Are they Prophets or Con Artists? 

The Bible encourages us to judge all prophecy in 1 Corinthians 14:29; and in the Old Testament, the penalties for being a false prophet were severe! 

Do you feel like me that these people are bringing dishonour to the Body of Christ?  

Do they also bring dishonour to the role of prophetic ministry which 1 Corinthians 14:3 says is given for ”strengthening, encouraging and comfort”.(NIV)? 

I am grateful for people such as my good friend Wayne Drain, whose prophetic insights have been a blessing to so many around the world. His book “He Still Speaks” is worth reading. 

Finally, as we approach the end of this year, maybe we should reflect on what the prophets told us God was promising for 2020. How many of these words have come to pass throughout the year?  

How many of these prophets with their hotline to God, had a helpful insight about COVID-19? 

With that in mind, perhaps we should weigh all prophetic predictions for 2021 very seriously and be careful of the con artists posing as prophets. 

Let me end this blog with the scripture I began it with. 

Exodus 20:7 “You shall not misuse the name of the Lord your God, for the Lord will not hold anyone guiltless who misuses his name”. (NIV)

14 comments

  • Louise Hird
    Louise Hird 🇬🇧
    Thank you for sharing these valid insights; wise words at last! So many people worldwide have been led astray. Thank you.

    Thank you for sharing these valid insights; wise words at last! So many people worldwide have been led astray. Thank you.

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Thanks Louise.

    Thanks Louise.

  • Stephen Pare
    Stephen Pare Bridgend. S. Wales
    I was aghast at Paula White-Cain's video. As a parish cleric until recently, it was never my role to tell people how to vote but to do so thoughtfully and prayerfully. Prophecy can be so valid and powerful, but would Jesus have said these words, like you I think not, he called out those who lead people through the perceived power of their position in society and the faith. Your words are wise and well timed, thank you, but I guess not all will see them that way

    I was aghast at Paula White-Cain's video. As a parish cleric until recently, it was never my role to tell people how to vote but to do so thoughtfully and prayerfully. Prophecy can be so valid and powerful, but would Jesus have said these words, like you I think not, he called out those who lead people through the perceived power of their position in society and the faith. Your words are wise and well timed, thank you, but I guess not all will see them that way

  • Sebastian
    Sebastian North
    Dear Noel, regardless of the content of your blog I just don’t get it why you are putting yourself in a position where it doesn’t need a prophet to be able to say that this blog will stir up quite some controversy. Do you need that? Frankly: I have my doubts that this blog entry will help deescalating a already explosive situation in the church. If I would be in your position- which I am obviously not - and if I would live in Mallorca, I would certainly enjoy the beautiful island, work on new songs, celebrate the fellowship with friends, neighbors etc. As a German I would of course be the first at the beach and stake my claim with my towel. - False prophets in the New Testament are prophets who 1) contradict the scriptures, 2) use „sources„ other than the Holy Spirit 3) show bad fruit However a prophet is not a false prophet if he/she doesn’t get the facts straight. Even Paul or Agabus had some inaccuracies in their prophecies (you may look it up for yourself in the last few chapters of Acts.) Contrary to the Old Testament it’s the churches responsibility in the New Testament to check the prophecies (1. Corinthians) whereas in the Old Testament the prophet had to give accurate prophecies in order to prevent the stoning procedure ...:-) Regarding US Presidential Election a decisive decision who will be the next president is likely decided by the US Supreme Court because of the close results in several states and the - as far as I have seen it - numerous allegations of voter fraud. It‘s in everyone’s interest that they are to be reviewed by the courts, because 1) it will establish fair results in case the allegations were right 2) it will help to counter conspiracy theories in case the allegations were false Given the expected timeline I would say January 20th latest we all know if it’s Biden or Trump and then we should talk about precision in prophecies etc. and stuff like that so patience is required. Greetings from the North, Sebastian

    Dear Noel,
    regardless of the content of your blog I just don’t get it why you are putting yourself in a position where it doesn’t need a prophet to be able to say that this blog will stir up quite some controversy.

    Do you need that? Frankly: I have my doubts that this blog entry will help deescalating a already explosive situation in the church.

    If I would be in your position- which I am obviously not - and if I would live in Mallorca, I would certainly enjoy the beautiful island, work on new songs, celebrate the fellowship with friends, neighbors etc.
    As a German I would of course be the first at the beach and stake my claim with my towel.
    -
    False prophets in the New Testament are prophets who
    1) contradict the scriptures,
    2) use „sources„ other than the Holy Spirit
    3) show bad fruit
    However a prophet is not a false prophet if he/she doesn’t get the facts straight. Even Paul or Agabus had some inaccuracies in their prophecies (you may look it up for yourself in the last few chapters of Acts.)

    Contrary to the Old Testament it’s the churches responsibility in the New Testament to check the prophecies (1. Corinthians) whereas in the Old Testament the prophet had to give accurate prophecies in order to prevent the stoning procedure ...:-)

    Regarding US Presidential Election a decisive decision who will be the next president is likely decided by the US Supreme Court because of the close results in several states and the - as far as I have seen it - numerous allegations of voter fraud. It‘s in everyone’s interest that they are to be reviewed by the courts, because
    1) it will establish fair results in case the allegations were right
    2) it will help to counter conspiracy theories in case the allegations were false

    Given the expected timeline I would say January 20th latest we all know if it’s Biden or Trump and then we should talk about precision in prophecies etc. and stuff like that so patience is required.

    Greetings from the North, Sebastian

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Thanks Stephen and Sebastian for your comments. Much appreciated.

    Thanks Stephen and Sebastian for your comments. Much appreciated.

  • Dirk Weippert
    Dirk Weippert Germany south
    Dear Noel, well put and full ack. I found the video (and quite some others of that lady) disgusting tobsay the least. But brotherhood seems to have borderlines in blue and red in the states.... difficult if not impossible to discuss these issues with them. Some of the CCM musicians of my youth on FB are republicans, call the VP elect "Jezebel" and worse. Difficult for us to understand, nevertheless we should not stay silent but speak truth in love . Bold that you did! All the best, be blessed!

    Dear Noel, well put and full ack. I found the video (and quite some others of that lady) disgusting tobsay the least. But brotherhood seems to have borderlines in blue and red in the states.... difficult if not impossible to discuss these issues with them. Some of the CCM musicians of my youth on FB are republicans, call the VP elect "Jezebel" and worse. Difficult for us to understand, nevertheless we should not stay silent but speak truth in love . Bold that you did! All the best, be blessed!

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Thanks Dirk. Your encouragement is appreciated.

    Thanks Dirk. Your encouragement is appreciated.

  • Dave Slater
    Dave Slater Toronto, Canada
    Hey Noel! I appreciate your heart brother! I also appreciate your stand on scripture, that God will judge the imaginations of false prophets. A day of reckoning is on it’s way and until then, we all have the time to consider these things and our own position before the King of Kings. Isaiah 2; 12: For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low... God bless you constantly, you kind and thoughtful friend! Dave

    Hey Noel!
    I appreciate your heart brother! I also appreciate your stand on scripture, that God will judge the imaginations of false prophets. A day of reckoning is on it’s way and until then, we all have the time to consider these things and our own position before the King of Kings.
    Isaiah 2; 12: For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low... God bless you constantly, you kind and thoughtful friend!
    Dave

  • Wayne
    Wayne Surrey, UK
    Noel, I think you’re absolutely right to point it out. For the longest time tele-evangelists and the like (media frontage) have been the most prominent of the prophetic type you speak of taking people’s money first and foremost, but stealing hearts and minds, abusing trust. Where there’s smoke there’s definitely fire. Scripture is clear we all have to stand on our own two feet and think for ourselves and ‘the Spirit teaches us’. Does the Spirit teach us who to trust and who not? I believe so. How do we discern? First, by not trusting people it doesn’t mean we’re not Christian, instead scripture says: trust God only. So if leaders are saying, you can trust me, that’s a first point of discernment. Incidentally, Trump says it all the time. Second, our guiding values and principles lie in scriptures like ‘the fruits of the Spirit’ passage in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Are the people we’re following/trusting showing these characteristics? Personally I judge Trump to have proved himself opposite to most of these which is why the world has rejected him and why he has been the most divisive leader the USA, and thus the West, has ever known. And it is why he may break America before he goes. So any prophet who speaks toward anything like this can easily be discerned for what it is. Is Joe Biden any better, well look at his behaviour so far - completely different. Far more akin to Galatians 5:22. Chalk and cheese is the difference. Well done for speaking out. for pointing out this is a time for levelheaded discernment, I certainly am speaking out as well because we cannot allow men like Trump to present leadership in the way he has. One last point: Jacob Zuma, recent former corrupt president of South Africa accused of state capture, finally got his come-uppance. But not before his insidious leadership infected and passed down his corruption to every level. The decade of corrupt leadership he got away with has brought the country to its knees undoing nearly everything Mandela fought for. In the same way we spoke up against the evil of Apartheid and the subtlety with which it presented to us as white South Africans growing up in it, (while the rest of the world could clearly discern what was going on), it took decades to break that leadership and build something new. America now faces the same challenge on many levels and in many facets. Not unlike the Roman Empire before it started to implode. Time will tell. But I for one am grateful Trump was in long enough to bring the bad stuff into the light, but not long enough to let it live.

    Noel, I think you’re absolutely right to point it out. For the longest time tele-evangelists and the like (media frontage) have been the most prominent of the prophetic type you speak of taking people’s money first and foremost, but stealing hearts and minds, abusing trust. Where there’s smoke there’s definitely fire. Scripture is clear we all have to stand on our own two feet and think for ourselves and ‘the Spirit teaches us’. Does the Spirit teach us who to trust and who not? I believe so. How do we discern? First, by not trusting people it doesn’t mean we’re not Christian, instead scripture says: trust God only. So if leaders are saying, you can trust me, that’s a first point of discernment. Incidentally, Trump says it all the time. Second, our guiding values and principles lie in scriptures like ‘the fruits of the Spirit’ passage in Galatians 5: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Are the people we’re following/trusting showing these characteristics? Personally I judge Trump to have proved himself opposite to most of these which is why the world has rejected him and why he has been the most divisive leader the USA, and thus the West, has ever known. And it is why he may break America before he goes. So any prophet who speaks toward anything like this can easily be discerned for what it is. Is Joe Biden any better, well look at his behaviour so far - completely different. Far more akin to Galatians 5:22. Chalk and cheese is the difference.

    Well done for speaking out. for pointing out this is a time for levelheaded discernment, I certainly am speaking out as well because we cannot allow men like Trump to present leadership in the way he has.

    One last point: Jacob Zuma, recent former corrupt president of South Africa accused of state capture, finally got his come-uppance. But not before his insidious leadership infected and passed down his corruption to every level. The decade of corrupt leadership he got away with has brought the country to its knees undoing nearly everything Mandela fought for. In the same way we spoke up against the evil of Apartheid and the subtlety with which it presented to us as white South Africans growing up in it, (while the rest of the world could clearly discern what was going on), it took decades to break that leadership and build something new. America now faces the same challenge on many levels and in many facets. Not unlike the Roman Empire before it started to implode. Time will tell. But I for one am grateful Trump was in long enough to bring the bad stuff into the light, but not long enough to let it live.

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Hi Dave & Wayne, thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

    Hi Dave & Wayne, thanks so much for taking the time to comment.

  • Josh
    Josh Ca
    Hi Noel, Many of us have had to unpack difficult and confusing situations or seasons with prophetic leaders and churches. I am guessing you have, personally, as well. It's important not to throw the baby out with the bath water. False Prophets are not prophets or prophetic people who make a mistake or prophecy incorrectly or partially. For instance, many prophets prophesied that 2020 would be the year of vision - which has happened through the pandemic/recession which was deeply exposing - and that nobody saw coming. A partial impression does not equate to a false prophet, otherwise we could criticize everything somebody ever sang, wrote, or said. What we need is for more prophets to take accountability for their words and to teach listeners to take accountability for what they receive. Kris Valloton and Shawn Bolz are leading the way in this. They actually say "Sorry" if a word they give turns out to be wrong. What we don't need is more critics who are despising prophecy and accusing leaders. We have to bring change from the inside. Blogs like this fan the flame of critics who sit on the outside and do nothing but give the rebellious more reasons for their distance from God. Noel, you are an inside guy. Stay on the inside and bring reform from within. Thanks!

    Hi Noel,
    Many of us have had to unpack difficult and confusing situations or seasons with prophetic leaders and churches. I am guessing you have, personally, as well. It's important not to throw the baby out with the bath water. False Prophets are not prophets or prophetic people who make a mistake or prophecy incorrectly or partially. For instance, many prophets prophesied that 2020 would be the year of vision - which has happened through the pandemic/recession which was deeply exposing - and that nobody saw coming. A partial impression does not equate to a false prophet, otherwise we could criticize everything somebody ever sang, wrote, or said. What we need is for more prophets to take accountability for their words and to teach listeners to take accountability for what they receive. Kris Valloton and Shawn Bolz are leading the way in this. They actually say "Sorry" if a word they give turns out to be wrong. What we don't need is more critics who are despising prophecy and accusing leaders. We have to bring change from the inside. Blogs like this fan the flame of critics who sit on the outside and do nothing but give the rebellious more reasons for their distance from God. Noel, you are an inside guy. Stay on the inside and bring reform from within. Thanks!

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Josh, thanks for a great response. I commended KV for apologising over his prophecy about the result of the US election. I was then shocked when he retracted it and amended my blog accordingly.

    Josh, thanks for a great response. I commended KV for apologising over his prophecy about the result of the US election. I was then shocked when he retracted it and amended my blog accordingly.

  • Jonathan Zerger
    Jonathan Zerger Sydney
    Always appreciate your insight and perspective. Thanks for writing this.

    Always appreciate your insight and perspective. Thanks for writing this.

  • Noel Richards
    Noel Richards
    Thanks Jonathan. Much appreciated.

    Thanks Jonathan. Much appreciated.

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