CHRISTIAN FORTUNE TELLING

Lynn B. Fowler

A prophetic word by Lynn Fowler, Women’s Apostolic Alliance Member

This has been on my heart for some time, and it has reached the point where I can no longer hold back from saying it: much of what passes for “prophecy” in the Church today is really nothing more than “Christian fortune telling.”

Before I go any further, let me say very emphatically that I am not anti-prophecy. I move in the gift of prophecy, and some have recognised me as a prophet. Whether I am or not is really irrelevant here, the point I am seeking to make is simply that I believe in both the gift of prophecy and the office of prophet as being relevant and important for today. What bothers me greatly is the way that gift and office is used, or rather misused.

The first thing we need to understand is the difference between prophecy in the Old Testament and prophecy under the New Covenant. In the OT, the people did not have the Holy Spirit as an abiding presence in their lives. He simply came upon individuals to empower them for whatever task God had called them to do. The ordinary people also did not have ready access to the written law. In fact, by the time of Josiah it seems even the priests did not have the Book of the Law, as there was great consternation when it was found during Josiah’s repairs to the temple (2 Kings 22:8). Because of this, if the people wanted to know what God was saying to them, the only way they could do so was by going to the prophet. The prophet therefore carried the responsibility of hearing from God both on behalf of individuals and on behalf of the nation. When a prophet came to town there was often great excitement, with people eager to receive a word from God.

Under the New Covenant, everything changes. When a person is born again, the Holy Spirit comes to live in his/her spirit. He is closer to us than our breath. We are meant to be hearing from Him for God’s direction for our lives. What’s more, particularly in our modern age and especially in Western nations, we have ready access to the written Word of God. The Word of God should be our first touchstone and measure of truth, and understanding of God’s character and ways. The function of the prophet in the New Covenant is not to hear from God on your behalf! Personal prophecy should come only as a confirmation of what God has already spoken in our own hearts, a preparation for what He is about to speak, or a rebuke if He has been speaking and we have not been listening.

Instead, we see Christians acting like Old Testament believers. The prophet comes to town and everyone gets excited because they want to get a word from God. (Interesting that, on the whole, Christians don’t get nearly as excited when a teacher comes to town). The prophet promises that everyone in the room will receive a word – something that never happened, even in the Old Testament. The statement is “God always wants to speak to us.” That is absolutely true. God does always want to speak to us, but He wants to do so through His Word and His Spirit who lives within us speaking directly to us personally, not through someone else hearing on our behalf.

I often think that the only thing God really wants to say to most of the people in the room at these meetings is, “Stop seeking a second-hand experience and start listening to My Spirit for yourself!”

A great problem comes because of the way prophecy is taught. I have been in “Schools of the

Spirit” where people are told to look in their hearts to find a word of the people over whom they are prophesying (and I have had some incredibly “off” prophecies over me as a result of this method.)

THE TROUBLE IS: THIS IS THE SAME METHOD I WAS TAUGHT WHEN I WAS A SPIRITUALIST MEDIUM LEARNING TO DO “READINGS.”

True prophecy does not come by searching inside ourselves. 2Pe 1:21 “For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” True prophecy comes when the Holy Spirit speaks to the prophet to bring a word to someone, not when the prophet goes digging around in search of a word.

This kind of digging can also lead to “cold reading” a technique practised by stage magicians in which they will make a statement and watch the subject closely for tiny, subtle responses, which then lead to further statements by the magician. Someone skilled in this technique can come up with some amazingly accurate “readings” but they do not come from God, but only from the magician’s ability. Unfortunately I have seen this technique used, knowingly or unknowingly, by some who claim the office of prophet.

Church, wake up! Prophecy is a wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit, but it was never meant to be used as Christian fortune telling.

Now I see something in the Church that disturbs me even more: some Christians are using cards to do “readings” for people. I understand these are not traditional tarot cards, but the principle is the same. It is divination: using a physical means to try to “channel” revelation. Whether it is examining the entrails of an animal, reading tea leaves, palm reading, tarot, or these Christian cards it is the same essential practice, and God absolutely forbids and condemns it, going to the extent of calling it (and those who practice it) an abomination. (Deut 18:9-12.) Think that’s only for the Old Testament? Revelation 22:15 places “sorcerers” (those who practice divination) among those who are excluded from heaven. These deluded Christians think that by using these means they are bringing people into the kingdom of heaven, when in reality they are opening them up to the kingdom of darkness. You cannot do God’s work using the devil’s tools!

Psychic readings are the devil’s counterfeit of the Holy Spirit’s gifts of word of wisdom, word of knowledge, and prophecy. Christians should not be trying to counterfeit the devil’s counterfeit.

Again I say, Church, wake up! Learn to use God’s gifts, God’s way. Doing things the devil’s way can only lead to disaster, both for you personally and for those to whom you seek to minister.

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