Full gospel minister and author Rev. Bert M. Farias and I have exchanged emails on this topic for some time now and we see pretty much eye-to-eye on much which is pawned off as being prophetic.
In a recent post to his Facebook page Rev. Farias shared some of his thoughts on contemporary prophets and prophecy:
The late Kenneth E. Hagin was going to call the Bible school he founded a school of the prophets. The Lord stopped him and told him that was old covenant. Under the new covenant there are 5 ministry gifts listed in Ephesians 4:11, so it should be a ministry school for all.
Today there is what I believe a risky and inordinate attention given to prophets and prophecy. There are conferences and online schools that teach people to prophesy at will and to move in revelation at will. That’s dangerous because you open yourself up to not only visualization and imagination but familiar spirits as well. This is one of the big reasons the Charismatic Movement is associated with weirdness and flakiness. What some call “seasoned” ministers are teaching people unseasoned and unscriptural doctrine and practices.
I picked up a book recently about how to flow in the revelation gifts, and one chapter into it I could not read it any more. Why? Because it was a different spirit, a spirit of error. There was no anointing on it. Be very careful for the devil is crafty and it is a day of much seduction.
It’s okay to teach people to yield and follow the anointing but you can’t teach people to be prophets and prophesy and get revelation.
To be warned is to be armed.
I emailed Rev. Farias a written 2 thumbs up for his FB post and reminded him of my own difficulties with contemporary prophetic excesses and sometimes sheer foolishness including what I expressed in this blog entry on failed extrabiblical prophecies from September of last year (2017) https://summerclouds.weebly.com/summer-clouds-blog/and-now-a-word-about-failed-extrabiblical-prophecies.
In my opinion a great deal of what so-called Christian prophets and seers post and otherwise publish is little removed from cold psychic readings (The accuracy of these so-called prophetic words and prophecies are about the same as parlor psychics who read body language and ask probing questions to help them weave "psychic advice"). I would be remiss if I did not share my conviction that many of the books, articles and blog entries spun by these so called Christian prophets and seers are the handiwork of people who have a fantasy prone personality (Great for doing creative writing but misleading when daydreams and other imaginative flights of fancy are mistaken for "downloads from God"). Some of these people appear to be delusional while a handful of others strike me as suffering from some sort of serious psychological or affective (emotional) disorder.
Like the Rev. Farias, I am especially leery of people who claim to teach people to prophesy and include instructions on how to offer lengthy "personal prophecies" to parishioners, conference attendees or others. I have to wonder how many people's lives have been messed up or derailed because some "prophet" or "seer" gave them a "life plan imparted by God" which originated in the presumed oracles' own imagination and wishful (and/or magical) thinking.
Human desperation for certainty in an uncertain, oftentimes unpredictable world no doubt plays a role in predisposing many believers to seek out a surefire personal prophetic word or anchor. This psychological propensity has, I believe, played a crucial role in fostering the embrace of everything from pseudoscience to pseudohistory (including nonexistent conspiracies) to self-styled messianic personalities by often well meaning but desperate people down through the ages to our very day.
The next time a believer receives or comes across a "word of prophecy" or such, I would urge him to hang on to it and then see if it comes to pass or not. As for anything "prophetic" which is penned in generic or convoluted language: This sort of thing should be given no more credence than what's found in fortune cookies and daily horoscopes.
Summer Cloud (Dr. Anthony G. Payne)