Updated: Nov 18, 2020
Before the 2020 presidential election, MANY self-proclaimed prophets, watchman, and seers were unanimous: President Trump WOULD win re-election. As I type this, there seems to be a lot of confusion, frustration, and even feelings of betrayal in the Christian community because it seems like Joe Biden may have won the election. Today, countless books are selling, all supposedly containing whispers of God’s plans for the future, but what happens when they are wrong? Unfortunately, not much. This author has observed that when most Christians miss the mark in a prophetic word, dream, vision, etc. – they often move to strike any and all evidence of ever having issued such a word, lay low for a little bit, and then come out with a NEW prophetic word! The church has FAILED because WE have let them get away with missing the mark prophetically and have NOT called them to own up to their mistakes; well, no more! There are three reasons why false prophecies MUST be held accountable by the church:
I. False prophecies undermine the validity of God’s omniscience and contradict His character!
God knows everything…EVERYTHING! He not only knows what is going to happen tomorrow (His personal history), but He also knows EXACTLY how His people will respond to His warnings. Frequently, people who give false prophetic words, BLAME THE CHURCH, you read that right. Instead of taking ownership and humbly admitting their mistake, they place the responsibility on the church and imply that: if the church would have _____________ then God would have _____________. The issue with this line of reasoning is that it undermines God’s omniscience and contradicts His character: do you think God is ever surprised by His people’s response? Think about it: God constantly searches the entire Earth for a heart that is completely His (see 2 Chronicles 16:9). Are we to conclude then that He is shocked when His people respond to Him in the various ways that we do? Of course not! God is faithful even when His people are not (see 2 Timothy 2:13). If God says something will happen, it is GOING to happen; to say otherwise is to undermine His omniscience’s validity and contradict His immutable character.
II. False prophecies undermine the validity of true prophets!
Nothing does more to bring scorn upon God’s true prophets than those who prophesy falsely! The day’s trend is to prophesy and then quickly assert that you are not a prophet; if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it sure isn’t a mongoose! In other words: if you truly believe you are NOT a prophet, perhaps you should think twice about prophesying. Make no mistake, there are still a few brazen self-proclaimed prophets who actually place the title in front of their names liberally, but this author usually observes various church leaders issue a prophetic word followed by the disclaimer that: they are NOT a prophet. Why? Humility? Sometimes maybe. Could it be that these leaders are familiar enough with the Word of God to recognize the weighty responsibility and strict accountability prophets will receive? Are some so misguided that they actually believe that God can be smoked by semantics? Whether one claims they are a prophet or not, if they claim to be speaking on behalf of God, they are responsible for the content that they speak! If they are right, we should heed their words in the future, but if they wrong, we should lovingly (but firmly) call them out! Remember, God’s name is the one we dishonor when we say He said something when He did not! When false prophecies go unchecked, then no one believes a true prophet when they speak – withholding a title does not relieve one of responsibility; if you speak in the name of God – you’d better be right or you’d better be repentant.
III. False prophecies are a distraction that misleads God’s people!
How many Christians took certain actions because they believed that President Trump would win re-election? This year a prophecy was issued that the largest hurricane in its history would hammer Florida- but with just a couple weeks remaining in Hurricane season, it seems increasingly unlikely (note: a similar prophecy was issued in 2016 by a prominent church leader – once it failed, she simply erased all the videos and publications that contained said word – she is still at large today). How many new Christians heard that prophecy and panicked? How about all of the warnings about a meteor hitting the Earth this year? How many immature Christians may be facing a crisis of faith because of the false prophecies they believed to be true? Friends, we must NOT take this lightly; false prophecies have the potential to have serious ramifications; at the very least, they are a distraction to believers – especially immature believers. So what do we do?
Church leaders must begin calling out false prophecies, regardless of how much they like someone or their ministry, accountability must be implemented across the church as a whole! 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 calls us to test all prophecies; it’s past time for us to take this command to heart. In Jeremiah 23, God laments over the false prophets claiming to have had dreams or visions from God when He never gave them any dreams or visions, and He calls Jeremiah to do something about it! This author has started a YouTube channel dedicated to testing prophecies (You can visit my channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCly_x8Kc68dWZ-AHIvaNAPQ?view_as=subscriber) – and to reiterate his intentions: it’s not simply to call false prophecies to account, but also to credit those who are accurately relaying messages from God to His Church! How about you, church leader? Are you willing to hold those under your leadership accountable for the prophetic words that they speak? Are YOU willing to be held accountable yourself? It is possible to miss the mark and still be gifted prophetically; however, when we do miss the mark – to preserve the honor of God’s name, the validity of other prophets, and to avoid misleading God’s people – we must just as openly confess that we missed the marked! This author believes that when we begin holding prophetic words accountable, God will honor His church, and we will begin to see more of the real thing and less of the counterfeit!
John Carosiello is an author, pastor, and speaker who graduated with honors from Liberty University with a Masters of Divinity. For more information, please visit: citg.org