False Prophets and False Accusations
When asked by His disciples about the signs of His Second Coming, Jesus answered, “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, "I am the Christ,' and will deceive many...Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” (Matthew 24:4-5, 11). The Lord later said in verse 24, “For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.”
The word prophet comes from the Latin word “propheta” which means, “One that foretells future events; a predicter; a foreteller.” Throughout the Bible, men of God such as Moses, Elijah, David, and Isaiah were inspired or instructed by God to announce future events. Under the New Covenant, we still have prophets as well as other ministers who operate in the prophetic. Some of the latter get dubbed “false prophets” by critics who disagree with their teachings. Many of them don’t even claim to be prophets.
In April 1997, John Kilpatrick, then-pastor of Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida, “prophesied” that a radio ministry would be brought down within 90 days if its spokesman didn’t stop criticizing the Brownsville Revival. Before the three months passed, Pastor Kilpatrick issued a request for forgiveness. He had gotten in the flesh and said things out of anger. Despite the pastor’s apology, heresy hunters continue bringing that up against him.
Early in his ministry, Benny Hinn made a comment on the trinity, which he later acknowledged as a “dumb statement.” Although the evangelist publicly repented, self-appointed heresy hunters continued attacking him for that remark. It’s as if the blood of Jesus cannot wash away that sin.
There is one so-called “false prophet” who I consider a friend and brother in the Lord. He had prophesied a “red tsunami” regarding the 2018 midterm elections. He later admitted his prophecy didn’t come to pass. Other friends have suggested that may be for a future election. That hasn’t happened yet. The Republicans barely retook the House of Representatives in the 2022 election. The Democrats maintained their slight majority in the Senate.
I’m not condoning wrong prophecies. It’s Biblical to call out those who don’t recant their errors, but let’s give each other some grace. I’ve had people speak prophetic “words” over me that were inaccurate. Does that mean I should pick up rocks and stone them? No. One wrong prophecy does not disqualify someone from being a prophet. Romans 11:29 says, “…the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Notable TV evangelists who have fallen into sin have since been restored and returned to the pulpit.
As we step out operating in the gifts of the Spirit, we will occasionally miss it. The question is: Will we be humble enough to acknowledge when we’re wrong?
“I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, 'I will confess my transgressions to the LORD,’ and You forgave the iniquity of my sin.” - Psalm 32:5
Portions of this article are taken from T. R. Post’s book “Crying Wolf: Recognizing and Responding to False Prophets, Teachers, and Apostles” (available on Amazon).