It is dangerous to ‘generalise’ when we have limited information.
Limited information can cause a limited conclusion. A faulty judgement can therefore be made about a given scenario.
Jumping too quickly to conclusions.
However, in some situations in life, in extenuating circumstances, a decision needs to be taken quickly, because
of how a particular scenario will or might play-out and effect us personally.
This ‘deficient information factor’ makes that decision hard to make.
We do our best – and proceed to make the decision, even with inadequate information, because if it goes a certain way, it will perhaps effect us personally.
I would imagine those who deal in the stock market, find themselves in that situation daily (?).
It can be, that we may not have the time to make full enquiry. And our decision as a result can be a good one or a bad one – as time will usually tell.
We can best hope that by our necessary decision making, no one gets hurt or damaged, as we make the decision.
I’m thinking of how people resign from a particular position they occupy, in perhaps a company, a political party, a Medical Practice, a church etc.
Making their decision, but not basing it on full knowledge, sometimes just suspicion.
It is still true to say, that unless one undertakes a thorough comprehensive research study, our lack of information can cause us to form the wrong conclusions.
The Bible says in James 1/9 So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath; . It’s easy to reverse this – speaking with limited knowledge and without proper discernment, and in self-righteous anger (quick to wrath), making wrong judgements.
Biblically we are exhorted in different ways to be careful about judging given situations or people.
Some make the mistake of thinking we are never to judge anything. The bible doesn’t teach this – but it does call us to ‘judge righteously’ according to the truth of God’s Word.
Jesus said: John 7/
24 Do not judge according to appearance, but judge with righteous judgment.”
The spirit in which we judge is also of paramount importance. Anger and bitterness in our hearts and we have judged wrongly already, and must hear ‘judge not that you be not judged’.
Matthew 7/ v1“Judge not, that you be not judged.
It may seem now that I am about to change tack to a different subject, but that’s not what I am doing.
Because I am thinking of the discernment necessary and the full knowledge needed, of what is said – before judgements can be made in response to modern day prophetic utterance.
Prophecy in the bible in it’s basic definition is simply ‘inspired utterance’. Jesus spoke with supreme wisdom and perpetual inspiration/revelation.
Those who penned the scriptures were given Grace of an unequalled kind. No one (as in ‘ordinary’ Christians) prophesying since the Apostles and prophets, chosen by Christ, will be given that same calibre of Grace. Therefore they will not speak as authoritatively.
That does not mean that someone with a true gift of prophecy (inspired utterance), will not speak with authority.
Just not of that particular unique kind that penned The Word of God.
The Bible cannot be added to, it remains perpetually in the hand of The Holy Spirit to accomplish whatever God sends it to accomplish. Isa. 55/
So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth;
It shall not return to Me void,
But it shall accomplish what I please,
And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
Whether this ‘accomplishing’ takes place in the individuals heart or in accomplishing the task of giving to mankind foreknowledge of the future, in prophesying what is to come.
But modern day, inspired utterance, still calls for men and women to be in touch with God.
We are exhorted to speak as the ‘oracles of God’.
If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever.
Some Christians live more incomplete lives than others, when they exclude from their experience the possible exercise of Spiritual Gifts, as found in I Corinthians chapter 12 etc..
Even those who believe that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, and therefore accept the ‘manifestation of The Holy Spirit’ doctrinally, (another way of saying ‘the gifts of The Spirit’) – even so, may not fully manifest those gifts.
Certain cessationists dismiss the Gifts of The Holy Spirit – as not being for today.
If the manifestations of The Holy Spirit, are not taking place today – it is not because God has turned the tap off, or that such a thing is not possible, but rather for the reason, that they are not sought for fully, or not allowed in the assembly of God’s people, usually as a result of cessationist theology or limited revelation/experience in the leadership.
The lack of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit may also be because of the ‘falling away’ that is happening on the earth and even in the churches. We read of a somewhat parallel time in the time of Samuel the prophet:
I Samuel 3/1…And the word of the Lord was precious (rare) in those days; there was no open vision.
The gifts are not as manifest as in previous eras. (This can also be the result of how much there is – full or limited pursuing thereof): Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.
Those who accept the gifts, rightly so, as being for today – may not, however in practice, manifest them in the church.
Prophecy is for every member – we may all prophesy one by one.
All may speak ‘inspired utterances’.
These utterances of the spoken gifts are as follows – prophesy, speaking in different tongues and interpretation, word of wisdom, word of knowledge.
There are other gifts, or manifestations of The Holy Spirit, but the above are the spoken gifts.
11 But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.
When it comes to prophesying – we are told: 31 For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
‘All prophesying’ does not make us all prophets.
A prophet is someone who has a proven track record in words of knowledge, words of wisdom, prophesying by forth-telling or fore-telling.
The fruit of which gives help, direction and deliverance to the church.
It may entail foretelling, but must include:
3 (But he who prophesies speaks)… edification and exhortation and comfort to men.
Except, on the rarer occasions when it can contain correction or rebuke, depending on the situation. Such correction should come from an established proven Prophetic ministry, that God has set in the church.
The rest of the church present, where a prophecy is given, are meant to engage in discerning if the prophecy is brought by The Holy Spirit and does not violate the principles of God’s Word.
29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
We must be careful to:
19 Quench not the Spirit.
20 Despise not prophesyings.
21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
Unfortunately some dismiss anything prophetic, when we are told we can all prophesy, (and the Word of God cannot be broken).
We must judge firstly the prophecy – and after this depending on the fruit in their lives – if need be – then the vessel who brought the prophecy.
If what they are – in themselves, clearly shows them to be false prophets, or carrying a wrong spirit, or disrupting and damaging the people of God, then they need to be subject to the sanction of the church.
But – and this brings me back to my original point – full or limited knowledge…
If a foretelling prophecy does not come to pass, being of a foretelling nature, the first thing to establish is – is it completely wrong? Genuine prophets can make mistakes, but this does not mean they are to be dismissed as charlatans.
To dismiss them out of hand, is to get the cart before the horse. We are to judge the prophecy, as to it’s correctness or otherwise. But if it is wrong, we should not automatically disqualify the prophet.
Unless he/she has a track record of damaging the church, causing confusion, and perhaps obtaining a ‘following’ through dishonest gain.
10 For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, 11 whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not, for the sake of dishonest gain. 12 One of them, a prophet of their own, said, “Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, lazy gluttons.”
The Gifts or manifestations of – The Holy Spirit are for our profit as the Church.
6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all: 8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit,
There can be a lot of ‘hype’ in televised prophesying, especially in a certain country. But we need to see-through the hype and ask the question ‘Is this of God?” Secondly is this person a true servant of Christ – who loves The Lord.
Not easily or immediately discernible sometimes. But we must not ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’.
Regarding foretelling and not the less consequential type of prophesying, (edification, exhortation, and comfort), here is the safeguard:
21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?’— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him.
There is both warnings for those who hear the prophetic word, in this passage:
9 And it shall be that whoever will not hear My words, which He speaks in My name, I will require it of him.
And for the prophet who prophesies:
20 But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.’
However these warnings aught to be heard in the light of the greater Covenant of The New Testament.