Sunday, 15 March 2009

International disaster

This month David Wilkerson gave a message that he believes is from God,
An earth-shattering calamity is about to happen. It is going to be so frightening, we are all going to tremble—even the godliest among us.

...There will be riots and fires in cities worldwide. There will be looting—including Times Square, New York City. What we are experiencing now is not a recession, not even a depression. We are under God’s wrath.
What are we to make of such comments? I don't know much about Wilkenson. I have read his book The Cross and the Switchblade which demonstrated God working in the lives of gangsters. His commitment and theology may be quite solid. And I personally have no issue with Pentecostal theology.

My difficulty is not so much with Wilkenson, nor even this type of warning, rather that these prophecies seem too common and yet their fulfilment is not always apparent. I have heard rumours of earthquakes hitting California; of earthquakes occuring in New Zealand. Sometimes within timeframes that have expired. I am not aware of any prophecy concerning the Asian tsunami in 2004, though I believe there were several interpretations after the fact.

What makes things more difficult is that if large numbers of people prophesy a variety of events then, by chance, some are likely to occur. This depends somewhat on the specificity of the prediction and the ability or inability of man to bring it about. So we are left with the situation that a person probably needs to give multiple words from God that subsequently come true for us to recognise them as a prophet (in one sense of the word). Further, such a person must teach in sync with Scripture (Deut 13:1-5).

There is also the issue of God relenting when we repent. Jeremiah claims it is prophecy of peace and prosperity that is determined by fulfilment, not necessarily that of calamity (Jer 18:7-10; 28:9).

Interestingly Wilkenson's comments concerning this warning are limited to suggesting people have a month of food on hand and encouraging them to trust in God. He mentions on his blog that some may sense to stay in a safe place, whereas others may feel called to go elsewhere to serve. He also suggests how people should respond to these kinds of warnings. His advice seems reasonable,
We are to listen carefully to the warnings of the watchmen but are not to become obsessed with their warnings.

We are to be alerted and warned by prophetic messages, and we're to heed every one that's revealed and confirmed in Scripture. We're to gather all the knowledge we can about the coming storm, so we can prepare our hearts for whatever destruction it brings. But we are not to let fear or anxiety consume our thinking, dominate our minds, take hold of our hearts!

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