PROPHECY TEACHING: Christian Prophets and Mistakes
March 27, 2001

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I believe there are Christian prophets. I'm one, but first, I'm a servant of the Lord. I'm one because the Lord called me to it, and then proved it to me first. Little by little, since June 24, 1992, He's been proving it to others too. I gave up trying to prove it years ago. There are pastors in the Church, and there are prophets in the church. It is simply body life.

There is a gift of prophecy, but it does not operate in the same detail, specificity or frequency as it does in the life of the Christian prophet. Because every believer can prophesy if he or she has the faith for it, this lessens the reliance that the church must place upon prophets.

Yes, there have been many abuses and deceivers in the last 30 years. Jesus warned us three times in Matthew 24 that deceivers would come in His name. I see this as the devil's smokescreen, to cause people to ignore all true prophets, because there are so many false ones.

Can a true prophet make a mistake? Certainly. That's why Elijah had a school of the prophets. Those young prophets made their mistakes in school, because once you began to prophesy publicly in those days, one mistake led to your death. How many churches provide a school for prophets, where they can err and receive correction. Not many!

How about today. Can a true prophet make a mistake? Well, God doesn't make any mistakes, but men sure do. When you are sure that you've heard God, you can take it to the bank. The problem for the prophet is simply stopping at what God says. God always speaks in part and darkly. We prophets can be tempted to fill in what is missing. I believe that is where most mistakes come from: adding to what God has shown.

Then also, there are deceiving spirits that work to hoodwink the prophet. I recently wrote about the "old testament prophet spirit". There are others as well.

And then, we have the Y2K debacle. There were a few of us who publicly called it right, but there were dozens of books sold by doomsayers. Nobody sold a book saying that nothing would happen. Y2K gave Christian prophecy a double black eye.

I recall, early in 1999, when these warnings began to proliferate, we met as men in our church to decide what to do. I was even preparing lists of items to gather for preparedness. I had no word from the Lord at that time. After a few meetings, our pastor simply said that he just wanted to wait, and give no written warnings because the Lord just wasn't pressing him to do it. That was the start of my eyes opening to the truth that all these Christian authors had been deceived. Regarding preparation in the natural, it is always good to be as prepared for as much trouble as you can possibly forsee. So, we just gave general advice on preparedness, because we live in Florida.

What of these book selling prophets? I was interviewed by a major prophecy ministry in mid 1999, for the purpose of putting me on a speaking tour of US cities. As I was being evaluated, it became clear that the opinion of me that was present regarding what the Lord had showed me was that since I had only had about 20 words and visions from the Lord at that time, there was not enough to work with, ie. to make a book from it. Pressure is placed upon these book selling prophets to produce material, and that pressure is not coming from the Lord.

As for me, I had a dry period from 1995 to 1998, where I heard very little in the "prophet" area. I just served my Lord. Thank God I didn't have a book publisher breathing down my neck for the next "word from the Lord".

Finally, we must remember that predicting is only part of what prophets are supposed to do in the church. It is probably not the most important thing, as the prophet must constantly be watching and hearing from the Lord regarding the operation of the church. Pastors need advice from prophets regarding current activities in the church. Predictive prophecy does get the most attention though.

Those of you who know me are aware that I talk about my failures and my mistakes. I can tell you that my enemies can't remember a single one of the many, many predictive things the Lord has revealed to me, but they can sure tell you that the Kitty Hawk has not been destroyed by nuclear attack yet in the Persian Gulf, as I prophesied in 1993. I gave no date for the attack, and yet, as time marches on, and even though the first 4 out of 5 parts of the vision have already happened, I still hear about it from time to time. Those people won't even be convinced when it comes to pass, so why pay it any mind? Then, there was one other time where I posted a word of prophecy from someone else on my site. The prophecy predicted a hurricane that did not come, and I received the blame for the failed prophecy, even though it wasn't even my own. Yes, I should have discerned that it was false, but I made a mistake by posting it on my web site. I lent my credibility to that word and suffered for it.

Why this mistake? I didn't seek the Lord. Israel got into trouble too when they failed to seek the Lord.

Stephen L. Bening
a servant and prophet of our Lord Jesus Christ

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