We thank God for bringing us into the New Year 2021. We come in, full of faith in what our God can do and full of hope in the pictures His promises paint to us. Many of us are seeking the Lord’s face to know what He will have us do. At the end of the day, it matters what we come out with as the word from the Lord. This brings us to the issue this discussion is focusing on today – the matter of false prophecies by Christians, especially when they come from respected Church leaders.
Some days ago, I watched with tears in my eyes, a video clip that contains the several prophecies made by many church leaders in December 2019 and January 2020 concerning what year 2020 would hold. Almost all of them were declaring like the Hananiah and other prophets in Jeremiah 28. In Jeremiah 28, while God was warning them through Prophet Jeremiah and intended them to repent from their sins and pass through the humiliation and burden of serving the King of Babylon, these prophets were declaring bogus peace and restoration and telling them that there was no reason to worry. God said that their prophecies only ended up sealing the people’s fate to be exiled from Judah (Jer.27:14-15). Year 2020 was one of the most difficult years the world has ever experienced, but none of these prophets saw it. They declared a year of peace and laughter when there was none. It wasn't.
Furthermore, many Christians for one reason or another, were very interested in what would be the outcome of the United States Presidential Election. The election has come and gone and President Trump lost. All his efforts to get the results overturned proved abortive. Going through the prophecies from some prominent Christian leaders, it shows that many of them got it all wrong. They said that God told them that Trump would win but he ended up losing. Then I ask, who actually spoke to them? This is because, one of the marks of God’s word is that it gets fulfilled against all odds. Many have tried giving reasons why what they prophesied did not come to pass. But none of their reasons suffices. Michael Brown shared a very insightful thought here. Yes, to all the prophets that normally give prophecies, you are either right or wrong. “There are no middle grounds”, he said. Either God speaks to you and it comes to pass or He does not speak to you and hence what you prophesy will not come to pass. He suggested that at the end, there will be need for “serious accountability, reflection and even repentance.” Already, there are two Pastors that have led the train of apologizing to their followers for giving false prophecies. Pastor Jeremiah Johnson had prophesied that President Trump would win a second term election and be returned back to the White House. It didn’t happen. He apologized to his followers and repented of his false prophecy, “I would like to repent for inaccurately prophesying that Donald Trump would win a second term as the President of the United States”. He took full responsibility. Some Christians are against his repentance but it is encouraging to read the comment of the New Testament Scholar, Craig Keener, “Thank you for your integrity. May many follow your model. And God help us with those who are being so hostile”. Kris Valloton issued his own apology and congratulated the President-elect Biden and promised to be praying for him. He said, “I take full responsibility for being wrong. There is no excuse for it. I think it doesn’t make me a false prophet but it does actually create a credibility gap. A lot of people trust me… I want to say I’m sorry”.
Personally, that is a Christian character. To be a Christian does not mean that you may not sin at any time along your journey, but it matters what you do next when you realize you have sinned.
I believe that we need to repent in Nigeria as a church and not carry on with business as usual. We have seen a lot of false prophecies; people gave their monies and sowed seeds without results; expectations were crashed as many waited for some prophecies that did not come to pass; bogus claims failed to yield results; the faith of many of our young people are shaken as they watch with questions in their minds. Unfortunately, even the questions of young people are not given adequate attention and answer. We have a generation of youths that do not believe in our God because there are credibility gaps here and there and all we do in most cases is to keep silence.
This January 2021 as we pray, I feel very strongly that instead of declaring things we did not hear from the throne of God, we should repent and present the Church before the Lord for His fresh visitation. Peradventure, He will remember us and show us mercy, especially to this our beloved country.
God bless you and Happy New Year.