July 30, 2007

Modern Prophets & Psychics: Is There a Difference?

I came across the saddest thing recently in reading the August 2007 issue of the magazine, Elijah Rain, published by the Elijah List, a clearinghouse of today’s modern-day so-called prophets and apostles. On page 29 is a column written by the youthful daughter of the magazine’s Founder/Publisher Steve Shultz. The column is called "Ask Tawny." At the bottom is a picture of this beautiful young lady whose bio reads, "Tawny Shultz grew up learning about prophetic ministry…Tawny has gone through several intensive Bible training schools: dream and prophecy training, plus actual ‘on the street’ training. This column is a fulfillment of a prophetic word she was given that she would share her wisdom with many young people her age and younger." (It doesn’t give her age, but questions from those "25 or younger" is encouraged.)

Here is a portion of her column that answers the question, "What’s the difference between a psychic and a prophet?"

"A prophet, in very general terms, is someone who receives revelation from God and delivers it to others, which can happen in many different ways… While all can prophesy, some are specially gifted from birth in such a way that, whether they ask for it or not, try or not, they see or hear into the supernatural realm automatically…

"Oftentimes, when these people are very young, they think everyone sees or knows the things they see and know. But as they grow older, they realize they are extra sensitive to a realm some seem to be completely oblivious to. God gives these kind of prophetic gifts ‘without repentance.’ That means He doesn’t take back the gifts He gives (see Romans 11:29). Whether the person ever comes to a saving knowledge of God or not, whether they ever choose to use their gift for God and His kingdom or not, they still have it and can use it or operate in it whenever they feel like. It is like being a gifted singer. Whether they use their voice for God’s glory or not is another matter entirely – but they can still sing.

"I believe that many people who are considered psychics are people who were born with a God-given prophetic gift. However, since they don’t yet know God as their personal Savior, or may have even rejected Him altogether, while using their ‘gift,’ they are not using it for Him, or through Him…

"Prophets and psychics may ‘operate’ in some similar ways, but their sources of revelation and interpretation of that revelation come from completely different places – one comes from Truth, the other from demons.

"Can a psychic get revelation from God? God can speak to anyone He wishes."

This is a very popular notion going around in the charismatic side of the church today that clairvoyance and ESP are gifts given to people by God at birth and when such gifted ones receive Christ they then use the gifts for the purposes God intended them. Where did this young lady get this idea? From none other than her own father, Steve Shultz. Below is a partial transcript of a televised program that he hosts in which he interviews a lady who testifies that her spiritual gifts were congenital:

Steve Shultz on Prophetic TV interviewing Catherine Brown – Scottish "Prophetess"

"In this episode, Prophetic.TV host Steve Shultz and author and speaker Catherine Brown discuss: highlights of Catherine's testimony; non-Christians operating in the supernatural; her book The Normal, the Deep, and the Crazy; how the prophetic should not only predict but interpret as well; learning to hear the voice of God; a true story of feathers and God's protection; why God gives supernatural signs and wonders; knowing God as Father; her recent vision of a Jewish boy and the rose of Sharon, and more! "

"The Normal, The Deep, and The Crazy" – is her book with her testimony.

Q: "In the earliest part of the book, you began to describe – I think you were still a teenager, you did not yet know the Lord, and you began to operate in what I guess I would call supernatural powers. Most Christians think that doesn’t even happen…what kind of things were you experiencing?"

A: "From my earliest memories, Steve, the supernatural world was always a part of my world and I remember once I was in my grandma’s house and I would only have been 4 or 5, and I was playing with a wooden ball with a copper penny and the penny eventually floated."

Q: "You’re saying you were just playing with it and looking at it with your—"

A: "I do recall concentrating on it and thinking, ‘I want to will this thing to move, and it didn’t work for a while. But I sat, as four-year-olds do, with their persevering in wee things and I sat and persevered and suddenly this copper penny floated."

Q: "Now, why was that possible for you to even have such a power when God knew later that you would become a Christian? Why was He allowing this? Is that like what a psychic does? In other words, there are psychics that can literally will things to happen; it’s not just a magic trick You believe a psychic today can really do that?"

A: "I think that could be possible, Steve. I believe that when the Lord creates us, He puts in us all the gifting and calling that’s on Father’s heart for each unique life, and so when he netted me together in my mother’s womb, it was on Father’s heart that He would gift me to be a prophet, a prophetic person, but until I came to know Jesus as my personal Savior that gifting wasn’t operating to honor the Lord. It wasn’t yet under the blood of Christ."

Q: "So you’re saying you had the gift; it was resonant with you from birth, according to Psalms 139, it was inside you?"

A: "Yeah, I believe so."

Q: "Even the power to make that penny move? What’s the difference, then between a psychic and someone like yourself whom I would call a prophet or a prophetic person, depending upon what terminology someone’s comfortable with? To me you’re a prophet. What’s the difference between a psychic which you were operating under and the prophet that you are today?"

A: "The blood of Jesus; the relationship with Christ, because in Christ we are new creations and in Christ the old is gone and as we’re baptized in his Holy Spirit everything that we were in the old life is washed clean under the blood of Jesus and we begin to function in our God-ordained gifting and calling when we posture ourselves with humility and when we hold onto Daddy’s hand and say, ‘I want to live for you, Father.’ I think that’s the difference – the relationship, Steve."

Latent Powers?

This false teaching that people are born with the gifts of the Spirit has gained popularity today when it is difficult to tell the difference between psychics and so-called Christian prophets. TBN prophets Kim Clement and Marc Chironna both appear to use the same methods in interviewing their subjects to prophesy over them as TV psychics like John Edwards do when they do cold readings. I hate to use a PG13 cartoon to demonstrate, but while channel-surfing one day I heard something that caught my eye and stopped to listen before continuing my search for something decent on television. This cartoon episode was revealing how psychics and modern-day prophets use tricks to woo the onlookers.

Sam: Keith, you can't ruin your life based on what some psychic said. They all just use a technique called "cold reading." They've used it for hundreds of years to make people believe them.

Man 2: [listening, he approaches] Hey, whoa now. John Edward is for real.

Sam: No, he's not.

Woman 2: Yeah. My sister told me he knew our mother's name and when she died. [other adults begin to arrive and give testimony]

Construction Worker: John Edward? Oh yeah, I heard he walked up to a guy on the street, and said his dead father wanted to say "Happy Birthday," and it WAS his birthday.

Woman 3: Yeah kid, how do you explain that?

Sam: [looks around at the adults, then] Alright, look. I'll show you. I just need a volunteer. How about you?

Woman 4: Oh-ho. Me? [steps forward. The others clap]

Sam: Okay, I'm gonna pretend that a dead person is talking to me about you, okay?

Woman 4: Okay.

Sam: Okay, watch, Keith. Uh, it's an older man, someone very close to you.

Woman 4: My father?

Sam: Does this month, November, hold a special significance?

Woman 4: [gasps] My birthday's in November!

Sam: Right, because he's saying, "Tell her 'Happy Birthday.'"

Woman 4: Oh my God.

Sam: See, Keith? I just started with something really vague. I chose an older man because I'm betting that, based on this woman's age, her father is most likely dead. But if her father wasn't dead, I could still say it was some other older man.

Man 2: Well then how'd you know her birthday was in November?

Sam: I didn't. I just asked her if November meant anything. Her father could have died in November, or Thanksgiving could have been really special for them. But I go with the birthday and validate it now, as if I knew, by saying "He wishes you a Happy Birthday."

I have also seen demon-buster Bob Larson utilize these same deceptive tactics. Author Dave Hunt warned about these heresies a couple of decades ago in his groundbreaking book, The Seduction of Christianity. He wrote:

"Having rejected biblical miracles, today’s science is accepting the false miracles of Satan – not for what they are, but as alleged natural powers of the mind, which we call ‘psychic phenomena.’ It is through the new acceptance of psychic powers (psi) that our generation is being prepared in the third way that Christ said spiritual deception would seduce those on earth in the last days. Science fiction has made superhuman powers believable, because so much presented by this genre has already become reality. Almost anything is believable now – not as a miracle from God but as the result of tapping into some alleged universal Force." (Seduction, pp 43-44)

When Christians accept the belief that psychic phenomena is an inborn gift that can be used for good or for evil and that the gifts of the Spirit are one and the same, they have fallen into a dangerous snare of deception. This is a rejection of the Bible’s teaching on the gifts of the Spirit, demoting them to a natural ability like singing.

TBN’s Kim Clement has also been on record as accepting this false teaching. Mike Oppenheimer of Let Us Reason Ministry wrote:

"Clement says, ‘I do believe that every human being must repent in order to be right with God, but the method that Jesus used in reaching them is not being applied today. He touched the unseen part of man. The treasure that God placed there is accessible through obedience to the cross.’

"Did Jesus die on the cross so we can go within and discover a treasure that was already there? There are natural talents in us but it is the Holy Spirit is the one who gives spiritual gifts and talents. Is Clement assuming the Holy Spirit is already in man without being born again?" http://www.letusreason.org/Popteac14.htm

Fellow modern-day prophet, Bill Hamon, noted that Kim Clement has outdistanced him in his prophetic abilities. Hamon describes Clement's gift that has the psychics green with envy.

"Kim Clement will tell you your name at times," Hamon boasted to host Gary Greenwald in his program seen on Sky Angel, "and will tell you that a relative of yours was in prison in 18, in 1987, and that kind of very detailed words, are going to really put the psychics to shame as God begins to speak to the prophets very specifically."

One noted discernment ministry pointed out how utterly ridiculous this sort of chicanery is:

"What home addresses, descriptions of houses. . . have to do with. . . true biblical prophecy is well beyond this writer. These are the things from which parlor games and magical illusions are made. Tricks, psychic gimmicks and manipulation have no place in the Christian ministry." (PFO website: "Christian Fortune-Tellers Never Get It Right, Either") 

Yet Clement wants to give his followers what their itching ears want to hear. "People are dying for it," Clement said during a visit to TBN’s Praise program. "And that's the reason psychics are so popular," noted fellow 'prophet' Hamon," because they are doing what the church should be doing with the supernatural work of the Holy Ghost."

The hunger for psychics is the same hunger that these new age God-chasers want to see fostered in the church. "You can't tell me they're not hungry for God," Tommy Tenney wrote in his book, The God Chasers, "when they wear crystals around their necks, lay down hundreds of dollars a day to listen to gurus, and call psychics to the tune of billions of dollars per year. They're hungry to hear from something that's beyond themselves, something they are not hearing in the Church of today. The bottom line is that people are sick of church because the Church has been somewhat less than what the Book advertised! People want to connect with a higher power!"

How sad, but true. An evil generation seeks after a sign, and unregenerate psychics calling themselves prophets will be there to give them what they’re looking for.

♥♥♥

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. (2 Tim. 4: 3-4)

For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. (Matt. 24:24)

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