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What's on your heart? Ask pastor Lutzer!

Today’s Question and Answer

Q:

I have heard you speak on the dangers of false prophets.

I may be incorrect, but it seems you are equating preachers to prophets. It sounded like you were saying that if the preacher did not speak biblical truth, then he was a false prophet.

Are you equating preachers with prophets? And if preachers are preaching and teaching ideas that aren’t biblically supported as doctrine, then would they be considered a false prophet?

Asked by: Calvin, Michigan

A:

Yes Calvin, I believe that some preachers can also be spoken of as false prophets.

There is an emphasis on false prophets in the Bible because they claimed to speak directly on behalf of God. So when they say “the word of the Lord came to me” but it wasn’t true, or was not biblically based—just as many do on TV—these are false prophets, as we well know. The claims they make for themselves put them in the category of prophets because they claim to receive messages directly from God, bypassing the Scriptures.

You have a point, however. Strictly speaking, if a preacher is teaching false doctrine, he should perhaps be called a heretic, or a false teacher rather than a false prophet, since he is not claiming prophetic status. If I were to teach something that would be unbiblical, something that would be different than the historic Christian teaching regarding salvation, for example, I could be called a false teacher.

Thanks for pointing out this distinction. However, it happens so often that those who teach false doctrine are false prophets (because they claim some privileged status) that we use the phrase “false prophet” even at times for those who simply have false doctrine. But you are right, the two terms are not the same.

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