Latest article from Holly Pivec and Doug Geivett, addressing the failed President Trump ‘re-election’ prophecies by leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation.
“With their failed prophecies about Trump’s re-election, NAR prophets have disappointed the people, damaged the reputation of the Church, and have fostered greater suspicion of Christian leadership.”
Holly Pivec is the co-author of A New Apostolic Reformation?: A Biblical Response to a Worldwide Movement and God’s Super-Apostles: Encountering the Worldwide Prophets and Apostles Movement. She has a master’s degree in Christian apologetics from Biola University. Doug Geivett has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Southern California, and teaches at Biola University and Talbot School of Theology. He has written or edited several books in addition to the two he wrote with Holly, including Faith, Film and Philosophy: Big Ideas on the Big Screen.
Sorry, not sorry: Why the NAR prophets’ apologies for getting things wrong don’t cut it.
Holly Pivec and Doug Geivett write:
Kris Vallotton—the chief “prophet” at Bethel Church in Redding, California—posted a video on Facebook, Nov. 7, 2020, apologizing for his prophecy that President Trump would be reelected to a second consecutive term in office. He removed it shortly after posting it, but reposted it on Jan. 8, 2021, after the U.S. Congress certified the Electoral College vote.
Apologies from the many “prophets” of the New Apostolic Reformation who falsely prophesied President Trump’s reelection are pouring in, including apologies from Kris Vallotton, Shawn Bolz, and Jeremiah Johnson.
They say their failed prophecies don’t make them false prophets.They maintain that they’re still genuine prophets of God, and they stress that they’ve prophesied accurately in the past. Yet they admit that, this time, they missed it big time.
Many of their followers have responded to their apologies with praise for their humility and their willingness to admit they were mistaken. Indeed, many have said that the apologies actually serve to strengthen their credibility and provide more reason to trust the “prophets.” (Other followers are doubling down and insisting that the “prophets” were right and that, despite all evidence to the contrary, Trump will see a second term in office because God will vindicate the prophets and reverse the present circumstances.)
In short, many of their followers have accepted the apologies of the “prophets” and have indicated that they still see them as legitimate prophets. The “prophets” did apologize, after all. Wasn’t that big of them? Shouldn’t we give them credit for owning up to their mistakes?
Here are some reasons why their apologies aren’t enough.
How can anyone ever trust their prophecies again? Do they honestly expect their followers to believe them the next time they claim to have a word from God? What degree of confidence can someone possibly have in their words after they’ve been mistaken? 25 percent? 50 percent? 75 percent?
Prophets claim to speak for God. That, literally, is their one job. As such, we test them by their words.
According to Scripture, one failed prophecy is sufficient to show that a person is not a genuine prophet of God. This can been seen in the Old Testament, which gives a key test for knowing whether a prophet is of God: if the prophet makes a prediction about the future, his words must come to pass (Deuteronomy 18:20-22). If his words aren’t fulfilled, that’s a sure sign God did not send him. Legitimate prophets in the Bible could point to fulfilled prophecy in vindication of their claims, while their false counterparts were unable to produce similar results (see, for example, 1 Kings 22:1-40).
Past “hits” fail to vindicate them. NAR prophets are defending themselves, in the aftermath of the election, by claiming to have accurately predicted other past events. For example, Shawn Bolz, a prophet closely connected to Bethel Church in Redding, California, wrote, Friday, on Facebook, “In the same season of such a big miss I have had some of the most marvelous fulfillment of prophecies in my entire career.” But what “marvelous” fulfillments was he referring to? He didn’t say. Surely he was not referring to the prediction he made back in February 2020 that coronavirus was coming to an end and would not become a major pandemic. That was another major miss on his part.
Yet even if Bolz did make some accurate predictions in the past, that still does not prove his legitimacy as a prophet. Notice, the Old Testament gives us a negative test for prophetic authority: if the prophecy fails, then the prophet is not the real deal. This disconfirms the individual’s claim to be a prophet. But the test cannot be used to confirm that one is a prophet of God. This point is made clear in Deuteronomy 13:1-5, which warns that, even if a so-called “prophet” makes a prediction that comes to pass, they must not be listened to if their prophecies are accompanied by false teaching.
Do we know of any biblical prophets who are known to have apologized? How would this notion have been regarded by them?
So many NAR prophets got it wrong collectively. How does that happen? Where were the prophets who got it right, who rightly predicted that Trump would lose? Did any? Was it 10 to 1? (After the election, Ron Cantor claimed God told him Biden would win though he only shared his “revelation” privately so that doesn’t count as a public prophecy.)
We should ask, if these NAR “prophets” did not receive divine revelation, why did they believe what they predicted? What is the real reason? An agenda? Wishful thinking? A theology that entails the rise of a Trump-like leader whom they see as instrumental to the fulfillment of their prophecies about bringing God’s kingdom to earth through the so-called “Seven Mountain Mandate?”
They’ll go on prophesying, but in untestable ways. If history is any indicator, the NAR prophets who falsely prophesied Trump’s reelection won’t stop prophesying; they’ll just revert to giving prophecies that are unspecific and vague because such prophecies are less risky for them to give. In fact, Bolz has indicated exactly that since he wrote that, for an unspecified amount of time, he plans to refrain from giving any “public political words.” But that won’t make his prophecies any less false (or dangerous). It will just be more difficult to show they are false because they can’t be easily tested. Indeed, the vast majority of NAR prophecies fall into the category of being vague and untestable. In contrast to the unfalsifiable prophecies of NAR prophets, prophets in the Bible gave prophecies that were specific and could be tested.
Many of the NAR “prophets” seem more concerned about their own reputations. For example, the apostle Bill Johnson, during a recent YouTube interview on the Victory Channel, shared his “prayer directive” that God would “rise up” in defense of the prophets who prophesied Trump’s reelection. In looking for God to “rise up,” he seemed to expect God to act to overturn the results of the election so the prophets would be proven right. Johnson expressed concern that the “prophetic ministry” today is being mocked because of their prophecies about Trump. He seemed more worried about their credibility then the credibility of the Church at large.
But the NAR prophets seem to forget that in calling themselves, or in regarding themselves as, prophets, they tacitly purport to represent God. Yet, throughout the Old Testament, God is jealous of his reputation.
With their failed prophecies about Trump’s reelection, NAR prophets have disappointed the people, damaged the reputation of the Church, and have fostered greater suspicion of Christian leadership. YouTube videos mocking all evangelicals because of their failed prophecies have received millions of views, such as this one titled “Evangelicals Freak Out.” The NAR prophets have made it much more difficult for Christians to share the gospel going forward.
These are important reasons why false prophecy is so egregious and rightly condemned in Scripture.
So, if an apology is not enough, then what should the “prophets” do who falsely predicted Trump’s reelection? They should stop claiming to be prophets, and they should step down from teaching publicly since they have demonstrated that they do not have the gifting, biblical understanding, and discernment required by these roles (1 Timothy 1:7).
Source: Holly Pivec & Doug Geivett, ‘Holly Pivec’ blog, https://www.hollypivec.com/blog/sorry-not-sorry-why-the-nar-prophets-apologies-for-getting-things-wrong-dont-cut-it, Published January 10, 2021. (Accessed January 29, 2021.)
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“Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?” Galatians 4:16