There is no better illustration of Pentecostal 'modern prophecy', than illustrated in the article ‘Christians turn to God over State of Nation in UK’ written by Maria Mackay (Christian Today Australia, 3 March 2009) who reported on a prayer gathering held near the Houses of British Parliament.
“... ended with a prophecy that winds of change would sweep through the church, through people in power and authority, and through young people and the unchurched. He made the point that the listeners should take new heart because the Lord is with them. He told them that their work will prosper and that they will see the glory of the Lord in their time.” She further cited, “God is raising up a powerful remnant to transform this land.”
This is a classic piece of Pentecostal 'modern prophecy'. One can attend worship in almost any Pentecostal congregation anywhere in the world today, and you will probably hear something along these lines.
I prefer to call it 'poetic verse' and to rewrite it as a prayer:
“Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ I pray that winds of change will sweep through the church, through people in power and authority, young people and even the unchurched. Lord give us a new heart, You are with us. I pray that our endeavours in Your Name will prosper in Your pleasure, that we might witness Your Glory. I pray that a new generation of those who love You will be raised up so that this land will be transformed to the mind of Christ.”
By reinterpreting the words as a prayer, the person who gives the 'poetic verse' is neither held to embarrassing account for their 'prophecy', nor is it Gnosticism, a second century heresy, of a secret higher knowledge of God.
Testing any prophecy is problematic, this is the nature of prophecy, whether it be ancient or modern; for example, proposals by modern scientific ‘mathematical models’ of such things as climate change and economic forecasts.
We need only look how wrong the economic prophecies of the last 5 years have been. And then there was Malthus, and the people who said the growth of London would be limited by the speed at which the horse manure could be cleared from the streets. All were prophecies. All have exactly the same drawbacks.
Pentecostal modern prophecy is also a political statement about a particular view of worship and belief. Those who offer such prophecies are genuine in their beliefs as are others of any other religion.
That this kind of 'modern prophecy' is manipulative goes without saying, but then so are the climate scientists, and the Rabbis, and the Mullahs, and whoever.
By pointing to the above example of 'modern prophecy', it is not specific in time or space. “ … that winds of change would sweep through the church ...” No one is left out, “ … the church, people in power and authority, and through young people and the unchurched.” It has dangerous hallmarks of easy fulfillment, “..... take new heart because the Lord is with you. Your work will prosper …. “
Then, the inevitable final catch-all phrase whereby no one would want to dispute the prophecy, as it procures a psychological seal upon its hearers of good-will, “.... God is raising up a powerful remnant to transform this land.”
These generic issues I wrote about in my paper 'New Pentecostalism' (Reflections). As charitable as I might wish to be, I find this form of Pentecostal 'modern prophecy' to be manipulative. People of good-will have given over their finances and can so easily lose their ability to analyse. The suggestive nature of the 'prophecy' can be very damaging.
Free men and women can get very easily bound by these machinations. My advice is to psychologically 'run to the hills' when you hear a Pentecostal 'modern prohecy' and immediately reinterpret it as a prayer. Ultimately you may need to find another local church that enhances your freedom in Christ.
Many main line Pentcostal churches today have distanced themselves from this type of machination and manipulation.
“New Pentecostalism” - (Reflections) – Mark Tronson
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html