“Once a woman prophesied over me that my pregnant wife would give me a daughter not a fourth son, and that my wife would die in childbirth. That was not a helpful prophecy. It was pointless. And, as you know, it proved false. Love did not govern the use of that gift. That is not the way saving faith uses gifts” (source).
Piper’s point is that the scripture teaches us that Spiritual gifts (like prophecy) are given to the church for edification and are to be exercised in love. The prediction of the death of a child is neither loving nor edifying and therefore contradicts the purpose of Spiritual gifts (Romans 12:3, 6; 1 Corinthians 14:3).
On Tuesday, Pat Robertson prophesied that late in 2007 there would be a terrorist attack on the U. S. that would result in a “mass killing” that could affect millions of Americans (article, video). I don’t think that you have to believe in the continuation of the gift of prophecy in order to see that Robertson’s prophecy falls short of the biblical ideal of edifying the body of Christ in love. As a matter of fact, I’m not even sure it was aimed at the body of Christ.
Pat Robertson and I have different views concerning the Bible’s teaching about the nature of New Testament prophecy and its continuing role in the life of the modern day church. But even if I held his view, I could not support his “prophesying” in a way that contradicts the biblical norm. Moreover, Robertson does not have a good track record with predictions, as we saw with his prediction in May of last year that a Tsunami was likely to hit the U. S. in 2006 (source).
I’m afraid that Pat Robertson’s frequent gaffes are not helping the evangelical cause. But I will be praying nevertheless that clarity in Christian witness will prevail in the larger culture, in spite of distracting statements such as these.
(The San Francisco Chronicle online noted this blog on January 8, 2007: “Monday Reading: Big Al and Other Things.”)