Recently, Pat Robertson made his annual predictions for the coming year. The bottom line: “It’s going to be another good year for CBN [his ministry], but a tough one for the world.”
Many well-meaning but, frankly, gullible believers have been scared by Robertson’s doom and gloom scenarios in the past and 2011 is no exception.
There’s nothing wrong with making guesses for what might happen in the coming year. The problem is that Robertson claims that God is the one who is making these predictions. For example, he famously claimed God had told him that in 2008 a major U.S. city would be destroyed. That didn’t take place, unless God was speaking metaphorically about the Giants beating the undefeated New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. But New England really refers to a region instead of a city, so I think Robertson missed that one (and many others).
I’ve seen several news articles and blogs rightly take Robertson to task for his wild predictions. My concern with Robertson is both practical and theological. How does his “prophetic” word undermine the confidence in Scripture of those who follow him?
In Deuteronomy 18, God commands the people to put to death those who claim to speak a word in God’s name and lie. How will they know if the prophet is lying? “when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”
I don’t know what will happen in 2011. Neither do you. And neither does Pat Robertson or any other religious figure who claims to have a word from God. What I do know is that Scripture offers us the hope that whatever God has in store for us, we can endure it through the grace of God working within us. May we as believers have that confidence for the coming year!