- Dec 3, 2003Mike,
I was not unduly worried about a lack of a reply from you. As you
inferred, your correspondence with Bob largely covered the ground, and I
largely agree with what Bob said. One thing I would add, however, is that I
would have no problem with someone claiming to be a prophet who was (or
believed themselves to be) inspired by a God other than the Christian God.
Even the Book of Kings has no problems talking of "Prophets of Baal". My
definition of "divine inspiration" for the sake of this argument would
include, I think, those in the posession states you mentioned. From a
faith-stance one might question the source of the inspiration, but
inspiration of some sort there definitely is.
As for your point about Pilate, I shall let the Gospel of John
(11:49-51) speak for me.
49 Then one of them, named Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, spoke
up, "You know nothing at all!
50 You do not realise that it is better for you that one man die for the
people than that the whole nation perish."
51 He did not say this on his own, but as high priest that year he
prophesied that Jesus would die for the Jewish nation.
If Caiaphas, who was plotting Jesus death at the time, could be described as
a prophet, so could Pilate or anybody else. Of course the Bible is aware
that people who do not believe in its God can be inspired by him.
Incidentally, although this passage may, on a cursory reading, appear to
back your prophecy=prediction case, it does not do so when more carefully
considered. Caiaphas is predicting nothing that he does not know it is in
his hands to perform. The "prophecy" is that Jesus death would be "for the
nation" (huper tou ethnous). Now quite what that means is another argument.
To end, I would stress that no-one is denying that there is a
predictive element to prophecy, but merely that it is not the only thing or
even the most important thing.
JOHN E STATON
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