The Artful Application of an Ad Hominem

False prophet is a label haphazardly thrown around far too frequently in Christendom today and is the direct result of biblical illiteracy. This rather elementary concept exemplifies the attitude of some to provide "seemingly" scriptural support for an ad hominem.

A "prophet" in biblical prose is an individual commissioned by the God of Israel (Yahweh) to deliver a given message, verbal or otherwise. Therefore, a "false prophet" is one who purports to speak on behalf of or deliver a message for Yahweh (Deut. 18) but rather speaks from himself, "presumptuously."

Apart from some Christians' ways of speaking today, a "false prophet" is NOT someone who I or my spiritual guru deems to have heretical views and/or fails to accept doctrines I may believe to be soteriologically essential. If someone holds and teaches a view different than my own, it does not mean they are claiming to speak in the name or on the behalf of the God of Israel; there is a big difference. 

Jesus' use of "false prophet" in the Synoptics is not what many today think he meant. He was referring to actual prophets, not renegade pastors or teachers from other denominations, with differing points of view. Even the book of Peter makes a distinction: 

"But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves" (2 Pe 2:1 NAU).

A false prophet, a false messiah (christ) and a false teacher are not all synonymous.
A prophet is also NOT someone who may believe - through either discernment and other pieces of evidence - that certain events may be about to unfold, false or not. An example could be a stockbroker at the New York Stock Exchange, who observes a shift or evidence in numbers that there may be an imminent, economic bubble-burst. This however, has nothing to do with prophecy, a word from Yahweh (the LORD). Jesus referenced this when speaking to his followers about recognizing the "signs of the times" (Matt. 16; Lk. 12). 

Christians must stop idiosyncratically inventing definitions for the express purpose of smearing others with whom they may disagree. Merely holding a perceived "heretical" theological position, opposing one's own, does not make that individual guilty and worthy of the label false prophet. It does however reveal the ignorance of the one with the ad hominem baton, making the accusation.

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