Could I Be a False Prophet?

“Could I be a false prophet?” I’ve been asking myself this question for a while, after reading an article about Paul Cain, a man I admired.

Paul Cain was born in Texas in 1929. He started to preach when he was 16. Through his ministry, many miracles occurred and many people were healed. But when he felt that his fellow charismatic leaders were losing their integrity and purity, he abruptly quit his ministry in the late 1950s.

When the third wave of the Holy Spirit swept across the country in the 80s, he received a message from God that unless the leaders of the movement sought holiness and purity, God would remove His presence from their ministry. In 1987 he resumed his ministry to deliver that message.

His gift of knowledge is legendary. Once, he was invited to a meeting of 50 skeptical pastors. He convinced them of being a true prophet by correctly identifying the state where each one was born. I regularly cited this incident in my New Life Bible study as an example of a spiritual gift.

The article I read condemned him as a false prophet, claiming that he had confessed that he was an alcoholic and that he was involved in a homosexual relationship.

That devastated me. So much so that it made me ask: “If a man like him turned out to be a false prophet, how can I be sure that I am not?” I honestly had to question myself.

After a long inner debate, I concluded that I cannot be a false prophet. I based this on three reasons.

First, false prophets are motivated by money, fame, or power. But I’m not really interested in these. Second, false prophets claim that they’re the only true servants of God. But I acknowledge others’ ministries and consider some of them much better than my own. Third, false prophets don’t repent because they think they’re perfect. But I’m keenly aware of my weaknesses and shortcomings and feel sorry about them.

But I think the strongest evidence that I’m not a false prophet is the fact that I’m asking the very question.

In my opinion, considering his character and previous ministry, Paul Cain was not a false prophet but a prophet who fell from grace. Perhaps he fell because he was too busy with his ministry and lost intimacy with God. Or maybe he became arrogant and careless due to his success.

Only God can judge his true nature, and we shouldn’t waste our time trying to figure it out. Instead, we should make sure that we do not neglect time with God no matter how busy we are and continually examine ourselves, especially when our ministries go well.

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