Today, the spotlight has grown ever brighter on the Muslim world. Muslim culture and beliefs have also been exposed to greater scrutiny in the geo-political context of the conflict with ISIS. As a result of this scrutiny, fabulous opinions and theories have been advocated to remove the stigma connecting this religion with terrorism.
Recently, we were introduced to an unimaginable statement that Christians can view Mohammad as a prophet of God. In the article, Why a Christian Can View Muhammad As A Prophet, the author asserts the following:
Christians argue that it is “anti-Christian” to say that Muhammad is a prophet. Because Jesus is the clear-cut revelation of God as noted in the Bible, Christians (the argument goes) must not accept any other figure besides him. However, I see nothing “anti-Christian” in recognizing Muhammad as a prophet. As I mentioned earlier, I like to view the word “prophet” as having a very broad meaning. In fact, I don’t even like to place it in the realm of “religion,” especially not in the Abrahamic tradition. To me, a prophet is someone who has valuable insight and intuition, who is sensitive about the well-being of others regardless of their ethnic or religious backgrounds.
The spirit of this article breathes with the ecumenical notion that the understanding of who God is should be considered as a relative idea and that all faiths lead to God. The author tries to convince us that prophets can speak of virtues and cultural ideas but this advocates the coming of a new age – the post-Christian age.
What is often lacking in similar articles is the clarification of the Christian definition of God, Prophet, and revelation. In a world in which truth is only a relative idea, ethics situational, all things are possible, even to the point of advocating this position. It should also be asserted that outside of the Church “anything goes”.
What is a Prophet? In sacred scripture we are introduced to prophesy – true prophesy and false prophecy. With a relative position, there is no absolute measure, no absolute truth. In this manner, the author has the flexibility to put forth their thesis. But in the context of Christian scripture, using the King James Bible for this exercise, there are many references to the existence of false prophets. We read in the Gospel of Saint Matthew:
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in
sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather
grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every
good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree
bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring
forth evil fruit, neither [can] a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Matthew 7:15-20
Though there exists varied beliefs of the different denominations of Christianity, this essay will advocate the Orthodox Christian position. In the Church, certain titles have the weight of authority, such as Apostles, which was only used in honor for the 12 Disciples of the Lord, or the 70 lesser Disciples. This term is not applied directly to any other Saint. The term “equal to the Apostles” is used to honor other Saints but to discreetly clarify so as not to diminish the honor of the title Apostle. The same is applied to Prophet. This is an honorific title bestowed on the personalities of the Old Testament to whom the Holy Spirit gave utterance concerning things that came to pass. The New Testament and Acts does speak of others who prophesied but there are not numbered among the Prophets of the Old Testament. Saint the Baptist is a notable exception as he was a bridge between the Old and New Testaments, prophesied, and was blessed to see the One of Whome he spoke. The prophetic utterings prepared ancient Israel for God’s plan of salvation. These words were greater than mere ethical teachings – these words were the promise of God’s plan to save mankind from sin and death.
By their fruits, by their words, the Church recognizes the place of the Prophet as a God-seer when their words are fulfilled. Scripture also recognizes the existence of false prophets and uses them as a sign of the times of tribulation, when iniquity shall hold sway over many.
And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations…Matthew 24:11-15
False prophets and self-proclaimed annointed shall profess strange words and doctrines to deceive the faithful and discredit the Church.
For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and
shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if [it were]
possible, even the elect. But take ye heed: behold, I
have foretold you all things. Mark 13:22-23
False teaches existed even in the early Church and at the time of the preaching of the Apostles.
But there were false prophets also among the
people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,
who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. Acts 2:1
Not every spirit, even if the words come true, are from God. The demons will seek to sow tares among the good wheat and bring forth confusion to destroy the Church. The Apostles encountered a woman who prophesied because she was tormented by a spirit, which brought her masters much profit. She had a power to prophesy but clearly this sprung from an evil source. Therefore the Apostles direct us test the spirits to discern if they are truly of God.
Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits
whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome
them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them. We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 1 John, 4:1-7
Beloved, not everyone who is called a prophet truly speaks from God and is sent from God. Left to personal interpretation, the modern man is free to design his own religion and create his own prophets. There are many, many verses from the Quran that openly blaspheme our Saviour and our God, the Holy Trinity. A so-called prophet that speaks against God is not a true prophet.