This is from my email conversation with Don Finto about his theology on prophecy (as a spiritual gift). I was going to keep it anonymous, but I think it’s important that Nashvillians are aware of his teaching so they can test and judge it for themselves.
[My words are in Italics, Finto’s responses are in bold]
It seems to me – from Belmont’s support of “Powerhouse Ministries” with Sandy Powell and from the messages that I’ve listened to – that you tend to believe that spiritual gifts can be ‘practiced’ by human effort and will; specifically, prophecy. Is that the case? I wish not to debate this with you, but I think 2 Peter 1:21 is pretty clear.
Paul says we know in part and we prophesy in part. All prophesy has to be judged, no matter who gives it. Jesus is the only perfect “prophet” who ever lived, However the Holy Spirit inspired the apostles and prophets for the for-us kept revealed Word. But for the rest of us, we “desire earnestly spiritual gifts, especially to prophesy.” (! Cor 14:1)
At one point you stated that to get the aroma of fresh air (representing prophecy, right?), you have to open the window….but if you do that, you let flies in, too (that’s errant prophecy, right?). You also said that it’s great to keep the stable fresh, orderly, and clean..but if you do that, you have no horse in the stable. If you want a horse in the stable, you have to tolerate the mess (being errant prophecy?).
When we risk moving out in faith, we will always make mistakes, but he who does things makes many mistakes, but he never makes the biggest mistake of doing nothing. God can correct people in motion (as Paul the apostle before he became a believer) better than He can move a person sitting still. Move toward and with God in as much as you know. He loves a heart that desires to follow Him. He is totally capable of correcting us.
Be sure always to keep reading the Word, the Bible, It is God’s barometer to help us see that we are on track.
I want to make no incorrect assumptions about the point of those metaphors, so will you explain them to me?
Speaking about prophecy, Scripture does say to “keep what is good”, but were you advocating the intentional tolerance of false teaching and prophecy in order to get a few good nuggets?
If we wait until we hear in perfection we never will move. We listen and we learn. the more we practice hearing and obeying the more we will listen and obey.
I will be honest and say I do have more questions for you, but I will give you time to address this concern first.
One more quick confirmation, though, if I may: James Goll taught (or teaches, not sure if that still goes on) a class about how to talk to your guardian angel. Do you support that, and if so, why? Sounds New Age to me, and like a great opportunity for demonic deceit.
I have never heard James Goll teach this. I would not encourage speaking to your guardian angel, but would encourage to be thankful for guardian angels, but talk to Jesus, to God, invite the Holy Spirit.
Interesting how he dodged most of my questions, but whatever……
Personally, I think Don Finto has trouble distinguishing between false teaching and false prophecy. Of course humans can teach things that are not true that they misinterpret, and they should be extended grace (but should be corrected in love). However, true prophecy is NOT from human effort, thus it is inerrant. 2 Peter 1:21 says, “because no prophecy ever came by the will of man; instead, moved by the Holy Spirit, men spoke from God”. If prophecy can be in error, then Yahweh is fallible. But Finto says that Yeshua was the only perfect prophet who ever lived. Now obviously, He was the only sinless human who ever lived. Duh. But see, Finto puts a lot of emphasis on the person who prophesies…because he believes it is by human effort. Perhaps I’m wrong about that assumption. If so, then he’s still saying that Yeshua was the only prophet whose every prophecy was true. In such a case, HOW do we know that the Bible is inerrant? In such a case, why should we believe scripture at all?
The Bible only has two designations for prophets: true and false (somebody challenge this with scripture, if you can).
“But the prophet who dares to speak in My name a message I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods—that prophet must die”(Deuteronomy 18:20)
Even in the New Testament:
“Beware of false prophets who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravaging wolves.You’ll recognize them by their fruit. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes or figs from thistles? In the same way, every good tree produces good fruit, but a bad tree produces bad fruit. A good tree can’t produce bad fruit; neither can a bad tree produce good fruit Every tree that doesn’t produce good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So you’ll recognize them by their fruit.Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but [only] the one who does the will of My Father in heaven. On that day many will say to Me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in Your name, drive out demons in Your name, and do many miracles in Your name? Then I will announce to them, ‘I never knew you! Depart from Me, you lawbreakers!” (Matthew 7:15-23)
As you can clearly see above, Don Finto advocates the proactive tolerance of false prophecy in order that the church might reap at least some legitimate fruits of spiritual gifts. Is the Holy Spirit really that clumsy? What is especially dangerous about this advocacy is that:
“Many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.” “False messiahs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:11;24)
Give Jeremiah 23:16-40 and Ezekiel 13:1-14:9 a good read. Some people really, sincerely think they have a message from the Lord, but it is really their imagination or pursuit of spiritualism. Those people do more harm than good.
If we only perceive the ‘miracles and signs’ and a few prophecies that happen to come true as proof of true prophets, then we’re in trouble. The verse above shows us explicitly that false prophets can perform those signs under demonic power specifically to deceive and mislead the people of God. Ever heard the term “spirit of the anti-Christ”? That’s exactly what this is! What’s further interesting in that vein is how Finto seems (notice I said ‘seems’..go easy on me) to reduce Jesus to a human prophet, albeit “the only perfect” one. How Muslim is that?
I don’t mean to attack Don Finto. If you listen to his sermons, he really does have a lot of great teachings, which do happen to be rooted in scripture. I appreciate his obvious deep love for the believers in Nashville, and I love him as a brother in Christ and as one of Yahweh’s children. However, I am challenging this theology…anyone can be deceived.