(By Eddie Hyatt) One characteristic of the Oracle at Delphi—and all pagan prophecy—is that it was self-induced. Preceding their prophetic functions, the priestesses would go through ritual baths, sprinklings and animal sacrifices, leading to a hyped and frenzied prophetic state. One ancient drawing pictured the prophetess in a disheveled, frenzied state as she gave forth her oracle. Other pagan religions used music, dance, contortions and orgies to work themselves into a prophetic frenzy.

(Do we charismatics have our own rituals by which we work ourselves into a “prophetic” state?) In contrast, New Testament prophecy is not self-induced; in other words, it does not come forth at the initiative of the person prophesying. We do not work ourselves into a prophetic frenzy like the pagans. Paul is very clear in I Cor. 12:11 that the gifts of the Spirit, including prophecy, are given as He [the Holy Spirit] wills. Although we can learn about how prophecy and spiritual gifts function, it is dangerous to think that we can learn “how to” prophesy of our own initiative. CONTINUE