As Hurricane Irma approached Florida in September 2017, Latin America awoke to hear a number of its anointed prophets and apostles shouting, “You, Irma, go away!”
This is a manifestation of the doctrine known as the Prosperity Gospel, the Rhema Doctrine, the Word of Faith, and more recently, “Decreeing” = I decree such and such to be so, and it will come to pass.
Decreeing a thing and asking God to intervene in a thing sometimes sound alike, but they couldn’t be more opposite.
- The prayer of faith is humbly asking God for help. Prayer is based on our trust in God’s power and grace.
- The decree is telling nature (or money or property or health) that you yourself have the authority over them. Sure, the name of Christ is tossed in for good measure, likewise some prayers to God, but by definition it is not prayer. It is Prayer’s Evil Twin, Magic.
I have seen videos of a half dozen of these “apostles” commanding Irma to go away, but perhaps Miami pastor Guillermo Maldonado is the best example, and it’s in both Spanish and English. He ordered Irma not to cross the shores of Florida and told it: “as an apostle with authority over this territory…I command to the winds of the east, I command the hurricane Irma…I command you disintegrate, dissolve.”
Now, what happens if Irma turns away from making landfall?
- If God answered your prayers? Thank him, show him gratitude!
- But if Maldonado made the hurricane go away? Thank him, by whipping out your credit card.
Let’s add one thing: people have, as we did here, pointeded to these videos, after Irma hit, in the forlorn hope that at long last God’s people will see through this charade and stop giving these fakes the attention they crave. Or maybe these leaders will repent, go on TV, admit to being stymied, and give back your money.
I think I know human nature enough to guess that that will not happen.
What will the false prophets claim now? Some version of, “I, your anointed prophet, was right all along! So don’t blame me!” Perhaps one of the following:
- “Hurricane Irma would have been a lot worse, but my decree seriously weakened it.”
- “Hurricane Irma was in fact stopped, but, you know, on the spiritual plane, not on the meteorological one.”
- “I think the Christian attitude would be to help the victims, not assign blame to a godly leader. So, if you question why Hurricane Irma hit despite my decree, you are a bad, bad person.”
- “God told me afterward that Hurricane Irma was punishment on us for some thing or another, and so it couldn’t be stopped.” (Probably the sin will be a lack of faith. Which you can now rectify by whipping out your credit card, and operators are standing by to receive your donation.)
Of course, some people will combine many or all of the above. Ruddy Gracia hit 3, maybe 4 of them, now that I look at his post-Irma post, as does Ana Mendez. And people who point out the failure of their prophecies are hypocrites, liars, apostates. As in my prediction #3, above.
When a hurricane hits, it does a lot of erosion. But what storm, even a Category 5, can erode the arrogance of the human heart?
“False Apostles are Smacked Down by Hurricane Irma!” by Gary S. Shogren, Professor of New Testament, Seminario ESEPA, San José, Costa Rica