Mon | Dec 5, 2016

The Gleaner's prophetic charade

Published:Sunday | January 18, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

It is perhaps just under a decade now that Steve Lyston and his band have managed to gain a foothold in the pages of The Gleaner to pronounce on possible future happenings as revealed, they claim, by God.

The fascinating thing is the disclaimer at the end of the long list each year - namely, that 1. God can change His mind at any time and 2. that the prophecies are not date specific.

So what is presented as a prophecy for 2014 could in fact be for 2018. So what's a believer to do? Pray knowing that (a) God is sovereign and will do whatever He wants to do even after much pleading? or (b) pray knowing you have no idea if and when God will act on His revelation?

Some will argue that is entirely biblical. Aren't there examples in the ancient writings of God changing his plans after prayer and how many people understood or misinterpreted the Old Testament prophecies? Weren't the declarations of Isaiah and Ezekiel, etc., understood in hindsight?

But for us, the contemporary Gleaner readers, what is the point of this annual exercise? We have long gone beyond the days when The Gleaner was regarded as a Jamaican bible.

Perhaps The Gleaner considers this just fun a la Jean Dixon of yesteryear in the US publication, the National Enquirer, or a matter to be taken seriously. If the latter, then some Google work could be done to help readers. For example, go back over the list of the past three to four years and pick out the specific prophecies - not the vague ones like "there will be floods in the north" - and show that indeed "it came to pass" or didn't.

Alternatively, have Lyston et al show what did come to pass based on their understanding of the prophetic word. If it is just fun and entertainment, treat it as such rather than give banner headlines, among other serious stuff.

Failure to follow up is to do a great disservice to readers while allowing a platform for self-promotion and/or the peddling of snake oil.

The irony is that so much of present-day Jamaican life remains under-reported while Apostle Lyston pronounces weekly on 'biblical economics' for Jamaicans.

CWS