Monday, 11 September 2017

Sonny The Prophet

Yesterday, Sunday, as people mingled after our church service, one of our church members brought a visitor to me, introduced me to him, and quickly disappeared. Our visitor introduced himself as Sonny, "a prophet of God".

I have leadership responsibilities so the reflexive urge to palm him off on someone else was not an option. Besides, I'm not a committed cessationist so the possibility of encountering a real prophet exists, however remote...

Sonny explained that he visits different churches every week and God had instructed him to visit our church yesterday so he could bring us the word of God. Sonny noticed that we advertise a table tennis club at our church on Sunday afternoons (105 Vincent St, 3pm, all welcome!) and advised me that this is contrary to God's command to keep the Sabbath holy. I asked him why he thought so, so he opened his Bible at Exodus 20:8. I suggested that that text prohibits work, not games. He switched to Isaiah 58:13, but I continued to express doubt that that excludes table tennis (... never mind the questions of how Israelite Sabbath law and practice apply to a Gentile congregation in the new covenant).

Remaining calm, Sonny proceeded to tell me he was having a vision in which he saw maggots falling on me. At this point I thought it fair to ask Sonny, just as calmly, how he wished to confirm that he was a true prophet, not a false prophet. Unfortunately his only answer was to repeat his testimony about himself, and I was unable to investigate further because I genuinely had to leave for for lunch.

I'd just taught a Sunday school class about our duty to love other Christians (John 13:34-35), our enemies (Matthew 5:43-48), and everyone (Mark 12:28), and here God presented me with someone who was possibly all three, so I did not feel able to get worked up about the situation. On the other hand I don't know how to show love to Sonny, other than praying for him, given I probably won't see him again.


  1. back when I was a ministerial student I used to make fun of people like this (youthful stupidity on my part). Now I feel bad for them. How does one break through such a strong delusion to get them to rejoin the body of Christ in a productive manner? A question I don't have a great answer for.

    1. I don't either. I wonder what happens when people like Sonny visit a full-on "signs and wonders" congregation...

  2. Well handled Rob. I have no real answers about people like Sonny. I tend to remind myself that Ezekiel must have seemed a bit whacko to the faithful but somewhat staid Israelites, as well as to the bad guys of the time. I try to find if there is a germ (not maggots) of truth somewhere in what people like this are saying. I can't spot it with Sonny - I am all for table tennis - but who knows. I try to affirm the good oil if I can spot it.