This morning on The 700 Club, a viewer said her mother's friend had recently claimed to be a "prophetess," but her predictions were "way off." The viewer wanted to know "how could someone who says she's hearing from God be so wrong?"
Responding to the question, host Pat Robertson explained that this happens "all the time," and called it "baloney" when people purport to "have a word from the Lord for you." Robertson clarified that there are people who "really do have a prophetic word, but they are few and far between" and that you should "be careful" of false prophets and instead "let the Lord speak to you himself."
His viewers would be well-served by this advice, considering Robertson himself has a long track record of offering utterly false "predictions" on The 700 Club that he claims to have gotten from God.
For example, in January of 2007, Robertson reportedly predicted that a terrorist attack on the United States would result in a "mass killing" during 2007. He told viewers that he was "not necessarily saying it's going to be nuclear," because "The Lord didn't say nuclear. But I do believe it will be something like that."
Explaining during his 2008 prediction episode why the attack hadn't come to pass, the Associated Press reported that Robertson said, "all I can think is that somehow the people of God prayed and God in his mercy spared us." That must have been it.
The AP also reported that in May of 2006, Robertson thought storms and a "tsunami" would hit the U.S. coastline, then claimed partial vindication when heavy rains hit New England:
In May, Robertson said God told him that storms and possibly a tsunami were to crash into America's coastline in 2006. Even though the U.S. was not hit with a tsunami, Robertson on Tuesday cited last spring's heavy rains and flooding in New England as partly fulfilling the prediction.
During a March 2006 broadcast, Robertson predicted that "before the end of this year there will be another vacancy" on the Supreme Court. There wasn't.
As part of his predictions in 2006, Robertson also said that he "heard it from the Lord" that President Bush would successfully pass Social Security reform. He didn't.
Completely botching "predictions" from God is not a recent development for Robertson - he's been doing this for decades.
In a May article reflecting on "Five failed end-of-the-world predictions" in light of the circus surrounding Harold Camping, The Christian Science Monitor reported that Robertson said in a 1980 broadcast of The 700 Club: "I guarantee you by the end of 1982 there is going to be a judgment on the world."
According to a February 15, 1988, Washington Post article (via Nexis), during an address at a church, "Robertson declared today that he has heard messages from God about his presidential campaign and that he is now sure he will be the next president":
Today, the candidate did not state directly that God has told him he will win the election -- but he left that impression with some in the congregation. He said he entered the presidential race only because God ordered him to. He suggested that divine aid was at work in his strong finish in Iowa last week.
It is a basic tenet of Robertson's charismatic faith that God gives humans precise directions about secular events. Robertson is among tens of millions who feel this way.
Robertson told the congregation today about the success of Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN), the international cable-television operation he began in 1960 after, he said, he heard God directing him to do so.
By the mid-1980s, Robertson said, "I had everything you could ask for," and he was content to finish his life at his electronic ministry. "But God had something else for me to do," he said.
"I heard the Lord," Robertson related in a whisper, "saying 'I have something else for you to do. I want you to run for president of the United States.' "
Because of the divine call, Robertson said, "I was not surprised the way [others] were when we did so well in a place called Iowa. I didn't think that the One who has never failed me was going to fail me now."
This echoed a comment Robertson made a week ago, after his second-place finish in the Iowa caucuses. He told an acquaintance that "It felt like God had reached down and turned a switch."
Today, Robertson told the congregation that "This is where God wanted me to be . . . . Here I am in New Hampshire, before a major primary." He then said, "I assure you that I am going to be the next president of the United States." [Washington Post, 2/15/1988, via Nexis]
So take heed, 700 Club viewers -- there's a lot of "baloney" out there.