Psychic mediums vs. prophecy: What’s the difference — and are prophets still around today?

Unsplash/petr sidorov
Unsplash/petr sidorov

What’s the difference between psychic mediumship and prophecy?

That’s a question former medium Jenn Nizza explored on a recent episode of her “Ex-Psychic Saved Podcast,” sitting down with Pastor Jim Osman to break it all down.

Osman, author of the book God Doesn’t Whisper, began the discussion by differentiating between those who simply pretend to be able to engage in clairvoyance and those who authentically receive such information through evil means.

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While some self-proclaimed psychics are charlatans and frauds, Osman said not everyone falls under that category, as some, he believes, authentically engage in divination, the process of seeking information about the future through supernatural means.

He believes these people receive such knowledge from diabolical sources.

“The Bible does warn against mediums and spiritists and divination, and all kinds of connections with the occult and the spiritual realm in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament,” Osman said. “And the Bible warns about it because the connection that people who are psychics have is a very real connection to a very real thing. There is a real spiritual realm.”

As the pastor noted, this is a realm Christians are told to evade at all costs, with Scripture labeling these forces as “deceptive” and “demonic.”

Listen to Nizza and Osman discuss prophecy and mediumship:

Osman said these forces have the ability to influence and bring information into the human realm, using mediums and spirits for that purpose. Psychics and others might truly believe they are connecting with God or even “gods” but have “no idea what they’re playing with.”

As for prophets, Osman said the Bible is clear these individuals have existed, differentiating them from psychics based on the source of the information they have received. 

“There are genuine prophets in the Old Testament and in the New Testament times,” he said. “I don't believe that there are genuine prophets today in the biblical sense, but those people who did speak for God in the Old Testament and the New Testament had prophetic abilities because they were vehicles or instruments of revelation that God gave regarding the future, sometimes just simply applying truth in the lives of the people.”

Osman also offered another simple explanatory line to try and explain the difference between psychics and prophets: “A prophet is one who speaks from God. A psychic would be one who speaks for the devil, or is giving you information that comes from the spiritual realm that is not from God.”

He and Nizza addressed modern-day claims of prophecy, explaining potential theories on what they believe could be unfolding. Osman repeatedly made his view clear there’s no need for new prophetic information to be uttered in the modern era.

“Everything that you need is given to you in Scripture,” he said.

Nizza pondered whether some Christians who believe they’re getting prophecy could be receiving psychic information without their knowledge or full understanding.

It should be noted that the gift of prophecy continues to be a point of controversy among Evangelicals, with the main disagreement centering on “whether this gift is limited to the founding era of the Christian church or whether it is currently operative in the church now,” as Richard Blaylock has noted.

He shares more on this important topic:

The gift of prophecy remains a controversial one among evangelical churches, concerning both the nature and duration of the gift. The Old Testament regards prophecy as an act of intelligible communication that bears divine authority, although it also allows for the possibility of false prophets. The New Testament bears remarkable continuity with the Old Testament concerning prophecy, and the NT authors regard the messages of the prophets to be the very Words of God. As such, the NT seems to assume that genuine prophecies always warranted complete trust and obedience. However, the NT clearly expects the gift of prophecy to be done away with at some point in time. On the one hand, continuationists believe that the gift will continue functioning until the second coming of Christ. On the other hand, cessationists believe that the gift was tied to the authority of the founding leaders of the early church and has therefore ceased to function in the church today.

There are many today who believe the gift of prophecy is alive and well.

It’s a subject John Piper and others have addressed in detail and one that is very much active and celebrated in certain facets of the church.

The overarching discussion and debate — especially in light of Nizza’s background — is fascinating. Listen to “The Ex-Psychic Saved” podcast for more topics like this. 

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