As an atheist, I was aware Prophecy doesn't work. Nobody sees the future, just like nobody talks to the dead. But I'm reminded of Stephen Fry's QI anecdote on injustice regarding the execution of George Spencer in Connecticut in (April 8th) 1642. Spencer was an ugly man with piggy ears and one eye and a sour disposition. He seemed openly contemptuous of God, echoing modern attitudes. One day a piglet was stillborn that looked like him, with one eye. The puritan community took it as a sign he had committed bestiality. He was charged and tortured into confessing. Told he would receive mercy if he confessed, he confessed. But realising that he might be condemned to death, he retracted his confession. The community decided that his confession and the dead piglet were sufficient to meet the two witnesses protocol for a death sentence and the sow was put to the sword and George was hanged.
And the Connecticut community in their diligence in serving God, respected the biblical law. They were acting through prophecy and the word. But we know that George had not fathered that piglet. And we know he was convicted on an injustice. And such injustice is something that is repugnant to God.
The NZ pastor admitted that prophecy (forth telling) was not perfectly applied by people and he took great care to bind it through three streams. It needed to be based on the word of God. It needed to be for the community, rather than the individual. It needed to be based in love (not romantic love, but love as God for the family of believers). Clearly the Connecticut community had failed that with George Spencer. But even so, there is no perfection with this tool.
When it comes to fore telling and forth telling the Bible provides examples how words are spoken to enact the miracles. The Lord speaking the world into existence. Abraham literally speaking his promise of a child into being with his name and with Sarah's name. The Apostles speaking Jesus's name for their miracles. Words and prophecy are related. Words have power. Jesus' life was foretold. His resurrection was real.
My fellowship friends illustrated the issue for me several years back. A young woman was the centre of a number of prophecy statements for an interested young man. I was dismissive of prophecy, but felt uncomfortable because I had hopes for the woman too. If I pray for something, I want it to be true. So, I tried to change the atmosphere and was sidelined and left the group. I approached the woman and told her how I felt and what was happening. She told me we were alone and 'could talk like adults now.'
Years have passed. I have longed to talk with her and share time together, but she has not been interested. I've been told she isn't interested. And my question of God is what does He want? I'm old and not fit, and I believe if God wanted me to have the life I can see, I'd need to be fitter. There is no forth telling prophecy for me. But it illustrates what forth telling is for. Because Gods kingdom is not of Earth, yet through forth telling, we can see our way home.