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Epic fail: Vallotton’s 5 non-biblical tests for a true prophet

vallotton headshot

Kris Vallotton

I was disturbed this week by Kris Vallotton’s article titled “5 Tests of a True Prophet.” I was even more disturbed to see that his article was published by Charisma Magazine. For those who don’t know, Vallotton is the senior associate leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, and a bestselling author. His article in Charisma is excerpted from a curriculum he developed titled Basic Training for the Prophetic Ministry.

Not a single one of Vallotton’s five tests of a true prophet is given in Scripture. Astoundingly, he completely overlooks the three tests that are given. Here are Vallotton’s woefully inadequate tests.

Vallotton’s 5 Non-Biblical Tests

Vallotton’s Non-Biblical Test No. 1: Does the prophet believe in the redemptive work of the Son of God?

On the surface, this test may seem good. Surely, a true prophet of God would believe in Christ’s redemptive work. But if you think that, by belief in the “redemptive work of the Son of God,” Vallotton is referring to belief in the gospel of Jesus’ death and resurrection, think again. In the article, Vallotton redefines the redemptive work of the Son of God as present-day miracles. He says that people who don’t believe in the “redemptive work of the Son of God” are “people who try to tell you that Jesus doesn’t do miracles anymore.” In other words–in NAR-speak–any individual who questions the authenticity of the alleged miracles being performed by today’s NAR apostles and prophets cannot be a true prophet. Where in Scripture can this test be found? It can’t.

Vallotton’s Non-Biblical Test No. 2: False prophets do not like to listen to anyone; they believe that God tells them everything.

At first glance, this test may also seem good to some people. But Vallotton’s description of the test shows what he really has in mind. He says that a true prophet will submit to “real spiritual authority.”  In the NAR, the real spiritual authorities are the movement’s prophets and apostles. This point is crucial to understanding NAR teachings. The idea that a true prophet of God must submit to the authority of contemporary NAR leaders simply cannot be found in Scripture.

Vallotton’s Non-Biblical Test No. 3: False prophets are not motivated by love, but are motivated by a need to be noticed.

In other words, Vallotton is saying that false prophets are motivated by pride, not love. Sounds true, right? Not so fast. Certainly, a true prophet wouldn’t be motivated by pride, and a true prophet would have love for others. But the verses Vallotton cites in support of this test–1 John 4:7-9 and 19-21–apply to all believers in Christ generally. They’re not criteria given as tests for determining if someone is a genuine prophet of God.

Vallotton’s Non-Biblical Test No. 4: False prophets commonly use fear to motivate people.

Vallotton says that “‘doom and gloom’ tend to be the central theme of a false prophet’s message.” Yet,  numerous true prophets of God in Scripture had the sober task of delivering “doom-and-gloom” messages about sin and judgment. Though their messages held out hope for forgiveness and restoration, their major themes also included grim realities. For example, the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah was given the following gloomy message from God regarding the unfaithful Israelites:

“Do not pray for the welfare of this people. Though they fast, I will not hear their cry, and though they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence.” (Jeremiah 14:11-12)

Not a happy-go-lucky message, to be sure. In contrast to his downer message, the false prophets delivered upbeat words: “‘You shall not see the sword, nor shall you have famine, but I will give you assured peace in this place’”  (Jeremiah 14:13). Yet, according to Vallotton’s test, it is they who would be the true prophets of God, and Jeremiah would be a false prophet. Go figure.

Vallotton’s Non-Biblical Test No. 5: False prophets are not in a covenant relationship with the body of Christ.

This test–that a true prophet attends a local church–is not given in Scripture. While every believer should attend a local church and strive to have a healthy relationship with the membership, this is not a test given for determining whether someone is a true prophet.

In short, Vallotton gives five tests for a prophet that aren’t given in Scripture. The passages of Scripture he cites in support of his tests say nothing about prophets. They’re passages that apply to all believers.

Why wouldn’t he want to address those passages of Scripture that apply specifically to the evaluation of prophets? They’re the obvious go-to passages when teaching about prophets. Is this mere oversight on his part? If so, such oversight is inexcusable for a teacher with his influence.

So what are the key tests of a true prophet of God? The Bible gives three. These three tests are explained in detail in two recent books I co-authored on the NAR. I will explain them briefly here.

The Bible’s 3 Tests

 The Fulfillment Test

The fulfillment test, given in Deuteronomy 18:21-22, requires that a prophet’s predictions must come true. Though Scripture gives this test for a true prophet, oddly, Vallotton does not. In fact, his article seems to allow for the possibility that true prophets will err in their predictions where he writes: “We will make mistakes, mess up, and even fail at times.” The idea that true prophets of God can deliver erroneous prophecies is a common teaching in the NAR. This explains why NAR prophets continue to be regarded as genuine by their followers even after making erroneous predictions.

The Orthodoxy Test

Another test Scripture gives for prophets is the orthodoxy test, which requires that a prophet’s words must line up with the revelation God has already given. This test is found in Deuteronomy 13:1-5. It shows up again in the New Testament, where we see that all teachings in the churches –including teachings given by prophets–were held to the standard of teaching that had been handed down by the apostles of Christ. Why has Vallotton omitted this crucial test? Could it be because of the fact that so many NAR teachings do not line up with Scripture?

The Lifestyle Test

A third test Scripture gives for prophets is the lifestyle test. Jesus said that false prophets could be known by their bad fruit–that is, by their lawless conduct (Matthew 7:16-23). Why does Vallotton omit this test? Remarkably, some of the most influential NAR prophets have confessed to significant moral failures, including Bob Jones and Paul Cain. Yet, they have continued to be regarded as genuine by many in the NAR.

It’s baffling that Vallotton would give five tests for a prophet that are not given in Scripture and completely ignore the three tests that are given.

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15 Responses to “Epic fail: Vallotton’s 5 non-biblical tests for a true prophet”

  1. Leonard Rafferty Says:

    Truly another sign of the depth of the apostasy of the Laodicean Church.  How clever and subtle Satan is, still mocking God and the things of God. This nation more than all others has been blessed with an abundance of wealth and the preaching of the Word. Having neglected the book, God has sent strong delusion to our nation. An army of false teachers are fulfilling the Word and preparing the way for antichrist. This is not a new spirit in these men and women. The lukewarm church cannot discern because of Bible illiteracy, no time spent on their knees, no relationship with Christ.

    This man and his ilk are nothing less than enemies of the cross. The sheep are starving to death and have left “the fountain of living water.”  Surely the “Famine for the Word” is upon us. “The mouth of hell enlargeth itself daily to receive them that would enter therein.”  The ones ensnared by the NAR “are willingly ignorant”. Our Lord repeatedly warned “Be not deceived.”


  2. DL Says:

    Good article. I would like to raise a point on the “lifestyle test.”

    What are a teacher’s fruits? Answer: what he teaches – his doctrine. In context, the point is the same with purported prophets: a purported prophet’s fruit is what he claims are prophecies (words directly inspired by God). Christ was harking back to the O.T. tests of a prophet, starting with the Fulfillment test:

    “If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him” (Deut. 18:22).

    “But the prophet who prophesies peace will be recognized as one truly sent by the Lord only if his prediction comes true” (Jer. 28:9).

    “When all this comes true – and it surely will – then they will know that a prophet has been among them.” (Ezek. 33:33).

    Then there’s the Orthodoxy test, which has two parts:

    “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

    Does the prophecy align with what God has already revealed, or does it contradict it?

    But the Orthodoxy test has a second element that is often overlooked these days:

    “If there arise among you a prophet, or a dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder come to pass, whereof he spake unto thee, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods, which thou hast not known, and let us serve them;’ 3 thou shalt not hearken unto the words of that prophet, or that dreamer of dreams: for the Lord your God proveth you, to know whether ye love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deut 13)

    The fact that a prophecy comes to pass is not the end of the test. Does the prophet then attempt to lead those who trust him to follow other gods? This sub-test should be a primary area of focus in the modern pentecostal/charismatic movement but from what I see, it is almost wholly ignored (see the rampant spread of mindless ecumenism as one example).

    I submit that there is no “lifestyle” test as such for prophets, nor do we need one. If there were such a test, the case could be made that most of the grievously sinning but miraculously gifted Corinthians, certainly including some who had been gifted with prophecy, were unsaved. No, the “lifestyle” test is too subjective, taking the focus off of God’s Word where His other tests have placed it, and those tests are more than adequate to discern true from false.

  3. Sola Scriptura Says:

    Excellent article. I appreciate how you addressed each of his false standards, all of which seem good at first glance. I am reminded of a few passages when I think about the Bethel/Ihop prophecy insanity:

    From Isaiah 30:9-10

    9 That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:11Get you out of the way, turn aside out of the path, cause the Holy One of Israel to cease from before us.

    Jeremiah 14:14

    14 Then the Lord said unto me, The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.
    **I wrote a long article laying out all the scriptures I could find on false prophets and teachers due to having many friends lost to their sweet sounding lies. I defined prophecy from the scriptures, at the end. It certainly is not what they are doing:


  4. Bill Fawcett Says:

    Holly, You nailed it again.
    We need you on facebook!

  5. Holly Says:

    Thanks for your encouraging words, Bill! To which Facebook page are you referring? I’m not sure I know about it.

  6. Shane Says:

    holly I think bill is saying you should have a spirit of error Facebook page like your Twitter Account…

    great article once again.

  7. Richard Gault Says:

    Holly, You appear to want to defeat any supernatural activity in today’s church at any cost. If you were truly a seeker of truth could you not find someone, somewhere, who could actually be working miracles and giving accurate Words from the Lord. You tests are actually not Biblical. I have seen prophets give accurate Words from the Lord and have very bad teaching.Only if they deny the atoning Blood of Christ would I reject them. Of course, I would reject what they are teaching and warn others to reject it. But it would not bar them from being used mightily in the Gifts. It appears contradictory and not Biblical but I have seen it many times. I think you are what I call a practical secessionist. You say like Hank Hannegraff you believe in the perpetuity of Spiritual Gifts, but in practice you fight ardently and aggressively against any demonstration of them ?

  8. Sola Scriptura Says:

    Richard Gault: What you don’t seem to understand is, as Paul says, our God is a God of order and of peace. New Agers and occultists laugh as they see their practices being performed in christian churches with a little christian terminology sprinkled in. They practice sorcery, and even demon spirits or guesses, are correct at times.
    Deuteronomy 18:20-22 says that if anyone is a prophet of God they can NEVER be wrong…yet your Bethel peeps say that they are correct in their prophecies around 50-60% of the time. That…is called guessing. 
    Falling on the ground barking like dogs, fake gold dust, bird feathers (called angel feathers) falling through the air, finger reading(aka palm reading), and joking about angels passing gas(Jenn Johnson – I’ve seen the video) are abominations and will not stand at the end. If you click on the link in my other comment and scroll to the end, you will see a video from the “great” bethel “prophetess” Heidi Baker impart a demon into a boy. He rolls on the ground screaming in agony as if on fire.
    Defend this witchcraft at your own great peril.

  9. Riles Says:

    Holly, I believe my brother Bill Fawcett is referring to the page Bethel Church and Christianity, which does what you just did in this article.  There are several ex-Bethelites that are trying to blow the trumpet.

  10. Greg Schneider Says:

    What you are doing on this site is greatly needed. I appreciate you and your ministry.

  11. Adam Thewes Says:

    Matthew 7
    22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    Richard, this shows you that many think they are doing things in God’s name, but aren’t. We need to be discerning. What really scares me about this movement is that they are doing these very same things and also have a dominion theology. Yet we see the antichrist is coming with lying signs and wonders and is going to take dominion. This movement I fear is working in the spirit of antichrist. I have a few friends I’m trying to get out of this movement. I pray God opens their eyes.

    Thanks for bringing light to thsee false prophets, we are called to mark them for our brothers and sisters. Make no mistake, Bill Johnson and Kris Vallaton are not brothers in Christ. Bill has denied the diety of Christ while on earth. Kris has added components to the gospel such as healing, prosperity, miracles, etc… The Gospel is faith alone in Christ alone. Nothing else. But I fear the Christ is not enough for Kris. If it is necessary to add all these powers to the gospel then Jesus just isn’t enough. If Jesus isn’t enough then you have the wrong Jesus. 

    God bless!

  12. Joshua Says:

    Adam, (and others)

    1st of all…much love to u guys for your desire and division to Christ!

    I’m not toally understanding u? U seem to be against miracles and prosperity? Yes?

    I don’t think it is wrong to prosper as a Christian (I’m talking fanacial here).
    All who have professed faith in Christ have prospered tremendously already with freedom from sin, death, hell…etc!!! 🙂

    To your miricle point…didn’t Jesus do miricles? Disciples? Aren’t we to “walk as Jesus walked”?

  13. Adam Says:

    Joshua can you fulfill the law as Jesus did? Have you walked on water? Could Peter? Seems there are things we cannot do that he did? Where are the letters to the churches from the disciples talking about doing how to do miracles or how to pass them on to the next batch of disciples? Jesus (who was fully God and man) did miracles to fulfill the scriptures to the Jews to prove that he was the prophecied messiah and then the disciples were given authority and provided the foundation of the church. God still does miracles, but in James 5 we are told to call elders together and to pray. Even then it doesn’t guarantee healing because God is soveriegn and his will be done. Knowing he works all things work together for our good. Yes, even suffering soemtimes!!! in 2 Timothy 12 Paul writes:

    12 Truly the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you with all perseverance, in signs and wonders and mighty deeds. 

    I think this verse shows that the Apostles were given authority that was not expected in the rest of the church. I have seen miraculous healings over people that we have prayed over and for. I have also seen people die who we have prayed over or for. God bless!


  14. kit Says:

    I have a question for the apologists of Johnson, Valloton, NAR, etc. If these are not the false prophets we have been warned about by Jesus and other NT writers, then who are they?

  15. Stan from NJ Says:

    From Test #1, “In the article, Vallotton redefines the redemptive work of the Son of God as present-day miracles. He says that people who don’t believe in the “redemptive work of the Son of God” are “people who try to tell you that Jesus doesn’t do miracles anymore.”

    By his metric, lack of miracles would mean John the Baptist wasn’t a true prophet.

    John 10:41 Many came to Him and were saying, “While John performed no sign, yet everything John said about this man was true.”

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