In “A Rule for Motives and Acts” in the Church Manual is the sentence, “The members of this Church should daily watch and pray to be delivered from all evil, from prophesying . . .” (p. 40). Why is prophesying an evil? Jesus as well as Mary Baker Eddy prophesied on occasion. —A reader in California, US
A: Mary Baker Eddy concludes that sentence with the word erroneously. She was not against genuine prophesying, but the false kind. Her writings exhibit the highest regard for the prophets who based their predictions on a clear understanding of spiritual law.
Erroneous prophecy is the material reading of physical signs. Matter-based thinking looks only at externals and is blind to the spiritual laws of being. It leads to superstition, which sees prophecy as a mysterious personal gift that can be erratic, enigmatic, and indecisive; whereas true prophecy is useful, understandable, and rests on established laws of being.