The question asked in the heading was answered in this article in four steps. In the first step,
an attempt was made to find an accurate account of biblical prophecy by means of a critical
discussion of certain influential interpretations of it. In the second step, the extent to which
biblical prophecy could serve as a model for contemporary Christians was discussed and an
acceptable Christian model of prophetic witness was formulated by drawing on the views of
different authors. In the third step, the impact of democracy on the prophetic witness of the
church was discussed. The Dutch theologian, Gerrit de Kruijf’s view that the public prophetic
witness of the church is not appropriate in democratic societies was criticised and the legitimacy of certain forms of prophetic witness in such societies defended. In the final step, a number of examples of the prophetic witness that is needed in the present democratic South Africa were provided.