I get messages on Facebook and email every few days about Mike Bickle, IHOPKC and the complete prophetic movement about Gnosticism. Most people do not even have a clue what that is, why it matters and how it plays out in the world today. It is mainly something reserved for theologians and historians. Oddly, I fit in both of those roles so let’s take a look! Continue reading…
Tagged in: Paul Cain
Mike Bickle was my pastor for quite some time. He imparted alot of practical knowledge, wisdom and prophetic revelation into me. I was just a teenager when it started and I was in my late 20’s when I left the International House of Prayer movement in Kansas City. I have always look back and realized that my time home in Kansas City was some of the best times of my life. Thank you, Mike. Continue reading…
I recently read an article from Premier Christianity about Bethel Redding. It was quite positive and I did like it, even with many of the wrong information that was in it. As I have said before, I love the church that Bill Johnson leads even if I disagree with them on a regular basis about missiology and the prophetic. I can love and disagree at the same time. That’s a spiritual gift that many in the Pentecostal movement need.
Let me start out by saying this, Bethel Redding is not the largest or most prominent Charismatic church in California. It would not not even be consider Charismatic. It is a Pentecostal church in the theological tradition of the Assemblies of God. In fact, the church was called Bethel Assembly under a few years ago. Bill Johnson’s theological training was at the Bethany Bible College in Scott Valley, CA.
It would be hard to say that Bethel is the largest Spirit-filled church, either. Jack Hayford’s Church on the Way, Matthew Barnett’s Angeles Temple, and Fred Price’s Crenshaw Christian Center are all much more known and larger in scope. Bethel is a niche church and I like it that way.
Bethel Redding can’t make you a revivalist
In the article, Andy Peck, says that 2,100 students are there learning to become revivalists. This is simply not true. Being a revivalist has to do with impartation, not information. As with everything in the anointing; it can only caught but it can not be taught. What they are doing is giving people who have the anointing a platform to grow safely and that includes screwing up as they grow.
Many of the students becoming revivalists by taking risk and stepping out of the water so to speak. Being in Redding is like a cheap version of doing Master’s Commission in my opinion. It is theology practiced in the community; not the classroom. I really wish that Oral Roberts University had the practical application of ministry than Bethel does. It is where the rubber meets the road.
If anything, they are helping train people who have caught the revivalist anointing in another wave of healing revival. It might or might not look like the 1950’s revival with Jack Coe, A.A. Allen and Gordon Lindsey. Who knows, there could become alot of tent revivals again; especially in small towns. Interestingly, it was in Redding that Jack Coe had some of his most powerful services.
With that said, I would recommend that something going to Bethel Redding to grow in revival have a strong foundation of what they believe and do not believe. Bill Johnson loves to push the employ alot and doing so can lead to some really crazy doctrines. If you do not believe me, ask Jason Westerfield.
I would liken the school to more of an internship after getting a traditional bible education at a school like Oral Roberts University or Evangel University. If you bring those together, you have a very powerful foundation to launch a worldwide healing revival ministry.
What about the unusual signs and wonders?
They are just that: unusual. They are should never become the focus. I have a friend that lives in Redding that learned to let the focus be on miracles, not bizarre stuff the hard way. In the end, he publically talked about his fixation to gemstones and how it was misplaced. He loved the presence of the Holy Spirit and realized that being in the presence is most important, with or without gemstones.
Personally, I will always take someone that is extreme in their views on signs and wonder over a church that the signs and wonders you have is wondering how old the sign out front is. It is always easier to tame a wild believer than set a dead on fire. I am just being real here.
I tend to agree with the old boys at the Pentecostal church that we should focus on Jesus, not the signs and wonders. However, as much as they might hate to admit it the unusual stuff is very encouraging. I have never had an angelic encounter and did not feel encouraged and closer to Christ.
I have been in some meetings that was just out of control. I remember speaking at a conference and another speaker, David Herzog (cool guy) was talking an hour about supernatural weight loss. I am not even joking. It would be alot better than Weight Watchers. That much I know.
The problem was everyone was “in faith” for God to take off their extra weight when most of them just need a membership to Gold’s Gym and change their eating habits.
Open your mind but keep your brain
I remember hearing Paul Cain warn people over and over again in the heyday of the “Kansas City Prophets” to be open minded. He would tell people to “open your mind but don’t let your brain fall out.” This only became more and more of an issue when the renewal broke out that become known as the Toronto Blessing with John and Carol Arnott.
I believe this applies with Bethel Redding too. Be open minded and receive what God is doing but don’t start making new doctrine and patterns to canonize an experience. I have seen many knock the hell out of people like Smith Wigglesworth did but I have very few people actually heal the sick doing it like Smith did! Remember the message is what is sacred; not the message.
In my mind, it is about being open to what God is doing in your environment and doing what John Wimber said we must always do: keep the main thing the main thing. Focus on the core values of Jesus (intimacy and evangelism) and you will have encounters with the Holy Spirit that are mind blowing. You can trust me on that.
In the end, I love Bethel Redding, what they are about, who they are as a people and their mandate to the world. I am not a groupie nor do I live in Redding. I celebrate them even when I disagree with some of the things that come out of the pulpit there. Really, it is possible.
You might know about IHOP in Kansas City and its’ leader, Mike Bickle but they didn’t come out of nowhere. It started twenty years ago at Kansas City Fellowship that infamously became known as the Kansas City Prophets. The story even predates Mike Bickle to be honest.
Bob Jones, Paul Cain, John Paul Jackson, Art Katz, Jim Goll and John Wimber are all people involved in the early days of the prophetic movement in Kansas City. For me, I was just a kid then but my mother loved to go to the meetings and hear the voice of the Lord through the prophets.
What it did give me is a respect for the prophetic word of the Lord and to honor the voice of the Holy Spirit in life and in ministry. Many Christians do not believe in God’s voice and that makes me wonder how christian they really are.
On a personal level, some of the most powerful prophetic words that I have ever recieved was from Bob Jones and Paul Cain. I am talking “read your mail” type words that could be clearly wrong. I am not too interested in these genetic words that I see coming out of most ministries. I do not consider myself as part of the Kansas City Prophets.
e day. Yet, there was a crazy snow storm that hit Kansas City on the first day of spring.
Mike Bickle called a twenty one day fast and it ended with a profound star across the sky that NASA was dumbfounded about. The prophetic was operating at levels that we could only dream of in most ministries.
Paul Cain took what was happened and took it up a few levels. He was giving prophetic words that included addresses, co-worker’s names, birth times of children, etc.
In a meeting in 1989, Paul was preaching and he turned around to my parents on the front row and yelled at my dad, ” it is time to go. You did your job.” What no one else knew what my dad was seriously thinking about leaving the military and moving back to Kansas City full time. It was a word from the Lord through Paul Cain that made it possible to make the choice to retire from the only job he had known: the military.
Add into that mix a regular message from Leonard Ravenhill that was coming to see his son that was teaching in Kansas City and was attending the church. He was as hellfire and brimstone as you can get and my mom still remembers the “trembling of God” when he preached once. It was intense and everyone really knew why revival tarries in that meeting.
However, when you have any movement that focuses on the prophetic ministry and divine healing; there will be people coming up with funny ideas and the revival in Grandview was not any different. People did take it too far.
Kansas City Prophets meets John Wimber
It was in the middle of the eighties that Mike Bickle first met Wimber but in the later part of that decade, Mike was doing alot of confernces with the Vineyard and Paul Cain was giving regular words to the ministries connected with them. I am sure that Wimber was a little uneasy about some of the stuff going on that was over the top but he was a man of grace and didn’t want to come down on it as long as lives were being changed.
Ernie Gruen was a pastor in Kansas City that did not like Mike Bickle and really didn’t like Paul Cain. He wrote a 233 page article on them and blasted it by post mail to thousands of pastors across America. He is really, really upset to put it lightly.
At this point, John Wimber was getting involved as everyone from the Southern Baptist Convention to Jimmy Swaggart to Pat Robertson was coming down on them very hard. Wimber had a choice: condemn them completely or take the bullet for them.
In the end, John Wimber came to Kansas City, rebuked Mike Bickle and Bob Jones. Kansas City Fellowship became Metro Vineyard Christian Fellowship and John Paul Jackson went to California. Shortly after, Jim Goll left for Tennessee.
The good news of it all is some issues were being addressed and all the haters cooled down alot….. until the Toronto Blessing broke out.
God used the Kansas City Prophets
I look back at the time as a student of revival and I see what God did. If you understand the tower of Babel, the day of Pentecost and the wider Book of Acts; you know that God problems to take the message to the world.
In the tower of Babel, they all spoke in other tongues and they all went different ways. In the book of Acts, the same thing happened. Many know Acts 1:8 but not as many know Acts 8:1. God used trouble to get the gospel to the world.
In the same way, many ministries raised up around the world because of the issues in Kansas City. Jim Goll ended up in Nashville; John Paul Jackson would eventually land in Vetmont, Bob Jones would join Rick Joyner in Charlotte, and Paul Cain would spend his time between Kansas City and Los Angeles. Later, Shawn Bolz would be raised up to pastor in Hollywood.
The impact of the prophetic movement in the eighties reached to almost every major movement in the Church. God even raised up people that embraced the prophetic in the Baptist churches like Dr. Ron Philips.
Where are we going with the prophetic?
We have to get to the place in the prophetic that we live greeting people, “You are fine. How am I?” I am somewhat joking but I am also being serious. We need to get the prophetic ministry restored in every major movement in the Body of Christ. It has started and many do embrace it on some level. It must continue to grow until we all believe that God can use us to speak to the people around us.
Here is a quick video of Mike Bickle talking about the term Kansas City Prophets. The name of the book he named is Some say it Thundered by David Pytches.
What is the Stadium Christianity? Why is it my eschatology and why does it matter? Well, it is the study of the End Times and yes we are heading towards an end of what we call the Church Age. This age of grace could end at any moment or none of us alive together to see it.
What I do know is God is changing the understanding and expression of Christianity in one generation. He told Mike Bickle of the International House of Prayer that he would do it and he is doing it.
We understand Christianity as primarly “the Body of Christ.” Most use this because it is overly pastoral in nature and it is what we are told to believe. It also works well for people who are overly relational and in many Asians and Pacific cultural, relational life is a major issue (and hinderance).
Jesus did not tell us to “go and win friends and influence people.” He did not tell us to “go and invite people to cell group.” He did not tell us to “go and give them this best selling Christian book.” He did tell us to “go and preach the gospel.”
Eschatology: Clarifying Soteriology and Ecclesiology
What is that and why does it matter? The study of salvation is called sorietlogy to the elite theological circles. It is a fancy word for what is salvation. Ecclesiology is a fancy word for what is the Church or the called out ones. Over the last few centuries, we have told the world that being a church member was being saved. We wouldn’t say that from the pulpit (we would deny it even) but that was the culture of most churches in the Western World.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I have heard people say that we should invite people to church and call that evangelism. It is not and will never be evangelism. Jesus did not die so we could have worship services. He died so that men could come to knowledge of the Savior of the World. When you focus on church and not of the message of the Christ; you have taught a false gospel.
Jesus did not hang on the Cross so that we could have “better community” either. There is no need for nails to be driven through his hands so we could sit at Starbucks and have “relationship” over a latte. Those nails were driven so we could have relationship with our Heavenly Father. Communion with Him is what matters; not community with others.
In the last days, the issue of sorietlogy will be critical in our view of eschatology. As we unlink it from Church and see salvation on its’ own; we will see revival break forth and gospel of the Kingdom proclaimed from the mountains and from the stadiums of the world.
In no way, do I see a defeated and broken Church at the end of the age, I see a church that has repented of fear and guilt. Repentence means to change your life and change your mind. It is a new way to think. I believe the Church will repent and start to think again!
Eschatology: Honoring the final words of Christ
There are many views of how things will play out. You can pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, amillenialist, post-millenialist and about half a dozen other options. However, I believe Jesus gave us something much more important in his final words before going to Heaven.
In Acts 1:7, the discplines (probably Peter) asked him how would we know when He was returning. Jesus did not directly answer him but told him that to worry about times and dates. The details of eschatology was not the important thing to worry about.
He continued and told them when the Holy Spirit on them, they will be witness to the end of the earth. One most people do not understand about this passage is that being a witness in the mind of Jesus was to be a martyr. The greek word is where we got the word martyr from.
Jesus basically told the disciplines to not worry about the return of the Lord, none of them would probably see it but go preach the gospel with signs and wonders until you are all martyred by religiousity.
That is what my eschatology is. Preach the gospel in the stadiums of the world until Jesus comes or I am martyred; whichever comes first.
The great End-Time Harvest will be just like it started: full of power, authority, joy, and glory. I believe that we could see what is coming from glimpses we have been given through history. It will be a revival of salvation, healing and deliverance.
Is revival driven by pastors?
My study of revival history leads me to believe that pastors are normally more of a hindernce to revival than an asset. History is full of pastors either rejecting the move of God or being taken out of the picture so the Spirit could move.
On Father’s Day 1995, John Kilpatrick, pastor of the church, was literally knocked out for hours in the glory of the Lord. Because of that, the Spirit could more with fear of control. It was just the Spirit of God and the vessel of Steve Hill to walk in revival fire.
This example has been repeated many times over through history. I am not saying that pastors can’t lead revival because they can. The revival in Tampa was lead by Rodney Howard-Browne that was the pastor of the church. The historical model is that most times, the lack of pastoral leadership is a benefit.
We are coming into a place that pastors and leaders come off the platform and join the people. The leadership of the Holy Spirit is all the leadership that we need.
We will come to a place where we are nameless and faceless to the world. The only thing they see is the presence and power of the Holy Spirit in the place of meeting.
Yesterday, we covered on Filming God and judging God Stories based on the documentary by Darren Wilson. Today, we will continue on the subject and addressing the issue of doubting Thomas. In reality, it is one of the most common sins in Western Christianity.
It is no secret that I have little to no respect for people living in doubt and fear. You can’t do anything from a position of fear; yet so many people spiritualize and canonize both of them be “wisdom.” Wisdom makes you bolder with confidence; not pushes you back in being more into compliance.
We need a fresh touch of faith. One of the first things I learn at Oral Roberts University was that faith is always current. It is always now. Hebrews 11 starts with “Now Faith is….” God is the God of the Now. He is always on time.
However, everyone around us are doubters it seems. I hate to say it but Pentecostals can be some of the worst cases of doubting the word of the Lord and the move of the Spirit. It is one thing for the Baptists to question things but Pentecostals that was born out of the Azusa Street Revival? Seriously?
Darren Wilson’s journey into the Spirit realm
If you were to ask me then (and my wife often did), I would have told you that I was a healthy skeptic. In truth, I didn’t believe most of what I heard from other people. It’s not that I thought they were lying, I just figured they were embellishing things, remembering poorly, or stretching the truth (sometimes quite a bit). Usually they had something to gain if I believed them. Maybe I’d give them money, support their ministry, stroke their ego, or allow them to keep speaking at other churches. I was sure God could do great things, I just didn’t think He did do them all that much.
What he calls being a skeptic is really the spirit of Doubting Thomas. He excepted people to not have prophetic experiences. Anything radical at all and he didn’t want to receive it. This is not special to Darren Wilson, either. This is very common, even in renewal churches. Doubt is never a fruit of the Spirit, either.
He expected that faith required him to agree with the person on some level. There was an investment to be made. It might be seeding an offering, supporting them in prayer, or endorsing them in ministry. By his own admission, he knew that having faith in people’s experience would cost him something.
This is a risk that many will not take. They would live a life of failure. They see themselves as people struggling and therefore, they believe everyone around them must be struggling to have faith as well. This is actually far more common than we care to admit.
It is amazing how many Christians think the Holy Spirit is the quiet kid in the corner of the lunch room that is afraid to speak to anyone in fear they will mock Him and humiliate Him!
Darren Wilson was not alone.
The story does not end there. He is open to the move of the Spirit, he is just a skeptical. There is hope and deliverance for skeptics. They are not critics; they haven’t made up their mind, yet.
In Darren’s words,
In my mind, I was a healthy skeptic, but in reality, I was an impostor. I hid behind my skepticism and called it discernment. But what I have discovered in years of traveling the world filming this stuff, and in dealing with people’s opinions of me and my movies, is that skepticism and discernment are two totally different things…
What he is releasing is a powerful word for all of us, if we have ears to hear it. Most of us remain skeptics and spiritualize it as discernment. In reality, most people do not even know what discernment even looks like!
Discernment is being like the Bereans, checking things out hoping it is true. A skeptic is looking with the position, “I am sure they are wrong and I am just checking to make sure before I blog about them as heretics.” There is a world of difference.
I have never been good at being a skeptic of the move of the Holy Spirit and really bad at being a critic. I do not check my brain at the door but I believe in the God of the Possible too. Impossible is nothing to a man with faith.
I am over being being a doubter, completely set free and not returning to being in bondage in the near future. Sorry, not my thing.
What about Scam Artist Preachers
Darren Wilson touches on this as well,
The problem, of course, is that there are so many charlatans out there, so many religious men and women who have been caught lying to us. So many leaders have proven to be hypocrites on a grand scale, and it has become increasingly difficult to trust and believe anything at face value anymore. I don’t see this problem going away any time soon, and I think it’s both healthy and important that we continue to wrestle with these things, test them, and turn a discerning eye toward them.
This is where I will tend to disagree with him on some level. Darren is a solid guy, loves the move of the Spirit but some of His old Baptist theology is raining through. Worrying a scam artist or a charlatan is really not something I care to do. You can say someone is, I can say than they are not. Who is right and who is wrong?
I have found that most people who are accused of being a scam artists are not at all. I hear this leveled against Todd Bentley on a regular basis. I do not believe he is for one minute. He might be dumb with some of his presentation and he might be an idiot when it comes to finances; but that does not mean he is a scam artist.
Todd is no Robert Tilton. He is one of the few that I will say is clearly a con artist. Peter Proff is another. These are confirmed. Todd Bentley, Benny Hinn, and even Paul Cain are not. They might have issues but issues don’t make you a charlatan. It just makes you completely lack responsibility.
Darren Wilson’s final outcome
If it was true that God really was moving at an unprecedented rate around the world, and His spirit was doing things that were, well, of biblical proportions on a pretty regular basis, then church for church’s sake wasn’t going to cut it anymore.
If you want to see more of God than you have, you are going to have more faith in what He is doing than you do in what He is not doing. Until we can get to the point, we are not going to see much change in how we think of the Holy Spirit or we express the move of God to the culture we dwell in.
As I said, people like Darren are very common. The sad part if they fill the seats of Pentecostal and Charismatic churches across America.