I have been part of the prophetic movement since I was in high school. I was there the first day for the International House of Prayer. I was at The Call in DC. I have been right in the middle of it all. At one time, I was traveling as a speaker at meetings which churches that welcomed the prophetic. However, I have become more and more uncomfortable with what is happening in the movement in recent years.
The other day, I was part of a round table of prophetic people in Dallas. I walked away from it quite upset with some of what I saw happen in the meeting. To be quite honest, I was grieved over the complete lack of anointing among people who claim to be “God’s mouthpiece.”
I guess, it started when I was living outside the United States and I saw so much of the prophetic voices giving “words” about US issues. It was almost like God was concerned about American politics. It seemed like all prophets looked at Washington and only politics mattered to the prophets of the Lord. I knew this was missiological wrong.
I have spend the last nine months in the United States and I am convinced that there is something very wrong with the movement. It is something that grieves the heart of the Father and it is quenching the Holy Spirit.
Prophetic Disconnect: Jeremiah 29
One of the favorite passages of people in the movement is Jeremiah 29:11 as a promise of prosperity. However, one of the biggest failures among people who attends churches that support the prophetic is found in the word: hermeneutics. There is very little exegesis going on these days.
“Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the Lord.
In just 2-3 verses before the popular verse that everyone loves is a warning about false prophets and deceivers. There is no shortage of prophecy, dreams and even claims of angelic visitation in the prophetic movement. Many people claim to have some very wild encounters. However, a lot of them just do not hold up to the test of scriptures. They are false words and false dreams.
As in the days of Jeremiah, we live in a time where people are being given to endless myths and vain imaginations. I do not question the heart of many of the people in the prophetic movement. They really do believe they experienced these things. The problem is there is no discernment between the mind and the spirit.
Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith. (1 Timothy 1:4)
There is a reason that both Jeremiah and Paul discuss false prophecy (and prophets). It is a problem that every generation faces and it is very well the greatest challenge that this generation is facing in the Church today.
Despite Not Prophecy
The reason that this matters so much is a lot of Pentecostals are sick of prophecy, prophetic words and even words of knowledge because of the abuses they have seen in some circles. They have almost became Baptist in their attitude towards the gift of the Holy Spirit. This “God knows my address if he wants to speak to me” mentality is even more dangerous. However, it a defense to the abusive nature of some given to vain imagination.
Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. (1 Thess 5:18-22)
This passage is really important for Pentecostals. We could be quenching the Holy Spirit but our attitude about prophecy. When we act like all prophetic words are false until proved otherwise; we are not in operating in faith and expectation. Having a disrespect or seeing an utterance is worthless could be quite damaging to the local assembly.
The truth is there is something holy about when God gives a message to us through either a prophecy or a interpretation of tongues. There is something about it that puts the fear of the Lord in the saints. We can not discard this just because of the abuses of the current prophetic movement (that I have been part of for many years).
One thing that is of interest is there has been very few times that tongues and prophecy actual flow in a meeting from someone that did not have a microphone. It was tightly controlled, unlike many Pentecostal churches that anyone with the message will release it!
The Disconnect of Prophecy
The real challenge is a lesson from the healing revival in the 1950’s. In the beginning, people like Oral Roberts and Jack Coe was having amazing miracles. There was something holy and special about the miracles. As the time went on, the stories of the miracles becoming too often and too extreme. As a result, the saints started to question the working of miracles in these meetings. They got familiar with the gift and lost the respect for it.
The same is happening with prophecy today. There is too many people claiming this and that prophetic experience. Some of them are truly from the Holy Spirit and many of them are just soulish. People hear about them too often and the claims are just too familiar to us. When someone says they see something in the Spirit, we just don’t take it that serious anymore.
The problem is we know that the healing revival ended horribly. Oral Roberts completely made up a prophetic experience. Jack Coe died from health issues. A.A. Allen drunk himself to death. William Brahnam started teaching heresy. Paul Cain hid on the backside of Arizona. In fact, much of the hyper-evangelicalism in the 1980’s came out of disappointment from what happening on the trail of the Voice of Healing revival.
The current prophetic movement is moving towards the same fate. Many of its’ leaders are getting out there. Bill Johnson seems to be less and less grounded theologically. Mike Bickle has become fixated on eschatology. Many of them are teaching Partial Preterism. The list goes on and it there is not a serious revival of repentance among them, the ending of the healing revival will be repeated.
Statement from Azusa Report
I have said that I am leaving the prophetic movement before and to a degree I did. However, I feel that things are completely off track and very little of what is happening in the churches have anything to do with the bloody Savior and winning souls for Jesus. As a result, I have to come to the following statement.
I am a classic Pentecostal. I have never tried to hide that from anyone. I always looked at having one foot in the Pentecostal movement and one in the prophetic movement. I am simply moving my foot from being in both and putting them at attention in Pentecost.
I was always looked at oddly for being passionate Pentecostal. I never would question that tongues are the initial physical evidence of the Holy Spirit baptism. I would never deny that Jesus is going to catch up the saints at the end of the harvest (Pre-Trib Rapture) . Both of these put me at odds in a community that doesn’t really value praying in tongues and are very boldly against the rapture.
At the end of the day, we have to get our respect and awe for the prophetic again. We have to hold times where God speaks to His people as holy. We can never get too familiar with the message from the Spirit. The End time harvest will require people who actually know what is prophecy and what is vain imagination.
I will end this article with a strong message about revival. Many feel that the Pentecostal movement has had its’ heyday. This is simply not true. Pentecostals have a theology for revival and that makes is much easier to see protracted outpouring. Without the doctrine for it, it ends very badly. Just ask anyone who was at the Lakeland revival!