I was on staff at the International House of Prayer from September 1999 until March 2005. I am very thankful for my time at IHOPKC. It was one of my most important seasons in my life to be honest. Continue reading…
Tagged in: Kansas City Prophets
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…
[wd_hustle id=”email”]A question that I get a lot is concerning a coming healing revival? It is centered around some prophetic words and promises that people have been talking about for years. It seems that the discussion of healing revival goes back to as early as May 1906 at Azusa Street. Continue reading…
I believe the prophetic ministry is dying a slow death and it the people from within that is killing it, not the critics. We have been slowly part of its’ death and we look in the mirror thinking it is growing. In reality, it is just growing flaky. 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.
John Wimber believed in what we called Power Healing. It changed the church world as we know it. I would say that John Wimber did more to bring renewal to the Bride of Christ than anyone we know. In fact, the renewal outlived him if we are to honest.
I did not know much about John Wimber as a kid. I do remember my grandparents flying us to California for a conference and we went to Disneyland while there. They was always going to meetings when my grandpa was not preaching a “revival.” I was more interested in the roller coasters than I was sitting in church meetings at seven.
I look back and realize that those meeting was really important and they was at the Vineyard Church that John Wimber pastored. We enjoyed the services and I knew that grandpa spend a morning in a special meeting with leaders. I did not know (nor cared) then but he was sitting down with John Wimber to talk about world missions.
Thinking back, I would have loved to be in that meeting. A hard core classic Pentecostal that built his ministry on telling people to “Rapture ready” and a pastor that was Amillenialist and disagree with many of the core values of Pentecostals. They did embrace each other.
Power Healing renewal in Toronto
The renewal in Toronto, or the Toronto Blessing, came out of the Vineyard movement and started the Airport Vineyard Fellowship with John and Carol Arnott as pastor and through the ministry of Randy Clark, the pastor of the Vineyard in Saint Louis. The early days of it was mainly to people in the movement. It was not until late 1995 that it really started to spread to everyone.
On December 5, 1995; a sick John Wimber along with Todd Hunter made a very hard call: they asked John Arnott to leave the Vineyard unless they submitted to things that would make the religious people less angry. In some ways, this was not like Wimber. However, no one really know he was sick with cancer either.
What I get from this was no as much a rebuke but a promotion. He knew that the Vineyard could not last with him and in the middle of a renewal as well. Something had to give somewhere. They had to kill the renewal or remove it. They removed it and the Toronto Blessing went on without Wimber and the movement.
I see the move as the continuation of the movement, not the split of it. The Vineyard became a more traditional church that focused on people’s need and pastoring people. The Toronto movement would focus on bringing renewal to the church. Both were who John Wimber was.
Both ministries would focus on Power Healing to some degree. Many of the ministries that was born out of the renewal would focus on different truth that they learned from John Wimber and the wider Vineyard movement. Randy Clark, a major leader would go on to build his whole ministry on power healing and power evangelism.
What about the Kansas City Prophets?
I was attending Metro Christian Fellowship under Mike Bickle. We was a member of the movement and we was very close to what was happening in Canada. There was no way that they could be gone and we could stay. We both had very strong emphasis on power healing and the prophetic. Either Toronto had to stay or we had to go.
Well, a few months later, Mike Bickle told the church that we were not a member of the Vineyard Association of Churches anymore and we were on our own again. It was a bitter moment as my mother (and others) felt that power healing had been put on trail by the man that introduced all of us to it. Was John Wimber rejecting his own teaching? People were starting to wonder.
Many of us in Kansas City was trying very hard to honor Wimber and bless him but the actions over the last few months left us completely undone. Was Wimber becoming a heresy hunter, was he in bed with John McArthur, was he looking for “brownie points” with evangelicals or was something deeper going on?
We did not know it then but shortly after, we learned that he was sick and was battling cancer. It made things make sense alot more. He was taking action so that the Vineyard could go on without him. Having people running around doing power healing and the prophetic without any real leadership was not going to work out.
Was John Wimber right?
Looking back at it twenty years later, I still believe that John made the wrong call. I get it but I do not agree with it. It seems that John Wimber put Power Healing on the altar as a sacrifice. Vineyard Churches today look more like Baptist than Pentecostals currently. The few Vineyard pastors I know do not talk much about the Baptism of the Holy Spirit anymore.
It seems like they have went Baptist on us and believe in healing like them. They love to talk about Jesus healing people in the Bible but don’t focus too much on healing the sick today. This was the fundamentals of John Wimber and the Vineyard’s core teachings. They have lost power healing!
I am not saying the movement is completely dead. It is not. They are meeting alot of good people’s needs. They are doing alot of social justice, something renewal churches suck at. They are serving a purpose but miracles, signs and wonders is something that they suck at pretty bad if you ask me.
I have been very impressed with Rich Nathan out of Columbus. He has really made a practical outreach to his city and he really does Columbus and especially Westerville area. I honor that.
Add to the mix, the whole servant evangelism movement came out of the Vineyard. While they may not have power healing happening anymore, they are still doing alot of things right.
Jill Austin, a prophetic voice to the nations, changed my life. It was an interesting meeting as I had known her on several levels: from the platform, mutual friends and ending up in her kitchen prophetically.
I never tried to make the meeting happen. I am sure I could have. I had enough contacts to do it and our family was pretty connected at the International House of Prayer and we know Mike . It would have been as simple as a few phone calls to make it work. I didn’t do that as I wasn’t really interested in making a meeting happen.
Jill is one of those prophetic people that are well, different. She is radical and far more spiritual than she will ever let you know and she saw much more in the natural and supernatural than anyone realized. She was in the middle of the Jesus People movement and was close to Lonnie Frisbee at one time. How amazing is that?
How I ended up in Jill Austin’s kitchen?
It would have been around 2005 or so. I was living back in Kansas City and by divine appointment, I met a Jewish brother that was in Kansas City healing up from some stuff that happened. I would drive around Kansas City with him sometimes and one night he got a call from Jill to come by her house.
I had been in her house before. I didn’t think much about it but one thing led to another and I was having dinner with Jill Austin. I did not know Jill on the “come over and let’s have dinner” level but here I was. I am not much into the celebrity christian thing so it I was not like worshipping the prophetess.
What I did know is this was a repeat of the whole Mike Bickle/Bob Jones/Art Katz event back in 1983 minus the snow in the spring. I was not making a huge thing of it but I was aware of it and I knew the anointing on Jill’s life. I honored it and I knew it was only by divine call that the Holy Spirit put me at her dinner table when I was suppose to be getting ready to lead a prayer set at IHOP.
A few years before that, I met one of God’s Generals, RW Schambach, and have met many other spiritual statesmen. I know one thing when someone who has seen and heard what they have: sit down, shut up, and soak in their knowledge.
I was in no hurry and I was not going to be the FBI and cross examine her. I led Jill lead the discussion and it turned to what I had hoped for: Lonnie Frisbee and the early days of Jesus People. I wanted to know more about him and there is not much eye witness information out there. As she talked about it, all I could hear was her yelling, “Nations. Nations.” from the platform. If you knew Jill, you know what I mean.
Jill Austin releases destiny
As I was eating, I was wondering why I was there. Was it just to hear about Lonnie Frisbee which was very important for me at the time? Was there more to it? After all, my motto for ministry back there was “There must be more!” Why did the Holy Spirit really make me very late for leading a prayer set?
As I was leaving, Jill wanted to lay hands on me. I know one thing: anyone that anointed ask to pray for you; you have all the time in the world. Impartation is real and it really can be transferred. The power of impartation is for you and for today!
As she laid hands on me, I felt the fire of the Holy Spirit come on me and my left arm started to burn. It means nothing to you but feeling in my left side is weak at best. The burning consumed my body to the point that I could hardly pray in tongues. Here was Peter, the 6’3″ 240 pound boxer than never went off his feet and my knees gave out and I was laying on the floor knocked out by the power of God!
I did not see angels, go to heaven or have open visions. I just was knocked out and getting downloads from the Lord about healing ministry. The Holy Spirit showed me things about my grandfather’s healing ministry that I had never heard. Later, my grandmother and other confirmed these.
Everything changed that night
Shortly after that, Jill would go through a wild chain of events. She would move from Kansas City to Los Angeles, be wounded by a pastor, confront the spirits over California, come back to Kansas City, and get sick and pass away on a visit to a city she lived in for many years. The next time I would see Jill was at her memorial service.
I went on a quest to undig some of the stories about my grandfather’s ministry that no one talked about. He just lived for the next miracle, never really caring to talk about the last hundred he saw. He also had to protect his ministerial affiliation. Miracles were troublesome at the district office sometimes. I am eternally grateful for TL Osborn that filled in the blanks for me.
I can’t point to a direct impartation that I got that night but I can say that it started me on a path to dig alot of stories and testimonies out that I would not have known otherwise. In that quest, I got many touches from the Lord through impartation that I do not think I would have ever got without that night eating dinner at the home of Jill Austin.
On a side note, Jill believed that she would get married in 2009. Well she did. She met her Bridegroom, the Bridegroom Jesus Christ in 2009. I still miss hearing her yell “Nations. Nations. Do you burn for nations?”
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.