Nowadays, I hate to even admit I’m a charismatic. Sure, every sect within Christianity has its quirks, but sadly for charismatics, their quirks wind up hosting Christian TV shows with sets that look like 18th century French whorehouses.
It’s not enough that some charismatic TV preachers have $23,000 gilt toilets in their ministry centers. It’s not enough that they sell holy water, or boast of gold flakes falling into their worship services, or maintain prophecy hotlines and Web sites. In short, with too many charismatics, especially the prominent ones, it’s just…well, not enough.
Hang around in charismatic circles long enough (particularly in newer Third Wave circles and the true old school William Branham fan clubs) and you’ll likely encounter one bizarre “leading” after another.
Take, for instance, the modern prophetic movement. A number of prominent prophets have arisen in recent years, many from the old Kansas City prophets debacle who have spun off new ministries. People desperate for a “fresh revelation from God” follow leaders within the prophetic movement like groupies. These prophets put on traveling prophetic road shows where they prophesy over people—likely people who have been following the roadshows from town to town. And, of course, it all costs boatloads of money. People dying for that fresh revelation have a tenuous hold on their cash, needless to say.
I, for one, understand none of this fascination, for several reasons:
One of the best-known of the prophets has said their accuracy is only about 60 percent. Judging from the vagueness of most of the prophetic “words” that prophecy-lovers swoon over, that’s a pretty lousy figure, and I would say that even that 60 percent is generous. My guess? Maybe less than 10 percent, and that’s just on stuff like “God will prosper you.”
Modern prophets seem to be highly selective of what is important. For instance, I can recall no celebrity prophet foreseeing 9/11. We had two of the most prominent prophets come to one of my old churches, and for hours they spoke “words,” but neither seemed to make any mention of the fact that within a few months the pastor of the church would die several times after routine surgery, only to barely survive after repeated resuscitations. You would’ve thought that might have come out, wouldn’t you?
Today’s prophets never seem to deliver negative prophecies with drastic consequences—except when they’re warning against not heeding their prophecies.
Too many of these prophets ally with bizarre organizations. The same prophet who cited the low accuracy figure was initiated into the secretive Catholic organization the Knights of Malta. Joining him was a major pastoral figure within the charismatic movement. Why? And why did that same prophet start writing bizarre theology replete with Arthurian legends?
You want to know what I’ve learned about the real prophets out there? For the most part, they are nameless, faceless people who don’t keynote traveling prophetic roadshows, don’t have prophetic Web sites, don’t issue prophetic newsletters, and in almost every case, never go around telling people, “I’m a prophet!” (While I’m not into blanket discernment, I believe applying that reasoning–until proven otherwise by real prophets–will save most people a lifetime of heartache.)
I could go on and on about the sorry state of that part of the charismatic movement, but I’ll switch to another.
Charismatics love the Old Testament. I mean they quote liberally from the OT, often to the expense of the NT. And one of the biggest movements afoot is this whole idea of restoring Old Testament practices once used within Israel, New-Testament-izing them for use in the Church. Reformulating healing oils, attempting to raise up David’s tabernacle, recovering temple worship practices–the list goes on and on.
It doesn’t matter to them that Christ fulfilled all of what they’re attempting to resuscitate. In fact, it doesn’t matter that Christ rendered most of that stuff moot. The OT-resurrectors still want to do it. (Almost as if Christ didn’t do a good enough job fulfilling it. Ouch.)
I could go on and on about the sorry state of that part of the charismatic movement, but I’ll switch to another.
As for the prosperity gospel charismatic types out there, all I can say is this: Is anyone policing the affairs of these folks? I’m avoiding naming names here since that’s not what this blog is all about, but what’s with the excess made off the backs of poor, foolish souls who give money to these notable “ministers” and their “ministries”? And why is no one being held accountable? I understand a lot of these “ministers” don’t answer to any policing denomination, but they should still answer to the charismatics who are supporting them! (I’ll have more to say about that later.) That it took the government to step in and ask what the heck is going on with some of these ministries is shameful and shows the total lack of discernment by charismatics.
Before I go on, let me offer a few harsh insights on the sorry state of the charismatic movement today.
When charismatics chase after prophecy, chase after restoring OT practices, chase after prosperity, and chase after anything that isn’t Jesus, they’re chasing wind. And they’ll reap the whirlwind for it.
Worse, all this chasing after these fringes distracts them from what is most important to the Lord: leading people to Christ and growing them into mature disciples. Do any of us remember the Great Commission? Truthfully, this plagues nearly every church in America. We’re just cannibalizing each other’s congregations; we’re not growing.
For the first time in probably five years, someone handed me a tract last week. Now I’m not a huge fan of tract evangelism, but still. I can’t remember in the last 10 years when a stranger came up to me and asked me if I knew Jesus. That used to happen at least once a month when I was younger. Where are all the evangelists out there? What happened to leading people to Christ and discipling them to maturity?
Those of us charged with the duty got distracted by this and that. It’s amazing to me that the more charismatics want fresh revelation or a “touch from God,” the less interested they become in fulfilling the Great Commission. That’s a “word” none of us wishes to hear, though.
And as far as fresh revelation goes, whatever happened to the old revelation? A couple weeks ago, my pastor stood up in church, held a Bible high and said, “This is the only sure word.” And he’s right. Why then are so many charismatics obsessed with fresh revelation when they don’t even live by the old revelation? Many of them hardly know the old revelation at all. If they did, they wouldn’t be taken in by all these charlatans and hucksters masquerading as “ministers!”
Can you tell I’m sick at heart about this? These issues just frost me to no end!
Here is my plea to anyone out there who claims to be a charismatic. I hope you hear me. And if you’re not a charismatic, consider the problems in your own little sect and ask what specifics will better your group.
Trinity Broadcasting Network has proven time and again it cannot police the people it features on its programming. In fact, the leaders of TBN will nod and weep along with the worst heresies known to man spoken by some of the biggest flakes and con-artists alive today. There, I said it.
Turn off TBN. Open up your Bible. Get down on your knees and repent. Ask God to open your eyes to the need in your little neighborhood. Use the money God has given you to help those people rather than line the pockets of TBN. Lead people to Christ (not to TBN) and disciple them. Do what Jesus commands you to do. But don’t send another dime to TBN. If it takes calling your cable or satellite channel and asking them to block TBN to keep you from watching it, please, do it.
Does TBN feature anything redeemable in its programming? Maybe. But the sheer load of junk that emanates from that network makes the signal to noise ratio infinitesimally small.
Start asking for accountability from these celebrity charismatic preachers.
This begins by cutting off the revenue stream. Nothing gets a person’s attention more than when the gravy train stops. Don’t send money to those ministries. Don’t buy the books of those ministers, their tapes, DVDs, Holy Land vacations, or anything associated with them. If they’re of God, God will provide for them. They may have less to live on, but they’ll be more more humble–we hope. (When we hear some diamond-encrusted “bishop” complaining how badly he needs his Rolls Royce, we should know just who the wolf among the sheep is.) Then start asking questions. Only then might the truth set us all free from the lies we’ve been fed.
Get out of the charismatic ghetto.
I said this before in my post “How Not to Be a Charismatic Headcase.” Time to see how Christians in other sects live. Somehow they manage to survive without fresh revelation. Much of that’s due to them relying on the leather-bound revelation they already have in their hands. Some of those other folks actually lead people to Christ and into a deep relationship with Him. It would be great to know how they do it, wouldn’t it?
Say no to fluff.
No conferences. No traveling prophetic roadshows. No arena-based revival events. Just say no. There’s no substitute for the old fashioned way of doing it right. The charismatic movement’s fascination with show and with “new moves of God” leads more often than not to a big fat nothing (see “Charismatic Churches and the Cult of the New“). We can’t bypass the simple spiritual disciplines and the simple commands of Christ.
Get the spiritual focus off everyone, ourselves included, and back onto Christ.
If I hear another charismatic tell about the spiritual thing they’re pursuing that’s NOT Jesus Christ, I’m going to scream. It is not about us and our needs. It’s about Jesus. The best way to seek first the Kingdom is to seek the King. And you’re not going to find that King except through the old tried and true methods. Not through fresh revelation, not through Christianizing Old Testament practices, not through praying that God will help you keep up with the Joneses, but through prayer, fasting, worship, Scripture reading & memorization, and the rest of the spiritual disciplines Christians have practiced since Pentecost.
Turn off the Christian TV. Turn off the Christian radio. Put down the book by this celebrity charismatic preacher or that. Stay away from the prophetic Web sites.
Instead, find out what the Lord says through the Bible. Don’t go looking for hidden revelation in the Bible for the time being, but stick to the obvious revelation that’s already there. Learn it. Memorize it. Live it. Pray it. And when you’re done praying it, pray some more. Do that and you just may find the Lord’s ready to charge you with His power from on high, taking you into ministry realms you never would’ve discovered otherwise.
Honestly, we charismatics should all be sickened by what’s going on. What sickens me most of all is that Christ is mocked when we act as ridiculous as some of us are acting. Mocked. And if we believe any of His Holy Spirit is going to bless us during mid-mock, then we’re the most deceived people on the face of the planet.
87 thoughts on “Following TBN Off a Cliff”
When you nail it, you REALLY nail it. And might I suggest that yours is a true prophetic voice (which is probably why you annoy me often – the real prophetic does tend to either annoy or convict – softer hearts experience conviction). Thanks for writing this, Dan.
I’m just sick of the deception. And it’s not just TBN. A lot of the Third Wavers don’t have anything to do with TBN. They’re some of the biggest supporters of the Kansas City prophet crowd, though.
Most of the charismatic world is screwed up, sadly. This says less about the veracity of continuing charismata and more about what happens when “spiritual experiences” drown out real purpose. You’ve got so many people trying to make it to the Third Heaven that no one’s doing the work. While this may not have been an issue the NT writers foresaw, it’s a problem nonetheless.
And most American churches have some problem they need to face. Many are as dry as a bone and devoid of the Spirit’s influence. So they’ve got a different set of problems.
Good post Dan!
I banned TBN 10 years ago, and believe me i don’t miss it at all: in fact the stress attacks which use to come about from ‘talking back’ to my TV, have dramatically disappeared. LOL
While all of your points were excellent, one in particular caught my attention. That being the return within many charismatic circles to the old testament practices. This is something which has concerned me deeply in the last couple years.
Dan, i believe you are a learned man of God so i have a question for you.
Only today i read a news article pertaining to some of our more well known “Christian” leaders who have signed a document in which they obviously are seeking unity with those of the faith of Islam. As i stated on my own blog, Christianity + ______ (fill in the blank) = apostasy. I believe this…for Christianity, or one who is a Christian, has given their allegence to Christ.
Is not embracing once again the practices of the old testament…or Judaism apostasy as well?
I would really like your opinion, for this is a question which has bugged me for awhile.
My opinion on your question is this
So that’s not just my opinion, BTW. 😉
What does Sabbath mean to you?
Was the 4th commandment done away and by whose authority?
What does the word ‘Moedim” mean……do you even know that word?
What doe the word FULLFILL mean to you when Jesus says that he came to FULLFILL the law not to abolish it?
What do you think Jesus meant when he said that those who teach to keep the commandments will be great in the kingdom and those who teach not to will be least?
Why did Jesus say that ELIJAH must come first??
What does the word RESTORE mean, what is the ROOT word for Restore??
What does UNCLEAN mean to you?
What does the word GENTILE mean to you?
What was the Jerusalem council in the book of Acts, that Paul listened to and submitted to? Do christians not need to heed their council even though Paul did?
Where in scripture does it SAY that we are not to keep any of the same commandments that Jesus himself did keep? If we are to be conformed into his IMAGE why do we consider ourselves to be better than Him?
Do you celebrate Christmas?
Do you celebrate Easter?
What does the word Judaizer mean to you?
Honestly, I would like you to answer all of these questions, b/c you talk about things that you have no knowledge of.
You take verses out of context, and you repeat what has been handed down by the traditions of man instead of by the Spirit of Revelation. You have not done your homework and have many times slandered Paul by continually quoting him out of context with your carnal reasoning.
As far as your statements about the rest of ‘charasmania’ you have many solid points.
Those who celebrate their Hebraic Roots and have been drawn to ‘come out of her my people’ ( the Harlot, Babylonian system of the traditions of man) do not deserve to be maligned and broadbrushed by someone that is completely ignorant of many of the terms and idioms used throughout scripture.
Give me a break……all those scriptures you quoted above….how do you feel those prove your point? If anything they prove exactly the opposite…..’For what PRACTICE does righteousness have with LAWLESSNESS?’
What do those words mean to you…..practice lawlessness?
Amen! Hallelujah. I boycotted TBN about 5 years ago as I too was having stress from yelling at my TV like the commenter above. I don’t read books by big name people and I stopped visiting all websites of any Christian nature other than blogs (to which I am selective about). I am with you on all the rest
The other thing I hate is the emails I get from these big named prophets and from their marketing gurus Charisma Magazine is how they are proclaiming the cleansing of the Lord is coming to the church. Why couldn’t any of them said this oh I don’t know like 3 years ago? Why did the Lord wait to tell them about these great revelations until after all these preachers started to fall? Also how come if one Charismatic church has a move of God do all of them have to go there, get what they have got and copy it line by line and word for word from that other church? Why can’t God be a God of the new thing and work in ways you can’t see in your church in your own town. What I find to be really scary especially in the churches I used to attend it how everyone started looking like the pastors who were in leadership and the pastors looked like the people that mentored them. It kinda of creeps me out.
Thanks for speaking the truth! We need more people willing to say “Hey something is not right.”
Ironically, one of the surest signs of God cleansing the Church (especially in this country) will be the cleansing of all these bogus prophets!
Charisma Magazine’s editor is trying to point out some of the hypocrisy and heresy going on in charismatic circles. Good for him. At the same time, though, ads for some of the wackiest of the wacky appear regularly in the magazine. This is one reason why I have rejected advertising revenue from Christian sources on this blog. It is darned near impossible to remain objective when you’re accepting money from people. More power to Charisma’s editor, but I wish he and his team would crack down even harder.
Wow Dan. Yet another one of your posts I’m archiving. Seriously… I am applauding (listen closely..lol). Heck that one deserves a standing ovation.
I’m grateful you have the nerve to say the things I think. I’m not quite there yet.
I haven’t watched TBN in so many years I lost count. I felt a serious gut punch every time I did, and well this time of year, I get that gut punch at the “Christian” book store, the mall, any time I turn on the radio…
Just last week, I closed the door on finishing my Bible degree. Why? I told my pastor that I realized that I was learning the theology of man, the popular books and writings, and reading that more than I was the Word. If God was going to use me the way I’ve been promised, all I needed was in that leather book. I need to know that more than anything and until I feel released to do so, I won’t be reading anything except the Word.
I’m starting to run into more and more people just aching about the state of the modern church. That encourages me…
I sure hope you don’t drop out of your Bible class! 🙁 There’s nothing wrong with hearing what other believers say about the Scriptures. Hearing what they say and what the Holy Spirit says doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive.
I was working towards my degree Dan, but I really felt like it was teaching me more of what I didn’t want to know than the word.
I will still be sucking up books in the future… that I can’t avoid… and I have incredible teaching at my church. I guess I just figured I don’t need the sheepskin. I need the Shepard more. 😉
Great post I was in pretty deep in all of the above for about 20 years.I guess I am still in recovery as I get pretty angry now about much of it.( although I am not a cessionist )
Why does it continue? 1. I am guessing because there will always be people who are now open to spiritual gifts that weren’t before. 2.Marginalized folks may have a greater need for supernatural interventions but they can also be more easily exploited.( white wealthy upper class presbys and episcopalians aren’t any where near these groups ) 3. Sound doctrine and knowing how to test spirits is sorely lacking.
Regarding the comments about muslims above. This could be very problematic to this country in the future with supposed ‘islamaphobia’ trends and legislation. Augh…I can think of a large well known parachurch mission agency that is behind it according to ‘deception in the church’. But back to doctrine again….f you really corner some of these folks and test their orthodoxy they will come up lacking but they have followers like above and many BABY christians who are praised for ‘giving it all up for Jesus’ and prophecying from the tops of mountains. ( I have done this ) It is a perpetuating cycle.
Studying apologetics has helped me. Oh yea and getting a job.
A very long time ago, I used to watch TBN for one show: Jack Hayford’s program. I think Jack is still on. He may be the sole voice of sanity left. In fact, I wish he’d drop out because I don’t want to see him tainted by all that goes on elsewhere on TBN.
Come to think of it, I also did watch their Real Videos show back in the day when Christian music videos were brand new. I think Real Videos was about the only place you could even see them. Some of those videos were so low budget, I think they were financed through church bake sales!
Other than that, even a newbie charismatic like I was (this was 22-23 years ago) could tell that most of what went on on TBN was just plain crazy. The level of discernment did not need to be superhuman or even supernatural. Just plain common sense told you too many things were “off” to be of God. Just the telethons alone would tell you that. The guest preachers they would have on to whip up the audience would say just about anything (and usually did) to get people to send in money. All you need to do is see that once to know that somethin’ ain’t right. And once should be all you need.
That’s another thing that makes me crazy. How many bogus prophecies do these prophecy-lovers have to hear before they start testing what they are hearing? If a supposed prophet speaks ten words and nine of them are wrong, why is it that people latch onto that one like it’s manna? I mean, a stopped clock may be right twice a day, but it’s still worthless for its intended purpose.
Well, on a more serious note, if these pseudo-charismatics were so old-testament, they would be stoning thier own prophets, because according to the old testement, a true prophet of God is never inaccurate, and if he is incorrect in his prophesy, then he speaks from his own heart, and not that of God, and should therefore be stoned as a false prophet.
Why do Christians give these people the time of day? Because…
And it’s only going to get worse. We need to just keep plugging away.
Well, you posted the money verse. That was the one that was in the back of my mind when I wrote this post. I almost included it and probably should have.
These also came to mind:
Oh that we would be more heedful of these truths!
1. But is OT prophecy like NT prophecy? I think one could makes a compelling case by explaining the case of Agabus: he told Paul he was going to be bound by the Jews. Paul was indeed bound, but by the Romans. In other words, Agabus missed in a few details but not in all. So, it seems that not even Agabus was completely accurate! Therefore, what do these ‘bogus’ prophets claim? I think that when they claim 60% accuracy in all their prophecies they should mean 60% of the time, their prophecies are Agabus-like and 40% are just plainly missing the mark. Or is it that they claim that they are accurate 60% in the content of all their individual prophecies -something hard to swallow thou.
2. It is fair for you to affirm that there is some ‘signal’ in TBN. Besides Hayford, someone may point out to Stanley and the Way of the Master. Now, did you know that TWOM interviewed Paul Washer on their TBN set? Could you believe it? Praise God for Paul’s bold witness!
Paul Washer’s TBN interview, part 1:
Paul Washer’s TBN interview, part 2:
Now, if you have still have time, it’d be worth downloading this message by CJ Mahaney:
“”Christ, the essence and image of God, is more to be desired than all His gifts. He is the end of our soul’s savoring, not the means, writes John Piper. C.J. Mahaney offers believers fatherly counsel to remember that all gifts from God are intended to direct attention to God and create fresh affection for God.”
Thanks for the links. I’m rebuilding my church’s Web site, so I can’t follow up on them right now, but I will try to in the future.
As to whether NT prophecy and OT prophecy are the same, I would say that the distinguishing characteristics is that NT prophecy stands no potential for being considered part of the canon. Nor should it be. The canon IS closed. This is why I’m not understanding why some anti-charismatics rail on that point. I can tell the difference. No one in is claiming the NT revelation should be considered canonical. I don’t believe that God thinks it should be, either. There are a lot of prophecies in the Bible that are mentioned but weren’t written down for us. God knows what He’s doing! Do we trust Him on this?
Like I mentioned, there is some “signal” amid the rest of the “noise” coming out of TBN. But why spend your life trying to pan for gold amid all the silt? You may never hit the jackpot, and you may end up wrecking your life by absorbing too many poisons in the water.
I read your post, and as I came to the end I had volumes of supportive statements to make, colored by a few worthy praises. Then I read through the other comments, and found that most of my comments had already been made. (I do think that redundancy is a sin…right?) As a Southern Baptist pastor who spent the first 20 years of his life in Pentecost, I have struggled with the abuses and perversions that are now running so rampant in the charismatic movement. I cannot even turn on TBN without becoming nauseous. Even someone (who will remain nameless) that I though after going to prison and and writing a book about being “wrong” had actually grown up theologically and taken a more mature direction, is now back on the airwaves literally doing exactly the same thing he did before his debacle. Selling. Selling. And…well….marketing. God bless you, Dan. Excellent work.
Thanks, Allen! Glad you posted. New readers are always encouraged here.
Thank you Dan….!!
You’re welcome, PJ.
Dan, I have been reading the Bible and praying more than usual. I came upon your site tonight and what you have written makes a lot of sense to me. I watched TBN many years ago (for a short period of time) and from what I have read, it has gotten worse… what some people are believing in nowadays. I have been living in a very isolated area for a little over 10 yrs now. I have a real problem though. There are only 2 churches where I live. I know God has not given me a spirit of fear, but I have gone to both and been overcome with fears of evil. I have not been to church in a long time now. There is no cable here, and my speakers on my computer do not work. Recently I was given DVD’s by a lady teacher. A lot of what she says makes sense to me from the dvd’s I’ve seen. A certain thing I do not agree with though and that is in being real materialistic. Do you know of any people who have DVD sermons that are based on the Bible? Thanks!
Yours is a tough question, as I watch almost nothing on DVD, so I don’t have good insights here.
I know that Francis Chan has DVDs available for his books. I can recommend those. I like Jack Hayford’s teachings, but I don’t know what’s available in DVD format. I liked The Truth Project from Focus on the Family, though it’s not perfect.
I opened this question to friends through Facebook. If you don’t get an answer from me in a couple days, remind me. Sorry, but I’m a bit out of touch on this particular point.
Are you looking for a particular type/subject of teaching?
My Facebook friends came back with these names:
John Bevere – He seems okay. I’m not a huge fan, but other people seem to like him.
Craig Groeschel – I don’t know anything about him. YMMV.
I would also recommend Jack Hayford, Francis Chan, Matt Chandler, Paul Washer, and David Fitch.
I don’t watch much on DVD or the Web, though. I prefer books. Check my book recommendations in the blog sidebar for great books I have no qualms in recommending.
Dire Dan: “they are nameless, faceless people”
I’m on a blogging vacation right now, but as anyone who has read Lunar Skeletons would know (which is practically nobody) in the past I’ve been critical of the commercialism among some charismatics. And anybody can go and see that I come down pretty hard on a particularly egregious web site. And as far as TBN and the Crouches go, well, I think I’ve already have been doing for years the best thing possible that can be done: I ignore them.
But I am going to have to disagree with you here—at least a little bit. Not some much with the kernel of what you’re, but instead your attitude and emphasis. You put too much emphasis on what you reject. You don’t explain or hold up as examples who is doing things right.
Methinks thou protesteth too much.
If there are nameless and faceless people out there, whom you have encountered. Then, for Heaven’s sake, start naming them and giving them faces. You’re a wordsmith; you should be able to do it. Tell us about them, who they are, and how they are ministering prophetically, and why is it that they are doing it right when others are getting it so wrong. Tell us about the wonderful blessings that God has brought through their ministry. Please, enough of your direness. It gets tiring sometimes. And don’t give me any “false-modesty” nonsense.
Tell us everything you know about these people. God is using these people to glorify His name. It’s His will to put treasures in earthen vessels.Telling us about them isn’t false boasting. Suppressing this information is precisely what you shouldn’t do.,
I want names and faces and times and places. I already know about TBN, and I’ve heard it a ten-thousand times before. Yeah, the Crouches suck, and stupid people send them money. Please, stop dishing this up yet one more time. Start talking about the people who are getting it right. Write whole reams about them.
Graham Cooke once wrote a book entitled “Developing Your Prophetic Gifting”. (I recommend the book, but my guess is that you probably have nits to pick with him as well, since you seem to be firing your blunderbuss in every direction, but no matter.) I’ve managed to read through it and was almost shocked at how rigorous and severe he is regarding how a prophetic ministry is to be managed in the church. My first thought was “gosh, how does this sort of minstry even get off the ground in the first place?” Answer: it gets off the ground by making lots and lots of mistakes at the start, and God does his part in shepherding things and correcting the mistakes over time.
For nearly two millenia, the official Church hierarchies have managed to suppress the gifts exceedingly well—or at least kept them confined to the officially designated “Saints”, or locked up in some monestery, making sure to tell everybody else, the common laity, that “these people were so special and so above you, that you must never think for a minute that God can do in your midst anything like what they sometimes experienced.” Ecstasy is just for the very super-special privilged elite.
But yet the steak has always been there, even if it was kept in the freezer and nobody ever took it out to cook it.
So for two millenia, the gifts were surpressed. Yet, now within a comparatively tiny blip of time—Praise the Lord!—somebody decided that steak is for dinner. But since this is so recent, and seemingly so new for us (it’s not really new), I think it stands to reason, that we’re going to get lots of things wrong. (And I salute you for pointing out the wrong stuff.)
As I have pointed out elsewhere, on my blog, like any other ministry, the prophetic one can be corrupted. Money is one of those big temptations. But I’ve been in churches—and if you want me to name them, I will because I’m not shy about naming names—where they focus so much on the potential abuses and the screwups, that by the time you get to the end of the sermon, the flock is so afrighted by the gifts that they won’t get within ten miles of them. They just end up rejecting everything—throwing out baby, bathwater, the pan, the stand holding the pan, the hot water heater, and even baby’s mommy and the daddy to boot.
The phrase “the kernel of what you’re,” should read as “the kernel of what you’re writing about”
The phrase “where they focus so much on the potential abuses” should read as “where they focus in their teaching so much on the potential abuses”.
Yes, I need an editor, even when I write comments.
I wish I could name those nameless, faceless people, but I honestly don’t know any personally. I can’t say that I’ve ever met a genuine prophet who bore a mantle similar to the genuine prophets of the OT or NT.
This is not to say that I know no one who has ever uttered a correct prophetic word. I have met some of those people. Some have even said prophetic things that pertained to me. But none of them would be considered prophets because prophesying is not something they regularly do, at least not to the frequency of what some of the self-appointed prophets today claim.
Do I hear of full-time prophets like that elsewhere? Yes. Mostly from missionaries who encounter them in Third World countries. But I don’t know anyone like that here in the States. Do you?
As for the modern prophetic movement headed by these big name prophets, I don’t see that anything they’re doing is remotely like what we see in the Bible. There’s no accountability for these guys, either, as they head the ministries they run and no one can correct them.
I see how some of these guys ruin people, though. They speak all sorts of words that don’t come true or place burdens on people’s lives or wind up messing up people permanently. That cannot be of God.
I posted Andrew Strom’s exit letter from the prophetic movement here.
Leonard Ravenhill gives a good outline of what a prophet should be here.
I don’t want to hear anymore false words or see more people ruined because of bogus prophecy. I know you don’t, either.
Which is why we need to get serious about fixing these problems.
I guess you believe prophecy happens but only in some far away place, but never in America. It’s always somewhere else but never here. It’s always some anonymous abstract person doing it (“perfectly”), but it’s never a real flesh and blood person with a face and name.
For all practical purposes, this is functionally equivalent to saying you don’t believe in it, and that you are functionally a cessationist.
I went to a functionally cessationist church for over 15 years. They didn’t start out that way, but that’s what they became. And I think that’s what you’re becoming. Why not just be honest about it. Why believe in the prophetic gifting at all (at least in any practical sense)? Since you can’t point to any actual instance of it.
There’s not really much that I can tell you. I think that Graham Cooke has written an excellent and thorough book regarding the prophetic ministry. Before you take Ravenhill as the final word on these matters, I think you should give Graham Cooke a hearing, because I think he did a pretty good job explaining what the prophetic ministry is, what it isn’t, what’s it’s really about, and how it should be properly conducted.
You mentioned “Kansas City”. Mike Bickle has written about that in his book “Growing in the Prophetic”. (Please keep an open mind about this before summarily dismissing him.) In it he very candidly talks about the mistakes that he had made, and he explains how he has learned from those mistakes. And he explains how, from a pastoral perspective, the prophetic should operate within the church. (It so happens that the executive pastor at my church once worked for Mike Bickle.)
The prophetic ministry is not something that falls down from heaven in perfect beautiful glory, completely flawless. It happens in the lives of fallible people who have to grow in it.
What I think is also happening is that you have a wrong conception of how New Testament prophetic is supposed to operate in the Chruch. First of all, it is not a recapitulation of what happened in the Old Testament. It’s a big mistake to think that it’s supposed to be. But it’s hard to cover this subject in a comment box. The only thing I can suggest is that you pick up Mr. Cooke’s book.
Quote: “I don’t know anyone like that here in the States. Do you?”
Yes. I know of several people. First of all, the senior pastor of my church has the gift of prophecy, and he occasionally exercises it during the service. His name is Gary Fox. He and his wife are South African citizens. This is a case of someone from “far and away” coming here, I guess. But Gary has a name and a face, and I have seen how he ministers. I know of another person, Mr. David Sloane, whom I have corresponded with extensively, and whom I had the pleasure of finally meeting this November. David is not any sort of “Big Name”, but God has worked the prophetic in his life over many years. And likewise I’ve met many people over the years who have this gifting which operates in a variety of manners. Finally, I have to mention myself. God had worked this in my life in a variety of ways (sometimes in a very unusual manner). None of the people that I know personally are making a nickle off of it. You’ll never see them on TBN. You’ll never see me on TBN, that’s for sure. I’m too ugly.
I am most definitely NOT a functional cessationist. What I said clearly was that I do not know anyone whom I would consider to be a genuine prophet. This is not to say that I have never encountered people who spoke a prophetic word, only that I would not necessarily consider those people to be full-time prophets. Prophecy just happened to be something that God gave them for a specific time and reason. I’ve had a couple words given to me over the years, but I would not call myself a prophet for having received them.
The people you mentioned as prophets would fall into my nameless, faceless category. They are not the “big boys” you hear about all the time. They are just regular people. I doubt they go on big, traveling prophet roadshows, either. As a result, I suspect they are not compelled to always “be on,” which may make their accuracy higher since they don’t have fanboys hanging on every word they say. I think that tendency only makes for problems. When a church is advertising “A Night of Prophetic Ministry with ___________” that only creates problems. Yet that’s often the way it happens.
My old church had two nights with ex-Kansas City prophets and I can tell you the entire time I was there (and this is many years ago), I could not shake the feeling that a strange spirit was operating. There was a trance-like thing that one of them went into that pretty much compelled me to leave. People sat there mesmerized, yet all the time I was getting the impression that something was not right here. And I was not some newbie charismatic back then, either. I’d had several confrontations with the demonic, and this was too much like that to me ignored. That’s all I’ll say.
I’ve had many friends over the years who were deeply involved in the prophetic and they were repeatedly told things that caused them a lot of trouble. Those things led to confusion and distress, and not a godly kind of distress, either.
Does the genuine gift exist? Well, of course it does! But I’m still convinced that it is much rarer than we make it out to be, especially in the West, where our rationality and belief in science over God tends to cripple our ability to not only hear correctly but receive what is said when it is genuine.
quote: “I’m still convinced that it is much rarer than we make it out to be, especially in the West, where our rationality and belief in science over God tends to cripple our ability to not only hear correctly but receive what is said when it is genuine.”
You tell me you’re not functional cessationist. But yet you make statements like this. Does God play favorites with different nations? Is He incapable of working in America, ipso facto? Are we under some kind of divine interdict because our larger culture is secularistic? Does he only work mightily in some far away land, but His hand is shortened here?
On the contrary, the prophetic gifting is much more common than you imagine. The biggest problem has always been lack of faith, lack of teaching, and a lack of willingness in the church to take risks, and to exercise the graciousness needed to allow mistakes to be made.
Like I said, I agree with the kernel of what you’re getting at. But I think sometimes in your zeal for reform you want to nail 90 odd theses to some door somewhere and that you’ve got an exclusive angle on everything. Yes, accountability is good. Yes, who’s going to disagree with that? We all need more of it. I totally agree. But you’re not saying anything particularly new or insightful, really. And accountability is not as simple as you think, and is a difficult thing to implement. I’ve been in churches with different polity models. Each has its problems. A top-down structure (like Calvary Chapel) in most cases does work fairly well, depending, even though according to your thinking it would have too much authority concentrated in too few hands. If the chief pastor gets too arrogant, yes, it can lead to big problems. And I’ve been in AoG churches which have elected boards, and denominational whatnot, but it can have its downsides as well: The pastors end up acting all the time more like businessmen or diplomats instead of shepherds. The boards get dominated by business people who want to run things as if the church were merely a well-oiled business, instead of a spiritual family.
“Stop all ‘prophetic seminars'”? No deal. Because I am not convinced that every single one is as bad as you make them out to be. It’s your tendency to throw a huge blanket over everything that bothers me more than anything. I am sorry you’ve had bad experiences. Not everybody’s experience is as bad as yours.
Boycott TBN. Sorry but it’s not a simple as that. My wife watches the music on TBN because with the current state of CCM it’s nearly impossible to find any good, old-time gospel music anymore. They have lots of the old stuff on different shows. Am I going to tell her to boycott TBN? No, I am not. Does that mean we watch the goofy “praise-athons”? No.
Like I said at the start, I am only disagreeing with your focus and emphasis, and some of your proposed solutions. I think your desire for improvement is commendable.
Quote: “There’s no accountability for these guys”
The accountability issue is a problem no matter what ministry you can care to point to. It’s been a problem in the Church for centuries.
I think that accountability is far more complex than people imagine. Who is accountable to whom? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? That seems such a simple question, but when someone tries to answer it in a practcial way, then it gets complicated. And people have answered it in a variety of ways. Just look at the enormous variety of polities that churches operate under. Some polities have differing problems from others. You can never entirely get away from abuses.
I agree with you that “televangelism” has introduced a situation that can create a whole new gamut of problems, especially where ministries end up becoming someone’s private little proprietary “business”.
But as far as accountability for the prophetic is concerned, I think Mr. Cooke in his book tried to wrestle with the issue. And Mr. Bickle has definitely wrestled with the issue in a personal way and has arrived at some complementary answers.
I guess what I am trying to tell you is that you are not some lone voice in the wilderness, crying denunciations over the people’s sins. Other people besides yourself are wrestling with the issue and trying to come up with practical answers and proposals.
But the solution is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
The extent of the problem in charismatic, Third Wave, and Old School Pentecostal churches is such that the message must not be getting through. The lack of discernment is astonishing to me, especially when it comes to charismatic fads that erupt here and there. Some charismatic leader emphasizes blowing a shofar, and the next thing you know, everyone’s doing it. That kind of stuff drives me nuts.
It amazes me that so many of these leaders within the charismatic movement head churches with no overseeing denomination or accountability. It’s practically a given. And when there is an oversight group, it’s often headed by the the same leaders or their family members!
I have to give credit to the Assemblies of God. Though it took them too long to react to Bakker and Swaggert, they did nonetheless. And they tightened their discipline as a result. Things have been much better in that denomination since then.
But all these preachers under investigation now are operating without any accountability. We charismatics should have smartened up on that, but we haven’t. That so many of these folks operate outside the boundaries of any kind of oversight should concern us, especially when they start getting weird and end up hurting others.
I’m not sure I can join in the boycott, I’m so addicted to TBN. Do you think any of your readers actually watch that stuff? It’s kind of the church version of tabloids or something.
But seriously, stop bashing ‘charismatics’. It’s such a broad and eclectic group that it just isn’t fair to bash. Pick on TBN or some other specific group but when you say ‘charismatic’ you include lots and lots of God’s own children. I have to ask why you even consider yourself in the same crowd, you seem to have such a disdain. Are you really charismatic?
I am most definitely a charismatic. If you’ve read my posts on my own personal experiences, you’ll know this to be the case. Considering that I’ve only written about five pieces in four years of blogging that examine problems in the charismatic movement, I wouldn’t say that I’m beating up on anyone here.
I know very few charismatics who are standing up and saying, “This crazy stuff needs to stop.”
I see these issues I mention as life and death issues that have eternal consequences. We must absolutely take them seriously! The purity of the Church is at stake here. That’s not something to trifle with. Vast swaths of the charismatic movement (and I’ve been a part of nearly every stream out there) are wallowing in error. I hear no one calling for discernment. I see charismatics engaging in occult practices and calling that a work of God. That’s blasphemy.
Are there charismatics out there who aren’t tainted by this craziness? Of course there are! But why are they not calling for a purging of the charismania? Why are they silent? Why do they let people speak false words to the easily swayed? Why are they silent? And if they are silent, aren’t they then complicit in the craziness?
In the “How Not to Be a Charismatic Headcase” post I put up, is there anything I say in there is is wrong for us to do? How about in “Charismatic Churches and the Cult of the New”? If I’m right in those pieces, then why are so few charismatics practicing that kind of discernment and putting these things in practice? Why the easy slide into looking the other way while the wolves prowl? Please, if any of the recommendations I mention in those posts are too extreme, please correct me! Honestly, I’m open to correction on this.
May I ask what you do in your church to combat charismania? Perhaps your church can serve (and should serve) as a model. We need good models in the movement right now!
Julie, what do you consider “bashing”? I see the heart of a man who has been called to help the church self govern herself. If we never picked out what was going wrong in the church, we could never improve.
Please if you are going to counter arguements, do so without attacking Dan. He isn’t attacking individuals, rather attacking false doctrines and ways of doing things that are not in line with scripture.
Attacking the person writing rather that what they are writing shows a lack of argument. So what IS TBN doing that is biblical? Please show me that their gold plated chairs, endless requests for money, and prostitution of the Gospel are biblical.
When you can do that I’ll shut my trap and back off. Until then, don’t attack the messenger. It is hard enough to see this stuff, let alone have the fortitude to deliver the message.
I think Julie’s argument is that I lumped all charismatics together, sane ones and crazy ones. That’s a fair enough argument.
But like I said in my reply to her, if the sane ones lay back and do nothing to combat the craziness, then we’re complicit in the craziness.
As for me, I can’t sit back and say nothing. I hope other sane charismatics out there will speak up. We need a serious cleansing in the movement.
Thanks for the great article. Everything I wanted to say about your post was already said by other like-minded people.
Sadly Dan, you are preaching to the choir here. I wish those who wathc and support this stuff would read blogs posts like yours today. I actually am also writing about this problem in my blog today (I thought about it before reading yours) and my emphasis will be on those who support these people. Why do they? That is the BIG question I think we need to answer and I raqrely have heard it even approached.
Yes, Diane, I don’t know how these people bring in millions of dollars. I guess it must be the desperate people funding them. It could be because so many of these people are told comforting and hopeful things by some of these charismaniac leaders out there. Itching ears, you know. But that never leads to anything but despair in the end. This is why there are so many burnouts out there who torched their faith when the charismania overwhelmed them.
I’m not giving up, though. We need to speak out in force. These are real people who are being led astray. This is a eternal life or eternal death issue. We need to be sober people when confronted with that reality.
Well spoken, sir.
I am a charismatic in personal practice, but I’m afraid I’ve pretty much cut myself from the charismatic ‘scene’ entirely — I find it does more harm than good. And I can’t boycott TBN because I never watched it in the first place.
Your comment on the leather-bound revelation is well-received ; how the heck do people expect to ever hear from God if they aren’t getting to know him as well as they can through the word? All kinds of weird spiritual voices out there.
Thanks for responding, Brian. Don’t give up on the charismatics yet. Just find yourself some sane ones to hang with. They DO exist! 🙂
Sadly, Dan, I haven’t found any. I spent years looking for sane charismatics in two states across multiple churches and they all, without exception, went word of faith and prosperity gospel.
Okay, I *did* find some in the local Chi Alpha college group, but that was fifteen years ago, and since I got married I can’t hang with college kids anymore if I want to. Creak, creak.
Great Post, Dan!
Why third wavers want to resurrect shepherding,new wine and later rain I don’t know. Either they are newbies or old timers still looking for the glory cloud. Alot of this has been denounced by apologetics and other watch dog sites.
In all sincerity many people have been financially duped and psychologically harmed by it .I know I have. Others still havn’t figure it out yet.
Until there are some class action law suits and investigations into possible human right violations and financial mismangement I don’t know that anything will change. Or of course a scandal.. ususally sexual integrity issues.
I do know that God sees though and He won’t be mocked. He doesn’t like it when people continually misrepresent Him.
Well you’ve got major scandal of the sexual kind going on with a well-known pastor out of Atlanta right now. Stuff that makes you wonder.
My own Church (Catholic) has its own share of flakes. Our own style of flaking out has been nicknamed “Mary Channeling”, i.e. claiming a vision of St Mary. Other than that, it’s a lot like the alleged Private Revelations (special words from God) you describe above. A lot of the really flake cults like the Baysiders and Hill-of-Hopers started this way, with somebody claiming Marian visions that steadily got weirder and weirder. (Makes me wish St Mary would actually appear to these wanna-bes and slap some sense into them.)
Official policy is that Private Revelations are not binding to anyone other than the one getting the revelation. If somebody claims a special revelation from God, it has to be compared to General Revelation to check its validity. (Church bureaucracy has a procedure for this, but like bureaucracies everywhere it’s very slow.) Even then, it is not binding. Only General Revelation (what you Prots call Scripture) is binding on all Christians.
As for charismatics in general, a lot of them are hung up on Speaking in Tongues, to the point if you’re not tonguing all the time, You’re Not Really Christian/Saved. (I know I had to fake it more than once when I was trapped among Charismatics.)
When it comes to Gifts of the Spirit, I always wanted Wisdom. Reason being, Wisdom is the command control over all the others, telling you when to use them and (more important) when NOT to. I remember throwing in for Wisdom while all the others went with Tongues, Tongues, Tongues, Tongues, Tongues, Tongues, and Tongues. (Needless to say, we soon parted. The only thing I know for sure about Tongues is I don’t do it myself.)
P.S. The best description of Speaking In Tongues I’ve heard was from a reporter covering Pat Robertson’s Presidential bid back in the Eighties: “It sounds kind of like scat-singing in Hebrew.”
The OT-resurrectors still want to do it. (Almost as if Christ didn’t do a good enough job fulfilling it. Ouch.)
Can’t remember where I heard this one, but it says it all:
“A fanatic is someone who does what God would do if God only KNEW What Was REALLY Going On.”
Yep, Ken, that’s a good one!
Dan, I certainly didn’t mean to come across so harshly. I guess I feel like everyone loves to pick on the crazy charismatics while the dignified Hitlers of the church get awards and pats on the back for being so darn intelligent. Maybe I’m just a sucker for the underdog I don’t know!
I understand that you’re coming from years of experiences that I haven’t had however. I’ve been hurt in charismatic churches and non-charismatic churches and error is error, errors abound in every kind of church I think. We all need to grow in discernment for sure, but knowing right from wrong isn’t enough to bring about transformation, especially the kind you’re calling for…We need God to step in, to bring widescale revelation of truth and experience of grace.
Very well done. I’m late to the comment party, but you’re largely dead on, other than being a bit too harsh with the charismatic brand.
There are a lot of people who don’t watch TBN who still get sucked into the modern-day prophet universe; some charismatic churches are better than others than screening out the bad stuff, but every charismatic church I’ve been in has had a few prophetphiles around.
That’s one of the reasons I’m currently going to a Baptist church; the lack of spiritual quality control in charismatic circles made it hard for me to be in fellowship with folks who are easily led off on unhealthy tangents.
After reading your article and many of the comments; it’s my life experience that nuts and flakes exist in and outside the church. We should also recognize there is a big difference in operating in the “Endowment of Prophecy” and the Office of Prophet. Flakes and nuts can be found in both and we need to discern them. After discerning them, we need to refuse their expounding. We should be reminded of Matthew 24 where Jesus is talking to the Disciples. He says many things will be evidence of the End-Times; among which, the comment that “…many FALSE Prophets…” will be in view.
When you read such a statement, you might not be able to envision how it will show itself obvious. We never thought, years ago, that “False Prophets” would be found on T.V.. However, they have exposed themselves and we should be of so a discerning nature in Christ that we see these people for who they really are. We should also rejoice that they are further evidence that the time of Christ’s Appearing is even nearer than before.
I don’t know how these people bring in millions of dollars. I guess it must be the desperate people funding them.
I sat here and typed a rather long reply to your comment Dan last night, but scrapped it before hitting the add comment button.
I’ll condense it into a few sentences tonight. [lol]
The majority of these folks who support these ministries are not as much desperate as blind. Its as simple as that. Even when many of these wolves are OPENLY shown to be milking their followers, the people being ‘milked’ and deceived do not want to hear about it. In fact they get angry and circle the wagans around these nuts.
The recent investigation into a few of these ministries is a good case in point. Lee Grady from Charisma magazine, wrote a commentary applauding the investigation of the finances of these few ministries, and many people were outraged [for the most part] at his commentary.
Its the same with the false TV ‘prophets’. Try to show one of their followers where their favorite is wrong or not operating in/by the Spirit of God, (by using the scriptures) and they will defend ‘their man’ [or woman] to the max, regardless of what the word of God says. I know it because its happened to me.
Look at Mike Warnke, who was instrumental in starting the “Satanic Panic” of the Eighties. Even when Cornerstone exposed him as a fraud from Day One, his followers closed ranks around him and started denouncing Cornerstone as part of The Great Satanist Conspiracy. Just go through the expose itself, the book Satan Seller, with special notice on what happened after the expose went public.
(This flows directly into the dynamics of The Conspiracy Theorist, where all evidence against The Conspiracy is Disinformation Planted by The Conspiracy, lack of evidence for The Conspiracy is Proof The Conspiracy Is So Vast It Can Cover Up Anything, and anyone questioning the validity of The Conspiracy Theorist is Obviously a Stooge or Illuminatus of The Conspiracy. “If your Conspiracy Theory doesn’t fit the facts, just Invent a Bigger Conspiracy”; until by you reach the point of Bob Dylan’s Talking John Birch Society Blues, where everybody in the entire universe Except The Conspiracy Theorist is Part of The Conspiracy. Well, it does explain why Conspiracy Theorists are so bitter — they’re the only one in the world who got left out.)
There is a book called “Thus Saith the Lord?” by John Bevere that addresses the issue of “the prophetic word” in our churches. It is an excellent book.
I’ll look it up. Thanks! Or could I borrow a copy from you?
Thanks for your very sensible (or should I say, gift-of-discernment?) post. Continually seeking for a sign, or for a miracle, or for a prophecy, or for a special guidance, leads to an unstable, nervous spiritual life. (I’ve been there, done that.) Seeking for the flashy and the trendy and the exciting leads to a shallow or even a phony spiritual life. There is no secret to the Christian life, other than Jesus.
You’ve mentioned lack of accountability. Here in Texas, the land of megachurches and gigachurches, some of the biggest are led by men and women who are somewhere between shallow, heretical and apostate.
That’s not to say that all big churches or all charismatic churches are bad, but in some areas, there are more bad ones than good ones. I’m deeply blessed to be in a church (not charismatic, though I am) where the pastor turns away from virtually all of the trendy nonsense. We have no flashy ads, no self-congratulatory sermons, no excuses for the marriage-divorce-remarriage-divorce merry-go-round, no timidity about calling phony things phony. There’s a focus on salvation through Jesus and on godly living. Those are better than any number of gifts.
I go to an independent Pentecostal church. Ordinarily, I would shy away from a church that has no larger body overseeing it. But this church appears pretty solid and may be so because it was a merge between two churches, one of which was not Pentecostal. I appreciate that dynamic and it has made this church work.
While my church doesn’t always squelch some things as quickly as they should, they still do eventually. In truth, that’s about all you can ask unless you’re looking for the perfect church—and good luck in that search!
You state,”I would shy away from a church that has no larger body overseeing it.”
Doesn’t scripture teach that we have only ONE head?
I find it interesting that many believers will attack the catholics for their papacy but will not see that they succomb to the same babylonian nonsense.
Stand fast in your liberty Dan. Don’t allow anyone to ‘oversee’ you except the Lord himself. This DISGUSTS the Holy Spirit and this false mindset is what continues to quench the moving of the Holy Spirit in the ‘churches’. All this nonsense of ‘covering, overseeing, shepherding’ is nothing more than Nicolatian doctrine of which the Lord says ‘HE HATES’ (rev.chp2).
This is why in the Revelation of Jesus Christ the Spirit cries out to ‘come out of her my people’.
Your own words accuse you Dan,…. “While my church doesn’t always squelch some things as quickly as they should, they still do eventually. In truth, that’s about all you can ask unless you’re looking for the perfect church”.
Do you realize how that very statement GRIEVES the Holy Spirit?
I have read your blog now for at least 2-3 years and you have made it a point to say that you are a charasmatic. I could care less about that, but what I want to know is if you really do believe in the INFILLING of the Holy Spirit. To BE. To allow the Spirit to move, breathe, and Have His BEING IN YOU?
What would that look like, sound like, be like….welp many will not know unless they choose to be free. To not care about what the board, the elders, the ‘prophets’ or anyone else thinks except Father.But the NEW DAY is here and the FULLNESS of the Godhead will be manifested in those who are waiting and WILLING to BE.
Maybe some of the ‘STUFF’ that the Holy Spirit would like you to get rid of is your ‘traditions of man’ stinking thinking.
Why do you want to continue in the harlot system? Haven’t you had enough of her? You write all the time about her indifference for the Lord’s people, her selfishness, her self promotion, her lack of provision, her lack of leadership, irresponsibility…..and yet you stay.
Come out Dan.
Yes, you can borrow the book from me. I’ll bring it tomorrow. There is an interesting incident that happened in Acts with the Apostle Paul. When Paul was meeting with the elders of Ephesus He said this in Acts 20:22-24 “And now, behold, I go bound in the Spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. But none of those things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.”
In spite of the fact that bonds and afflictions were waiting for Paul in Jerusalem, he knew it was God’s will for him to go.After they left Ephesus they landed at Tyre. In Acts 21:4 it says, “And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.” It is here we have a disciple or disciples who had the same impression from the Holy Ghost as in the other cities but it came out as a warning not to go to Jerusalem. It was a wrong interpretation of an impression from the Spirit of God. There is no comment in the word about it, other than the fact Paul ignored it and continued on to Jerusalem.
God Bless, See you in Church,
My 30+ years of Charismania attests to your thoughts Dan. I am now helping to pastor the KC prophetic church that you allude to and see a lot of what you reference in this post.
Most of what I try to do is to get people to connect with their heart.. when they say God says.. I say: okay, but what is your heart telling you.. of course telling a Charismatic that their heart is trustable is almost impossible at times. 🙂
You’ve got a big role to fill at the former Kansas City Metro Church! I prayed for you just now.
As for trusting one’s heart, I think it’s better to trust the Spirit than one’s heart. But learning to hear the Spirit and to trust what you hear spoken by Him is critical and missing from a lot of people’s lives.
Thanks, Dan, for the reply to my comment..
I’m not looking for another church. I’m blessed where I am. Of course, the Lord has the right to move any of us, should he choose to do so.
Bob, just a question;
Wouldn’t it be more safe to tell people to connect more with what the Word of God says? That would also include when believing they are hearing from God, receiving a ‘word’ etc.
Our hearts can and will deceive us, but if we hold everything up to the ‘mirror’ of God’s Word we can know for certain if we are operating within the standards found in the bible, or outside of what is really of the Holy Spirit or what is nothing more then the flesh, or even if its another spirit.
Just a thought…
“Our hearts can and will deceive us”
If that is true then we had better not try to trust God with all of our heart.. we should start leaning on our own understanding about the scriptures.. engaging our brains and not our hearts. Really, the brain, not the heart, is the place of deception.
I refer you to my trustable heart link (http://eye4redemption.blogspot.com/2007/12/trustable-heart.html) for more information.
I suggest you read C.S. Lewis’s essay “Men without chests” in regards to the argument about following the head or the heart.
But I tend to side with Rich Mullins on this one who sang,
Sorry Bill.. I disagree because..
If, for a believer, Jesus and your heart is one then how is following your heart different from following Jesus? Unfortunately many sincere believers have bought the lie that their new heart is still desperately wicked. When we conect with our reborn heart we connect with Jesus.. we don’t have to get Jesus to come to us.. He is alreay there.
Try reading my post and see if you disagree.
Thanks Dan for the prayer. I’d be interested in your thoughts on where you think the Spirit is if He is not in our new born again hearts. Really, those disagreeing with me seems to think that the Spirit and the Word are someplace else. Am I missing something?
When I say connect with your heart I mean connect with the Spirit.. it is just hard to hear if you have been conditioned to believe that your heart is desperately wicked. So much of Evangelical America lives out of their heads that when someone that says to live out of your heart they think that you are telling them to live out of their flesh (emotions/thinking/lusts/ect.).. really it is a lot harder to live a life of trusting God with all of your heart than it is to live one out of your own understanding.. at least in the short haul 🙂
Hello Kansas Bob,
Why do you think that the Spirit is in our ‘new born again hearts’?
I ask this question sincerely. There are a few thoughts that I would like to leave with you. First I want to be up front with you and let you know that I am a believer that DOESN’T think that the O.T. is irrelevant and that the law has been done away with, and thus only the N.T is what is important. I believe in the whole COUNSEL of the Word (both O.T. and N.T.) I am a spirit filled,led,daughter of Father. I believe that just as Father has his ministration in the O.T., and the Son in the N.T., so too will Holy Spirit have HIS DAY and will not be bound in any way to manifest himself however he chooses to do so.
Many believers understand when the prophet Jeremiah said that the heart is wicked above ALL things he meant just that. All means all. Some would exclude the devil from that ‘all’ but the inspired prophet speaking forth from the Holy Spirit was correct when he said all.This is how Father see’s our hearts, rating them even more wicked than the devil! So this alone is why I would not trust in man’s heart.
Most in christendom have a false understanding that they have been made alive in the Christ. This is not true. To as many have recieved Him to them he gives the right to BECOME children of God. The process of becoming is what is not taught in the buildings known as the ‘church’.
As one who dies to self by choosing the cross and crucifies old man adam within, these are those who are BIRTHED into the Christ.
There has to be a death of the flesh in order for there to be a birth in the spirit. Once the old graveclothes are removed then they are made ALIVE in the Christ. They then continue to grow up in wisdom, grace, power, stature, just as Jesus the pattern Son did while here on this natural plane.
Most in the ‘church’ would say that they agree that we are the body of Christ. But these same believers would also say that Jesus is the head and we are the rest of the body…as if the head really isn’t connected with the body but separate.
Many have the seed of the Christ within, the everliving, incorruptible seed of life but they haven’t gone all the way his way in order for this seed life to burst through the hull (old wineskin of flesh) in order for their new wineskin to be given.
Oh yes, many of these children do hear from the spirit and they will hear what the spirit is speaking but only through the ears of a child. They will get some of the message but will little understand it and will only bring their childlike interpretation to it. And this is why it is dangerous to trust in the heart or the mind for that matter for it is still dead in adam, even though the seed of christ is within.
In the natural we see this all the time. For example, my child might overhear my conversation with their dad and think that they have all the facts and understand the terms that we are using but they don’t really know the ‘whole story’. The little ‘acorn’ of the seedlife of The Christ has to be watered, needs both sun and darkness, and must be buried deep within the earth in order for the TREE OF LIFE to come forth. This is a process…a long, beautiful, intricate process that Father takes great care in nurturing. Our role of course is to yield to the process of becoming SONS.
1john 3:21 says,”Beloved,if our heart may not condemn us, we have boldness toward God.” As we keep our hearts pure by daily examining them and yielding to the workmanship of God we can have boldness that we are hearing more accurately everyday. Little by little…for this is how he gives the land ( we are the land).
So, I write all of this to you to hopefully shed some light to your question about ‘ where’ the position of the spirit is located within the individual. Hearing is always associated with DOING, we must be doers of the Word. Please understand, when I use the phrase ‘be doers of the word’ I am not suggesting ‘works of flesh, such as church programs, and following traditons of man’.
Unfortunately many spirit filled believers don’t cooperate with the Spirit in crucifying themselves and this is why they will continue in the ranks of the INFANTRY. They choose to discard the scriptures all throughout the N.T. exhorting us to walk as Jesus walked and keep the commandments.
They ignorantly think that Jesus did away with the law…thus making him invalid as the Messiah. They have confused the atonement with redemption. His atonement was once and for ALL by the shedding of His precious, holy blood. The walk of redemption is what we do after recieving the seedlife of Christ. We walk out our redemption everyday by pursuing peace and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. Until all believers get this RIGHT of being SPIRIT LED and full of the SPIRIT of TRUTH they will never see SONSHIP.
I only recently gave up TBN thanks to the christian blogging world helping me to wake up and start really reading my Bible again. I think the lure of TBN is that it’s just too easy to turn on the old boob tube late at night when you can’t sleep so you can feel connected with other believers. Atleast that is why I started watching. I weep for those non believers who are searching or new babes in Christ who don’t know any better. I will say this. Even my non believing mother always likes to point out the ridiculous hair. Lots of really bad hair on TBN which I think is a blessing. Perhaps that just pushes people over the edge into knowing these are really flaky people who should not be listened to. May God act soon to shut these people up and show the world the real thing so that we can get back to the great commission once again.
Phil Cooke has a note about Joyce Meyer’s “commode“. It may not be what you think it is.
Years ago a blessed charismatic missionary from the Missionary Alliance church was told he had stomach cancer. Because he knew folks who know folk, he went to the big guns for a word from God. All of them–and I won’t name names though you’d recognize them if I did–said God would heal him. He eschewed treatment, waiting on that healing. Finally, in agony, he asked his daughter to call me and see if God had another word. Me? I don’t propose to be a prophet. But, I have learned to listen. So I asked, and all I heard was that her father needed to go to God himself instead of asking everyone else to go for him. The Lord wanted to speak directly to him and not through others. The missionary didn’t want to hear that, but his wife and daughter recognized the truth. He died angry, but after death, that man’s ministry grew as it never had when he was alive, with Bibles and teachings going forth all over the world.
As children of God, we need to learn to hear His voice for ourselves, to discern through the whole counsel of God, not taking pieces and parts that tickle our ears or rejecting parts of the Word that make us uncomfortable. Jesus said He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh, so we all have the ability to come to Him, to learn of Him, to know Him.
I’ve been part of the charismatic movement since the late 70’s and the part that has upset me the most has been our insistence on going to men to hear a word from God instead of learning of Him and getting to know Him well enough that we can discern His desires and His will for us. Knowing the Word (all of it) is essential for this discernment. If we learn to lean on Him, NO MATTER WHAT HAPPENS, then nothing can steal our peace. Oh, I’ve had terrible things happen in my life and there have been times I’ve not walked the way I should, but I’ve had a constant comforter and teacher to draw me back and to lead me into righteousness.
It’s not only a dependence on man’s seen-through-a-glass-darkly words that separates us, but the greed that manifests itself in so many churches–not just the charismatic. I’ve found wonderful teaching and relationships in many types of churches, but I’m with you, Dan, in suggesting that we eschew conferences that aren’t about teaching the Bible.
I’m so embarrassed for the church and our Christian testimony that the Senate has to investigate us. One of the women I’m trying to win to the Lord was with me at the laundromat a short while ago when a preacher was interviewed on TV about his lavish lifestyle. “Oh, the zillion dollar Lexas? My congregation wanted to honor me.” Lord have mercy on us. Instead of listening to the prosperity message, we ought to be reading and hearing all that the Lord says about poverty and humility.
If God blesses us with material wealth, it should be because we’ve earned it and not because we’ve begged for it. And if He blesses us, it’s merely so that we can be pass-throughs, as I like to call it. If I have, it’s because I’m supposed to pass it on to those in need.
Dan, thank you for this blog. You are truly a voice crying in the wilderness, Prepare Ye the way.
Just a comment on what Normandie said:
“Knowing the Word (all of it) is essential for this discernment.
While I love the scripture and have studied and read it many many times.. I think that it is possible to know the scripture and not know God. In my Charismatic Fundamentalist days I could quote you all the right scriptures but knew little of compassion and mercy.. I often judged people.. I was not a loving person but I was a “man of the word”.. as are Paul and Jan.. TBN is full of fundamentalism cloaked as spirituality.
Just a reminder that the reason we read and study the scripture isn’t to know the scripture but to know God.
I agree with you, Bob, but I find that those who don’t take the entire counsel of God into consideration seem to be the ones who jump on judgement: “But God hates….!” Yes, “But God also loves… and calls us to love.” They quote one piece of scripture without looking for God’s heart in there. (Romans 1 ought to humble us all!) I know that it is possible to know the word without knowing God, and I don’t speak to that. It’s one reason I appreciate the baptism in the Holy Spirit–though Paul said we are to be constantly filled, so I think it is an ongoing, daily seeking for fullness and not a one-time splash–that I might ask for His heart, His revelation, His understanding to guide what I read and do and say.
I hope that clarifies what I meant by knowing and leaning on all of the scripture. We are in agreement. As James says, faith without works is meaningless, so a knowledge of the scripture without a knowledge of the Word made flesh–the Heart of the scripture–will only lead to horrible misuse. May we be granted the wisdom to understand the difference and the openness to receive Him.
Hi Normandie.. Appreciated your response and I agree with it. I might add though that many people know God (been born again) but leave the Holy Spirit out of their reading/studying process.. they live logical Christian live from their heads.. and never really connect with their inner man. From my Confessions of a Carusmatic Fundamentalist:
The aftermath of my wife’s death found my son medicating with drugs, my daughter struggling with identity issues and me dealing with a broken theology. I increasingly became aware of how much I had been led by principles and precepts. Subconsciously I had developed a complex internal system of rules and logic concerning life. These of course were all based in scripture and encompassed words like †˜authority’ and †˜submission’. For years I lived the life of a †˜Charismatic’, †˜led by the Spirit’ Christian when in truth I was more like a Fundamentalist.
I thank God for our training ground, even when the training process hurts so much. I look back on the loss that propelled me into a greater knowledge of God’s love for me and can finally, truly give praise for it.
Bob, I hope your children have come out on the other side. Mine are still struggling, especially my daughter. I’m just so grateful that God’s arm is not too short to complete the work He began in her/them.
Test back at you! aha
I received a notice of a post in this topic so popped back to check it out.
Happy New Year Dan, to you and your family..
There’s been some carnage in the church for sure. My former husband and I did not escape this carnage either. My children, especially my son, still lives with the effects of discovering the ‘error, abuse and falseness’ of a particular church. He is very uncomfortable in a church setting now. He doesn’t attend church.
What I see now, that I didn’t see then, was that there was some decent teaching and some good practices in the churche(s) we attended. Not all, but some. Did we have to leave? Yes, I think so. I couldn’t have stayed with the knowledge that I had discovered quite suddenly and really was helped by God to see. I was sickened, angry, dismayed, betrayed, and I wasn’t going to spend one more second in this particular church, no matter what.
Leadership problems are extemely hurtful to those who are taught to trust them implicitly. I had the flight mentality, then I had the fight mentality. I wanted everyone to know about what happened to us. To warn people. My husband was extremely embarrased. He wanted to continue attending this church until it was the ‘right’ time to leave. What he meant was, ‘obtain the premission and blessing of the pastor to be able to leave the church in good stead’. This particular pastor and his wife would not have provided this.
My experience with prophecy and with prophets had been relatively good. I have missed alot of the charismatic mania of the last couple of decades. I can say that I know a prophet. His name is Rev. Lionel Batke. He lives in the Vancouver area of Canada. He has ministered his gifting for more than 40 years all over the world. He has, I would imagine, blessed thousands of believers. I was one that he blessed in the 90’s. He is often oversees ministering, but he is now about 70 years old. He still says he will keep ministering until he is 80 years of age. Then he will see what else the Lord wants him to do from there 🙂 A lifetime of ministry. A life given over to God.
I’ve known two men in my life who were uncanny with their revelatory gifts. Just two. That said, the most uncanny of them did have what appears to be a miss regarding something he said to me personally once. It has not only bothered me for years, it bothered him greatly too. What to make of that? I don’t know. He nailed everything else.
It is hard to make sense of so many things in life. I don’t know why things are the way they are. Well, I do on a theoretical basis (“this is s sin-sickened world”), but how that plays out continues to baffle me.
Excellent insights on the morass of present-day charismania and the hucksters that are out there fleecing the flock, … or if not the flock, then the worldly crowd that claim to be “Spirit-filled” “Christians.”
It’s both sad and outrageous.
We need another dozen or so Ravenhills and Wilkersons.
I recently uploaded some prophetic warnings on youtube: you might want to check it out some time:
blessings in the Lord Yeshua Messiah.
I actually look such scanners for our company. As for the modern prophetic movement headed by these big name prophets, I don’t see that anything they’re doing is remotely like what we see in the Bible. Your blog provided us with important information to work with.