The Coming Charismatic Civil War

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On Wednesday, Lee Grady of Charisma magazine posted “Can We Avoid a Charismatic Civil War?” I would ask that those of you who have some stake in the charismatic movement read it. Just follow the link in the title.

I’ll wait.

Done? Okay. Here’s what I have to say.

A Gray casualty of the Civil WarWhile I share Grady’s powerless feeling as I watch the errors compound in large swaths of the charismatic movement, regardless of what anyone thinks of Rick Joyner’s prophetic powers, it always had to lead to this confrontation. You get on a road that forks, at some point you have to decide which way to go. Sadly, one side chose experiences, ecstasies, armies, dominion, and the age-old whisperings in the Garden while the other chose Jesus.

The answer to Grady’s question is a simple no. No, we can’t avoid a civil war within the charismatic movement because one side chose truth while the other chose error. One side chose the Bible while the other chose untested prophetic revelation. One side was satisfied with Jesus alone while the other wanted more.

You can’t make those two sides fit together. They practically define mutual exclusivity.

Here’s a simple question: “What portion of the gold in the old temple contained impurities? Answer: None of it. The gold in the temple, the gold God took great pains to describe, was pure gold.

If God went to such pains to ensure that an item as simple as a gold cup used in His Old Testament temple was free of all alloyed taint, how much impurity will He tolerate in the teachings and preachings delivered by the New Testament temples of His Holy Spirit?

And that’s all you have to know here. We may see through a glass darkly, but that doesn’t mean we tolerate impurities and pretend they aren’t there. Yet how much doctrinal foolishness must pass in some sectors of the charismatic movement before it draws God’s wrathful fire?

Just a glance at the fully ripened fruit on the Blue side of Rick Joyner’s vision should be enough to disqualify that army entirely. Please, just open your eyes. Even a little.

It had to come down to this.

Rick Joyner prophesies a great end times revival as the Blue army advances under a banner of dreams, visions, miracles, and prophetic words. He sees The Blues triumphing over the more “intellectual, but less spiritual” Grays, redefining Christianity, for the better, in the process.

Here’s what the Bible sees:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming. The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.
—2 Thessalonians 2:3-15

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved. But for the sake of the elect those days will be cut short. Then if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Christ!’ or ‘There he is!’ do not believe it. For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you beforehand.
—Matthew 24:9-25

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.
—2 Timothy 4:3-4

Now I ask you, does this support Joyner’s Blue army prophecy in any way? Even the slightest?

Well, perhaps it does—by exposing it!

I could get into Latter Day Rain, Joel’s Army, The Manifest Sons of God, The New Breed, Lakeland, Toronto, Brownsville, Pensacola, the Kansas City Prophets, and a million other Blue army buzzwords, but the time is short. Honestly, it’s very, very short.

Read enough about this civil war “prophecy” and you’ll even have some saying it will come down to bloodshed. With Blue proponents claiming that some Blues will be immortal this side of heaven, I guess it’s clear whose blood will be shed.

It’s time for the civil war. It had to happen. No one asked for it, but here it is.

If you’re a charismatic who believes that we need to test the marching orders and practices of the Blue army and are grieved by the blatant doctrinal fallacies and outright myths erupting like sores on some sectors of the charismatic movement, understand this: You are the new enemy. You are the Gray.

Maranatha.

50 thoughts on “The Coming Charismatic Civil War

    • pjmiller,

      Honestly, I don’t want to be a Gray. Or a Blue. Or a Chartreuse. I don’t want people like Joyner labeling me. I’m a Christian. I don’t even like calling myself a charismatic because that word is schismatic, too. Unfortunately, people love their labels.

    • Trevor,

      This New Apostolic Reformation stuff has gone so overboard. There’s more than a whiff of sulfur arising from it. That so few charismatics see that is astonishing to me. Worse, it pretty much justifies all the negative press charismatics get from other thought systems within Christianity.

    • David,

      While I suspect your question about Rick Joyner is a rhetorical one, I’ll still answer for the sake of those who don’t know him.

      Rick Joyner was one of the original core of the Kansas City Prophets movement. Basically, a church in Kansas City had this core of guys who were really into delivering prophetic words and establishing a new school of the prophets. They looked to some of the old school guys like Paul Cain as their hero, and fashioned a new movement based on their belief that God was raising up an End Times army (Joel’s Army) that would see a new breed of Christian that operated in the gifts of the Spirit on a level that was not even known in the days of the apostles (that should tell you something right there). This was an extension of the Manifest Sons of God heresy. That core of prophets in Kansas City consisted of Joyner, John Paul Jackson, Bob Jones, Mike Bickle, and Jim Goll. Jones has been directly tied to Todd Bentley and Lakeland, while Bickle is the leader of International House of Prayer (IHOP). Paul Cain, though discredited, still lurks in the wings.

      Joyner now runs Morningstar Ministries, a conglomeration of Third Wave neo-apostolic/prophetic ministries that is more than a church and something like a nexus for all things Third Wave charismatic.

      He is into all sorts of bizarre heraldic imagery centered on Arthurian legend and his prophecies often reflect this. In addition, he has sworn fealty to the Pope through his knighthood into the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic organization. He’s a linchpin personality in Third Wave charismatic circles and as Joyner goes, so goes the movement, even if he is not seen as the distinct leader of it.

      That’s a quick summary. Googling him brings up tons more scary stuff.

      How does this advance the Kingdom? Well, I suspect that Joyner would say that it does by sweeping away the old guard of Christianity and replacing it with a Joel’s Army of supernaturally empowered super-apostles and super-prophets who will direct the great end times revival by manifesting signs and wonders not even seen during the days of the apostles. This “Blue” army will sweep away those Christians who live out of their intellects and replace them with these super-Christians, essentially redefining what it means to be a Christian.

      Obviously, I don’t join Joyner in his assessment.

      Why should you care? Because people in Joyner’s camp are going to become more and more prominent, along with their teachings. I believe they will lead countless people astray. They may indeed usher in a kingdom, but just whose kingdom is a question we all should be asking. Some of them are even saying that this Civil War may lead to bloodshed. How crazy is that? The Blues believe they have a divine mandate and nothing is going to stop them from fulfilling it. Woe to anyone who stands in their way.

      I think their nonsense is going to destroy a lot of charismatic churches and will eventually spill over into the rest of Christianity. They want this war. And that’s just nuts.

      • David Riggins

        Honestly, I have never heard of him before. Never heard of the Blue Army, never paid attention to people who claimed to have an inside track on Who God Is and What He Wants. We give far to much space to people who we should be rebuking. If they rise up and strike us, then we turn the other cheek and go on doing what we were before we were struck: Loving God and loving others.

        What else is there?

        If there is a civil war, it should be one-sided. Unfortunately, too many Christians want to fight on the Gods side. Since when did God need defending?

    • John Burns

      Well, maybe we should have heeded the warnings of our Lord Jesus Christ:

      “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.”

      Enough said?

  1. I’ve called myself a “Bapticostal” for years, looking to combine the Baptist/evangelical reverence for guidance from the Word with the charismatic/Pentecostal love of the move of the Spirit. We need both to have both guidance and power.

    Your experiential “Blues” are loose cannons without some tempering and guidance. I don’t like being cast in the role of the South in this clash, but I’m with you on this one.

    • Mark,

      Problem is, the Blues are taking over. And they’re doing it systematically. I suspect by the time all is said and done, you may wish you had left the “-costal” off your title!

  2. Dan,
    I hear you, bro!!! And my powder’s dry. When folk go into a realm of the unseen and the unknown, they better have a very good road map handy. The world of spirit and vision is such a place and the Bible is such a map, but in the “blue” camp there is often a disdain projected toward anyone who asks that a teaching or experience be shown clearly from the Bible (or at least clearly show where its intimated that it would arise). They say that’s an intellectual pursuit, whereas only the spirit can discern the spiritual. Why then did the Spirit bother inspiring the Word? There is also a bizarre fascination with the OT, not in the sense of teaching law instead of grace, but almost like it’s a yahtzee cup and they can shake it and out pops some new unknown vision or instruction.

    We have a good model to emulate, his name is Jesus. If that’s too far a stretch, we can look at Paul and follow the ultimate model as did he. I think it’s a simple matter to realize that if Jesus did it, we should, and if he didn’t, well… Jesus never worried about Joel’s army, latter rain, gems, gold dust and angel feathers. He never mapped out the heirarchy of principalities and powers and (as you well said) never predicted an end time revival but an end time falling away.

    If there is a “Civil War,” following Christ rather the amusement park promoters of experiences will be the winning formula in the long run.

    • Ken

      They say that’s an intellectual pursuit, whereas only the spirit can discern the spiritual.

      Then what is “Spiritual”?

      The Islam of Mohammed al-Ghazali, where reason and thinking are the antithesis of Faith and FAITH, FAITH, FAITH must prevail?

      The signs and wonders of Voudun, when Legba opens de Gate and de loas ride their mortal horses?

      Tatted Todd channeling Angel Emma onstage at Lakeland — “ANGELS! ANGELS! ANGELS! Sheeka-Boom-Bah BAM!!!” — while kicking someone in the nuts so they’ll go down “Slain in the Spirit”?

      ‘Cause it’s a Great Big Stupid World…

    • Healtheland,

      I don’t believe that God only speaks through the Scriptures, though. The Bible is to be our only source for doctrine, but God speaks through His creation, through other people, and through the charismata.

      The key, though, is that Scripture is our sole source for doctrine. It is primary over all other types of revelation. If a revelation doesn’t jive with Scripture, it simply is not of God. There is no need to expand doctrine anyway because the Bible contains all we need. Where all these New Apostolic Reformation people get off track is by creating new doctrines based on new revelations that have no basis in Scripture.

      If the Holy Spirit wants to call people by name for a given work just like He did Paul and Barnabas, then fine. I’ll consider that revelation. But He doesn’t change the work. And that’s the problem I have with these NAR folks.

      Our source for doctrinal truth must come from the Bible and no other source. If God wishes to direct us to do a given work a specific way, then great. But He doesn’t change the essence of the work, and He doesn’t invent entire hierarchies of power to get the work done.

  3. As is so often true, you are right on, Dan. Like most wars, I’m sure the fallout of this one will affect all of Christendom – tragic, but inevitable… JB

  4. Ken

    Rick Joyner prophesies a great end times revival as the Blue army advances under a banner of dreams, visions, miracles, and prophetic words. He sees The Blues triumphing over the more “intellectual, but less spiritual Grays, redefining Christianity, for the better, in the process.

    Well, here’s what this Graycoat sees in the Bluebellies:

    Holy Spirit Lobotomies: “Don’t think! Just BE-LEEEEEVE!” (The same road Islam took some 800 years ago with Mohammed abu-Hamid al-Ghazali; look where it got them. Come to think of it, Islam IS having its own Great End Times Revival, advancing to promised triumph — as in al-Qaeda and Edgy Adji of Iran.)

    As well as the traditional “We’re The Good Guys (TM)” arrogance of Bluebellies; better expressed in the old Persian war cry “Here Ahuramazda, There Ahriman!”

    • John,

      I have some problems with Lee. His magazine has been a little like a doctor who breaks your leg, then says, “Hey, I can fix that!” I think he’s trying now, but his magazine ran all those ads from all those posers (and it still does). Truth is, if Charisma applied the real discernment tests to their advertisers, they’d be out of business.

      An old saying goes, you lie down with dogs, you get their fleas.

      • Sort of like watching Haggi or Stanley and realizing you’re on TBN.

        I know what you mean but my spirit is telling me Grady is the real thing; he may be covered in dust from the road his traveled, but he is genuinely seeking God’s way.

        Imagine what it must be like trying to be a voice for truth in a segment of the church that doesn’t do well with the truth, all the while trying to edit their flagship rag?

        Just saying , “Well, if he wants to stand for and proclaim the truth he should just pack his bags and say, ‘Ad-ee-os, bay-bee,'” is too simplistic. Paul knew better than us the conflicts one has in ministry.

        I won’t tolerate the error but the man is God’s to judge [Rom 14:1-10].

  5. I’ve read “The Final Quest” by Rick Joyner and found it inspirational. I read the follow up book and did get much out of it. Even though I’m not not opposed to Rick Joyner my hope is that one day we can be the answer to Jesus prayer to “make them one as We are One”.

    My question of the revival would be, what are the long term effects? What change has resulted. Jesus said a tree is known by it’s fruit. What is the fruit of this move of God. God’s Spirt is never wasted. The results of a move of the Holy Spirit should be love, joy, peace patiences, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness, long-suffering. People should be coming to know Jesus Christ. Every church in that region should be growing (not only the church claiming revival – if all other churches are shrinking and one is growing then they aren’t spreading the gospel, they are just prostliting…stealing members from other congregations). In a true revival, the whole region should experience less crime, higher employment rate, cleaner streets, friendlier community…

    • cbgrace,

      “Inspirational” cannot be the measuring stick by which we discern truth and error. If that were true, Jonathan Livingston Seagull would’ve been added to Scripture back in the 70s.

      In truth, few of us see all the fruit of a person’s or ministry’s life, at least we don’t given the disconnected communities we live in today. Maybe a long time ago, when we had tighter communities, we saw more of the fruit. For that reason, fruit may only be part of the test we must apply in these days.

  6. oxysmoron

    we only think we are battling each other… Gray and Blue?
    c’mon, who are we kidding.

    So what now, christians against christians? Like this is new.

    I will stick to what the scripture says: For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.

    God cannot be divided; therefore know who your enemy is.

  7. Please, please reconsider speaking so hastily like this. Jesus prayed that we would be one. If we are contributing or reinforcing schisms like this, then we are not operating out of the heart of God, no matter how inevitable it looks. I believe whole heartedly in dreams and visions and visits by angels and the such. Am I willing to cut myself off from the body because of disagreement regarding these things? Absolutely not. I can not afford to do so and neither can anyone else because we are a body and can not function properly with out each other. If we chose to dissfellowship each other over issues like these, it is because our pride has blinded us to the need for one another. Thinking that we have already “attained” we will become blind. Please, both sides, humble yourselves and look for ways to mend the rifts, not add to them.

    • strussrod,

      I am not speaking hastily. To be speaking hastily, I would have to be advocating some direction.

      But I am not. The people who want this fight are those on the Blue side. In fact, the fight is at the core of their teaching. You start examining The New Breed/Manifest Sons of God/Latter Rain/Joel’s Army theology behind what Joyner considers to be the righteous Blue position and you’ll quickly see that’s the side that is demanding a fight.

      I don’t want a fight. I’m not here to fight those who are supposed to be my brothers. But if they try to dismantle the Faith, which they are, and they come looking for a fight, we who believe in the purity of the Faith must defend the truth.

      When you dwell in a fortress, you cannot automatically be called belligerent or bloodthirsty. You have to be an aggressor to receive that label. That’s what is nuts about this Blue theology. It looks at the most traditional charismatics and brands them infidels just because they dwell in a strong tower. Worse, that same Blue ideal lumps the entirety of Christianity that is not Blue into the enemy category. That’s insanity. Theirs is “he who is not for us is against” to the Nth degree.

      I’m not asking for a battle. But if someone comes and attempts to destroy Christ’s church, as one of the Lord’s I will not sit idly by and let them do it. I’m going to call them on it and oppose them.

      We all should.

  8. Normandie

    Dan,

    In the seventies, a series of books that began with Hinds Feet in High Places called believers to humility and hunger for God. Nothing unscriptural at all, until you got to the last one, Eagles Wings to Highest Places, and discovered that the author believed the highest place in God was found as a vegetarian.

    I think a number of people originally hear a good message and then get carried away with their own hearing. They receive accolades. Man listens. They want more. More revelation. More accolades. And their ears are open, but to whom? I’ve seen it over and over again in the churches of which I’ve been a part, especially those that tout the prophetic and believe this is the highest gift.

    If we stick to scripture, to God’s call to evangelize the lost, and forget about making a name for ourselves or seeking the be the most inspired or the one up front, then we’re much more likely to remain humble and centered on the Lord and His Word. Anyone watching what’s happening in Israel and the rest of the world right now is going to want to pay close attention to remaining under the shelter of His wings, because the times certainly look short to me. Better that the prophets and the ones assuming they’ll get zapped out of here in victory keep an eye out for who their real enemy is than worry about calling the rest of us their foe. We should all be absolutely certain that they’re clinging to scriptural truth and not dreams or visions.

  9. What was it Peter said about folks who misappropriated Paul’s writings? Something like, “His letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.”

  10. Abomination of Desolation

    The false prophet ascends out of the bottomless pit (Re.11:7, Re.17:8, Ps.28:1). The bottomless pit is opened at the Fifth TRUMPET, the First Woe (Re.9:1-2, Re.9:12).

    I believe that the false prophet will ascend from the bottomless pit 1335 days prior to the Seventh TRUMPET (1 Thess.4:16-17), 75 days prior to the ENFORCEMENT of the abomination of desolation.

    The start of the three and a half year tribulation under the beasts of Revelation chapter 13 will occur once the abomination that makes desolate is SET UP (Lk.21:20, Dan.11:31, Dan.12:11 below), and then ENFORCED.

    The abomination that makes desolate is a law that will be enacted that will cause that as many as will not worship the image of the beast should be killed (Re.13:15, Re.11:7, Re.12:17, Re.17:6, Dan.8:24, Dan.12:;6-7, Dan.7:21, Dan.7:25, Re.13:7, Re.16:6, Matt.24:9).

    The law will be SET UP 1290 days (Dan.12:11 below) prior to the sounding of the Seventh, and final, Trumpet (1 Thess.4:16-17). Thirty days after the law is SET UP (1260 days, or three and a half years, prior to the Seventh Trumpet), the law will be ENFORCED.

    When the law is SET UP (Dan.12:11 below) that will be the time that the 144,000 are to flee (Matt.24:15-22).

    The 144,000 are protected during the three and a half years of tribulation (Re.12:14) when Satan goes after the rest of the seed of the woman (Re.12:17).

    Lk.21:20 And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the DESOLATION (Dan.11:31, Dan.12:11 below) thereof is nigh.

    Dan.11:31 And arms shall stand on his part, and they shall pollute the sanctuary of strength, and shall take away the daily sacrifice, and they shall place the ABOMINATION THAT MAKETH DESOLATE (Dan.12:11 below, Lk.21:20 above).

    Dan.12:11 And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate SET UP (Dan.11:31 above), there shall be A THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND NINETY DAYS (1290 days).

    Patricia © Bible Prophecy on the Web
    Author of the self-study aid, The Book of Revelation Explained © 1982

  11. Mike Johnson

    Dan,

    While I appreciate your comments and perspective, I’m wondering if your illustration of ‘pure gold’ creates an untenable environment for anyone who would speak in any kind of public forum concerning the Scripture? While we all have our perspectives, I would suggest that we don’t always get everything right. Sometimes we just “know in part.” What is scary is that at some point or another we are all in the ‘shades of error’ camp.

  12. greg

    Hi. I enjoyed your article. Question: Since John Paul Jackson is part of the original Kansas City Prophets, do you discount all of his work? For instance, I felt that his book “Needless Casualties of War” was good and promoted discernment when involved in spiritual warfare. Should I now have 2nd thoughts?

    Thanks…

    • pat

      I would highly recommend having 2nd and 3rd and even 4th thoughts
      about any of the teaching of any of the so-called “Kansas City Prophets”.

      Carefully evaluate what is taught by the Word.

      I could say a LOT more about John Paul Jackson (by experience),
      but the Word says to judge the fruit, and that will definitely prove what’s true and what’s false.

  13. I hear what you’re saying here, but one sentence gives me pause: “Here’s a simple question: “What portion of the gold in the old temple contained impurities? Answer: None of it. The gold in the temple, the gold God took great pains to describe, was pure gold.”

    I guess you wouldn’t have wanted to be at this church service! Which is a pity, because I think dirt absolutely has a place in God’s new covenant. Read an account of this gathering here.

    • Yeah, Mike, I’m not sure that’s the church for me. I’ve talked a great deal here about our tendency to want to swing the pendulum to the polar extreme to counter the extreme we’re reacting against. Embracing the dirt in that way is just one of those pendulum swings. I’m more comfortable with an understanding that life is dirty, but we don’t have to wallow in it. God still desires a holy people. Focusing our attention on the unholy only turns our attention away from the holy.

      But then, that’s my personal take on things. YMMV.

  14. Maybe interesting to revisit this one, Dan? Has the Civil War errupted as expected? I don’t know, I’m not massively keyed in to the bigger picture of the charismatic movement. In my little corner of the UK there seem to be other battles to fight.

    • Seymour,

      I don’t think the war has fully erupted yet, but with each charismatic “revival” trumpeted by those who embraced Lakeland, the skirmishes grow more intense. At some point in the future, charismatics are going to have to decide which side they endorse. With the pro-Lakeland side getting more and more extreme, at least in my view, I know that this charismatic has already made his choice. Given that Rick Joyner contends that I’m on the wrong side…well, I don’t know what else to say.

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