The Coming Charismatic Civil War


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.


Thursday Thoughts and Miscellaneous Ramblings


When your child comes up to you and sighs, “Dad, are you ever gonna get off the computer?” you know you’ve been crankin’. Work has consumed my every waking second the last ten days, thus the cobwebs and crickets on the blog. It’s great that business has recovered from the lull I experienced the first half of the year, but I’ve actually got a case of tendonitis from spending too much time interfacing with my anti-ergonomic office setup. Heck, my desk and chair are the same ones from when I was 13-years old, so what does that tell you? (Hey, don’t laugh. Ethan Allen is good furniture, unlike the sawdust-board junk coming out of China today.)

Anyway, I’m still hoping to post on genuine revival someday. Got another post that will probably get me delisted from a number of blogs, too, called “The Rescue of Moonbase Asimov!” Genuine storyline in that one. Now if I could just find the time to write them both.

When I don’t have time to write something well-researched and filled with gravitas, I toss out various disconnected thoughts, the kind of sampling that goes on in my head every 1.5 seconds, so it’s true to life, even if it is a bit scary to the uninitiated.

So here goes:

Many of you know that I’ve been advocating a low-glycemic diet. I’ve lost 30 pounds on that diet and kept them off. I’ve even added back in a few “no-no” foods and still kept the weight off. Very cool. What’s uncool is that I finally realized that the three bouts with kidney stones I’ve had in the last seven months are…well, due to the diet. Seems that switching to healthier foods and substituting foods with a lower glycemic index means eating more foods higher in oxylates, calcium oxylate being the primary ingredient in the most common kind of kidney stone. In fact, I checked what I eat and almost every single item is high in oxylates. Some people don’t tolerate that well, and I just happen to be one of those people. Any urologists out there with some advice? Ugh.

If you’ve got an old, unused PC sitting around that might have a 1GB 168-pin PC100/133 ECC DIMM, and you’re willing to sell the DIMM for a cheap price, let me know. I need one badly.

I’ve been too busy to keep up with all the comments on my Lakeland posts, but thanks and welcome to all the first-timers who came and commented. Things are a bit abnormal around here right now blogging-wise, but I hope to get back to my normal schedule soon.

Thank you also to all the people praying for my family in the wake of some of the illnesses we’ve endured recently. Those prayers are still coveted. What’s happened in the last few months is a major reason the blogging continues to suffer.

A number of regional banks are in deep doo-doo, including one I banked at for years, a bank considered in the industry to be one of the best run. In fact, three of the largest banks in my area are in trouble. The problem? Collapsing hedge funds coupled with turmoil in the mortgage industry. In fact, if I were you, I’d be very careful about where you have your money right now. Some big name banks may go belly up. As someone who is familiar with this (I had money in the savings & loan that precipitated the savings & loan crisis long ago), I know the signs. Be careful out  there. Don’t rely on FDIC. We’re in for some nasty bumps ahead.

This continues to be the rainiest spring I can recall. Great sleeping weather, though. Now if only I could find some time to sleep!

Do social networking sites actually DO anything for you? I’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, but I’m mystified at what it brings me. Any LinkedIn gurus out there who really know how to play that network?

As a child, the neighbor’s collie used to bite me constantly. When you’re being routinely attacked by Lassie… well, it can scar you for life. Nonetheless, we became dog owners recently.  RosebudWe come to ownership reluctantly as our new mutt (pictured right) was unceremoniously abandoned on our property by yet another heartless fiend. See, we live a mile off a rural highway out in an idyllic spot, and people love to dump their puppies and kittens on our property thinking we’ll take care of them. Here’s a clue: most die. Feral dogs and coyotes mangle the kittens for fun (or else the furballs starve to death) and puppies wind up roadkill or diseased. It breaks my heart that some people are so thoughtless, but then again, even Jodi Minivan is capable of atrocities done in the name of expediency and personal comfort.

More than just about anything else, I want to believe that the American Church is healthy. The facts prove otherwise.  I am weary of people pulling out the “touch not the Lord’s anointed” and “so-called ‘discernment’ is nothing more than divisiveness” trump cards. But hey, what people want to fill themselves with is between them and God. I just want to add this: “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” That’s worth memorizing.

Any other men out there at that strange age where you realize that the attractive businesswomen in their early twenties that you run into in the course of your day, the kind you would’ve chatted up in your single days, are now young enough to be your daughters?

I’m old enough to remember that presidential nominations occurred at the party convention. Anyone else remember? You didn’t have a presidential candidate tabbed until then. Quaint, I know. This is why I am deeply disturbed by the events unfolding in the Democratic Party (as if the party isn’t disturbing enough already). You’ve got two candidates that split the vote right down the middle, yet it’s as if one never existed. In another time, Obama and Clinton would’ve both gone into their convention flying high and no one would have thought it unusual to have two viable candidates to choose from in a real, gen-u-wine nominating convention. Instead, you’ve got this travesty of superdelegates that has usurped the people’s vote. And what craven political monsters those superdelegates are. You can bet that most are just trying to save their political futures and alliances rather than thinking about what is best for this country. But hey, I’m in a flyover state, so what do I know.

Man, is there anything more time consuming than trying to switch automatic checking account debits from one bank to another? I’ve spent almost ten hours following up on a dozen of these things and I’m still not done. It’s a great convenience when you don’t have to pay the bills, but the act of switching may undo all the time you saved!

In that same vein, the older I get, the more I see that all our time-saving devices don’t really save us time. They only make life more frantic trying to pay for and maintain them.

With age also comes this serious question: How do most people live? (Darned if I know.)

The box of store brand chocolate-chip cookies that was $1.29 last year is now $2.19. I don’t know who these economists are who keep talking about the slow, meager rise in consumer prices, but going from $1.29 to $2.19 in a year is not “a slow, meager rise.”

We’re seeing wild turkeys on our property regularly. I never saw turkeys around here until just the last few years. Now I see them everywhere.

On the other hand, the rural highway near us looks like a deer abattoir. Talk in the insurance industry has insurance companies ditching payment for accidents involving deer. Nice.

The Wall Street Journal, the newspaper of record in the Edelen household, could not be any more schizophrenic than it is right now on the topic of the economy. Every day they print a flurry of editorials talking about the fact that the country is NOT slipping into recession (or worse), yet their business pages are filled with one company after another reporting massive downturns in revenue or declaring bankruptcy outright. My take? Too many rich pundits are out of touch with how “the other half” live.

Considering all the spurious commentary on my part so far, I want to end with a serious question: When was the last time a stranger came up to you and asked whether you were born again? Used to happen to me all the time more than a decade ago, but almost never now. Now we can say that’s because people found that form of evangelism to be unproductive, but are we just lying to ourselves? Maybe we’re not really all that interested anymore in evangelism and where people spend eternity. Does any legitimate reason exist that you and I can’t help lead at least one person to Christ each year? Honestly?

Have a great weekend.

Discernment, Revivals, and Godly Common Sense


He will judge us...I’ve received further e-mails asking for more of my thoughts on discerning what is truly of God when signs and wonders and revivals break out. This comes on the heels of two posts I wrote last week  (here and here) discussing events at the Lakeland “revival” down in Florida.

At a time when discernment appears lost on vast portions of Evangelicalism and the charismatic movement,  basic, biblical principles are needed to discern truth from error. While I believe that the spiritual gift of discerning of spirits cannot be condensed into a set of tips, I also believe that basic rules for discernment CAN be derived from the biblical text and from plain, old common sense. God gave us a brain smart enough to avoid eating obvious poison, and so we should use the brains He gave us to make wise choices about truth and falsehood.

What follows below frames my own set of rules for discernment. You may disagree or have better rules. And to those friends of mine who will most certainly be hurt by what I say here, I can only ask that you consider these things and take them before the Lord.

Always begin with healthy skepticism.

I always come to the miraculous with a healthy dose of skepticism. This is not the same as faithlessness because I wholeheartedly believe that God can do miraculous works. I also realize that the Enemy can mimic those works. God will not deny blessings to people who test the spirits to see if they are of Him. It’s a little like having a spam filter up all the time. The good stuff will get through and the rotten stuff won’t. And even if a piece of good stuff gets caught, God is not so weak that He won’t continue to do a good work in us. If that means He has to reattempt what got trapped in the filter, He most certainly will because He loves us enough to do so. He never punishes people who remain vigilant because they love Him and His pure works. On the other hand, people who open themselves up to everything wind up filled with garbage, a mess that can take a lifetime to undo.

God has a way of proving Himself true in time, but the Enemy never does.

By their fruit we will know them. Their fruit will remain, too. A little water under the bridge is a good thing because it allows us to test what is happening against Scripture, just as the Bereans did in Acts. One of the rotten fruits of phony miracles and revivals is that they open people up for even more error. A pinch of yeast leavens the whole lump of dough. Lies breed confusion, and “miracles” that come from the Enemy or from the hand of tricksters will only bring confusion in the long run.

Consider the past fruits of anyone or any group working the miraculous in the name of Christ.

Look at their theology closely. Also realize that words matter, and that some people confuse terms on purpose or twist them so that they look right even though they aren’t. Oneness Pentecostals may not seem antitrinitarian on the surface, but attempting a 1:1 analysis of their terminology with orthodox Christian doctrine ultimately reveals their error. We must also realize that a group with odd theology may continue to spawn odd theology even if they attempt to distance themselves from the past error. In charismatic circles, far too much deviant doctrine and practice has come out of the Kansas City Prophets of the late 1980s and early 1990s. One can trace all manner of craziness since 1990 directly back to that group, including the recent Lakeland “revival.” Anything “birthed” out of that movement should have an automatic red flag attached to it, as should any former leaders connected to it. This includes organizations and ministries such as IHOP, The Elijah List, MorningStar Ministries, Passion & Fire, and a whole host of others that looked favorably upon Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, Rick Joyner, Paul Cain, and anyone else who came out of the Kansas City Prophets movement. In fact, since the entirety of the modern prophetic movement in charismatic circles is inextricably linked in a tangle to those groups and individuals, it may be best (and I say this with a heavy heart) to avoid the prophetic movement altogther as a national entity until God purges the corrupted seed.

Real miraculous works from God are often imitated by the Enemy.

Moses threw down his staff and it transformed into a snake. Pharaoh’s two magicians threw down their staffs and they turned into snakes, too. We must never forget this. Just because a miracle occurs doesn’t mean it came from God. The difference is that God’s miracles prevail and the Enemy’s never do. We must also consider the character of those who are present at the miracle. We know Moses was God’s man. But who owned Jannes and Jambres? We must apply that same thinking to discerning the source of miracles.

Any appeal to spiritual beings apart from the members of the Trinity is dangerous.

God created the heavenly hosts, including His messengers, the angels. A third of the angels fell and became demons. These spiritual beings are real. The error of Evangelicalism is that it tends to ignore them. The error of charismatics is that they tend to fixate on them. God commands the angels, we don’t. He has, though, given us authority over demons by benefit of the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit living in us. However, we dabble with spiritual beings at our peril. The demonic comes as an angel of light remember. When I hear people appealing to angels or talking about them the way they are discussed by Todd Bentley of the Lakeland “revival,” I’m instantly alarmed. You can’t go to the Scriptures and find the apostles talking about angelic beings the way some charismatics do. That kind of talk is not there in the Bible, our source of truth. When we pray, we can ask God to send His angels to minister to us, but we should always test spiritual entities and go to the Lord to request them, not ask them directly. We may attract the wrong kind of spiritual entity if we bypass the Lord and His will concerning the sending of angels for assistance.

The whole counsel of Scripture matters, not just a verse here and there.

I am increasingly convinced that chapter and verse markers are one of the worst things to happen to the Bible. Because we added them, too many people pick and choose verses to contruct their theology rather than considering the whole counsel of Scripture. Charismatics do this more than anyone, creating elaborate fictions out of disjointed strings of verses. The old joke about the man who randomly opens his Bible to “Judas hanged himself” and then to another verse that said  “Go and do likewise” applies here. I can guarantee that the vast, vast majority of Christians dashed on the rocks of phony revival and fake miracles wind up there because they don’t understand the whole counsel of Scripture. Sadly, our atrocious understanding, especially in those circles hellbent on mountaintop experiences at the expense of study, leads to error and heartbreak. The Bible cautions that God’s people are destroyed for lack of knowledge, and  that knowledge comes from His word. Get wisdom; understand what the Bible says from cover to cover!

God’s revivals and miracles are not chintzy.

Real revival takes the worst people possible and transforms them into God’s people. Real miracles take the most desperate situations and conditions and alleviates them. God never settles for cheap. Read the miracles and revivals in the Bible; the miracles force entire cities to stand up and take note, while the revivals have thousands coming to Christ. While it might seem like a great thing that the tennis pro had his tennis elbow cured by the laying on of hands, if that’s the extent of the miraculous, something’s wrong. God does much bigger (and much more documentable) works. If we come back from a revival with a healthy glow, but a couple weeks later we’re just as ornery as we were before we went, that wasn’t real revival.

Novelty is not of God.

Yes, the Bible says that God does new things, but He only does them from a basis of what is old and established. God is not into tricks. He does not use flash to enhance His workings. He doesn’t have His servants dance jigs around someone they’re praying for, doesn’t have His people wave their arms and act like bad magicians. There’s no “Alakazam!” and no need for it. God isn’t into show. Preachers, prophets, and revivalists who make a big deal of novelty are supplementing. And God needs no one to supplement His power.

If a movement, revival, or series of miracles “feels off,” the Holy Spirit may be trying to warn us.

The Holy Spirit confirms truth, and all true believers have the Holy Spirit in some measure. If we’re around a miraculous event and we feel wrong about it, there’s a good reason to believe that’s the Holy Spirit talking. We better listen. Unfortunately, too many people who supposedly have the Holy Spirit living in them have turned a deaf ear to the Spirit’s warnings. Also, too many people have no ability to discern the voice of the Spirit in the midst of the background noise of life. That’s a terrible loss because the Bible explicitly states that we’re to be guided by the Holy Spirit. If we fail to listen to Him in situations that call for discernment, how will we be able to discern those difficult situations that normal Christians encounter? For instance, Paul and Silas were followed by the slave girl who announced that the two were from God and were proclaiming the way of salvation. On the surface, how many Christians would love to have such an ardent helper? But Paul, by the Spirit, saw the demon controlling their “assistant” and cast it out. That kind of discernment only comes by the Spirit of God.

We Christians are to seek Jesus, not signs and wonders.

We must remember this passage of Scripture:

For I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me to bring the Gentiles to obedience—by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God—so that from Jerusalem and all the way around to Illyricum I have fulfilled the ministry of the gospel of Christ; and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else’s foundation, but as it is written, “Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand.”
—Romans 15:18-21

The entirety of Paul’s context above is evangelizing the lost. Do we understand this? Signs and wonders are largely for the lost as a confirmation of God’s power. As Christians, we already know about signs and wonders; they should not shock us. We know Christ, and isn’t He greater than signs and wonders?  He is our sufficiency, not signs and wonders. He is the source, and the source is always greater. Yet look how many people flock to so-called revivals just to see signs and wonders. This is a mockery, frankly. It detracts from Jesus, and the Holy Spirit always points to Jesus, not to signs and wonders. This is not to say that Christians cannot come to Jesus for healing or for a miracle, but that these are by far secondary to Christ alone. If anything, we Christians should not be surprised at miracles, but by the lack of them! They should be second nature to us, not to the point of us being blasé about them, but that we understand them as the inherent outworkings of the normal Christian life.

Real revival breaks out only among the humble.

Revival breaks out where God moves, not where some Christian celebrity moves. Any Christian preacher or revivalist who claims that revival follows him or her is operating out of spiritual pride. Genuine revival breaks out among people who have no names to make for themselves, around ministries that are local and less well known, and in backwater places with no marketing arm to promote them. It breaks out through the long-travailing prayers of humble servants, not the boasts of fly-by-night Christian celebrities who line their pockets with sales of cheap Christian trinkets or “pray for pay.” Remember, the Enemy loves to boast and loves the limelight. The people God uses to bring genuine revival are often the very people who were once scorned for their piety, humility, and singleminded devotion to Christ.

Christ Himself warned that genuine faith would become a rarity.

I am continually shocked that so many in the charismatic movement keep believing for some massive revival right before Christ returns. In many branches of the charismatic movement lurks an almost post-millennial frenzy that finds people believing we Christians will hand over a perfected world to the Lord at His second coming. Yet the Lord Jesus Himself asked whether He would find faith on earth at His return. Mark 13:20 says that if it were not for a cutting off of the chaotic days of tribulation, no one would be saved. We are heading into dark, dark times where even the elect might come close to falling away. So whenever I hear calls of worldwide revival, I’m leery. Revival to whom and by whom? Is this what the Bible teaches? If so, I’ve been unable to find it in the pages of Scripture. This is not to say that genuine revival will not come to this place and that dotted across the globe, only it probably won’t look like the kind of revival that some modern revivalists are trumpeting.

For more thoughts on this, please see the following previous posts: