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Prophetic Mediocrity

Prophetic Mediocrity

Wouldn’t it be nice if when someone spoke a prophetic word in a meeting, the elders of the church would pause and judge what was said?  Maybe even write down the “word” to see if it comes to pass. If they were unsure about the word that was given, that could be the grace given, it would be written down for a season, to see if it was God or not. And if it proved to not be God, an elder would stand up and say, “We were not sure if this was God, but now sufficient time has passed, and we now are confident that it was not God”, or “We are now confident that it was God”.

Instead, when you hear a “word”, you rejoice because it is a “pleasant word”. After all, you want a pleasant meeting, not wanting anything in a meeting that might cause people to not come back to your church. Pleasant “words” are nice, but if it is not God, and you put God’s name on it, it is vile, something of human origin. There is a fine line between what is spiritual and what is from the soul. And that is one thing that the charismatic church has still not learned in all these years.

I have seen this for over 40 years. I saw it 40 years ago, I saw it along the way and I even see it today. Do you despise the truth? Are you afraid of it? Don’t you want to hear from God? You say you do! Don’t you want to know whether a word is from God or not? All those years I always heard the same lame excuse “that people are learning to be prophetic, speaking a word, and we are not opposed to that or opposed to it being a little messy”.

Don’t get me wrong, a mess is alright, if it is cleaned up with accountability and judgment by the elders. You can’t leave the mess, or it will start to pile up. It is fine for someone to learn being prophetic, but to do so without accountability is madness. Without judging what is said, you set them up for failure, thinking something is from God when it is not from God. You then train the church to not know the difference. That is what you train them in, mediocrity. They will never learn to discern what is God or what is from the flesh. All pleasant things will be assumed to be from God, what peril you are in!

Hebrew 5:12-14 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food. For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant. But solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil.

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It is an interesting story, the story of Elisha and Naaman the leper. Naaman reluctantly went and dipped seven times in the Jordan River and was healed because there was a prophet in Israel. He also realized that there was only one God, the God of Israel.

When Naaman offered Elisha a gift, Elisha told him “As sure as the Lord lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing”. After Naaman had left, Elisha’s servant Gehazi went after Naaman and lied to him in order to get a gift of silver and clothes. When Gehazi returned, Elisha confronted him because in his spirit he knew what Gehazi had done. It did not fare well for Gehazi when Elisha asked him in 2 Kings 5:26-27 “Is it a time to take money and to receive clothes and olive groves and vineyards and sheep and oxen and male and female servants? Therefore, the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you and to your descendants forever.” So he went out from his presence, a leper as white as snow”.

The story speaks for it self, Carl Keil, a German theologian in the 1800’s says this in his commentary on II Kings-

“Was this the time, when so many hypocrites pretend to be prophets from selfishness and avarice, and bring the prophetic office into contempt with unbelievers, for a servant of the Lord to take money and goods …that he might acquire luxury and goods for himself.

What a rebuke! A rebuke our so-called modern prophets should heed with all their marketing strategies, their endless books, DVD’s, expensive conferences and material. Well did Micah tell of their error! Micah 3:11 “Her leaders pronounce judgment for a bribe, her priests instruct for a price. And her prophets divine for money. Yet they lean on the LORD saying, is not the LORD in our midst? Calamity will not come upon us.” It is a stark realization that today’s so-called prophets have many followers, and there is pride in the fact that they claim that the Lord is in their meetings and in their “words”. Micah clearly rebukes them and exposes their error. In like manner, our modern prophetic movement needs rebuking!

The world is in dire times, economic collapses, rising unemployment and homelessness, more and more people are hurting. We live in a world where people need Jesus, the need the true Gospel. Where will they hear it? Will we bring them into a church that is wrought with error and mixture? Where are the true prophets of God? Is this the time to for making money? There are several instances in the Bible where some of the greatest prophets rejected money. Where are they now? These days it’s almost always all about the money.

My encouragement is this, hold those accountable who claim to speak for God.  If their “words” do not come to pass, confront them! If they do not line up with scripture, confront them. Speak to your leaders about this. We only do a disservice to God and the body of Christ if we do not do so! Discernment is a gift of the Spirit; and we are encouraged to seek greater gifts. If you only speak in tongues, seek interpretation that all may benefit, if you have interpretation, seek discernment, if you have discernment, use that gift; if you have discernment, continue to desire the greater gifts.

Modern Day Money Changers

I’m convinced that the carnal, cunning, conniving, crooked crooks that Jesus drove out of the Temple are still among us today. These modern day moneychangers are forever devising new and deceptive doctrines to defraud God’s people out of His/their money. These masters of deceit have now set up their changing tables throughout the Christian television industry.

I’m absolutely certain that if Jesus returned today He would walk into the vast majority of these television studios and overthrow the cameras, lights, monitors, and soundboards. He would unplug the microphones and scatter the makeup colors around as He went about destroying the stages and backdrops.

Several years ago now, a nationally know prophetic voice was told by the Lord, “I’m sick and tired of the prosperity message”. If that was true then, how much more today. As far back as 1986, the top seven media evangelists took in over 750 million dollars. Now with the increased manipulation of ‘seed faith teaching’ that amount has no doubt been dwarfed by comparison.

Only a few days ago I was appalled as I watched and listened as Pastor Steve__________ zealously twisted and distorted the Scriptures to his own advantage. This ‘brother’ dared to distort the most sacred truth of all Scripture. He used The Day Of Atonement, that day when Jesus Christ the Lamb of God shed His blood for the sins of the world, to teach that how we give financially determines how God will respond to us throughout the coming year. My blood boiled as I listened. This ‘brother’ had finally crossed the line and was now on the verge of blaspheming the atoning work of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, not to mention lining his own pockets with the proceeds. He might as well have been selling indulgences by inferring that God’s favor toward us was based on our giving rather than God’s unmerited grace and forgiveness through the gift of His Son. What made matters worse was that this same ‘charlatan’ was the guest of one of the nation’s best known charismatic personalities. Within a day or so he was teaching the same message on a local Christian telethon. Neither the evangelist nor the network sought to correct his aberrant teaching – after all, the show must go on and that takes money, so how you raise it doesn’t seem to matter anymore.

Why does almost every single Christian program have to end with some type of ‘seed faith teaching’? If these men and women of faith really believed what they taught, they would practice what they preach and teach; after all what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. Imagine how shocked you would be if your favorite televangelist and covenant partner were to send you a check in their next mailing for the amount of $1,000.00 with a personal note telling you he/she just wanted to sow into your life. Perhaps then I could believe that these men/women really believe and practice what they teach. Not only that, but they would never have to appeal for money again as God’s return to them would result in a hundredfold increase. At least that’s what they would have us to believe.

On a recent ministry trip to the Northwest, I was told by a pastor friend that his church had received a call from a well known and anointed teacher in the Body of Christ. The caller was asking them for a contribution towards the purchase of a jet for their ministry. What a far cry from what the Apostle Paul taught when he prefaced his teaching on ‘sowing and reaping’ with these words; “For this is not for the ease of others and for your affliction, but by way of equality.” (II Cor. 8:13-14) Many pastors measure their success in terms of numbers –the larger the church the more successful their ministry. Itinerant ministries, not being able to brag about size, seem to fall for the notion that having one’s own jet is how success is determined. (Once it was the Rolex watch) By the way, if you love and appreciate this fine teacher, pray that he won’t get the desires of his heart – it will only lead to the leanness of his soul.

This is one man’s attempt to appeal to the Body of Christ. Stop pandering to these moneychangers. These men and women live like kings while spending your money to buy mansions and jets for themselves. They dine in the finest restaurants, wear the latest designer fashions and then have the audacity to tell you that you can live the same way as long as you give to their ministry.

I opened my Bible the other day to Zechariah’s wonderful prophecy concerning the first coming of Jesus, our great and glorious King. Listen to his words; ‘Behold your King is coming to you; He is just and endowed with salvation, humble, and mounted on a donkey, even on a colt the foal of a donkey.’( Zechariah 9:9 ) What a far cry from the televangelist who comes high and mighty and traveling on his own jet!

If you are as sick and tired as I am about this waste of God’s money, then for heaven’s sake STOP SUPPORTING THESE PEOPLE. Give your money to your local church. There are tens of thousands of needy missionaries who barely have enough support to keep themselves alive. They are laboring long and hard under some of the most difficult and trying conditions. They would rejoice at the thought of an extra $10-30 dollars a month support. These are the real heroes of whom the world is not worthy. Help put these MONEY LOVING TELEVANGELISTS OUT OF BUSINESS and SAVE ANOTHER MISSIONARY FROM EXTINCTION.

Together we can make it happen. Please forward this to as many people as you know.
Thanks.

David Ravenhill

A look at 1 Kings 13 gives us very disturbing look at the way prophetic mixture can function. It is interesting to note, that it is those who listen to and take heed to prophetic people who function this way, are the ones who will suffer the most harm. The young prophet certainly erred in listening to the old prophet and sinned by not obeying what God had told him to do, it cost him his life. But what was it about the old prophet that convinced the younger to err?

 

Well, it says that the old prophet lied to the young prophet. He was also empathetic to the younger because he recognized the prophetic calling, since he too was a prophet. Not only that, but we see from the story that the old prophet did hear from God as well, pronouncing God’s judgment on the younger for his disobedience. This is a classic example of “mixture”. Mixture is functioning by your own spirit, soul or desires, and being able at times to also function by the Holy Spirit. Prophets who function this way have a divided heart towards the Lord. There is usually a mixture of motives as well, a pure motive toward God and His word would not allow for this “mixture”.

We now live in a day where prophetic mixture is heartily embraced, where the making of money is now the central part of most prophetic ministries. We see men forsaking their wives and children for other women, and then with their new wives, continuing on in the ministry like nothing happened. Some of these ministers have even been caught in sexual and  even in homosexual sin. Most of these men are still in the ministry, and are widely accepted.

The most disturbing thing of all is that many people still heartily continue to embrace them. Why? Well there are many reasons, to name a few; there is a lack of discernment and a lack of common sense. In many circles there is a lack of leadership, a lack of Biblical instruction. There is new emphasis being put on the prophetic, and on signs and wonders. There is a new emphasis on having a “desperation” for God; and a “desperation” for God is a good thing, as long as we are also “desperate” for truth, purity, virtue and holiness. Unfortunately, “desperation” can cause us to give up on discernment and common sense, and lead us to error.

There are many today, who would gladly follow the old prophet from our story, claiming all the way that “He heard from God”, not caring that he was a liar.  We can be so “desperate” for God that we don’t care about a person’s character or personal life, as long as he gives us a word. A recent case is the minister who had an affair with a staff member. He divorced his wife and abandoned his responsibility to his children. He has supposedly repented, and been restored to the ministry, with his new wife at his side, all because everyone thinks that he has some special anointing from God. If you choose to follow such a man, you will open yourself up to the same lack of character. One day, when life is hard, as you try to be a good husband and father, some pretty little girl will come along and temp you, and you also will be able to justify leaving your wife and family too. Because you will have learned that from someone operating in prophetic mixture.

Maybe God’s slaying of the young prophet was a mercy. If God did nothing, the younger prophet would have learned that character didn’t really matter, that obedience didn’t matter. That is was OK to lie occasionally like the old prophet. That it was OK to function apart from the Spirit, to function out of one’s soul or desire.

There has been much grace given to the prophetic movement over the years, all in the name of allowing men and women to learn to function in the gift. But because of the lack of discernment, we have embraced mediocrity. We have embraced prophetic mixture!

to be continued…

Old Testament not for today! A disturbing teaching!

I have recently heard Bill Johnson say that the Old Testament was for the people then, and that the New Testament is for us now. He used the verse in Heb 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spoke in time past unto the fathers by the prophets,

Has in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds…”.  Bill Johnson then said that “the Old Testament anointing was for them and the New Testament anointing is for us.

Why would we even need to make that distinction? We all know that Jesus existed before the foundation of the world, and that all things were created by Him and for Him. Whether OT or NT, it is this same Jesus, working by His same Spirit, all in all. Maybe some people don’t know that.

The New Testament was not created until about 350 years after Christ. Why anyone would dismiss the Old Testament shows a lack of understanding of the Word and Jesus. Paul himself says in 2 Tim 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work”.

What was Paul referring to? He was referring to the Old Testament. Who should we listen to? The Apostle Paul or Bill Johnson?

Paul warns in 2 Timothy 4:3 “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear”.

In these last days, the days that we now live in, we have been warned that unsound doctrine will abound. The warning is for us Christians, not the world. Let us test everything against the Bible, it is our only hope.

Niels

HELPING TO SHAPE A BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE

DAVID RAVENHILL

RESTORATION OR CONVERSION?

I recently watched a uTube video of a young man being ‘restored’ to ministry after having fallen morally. The young man, along with his new ‘wife’ were surrounded by a dozen or so friends and leaders who were all there to release him back into ministry. Several prophetic words were spoken over them to the effect that they were going to be an example of integrity to the Body of Christ around the world. etc.

This young man had told his first wife that God had told him he was to marry her. Now after a couple or more children he had left her and fallen for one of his younger team members. Within weeks of his divorce he was remarried and was shortly thereafter released to minister again.

Let me state emphatically that I am not against restoration. The prodigal returned home to be given the Father’s kiss of welcome, the first robe, the ring of authority and the sandals for his feet. Heaven erupted into joy at his return and celebrated the day with music, dancing and feasting.

While in Europe recently I was pondering over some of these ‘quick’ restorations. I found myself comparing two similar and yet very different words, restoration and conversion. Are we as the body of Christ truly restoring our fallen or are we simply converting them?

Suppose I fall in love with an old car and decide to restore it. Let’s say it’s a 1948 Chevy. After numerous months of work I finally complete the project. Everywhere I take the car people immediately recognize it because it has been restored to its original condition. Now let’s say I lower the car several inches and replace the rear wheels with tires 12 inches wide. I then remove the entire roof and shorten the overall length making what was once a four door into a two door. Finally I remove the hood and install an oversized engine. Nobody in their right mind would say I had restored the car but they would all agree that it was converted from its original design into what would now be considered a hotrod.

To restore means to bring something back to its original condition to convert means to change something into something entirely different. Thank God for the miracle of conversion whereby we are changed and transformed by the grace of God into God’s new creation.

Are these cases of restoration really what God had in mind when we were told “You that are spiritual restore such a one?” William Barclay is considered by many to be one of the finest expositors when it comes to the etymology of Greek and Hebrew words. Here is what he writes concerning katarizein the Greek word Paul used for restore in Gal. 6:1

In classical Greek it has a wide variety of meanings, all of which can be gathered together under one or other of two heads. (i) It means ‘to adjust, to put in order, to restore’. Hence it is used to pacify a city which is torn by faction; of setting a limb that has been dislocated; of developing certain parts of the body by exercise; of restoring a person to his rightful mind; of reconciling friends who have become estrange. (ii) It is used of equipping or fully furnishing someone or something for some given purpose. Now when we take this and apply it to Christian discipline certain most significant things emerge. (i) It is clear that Christian discipline is never meant to be merely retributory punishment; it is not simply vengeance on the evil-doer. (ii)Discipline is meant to ‘mend’ a man and to ‘repair’ him. It regards him more as something which has been damaged or injured than it does a deliberate sinner.(iii)Discipline is meant to ‘equip’ him better to meet his temptations and to meet the battle and the demands of life. It regards him as a man ill and inadequately equipped and it regards the duty of the Christian society as being that of sending him out better able to deal with the things which defeated him.

In the case of the young man there is little question as to whether his marriage was restored – it wasn’t. As to whether his home was restored –just ask his children. It seems the only thing that was restored was his ‘ministry’. But that begs the question, is he now Biblically qualified to teach and preach? According to God’s word an Elder must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, having children in subjection, etc. Paul also declares that if a man doesn’t provide for his own he is worse than an infidel. This was clearly not the case here or in most cases for that matter. When we carelessly sidestep these requirements we send a clear message to the world that we value results more than integrity and calling more than character.

Isn’t it time we started restoring those who have fallen rather than converting them?

How Shall We Pray?

How Shall We Pray?

I have been hearing a certain teaching on prayer for many years now, and recently, I heard it again. It basically goes like this, a preacher or teacher will make a point of telling you that he prays in tongues for several hours a day. He will then tell you that this is what we all need to do, and that it is a more powerful and better way to pray. Also he will tell us how great it is because then the devil doesn’t know what we are praying, like there is some advantage to that.

Where does this teaching come from? Well, I am sure that it comes from their experience and the charismatic doctrine that they have embraced and have been taught.
If you are in a charismatic church, you will tend to believe this teaching as well. You will have been taught that everyone should pray in tongues, with no exception, and that it is better.

But what do the scriptures say about prayer? Well, in James 5:16 it says this, “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”. Interesting to note that there is no mention of “tongues”. If I were to paraphrase in it my own words, I would say that if a man is righteous, and he prays fervently, he has power with God. It really doesn’t matter if he prays in a tongue or whether the devils know what he is praying or not. I can find no where in scripture to refute that fact. Why do we want to add some new formula? God makes it clear in the scriptures as to what is important, being righteous and praying fervently.

Historically, there have been many men of God who have done mighty things and not embraced charismatic teachings. People used to say this about A. W. Tozer, “…just think of how great his works would be if he was filled with the Spirit”. I have heard with my own ears that comment made about Billy Graham. What nonsense! This teaching gives us the sense that we are better than these men. Clearly that is an error we can not afford.

We are to embrace sound teaching, supported by the scriptures. We are to be Bereans, as in Acts 17:11 “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true”. We are to examine the scriptures to see if the things we are being taught is true. This is the call to the men of the church. The Bereans even examined the things they were being told by Paul, should we be less diligent?

The truth is this “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much”, in any language. Scripture supports this, and this alone.

Also see-

Proverbs 8:17

Hebrews 11:6