An Open Letter to the Charismatic Leaders who “Got It Wrong” in This Season

With the advance in the teaching of spiritual authority in the last 50 years, there has sadly been a lack of teaching on responsibility that comes with it. This has partially caused a great divide between the privileges of church officeholders and their level of accountability. There are now a few leaders that have come to acknowledge they have gotten it wrong about recent events. That is a great step, a step that has been late in the making but a great start none-the-less.

Admitting you were wrong about the election, the coronavirus, what God was doing, how he views racial injustice, how God told us to treat immigrants, our duty to the poor, honor vs obey, and a bunch of other things is a good first reaction. Unfortunately, part of being wrong about these things has caused many to question if there really are prophets and apostles in the church today. If we search the Scriptures, it looks like we have been playing church more than being the church.

Charismatic and Pentecostal leaders, your integrity will be known by your efforts to clean up this mess. But before you can do that you have to come to the understanding of what the mess is and your role in causing it. I hope each of you that has been getting it wrong this season have come under some accountability to discover what made you unfaithful to Holy Spirit. You can’t attribute those words to God’s nature and be following Him at the same time.

Restoration to the true ministry of Holy Spirit is possible but will need to be overseen by an elder. I believe God can turn this around but it is going to take honesty and accountability. Whatever the plan is for your restoration, these five tasks have to be included:

Find out how many churches you divided with your false prophecies. I am a guy with a small church in south Florida. I have lost good people because they believed your lies instead of the guidance of their pastors. I lost good people. I lost family members. People chose you and the words you made up instead of the words of the people who nourished their souls, watched over them when their family was in trouble, and met with them to hear their hurts. They lost that because you told them that is what God wanted. They lost their churches and we lost them. What will you do about that?

Find out how many people died of Covid-19 because they trusted you. Right now there are people who are dead because they followed you. You didn’t get it wrong about coronavirus, you caused people to die. You caused families to suffer terrible financial and emotional destruction. Churches lost their pastors. Families lost their loved ones. Businesses were destroyed. And we are not even counting the number of followers who languished in sickness. Health and governmental leaders were not trusted because you gave false prophecies. How do you clean that up? How can you possibly repair that damage? What led you to be so careless about people’s fate?

Find out how many racists you empowered and emboldened. You put your name and office behind an unashamed racist. If you don’t believe that you are still under the delusion that caused the above false prophecies. Because of you there are large groups of Christians that believe that it is Marxist to want the government to stop murdering black people. Your words emboldened people to hate immigrants in direct contradiction to the teachings of Jesus. You made it ok to hate, be suspicious, listen to and spread slander, and be conformed to the worst instincts of the unredeemed. How will you put the White Nationalist genie back in the bottle? How will you walk back the hatred you empowered in the church? How will you heal the divide you deepened between your white community and the people of color? How will you repent of the racism you have displayed?

Find out how many people now worship the idol you promoted instead of the living God. God chose Cyrus, the Persian ruler to be God’s instrument to deliver Israel from Babylonian captivity. Cyrus was a shadow of Jesus. You gave Jesus’ mantle to a man. That’s like Old Testament level false prophet type stuff. People fly a man’s name over their cars, houses, on their head, and unfortunately in their hearts. They did it because you told them that was God’s will. You told them that people who did not follow this man would suffer God’s wrath. What is wrong with you? Why would you do that? What level of false spirit did you entertain to miss such foundational blasphemy? How will you destroy the idols of our day? How will you win these people back to Jesus?

Find out how many people are following your lies instead of Jesus. I know the word lie is abrasive. But whatever is not the truth is a lie. The charismatic church has been too soft on this. The truth is people believed your lies instead of the Jesus of the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount. This is probably the easiest to fix. Tell people to go back to their churches they left because of your words. Tell people they should have been wearing a mask and believing the science all along. Tell people how wrong you were not to condemn racism in our government. Tell people that they should have never followed a man instead of Jesus. Make sure they know you are talking about following you. Then tell them they should have never followed a politician instead of Jesus. When you see the crowds leave and follow the idols you set up you will really see the damage you caused.

Don’t search your heart for how this went wrong. Following your heart is what got us all into this mess. My advice is to find a Pentecostal academic to sit under.1 Someone who embraces the Baptism of the Spirit and the Word of God. Get some real theological education because you have been a mess with that. STOP MINISTERING until you figure out the answers to the above questions. Seriously. You have to get a grip on the damage your ministry has caused. This will be painful but it is necessary.

The Church is beautiful and self-healing because the Holy Ghost is in her. She survived the Romans, the Ottomans, the Communists, Radical Islam, and humanism. She survived all these with damage, she will survive the damage you caused as well. Take time to discover deep repentance and forgiveness offered to the repentant by Jesus. Learn to be a servant instead of a king. Find the way of Jesus.

I would suggest Dr. Chris Green, Dr. A.J. Swaboda, Dr. Mark Chironna, Dr. Cheryl Bridges Johns, Dr. Antipas Harris, Dr. Amos Yong, and Dr. Mark Cartledge. There are a bunch of others but that is a quick list.

Photo by Dean Rose on Unsplash

Growing in this Season of Failed Prophecies

I often find myself sitting across a meeting space with people wanting counsel in times of transition. There are some common threads to these conversations. People are in a season of transition. They feel uncomfortable with where their decisions have taken them. They are looking for approval to move into the new season and reassurance that their new decisions will fix the problems their old decisions have caused.

People get to such a place of discomfort with their current season they are ready to boldly step out and follow themselves somewhere else. They believe their current discomfort is God’s way of telling them to change, and they also believe the solution is almost always to leave where they are and start in a new place they have chosen. Now to be sure, very few people know that is the narrative they are explaining, but that is almost always the plan.

These meetings always fall into two categories. The small category are the people who come and want actual input. In contrast, most just want “confirmation” that their diagnosis of the problem and their prescribed solution are spot on.

The first group are more concerned with following God’s plan than their need for comfort. They have come to recognize their own fallibility and their need for other voices. They are willing to put in the work to figure out what part they played in their predicament and protect long-term relationships. They ask questions early in the process and listen to answers. They look for signs before they make decisions and don’t just see them as confirmation of their will. Their lives are mostly marked by stability and increasing prosperity.

For the second group, there is an insecurity that if you disagree with any of what they have communicated, you are somehow disparaging their relationship with God. They clutch to their revelation tightly in fear that their revelation will be dismissed. They have been discipled by a system of prophetic all-stars who can prophesy no wrong, their revelations can not be questioned, and the student’s goal is to be as perfect as them. Even though they say they are growing in the prophetic, they have grown beyond anyone who may question them.

Self evaluation is a terrible weakness of our current prophetic system. Nobody can be a false prophet anymore. Trustworthiness is determined by book sales. To doubt a prophetic word is to doubt the gift of prophecy. None of this is biblical or lines up with historical Christianity but perfectly protects their business model.

If there is no failure then there is no reason to repent, grow and change. This is a deadly heresy.

Our Failed Prophetic Movement

The false belief that every thought about God’s will must be perfect and perfectly followed is a direct product of our broken prophetic movement. Modern prophets bill themselves as having secret access to the mind of God and create a false theology stating that if their customers are spiritual enough, they too can have perfect revelation.

I was once an ardent follower of these movements. I began to heavily filter what I took in as I watched Proverbs 25:14 come to life at the Lakeland Revival. Every night seemed to culminate with a new promise of double portion anointings, mantles, and my favorite, the presence of the person of Jesus night. (Whatever that is.) I saw actual miracles in the early days of those meetings, but I took what was spoken from the stage with a grain of salt because none of the promises of impartation ever came to pass.

"Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of a gift he does not give."Proverbs 25:14 Click To Tweet

I inherently knew that these teachings would not stand the test of time. They would not become foundational doctrines and were simply spiritual junk food for the throngs of Charismatics who hoped they could achieve what these ministers claimed to be. Yet still I stayed in the Charismatic camp for years after these meetings. But I knew that I would never be one of the big name guys because I did not possess the ability to make stuff up and claim that those words were from God.

As an enneagram 8 I rarely believe everything I hear. This has protected me in this movement. But I also rarely believe everything I say. This has also been a blessing. It has caused me to have an inner need to know that what I speak is bringing actual, long-lasting fruit. As Paul said in his first letter to the church in Corinth, the kingdom of God does not consist in words but in power. The fourth chapter of that letter could be written to the church today. Paul was warning them not to align with teachers trying to sell blessing believers already have in Christ. He warned that their goal was to themselves and not to Jesus. In other words, don’t listen to apostles and prophets who say they will get you on their level if you align with them. They are not the gatekeepers of God.

Don't listen to apostles and prophets who say they will get you on their level if you align with them. They are not the gatekeepers of God. Click To Tweet

Failed Teachings Produce Failed Followers

2020 has been a painful lesson in how wrong all of this Charismatic hocus pocus has been. The prophets did not speak the coronavirus away. They actually risked people’s lives by falsely aligning real science with their delusional conspiracy theories. They really said things like it would be gone by Passover, it is an election year hoax, a vaccine would quickly be discovered, that God showed them it would not become a pandemic, and one guy said he would personally keep it out of Florida by his authority.

There was a time that I aspired to be counted among these men. My fatal flaw was that I wanted the same feedback I required of others. I didn’t want to simply post click-worthy words. I wanted to deliver words that revealed Jesus and changed lives. We simply can’t get that if we are not hearing voices outside our circle of influence. If you are only testing your prophecies by the words of other people on the prophecy circuit you aren’t going to get real feedback.

Likewise, if your personal word about how to get out of your season of discomfort is only tested by your closest friends or your family, I doubt you are going to get real feedback and useful solutions.

Current charismatic ministry models completely neglect the proper way of discerning a healthy solution to problems. We have to recognize our failures and seek to understand how they happened. We need to map out how we got to where we are now and only then can we use this information to inform our future. If we fail to do this, we are bound to repeat these mistake after we blame our current location for our failures.

There is much to be learned from this season. Like every other king in the Old Testament, the lessons are mostly what not to do. If we believe that God allowed them to be evil to show what false beliefs produce, we should not be surprised that the same is happening today.

The Modern Prophetic Movement is Badly Broken

Covid knocks out the prophets

Mike Tyson has a famous saying, “Everyone has a plan untill they get punched in the mouth.” Tyson was replying to a reporter’s question whether he was worried about his next opponent’s fight plan. There is a remarkabale amount of truth to this and it is playing out in modern prophetic ministry. It is impossible to put it any other way,

The modern prophetic movement is badly broken. Click To Tweet

I have been a part of that system and I am on a journey of exploration to fix my small part of it.

Why does this matter? These prophets caused death and the worship of false gods because of their ministry. The Bible calls that a big thing.

During the 1980’s and 90’s prophetic ministry exploded. While it has always been a part of Christian ministry, this new generation of prophetic ministers no longer prophesied as part of their ministry, it was their ministry and it became amazingly lucrative.

Paul said that all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge were hidden in Christ. Emerging prophetic voices began to testify that they were the only ones with access to these mysteries and they would access that revelation for the cost of their ministry materials or a special offering. It was a very short distance from this doctrinal error to the ministry of Balaam. While their official teachings taught that anyone could find this knowledge in the secret place, their ministry models actually displayed they alone could tap into these treasures.

These prophets had an amazing business model. But like Tyson’s opponents, once tested they have been shown to be false contenders.

During times of economic and social prosperity, prophetic ministry prospered unchecked by giving words of prosperity and happiness. As their wealth moved them from the Pentecostal roots of the lowest rungs of society, they took on the culture of the American elite. Everything that protected their elite status was accepted as God’s will. Anything that threatened the prosperity of their class, became a threat to God and his Kingdom. Not only were people taught not to hear God’s words of warning, they were told to never share them as well. That is vital training to protect their model.

Thusly, once a person is received as a prophet, their words can’t be judged. It is impossible for them to be wrong. You either have to receive the prophet’s word or you are not part of the remnant.

That worked untill it got punched in the mouth by way of rising nationalism, racism, a pandemic, and the ensuing economic collapse.

None of the self-appointed national prophets had a word about any of these. Furthermore, none of them even spoke as God’s appointed in pointing out that these were problems, in fact, many of them said that these were no problems at all. And this showed us all that they are actully the problem. I will reserve detailing those two statements for another article.

When Christians needed true prophetic ministry the most, the modern prophetic movement doubled down on what proved to be a string of damning false prophecies. The Bile did not speak of sending an American presidential candidate. The racial justice movement is not a revolt against God. The Pandemic was not a hoax. Our current economic collapse is real.

People died from covid-19 because they believed it was a hoax. People have turned from Christianity to nationalism because of their false words. People believe that racist language is approved by God and they will not be affected by the coming economic fallout.

This all matters greatly to God.

None have admitted their words were wrong because in most cases they have been making them up. The majority of their words have no substance, carry no weight of revelation or have any actual consequence. In fact the most famous national prophets use the common rhetorical technique of making vague complicated nonsensical statements that bring about a conflict which can only be resolved by their revelation. It’s sanctified gobbly gook. If their words are proven wrong, they say we applied the word wrongly. It’s a fail proof system.

That’s like Michael Spinks saying he didn’t really get knocked out by Tyson, he was doing a different kind of boxing and he still won. For them, truth is a moving target that they alone define.

The truth of the matter is that the problems they have diagnosed are only the problems of their social class, the elite. Neither the ailment they sought to address nor their remedies came from God. They have consistently delivered false prophecies and none of the leading national prophets or apostles called them out.

I know exactly one prophet that got true words about this season. I can name you many that not only didn’t predict this season properly, they exasperated the problems with false words from their imaginations. There was no economy of revelation. All the national prophets said the same thing and they all were wrong.

The modern prophetic movement is badly broken. It does not need repaired, it needs to be dismantled and rebuilt from the ground up.