Don't suppress the Spirit, and don't stifle those who have a word from the Master. On the other hand, don't be gullible. Check out everything, and keep only what's good. Throw out anything tainted with evil.
2 Thes 5:19-22 The Message
We are instructed in 1 Corinthians 14 to let the prophets speak (one at a time) and to let the others judge. The NIV puts it this way: "Two or three prophets should speak, and the others should weigh carefully what is said."
And to, without belaboring the point, the expectation in the New Testament church is that 1) Prophecies be given and 2) Prophecies be judged.
I've heard it said that "If you are a prophet you don't need to say so." Indeed, it should be evident. However some must have slept through that class in Prophecy 101.
As an exercise, go to the Elijah List prophecy search box and type the phrase "my prophet" (no quotes) and see who comes up 80% of the time. Funny, I could have prophesied the result. Is it style or does that person have some serious issues?
How to Craft a Non-judgeable Word
The Lord Says - Hear the words of My Prophet. If you do not heed his words, I will not bring it to pass.
Ok, I just made that up. Its not funny- it happens all the time. Popular embellishments include "if you do not hear the word of my servant than I will strike you dead" and the all-time favorite "plague of boils."
This, of course, puts the recipient of the word in a peculiar position. In effect the prophetic word contradicts the Word of God- which tells us to judge all words. For those of you who don't get this yet, it is as if God is saying "The Lord says, I know I said in my Word to judge all words, but I am telling you to not judge this word." Seriously.
And it happens all the time. Here's a gem delivered at the Albany Vineyard on January 17, 2009:
"This night the Lord says, If you receive My word, if you receive My prophetic word, if you receive the prophet and you say 'yes,'... then it shall happen."
To further the deception, there was a set-up teaching earlier in the "prophetic" word:
"And so the promise remained for some other person, some other generation. Maybe He has said to us before He would bring great restoration, and maybe because of the hardness of our heart it didn't happen, not because of the inaccuracy of the prophet or prophetic word."
In other words- "my prophets are not inaccurate, the word did not come to pass because of the hardness of your hearts." One would have to ask if an omniscient God wouldn't have known that before the word was given. Ohhh, that hurts my head. We'll save that one for another day.
A Practical Application
I bring all of this up as background to comment on a current situation. Yesterday I received an e-mail promotion about a "prophetic dream" given to the president of a Bible School and leader of a world-wide youth prayer movement. He stated "Over the weekend I had a long, vivid prophetic dream about the victorious Church during a very specific biblical event in the coming end-time trouble. I woke up with a deep sense of reality and urgency, and I feel it is important to share this dream..."
As an aside, there was a link that would allow you to purchase the MP3 recording of this word freely given by God to this person (Mt 10:8). But I digress. Fortunately, the print version was free so that one could judge the word without an admission price.
The gist of the word was eschatological and revolved around Revelation 12. Now, understand that the time frame of Revelation 12 has been in dispute even amongst mainstream protestants. Fortunately, that issue has now been resolved by this prophetic dream.
But to focus on my thesis of "spiritual dishonesty" I would like to examine a certain portion of this "prophetic" dream.
I felt strongly that IHOP and other streams in the Body of Christ have “empty” arguments about power and their insight into the end-time drama. Most arguments, in either direction, do not actually prepare people to go deeper in Jesus, His Word and Spirit. They are not helpful—rather, they are empty.
In this dream, the Lord was warning me to set my face toward Him and His Word and to refuse the temptation to invest time in seeking to look wise to others. What is coming is so much more intense than we imagine. Even those with the most insight do not understand the intensity of the events in Revelation 12:7-12.
The point of the dream: neither the IHOP leadership nor I are mature enough in our understanding to entertain debates and casual arguments that will arise much more in the Church in the future.
Here we have a Bible School president, the author of at least 10 books, a man who has in the past generated more controversial commentary on the "Song of Songs" then perhaps any man ever, a man who has turned his teaching attention to the exposition of the "Book of the Revelation", and the leader of a worldwide youth prayer movement telling us that his ideas are no longer up for debate.
Well since God said it, I guess that settles it.
If the truth be told, I'd have to agree, to a point, with the first paragraph quoted above. But Mike, if you are serious about the "point of the dream" then (to paraphrase President Reagan) "Mr. Bickle, tear down those teachings."
I'd love to see IHOP focus in on prayer and move away from questionable teachings, which now, at the Lord's behest, can no longer be discussed. But you can't have it both ways. Teaching, at least in the past, seems to be one of their core missions.
"There is a dire need to call forth and train a generation of forerunners who have clarity as to what the Holy Spirit is saying, but also the boldness to confront and expose the lies that many leaders in the Body of Christ, even those with a 5-fold ministry calling, are attributing to the Holy Spirit."
Those were Bickle's words just 2 months ago. How does one confront (pre-trib)"liars" without entertaining debate? Is the new mode of training to simply state your own personal revelation (2 Peter 1:20-21) and refuse to entertain debate - because God told you so? Or will they move from training (which involves discussion) and simply spend more time in dark rooms praying in preparation for the end-times. We'll see.
"Cult members are usually very fearful of disobeying or disagreeing in any way with their leadership. Healthy organizations however are not threatened by openly debating issues." Cultwatch Website