The third-wave church often teaches and practices that reactions (or "manifestations") are most often God-initiated and are not to be controlled. A more orthodox belief held by mainline Charismatics and Pentecostals is that spiritual actions like tongues, prophecies, even shouts-of-joy or cries-of-intercession are under the control of the person. If a prophetic tongue can be stopped in a service, and given later, likewise other spiritual actions, such as screaming out, can yield to control in a service where everything needs to be "decent and in order".
It must be understood that the spiritualized emphasis on “manifestations” and their uncontrollability has a direct tie to the teachings and practices of the Vineyard Movement and the related Toronto (Vineyard) Blessing. Toronto is considered by many a case study in manifestations taken to excess.(30)
What is pertinent to the discussion was the frequency in which I had talked to people who refuse to come forward for ministry. They are (rightly) afraid of what people might do to them. I have heard from several who have stated that they have emotionally “checked out” of the charismatic services. My heart goes out this these people, and they are a significant number. (31)
In my time since leaving the third-wave church, the most notable thing about going to church is the new-found ability to be relaxed while in a service. No longer do I need to worry about what stupid, or even occultic thing is going to happen next. Good worship, Good teaching, no weird things. Two or three prophecies may be given, but no more. Sunday mornings have become a tremendous time of refreshing.
Contrast that with this expectation from Morningstar’s Steve Thompson:
“prophetic ministry is weird. There is good weird and bad weird, and it is the good weird but it is weird!” (32)
Bill Randles, in his book “Beware the New Prophets” makes the point that “the Bible is being downgraded, profanity is coming into the churches and that Christians (Charismatic and evangelical) have stopped using their God-given ability to think.”
Recently, while at a third-wave church, I saw a film clip from the movie “Seabiscuit” used during a sermon in which a jockey cried out “God D*mn it!” Rather odd for a church that strives for God’s habitation, don’t you think? No, God is not squeamish about such things. He is emphatically against such things. (33)
More perverse was a “prophetic” word once given at a leader’s retreat and later repeated verbatim at a ministry training meeting while youth were present. This word, "You can't do a D*mn Thing", was the reportedly the pinnacle of the retreat. Disturbingly, the word energized and excited those to whom it was given. The word was never publicly judged as not being from the Lord, although an apology for repeating it to the youth was made after several months. When leaders of that group were asked if perhaps the "meaning" of the word was correct while the language was not the exact word of the Lord, they emphatically stated that it was a valid prophetic word in its precise language. We disagree
I have not uncovered the doctrinal foundation for the use of profanity within the Manifest Sons movement but the practice seems to be widespread and acceptable. Perhaps it has a close ties with the Toronto practice of “spiritual drunkenness” (34), or so it would seem.
One of the issues we became aware of at the time of our departure from the “third-wave” church was the issue of “Swordplay.” This often-secret practice of spiritualized knighting cropped up in third-wave churches worldwide. The practice frequently involves Scottish Claymore swords as in the legends of Arthur and his sorcerer Merlin. These swords may now been seen on the platforms of many churches such as Morningstar as if they were some sort of religious relic.
Typically the knighting ceremonies involves elite participants sitting in a circle. A leader, stands in the middle of the circle. One at a time, participants slowly move into the center of the circle and solemnly kneel while the leader knights them, tapping them with the sword. This has occurred at third-wave churches in many places and was documented to have occurred at Morningstar, as reported in Charisma Magazine (April 2001):
Joyner's connection to the Knights of Malta has troubled some in the prophetic movement who can't reconcile their Christian faith with membership in a group they consider secretive or elitist. "I have a concern about it. It's a secret society," says one former Morning Star staff member who left in 1999 and requested anonymity when interviewed.
A student of military history, Joyner finds rich Christian symbolism in the Knights of Malta: Brave warriors, armed knights defending the Holy Land--and plenty of swords. On occasion he has given decorative medieval swords to his closest friends. The weapons--which are mentioned often in his books--symbolize the power of the prophetic Word of God.
But the imagery has troubled some of his supporters. Another close ministry associate who requested anonymity said he raised loud objections to the Knights of Malta when Joyner announced that he had joined the order. "I wouldn't touch that stuff. I absolutely came out strong against it," the man said.
Another former ministry staffer told Charisma that he got concerned when Joyner began urging friends to be knighted in an inner circle. "I never felt a peace about it," the former employee said. "It is an elitist club. People started vying for position so they could be knighted. The ones that were knighted had a special bond with Rick.” (35)
Gary Bergel, the former leader of Intercessors For America, has spoken out against this practice on at least one occasion in which I was present. Bergel makes a rational, compelling argument. Joyner’s response to rational thought, which I believe was spoken concerning Bergel: “I understood this well because of a recent conversation I had with a leader of a prayer ministry based in Washington. I do not think that I have ever talked to anyone who was not more deceived by extreme reasoning that leads to wrong conclusions.” (36)
End Times Nonsense
There have recently been many “Joseph Company” conferences hosted by Mike Bickle’s church in Kansas City. The Joseph Company is designed to provide a financial base for the end-time church. You can pay thousands of dollars to take their basic course, pay additional monies for additional courses, and if you meet the qualifications (spiritually discerned) you can actually take part- by invitation- in their business incubator program Those qualifications are not unlike those required by your typical multi-level pyramid scheme: “you will have to be skilled in business, have access to capital and a large talent pool, and be a skilled mentor.” (37)
The origins of the Joseph Company concept can probably be traced to a prophecy by Manifest Son Bill Hamon, who prophesied:
“God has released his Holy Spirit to bring His revelations and activation to the end-time Church. This will bring forth the last generation of mortal people, unlimited power, new products and more places dedicated to fulfilling God’s present-truth purposes…delay shall be no longer concerning the final preparation necessary for the kingdoms of this world to become the kingdoms of Christ Jesus and his Church… God is activating the second phase of apostles and prophets and is fully restoring them to their rightful place of power and function…Jesus is maturing and motivating the five-fold ministers to intensify their training, and equipping those who will be the soldiers in God’s end-time army…the Holy Spirit has been commissioned to accelerate his restorational work in the Church..it’s now time to activate the Joseph and Daniel company of apostles (Joseph) and prophets (Daniel) within the business field and political arena…God is preparing an apostolic and prophetic company of Christian businesspeople. They will not only bring the wealth of the wicked into the Church, but will effect the economy in many nations of the world…Jesus chose twelve men from the business world and ordained them apostles. He did not choose men from the religious Rabbinical schools or the Levitical priesthood…the mortal church is in transition and preparation for becoming the immortal Church.” (38)This clearly states the intent of this program which is Manifest Son to the core. Note the subtle references to a perverted view of the rapture which does not believe that individuals will be caught up, but rather that the church will stay here on earth and be transformed from mortal to immortal. I suppose this will happen in the “twinkling of an eye”.
The Manifest Sons’ doctrine is further elaborated on in the Vision Statement of the Joseph Company (39):
God will release unprecedented judgments on the earth. Scripture is clear that will release unprecedented judgments on planet earth. His goal is not to destroy, or to cause suffering, but to “remove everything that hinders love” for God.
God will also release unprecedented “Josephs.” At a time when God sent judgment upon the near east, God raised up Joseph to “preserve life.” (Gen 45:5) In this hour God will raise up modern day Josephs through whom He will supernaturally supply food, shelter, and help. In judgment God remembers mercy. (Hab 3:2) In judgment, God will make His Bride the epicenter of supply and sanctuary. In Is. 60:1-8, the emergence of the Bride of Christ (the glorious end-time church) was accompanied by the release of abundant supply.
God has already raised up thousands of “Josephs” for this hour. There are many Christians who are in places of wealth or influence with a deep prophetic heart cry to discern the “times and seasons” and their own role. Though they have been greatly blessed, they know God has a greater purpose for their lives.
Purpose and Vision
Releasing the “Sons of Issachar” (I Chron 12:32) — the “strategic prophets” who
“understand the times and know what Israel should do.” This speaks of strategic
understanding of the purposes of God. Joseph was such a prophet. He interpreted
Pharaoh’s dream and knew exactly what should be done with that knowledge. God’s
new Josephs are also “strategic prophets” who know how to plan and mobilize on a
global scale. Joseph oversaw the transfer of wealth and power according to the
purposes of God.
About Joseph he said: In majesty he is like a firstborn bull; his horns are the horns of a wild ox. With them he will gore the nations, even those at the ends of the earth. (Deut. 33:13,17)
Mercy deeds to the nations.
During Joseph’s famine, perhaps millions of people were delivered from starvation. God’s desire in judgment is to also offer mercy. Modern day Joseph will lead many “miracles of compassion” which God will orchestrate to “preserve life.” (Gen 45:5)
Impacting world leaders.
Pharaoh was greatly impacted by Joseph’s wisdom and leadership. Joseph said God “has made me a father to Pharaoh” (Gen 45:8).
Redeeming the Marketplace.
Today the marketplace is not understood as an integral part of God’s Kingdom. Just as Joseph took the people of God into Egypt — a type of the world system — modern day Josephs will lead the church into the marketplace, establishing the marketplace as a place of His Presence, a place of spiritual passion, divine purpose, fellowship with God, Kingdom activity, and harvest.
Building “Cities of Habitation.”
God will raise up “cities of refuge”, or “cities of habitation“ (Ps. 107) — cities preserved by God as places of sanctuary, healing, worship, self-government, culture, education, and industry, thriving in dark times, like spiritual and natural oasis’s.
Sounds a lot like the plans made by many of the same people in the time before the “Y2K” non-event, does it not? This statement also brings out the “Cities of Habitation” doctrine espoused by Joyner and others. Joyner has already bought large amounts of property in North Carolina with the help of Amway’s Dexter Yeager. Joyner’s publishing operation (and this large property base) has grown so big that his tax-exempt status was challenged by local government officials.
While “redeeming the marketplace” may sound admirable, the true motive (aside from money, which is always a motive) is to set up a supply chain to operate during the tribulation.
Certainly there is nothing in the Bible that even suggests that God will raise up ones with a so-called “Joseph anointing” in the last days. As to the Glory of Zion spoken of in Isaiah 60, if that has application to the church (and not Israel), it is most likely referring to what will be established during the Millennial reign, seven years after the present-day church has been raptured. By that time, in fact shortly after the Rature, others will be enjoying your “places of wealth”.
How to escape.
Leave. Don’t let tradition bind you- that is what is known as religion. Don’t wait for God to speak a plain word as to where you should go- be willing to leave, destination unknown, in an act of faith. He is able to keep you. He will speak to you, but you may not be able to hear clearly until you have removed yourself from a place of spiritual confusion. Don’t let friends or family bind you – "Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.” – these are the words of Jesus.
Can the third-wave church be changed? Time and time again, it has been confronted and has refused to respond. God is less concerned about the continuance of the third-wave church than He is about the bondage of her people.
Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.
30 Similar reports were documented at the tail-end of the Welsh Revival.
31 This excludes the equally significant number that have left the Charismatic church altogether.
Thompson also briefly comments on the 7 hidden gospels in this discussion.
33 See Exodus 20:7
34 Bill Randles, Weighed and Found Wanting has an excellent chapter on this subject - see http://www.believersingrace.com/images/WFW1.PDF
Also note the frequent Toronto image of “sticking one’s head in the wine barrel” as on page 20 of Spread The Fire magazine Issue 1, 2004
35 Cedric Harnon, “God’s Lightning Rod”, Charisma Magazine, April 2001.
36 Morningstar Prophetic Bulletin, June 1999
38 Bill Hamon “Apostles, Prophets, and the Coming Moves of God” p. 18-20.