On Chosen Generation today we continued our discussion on the Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing Project, which I wrote about in my Watchman on the Wall column for Charisma magazine last week. The Wolf is howling, but clearly hurt. He wants God to show him a miracle to prove He’s real. We also discussed how Duck Dynasty’s Willie Robertson was dis-invited from a fundraiser for Free Will Baptist Church after he inked a deal for a line of wines to be sold for $10 a bottle at Walmart. Of course, we prayed for folks as well. If you missed the broadcast, you can listen to it here. Be sure to tune in next week!
“We must now have the courage to take the final step and call homophobia and heterosexism what they are. They are sin. Homophobia is a sin. Heterosexism is a sin. Shaming people for who they love is a sin. Only when all our churches say that clearly and boldly and courageously will our LGBT youth be free to grow up in a culture that totally embraces them as they fully are.”
These aren’t the words of an outspoken gay activist at a rally. Or, well, maybe they sort of are. These words came from the lips of Rev. Gary Hall, the dean of Washington’s National Cathedral, in a recent Sunday sermon. Hall was speaking during a weekend that honored lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth and commemorated the 15th anniversary of Matthew Shepard’s death. Shepard was murdered in what gay rights activists call an anti-gay hate crime in 1998. Others claim it was gay propaganda.
But Hall’s sermon wasn’t an isolated instance or any sort of departure from his standard theology—and it wasn’t taken out of context. Earlier this year, Hall announced the Washington National Cathedral would start celebrating same-sex marriages.
In his weekly Prophetic Perspective on Current Events broadcast, Rick Joyner predicted the destruction of America’s republic—maybe even during President Obama’s second term.
Joyner prefaced the Internet broadcast entitled “Has Democracy Failed?” by warning viewers that he would say some things that may be shocking. The segment was filmed on the day before the government shutdown.
From Joyner’s prophetic perspective, the republic of the United States of America is crumbling because of tyranny from the government and from the people.
The anointing at the altar was strong. Words of wisdom were flowing. People were getting healed. We were seeing a genuine outpouring. The Holy Spirit’s manifest presence was undeniable. God was using Mark (not his real name) to set the captives free.
But Mark wasn’t free—and he wouldn’t admit it. Mark was like one of the Sons of Thunder who wanted to call fire down from heaven to consume the people who rejected Jesus (Luke 9:54). He frequently threatened to rebuke those who didn’t live up to his standards. He had dreams and visions of people dying because they wouldn’t come to church. His behavior was controlling, impatient and self-righteous.
When Mark’s co-laborers confronted him, he suggested they were the problem. He said they didn’t have enough faith to live on the edge like he was; that they weren’t sold out to God like he was; that they weren’t fasting and praying enough like he was; that they just weren’t holy enough like he was. So he cut off relationship with those co-laborers and took his spiritual gifts somewhere else.
Beyond Ahab and the eunuchs, Jezebel had at least 850 false prophetic puppets to manhandle. These 850 prophets came from two different camps in Israel—they were the prophets of Baal and the prophets of Asherah, sometimes called the prophets of Jezebel. Queen Jezebel’s false prophets were wrapped up in a religious system that spoke contrary to the will of God, while Jehovah’s prophets were hidden in caves for fear of their lives.
Indeed, ironic is the fact that Queen Jezebel was executing the true prophets of God as if they were false prophets (1 Kings 18:4) while the false prophetic puppets were being pampered and eating prime rib in the palace (v. 19).
God clearly mandated that false prophets be put to death (Deut. 13:1-5) along with people who adopt idolatry or lead others into this spiritual adultery (Deut. 13:13; 17:2-7). Yet Ahab stood by as Jezebel massacred the true prophets of God under false pretenses to protect her puppets, so it’s no wonder she was murderously mad when Elijah executed true justice against her misaligned mouthpieces (1 Kings 18:40).
Since I was first born again, God has allowed me to witness spirits of error and full-blown deception over and over. And He’s called me to confront it more times than not. I’ve wept over souls falling headlong into pits of deception and been persecuted for walking away from ministries where strong delusions were leading people away from Jesus.
But make no mistake, there’s a huge difference between discerning a spirit of error that keeps people from a full understanding of Jesus and accusing people of full-blown heresy that keeps people from receiving salvation. Even though deception is running rampant in the body of Christ, I shun the work of heresy hunters who have made it their mission to discredit anyone and everyone with whose theology they some small a point of contention.
I get emails from heresy hunters every day suggesting I expose some ministry or another (and sometimes calling me foul names for hitting "delete"). Most of the Christian personalities these heresy hunters are working to expose aren’t heretics at all, though most flow in a measure of error because none of us have it all right all the time. Some are clearly deceived, but they still don’t quality as heretics. I also get emails from heresy hunters who sometimes disagree with what I write. But an email last week from a woman named Yvonne took the heresy hunting to a hellish level.
What’s your prophetic reputation? Are you known as the prophet who refuses to water down—or, worse, manufacture—a prophetic word to tickle the ears of those listening, or will you speak the prophecy boldly despite the persecution it may bring you?
Would you be willing to go to jail to maintain the purity of your prophetic ministry? Or would you instead go along with the hundreds of other prophets who give way to spirits of divination, Jezebel spirits, witchcraft or lying spirits in order to make hearers happy (and keep the offerings pouring in)?
Put another way, will you be like Ahab’s prophets or like Micaiah?
When Jesus said that false christs would arise, I don’t think He had the likes of Alan John Miller—or the many others over the years who have claimed to be Jesus—in mind. Miller has set the Twitterverse ablaze with his claims to divinity.
An Australian, Miller claims he arrived on the earth for the first time just more than 2,000 years ago. The 50-year-old former information technology guru—who also happens to be divorced—is making some wild claims on his Divine Truth website about himself and his second wife, Mary Suzanne Luck:
“My name then was Yeshua ben Yosef, or the Jesus of the Bible, the son of Joseph and Mary. Mary’s name then was Mary of Magdala, the woman identified in the Bible as Mary Magdalene. Mary was my wife then, and the first person I appeared to after I was crucified.”
When you start throwing golden calves into the fire—when you expose false doctrines, false gods, destructive heresies, false prophecies and anything else that perverts the Word of God—some people start gnashing their teeth at you.
Most are grateful that more prophetic messengers are lifting their voices against the heresy in hopes that innocent sheep won’t fall prey to wolves in disguise. But deceived believers work to discredit prophetic voices publicly—and even send threats privately. Yes, I’ve received threats for my recent columns about rock-star preachers spewing false gospels and my follow-up on naming names.
Of course, that’s not going to stop me from throwing golden calves into the fire. The public character assaults and the private threats only confirm the need to expose false doctrine and reveal truth. Jesus put it this way: “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
When preachers tour like rock stars, it’s no wonder sinners flock to stadiums. Of course, preachers holding stadium-sized events packed out with lost souls is awesome—unless those preachers present a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel that’s giving the assurance of heaven while sending people to hell.
I am convinced that too many people who claim to be Christ-followers are not really saved because too many false teachers and false prophets are propagating a “different gospel” centered on “another Jesus” (see 2 Cor. 11:3-4). I am convinced that many self-professing saints are going to sit right next to sinners in hell when it’s all said and done—thanks, in part, to rock-star preachers presenting a hyped-up, watered-down, seeker-friendly gospel.
Especially in America, it’s easy to say, “I believe in Jesus.” It’s called mental assent. I believed in Jesus before I got saved, too, but I was still on my way to hell. Many who have “accepted Jesus into their hearts” have responded to a “different gospel” centered on a false Christ. This gospel is mixed with compromise. This gospel is impure and defiled religion. This gospel offers a humanistic, self-help message that taps New Age principles. Indeed, these false teachers and false prophets are moving in a false anointing and presenting a false Christ. And it’s deadly.
Yesterday, I alerted you to a nefarious attempt to hijack my identity and fleece the sheep in my name. This bad actor created a fake Facebook page, used my photo and other materials, and was replicating posts from my page to make it look and sound like me. This same person was sending out friend requests in my name to Christians and had already built up about 100 followers by the time you started alerting me to the scam.
After Facebook refused to do anything about it, I sent out a warning via my newsletter asking you all to report it. My goal was to protect people from being defrauded. You responded in droves and Facebook listened. The fraudster’s page has been removed, but that doesn’t mean he won’t try again. If you see anything suspicious about ministries you follow, please report it. There are many sincere believers out there looking for a prophetic word or prayer and don’t know that God’s true servants don’t charge you money for these things !
You all know that I preach hard against merchandising, so it’s ironic that the devil would try to use my personal brand to fleece the sheep. In fact, I'll be posting a column in Charisma magazine in the coming days about a merchandising scheme I recently ran into online from a "prophet." We need to pray that the body of Christ will receive greater discernment in this hour. If folks are fooled by false prophets looking for a pay day, how will they escape the rise of false prophets and false Christs and the great falling away?
I was once deceived. Or, you might say, I’ve been deceived more than once.
Like you, I was deceived before I was saved. My plan was to live however I wanted, repent when I got into my 40s and start going to church. I figured all would be well with my soul when I was ready to stop living in sin. God, in His mercy, had different plans for me. He encountered me in an undeniable way when I was 30, broke the deception and delivered me from evil.
Soon, though, I fell into another deceptive pit in a hyper-apostolic church that publicly taught “God, family, ministry” but secretly demanded, “Ministry, ministry, ministry.” Our Bibles literally fell open to Ephesians 4:11. And we spelled apostolic like this: w-o-r-k. This deception crept in through unbalanced—even extreme—teachings and superhuman expectations that wearied the saints.
Friends, I wanted to alert you to a demonic strategy to impersonate me and use my name to merchandise the saints.
Yesterday, someone hijacked my photos and created a fake Facebook account with the name Heart Ofthe Prophetic. This is a variation of my Facebook page, which has nearly 30,000 members. (Click here to join my REAL Facebook page.)
This nefarious character is replicating posts from my page to make it look and sound like me and sending out friend requests in my name to Christians and has already built up about 100 followers.
The promise of personal prophecy always draws a crowd. Many long to hear the voice of God and either don’t have confidence in their prophetic listening skills or are simply seeking confirmation about something they think God spoke to their heart.
I remember what it was like as a new believer when visiting prophets would roll through town. I waited in anticipation, hoping I would be the one called out to receive a life-changing prophetic word. Although I believe wholeheartedly in personal prophecy—and although I’ve attended many prophetic conferences—I’ve only had a “prophet” call me out with a word once. It was so far off base that it cured me of chasing personal prophecy.
Still, I get it. I understand that believers are sincerely hungry to hear God’s voice. And that, unfortunately, is one of the reasons prophetic ministry is so abused in this hour. It’s one of the reasons anyone who claims to be a prophet can so easily fleece some sheep or offer false prophecies that lead people away from God instead of closer to Him.
Every week I get at least a handful of digital requests from precious people all over the world desperately seeking a prophetic word. Some come begging. Others come demanding. Still others come with money in hand to buy a prophecy or dream interpretation.
Seriously, this happens just about every day and more than once on most days. It’s an unfortunate symptom of modern-day prophetic ministry—prophetic ministry that has too often taught people to depend on prophets to “go to the throne” and “get a word” for them instead of fulfilling the Ephesians 4:11 mandate to equip the saints.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not at all against personal prophecy. In fact, over the next two weeks I’ll be ministering on prophetic promises at my church. I fully expect the Holy Spirit to move. I fully expect many hungry believers to receive prophetic words. Personal prophecy—edifying, exhorting and comforting believers—is vital in this hour.
I was taking a long drive from South Florida to Orlando, praying in the Spirit, and asking the Lord to reveal some prophetic direction for 2013. I must have prayed in the Spirit for two hours before I heard these three words: “Return to Antioch.”
With a long, dark stretch of highway still in front of me, I could not readily dive into Scripture to seek understanding about what the Holy Spirit was trying to tell me. So I continued praying in the Spirit and meditating on those three words: “Return to Antioch.”
When I opened my Bible to Acts 14, prophetic revelation for the body of Christ—particularly the leadership of the body of Christ—began to unfold: