Aligning our words with God’s word.
A call for vulnerability, honesty, and repentance within the Prophetic Movement.
When I arrived home yesterday, I found this book: “Prophetic Integrity” by R.T.Kendall sitting on my book table. Somewhat bemused how it got there, I later discovered my wife had earlier opened the package containing it, sent by Amazon. It turned out to be a gift from a friend, who I have previously had robust exchanges with on this and related subjects, and to such an extent that sometimes we might end up agreeing to disagree, but who I suspect knowing some of my views and my respect for Kendall and broad agreement with his theological outlook, rightly anticipated that I would enjoy stimulating reading the book offered.
My heart sank a little noting the foreword was by Michael Browne, who came to my attention a year ago as a leading light behind “Charismatics Issue ‘Prophetic Standards’ to Address False Trump Prophecies”, which I discuss in my “Prophetic Standards” blog, which while recognising some important points that were made and sharing many of the valid concerns raised, I was to offer a different perspective concerning the alleged false Trump prophecies. Interestingly, Kendall often harks back on this issue in the book, sharing many of the views raised in the Prophetic Standards document I referred to. But rather than take Kendall to task now, because after all he did make many helpful points, I would like to firstly recognise, I will return to the subject of prophecies about Trump returning for a second term and how we should view those who made such prophecies toward the end of the article.
Firstly, let me declare an interest. Nearly two years ago I wrote a book titled Prophets of the Bible (my Covid lockdown project) and at the beginning of this year I produced a second edition (see here). Most of the book was my findings from digging deep into the Bible and relevant resources, concerning the prophets (all of them) mentioned in the Bible and many of their prophecies, including those not yet fulfilled. I included, especially in the second edition, thoughts on modern-day prophets, their significance, how they operate and the different ways they might be viewed / categorised:
- Those who believe such don’t exist today, i.e. the gift of prophecy has ceased.
- Those who prophesy, often unbeknown to them at the time, typically while preaching.
- False prophets that abound, just as they did in Bible times (discussed in my book).
- Charismatic prophets, who operate in the local and sometimes wider church context.
- Charismatic prophets, who as well as operate in church contexts also do so in political contexts, e.g. prophesying Trump’s second term (and a lot more as I am discovering).
There is overlap of course and maybe a sixth category – something I was reminded of from one of Kendall’s observations in his book, notably something he had been steered away from by his early mentors – those persons, typically old men, who have had their day and know their Bibles (like me, in fact) who like to dwell on Bible prophecy, typically that which is yet to be or in the process of being fulfilled, relating this to world events, unfolding before our eyes.
I suspect Kendall comes in the fourth category as I note little if any recognition of prophecy concerning world events. I read his book earlier today (all 174 pages) – in a single sitting! I did read quickly even to the point of skimming though some of the content, much of which was readable and familiar. I enjoyed reading about his own journey, coming from a Word (Reformed / Evangelical) background, but later coming in contact with those from a Spirit (Pentecostal / Charismatic) background and coming to a view that both Word and Spirit need to be in harmonious balance – a position that is broadly my own and one that resonates with my own spiritual journey.
I found the many examples he gave to be helpful, ranging from the real thing (powerful words that could only have come from God) to the bogus, but being generous to all. He frankly shared his concerns (both the Word and Spirit factions) about the church that has often lost their way, with from what I can make out, people not fully sold out to God, with some falsely prophesying, e.g. re. Trump, and lack of prophesy, e.g. the Corona pandemic, being examples of divine displeasure. What I liked was his humility concerning his own failings, his warm-hearted approach to Christians of all shades, feeling at home and empathizing with both evangelicals and charismatics, (although yet still regards unrepentant Trump second termer prophets as dodgy), the way he still honoured those who failed, and especially that it is our sacred calling and highest priority as Christians to do, think etc. to the honour and glory of God.
About the book, I found it helpful even if not earth and heaven shatteringly revealing. Some of his anecdotes were surprisingly refreshing and informative, as much because he was so self effacing and never wanting to put anyone down, e.g. re. Ravi Zachariah, Paul Cain and Yassar Arafat. I did find his blatant dismissal of Trump second termer prophets and lack of recognition that prophets can and do prophesy into world events and situations, as did the Hebrew prophets of the Bible, disappointing. I hoped and expected a Trump second term based on that was what was needed and some prophets I followed (albeit with caveats I will get to) said so. Some of these, however, I also doubt are true prophets but some are. While I was disappointed Trump was not sworn in as president, I can see the divine hand at work – after all we would not have know how deep and dirty the swamp was if Trump had been declared the winner!
I won’t go into what exactly the Trump prophets said as often I don’t know, although some at least no doubt were presumptuous (not a word Kendall used but I noted this was a concern often raised in his book) when declaring that on January 20th 2021 Trump will begin his second term, which didn’t happen, or DID IT? The late Kim Clement’s two president prophecy suggests otherwise. Some pour scorn over such folk, but others (e.g. reference Richard’s Watch) point to numerous cases of prophecy fulfilled. After all, the election was stolen; Biden is a fraud (and worse); his administration is a disaster – paving the way for the evil Great Reset (which the Bible tells us is coming). Biden is the president of a bankrupt corporation while Trump remains the president of the constitutional republic.
One thing we all need to grasp, whatever our views on the Trump prophets and their utterances (or, come to that, Trump the man, bearing in mind God often uses the most unlikely people to be His instruments of deliverance), is that the eternal God acts in His own time and in His own way, even though he does reveal his plans though His prophets, albeit often not the detail – AND this did not stop when the Bible canon was complete. I expect developments that will surprise, even shock, many (and dare I say it – soon); it is a matter of watch this space. Remember, come what may, God wins!
The book is good but not great. While what has gone on, especially following Trump’s “defeat” and considering the way events like the Corona pan (scam) demic were approached have caused me to no longer look up to many of the Christian leaders I once admired (noting God is in the shaking business, and I suspect RT will concur – at the end God gets all the glory – Hallelujah). R.T.Kendall, now well into his eighties is a man who deserves respect even if some things he doesn’t get. I am glad my friend thought of me and that I read the book. From that part of the wall I watch from, looking out on momentous happenings all around the world, the prophetic voice is too often ignored in today’s church, e.g. responding to things to do with Corona, when many fine upstanding churches, Evangelical and Charismatic, rolled over in the face of tyranny. I am reminded that Jesus is prophet, priest and king, and much more. While there is only one king (Jesus), the church needs prophets as well as priests.
As for my thoughts on how to approach the prophetic word, consider the above Thessalonians text for what St. Paul wrote and the below meme for how I try to go about it. Above all, I commend RT’s exhortation to his readers – that it is beholden on us to live our lives in order to honour the Lord, so He gets all the glory.