We have been in full time ministry since 1978 and so have had time to observe what is happening in the Church, especially in charismatic circles. When we were much younger, we were impressed by big and well-known ministries (especially those which involved miracles) which could draw large crowds of people. We thought that such ministries had certainly been blessed by the Lord, and we wanted to be like them.
No longer awestruck by the “superstars”
But we feel we have matured as disciples of the Lord, and are able now to discern more clearly in order to evaluate such ministries.
There is one temptation among ministers which perhaps is greater than any other, and that is greed and the love of money. This is especially true of charismatic preachers who teach what we would call “extreme prosperity” which holds that God wants all of His people to become financially wealthy in this life. This teaching has infected many (but not all) charismatic churches in varying degrees.
When for some reason people begin to flock to a certain ministry, along with it will usually come “fame” within the body of Christ. Along with fame will often come “fortune” with bigger and bigger offerings from the growing crowds. Fame and fortune are hard temptations for any minister to resist—especially if they think that they are blessings from God—and will affect the decisions they make. And the desired result of their decisions will often be even greater fame and greater fortune for them and their ministries. (This is of course all “for the glory of God.”)
There is much truth in the saying, “just follow the money (trail)”
It’s very possible for a servant of God to start out with great sincerity and the best of intentions. But it’s also possible for him or her to become gradually seduced by the desire for fame and fortune as their apparent success in ministry grows. In the case of Brownsville, they expanded their physical facilities at considerable cost to accommodate the awestruck and adoring crowds. But once the “revival” ended, the crowds stopped coming and the church was stuck with a huge mortgage they could not afford. Did their excitement at seeing the crowds (and accompanying large offerings) cause them to make unwise business decisions?
Under such conditions (and possibly others) following the end of the “revival” it’s not surprising to see the leaders go their separate ways. Interestingly, the word “revival” is not found in Scripture. Even the concept of “revival” is arguably not strongly supported in New Testament Scripture. Should what we read in Acts not be normative for the Church today?
As you know, Steve Hill became very well known in the aftermath of Brownsville. Fame, especially accelerated fame as perhaps in Steve’s case, can produce tremendous unwanted pressure on the personal life of a minister of the gospel in addition to the temptations. This pressure and stress can lead to sickness and even to sin in some cases. The Church likes to run after “anointed” superstar preachers and ministers. But superstars can eventually become falling stars. Observe what happened to the most well-known healing evangelist of the 21st century.
No thank you
For that reason we do not want to become “superstars.” Rather we simply want to live normal lives and train ordinary nameless disciples how to do the works that Jesus did accordance with John 14:12. Our reward will not be fame and fortune in this life, but from the Lord at the Judgment Seat of Christ in the next age.
With regard to world-famous IHOP, we have concluded that a spirit which is not from God has infiltrated them and resulted in teaching and manifestations which are not from God. Please click on False spirits invade the Church (YouTube) to view an eye-opening video.
Although our primary emphasis in The Elijah Challenge remains on equipping the body of Christ to heal the sick and cast out demons as Jesus taught and commanded His disciples when He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God, we have become increasingly conservative in our teaching, doctrine, and practices.
1Timothy 4:16 Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.
We have decided to return to the Scriptures. If it is not strongly supported directly by Scripture, we will usually not teach it or practice it. We do this to stay on the safe side. Unfortunately in many charismatic circles, Scripture is being stretched beyond recognition to support unscriptural practices, teachings, and manifestations. For us this can be dangerous to our salvation.
Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’ (Matthew 7:22-23)
“The anointing” as found in the Church today: scriptural or not?
“Spiritual Warfare” not desirable for effective evangelism
False spirits invade the Church (YouTube)
Kundalini Warning by Andrew Strom
Your Place and Standing in the Next Age
To those who have ears to hear
The teaching of the Nicolaitans which Jesus hates
The fulfillment of a vision from God in 1999
The above article was prompted by the following inquiry received from a sister in Christ
“I read your articles here and there when time permits and I learned a lot from them. I have a question and would appreciate you help shed some light on it. I read on Charisma the Brownsville revival that brought near 5 million visitors from all over the world but currently the church is close to closing down. I’m puzzled with what has gone wrong that a major move like that fizzled and died. Did the ministers misstep in handling the glory of God?
I’ve supported the ministry work of pastor Steve Hill, the key one God used to bring about the revival. In the last few years he’s been fighting melanoma cancer and at some point he even couldn’t remember his wife’s name nor any scriptures. The leaders of Brownsville also went separate way. Is it a spiritual warfare that can happen in any move of God? I am not surprised to see the Lakeland, Florida revival died because of the open sin of Todd Bentley, but I’m so shock about the Brownsville revival.
You know my desire is to be trained in leading worship. At one point I considered enrolling in IHOP’s (of pastor Mike Bickle) music school then I read about a murder case of an IHOP student killing another student. It’s awful. The Bible says for those who confess the name of Jesus must depart from sin. I read pastor David Wilkerson’s book America, the Last Call and I’m very concerned about the America’s churches.”