A beautiful child died and Christians mocked the relentless faith of a church family.
A little time has passed since the heartbreaking death of Olive Alayne, the daughter of a Bethel Church worship leader. While the news story has settled down, I still can't deny the grief that I am feeling. My spirit is deeply troubled. In fact, I don't believe it's too strong to say that I'm sickened by the response of so much of the church during this tragic time. No parent wants to go through the unspeakable pain of losing a child. When it happens you must have the love and support of a faith-filled family surrounding you. A spiritual family like Bethel Church in Redding, California isn't going to offer simple “hopes and prayers” as most everybody in the world does at the time of crisis. No, they are going to contend for a miracle. Of course they would, right?
Kalley Heiligenthal stomped her feet and waved her arms, dancing her way from one side of the bright-lit stage to the other.
“Come alive, come alive!” the congregants at Bethel Church in Redding, California, shouted in expectation as they clapped and sang praises.
The faithful shared these scenes on Instagram Tuesday night as they prayed for Heiligenthal’s 2-year-old daughter, Olive Alayne, to be raised from the dead.
A CHILD DIES AND CHRISTIANS MOCK
Other evangelical Christians are beginning to question the church’s ongoing calls for resurrection. Author Wade Mullen, who writes about abuse within evangelical institutions, cautioned that attempted resurrections are often associated with cults.I'll admit I was quite shocked when I started to hear about Christians on social media voicing disapproval of such an effort to contend for a resurrection. Who wouldn't pray with passion in such an unspeakably terrible situation? Who wouldn't take a step of great faith and gather as many prayer warriors as possible to believe with them?
52 And all were weeping and mourning for her, but he said, “Do not weep, for she is not dead but sleeping.” 53 And they laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. Luke 8:52-53 (ESV)Jesus experienced something similar when he suggested a pending resurrection. He was laughed at. The laughing continues today. I propose it's to the shame of the church that supernatural happenings are rare and so resisted in our Western culture. The default for every life crisis should be a corporate war in the Spirit for wonders to come. Help from deity is required. A faith-filled cry should echo out of us as otherworldly aliens who live by a set of different rules and live in a very different realm.
OUR OWN FOR RESURRECTIONMy wife and I have lost seven children to still-birth and miscarriage, and we have battled in tears for each of them. I'll never forget one night several years ago when my wife and I were a part of the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. Amy was pregnant, and using her at home doppler heartbeat monitor, she frantically searched for the baby's heartbeat. There was none. After a confirming visit to the emergency room, sadness overcame us and we devised an unusual plan to match our heart-wrenching desperation. Within hours we were on a flight to Lakeland, Florida. We were going to do whatever it took to gather with other faith-filled people who would agree with us for a miracle. At that time all we knew was that God was moving extremely powerfully and thousands of people were converging under a massive tent, hungry for encounter with God. The intense anointing we felt there as 10,000 people were worshiping with passion was undeniable. Hindsight would give us a glimpse into the assault of the enemy against what God was doing, and, unfortunately, how Todd Bentley would fail. I'll tell you this. Todd's failure and exposure in no way diminished the faith, passion, hunger and legitimate love for Jesus that the people under that tent had. God was manifesting unusually, remarkably, powerfully. I wish I had the space to share the mind-boggling way the Holy Spirit orchestrated the events there. We were back stage throughout the night, doppler in hand, as people hovered around my wife and decreed and declared resurrection nonstop. Their love for two total strangers will never be forgotten. No laughing. No mocking. Only love. After many dramatic encounters and untold expressions of determined faith by two humbled, broken people, we flew home. There was still no heartbeat. The next night a spontaneous “resurrection service” took place in one of the classrooms at the International House of Prayer. Well over one hundred people worshiped with fiery zeal, cried out for God to move and then, one-by-one, lined up and took turns commanding our dead daughter, Livi, to live. With tears in their eyes, they pointed at my wife's pregnant belly as she sat in a chair, hands lifted, eyes swollen and faith raised, and shouted, “Livi, come forth!” The next day at the hospital she was induced and a tiny, lifeless body emerged. She was dead. The following night we had a memorial service, and most of those who were at the resurrection service were there. We worshiped intensely, refusing to surrender to unbelief even in the midst of failure. God was still God. Suddenly, in the midst of the worship, faith hit me powerfully. God pointed out a friend of mine across the room who was totally blind. God told me to pray for him. As the loud worship music filled the room, I started commanding his eyes to open. Nobody heard me, nobody knew what I was praying. Moments later it was my turn to preach. I released a bold message of faith and revival. I refused to allow this to defeat our belief in a miracle-working God and I determined to see revival come as a result. That was the passion of my heart. That was the message of the night. After I was finished I was called over to my blind friend. He said, “John, I just need you to know, when you were preaching on revival, my eyes started to burn. I wondered if I was about to be healed.” He had no idea I prayed for him. God was doing something.
IT'S TIME FOR THE CHURCH TO BELIEVE AGAINThe moral of this true, emotional story? We don't have all the answers. We don't always know how to react in the time of trial. I firmly believe the Lord revealed to me that all of this was training ground for my wife and me. You see, walking in increasing faith requires much learning and revelation. There's a way to walk in the Spirit and there's a realm of faith that simply requires becoming familiar with how things function in that realm. Simply “believing” and quoting Bible verses won't cut it. A life of supernatural faith demands much more. Did this, along with the lost of six other babies, damage our hearts? Honestly, yes. Did we question God? Yes. Did we evaluate our faith? Absolutely. Did the enemy try to overtake us, to shame us, to mock us? Oh boy did he. Are we closer to seeing blind eyes open and dead people raised after experiencing this overwhelming season of our life? Yes. I believe we are. It's time for the church to wake from its secular humanistic slumber into a supernatural reality. Read the reports. Around the world blind eyes are opened, dead people live and miracles are normal. In fact, read the Bible. It's all in there. I've never met the parents of Olive Alayne, but I'm confident that, even in the midst of mourning, they are growing deeper in faith and they are learning how to function in the Spirit. They may not feel it, they may be limping and they will never forget this tragic season of their lives. I would never pretend to understand their private, personal heart response, but I do know their daughter will forever be in their hearts and they will see her again very soon. Oh, and I'm convinced they don't regret the fight for her life in the least. Kalley Heiligenthal, Olive's mom:
“Olive, we miss you, love you so much and we'll see you soon. We know now more than ever that King Jesus is good and His every word is worth believing and following at any cost. That's the song we'll sing until we're with you again and we finally sing it together. We cannot wait.” “It's a new day, and we're awake for it. This is a victory story,” she concluded.
Todd Bentley has been deemed unfit for ministry. Why do so many fallen ministers reject a process of restoration that would reestablish their ministry?Dr. Michael Brown and other extremely reputable Christian leaders released a report on Todd Bentley and his reported indiscretions. They took quite some time and carefully stepped through the process to ensure the final report would be accurate and written from a heart of love. I believe they accomplished this. I've had the unfortunate opportunity to have a closer than normal view of public failure of three world famous ministers over the last few decades. This most recent situation caused me to ask a simple question: Why is it so hard for fallen ministers to properly step through a restoration process? Would it not look much better for them and wouldn't the public be much more accepting of a return to ministry if they handled it rightly? Jimmy Swaggart was warned to take a year off of ministry by David Wilkerson just before his infamous failure was made known. This was a striking prophetic word as nobody had any inclination that Jimmy was in sin and it was about to be announced to the world. As I sat in the pastoral ministry class at Jimmy Swaggart Bible College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Jim Rentz, the pastor of Family Worship Center on the campus of Jimmy Swaggart Ministries told us that they all truly loved Brother David. However, the ministry would collapse if Jimmy Swaggart stepped away for a year. They rejected the prophetic instruction and the rest is history. After the failure, he was instructed to take a year off of ministry by the Assemblies of God, but he rejected that instruction by his authorities. He was back behind the pulpit in three months. In fact, he did everything but preach in the weeks leading up to his extremely rapid return. From the Los Angeles Times on April 9th, 1988:
Jimmy Swaggart was defrocked Friday by the Assemblies of God after he refused a one-year suspension, asserting that a prolonged absence from the pulpit would doom his television ministry and jeopardize his Bible college. The decision to defrock Swaggart for unspecified “moral failures” was made in a telephone conference of a dozen elders of the Assemblies of God church. It commenced upon receipt of a letter from Swaggart declaring that he could not submit to the terms of his penance and rehabilitation. “We believe,” Swaggart told reporters later at his Baton Rouge, La., headquarters, “that to stay out of the public for a year would totally destroy the television ministry and greatly adversely impact the college.” Assemblies of God leaders said Swaggart gave them no choice but to defrock him.He's not the only one who rushes back into ministry after falling into immorality. I believe there are many reasons for this. In fact, it would do all of us well to ask God if any of these reasons I'll be addressing below might be issues or potential issues in our own lives. It's hard, but still much easier to deal with character issues before failure hits then after. Here's a handful of extremely deadly mindsets and problems that all of us, on either side of failure, should go to prayer about.
FEAR OF LOSSWhen failure becomes public, suddenly everything the minister has worked for, sometimes for decades, is at risk of being removed in the matter of a moment. We see this clearly admitted to by Jimmy Swaggart as revealed in the LA Times article above. Their immediate reaction may not be to deal with the sin, but rather with the impending consequences. They can't imagine their entire lives being turned upside down, so they do whatever possible to mitigate damages and keep their ministry machine moving forward just as it always has been. They don't understand that losing the ministry is okay if it means saving their soul and guarding the name of Jesus.
DENIALSome will fully deny wrongdoing whatsoever, but even those who have been undeniably caught in indiscretion, they may minimize just how serious the sin is. I believe often times they have convinced themselves that it's not really that big of a deal. They deny the severity of the failure and can be quite irritated that others can't see it that way. In fact, they will often presume that a simple confession eradicates the past sin. Well, if a confession is genuine, and if repentance is true, then the sin is forgiven. What is yet to be resolved, however, is their own heart, weaknesses and the state of their ministry. They may correctly deny that they are still in sin, but that denial doesn't end the restoration process, it starts it, and it very well may take years.
CONTROLMany of today's most successful public ministers are alpha leaders. They are dominant. They are used to being in charge and the thought of answering to another is an irritant to them, if not totally foreign. They claim to do exactly what God is telling them to do, and they won't relinquish that role to any other. The problem is that God has placed human authorities in our lives and we don't have the option to cast them aside so we can do what we please. When failure as come, the leader is no longer in charge. They would do well to humble themselves and trust the process that loving Kingdom authorities will lay out for them. They didn't ask to be in this situation. They wish they weren't, but the leader's sin put them there. Honor them in their selfless service by submitting to them.
SHAMEYou can imagine how embarrassing a public scandal would be. Those caught in sin can be humiliated as it crushes any reputation they have built for themselves over the previous years or decades. It's easy to fight back against the charges in hopes of eliminating the shame. Instead, we should be like Joseph who chose both shame and prison over sin when he ran out of a setup in the bedroom naked. Personal image protection can't be our motive. Holiness, purity and God's reputation must be drive our reactions to accusation.
DAMAGE CONTROLA full confession and full surrender to a lengthy restoration process is counter-intuitive to someone who is attempting to salvage what he spent so long building, and that is currently being threatened and torn apart. A better move would be to waive the white flag, to fully repent and to go through whatever process necessary to move through the restoration. They need to understand they have no leverage, no bargaining power. They are now in the hands of God, of the public and of leaders who want to initiate create a careful, thoughtful pathway of success for them.
WRONG MOTIVESWhile many people enter ministry with a pure heart, over time their motives can change significantly. Anyone in ministry knows it's possible to be seduced by the promise of influence, power, finances or other temptations. It's sad how rare it is to see preachers who have fallen into sin to be truly, visibly and deeply sorrowful for their sin. Where are the tears? Where is the brokenness? Where are those who admit they have nothing left and who are willing to spend the time necessary, as mandated by their overseers, to rediscover God, to get healed and to become qualified for ministry again?
RETALIATIONSome will boldly, without any concern for the people they hurt, strike back at their accusers by rejecting any accountability. They continue to build their ministry in the face of the entire world in hopes of smothering the accusations and silencing the accusers. There is an arrogance that has overcome this type of leader. They have successfully driven through people their entire “ministry” and they won't let anyone stand in their way now. If they do, look out.
FINANCIAL LOSSThe threat of losing money and of having a lifestyle altered is a serious motivating factor for ministers caught in sin. They kick into damage control and do whatever they can to keep the dollars rolling in. The thought of actually getting a job is a joke to them. Working a 9 to 5 is laughable. It would be a smart move for many of these fallen ministers to give up on the monument they have built and start working for another. How powerful would it be to see someone like Todd Bentley humbly and honorably working at a pizza place or driving a bus instead of announcing yet another ministry endeavor in the face of scandal? Can you imagine how much more quickly people would be endeared to them? Their restoration would be fast tracked.
PRIDEOf course, pride is sure to rear its ugly head if it hasn't been fully dealt with prior to failure. It's easy to react mindlessly if a spirit of pride is leading the charge. A collapse of a ministry very well may be an act of love by God who is doing all he can to alert them to their haughtiness and save their soul from Hell.
NO DESIRE TO REPENTSome enjoy their sin so much, and have minimized its severity so completely, that they don't see themselves leaving that lifestyle behind. Some are addicted to behaviors and they can't imagine life without feeding that beast. Of course, people like this have no business being in any type of ministry. Instead they should be checking themselves into to counseling sessions, going through deliverance and seeking inner healing.
MINISTRY IS AN IDOLThis may hit home to many pastors and ministers. How easy is it to get addicted to the rush of ministry? Very. Every single one of us should immediately ask God to search our hearts and see if we are addicted to it. Do we love ministry more than God? Nobody would want to say yes, but we should yearn for the freedom that can come if it's true and we repent.
CONCLUSIONThose who have fallen into sin need to understand their restoration most often will take years, not months. Just step away and discover the lover of your souls again! God is your provider, so financial loss shouldn't be an issue. God's name is to be made famous, not ours, so a lack of influence shouldn't concern us. We are called to die daily, so loss shouldn't be troubling to us. This message is for all of us, public failure or no public failure. Do all you can to address the above issues and any other the Lord highlights to you. The enemy is working very hard to destroy ministries, ministers, their families and all who are under their influence. Any weakness such as pride or idolatry is an open door for attack. Close that door fast! I learned a long time ago that the world doesn't need my ministry as much as I might think it might. God doesn't need me as much as I'd like to think either. I'm not minimizing the need for people to step out into their callings and ministries, but we must understand that being responsive to God, being repentant, growing in intimacy, embracing humility and dying to self is all much, much more important.
The uniting of two sinister forces, hyper-grace and hyper-love, has created a ferocious monster that is devastating lives.I'm going to do something I've never done, because I believe right now, in light of the current false-grace/false-love crisis, the message of my book “The Coming Church” is an urgent one. I'm giving away the ebook version of this 300 page nuclear bomb of prophetic revelation for FREE. Download your copy immediately HERE. I believe there are two evil, powerful and seductive demonic spirits that are roaming freely in churches all over the world, and people are celebrating them, promoting them and imparting them into millions of others. These spirits, dark and crafty entities that have already caused extreme destruction in innumerable people, are: hyper-grace and hyper-love. The reason I call these two mindsets, philosophies and theologies “spirits” is simple: Satan has devised a scheme to deceive the church to such a degree that people believe themselves to be radical followers of Jesus while living in such a way that disqualifies them from an eternity with Jesus. Those infected by hyper-grace and hyper-love are at great risk, with many of them already surrendering their salvation and many others moving in that direction. I was at Jimmy Swaggart's confession in 1988. I helped give leadership to a city-wide prayer movement with Ted Haggard approximately 15 years ago. My wife and I had a private meeting with Todd Bentley in Lakeland in 2008. All three had a powerful, undeniable anointing. All three failed dramatically. Hyper-grace didn't restore them. Hyper-love didn't remedy the destruction. I remember John Bevere sharing the story of him visiting Jim Bakker in prison. John asked Jim, “When did you stop loving God?” Jim shocked John Bevere by saying, “I never stopped loving God. I stopped fearing God.” Listen to the podcast…
HYPER-LOVEFor a closer view into this topic of hyper-love, read one of my more popular articles titled, “The Great Love Deception: A False-Love Movement Is On The Rise,” HERE.
When we encounter love, we will be presented with a view of God that is quite different than what we previously understood to be true. God’s love can be expressed in a very direct, uncomfortable way that breaks you and may even wonder how a loving God could act that way. God’s expression of love will often put you at risk, threaten you and trouble you. ~The Great Love Deception: A False-Love Movement Is On The RiseI'll say it loud, clear and repeatedly until it's finally received: The love of God that results in glorious breakthrough and warm feelings, no matter how great the revelation, is not nearly enough to keep us calibrated with the heart and expectations of God. (Yes, contrary to the love camp, God absolutely has expectations. If you read your Bible, you can't miss them.) I've heard from countless people, most of them wonderful yet deceived, that all we need to do, whether its in evangelism, in our personal relationship with Jesus, in ministry or in any place in our life is to focus on God's love. Reveal God's love. Preach God's love. Grow in understanding of God's love. Go deep in God's love. Meditate on God's love. Study about God's love. Minister God's love. I'll be the first to say that I agree we have the glorious opportunity to do what they are campaigning for. Going deep in revelation of God's love will mark us, transform us and overwhelm us. God's love is powerful beyond description. However, it's not enough. The fear of God is critical (and fear here doesn't always translate as reverence. It's also translated as terror in places.) We must embrace both God's kindness and severity. We must minister both. Someone mentioned to me that God would forgive him if he starts dating a girl who wants to have sex prior to marriage. He knew that this sin was wrong, but he didn't believe it was a big deal, and God certainly wouldn't send anybody to Hell over it. He argued he could just ask for forgiveness later and all would be well. While most might not be as brazen as this young man, millions would actually agree with him. The percentages of people who profess Christ while also living in sexual sin is staggering. Fornication, pornography, lust, adultery and other sinful lifestyles are a pandemic in the church. A misunderstanding of God's love has led to this. The bible is clear on just what appropriate love looks like in this case:
11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge? 13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.” 1 Corinthians 5:11-13 (ESV)True love protects the flock, and true love trusts God's wisdom. True love obeys God even when it doesn't feel like the humanized love so many have adopted. When leaders are the ones in sin, love demands we handle it immediately. Ministry must stop for that individual. Restoration into the ministry is not the next step. It's possible they will never step behind a pulpit again. That's okay. Ministry has become an idol for too many. True love will expose that in someone's heart and deal with it. True repentance is so rare today. I am waiting for the day the failed minister is more broken over the lives he destroyed than he is endeavoring to start preaching again. That is true love in action.
HYPER-GRACEMy article “Five Marks of the False-Grace Message” is my most read ever, and the most scrutinized. Read it HERE.
We as Christians are not exempt from judgment or from the repercussions of sin. If we are in Christ, there is no condemnation, but if we are deceived by false theology into thinking we are in Christ, while actually living in disobedience, we are in trouble. We are not in Christ and there is condemnation. No salvation. The wrath of God remains on us. False-grace doctrine is eternally deadly. There are many people following Jesus today in an unsaved condition. ~Five Marks of the False-Grace MessageWhen you add the deception of hyper-love to hyper-grace, a rampant theology that actually encourages Christians NOT to confess sin, you have a two-headed monster that is bringing widespread destruction to the church. Those who subscribe to both deceptions promote God's love and forgiveness to the exclusion of his severity, and they believe God is indifferent to sin. This monster creates the perfect environment for sin to be nurtured, and to kill.
15 Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death. James 1:15 (ESV)So, the response to sin is tepid. The threat is wildly minimized. Instead of a severe and immediate response to sin, “love” and “grace” is enacted, believing all is well and that is all that's necessary to see happy restoration take place. This fallacy has put millions in the path of unrepentant ministers and has caused many of those millions to adopt doctrines of demons as a result. When true love and true grace are in play, it looks very different than the passive, mild response we see today. People presume that we are all sinners (we are not) and that we all sin daily (we should not) and therefore the sexual sin, sins of leadership, unforgiveness, lust, greed and any other number of evil acts are minimized, deemed benign. In reality, unrepentant, unresolved sin is eternally deadly, especially for Christians.
26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a fearful expectation of judgment, and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries. Hebrews 10:26-27 (ESV)False-love coupled with false-grace will rip people to shreds spiritually. It's already seduced untold numbers of people. I want to encourage you to read a bold, sobering and tear-driven message from Jeremiah Johnson regarding the recent controversy regarding Todd Bentley and Rick Joyner. It was written with much prayer and fasting, and the message it contains will have us all trembling in the fear of the Lord. You can read the message titled, “An Open Letter To The Body Of Christ 8/26/19,” HERE. If you'd like more details on the current crisis, read a Charisma News article titled, “Revivalist Todd Bentley Accused of ‘Sexual Perversion' With Male, Female Interns,” that was released today HERE.
There is a growing and unified cry in the church for a leaderless move of God.
First: Audit theLab this Saturday, June 18! This week’s class is based on my book 20 Elements of Revival. Discover how you can step right into God’s plan for city-wide revival! The cost is $15 and the class goes from 10am-2pm. Just show up, no registration required. We meet at THE TABERNACLE: 14205 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088.
A Nameless, Faceless Revival?
A common, unified cry is echoing throughout the landscape of the church—especially the revival ready church—the next move of God is going to be nameless and faceless.
This sounds right. It feels saturated with humility. In fact, I whole-heartedly agree with the base value that every Believer must embrace radical surrender, humility and must repel temptations for pride and accolade. We must go low and not desire our names or our faces to be known. It’s all about the fame of Jesus.
We decrease as God increases.
However, the assumption that God is done with acknowledging and burning through individual, human leaders is, in my analysis, a knee-jerk reaction to some epic failures in the lives of key leaders in recent movements.
Simply, people are offended. Many have allowed the spirit of offense to take root in their hearts, and it has led to radical distrust of Christian leaders and a violation of clear, theological principles. One of those principles is that God identifies, promotes and even publicizes humans for the sake of Kingdom advance.
Humility Breeds Boldness
True humility doesn’t result in permanent hiddenness. It results in a fiery boldness that rocks religious structures and an alarm that is heard far and wide.
In scripture we have men and women who have been tapped by God to be seen and heard as they gather people and deliver mandates and messages to the masses. They have a name and they have a face.
Consider Moses. He was the meekest man on the face of the Earth. He was also the human leader chosen and promoted by God to be seen and heard by all of Israel. True humility results in legitimate ministry that has visible impact. It’s actually false humility that would cause us to retreat. And, if we expect others to retreat as a visible sign of their humility, we are placing an unhealthy expectation on them. We are not to blend in, we are to stand out and call out.
In fact, God gives grace to the humble. Grace is God’s enabling power to accomplish what is humanly impossible. When mortal humans start walking in supernatural, miraculous grace, and divine messages are delivered, and lives are transformed and bodies are healed, you can’t expect that person to go unnoticed.
One inherent weakness with the nameless/faceless campaign is that of identity. True humility results in an overpowering revelation of who we are in Christ. We are weak yet he is strong. We were created in his image. We are the head and not the tail. Above and not beneath. We are serious authorities in the Kingdom.
In fact, it is in God’s nature to promote. He does it out of love and honor of his people, but also because it’s strategically necessary. It’s a divine strategy of Kingdom advance that has been used time and again.
Joshua 3:7 (ESV) 7 The LORD said to Joshua, “Today I will begin to exalt you in the sight of all Israel, that they may know that, as I was with Moses, so I will be with you.
Joshua was the leader, and Joshua was exalted. He wasn’t nameless and faceless. Just like so many men and women of God who have been called today such as Lou Engle, Bill Johnson, John Kilpatrick and others—Joshua had a name and he had a face that everybody recognized.
Why is this important? So people knew who to follow! It really is as simple as that! The person called of God for that special role must be known so they could lead the masses into their own destiny of revelation of who they are in Christ. So they can move in clear unity under prophetic and apostolic direction.
Paul clearly said to follow HIM as he followed CHRIST. That was a bold statement that I’m sure many translated into pride and arrogance.
What are the issues?
- Offense: People are so upset with and offended by the failures of people like Todd Bentley, Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart an others that they have simply determined that God must be offended at them too. God must be done with them. However, we know scripturally that a spirit of offense will imprison people. In fact, it can lead people right down a path of extreme destruction. An offended heart that loses trust in people that God is moving through can do great damage to God’s plans for revival. This is why it would not surprise me at all if God chose to use fallen people to launch some of the great end-time revivals through. God still trusts, promotes and governmentally uses people. Apostles, prophets, evangelists and others are uniquely gifted to do what others cannot do.
In fact, the idea that everybody is to be nameless and faceless is truly nonsensical if we really think about it. Even those who have been deeply offended by the Todd Bentley’s of the world still admit to acknowledging other leaders who have a name and a face. They read books that have the author’s name clearly marked on the front and their photo displayed on the back. They promote other, likeminded Christian leaders they enjoy listening to. They gravitate to certain Bible commentaries that are written by humans. I could go on and on. We aren’t in this alone, and even offense can’t stop us from following anointed men and women of God—though we might be doing it with a wounded, bitter heart.
- Insecurity: The belief that we are all given equal assignments, equal levels of promotion and equal giftings is simply misguided. Only one person in the entire world was called, anointed and graced to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt. His name was Moses. Only one person in the world was called to facilitate the Brownsville revival. John Kilpatrick. Of course there were many other key players in the stories, but there was only one leader. The same will be true in Detroit where God is preparing a massive outpouring. We must keep our eyes open for who were are to respond to. Who will God be using here?
An insecure leader, and especially an offended, insecure leader, is at risk of devaluing God’s chosen leaders and separating out and away from the greater city mission. A church planting coach once told me that the greatest threat in a new church plant is an insecure leader who refuses to acknowledge others who are more gifted and qualified than he is. They keep their people away from others who have more influence, anointing and authority than they do. They don’t bring on staff that would threaten their leadership abilities. So, in effect, the entire church is weakened and usually dies because of an insecure, threatened and prideful leader. This can happen in the greater city church as well.
For example, I’m fully aware that the revival that’s coming to Detroit will probably not arrive at my church. The chances are slim. So, with that in mind, I understand that other people, with names, faces, influence, differing theological bents and abilities well beyond my own (or even much less than my own) are great candidates for God to choose as leaders for the Detroit outpouring. So, the right move would be to acknowledge these human individuals and support them just as Israel was called to support Moses and Joshua.
- Entitlement: It’s extremely easy to presume, especially in this competitive nation of America where every boy and girl is told (improperly) that they can grow up to be the President of the United States if they want, that we are entitled to be equal in every way with other leaders.
A common take away is this: if someone is flamboyant, aggressive and driven, and they are in front of a revival or Christian movement, they MUST be doing something unholy. There must be arrogance or self-exaltation in the mix. Why? Because we are all created equal, and I haven’t been afforded the the opportunity to be out in the front like they are. My humility is keeping me grounded and their pride is resulting in self-promotion.
Sound familiar? We simply have to understand that everybody isn’t entitled to be in the forefront. But, just because someone is on the platform doesn’t mean they are there because of selfish desires. Even if they are bold and aggressive and persuasive, it isn’t a mark of an unholy attitude. Often their mandate is so heavy and urgent that they can’t take a casual, passive or slow approach. Study the prophets of the Bible. My oh my, it seemed like they built their own platform and demanded everybody’s attention. However, the reality is that they had a special calling that others didn’t have. They weren’t entitled to. That doesn’t make them better or more loved, but it does mean that they had a job to do that most others didn’t have to do.
I’ll finish by reemphasizing a point that is at risk of being overlooked. God demands humility. It’s non-negotiable. He resists the proud. We should esteem others more than ourselves. We should never take the credit that belongs to God. We should always boast in the Lord.
That being said, the clear, biblical expectation of humility is extreme, anointed boldness that will draw the attention of people, demons, angels and God Himself. In fact, those with the greatest humility will often be those with the greatest call to extreme leadership. Many people will know their name. They will recognize their face. Get to know them well. You just may be called to minister with humility and passion under their leadership.