As of this writing (Feb 2011) it’s been about three years since I ended my employment with the Elijah List.
It started around the year 2000. I was working for Hewlett-Packard and, through the grapevine, I learned of this daily email newsletter that published ‘prophecies’ to around 30,000 people. This was back in Elijah List’s ‘text-only’ days, where you received only 1 email per day. At the time, I was going to a ‘Word of Faith’ church and I had a very strong foundation in the Word of God. Still, I knew that there was another element in my Walk with God that I wasn’t experiencing yet. I longed for the Reality of His Presence…. to actually SEE the working of God and to KNOW and EXPERIENCE Him more.
As I daily studied the words that I received from the Elijah List, this desire grew. I grew dissatisfied and frustrated with the church I was attending. ‘They just don’t GET IT!’ I told myself. So I determined in my heart that I would find out where I could learn about this ‘New Thing’ that God was doing and I and my family would be there when God showed up!
At the time, I was listening to our local Christian radio station, and they had an hour of worship where they would play worship music from Vineyard, Morningstar, RevivalNow, etc. Having been exposed to Maranatha, Hosanna Integrity, Ron Kenoly, and Hillsong in the 80′s and 90′s, this new ‘style’ of worship music just sent me soaring. I would sit at my computer and just weep, longing for the intimacy with Jesus that they sang about. The only church in our area that played this kind of music in their services was the Vineyard, the home church of Steve Shultz and most of the people who worked for the Elijah List. As soon as I found this out, I said ‘Goodbye’ to my family at the Word of Faith church and started going to the Vineyard.
I didn’t know what I was getting into.
After going to the new church for a couple of weeks, I was laid off from my job at HP. I’m a person that gets really antsy (and annoying) when I don’t have anything to do so I set out to find a new job as soon as possible.
One Sunday morning, I bumped into Steve and told him how much I appreciated the Elijah List and that, since I had some spare time on my hands, I could help him out with some computer and web work, if he needed it. Long story short, I was hired at about the same rate as I would have made being on unemployment.
That’s when my life started to unravel.
My First Conference
After I worked at Elijah List for a few months, I attended my first Elijah List prophetic conference at the Vineyard. I know that Bob Jones, Larry Randolph, and a guy named Ed Traut (later removed from Elijah List’s links page for some unnamed ‘indiscretion’) were some of the speakers (there were a few more, but they don’t come to mind).
During the conference, the extravagant worship and manifestations were in ‘full effect’. People were moving, twitching, and making various noises in every corner of the building. Although I thought it strange that the worship was way more extreme than your typical Sunday morning at the Vineyard, I didn’t raise the question because I didn’t feel qualified to ask (in my mind, I was just a web guy, not a prophet or one with authority).
After spending a few years going to this church and attending these Elijah List conferences (as well as other ‘prophetic’ conferences), I noticed a pattern emerge, where the worship would grow in intensity and volume during a conference where a ‘big name’ prophet headlined, and then died down again once the conference is over.
I was really amazed at how idolized these ‘prophets’ were in the eyes of the conference go-ers. They sat, literally, wide-eyed drinking in every word like it was the Absolute Truth. Even people who worked for the Elijah List were treated with some degree of idolatry. People came up to us and shook our hands saying things like, ‘Oh you’re so lucky to be able to work in that anointed atmosphere all the time!’ They would hang out and ask us questions incessantly and make it really difficult to work (although the appreciation did give us a boost).
I even had some guy come up to me and ask me to lay hands on him and impart a ‘webmaster anointing’, so that he could do what I did (which wasn’t much talent-wise). I told him that it wasn’t an anointing, but that he should just study books and learn the code. But he was insistent, so not wanting to upset him, I laid hands on him and said a short, polite prayer. From his reaction, you would think that I had shocked him with a cattle prod! He did a few twitches and hit the floor. I walked off laughing, kind of embarrassed by the whole spectacle.
Let me take a small side road: For the record, I am NOT against manifestations. I’ve been ‘slain in the Spirit’, had Holy Laughter hit me, and even physically reacted to the Holy Spirit. Believe me, when God (the Creator of the Universe) touches dirt (you and I), something is going to move. But if God touches us, there is going to be a change, a transformation, a healing of SOME sort. These people who ‘manifest’ outwardly without becoming more and more like Him are NOT under the influence of the Holy Spirit (it’s another kind of spirit). I’ve known several people like this, who can twitch in the middle of Walmart but have the personality of a troll. They claim to be so in tune with God, but the fruit of their lives speaks otherwise.
First Impressions Crumble
Many of the following things that I have learned happened simultaneously. It is difficult to get this chronologically correct, so I ask that you bear with me. Life was somewhat of a blur during my time at the Elijah List, but I am going to do my best to be as precise as possible.
After the twin towers fell on 9/11, traffic to the Elijah List site, as well as subscriptions to the Elijah List newsletter, increased dramatically and as a result, so did the workload. I was on call 24 hours a day for a few years after that and, although I did get paid for my labor, the demand from Steve (the founder of the Elijah List) was completely unreasonable. If he called and I didn’t drop what I was doing immediately and fulfill his request(s), I knew I would get a guilt trip in the email before the day’s end. I even remember one day, when I was in the shower bathing my dog, covered in dirt and hair, he called wanting me to check something on the website. I asked him to wait 10 minutes so that I could get cleaned off, and he had the nerve to get upset about it because I didn’t ‘jump’.
This kind of behavior was a continuous problem throughout the 7 years and didn’t just affect me, but other Elijah List workers as well. Along with other types of mind games, I was called ‘rebellious’ and ‘insubordinate’ on a regular basis. And I found this very strange because all of my prior bosses felt that I had been very easy to get along with and that I followed orders great! In fact, my boss from my subsequent job asked me, ‘Where is your confidence? You don’t speak up and you act like what you have to say has no value.’ I had to literally re-learn how to become a contributing part of a work discussion because the emotional and spiritual ‘beat down’ of the prior 7 years at the Elijah List had left me so demoralized and pathetic, that I could hardly function.
Obviously, living in these circumstances put a strain on my personal life and my marriage as well. I began drinking a lot and being verbally and emotionally abusive to my wife and kids. I’m not going to point the finger and blame Elijah List for all my personal troubles, a man stands by his own decisions and actions, but I do know that a man’s job can affect all areas of his life … I’ll just let it rest at that.
I just thank God for His mercy to me. When I came to my senses and realized how I was treating my wife and children, I sat my wife down and profusely apologized to her for how I had taken her for granted and spoken so abusively to her. Tears welled up in her eyes. She told me that she had been planning to leave me that very day, but because I repented to her she would stay. We have been inseparable ever since (we’ve been married 17 years now) and I still love her (and my kids) to pieces.
Believe it or not, I don’t have an offense against Steve – I’ve forgiven him. But, in my opinion, if someone preaches ‘grace and mercy’ from a pulpit and (from their own mouth) bases their whole ministry on it, they need to walk accordingly in ‘real life’. If you speak of ‘grace and mercy’ from a podium, and yet are rude, obsessive, and controlling to your employees, this reeks of hypocrisy and is a far cry from grace (more on this ‘grace’ later).
Elijah List Gets A New Look
At about this time, I noticed that companies, businesses, and other web entities started to come out with HTML-based emails. This would give more of an aesthetic value (structure, images, color) to an otherwise drab text-based email. Wanting to keep up with the trend, I did some research and came up with my own simple template for the Elijah List newsletter, hoping to give the readers something nicer to look at. There was even a small right-hand column to put special notes, links, and maybe an ad or two to help increase income.
The very same day that I created the modest template, I was told by Steve to take advantage of every available space and fill it with product ads. Knowing that this would do nothing to improve public perception of the Elijah List, I was very disappointed. Despite the fact that we had many negative emails from subscribers who didn’t like the change, income actually did increase dramatically. In my opinion, at this time, an increased income began to be perceived by Steve and others as proof of God’s favor. Within a few months, we were sending out 3-4 emails per day, peppered with ads in every available space – only 1 of which would contain any ‘word’ from God.
Mammon and the Fear of Man
With the increased subscribership and the increased income came an increase of contacts from other ‘prophetic’ people who wanted the Elijah List to release their words to the burgeoning Elijah List audience. As a result of exposure through the Elijah List, the ‘prophetic’ people could (potentially) increase their web traffic and, if they had written a book or had a teaching/music CD, increase their income as well. As a result, the product inventory grew immensely and Elijah List sales skyrocketed proportionately.
But, along with the increased contacts and income, came the Fear of Man — in epidemic proportions, and just like the Bible said, it brought a snare (Pr. 29:25). Wanting to keep the income steady and wanting to stay in our contributor’s (the other ‘prophetic’ ministers) and the public’s good graces, most publishing decisions were based upon our relationship with these people and the public perception of their product…. whether or not it sold well.
Occasionally, a contributor would send us a ‘word’ with content that didn’t necessarily jibe with the Elijah List’s ‘encouraging words only’ philosophy. Trying to stick with the ‘encouragement only’ philosophy, Steve would have to write introductions (sometimes 3-4 paragraphs long) to the words and try to ‘play down’ the corrective/repentance-based element of the email. There would usually be an effort to direct people to God’s ‘softer’ side. Occasionally, certain ‘offending’ sentences in the submission would be completely re-worded prior to release. These subtle, and sometimes flagrant, manipulations would usually upset the contributor, especially the more ‘idealistic’ ones.
The last time I checked the Bible, a prophet was told not to regard man’s opinion and give the Word of God…. Undiluted.
It became clear to me that, during this phase, the focus had shifted. Mammon and the Fear of Man had become the ‘god’ of the Elijah List. I say this because, from what I experienced, every effort was made to make more money and to please man. Words were released based on the popularity of the contributor and the profit to be made from the products they sold — not on the truthfulness or relevance the words held.
The Bible says in Galatians 1:10 that you cannot please man and be a bondservant of Christ. It also says in Matthew 6:24, that you cannot serve both God and Mammon, it’s impossible to have love for both … you MUST love one and despise the other.
Let me be clear … I don’t feel it’s wrong necessarily to make money even in a ministry. People need to pay the bills and the staff. It’s when money becomes the ‘main thing’ that God’s heart is grieved. When you come to a point when your ‘ministry’ becomes all about the money you need to question 1) your personal walk with God and 2) whether or not it is God’s will for your ministry to exist at all.
My Experience with Todd Bentley
After I was employed by the Elijah List for about a year, I had my first exposure to Todd Bentley.
Although Todd Bentley was fiery and charismatic in front of an audience, on a personal level he seemed to be a very insecure person. He wasn’t used to the notoriety that had been thrust upon him, but he definitely enjoyed it.
Over the course of time, Todd asked Steve if he wanted to send one of his (Steve’s) employees on a mission trip to Uganda with Fresh Fire Ministries (Todd Bentley’s ministry). Steve suggested to me that I should go, and even generously offered to pay for the trip and my wages while I was gone. At first, I was reluctant to go (I have never felt called to Africa), but after much prodding from Steve and my co-workers, I decided to go ahead and go.
To this day, the Uganda trip is still somewhat of a big ‘question mark’ to me – I don’t know why God sent me, or if it wasn’t God at all, but a ‘manmade’ decision. I did make a few connections with people who are still very dear to me to this day, but overall it was a very strange experience.
Although I have no proof one way or another, it seems like plans were made ‘on the fly’ and there were a couple of times when my life was in danger (or so I was told). One night, when my partner and I were out in the middle of the people praying for them, Dave Bentley (Todd Bentley’s Dad) started screaming at me from the stage “Kevin … GO! GO! GO! GO!” I grabbed my partner and we ran for the bus.
The next morning, he (Dave) told me that he had seen 2 people in Muslim caps coming toward us with spears. Needless to say, I was a little shook up, so that morning, I wrote Steve and asked for prayer. At the time, my wife didn’t have email or a cell phone, so I was hoping that perhaps my boss could contact her, but that didn’t happen. I learned later that he had immediately converted my prayer request to a post (since deleted from the archives) and sent it out as a prayer request to the Elijah List. That wasn’t so bad, but my wife did not hear about my situation until a friend of hers had read the post and had come over to console her.
During the trip, we were told that 2-3000 people gave their lives to Jesus, and that would be great news normally. But from what I experienced when I talked with the people, they were still unwilling to give up their charms, idols, etc – or their ancestor worship. Like most American Christians, they wanted Jesus to be ‘one’ of their gods, instead of their only object of worship.
After we got back, Todd Bentley lied (from the pulpit) to the Vineyard church and said that an even GREATER number of salvations, healings, and miracles took place than actually occurred (no I don’t remember the exact number he said, but it was way higher than what we were told). When I asked him later why he gave that figure, he said that more numbers came in from people who were listening to the radio and television.
I thought, ‘Can that many people afford radios and televisions in third-world countries?’ But, once again, I didn’t speak out because I didn’t feel it was my place to question ‘God’s prophet’.
The Revival, The Divorce, The Cover-up
After the controversial Lakeland Revival and Todd Bentley’s subsequent divorce from his wife, the church was all-too-quick to point the finger at him and accuse him …. and I’m in agreement, for a man to leave his wife and kids is a tragedy. For that same man to re-marry and be reinstated into ministry within a little over a year should be an outrage.
But the church needs to understand that it is just as much their fault as Todd’s that all this went down. We have been trained for generations to look to man for our guidance instead of God. In essence, we are re-living the scenario in Exodus 19-20, where the Children of Israel were in front of Mount Sinai and God was offering personal, one-on-one communication with each and every one of them. The conditions were clear … Israel was to sanctify themselves (separate themselves from all things unclean). But when Israel heard this and saw the awesome Fire of God burning on Mount Sinai they basically said, ‘No, that’s OK, you just talk to Moses, and we’ll listen to him.’
It’s the same today … rather than separating ourselves from the sin in our lives, and separating ourselves from the world, we would rather listen to somebody spoon-feed a message to us …. satisfied with half-digested crumbs. To this day, God is longing for those who will forsake this life and become an enemy of this world’s system. Those who would be called a ‘friend of God’ must do this (James 4:4). He is more than willing to give us pure, fresh Revelation from Heaven, if we would only look to Him. Instead, we desire the latest conference, the newest book, or the next worship CD.
We’ll grasp at anything and everything to fill the void in our lives with a flesh substitute, even if it means taking a young, immature Christian, who may (or may not) have had an encounter with God, and stick him behind a pulpit. Being attracted to the new ‘show’, we reject God’s best (personal communication) …. and then we pay the consequences. And, once again, the name of Jesus is mocked among the ungodly.
I was shocked that Rick Joyner was so quick to put Todd Bentley right back in front of a camera and into the limelight once again. But he, as well as all the other ‘prophetic elders’ who had commissioned/anointed Todd only a short time before were (and still are) in ‘damage control’ mode. In a sense, John Arnott, Rick Joyner, Peter Wagner, Stacey Campbell, Paul Cain, and the others put their ‘prophetic reputations’ on the line when they appeared on the stage with Todd to pray for and prophesy over him. But after this blunder, their credibility with the church took a hit, and they had to try and ‘bandage the wound’. A few tried to explain away the transgression and stress the idea that we need to have ‘grace’ for Todd in this situation (meaning we should accommodate and/or forget about it), and others were strangely silent. But Rick didn’t waste any time in putting him in front of a camera, offering a token apology (with his new wife in tow).
I am all for forgiveness, restoration, and grace …. but in a year’s time? Something is definitely wrong with this scenario. Don’t tell me that a young minister can 1) conquer the selfishness it took to leave his wife and children, 2) conquer the lust it took to seek out another young woman, 3) prioritize his life to where God is first, family is next and ministry is third, 4) conquer the need for man’s approval, and 5) any other obstacle that could hinder the work of God in his life ….. in a year’s time — I’m not buying it, and you are a fool if you do.
The bottom line is this … Todd Bentley is a money maker. He’s flamboyant, edgy, very entertaining, and controversial …. ALL of those traits will draw an audience. And if you have an audience, they will come to the $100 conferences and buy the $20 books and CDs. It’s really that simple. If Todd was a minister with no tattoos, a small following, and a more traditional preaching style, you would be amazed at how quickly he would be swept under the rug and forgotten about.
Dismantling the Wall
Touch NOT His Anointed? Leadership in the prophetic movement, including the Elijah List, has constructed a cleverly crafted wall of deception that has kept them above accountability and immune from criticism and reproach. This wall of deception revolves around the misinterpretation and misapplication of Matt. 7:1-5 (not judging) and other verses like it.
As a result, no one is able to say that they (the ‘prophets’) are doing anything wrong. If someone should mention that they see anything wrong with the behavior or deeds of the ‘prophets’, they are immediately told that they are not walking in love and that we should give ‘grace’ to the prophet (more on this later). They’re also told that we shouldn’t judge because we do not want to be judged in like manner … that we should remove the plank from our own eye, rather than point out someone else’s faults (more on this later). And because we put these leaders on a pedestal (in essence, ‘idolizing’ them), it’s really easy for most people to swallow this reasoning and ignore the sin.
This dynamic also carries over into the church’s relationships with each other, individually. We’re all afraid to say anything about the sin in each other’s lives because we don’t want to be perceived as ‘judgmental’ or ‘mean’. Because of this fear, sin in the Body goes unchecked and actually thrives! Why do you think our divorce, abortion, porn use, and drug abuse statistics are equal to the world? Because there is no purity, no holiness, and no Holy Spirit’s Fire in our congregations! Do you know witches and Satanists can actually come into our ‘houses of worship’ and feel comfortable? God have mercy on us!
The following verses are conveniently downplayed and/or ignored by the ‘prophets’ and their followers:
1 Cor. 6:3 ’Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?’ This verse allows us to discern/judge issues concerning this life.
1 Cor. 6:5 ’I say this to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you, not even one, who will be able to judge between his brethren?’ This verse allows us to judge issues between brethren.
1 Cor. 11:31 ’For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged.’ This verse allows us to judge the sin in our own lives.
To Rebuke, or NOT to Rebuke
Not only does the bible say we are to judge behavior/issues, it also gives us permission to REBUKE!
Luke 17:3 ’Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you, rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.’ This verse allows us to rebuke our brother/sister who is in sin.
1 Timothy 5:20 ’Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear.’ This verse allows us to rebuke an ELDER who is in sin (read prior scriptures for backup).
2 Timothy 4:2 ‘Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.’ This verse allows us to rebuke as a vital part of our preaching!
Titus 2:15 ‘Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.’ This verse allows us to rebuke with authority!
Most ministries associated with the Elijah List, the ‘prophetic’ church, and much of the rest of the church, can’t stand it when you bring up these scriptures, because then the possibility of exposed sin creeps its way into their salvation equation. The weirdest thing is, they want to keep the sin hidden, and yet they wonder why they are some of the most battered, bruised, and confused people in the church. I experienced it too! During my 7 years at the Elijah List, I had never experienced such defeat, sickness, and confusion in my whole life! Whenever one experiences this, they are told that they are just experiencing ‘spiritual warfare’ … that it’s the enemy’s fault they are experiencing this trauma. That sounds great to a carnal mind, I mean, after all … who wants to take the blame?
Wisdom would say something else though. In Proverbs 1:22-31, Wisdom is crying (listen to her!):
Proverbs 1:22-31 ’How long, you simple ones, will you love simplicity? For scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge. Turn at my rebuke; surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Because I have called and you refused, I have stretched out my hand and no one regarded, because you disdained all my counsel, and would have none of my rebuke, I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your terror comes, when your terror comes like a storm, and your destruction comes like a whirlwind when distress and anguish come upon you. Then they will call on me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently, but they will not find me. Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the Fear of the LORD, they would have none of my counsel and despised my every rebuke. Therefore they shall eat the fruit of their own way, and be filled to the full with their own fancies.’
That’s not to say that ‘spiritual warfare’ doesn’t happen; we ARE in a war with spirit beings(Ephesians 6:12). But the bible is clear that He will protect those who walk in the Fear of the Lord and that the battle will be a victorious one, not a continual excuse for the consequences of poor behavior and decisions.
It is clear, the North American church must re-introduce judging and rebuke (based upon the Word of God) back into our ‘Christian culture’ post-haste. If we do not clean our house, God will come and clean house for us, and it will not be a pleasant thing. When John Crowder can introduce ‘huffing the baby Jesus’ as a means of getting spiritual jollies, it’s time to set a standard.
Well, What About Jesus’ Words
I’m not going to ignore Matthew 7:1-5. Jesus DID say, “Judge not lest you be judged” but it doesn’t mean what you’ve been taught! Let’s take a look at these scriptures in detail.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’, and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First, remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.”
I clumped all the verses together to help assist us in understanding that this is one continuous thought. This passage does not tell us NOT to judge. The main idea is that we shouldn’t judge someone if we have the same issue in our lives, otherwise we will be judged by the same standard and found to be hypocrites. If we repent of the sin and no longer have it clouding our vision, we are in a place to be able to effectively help remove the sin from our brother. If we’re not supposed to judge, why would Jesus even give us the option to ‘see clearly’ and ‘remove the speck’?
Hopefully, by now you see that when they use the phrase “Judge not lest you be judged” to keep you from exposing sin, is to take the scripture completely out of context. The Word says in Ephesians 5:11, “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.” So, if you see something, say something!
PS: I’ve also created a 3 part teaching series entitled ‘Judge Not – or ‘Just Do It’? Feel free to check it out!
Mortar in the Wall
Grace or Licentiousness? If the Wall of Deception is the misuse of judgment-based scriptures, then the misuse of the term ‘Grace’ is the mortar that holds it together. Grace is a very nebulous term in prophetic circles and is used to replace ‘mercy’ or ‘covering sin’ in most conversations. According to Steve Shultz, the Elijah List’s whole philosophy and foundation revolve around this grace. But when you listen to him preach about grace, usually you walk away with a skewed understanding of it. The ‘main idea’ is that we should be nice to people because God loves them, and after all, He was nice to you, so you need to do likewise. This isn’t necessarily a wrong idea, but this isn’t ‘grace’, and it also plays into the mindset of not judging anyone’s actions, thereby strengthening the Wall of Deception.
Let’s see what the Word says about Grace in Titus 2:11-15:
v11: For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
v12: Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
v13: Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
v14: Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.
v15: Speak these things, exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no one despise you.
So, from the verses above, I know that if you preach a message of Grace, you need to be teaching a few things.
Deny ungodliness and worldly lusts
Live soberly and righteously in the present age
Look for Jesus’ return
From v14: Be aware of His Work on the cross and how he sought a pure and holy people
What’s more, the message is to be preached (spoke, exhort, rebuke) with Authority. You will not find the above concepts taught in most ‘grace’ messages these days. Unfortunately, what you’ll mostly hear about is more along the lines of ‘mercy’ and how God wants to be your buddy. And to a church culture with itching ears, this is wonderful news! Because Jesus is their buddy, they won’t have to live righteously! They won’t have to live soberly! God has ’GRACE’ for all of those things!
As a result, licentiousness (unrestrained flesh) reigns supreme in our lives.
To be an inaccurate prophet in the Old Testament was punishable by death. Thankfully, we don’t have to live under that law today, but as a result, many people prophesy inaccurate ‘prophecies’ and are not held responsible if that prophecy doesn’t come to pass. Just go to any prophetic conference, or do a small search through the Elijah List and you will see/hear yearly prophecies of revival and breakthrough in many major cities in the United States and around the world …. this has been going on for years …. and yet, where is it? If even 10% of these prophecies came true, you would’ve heard about it. They also prophesy these things over the Body of Christ as a whole, but we have yet to experience this.
Do I believe in revival, blessing, and outpouring? Absolutely! But I believe they put the ‘cart before the horse’. See my article ‘Same Prognostication – Different Year’ for more information.
Do I believe a prophet can make a mistake? Yes, definitely! But when a prophet has a continuous bad record, he/she needs to come clean and say ‘I didn’t hear God’ or at least ‘I made a mistake’. Unfortunately, instead of coming clean, the ‘prophets’ will debate about God’s timing vs our timing …. or, if all else fails, they fall back on the scripture that says “We know in part and prophesy in part”.
Of course, we only know and prophesy ‘in part’, we are not God. But when the prophetic track record is so abysmally low, we really need to stop taking a cheap escape route, humble ourselves and ask if we’re truly hearing from God. The prophets in the Old and New Testaments knew exactly what they were supposed to say and would stand behind it to the death, and some DID die. They were so sure of it that they stamped it with a bright, bold “thus sayeth the Lord”! Nowadays, new prophets are instructed NOT to say ‘thus sayeth the Lord’ JUST IN CASE they’re making a mistake. Where’s the faith in that?
In Jeremiah 23:21-22, God tells the prophet a vital characteristic of True Prophecy: “I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran. I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. But if they had stood in My counsel, And had caused My people to hear My words, Then they would have turned them from their evil way And from the evil of their doings.”
The end result of all prophecy should be God’s people repenting …. turning their hearts back to God. Nowadays, teachings on ‘third heaven experiences’, ‘the glory realm’, and ‘breakthrough’ are labeled as prophecy. Do you see how even our definition of prophecy has become ‘man-centered’?
The Practice of Lawlessness
The Bible plainly says in Matthew 7:
‘Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.’
Something we must realize about Jesus’ sermons is that they were a continuous thought, they weren’t just random thoughts and separate subjects brought together just to ‘fill space’. The Word of God was/is God-breathed. The chapter numbers and the sub-headers in your bible translation were put there by man.
Now, there is a reason why God put a warning about false prophets and the good fruit/bad fruit dynamic together in the same subject. It is because false prophets work in such deception, that sometimes the ONLY way you are going to tell a good prophet from a bad prophet is through their fruits.
In fact, in the subsequent verses of Matthew 7, it says:
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’’
Up until a few years ago, I never thought this verse could be possible. How could someone use Jesus’ name to do miracles, prophesy, and cast out devils unless God was with Him? But we’re seeing it all over the place now.
‘Fathers’ of the Prophetic Movement: It is not my intention to pick on specific people with this next section. I am using Bob Jones and Paul Cain as examples to show that perversion and error have had a firm foothold from the roots of this movement and are being passed on directly to the ‘younger’ generation of prophets and their followers, who revere the ‘older’ prophets unquestioningly because they’ve been taught to do so. It is SO EASY to just accept what you hear when it comes from a person you admire, but the consequences are great when what you hear is wrong, or worse yet … half right.
Bob Jones and Paul Cain are considered ‘fathers’ or ‘high-level prophets’ in this movement. They have been on the scene since the 90′s and are quite well-known to the prophetic crowd. If you ask a prophet who their influences are, 95% of the time either Bob Jones or Paul Cain will come out of their mouth.
According to the Olathe Daily News (11/13/91: ‘Minister removed after confession of sexual misconduct’), Bob Jones confessed to sexual misconduct with a couple women behind the closed doors of his office. I’ve read and heard a couple different reports as to what exactly went on, but I will not disclose them here as I don’t have a concrete source. The fact that it happened, and was admitted to, should be enough.
Additionally, he has been quoted as saying that God is only allowing a 66% accuracy of the prophetic word. ‘If I [God] release the 100% Rhema right now, the accountability would be so awesome and you’d have so much Ananias and Sapphira’s going on the people couldn’t grow.’ (this was quoted on p. 68 ‘Beware of the New Prophets’ by Bill Randles, 1999) … God forbid we have any accountability.
Even as early as February 23 of this year (2011), Steve Shultz posted on the Elijah List site
‘I was honored years ago when Bob Jones came to my property. There are few prophets that I almost ‘insist’ that when they prophesy, I listen. Bob Jones is one of them. When he prophesies, I really tune in. Now, I don’t post anyone unless I trust them, mind you, but some I trust even more than others. Bob Jones is one such person. He is my friend and a high-level prophet. Tune in!’
From the above quote, you can see that Steve Shultz puts unquestioning faith in what Bob Jones says because he is perceived by Steve (and the rest of the prophetic crowd) as ‘high level’.
In the exact same post, Bob Jones teaches error. He says that Elohim means ‘father of the remnant’. I researched that on the following site (http://www.hebrew4christians.com/Names_of_G-d/Elohim/elohim.html) and did not find that definition anywhere. So I decided to Google it, and guess what I found? In August 2010, Bob Jones says Eliakim means ‘father of the remnant’. So which is it?
That may seem like nitpicking, and it may be a small error in the middle of a ‘bigger picture’, but did anybody bother to check their bible/concordance to see if it actually lines up with the Word? It, literally, only took me 5 minutes to do that research …. certainly, someone has 5 minutes? How many other errors like this have we swallowed because we were too busy looking to a man for guidance, and not God? These kinds of ‘little’ errors happen all the time in the prophetic movement and no one bothers to hold each other accountable.
I guess we can allow Bob this mistake because, after all, prophets are only correct 66% of the time. Let’s move on.
Paul Cain, probably most famous for his ‘stadium speech‘, is another ‘high-level prophet’ who is highly revered among the prophetic crowd.
When confronted by Rick Joyner and Jack Deere in 2004, Paul Cain confessed to being both a homosexual and an alcoholic. Although restoration was attempted, it was not successful. And in 2007, Mr. Cain declared anyhow that he had been ‘restored’ to ministry and started scheduling conferences. In 2008, Paul publicly said in Lakeland that there were ‘false rumors’ about him and that he had lived a ‘chaste life.’
Adding a new twist to this deception, on May 5, 2008, Paul Cain prayed over Todd Bentley at the Lakeland Revival:
“I thank you that you have answered my prayer that you have let me live to see tokens of this revival and be involved in it in some way or a participant if possible … and Lord, You have never allowed me to say that I have met the New Breed … Absolutely met the New Breed! And when you brought Todd Bentley and me together, the angel of the Lord said ‘you have found what you are looking for,’ ….this is a man without guile …. behold Nathaniel in whom there is no guile! … I’ve stood by the notables and the greats that had the greatest healing ministry of all times and I’ve never met anyone that has the integrity and the possibilities of leading this thing into a worldwide revival. And I just want to confer and bless … whatever I can do,… I just place to myself to hear from the Lord and to transfer and to give to my brother who has given so much to others and soo much to me, everything you have ever deposited into my life that I didn’t know how to give away I’m giving it to my brother tonight to carry on this revival until the stadiums all over the world have been, uh… catching this, have been carriers of it and taking it from one end of the world to the other and thank you I’VE MET THE NEW BREED TONIGHT.”
No wonder Todd fell through sexual sin!! Paul Cain transferred (conferred, blessed, transferred) everything that his ‘god’ gave to him to Todd Bentley! Not too long after, after Todd committed adultery and married his new wife, the Lakeland Revival lost its steam and eventually ended.
Lack of Discernment has a Price
The hard truth is today’s false prophets and their followers boast of great prophetic insights, but actually have little or no discernment at all.
During my 7 years working for the Elijah List (and my 5 years at the Vineyard), I had so many encounters with people influenced by witchcraft (to varying degrees), pornography, and the homosexual spirit, and yet NOTHING was said or done about it. As I said before, witches attended these conferences and church services, leaving them unconvicted and unsaved. People with homosexual spirits and/or admitted pornography addictions were allowed to give ‘prophetic words’ from the pulpit, unchallenged.
That is sin, people.
Another Broken Dream
Around 2004, I was invited by Jill Austin to attend a conference at Gateway Church in Los Angeles (with Jill, David Ruis, and Shawn Bolz). This church was right on Santa Monica Boulevard and provided food, showers, and discipling services to the homeless, prostitutes, and drug addicts. Having a call to minister to people on the street, I was VERY excited to be able to go to this event.
Santa Monica Boulevard is known to some as “the Boulevard of Broken Dreams”, and I believe that’s an understatement. The destitution and emptiness of that street impacted me more than what I saw in Uganda. Cross-dressers, prostitutes, gangbangers, drunks, and drug addicts were everywhere, and not just at night … it was broad daylight. My heart just broke at the vacant look in their eyes …. they were just empty shells. I couldn’t wait to meet the people who were in charge of meeting the needs of these lost souls.
When I met the pastor and the leadership team, I noticed that they were really well dressed and (honestly) quite effeminate. I did my best not to draw conclusions about the people because not everyone has a redneck background like I have. After all, some guys fit into the whole ‘metrosexual’ stereotype, and I figured if Jill Austin approved of them, well then certainly I should too.
The conference itself was confusing, interesting, and chaotic. David Ruis was playing techno-type worship music and it attracted people from outside the church. As the cross-dressers, druggies, etc. filtered in, they saw all the ‘already saved/prophetic’ people dancing and worshiping and an interesting dynamic took place. Many demons manifested, and a lot of the unsaved started ‘worshiping’ with the prophetic crowd, but honestly and sadly, I don’t remember any deliverance or salvation taking place.
Nonetheless, for all of its shortcomings, what I saw at that time was a church actually engaging the world around them and I just ‘KNEW’ that God wanted me to be down there with them. When I got home, I told my wife (in tears) that I had found our ministry home. We began to make preparations to move to Los Angeles.
Two weeks later, I received an email from Jill’s associate saying that the pastor (and leadership team) were publicly confronted by someone in the congregation. I was right in my initial assessment of them. They were all participating homosexuals – both with each other and with others outside their ‘team’. The pastor ended up stepping down from his position, his wife left him (yes, he was married to a woman) and the church crumbled. (Note: David Ruis was NOT part of the church leadership team, just a guest worship leader. He was not participating in the sin.)
I was really upset about this. The name of Jesus was once again tarnished in the eyes of those who needed Him so desperately. I will never forget what I saw on the Boulevard of Broken Dreams.
After this incident, I really started to question the discernment of the prophets. I really liked Jill (who has since passed away) as a person, but if she (and other prophetic people) couldn’t see something that should have been so obvious, how could I trust their insight at all?
I’ll probably sound like I’m profiling here, but a homosexual demon (in a man or a woman) is one of the most obvious demons to recognize, and yet if you take just a small glimpse at some of these prophetic people, you will see them comfortable and unchallenged … even among the prophets themselves.
Flabbergasted in Georgia
I was invited to speak at a conference in Georgia with Chad Taylor and a few ‘lower level’ prophets. After the conference, I sat across a table from two of these prophets (I won’t reveal their names because I don’t know where they stand these days) and they looked me in the eye and said, ‘If two people of the same sex love each other and want to get married, I honestly have NO PROBLEM with that.’ I told them that there is no way that they can name the Name of Jesus, preach His Righteousness and Holiness, and adhere to that kind of garbage. I left Georgia very angry and disappointed about that situation.
How can someone agree with this homosexual spirit? How can someone with a prophetic gifting be unable (or maybe unwilling) to recognize it?
It comes back to a lack of discernment.
Witchcraft at the Elijah List
The spirit of witchcraft can be recognized by a number of different MOs (methods of operation), but in order to stay on topic, I will refrain from explaining each one. However, one thing is certain in every situation … it is devious and usually remains under the radar until one with discernment comes along and calls it out into the open, binds the spirit, and then casts it out in the name of Jesus. Because this was never done in this next circumstance, I can only explain the following situation by telling you what happened to me, from my perspective. I will leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.
A woman came on staff to answer phones, and within a month was elevated to be Steve’s assistant manager and more-or-less in charge of the office while he was gone. A member of the Elijah List leadership told me that people from her prior church wrote Steve many letters, warning him against this woman, some saying that she operated in manipulation and witchcraft, others accusing her outright of being a witch. Despite the warnings, they were ignored and she was hired on anyways.
For the first couple of years, I was unaware of these warnings, and honestly, I was quite taken with the lady. When my wife got sick, she actually came to my house and cleaned my hardwood floors on her hands and knees. This was extremely humbling for me, and I thought for sure that this woman was a saint.
She and I developed a ‘friendship’ for about a year and a half. She used to tell me things like how she recognized ‘God’s anointing’ in my life and how we were going to work together on prophetic projects in the future. She kind of fawned on me like a little brother and was always quick to smile and give a hug.
My wife, on the other hand, had a different perspective. Throughout this time, she continued to get sicker and sicker; and the evil presence in my house would sometimes become almost ‘tangible’. My wife told me, ‘Kevin, I don’t trust her. She is a bad person!’ For quite some time, I told my wife, ‘Honey, you’re wrong, you just don’t understand her … you don’t know her like I do!’
Well, it turns out my wife was right.
I have only had a couple times where a spirit has actually materialized in front of my face; this was one of those times. One morning I was waking up, and at the foot of my bed, I saw a spirit being. I can’t really explain what it looked like …. the air was just ‘denser’. Anyways, the spirit being turned its face to me, and I recognized the woman’s face!
I said out loud, ‘OK, I know who you are now. I renounce any relationship or soul tie that I may have with you. Now I bind you in the name of Jesus …. Get out of my house!’
The spirit left immediately and the atmosphere in the house actually changed!
Well, you would think that this incident would be enough to convince me, and it was starting to do so, but when I got to work that day and saw this person, she would not say anything to me, would not smile at me, she would barely even look at me. It happened the VERY DAY I renounced my relationship with her … and she has barely said anything to me since.
Soon after, this woman became very commanding in her personality, and a couple of the weaker-willed women from our office immediately fell in line and followed her around as one would follow a queen … carrying her bags, fetching her coffee, etc. The whole office knew about it when this person had a bad day, this drama was almost routine.
Although the Elijah List already had an operations manager, there were frequent power struggles between the woman and the other manager. Enough authority had been delegated to this woman to where she could cause a lot of division and other issues. Many of my co-workers would get one order from the operations manager and the opposite from the woman. Needless to say, this created a very chaotic atmosphere.
As we all know, hindsight is 20/20. There were other signs that I should have recognized, but, like Steve, I too was blinded by this woman’s influence. Looking back, what stands out the most to me was, when she would talk to me (and others) about her intimacy with the Holy Spirit, her words and her body language inferred something more than just a spiritual connection. I know that sounds pretty foul, but that’s exactly what was portrayed.
Anyways, she was eventually laid off from Elijah List after I quit. But Steve is still suffering to this day from weakness and a malady that the doctors can’t explain, and I’m convinced that it was because of the relationship with this woman and the spirits that accompanied her.
The Next Generation
‘Prophetic’ Youth: If you’ve read this far, you probably agree with me, or are convinced that I am not walking in love and have a vendetta against the Elijah list and/or the prophetic movement. While I admit that it has been very therapeutic to get the events of the past decade out of my head and online, my main concern, and the cause of my grief, is watching an entire generation of young people being sucked into this deception.
There have been multiple prophecies by people in the prophetic movement aimed toward the youth. The prophecy goes something like this:
‘There will be a great move of the Spirit among the youth and they will reach everyone in the bars and clubs and on the streets and, because of the signs and wonders, and the fact that the youth look and act different than older people who have been in church, the lost will listen to them and then a HUGE revival will take place!’
Obviously, that is not verbatim, but if you research words on the Elijah List and other prophetic sites, you will see words that are very similar.
Because these ‘prophetic words’ have been circulating for years, a mindset has developed in the prophetic movement that gives preference to the youth. Instead of being taught by the older and wiser in the ways of the Word, the youth are encouraged to put priority on looking different, being original, and expressing themselves creatively. The older generation is looked upon as ‘religious’ and ‘out of touch’ and, therefore, ignored. In and of itself, there is nothing wrong with originality and creative expression; but when God’s Word is downplayed and tattoos, piercings, and other forms of bizarre self-expression are emphasized, you get a group of young people who look and act like the world … and that’s about it.
People can argue that I’m being too legalistic and I really don’t care, I’m going to let the fruit speak for itself. Look at your youth groups, prophetic church … look at your twenty-somethings … what impact are they really having for the Kingdom of God? Are they adding to the number of the Church daily? Sure, they look really ‘cool’ with their new tattoos (how original) … are they doing the works of Jesus? Are they daily feeding on His Holy Word? Or are they down at the bars being a ‘witness’ (sarcasm implied)?
Are You Going to Do Anything
I really WANT to come across stronger on this point, more than any other in this series of posts. I WANT you to be offended to the point of ACTION because it is those same youth who you are raising to be leaders of your ‘movement’ within the next few years. These same youth, who may ‘worship’ more extravagantly than any of the older people in your church, are riddled with addictions and idolatry behind closed doors (read Isaiah chapter 1 to see God’s view on extravagant worship without holiness). Weep and grieve over this, church … we’ve taught them that Jesus is your buddy, and they have no concept of His Kingship! They have no concept of His hatred for their sin!
The Bible says in Revelation:
‘But the cowardly, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.’
What makes us think that we can turn them into the next Smith Wigglesworth without the Word, or without holiness?
As we draw nearer to the End of the Age, I know that there will be a large influx of people who will come into the Kingdom. But it will be made up of, not just the youth, but babies, children, old people, middle-aged people, black, white, Hispanic, etc. No people group should feel a sense of entitlement to God’s coming move. I also know that II Thessalonians speaks of a great falling away before the end of the age. Take heed to this, church; receive the love of the Truth so that you will not be deceived into believing the lie.
A Final Loss
During the final couple of years at the Elijah List, I was a wreck. My foundation was all but destroyed, and I had no ‘anchor point’ to judge whether I was hearing God or not. It was at this time that a young guy was hired on who fits the prophetic move’s description of a ‘cutting edge’ Christian … approximately 20 years old, black, tattooed, and pierced with a very shady past and a ‘flamboyant’ personality. He had already been attending the Vineyard church and was regarded by many as one of the ‘New Breed’ leaders that were rising up to help bring in the great revival that had been prophesied.
He and I developed a pretty close friendship and, in spite of my own spiritual destitution, I kind of took him under my wing. My wife and I provided furniture for his apartment, a place to spend the holidays, and a basic sense of ‘family’ for him. I have to say, we thoroughly enjoyed his company and loved him dearly, like a little brother.
Over time though, I started seeing serious inconsistencies in his walk with God. For example, he would have horror movies like ‘Saw’ and ‘Hostel’ at his house, and, when I would point it out to him, he would say things like ‘It’s OK, the Holy Spirit said it was OK for me to watch them.’ or ‘God understands where I’m at, so don’t worry about it.’ Since I myself wasn’t providing the greatest example to him at the time (I drank beer in front of him and our conversation wandered into inappropriate subjects quite frequently), I never challenged him on it.
Also, I noticed that he had several young people (mostly boys between the ages of 14-18) at his house. He told me that they had come from abusive homes, or the street, and needed a place of refuge. ‘The church isn’t reaching out to them, so if I don’t, who will?’ he reasoned to me. I had discerned early on that this kid was sexually messed up, so I felt very uncomfortable with this situation.
On top of all this, the church he was attending had not discipled or corrected him according to the Word of God. Granted, this would have been no easy task; because of the preference given to him earlier, his arrogance and sense of self-entitlement had really gotten out of hand. And, because of his appearance and his personality, people either automatically assumed he was God’s ‘New Breed’ leader, or, despite their misgivings, they didn’t want to challenge the status quo and point out the obvious issues that really needed to be addressed. The young man worshiped extravagantly and ‘prophesied’ just like he saw his church peers doing and he was left alone.
It was at about this time that I determined in my heart to rebuild the foundation of God’s Word in my life. I knew I had to leave the Elijah List at the first opportunity, so I began praying in earnest for a new job. Had I known the blessing that awaited me, I would have just quit.
As my foundation and my conviction started to grow again, the young man and I started to have serious arguments. I would point out to him that it was impossible for him to live the life he was living and name the name of Jesus. Rather than acknowledging what he was doing as sin, he would justify it and say that the ‘Holy Spirit says it’s OK’. I would tell him that it was NOT God’s Holy Spirit that was telling him it was alright to sin, but another spirit from hell. Obviously, things got worse from there, to the point that we didn’t even want him around the house. Believe me, I took great measures to be as gentle and as ‘nice’ as possible, but he continually rejected God’s rebuke.
Finally, one day he came to me and told me, ‘Kevin, I’m bisexual.’
Knowing he had issues in this area, I told him, ‘Yeah, I figured that.’
Then he said, ‘… and God made me this way, so I’m happy with what I am.’
To which I responded, ‘God did NOT make you that way! Maybe something happened to you before you can remember, or when you were younger, but Jesus does NOT make people bisexual, or homosexual, or anything perverse like that.’
But he justified himself in that, as well, saying ‘The Holy Spirit told me he made me this way and loves me just the way I am.’
It was at that point that I knew he was lost. He had absolutely no respect for the Word, completely justified himself in his sin, and was determined to continue in it. I haven’t talked to him since, but I know he’s moved to another city and is a practicing cross-dresser and bi-sexual, all the while convinced that he is ‘witnessing’ to others by going to gay bars and dancing with other men.
And my heart grieves for him. He is going to hell, fully confident that he has a close relationship with Jesus.
But you see, he is the Ultimate Fruit of a movement that has no regard for the whole Word of God or holiness. The children grow up, seeing their parents seek after signs, wonders, and a Christian dog and pony show. They see the futility and hypocrisy of it all and, in the end, basically, turn to the world.
I’m just as guilty of providing a shabby example, and I’m still in the process of picking up the pieces. I beg God every day that there will be lasting fruit in my children, and I’m happy to say that I’m starting to see it develop. Please God, let it continue!
My Way Home
Seven years after I started working for the Elijah List, God mercifully let me have another job with another company. I know I tried to leave in good standing with the ministry, but I’m not sure I succeeded, because I was very bitter at the time. It’s taken me 3 years to get to this point, where my foundation is mostly rebuilt and I have been able to forgive, from the heart.
I know, to some of you, it may seem counterproductive to expose the error in people and ministries, but to me and others who regard the Word, it needs to be done for a few reasons:
- so that we can recognize error when it arises (and it will continue to arise)
- to check our own lives to make sure that we are not giving place to the same error
- to not support those who are in error, but to pray that they may repent
I used to buy into the cleverly disguised deception that we all have our own path with God, and that we need to just love each other through everything and not judge. But, you see, now I’ve found the true definition of love!
Love’s True Definition
The true prophets in the Old and New Testaments had it right! They LOVED their nation to the point where they would say what God told them to say, even if it meant becoming the object of ridicule and disdain in the eyes of those whom they loved. Their Love begged people to repent and turn back to God, not to continue in their ways and hope to get the next ‘third heaven experience’. They had no concern for the number of followers they had, what conferences they were invited to, or the bottom line $$. They didn’t say ear-tickling messages that would coddle people into a deceptive slumber; they left that to the false prophets, who ALWAYS had a ‘positive and encouraging’ thing to say.
It’s because of this Love, that I absolutely must write this. Do you think that I did this to gain the favor of man? I know personally at least a hundred people in my own hometown who will NOT accept this message and feel the need to ‘rebuke’ me (according to their wisdom) … this is not an exaggeration! It would have been much easier to just walk away and forget about it. But there is a generation at risk … I cannot and will not walk away. I love them too much.
What Really Matters
The day I came home from my last day at the Elijah List, I took my bible in my hands, looked at my wife, and said ‘All I need is this …. and you.’… then we just held each other for a while.
That’s pretty much where the story ends, or begins if you look at it another way. The very day that I walked away from the Elijah List and the prophetic movement, the Blessing of God came back to my house. Although there were battles, there was hope and victory instead of fear and the confusion of not having a foundation. I began to find myself in His Word, to hear His Voice speak to me, and to see His Faithfulness in every day.
I know there are good people still in this movement, and there are good prophetic people who still associate with the Elijah List, but unfortunately, they are few and far between. Some are just naïve, thinking that the ‘New Thing’ God is doing takes the form of the new prophetic scene, others are simply wicked people.
I would hope that those prophetic people who have a heart for God would follow hard after Him and that their walk with God would not be superseded by their relationships with others within the prophetic community. I pray that they would embrace all of His Truth, not just the parts that are easy to swallow.
As for me and my family, we have found a few friends of like minds and a common vision, and we treasure them because they are rare. It is so freeing to be able to tell each other our problems and receive encouragement AND rebuke, knowing that we love each other too much to see each other perish.
Ironically, I do have to thank the Elijah List for a couple things. Whether it intended to teach me or not, I learned over the past few years that:
The love and discernment of a good woman (my wife) is absolutely priceless
Celebrity and public approval mean absolutely nothing in the eyes of God
Increased income is not a sign of God’s favor
Lastly, I learned that people who name the name of Christ, and ignore Wisdom’s Rebuke are really just ‘dead men walking’.
As for me? …. I’m alive again.
Last Thoughts: I know many who read this may think that I’m holding a grudge or trying to exact some sort of revenge …. I guess that’s your business. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I’ve forgiven Steve Shultz, the Elijah List, its associated ministries, and any people who are currently playing a deceptive role in what is known as ‘the Prophetic Movement’ – God will be my witness. I do not wish harm on anyone physically, financially or otherwise.
What I do wish, if anything, is that the Truth would be revealed. I would hope that the Holy Spirit would convict those who need it, that they would repent and get right with God and, either step down or start being True Prophets. But most of all, I would also hope that all who read this would have their eyes opened and that they would be made free from this growing deception.
Rehab: How to Get Back on Track
I received a letter from someone who, like me, was involved in the Prophetic Movement for quite some time and has only recently had the eyes of their understanding opened to the Truth. They asked what steps should be taken to ‘rehabilitate’ themselves and get back on track.
When you’re involved with the Prophetic Movement, there are so many distractions, half-truths, and …. well, junk, that your vision gets foggy and you feel like you’re lost in the middle of a huge forest with no direction as to how to get out. You doubt your ability to hear God’s voice and the Truths and Promises of His Word no longer seem valid or reachable.
Have you had enough of the crazy visions, theories, ‘warfare’, visitations, psycho-twitches, HOs, and Shabbahs?
THERE IS A WAY OUT!!!!
This answer is so simple, it’s easy to discredit it and sweep it under the rug.
Here’s the answer: READ YOUR BIBLE AND PRAY ….. A LOT!!!
Could it be this simple?? YES!!
Transform Your Thinking
We are told in Romans 12:2 to ’be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.’ This is the perfect way to find your way out of the forest … by having your mind transformed!
You’ve been wandering out in this sea of confusion, moved and shaken by every wind of doctrine and teaching of man … you want a way out … you want to chart your course in the direction of Ultimate Truth. The Word of God will do this for you!
The Spoken Word of God has its own Power that, when listened to and meditated upon, can actually CHANGE the way you think. It can fine-tune your ‘spiritual’ ear to actually be able to discern between the Holy Spirit and ‘other’ types of spirits.
Be prepared to find ways of thinking in the Word of God that conflict with what you’ve learned in the Prophetic Movement. There are many things that I had to re-learn as my mind became more aligned with His Word.
Talk With God
The other thing that needs to happen is a lot of prayer. The Word says in 1 Thess. 5:17 to ’pray without ceasing’ … in other words, DON’T STOP!! While you may not be able to actually speak out in prayer all the time, you can keep yourself in a position of continually listening for His Voice. Hearing what He has to say is WAY more important than anything we think we need to pray.
As you’re listening, remember that you’ve been part of a movement that allows for other spirits to enter into the picture. This can result in a lot of confusion when listening to the Father’s Voice, so you really need to compare what you hear with what is in the Word of God. The Holy Spirit will NEVER NEVER NEVER tell you to do something that conflicts with what the Word says. Never be too prideful to admit that what you heard wasn’t from God … I’ve made this mistake a lot!!! I thought that I heard His voice and then acted before I compared it to His Word and ended up in a real mess!
Another gauge we can use to analyze if we’ve heard correctly is good bible-believing friends who have a proven track record with God. Not someone who sounds ‘spiritual’ (there are plenty of those flakes), but someone who is solid, firm, grounded, and steady in the Word … those are the ones you want to glean from.
Get Rid of the Fluff
The church has become entirely too dependent on books, worship CDs, teaching tapes, and other ‘fluff’. Get rid of them … especially if they are from the old way of life from which you are trying to escape – GET RID OF THEM! You don’t need worship CDs to get into His Presence, and you don’t need instruction from these books by people who think they’ve heard from God.
YOU NEED TO HEAR FROM GOD FOR YOURSELF!
When you get alone with God, quiet yourself and rely on Him alone for your spiritual experience … gradually, but faithfully, He will pour out on you such revelation that you will not have room to contain it! The Best Revelation comes directly from God, not from man.
Take the Time
How long it takes for you to be back ‘on track’ really depends on you. How long are you willing to spend with Him daily? Do you really want to be back ‘on track’?
I want to challenge you to tithe your time and dedicate 1/10 of your day (2½ hours) to spend time with God (not as a religious duty – think of it as an investment) in prayer and in the Word. This is a great way to break through certain ways of thinking and to re-establish a damaged foundation. It worked for me!
Fear the Lord and Watch for His Coming.
For the Love of the Search,
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Hi Kevin, Thank you so much for sharing! I have been caught up in this movement, but not experiencing many things that others do, as I would listen to people like Joseph Prince more. But currently have been attending a church where Bill Johnson’s personal aide attends in Tennessee. She(Bill’s aide) is teaching people how to access the 3rd heaven and have encounters. I have been very uneasy and uncomfortable with this teaching and looking to scripture and others who may be sensing what I am sensing. Your testimony has greatly helped! Thank YOU so much for sharing!
Bill Johnson is a false teacher. There are several articles about that on this site and many elsewhere on the internet. We have been told: “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.” (1 John 4)
Absolutely love the message and truth you have shared I had liked the Elijah list on face book and with so many daily drawn out extravagant prophecies they post saying this saith the Lord I find it very odd that the Lord gives daily extravagant prophecies daily like this..
And for you to reveal the prophecies are basically being edited and stacked together if you will to bring a smooth soothsaying word if exactly what I discerned… Sugarcoating apostasy…
I appreciate truth and yes I too had been around many prophets as well but many were speaking in flesh or their own heart and mind …
But Jesus and the Holyghost don’t lie..
I was going to unsubscribe from themand unlike on face book page which I hardly ever read their page but I know now I am definitely breaking all ties.
Actually some prophets may misinterpret a word from the Lord in error but oftentimes where they do err is giving specific dates.
The Spirit of prophecy is Christ…
We must always try the spirit and see if it be of God…
I can not say that every person for sure on the Elijah list are false prophets but there may be some wolves among the sheep amen..
Is Graham Cooke part of this movement?
Thank you. Your post confirmed what was being communicated to me by the Holy Spirit concerning Elijah’s List. If your experience there did nothing else, it gave you a voice of experience to shed light in darkness. 👍🏽
Getting back on track and tithing a tenth of your time I found an absolute necessity to my faith walk/relationship, being reminded by the Holy Spirit to return to my first love many times.
The part of Titus 2:14 in Kevin’s testimony reminded me of God’s love for me by continuing to send ministering angels and the Holy Spirit to lead me into all truth, not condemning but simple and gentle truths to set me free. Great testimony for Jesus’s glory!
Thank you for having the courage and the boldness to expose this great deception in the body of Christ. May the Good Lord bring many to this site to use the truth of your testimony to remove the veil of deception thats causing such a great spiritual cancer. May we repent as the body of Christ and may God have mercy on us.
I attend Grace Church Nashville. with Pastor Lindell Cooley. Alot of the people from Grace Church Nashville have left and went to the fellowship Larry Randolph pastors. I went once and felt very uncomfortable concerning some of his teachings on Angels etc. Can you comment on this Kevin?
I’ve read this article with great interest. I’ve long mourned the false prophets in the land, and the manner in which so many Christians are being led astray. The immorality in the church is staggering, and no one seems to want to stand up to it.
I am thrilled that God is giving discernment to some individuals to see things as they truly are. May you and your wife be blessed as you continue walking in His ways, and speaking truth regardless of how unpopular it is.
This was amazing to read and hope to write you another email to tell you what happened to me.
Thank you and God bless you and your wife.
Thanks Kevin for your perspective is an Insider I have a lot of friends who are following these movements and they never feel like they can get close enough to God because these people portray something that cannot be attained. And they are also people with man of God syndrome who are always looking for someone who is closer to God than them
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