The hallmark of many contemporary ministries is the idea that God is still revealing His truths outside of Scripture through inspired revelation. Word-Faith and prophetic healing ministries are among the most common groups that rely on extra-Biblical revelation.
Take for instance what the Sons of Thunder prophetic healing ministry writes on their “About Us” page:
We recognize that God is still restoring truths and light to His church, and therefore, we place no limit on further revelation. However, all revelation must be substantiated according to the Scriptures. (Emphasis mine)
This is not atypical. Fresh Fire Ministries, the para-church organization once headed by now-disgraced Todd Bentley, notes in almost identical wording on its website:
We recognize that God is continually restoring truth and light to His Church. Therefore, we place no limit on further revelation; however, each must be substantiated according to the Scriptures.
Interestingly enough, this appears after a statement indicating that the Old and New Testaments represent a “complete revelation” from God.
Exactly how does God reveal these new truths? The Sons of Thunder website further illuminates us:
We minister to the Lord through intimacy. We long to cultivate such a tangible presence of God in our lives and ministry, that the supernatural becomes more of a reality than the natural realm. And so, we view our highest call to be that of intercession to the Lord Himself. As simple as this may sound, one would be surprised at how many full-time ministers spend no more than 15 minutes in prayer a day. Unspiritual men produce unspiritual ministries. Our ministry will only be as effective as the level to which we have decreased and the Holy Spirit has increased within us. Therefore, we not only place a high priority on soaking/worship/contemplative prayer, but we also focus heavily on divine intimacy in our teachings, conferences and resources (sic) (Emphasis mine)
While the emphasis on contemplative prayer may be unusual with most non-postmodern Word Faith and prophetic healing ministries (Sons of Thunder claims to be postmodern), the other priorities are typical. Postmodern or not, truth is not exclusively gathered in an objective manner from the Holy Scriptures but rather through subjective experience. Officially these experiences must be validated by Scripture, but in practice they are left unchallenged and accepted as dogma. This would be the overarching problem in all of these ministries.
While many such ministries verbally claim to hold to the supreme authority of the Bible, their preaching proves otherwise. For instance, Todd Bentley has publicly spoken on numerous occasions of his extra-Biblical revelation. A quick search through videos of his Florida revival meetings and sermon transcripts reveals exactly what governs this man’s teaching and conduct.
The primary issue with extra-Biblical revelation, which usually comes in the forms of divine knowledge, healing, prophecy, speaking in tongues, angelic encounters, and otherwise claiming to speak for God, is precisely thus: it claims to speak for God when it doesn’t. What a dangerous thing it is to claim to hear from God. This is referred to as divine revelation, meaning that what is revealed is equivalent to Scripture. Are these so-called ministers willing to assert that their “prophetic words” are on the same level as the inspired writings of Paul, or Matthew, or Luke, or any of the Old Testament prophets? If what they say really is truth, then their words need to be copiously written down and added to the Bible!
The Bible itself has much to say about those who would speak for God. “But the prophet who speaks a word presumptuously in My name which I have not commanded him to speak, or which he speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die” (Deuteronomy 18:20, NASB). In other words, anybody claiming to speak for the Lord who hasn’t been sent by Him, will incur the death sentence for their crime. Indeed, the ancient Israelites stoned such false prophets. How many of these preachers, men such as Todd Bentley and John Crowder of Sons of Thunder, would be willing to risk a stoning if their teachings were proven false? Not many.
A mere stoning would be preferable to what God says what will happen to false prophets:
Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits. Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?” And then I will declare to them, “I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.” (Matthew 7:15-23, NASB)
God takes the issue of preaching falsely very seriously. No one should claim to “hear” from God and prophecy what was given to him. Should that teacher open his mouth to the sheep, Jesus promises to send that person into everlasting torment, where the “smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever”, and where “they will have no rest day or night” (Revelation 14:11, NASB).
Let each of us who holds to the Truth pray that these people would repent of their wicked works and turn to the Lord in saving faith.
Anyone wanting to see what John Crowder and Sons of Thunder is really about should watch this clip below:
Note the silliness and utter lack of reverence for anything holy displayed by the speaker.
Filed under: False Teachers | Tagged: extra-biblical revelation, false prophecy, False Teaching, fresh fire, John Crowder, prophetic healing, sola scriptura, sons of thunder, sufficiency, todd bentley, word faith |