"Better" Or "Different?"
The Coming Showdown between Clashing Prophetic Worldviews
August 23, 2007
I’ve received an unusually spirited response to a recent post of mine on Storm Harvest in which I responded negatively to an article they posted by Rick Joyner of Morningstar Ministries. Rick’s article predicted a coming worldwide “spiritual revolution,” but defined that revolution entirely in cultural political terms. My response essentially saw Rick’s article as nothing more than geopolitical commentary masking as “prophetic wisdom,” and proceeded to challenge the errant basis of his conceptions of the coming spiritual revolution.
Further meditation on all this has inspired me to paint a bigger picture of the issue between my teaching and that of Rick Joyner and others whom I identify by the term “culture prophets.” Before I do this, and because this is the second time in under a year I’ve felt led to publicly write about Rick’s direction, I want to really stress the following:
My clash with Rick Joyner’s teaching and his efforts to rebuild PTL is not about personalities. I am not attacking Rick Joyner, the man. I have no personal animosity toward Rick Joyner. In fact, I have never had anything but a deep love for him and admiration for much of his perceptivity.
So, I am not attacking Rick Joyner, the man. Anyone who interprets my writing as a personal attack is in error. (As my website will bear witness, I am loathe to even name any other prophetic minister with whom I am at odds.) But I am attacking Rick Joyner’s prophetic worldview. My purpose here is to set forth more clearly what it is I am attacking and why. I believe your spiritual health and welfare depends on understanding this.
When all the conflict and static among prophetic ministries is finally sifted out, it all comes down to a clash between proponents of two prophetic worldviews. The clash is between those who view the prophetic merely as a means to a “better” world, and those who believe the prophetic is fundamentally a means to a “different” world—one which envisions and presses for the replacement of this world with its fallen systems altogether.
The “Better World” Prophetic
Those who believe in the “better world” prophetic believe that the kingdoms of this world can somehow be prophetically “converted” or “transformed” into manifestations of the kingdom of God, while retaining an inherent value of some kind as ordained by God. These, whom I call “culture prophets,” believe primarily in applying the temporal powers of the prophetic to present world systems of culture, government and economy as an end in itself. Those who hold to this worldview pay lip service to the tenets of eternal salvation—some even to the tenets of the cross—but only secondarily, and only as an “assumed fundamental” underneath their earthly prophesying.
The “Different World” Prophetic
Contrary to this are those who believe in the “different world” prophetic. These believe that, while the kingdoms and cultures of this world can receive some temporal blessing and direction through the prophetic, the world’s systems cannot be converted into manifestations of God’s kingdom and hold no inherent value. Being ‘of the world,” they are instead intrinsically opposed to God, even if they have been temporarily ordained by him. In all cases, God wills to supersede them and replace them. This is true for all governments, economies and cultures—no matter how “good” they may appear in time due to the benevolence of God’s grace on them.
“Different world” prophets believe that God wills to utterly replace all world systems with a unique system based on the power of eternal life through the cross—and they are dedicated to that end in their labors. They believe primarily in supporting and exhorting toward the processes that lead to eternal life in men from the inside out—at the expense of relationship to this world’s systems—with an ultimate view to the coming translation to physical eternal life (glorification).
“Different world” prophets are primarily consumed with the issues of the eternal heart and the inner man, including repentant faith, sanctification, and the continual exchanging of soulish life force for Christ’s life by the cross—all with a clear focus to obtaining physical eternal life and full identity replacement in Christ. For these prophets, all temporal applications of the prophetic are employed only as a means to this end.
Where the “Better World” Prophetic Errs
It is my deepest and strongest contention that the “better world” prophetic view is utterly false, and is the product of a seducing spirit from satan. But before prosecuting this further, it’s important first to point out that the “better world” view is based on something that is legitimately prophetic.
The legitimacy of the “better world” view is that the prophetic does indeed limitedly speak to temporal blessing and direction in the world. In a qualified sense, the prophetic does labor to improve what is here and now. That’s why the prophets healed, raised the dead, multiplied oil, and could at times speak words of promise to kings.
But the problem with the “better world” prophetic is that culture prophets have forgotten that “the goodness of God leads to repentance.” In other words, they have forgotten that the temporal prophetic is specifically designed to advance the “different world” prophetic! Every prophetic word toward the world system is divinely meant to evoke the internal convicting men of sin and changing of them out of this world and toward the free will abandoning of their systems—systems which are otherwise inherently sinful and destined for destruction.
Consequently, whether or not they profess faith in the eternal gospel truths, in practical effect, all culture prophets abandon the foundations of the apostolic New Testament gospel, which is incontrovertibly written from the “different world” prophetic point of view.
Culture prophets have been seduced to make of this flesh life something that it can never and will never be. As a result they are consigning their converted hearers to permanent spiritual immaturity and leaving them unprepared for the cataclysmic times that will finally remove the present systems they keep trying to save. At worst, these prophets are sealing their unconverted hearers to eternal damnation because they either never teach the eternal gospel in the first place or at least never make any practical application of it toward saving change in them.
True or False? Which Are Culture Prophets?
Before answering whether culture prophets are true or false prophets, let’s understand what a culture prophet is and is not. A culture prophet is not merely a prophet who speaks a “better world” blessing or direction into a world situation. As already seen, true prophets do this also. Elijah did so. Elisha did so. Daniel did so. Even Jeremiah prophesied to King Zedekiah and also commanded the seeking of the blessing of the city of Babylon. Some diehard “repentance-only” prophets believe anybody who speaks a word of blessing that would make of the world a better place to live is a false prophet. Not so.
What then is a culture prophet? A culture prophet is simply a prophet who has either intentionally or ignorantly (by neglect) removed the ministry of earthward prophetic ministry from its foundation in the eternal gospel that saves from sin and from prophecy’s true purpose to hasten the replacement of the world’s systems by God’s eternal kingdom.
That said, now we can ask, are culture prophets true or false prophets? This is not easy to answer. In fact, it is very slithery. First, let’s be clear: all culture prophecy is false prophecy. Any prophecy to the world that fails of the ultimate motive to promote world system replacement as required by the everlasting gospel is a false prophecy.
But are all who speak culture prophecy therefore false prophets? This falls into the same class as the question, “Can a true prophet ever give a false word? Can a true prophet ever misspeak?” The truth is that, just as a true prophet can misspeak and give a false prediction, so can a true prophet misspeak into offering culture prophecy.
Some culture prophets are indeed true prophets that have been ignorantly misled for whatever reason to neglect eternal gospel truths and so prophesy falsely to the culture. These kinds of prophets genuinely believe in the eternal gospel, but they have simply allowed it to get crowded out by their anointed concern for present tense world issues.
But other culture prophets are died-in-the-wool earthly-minded ministers who, under the guise of “the prophetic anointing” have carved out for themselves a career in culture prophesying. These are really prophets of the world in Christ’s name. Secretly, these prophets have abandoned the true gospel, though they would never admit it. Though they might pay the barest of lip service to it, they do not really believe any longer in the call to repentance, to conviction of sin, or the necessity of death to self as an ongoing process of eternal life for the believer—if they ever did to begin with.
But because it is difficult to tell whether a culture prophet is simply a deceived true prophet, or a dedicated false prophet, I purposely refrain from using the term “false prophet” to describe them. Many of them are indeed false. Others are deceived, though they truly know and love the Lord, are saved just like you or me, and we will see them on the other side of the veil. Besides this, the term “false prophet” has come to carry an accusatory tone. For my purposes of prophetic instruction, that tone is not helpful to perceiving objective truth about these matters. Thus for this reason also I use the term “false prophet” sparingly.
Do I have personal opinions and perhaps discernments about various individual “better world” prophets—whether they are ultimately true or false? Yes I do. But unless they are in personal proximity to my ministry for some reason, I do not need to tell you what they are. The Lord can give you your own discernments in that regard.
The Coming Showdown
Right now, culture prophecy is thriving in the West, and I imagine it is in all places where anyone is still able to live well under the illusion of democracy. But as the time for full manifest replacement of these corrupt systems nears, there is going to come a showdown between the culture prophets and the prophets of a different world. This may not still come for some time, perhaps not for even a decade or two or more. But it is coming.
We are in a time not unlike the generation before World War I. Prior to that war, the “better world” prophetic view grew to a place of great prominence in America. The Lord had begun releasing the stream of end time vision about half a century prior to this. And some prominent teachers (including the renowned Charles Finney) were teaching that the world was going to get better and better until Christ returns to take it all over. (The theological name for this system of teaching is Post-Millennialism).
But then the Great War came. And when it came, it quickly dashed all these utopian illusions. The “better world” prophetic view was exposed as just so much illusory hype. Today however, the “better world” prophetic has arisen again—quite remarkably really—in spite of the obvious gross wickedness engulfing the whole earth the entire last century. In this, the culture prophetic is walking in near total denial of what is coming with a total lack of spiritual preparation for it!
But as the collapse of all the world’s systems becomes imminent, the culture prophets will increasingly be seen for their nakedness as their failed prophecies become so obviously silly. As this happens, a major shift will occur in the prophetic. Those with the “different world” prophetic view will suddenly emerge from the shadows. And they will become the ones sought out for real direction—even by some desperate falling governmental leaders. For they will be the only ones prepared with divine strategies for survival.
A showdown will come in which the Spirit will force all who call on the Lord’s name to renounce the culture prophetic if they are to have any hope to be saved in those days. And make no mistake—many who stubbornly continue to walk in their denial will be slaughtered by the beast and will die as ignominiously as Tammy Faye Bakker—clutching their “faith-illusions of Jesus” to the end. (The silly ignominy of Tammy Faye’s passing was a prophetic sign to all you culture prophets out there. Were you listening? Unless you repent, you will die the same way.)
Proving All Things, Holding Fast That Which Is Good
This issue of “better” vs. “different” prophetic worldviews is critical to all of us. The “better world” prophetic worldview is a false worldview. Culture prophecy is false prophecy. But we as prophets are still called to bring forth words of temporary preservation and direction to world systems in certain contexts. And the Spirit would have us teach on the dynamics of this also.
This fact poses a challenge to us personally as well as to one another as a brotherhood of prophetic believers. We need to constantly and charitably examine ourselves and one another for our faithfulness to the eternal “different world” gospel whenever we are found prophesying, exhorting or teaching on how God wants to bring forth blessing or direction to the world’s people. We need to be sure that 1) we are speaking everything God wants us to speak to the world—including those things that are for its betterment, and 2) that everything we do prophesy to the world’s betterment is anchored in the Gospel’s desire to ultimately turn men from their sin and save them from their own world which God has slated for destruction.
As a prophetic instructor, I always welcome new avenues of fellowship with other prophetic instructors and ministers. We have much to learn from one another. But in every such relationship, I seek to prove early on what my fellow writers are really saying. I want to know their prophetic worldview. And if I have given myself to relationship with any, believing them to have a sound “different world” view, I will bring them to sincere task and question should I perceive anything that smacks of a straying from that worldview in their prophesying and teaching.
And I want to be questioned, too, whenever I am not clear or seem to be contradictory in my prophetic worldview. Sometimes I teach on blessings, sometimes on judgment. But I want to be as consistent as possible in my presentation so everyone knows where I stand in my eternal foundation, and that my eternal foundation is non-negotiable.
There. I hope that will bring more clarity to the issues beneath my challenge to the teaching of Rick Joyner and others. And in the future, if I’m ever led again to speak to a specific teaching by someone else, I will refer you to this article when you respond to it, so you will have an accurate grasp of my spirit behind it.
Many blessings to all you dedicated “First Lovers” out there and to all you balanced “Different World” prophetic advocates!
New Meadow Neck, Rhode Island
First Love Ministry
- a ministry of Anglemar Fellowship
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