July 2021. There is a distance between now and September of 2019, when all the questions began. That distance allows for clarity of thought and better reflection. It started with examining whether Todd Bentley, the leader of the Lakeland Revival, was qualified for ministry. The clear answer was no, a committee said as much, but his defenders cried foul, and delusion began to set in concerning the charismatic movement. Enter 2021; no one saw the events of that year, and all the subsequent prophecies, declarations, and such all fell flat.
I grew up around this stuff; I’m Pentecostal, I believe in the gifts, I believe in the prophetic….what in the world is going on?! I, no doubt, like many, was confused. There were generally two responses to the events of 2020; ignore everything, keep pressing forward as nothing happened, and the other option, the one I chose, abandon the charismatic movement and Pentecostal theology in toto.
Both of these positions are wrong because, in both cases, things need to be seriously examined. Here are some issues as I see them. The presumption is sometimes called faith. We presume God wants something done, so we decree it. Worse, we want something, so we decree it. I watched in disbelief as Kenneth Copeland blew the wind of God against a virus and nothing happened. Many people declared and prophesied concerning the pandemic, and nothing happened.
I believe many leaders and believers presumed action and declaration without seeking God first; thus, everything fell flat. President Trump was going to win; it was prophesied, yet, he’s not in office; why? Did the prophets miss it? Possibly. Did we not heed the warnings to pray over the election and do our part? Possibly. The issue in my mind is the charismatic wing of the body of Christ didn’t pause and seek the Lord when Vice President Biden was installed as President. I believe most of the charismatic body lacked humility at that moment, humility to go to God and say did we miss it? Was there something we didn’t do? Were we prophesying out of our own hearts? I don’t have the answer to those questions.
I do personally believe that many heard prophetic words and became lax in their prayers. God is sovereign, and we have responsibilities; the two are not opposed to one another. I think a lesson to be learned through all of this is to seek the Lord on your own. Something I failed to do in the immediate aftermath of 2020. All who are charismatic should be seeking God in this moment over many things. We cannot sweep 2020 under the rug. Prayer and fasting are probably not a bad idea for many of us.
It was easy to throw everything out the window due to questions I’ve had over the years. But the right thing to do is get alone with God in prayer and with your Bible and say, Holy Spirit, lead and guide me into all truth. Some will say abandon prophecy, tongues, healing, and miracles. But, no, make a study of the Scriptures and tweak things that need to be tweaked.
I have always said the danger in the charismatic movement is not to emphasize Scripture and not to be grounded in Scripture. One thing 2020 showed us is we heard a word about the election but didn’t pray concerning it. Men must always pray and not faint. We need solid theology. We need to pray over words, we need to test the spirits, and we need to make the Scripture central. The most important thing any of us can do is get alone with God in prayer, study the Word and make it our solid foundation.