Gabriel Hughes is the pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Junction City, KS. He is husband to wife, Beki, and father of their four children. Gabe is also the founder and voice behind the online ministry When We Understand the Text (WWUTT), featuring hundreds of videos addressing a wide range of Bible topics. He also hosts a daily podcast with twenty minutes of Bible teaching Monday to Thursday, and Beki joins him on Friday as they respond to questions from listeners.
FALSE PROPHETS EXPOSED: WHY MODERN-DAY PROPHETS NEVER SAW THIS PANDEMIC COMING.
“Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, but in these last days he has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He created the world.” —Hebrews 1:1-2
Self-proclaimed apostle Chuck Pierce claimed that there would be a “shift” in the pandemic by the end of the Passover season. Self-proclaimed prophet Tracy Cooke also said that by April 16, “the blood of Jesus” would cause the “plague to pass over.” Both of these men qualified their predictions by referencing Amos 3:7, which says, “For the Lord God does nothing without revealing His secret to His servants, the prophets.”
But that verse does not qualify their prediction as legitimate. On the contrary, it exposes them as frauds. If, as they understand Amos 3:7, the Lord God does nothing without revealing it through His prophets first, then why did none of the so-called “prophets” of today know that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic was about to happen?
That’s the question Dr. Michael L. Brown recently attempted to answer as he’s been running damage control for the charismatic and pentecostal movement. Recently, he published an article entitled Some Practical Thoughts on Contemporary Prophetic Ministry in which he attempted to explain why none of the charismatic “prophets” predicted the pandemic.
What is the reason? Dr. Brown says it’s “because their primary calling is not to be prognosticators or predictors.” Now that’s funny. Dr. Brown thinks he’s helping the charismatic movement. But without realizing it, he just admitted the movement is full of false prophets!
Last month, evangelist Justin Peters pointed out that in January, Sid Roth featured 20 of his most revered prophets sharing their predictions for 2020 on his program It’s Supernatural!which airs on TBN and Daystar. What did those prophets claim God was showing them? They said things like America would be blessed with prosperity and that there would be large gatherings of people. Yet the opposite has happened. America is more bankrupt than it has ever been, and who knows if anyone will be allowed to attend even a high school football game this year.
The Wuhan virus pandemic has exposed the pentecostal and charismatic movement as useless—they cannot see the future, they cannot stop an illness, they cannot heal the sick. The pandemic will likely be the biggest event of the year, if not the biggest news story in a lifetime. And not a single one of their “prophets” saw it coming. Not a Ken Copeland nor a Pat Robertson nor a Benny Hinn nor a Joel Osteen nor a Brian Houston nor a Bill Johnson nor a Jim Bakker nor a Joyce Meyer nor a Beth Moore nor a Cindy Jacobs nor a Sarah Young nor a Paula White nor any of these other money-grubbing wahoos who claim to receive special revelation from God.
The level to which these prophets have been embarrassed is irony at its most hilarious. Bethel Church in Redding, CA, which has a school to teach people how to heal diseases and predict the future, shut down their healing rooms and told their faith-healers to stay away from hospitals due to the risk of COVID-19. Hack prophet Shawn Bolz has postponed his prophecy conference. Let me say that again—a prophet has had to postpone his already-scheduled prophecy conference! Shouldn’t he have seen this coming and scheduled his conference for after the pandemic?
Bolz said at the start of March that COVID-19 would not become a pandemic. In response to Bolz, I made the joke on Twitter, “Great, now COVID-19 is going to become a pandemic because Shawn Bolz said it isn’t going to become a pandemic.” Sure enough, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic one week later. I’m a more accurate prophet than Bolz, and I don’t claim to be a prophet!
|If this conference resumes and you buy a ticket, you deserve to lose your money.|
Surely you’ve seen the video of Ken Copeland blowing away COVID-19, one of the most hilarious displays of charismatic kookiness that ever went mainstream. It doesn’t help that Copeland looks like a movie villain, or as one satire site put it, like he “ate a trustworthy Christian and wore his skin to a Lawrence Welk taping.” As of the writing of this article, it has been 4 weeks since Copeland declared the United States cured of COVID-19. At the time, there were 100,000 cases of the Wuhan virus in the U.S. This week, we will pass 1 million.
I could go on with so many more face-plants by charismatics. So again, why didn’t their “prophets” know this was about to happen? The biblical answer is much simpler and more excoriating than Dr. Brown’s answer. The reason modern-day apostles and prophets didn’t see this coming is because there are no modern-day apostles and prophets. No faith-healer is miraculously clearing out the COVID-19 wards or even daring to set foot in one because there is no such thing as a faith-healer.
Beware of False Prophets
Jesus said, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness'” (Matthew 7:15, 21-23).
Is there a passage more warning of the charismatic and pentecostal movement with their false prophecy and fake healing than those words of Jesus? This is a critical issue. Eternal souls are at stake—the souls of these false prophets, the souls of those who run cover for them, and the souls of the people whom they continue to fool.
Let’s consider further the lies of the charismatic movement along with what the Bible has to say about prophecy. I’m going to use Dr. Brown’s article as a catalyst for truer understanding. I’ll go through his article word-for-word, which will make this a longer blog than usual. Happy reading! Dr. Brown’s comments will be in bold and I will respond with commentary.
I believe deeply in prophetic ministry today. I believe God still speaks to and through His children. And I believe that some are specially called to serve as “prophetic” voices, both to the Church and to the world.
Where is that in the Bible? Now, I certainly believe in the preaching and teaching of God’s word, which is the Bible. I believe God speaks to His children through the Bible, and God speaks through His children when they teach the Bible. I believe some are called to serve as “prophetic” voices in the sense that they proclaim the message of God’s kingdom to His church and to the world, and they proclaim the coming of Christ, which is prophecy that has yet to be fulfilled.
But I do not believe “in prophetic ministry today” in the sense that God is revealing new truth or speaking through private revelations. If God is still speaking in this way, then whatever is being revealed would have the same authority as Scripture. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a personal prophecy or something for a large group of people. Whatever God says is Scripture. Is that what Dr. Brown means to convey, that private revelations are equal to the Bible?
The Bible is “the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:19-21).
The prophets have spoken the word of God, “carried along by the Holy Spirit,” and the word of God is confirmed. We do not need any new revelation. Jesus Christ, the Word, has come, and His word is sufficient (Hebrews 1:1-2 at the top of this article). To believe in modern-day prophets is to say the Bible, “the prophetic word more fully confirmed,” is not confirmed enough.
Every one of these “prophetic voices” Dr. Brown has put forward over the years has always turned out to be a false prophet—most recently Chuck Pierce and Tracey Cook. But Dr. Brown remains in denial. Though he admits “these prophets” are “so inaccurate and wrong,” he insists many of them are “so accurate and right.” Yet they go on deceiving millions, and Dr. Brown is aiding and abetting their blasphemy. He continues:
How is it, then, that there is such a mixture in contemporary prophetic ministry? How is it that, in some circumstances, these prophets can be so accurate and right while in other circumstances they can be so inaccurate and wrong? In short, I believe it comes down to the importance of staying in our proper lanes and use the prophetic gift properly. What, exactly, do I mean by this?
Now, keep in mind that he’s asked this question. He says that the “prophets” need to stay “in our proper lanes and use the prophetic gift properly,” and then he’s asked, “What, exactly, do I mean by this?” You would think this means he’s going to explain how to “use the prophetic gift properly.” But he never does.
Having been in Pentecostal-Charismatic circles for most of the last 48 years, I have personally witnessed or heard about some amazing prophetic words. In a few cases, they were spoken through me. At other times, they were spoken to me. In many other instances, they were spoken to or through friends of mine.
To include my background, I spent a little over 10 years in Pentecostal-Charismatic circles. From 1999 to 2009, almost every church I attended was charismatic. I also preached and sang in many churches, and most of them were charismatic. All the girls I crushed on were charismatic. All of my friends were charismatic. And very few of them are still walking with the Lord today.
In those 10 years, I never witnessed one single thing to convince me God is performing miracles like we read of in the New Testament, nor did I witness anyone share a genuine prophecy. I certainly thought I did. When my friends were telling me what God told them or did through them, I believed it. Even though God wasn’t doing it through me, I believed He was doing it through them. I didn’t speak in tongues or hear God’s voice or miraculously heal anyone. But I believed my friends were.
Slowly, I came out of it. I wasn’t fully convinced in cessationism—the belief that the miraculous sign-gifts in the New Testament have ceased—until I had been a pastor for about 5 years. When I was first ordained, I was your typical bapticostal, holding a view of continuationism that was similar to David Platt’s, Matt Chandler’s, or John Piper’s. (I wrote four years ago about my transition here.)
So what changed my mind? It wasn’t because I realized I hadn’t seen any miracles or witnessed any genuine prophecy. Remember, I thought I had. John MacArthur’s “Strange Fire” conference had something to do with it, as well as watching Justin Peters’ videos. But mostly it was the result of good personal friendships who were patient with me and walked me through the Scriptures. My mind was changed because I read the Bible.
Hebrews 2:3-4 says that the gospel of Jesus Christ “was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to His will.” The reason for the miraculous sign-gifts is right there. These signs were given by the Holy Spirit to affirm that a message being spoken was truly a word from God.
An apostle of Jesus Christ was personally appointed to be an apostle by the risen Lord, and their apostleship was further affirmed through miraculous signs and healings. In 1 Corinthians 15:8, the Apostle Paul said that he was the last apostle appointed. New Testament prophets were distinct from the apostles in that they had not personally seen the risen Lord, but the prophecies they received complimented and affirmed apostolic ministry. The kinds of prophecies disclosed today are nothing like what we see the prophets saying in the book of Acts, a point I’ll come back to in a moment.
The apostolic age came to an end with the death of John at the end of the first century. There are no more apostles, no more prophets, no more new revelation, for the Scriptures are written and the canon is closed. Therefore, there is no need for miraculous signs since there is no new revelation from God.
I will defend cessationism as true, as I have been doing. But the burden of proof is less on the cessationist and more on the continuist to demonstrate that the sign-gifts as the apostles had them are still ongoing. Can the charismatic movement give any real, authentic proof of modern-day miracles and prophetic fulfillment? The answer is no, because they are not happening.
Nonetheless, Dr. Brown is going to provide three examples he thinks prove charismatic prophecy. They actually do the opposite. These examples demonstrate what is called “prophecy” today is not at all like prophecy in the Bible. Keep in mind that Dr. Brown is writing an article to defend the charismatic movement against the nay-sayers in a time when charismaticism is at an embarrassing low. Ken Copeland and Paula White have face-planted in front of the whole world. Dr. Brown’s friend Sid Roth is a joke. And where on earth is Benny Hinn? Dr. Brown should be pulling out all the stops. He should be throwing down the gauntlet with the most indisputable, most conclusive proofs of modern prophecy and miracle-working that the charismatic movement has to boast of.
But that’s not what he does. He offers three quaint little anecdotes that are more amusing than convincing. His stories mention no names, no times, no places, and he was not a witness to any of them. Even if these stories did happen, they are not hall-of-fame verifications of God-given revelation. Yet Dr. Brown is thoroughly convinced that these tales are the whamma-jamma of modern-day prophecy.
If I could recall every one of [these amazing prophetic words] today, it would make for a staggering, God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting collection. In fact, the collection of prophetic words would stretch all credulity. Did the Lord really do that?
Let me give you three illustrations.
A pastor had planted a church in his city, and little by little, it was growing. A prophetic brother who was well-known in the community told him one day, “When you hit 180 people, the explosion will come.” The pastor kept that in mind, waiting for that explosion in numerical growth when their congregation reached 180.
Then, one Sunday morning, the pastor noticed that, out of the 182 chairs they had set up, there were only two empty seats. They had hit 180. Later that afternoon, when the building was empty, a gas line ruptured and the building exploded. Yes, when they hit 180, the explosion came! This was not what they were expecting, but it was a very literal fulfillment of the prophecy.
The pastor told me this story himself, with a smile. And, he added, they then moved into a much better, permanent facility, and the church took off from there. Who would dare call this a mere coincidence?
I would call it useless. What is the point of this “prophecy”? If the so-called prophet had told the pastor, “On this day, the building is going to explode. Do not be in the building!” then the “very literal fulfillment of the prophecy” would have saved someone’s life. But this prediction as given has no value to it whatsoever, except to be a tally mark in the community prophet’s prophecy ledger: “Hooray! I got one right!”
There is not one example of prophecy in the book of Acts that looks like the vague word-play Dr. Brown conveyed in this story. Can Dr. Brown produce a single prophet who has never been wrong and is verified with miraculous signs? That’s the real test—not dubious anecdotes. If a so-called prophet gets even one prediction wrong, they are not a prophet of God. Just reason this logically: If a person claiming to have received a revelation from God gave a word that was proven false or a prediction that did not come true, could you ever be sure anything they said was truly from God?
The Scripture is clear on this: “The prophet who presumes to speak a word in my name that I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that same prophet shall die. And if you say in your heart, ‘How may we know the word that the Lord has not spoken?’ When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him” (Deuteronomy 18:20-22).
Consider just how serious this is. If a person says, “God has told me,” or “God has shown me,” and they make a prediction or speak a word that doesn’t come true, they shall die. It doesn’t matter how genuine his feelings were or how clear the voice was in his head. It doesn’t matter if she claimed to speak from God or she spoke in the name of another god. The penalty for a false prophet is death.
This consequence hasn’t been lifted. The wages for false prophecy is still death. At the end of Revelation, Jesus said, “I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).
False prophecy has always been a deadly serious offense. If we took this as seriously as the Bible does, I guarantee there would be way fewer people claiming to speak from God, even things as vain and as useless as the above story, or this next one.
Here’s another story I heard firsthand.
Yet there will be no names, places, or any other details. This isn’t how prophecy is verified in Scripture.
A powerful woman of prayer was asked to speak at a church banquet, and on the way there, she heard the Spirit say to her heart, “I want you to bring a prophetic word to each person there.” When she arrived, there was a table with about 12 people sitting there, and so she thought to herself, “I can bring a word to each of these 12.”
Then, some doors swung open, and to her surprise, there were about 300 people seated at other tables. She thought to herself, “How can I possibly bring a prophetic word to all these people?” At that moment, she noticed a silver-haired woman seated in that front table and received this message for her: “Keep on truckin’!” What? She is supposed to tell an old woman that the Lord was saying, “Keep on truckin’!”?
But she couldn’t shake the feeling, and she went ahead [and] said to her, “The Lord says, keep on truckin’!” The whole place instantly erupted with shouts and applause. The prophetic word was for all of them. You see, this elderly woman had recently lost her husband, who owned a large trucking company. The widow had asked the church to pray for wisdom in the matter. Should she keep the company going or not?
God answered their prayers directly with a very clear word. Our Father cares enough to do things like this.
Show me one example of this in the Bible. This was not “a very clear word” from God. This was a common idiom falsely equated with being a word from God. This is not how the Holy Spirit spoke in the book of Acts. The person knew clearly the voice of God and what He was communicating. Consider these examples:
- Philip was specifically told to go witness to the Ethiopian Eunuch (Acts 8:29).
- Ananias was specifically told where Saul was and what happened to him (Acts 9:11-12).
- Cornelius was specifically told to seek out Simon Peter and where to find him (Acts 10:4-6).
- Agabus was specifically told there would be a great famine (Acts 11:28).
- The Spirit specifically told the prophets and teachers to send Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:2).
- Paul was specifically told to go to Macedonia and preach the gospel (Acts 16:9).
- The Lord specifically told Paul to not be afraid but to continue ministering in Corinth, and he would not be harmed (Acts 18:9).
On March 30, Dr. Brown said on Twitter, “I believe in prophetic ministry today, recognizing from the [New Testament] that every word must be tested.” Did this woman test her words before she gave them to the silver-haired old lady in the front row in the presence of many witnesses? If she did test them, then how? Did it concern her that she might be taking the Lord’s name in vain and speaking a word that did not come from Him?
As I said, if God is still speaking through personal private prophecy, whatever He’s saying is equally as authoritative as Scripture. The charismatic may not agree with that statement when you say it, but they all apply it practically, as Dr. Brown’s third example story demonstrates.
This last story was told to me by a friend of who witnessed what happened at a small Bible study one night. A prophetic brother was visiting, and he sensed he had a word for a young woman there. He felt to tell her, “God says that He hates mommies and daddies.” But what kind of message was this? Doesn’t the Bible teach us to honor our fathers and mothers? Still, he couldn’t shake the word and finally told the woman what he was sensing.
At that, she began to weep, sharing through tears what the word meant to her. It turns out that, when she was a little girl, her father would get into bed with her and sexually abuse her, leaving her with deep emotional scars. He would tell her, “We’re going to play a little game called Mommies and Daddies.” Now, years later, in a deeply personal way, her heavenly Father was telling her that He knew about this abuse and that He hated what happened to her.
That simple word changed her life.
Because the Bible couldn’t? There is no word more compassionate for those who are wounded than what we have in Scripture. Psalm 147:3 and 6 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. The Lord lifts up the humble; He casts the wicked to the ground.”
Of the three stories Dr. Brown shared, this one most exemplifies how the charismatic practice of believing whatever voice is in your head as being the voice of God has no real biblical restrictions. This false prophet claims he heard God say, “God hates mommies and daddies.” Here we have an example of a subjective revelation that seems to be contrary to the Bible. Dr. Brown even acknowledged it: “Doesn’t the Bible teach us to honor our fathers and mothers?”
If this false prophet had subjected his feelings to the authority of Scripture, the thought never would have gone from his brain to his mouth. But “he couldn’t shake the word and finally told the woman what he was sensing.” What he was sensing? Where is that in the New Testament? Show me one prophet who sensed something and followed their senses? Is biblical prophecy like Darth Vader sensing the presence of Obi Wan Kenobi?
|“I sense something… a presence I haven’t felt since Pentecost.”|
This story demonstrates that in charismaticism, even our senses are equally as authoritative as God’s word. There are no rules in this game: If you have a thought, and you believe it’s from God, then it’s from God. The charismatic Bible is an open canon, subject to human thoughts, feelings, and emotions. My friends, you can believe that Scripture is sufficient, or you can believe in new and private revelation, but you cannot believe both.
Jonathan Edwards asked, “Why can’t we be contented with the divine oracles, that holy, pure Word of God, that we have in such abundance and such clearness now since the canon of Scripture is completed?” Martin Luther has said, “I have covenanted with my Lord that He should not send visions or dreams or even angels! I am content with this gift of the Scriptures, which teaches and supplies all that is necessary, both for this life and that which is to come.”
Again, I could give you endless stories like this, some of which I witnessed myself…
Yet again, not one of these three stories he witnessed himself.
…pointing to the reality and accuracy of prophetic ministry today. Yet few, if any, contemporary prophets predicted the current pandemic in advance (for the possibility that David Wilkerson did in 1987, see here).
There is no evidence that David Wilkerson ever made such a prophecy. Dr. Brown even acknowledged on his radio program that no one close to Wilkerson ever heard him say it, yet he’s continuing to push it as potentially true. No modern-day charismatic prophet saw this pandemic coming. That’s a cold, hard fact.
You can be sure that critics of contemporary prophecy have been quick to point this out.
Here Dr. brown linked to Justin Peters, who is a good brother and has been right on the money. Justin has been far, far more accurate in pointing out these false prophets’ false prophecies than Brown’s buddies have ever been about anything.
Other prophetic leaders have given words that now seem inaccurate, leading to mockery on atheist and left-wing websites. How can this be? How can some of these same people be so accurate with personal and directional words and yet be so inaccurate with these other words?
As demonstrated above, they are “as accurate with personal and directional words” as a fortune cookie, a magic 8-ball, your gut, the Pet Whisperer, or the Long Island Medium.
I believe that it has to do with staying in our proper lanes, since, for the most part, New Testament prophecy is not so much focused on predicting the future as much as on bringing correction and help to the Church. (For my interview with Jeremiah Johnson where we discussed this very subject, see here.)
And in stark contrast with the role of Old Testament prophets, who often stood alone and whose words could lead to revival or apostasy, New Testament prophets are no different than pastors or evangelists or teachers. In other words, they too are part of leadership teams. They too must submit to spiritual authority. And, in keeping with the clear teaching of Paul (see 1 Corinthians 14:29; 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21), their words must be tested.
Even more importantly, all New Testament believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and can potentially hear the voice of God. That’s why Paul encourages all believers to seek the gift of prophecy (see 1 Corinthians 14:39). It is a truly edifying, helpful gift (see 1 Corinthians 14:3).
Here’s a question no continuist has ever been able to answer for me: What does God’s voice sound like? Truly, how can you know the difference between the Spirit speaking to your heart and the subjective thoughts bouncing around in your head? Does the Spirit’s brain-voice sound different than your own brain-voice? How do you test those random thoughts that pop into your head? None of the stories Dr. Brown referenced above were subject to testing. Like a Disney princess, they all followed their heart.
What Dr. Brown is doing with his Bible references is proof-texting. He’s not teaching the Bible. He’s not even quoting these passages or explaining the meaning. He’s ripping some references out of their context to support his bias. Here are the verses he cited but didn’t quote:
“Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is being said.” 1 Corinthians 14:29
In the above examples that Dr. Brown gave, two or three “prophets” didn’t speak. One person said something that was passed off as “prophecy,” but wasn’t.
“Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19-21
I despise what Dr. Brown calls “prophecy.” Between Dr. Brown and me, which one of us is testing everything? Dr. Brown didn’t include verse 22, which says, “Abstain from every form of evil.” Saying God spoke where He did not speak is evil. Jeremiah 23:16-17 says, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Do not listen to the words of the prophets who prophesy to you, filling you with vain hopes. They speak visions of their own minds, not from the mouth of the Lord. They say continually to those who despise the word of the Lord, ‘It shall be well with you,’ and to everyone who stubbornly follows his own heart, they say, ‘No disaster shall come upon you.'”
“So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.” 1 Corinthians 14:39
“On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their up-building and encouragement and consolation.” 1 Corinthians 14:3
Just like Dr. Brown has a wrong understanding of prophecy, he also doesn’t understand what speaking in tongues is. But I digress. Once again, Dr. Brown is welcome to put forward a single genuine modern-day prophet, who actually speaks a word from God and is 100% correct with every prediction. Or can he produce a modern-day apostle who has restored limbs (Acts 3:7) and raised the dead (Acts 9:41)? He cannot. The offices of apostle and prophet are closed, as the Scripture says.
This is not to say that the Lord will never use New Testament prophets to warn us of major events to come. We have examples of this in the Book of Acts (see especially Acts 11:27-30). And six weeks before the 9-11 terrorist attacks, David Wilkerson shared that “the Holy Spirit forewarned our pastoral staff that a calamity was coming.” So, they cancelled all their coming events, some of which were major, and they “decided to hold prayer meetings four nights a week.”
Wilkerson explained that, “During this visitation from the Lord, the Holy Ghost revealed there was a reason for the weeping in our hearts. We were being so moved because a tragedy was coming. A severe calamity was coming to the nation. And even though we didn’t know what it was, our hearts were stirred to intercede concerning it.”
When the tragedy hit, the church was ready.
Nope. The story isn’t true. The story’s origin comes from a Wilkerson prophecy made in 2009, not 2001, and it was dressed up by World Net Daily, a site that Dr. Brown has often written for. The story goes that prior to the 9/11 attacks, Wilkerson felt God telling him to make sandwiches. So he and his church stayed up all night long on September 10, 2001, and made 2,000 sandwiches. The next day, the terrorist attack on the twin towers happened, and “the church was ready” to feed first responders the sandwiches that the Lord told them to make the night before.
But it’s not true. Wilkerson’s Times Square Church even put forward a statement debunking the story, and World Net Daily had it scrubbed from their site. You can still read the full story here.
During the last elections (as well as before them), there were striking prophecies about Donald Trump becoming president. This was at a time when he was the least likely candidate of them all, especially for evangelical Christians.
Looking back, it seems that God used these words to get our attention. (For a comprehensive listing of every relevant prophetic word and article, see the new book by Prof. James Beverly, God’s Man in the White House: Donald Trump in Modern Christian Prophecy. For our interview on the subject, see here.)
Get our attention for what? To show us that the evangelical right has become so worldly, they would fall all over themselves to raise up a casino and strip-club owning billionaire, who had a reputation as a serial-adulterer, pornographer, and an obscene bully, who said his good works will get him to heaven, boasted no one’s read the Bible more than he has, said he’s never needed to ask God’s forgiveness, and is adored by prosperity preaching health-and-wealth pentecostal false prophets everywhere?
I said to my congregation Donald Trump was going to be the next president—14 months before it happened. Unlike a lot of these false prophets, I have proof that I said it. I’m no prophet, nor am I the son of a prophet (that’s an Amos 7:14 joke). It wasn’t that difficult to see it. Donald Trump looked and sounded just like the mainstream American Big Evangelicalism I’d been rebuking and warning my church not to let in the door. I knew he’d be the hands-down favorite.
I don’t say this to boast in myself. I’m saying this to emphasize the “prophecies” about Donald Trump prove nothing.
Yet in the previous presidential election, some had prophesied that Romney would win. (If you missed the news, he didn’t.) What was the difference between 2012 and 2016? In 2012, with Romney, I believe Christian leaders operated outside of their spiritual gifting, trying to prognosticate, prophesying out their own hearts. In 2016, these prophetic words caught people totally off guard, getting us to think outside of the box. And they were confirmed by several leaders at the same time.
This is absurd. Once again, there are no rules in Dr. Michael Brown’s Imaginary Wonder Emporium. If you predict something that happens, charismaticism is true. If you predict something that doesn’t happen, it doesn’t disprove charismaticism. You were just doing it wrong. The hack healers Dr. Brown so often defends use a similar gag: If you didn’t get your healing, it’s because you didn’t have enough faith. It’s your fault, not the fault of the healer who couldn’t heal you. There are built-in fail-safes to charismaticism so it can never be liable for errors.
Dr. Brown is also being hypocritical. In an article he published on March 30, he rebuffed an unnamed critic of the charismatic movement for being unconvinced by prophecies made about Donald Trump becoming president: “If Trump was not elected, he told me, that would prove the prophecies were false. If Trump was elected, it would prove nothing, since either Trump or Hillary Clinton were going to win the election… So much for responding dispassionately to evidence.”
Yet what is Dr. Brown doing right here regarding his statements about Romney predictions? He wants to hold critics of charismaticism to a standard that he doesn’t have to follow. Double standards are twice as good as regular standards!
Pat Robertson, founder of the 700 Club, told Benny Hinn that God showed him Mitt Romney would become president. In fact, Robertson said, God showed him Mitt Romney would serve two terms as president. Where was Dr. Brown’s rebuke of Pat Robertson as a false prophet? Robertson is a sham and no one should ever give the 700 Club another dime. Yet Dr. Brown has been on the 700 Club several times since. Does he ever call out any of these false prophets?
The reality is that we are not living in Old Testament times, when every major divine action would be revealed in advance to the prophets (see Amos 3:7). We are living in New Testament times when the whole church is called to be prophetic (see Acts 2:17-21). In other words, as a people, we should understand the times. We should know how to live. And we should bring God’s message to the world. (See 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11.)
Again, Dr. Brown is making several references here, but he’s neither quoting Scripture nor walking the reader through the text. His reference to Amos 3:7 is quite funny. He’s saying here that’s not how God speaks through prophets today. Yet he put forward two prophets—Chuck Pierce (who also claims to be an apostle) and Tracy Cooke—who both qualified their “prophecies” by referencing Amos 3:7 (see the opening paragraph to this article). So which is it? Does Amos 3:7 apply anymore or doesn’t it? Again, what are the rules?
Acts 2:17-21 is a reference to a prophecy made in Joel 2:28-32. It’s fulfilled in the book of Acts. As I stated earlier, the regularity of the mirculous sign-gifts ceased at the end of the apostolic era. Of course, if Dr. Brown is going to continue to present guys like Chuck Pierce as a modern-day apostle, he doesn’t believe there’s actually a conclusion to the apostolic era. Therefore, Scripture isn’t closed, and any subjective vision is just as much God’s word as the Bible is. He may not admit that, but those are the practical implications of Dr. Brown’s hermeneutics.
What we read in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 is concerning the coming of the Day of the Lord. I absolutely believe we should bring this message to the world, and I have been for as long as I’ve been a pastor. But that’s not what Dr. Brown is defending. He’s defending the declaration of subjective visions and voices.
To be sure, there is still time to evaluate some of the words that have been spoken regarding COVID-19, including one which I referenced on March 30. According to this prophecy, the virus began in a Chinese lab and would be highly contagious. The word also stated that Democrats would use the virus to bring down Trump, but that on April 15 or 16 (coinciding with the end of Passover), we would enter the second phase of the pandemic. From that time on, the prophecy said, the virus would diminish. There was also a reference to a cure being found.
Well, on April 16, headlines announced that Trump was moving forward with plans to reopen the economy, starting May 1. The strategy was dubbed the “next front in our war.” There was also major news that stocks rose sharply after reports of a successful cure, developed by Gilead Sciences. (Note that the company gets its name from the “balm of Gilead,” mentioned in Jeremiah 8:22.)
There has also been much speculation that the virus did, in fact, begin in a Chinese lab. Even CNN reported that, “U.S. investigates possibility of Covid-19 spread originating in Chinese lab.” Again, time will tell whether this prophetic word was true or not.
Dr. Brown didn’t reference just one “prophecy” on March 30—he referenced two “prophets” (Pierce and Cooke). Pierce actually claims he predicted in September 2019 that the nations would come into turmoil until Passover (April 8-16), and he says that on January 26, he predicted a plague would afflict the world until Passover. That last one is pretty specific. Yet Dr. Brown acknowledges that no one saw this pandemic coming. Where’s the evidence that Pierce ever said such thing? Is Dr. Brown now dismissing that Pierce made this claim?
The second “prophecy” came from Tracy Cooke, and it’s weirder than the way Dr. Brown framed it. Here’s Cooke’s vision word-for-word, as he told it to Sid Roth on Supernatural (he rambles and mumbles a bit, and words I couldn’t understand I put in brackets):
“I saw the Lord [in] Honduras [and] I said, ‘Lord, what do you want me to tell your people as my responsibility?’ Because he’ll reveal nothing unless he reveals it to the prophets first. And I said, ‘Lord, there’s so much fear and panic, how can I see for the world, [and] just one of the prophets. There’s seven thousand more that ain’t bowed their knees to Baal.’ And the Lord gave me a two hour dream and showed me the corruption that’s in the government of China, the government that’s in the United States, [to guh] and, uh, so many, even about Russia and on and on and on. And the Lord took me in this scientific lab, and I saw them creating this virus, and they’re going to use it through vaccine to, um, to, um, uh try to stop life from living. And they gonna, uh, do it through the, uh, some type of machine, I saw in the dream, and it’s shooting into the air and then rubbing on people’s clothing, and it was just spreading. But the good news of it is, uh, we’re going to come to the first stage of this in April 15-16 during the Passover season, that the blood’s gonna be applied, and any time the blood was applied, the plague passed over. So the blood of Jesus, the blood of Yeshua, is gonna cause the [rammit] to come alive.”
Cooke’s “vision” of a virus being created in a lab is not unusual. Dr. James White, who is not a charismatic, said weeks before Cooke that the virus was created in a lab in Wuhan. Cooke’s reference to a cure (if that’s what you want to call it) is also not unusal. Several medical agencies have been working on treatments and vaccines for as long as we’ve known about the virus.
There’s even more to this prophetic vision. Cooke went on to explain to Roth that God showed him Donald Trump is definitely going to win the election in November—as long as he does certain things by a certain time (there’s always a fail-safe built into every prediction). He also said God showed him this was going to be “one of the worst decades ever.” That’s an odd claim, considering he said nothing of the sort when he was on Roth’s program in January.
In one guest appearance, Cooke said God revealed to him that Hillary Clinton was going to be Trump’s opposition for president in 2020. In another appearance, Cooke said that 2020 was going to be the year of “the suddenlies of God” and everything you’ve been praying for would be answered. He said:
“God is going to bring you to that place to your full potential. I see people are going to flow in business, entrepreneurship; I see people going into the markeplaces; God is going to use you prophetically. I see so many miracles and healings. This is going to be the year of the greatest healings, the greatest years of miracles, even created miracles. You are going to start seeing so many tremendous visitations.”
He concluded by saying, “By the end of 2020, you will see every prophecy, every dream of this hour, come to fruition.” There was nothing about God showing him it was going to be one of the worst decades ever. In fact, Cooke prophesied the opposite of that. More people have filed for unemployment than ever since the Great Depression. Many businesses have shut down. And yet Cooke claimed this was going to be the year the marketplaces would thrive!
The guy is clearly talking out of his rear-end. Even if I were to acknowledge that he got one right and he accurately predicted a “shift” in the COVID-19 pandemic by mid-April, all it proves is that a broken clock is right twice a day. That’s the level of accuracy you can expect from charismatic prophets. Yes, they get some things right sometimes—because they’re false prophets, not real ones.
Already, however, it’s clear that some of the other prophecies about the virus were inaccurate or simply false. And it’s clear that, with rare possible exception, contemporary prophets around the world did not receive advance warnings of the pandemic. But that’s not because they are all frauds (although I’m sure there are some frauds and charlatans out there).
Yes, they are all frauds. The COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has exposed the entire charismatic and pentecoastal movement as a fraud.
Nor is it because they are playing hit or miss. Rather, it’s because their primary calling is not to be prognosticators or predicters. And they are certainly not called to be the Christian equivalent of astrologers or horoscope readers.
That’s all every contemporary charismatic prophet has ever been. They are all the “Christian” equivalent of astrologers and horoscope readers.
Instead, they are primarily called to wake up a sleeping Church, to direct God’s people to Jesus and to holiness, and to bring words of comfort, healing, blessing, and warning. As the Scripture says, “For the essence of prophecy is to give a clear witness for Jesus” (Revelation 19:10, NLT).
To reiterate, Dr. Brown thinks he’s helping his movement, but he’s actually testifying that it’s full of false prophets and teachers. If they were truly hearing from God, they would be preaching the gospel, sound in doctrine, “a clear witness for Jesus.” But because Dr. Brown is acknowledging that they’re not doing that, then they cannot possibly be hearing a word from the Lord.
The miraculous sign-gifts—speaking in tongues, interpreting tongues, healing, prophecy—were never for the sake of doing miracles. They were to affirm the gospel. How do I know the Ken Copelands, the Benny Hinns, the Bill Johnsons, the Sid Roths, the Pat Robertsons, the Paula Whites, the Cindy Jacobs, and the Tracey Cookes of the world are all liars? There’s no gospel.
If contemporary prophets would focus on that, their ministries would flourish, many lives would be transformed, Jesus would be glorified, and reproach would be avoided.
If Dr. Brown would start naming names and calling these false prophets down, lives would be saved, Christ would be glorified, and reproach would be avoided.
But he won’t. As long as he continues running cover for these charlatans, he should be regarded as one of them.