Assessment of the Current Prophetic & Apostolic Community

Author’s Note:

My Nana once told me that no matter how far the pendulum swings in one direction, it eventually always swings back. I have found this to be wisdom.

I wrote the following paper about eight years ago, and shortly thereafter un-subscribed myself from all of the “prophetic and apostolic” web sites that I used to participate in. My disassociation from these groups was not a matter of not loving folks; it was a matter of folks not being able to receive correction – none, whatsoever – most especially if it was from God’s own word.

I got tired of striving to be understanding of the silliness and downright selfish attitudes that were coming across in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and I didn’t even want to read the silly titles in my inbox. The worst was just following the events of 9/11/2001 – the bandwagon was sure full those days, and though I was offline for two months while I was moving my house, when I came back online my email box was so stuffed full of nonsense that it took me hours to download and sort out the junk.

There is a limit to my patience when supposedly mature people are jockeying for position to see who will be the brightest “son” on the “ship.” Didn’t James and John already try that one?

Anyway, this paper seems more appropriate now than ever (though if I were to rewrite it I would probably be more blunt and direct now than I was then), and is my answer to the general trend I see worsening in the church – especially the internet church where there is no accountability and nearly anything goes. I hope it will be helpful.

It is time for us all to do some soul searching… and as to the “river” of deception that is capturing the heart of foolish people who cannot see that most of the motivation for this stuff is money, bookings, prestige and power. Concerning this “flood” or “overflowing” river of man-pleasing and pomposity, I am reminded of the following from Isaiah:

“So shall they fear the name of the Lord from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.”  Isaiah 59:19

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Assessment of the Current Prophetic/Apostolic Community

One of the problems I see in the prophetic community these days is the desire we have to be accepted and loved by all. We struggle and strive to make our doctrine, or our “appearance”, such that others we admire will accept us into their circle, and perhaps lend credence to our work.

For instance if I can get XYZ ministry to approve of me by the prophetic words I send out, then they might even endorse me and that will make my name spread far and wide. The inverse of this is if I am XYZ ministry and others are seeking my approval, and by seeking it they invest me with the power to affirm or deny them.

How is any of this motivated by the Holy Spirit? Yet we see it happening all of the time. What is the fruit? Is it not striving, gossip, backbiting, and slander or favoritism, blind acceptance, unwise allegiance and loyalty to man rather than to God? Let’s say I have a passion for evangelism, and you have a calling to teach. Should I downplay my gift of evangelism just to fit in with you? Should I downplay your effectiveness in teaching just to make my gift seem better? Or worse still, should I put down your ministry because it is in the minority? Should I discount you to others because you don’t evangelize like I do?

It sounds ridiculous but that is exactly what is happening in the apostolic/ prophetic community. We seem to cling to one extreme or the other. But neither one gives the preeminence to Christ (or we give it to this weird, exclusive amalgamation of Christ + XYZ ministry), and both focus on who we THINK we are. We forget that we are all parts of the same Body but we have diverse functions. So if everyone evangelized, who would teach those new converts?

And so on…

Doesn’t this attitude of selectivity boil down to man pleasing? How can we please Christ if we are worried about pleasing men? Yet, when we seek to use our God-given gifts to please men, we end up becoming false apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. And isn’t this the epitome of being lukewarm? If I truly believe something or have a passion for it, I am hot. If I am truly turned off, I am cold. Jesus said to the Laodicean church that He would rather that they were hot or cold. But the lukewarm He would vomit out of His mouth. Why?

The condition of being lukewarm comes from the adulteration of our passions/callings because we are afraid of man. Man-pleasing is a great cause of having a lukewarm condition.

All of us who have a prophetic calling have given a false word. We all have prophesied out of our flesh, or our own human spirit. It is so easy to do. From the best intention (I won’t even explore the worse ones here) we see something that we feel SURE God wants to have happen in a person’s life (or in the life of a church) and so we use logical deduction mixed with our own human compassion to put together a scenario that we think is coming from the Holy Spirit. We say it, we cross our fingers and hope for the best. Everyone loves it, even though it may contradict what they KNOW to be the truth. They love us because we have said what they wanted to hear, and suddenly we are in favor with man. It’s a warm, fuzzy feeling, and we aren’t so quick to want to change it. The more we fall into it, the deeper our sin becomes, and it is especially hard to confess our sins to the ones we have deceived!

It is a seductive trap. Too many fall in but don’t find their way out by mere accident. It takes acknowledgment of this “soothsaying” as SIN, it takes REPENTANCE, it takes submission to God and a desire to have our mouths clamped shut by the Spirit of God until we KNOW we are speaking the truth. Or don’t we realize that every idle word will be accounted for?

At this point, Jesus’ words to the Laodicean church are very apropos to the apostolic/ prophetic community:

Rev 3:14-22 14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write, ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 “So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 “Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’– and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked– 18 “I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 “To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. 22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”‘ ” (NKJ)

Jesus Christ is standing at the door and knocking. This is not to nonbelievers. This is to CHRISTIANS! This is to RELIGIOUS LEADERS, to people like US!

These words of Jesus Christ are to those of us who:

  • Have defined their little niche and are happy with the status quo.
  • Have made some sort of a name for ourselves (emphasis on “for ourselves”) and are enjoying the accolades and honor that come with the territory.
  • Are so stiff in our doctrine that there is no room for the LOVE of GOD.
  • Are slipping around on greasy grace so that we are not accountable to anyone in the Body of Christ (the Church Universal).
  • Think that holiness is equated with legalism so we don’t have to “go there.”
  • Think we have the right to do as we please because we are “gifted”, and we are “above” our brothers because we have a greater revelation.
  • Desire to build a mega-church.
  • Love to bring heavy condemnation to our brothers in order to keep them in bondage.
  • Think WE are the HEAD!

I weep inside my own heart because I know that I have been in this trap in a multitude of ways, and only humility, sorrow and repentance will cure our hearts of the desire to be FIRST. Yet, until we come to that place of seeing our true nakedness, we will keep on giving false prophecy and trying to garner the approval of man. When we truly die to our own desires, plans, goals, visions and let it all fall to the ground, THEN we will be content to be a doorkeeper in the house of the Lord with NO guarantee of a more “distinguished” ministry.

Apostles and prophets (or those with such gifting and calling) must stop applying the corporate financial world’s evaluation of success to our “ministries” and move on to the high calling of Jesus Christ. If we are going to do what HE did, we are going to lay down our lives, open our homes, our hearts, our dinner tables, our closets, our libraries and our pocket books (and not expect it to be the other way around) and we are going to tell the TRUTH! We are going to stop hiding our own past, downplaying or over-emphasizing certain points in an effort to gain acceptance, and we are going to get REAL with each other.

There is not a good thing I have ever done that will promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ unless it is Jesus Christ in me (the test will be IF people DO see Jesus in me, and not ME talking about JESUS!). There is not a bad thing I have done that will make my testimony any greater than the blood of Christ. If I lie about the magnitude of my sins, it is as bad as if I lie about the sinless-ness of my past. If I lie, I do not have the Kingdom of God within me, and I must repent of my efforts to either promote myself or promote Jesus with my exaggeration or minimizing.

If I am enjoying prophetic or apostolic “star-status,” I will also partake in snubbing others I deem to be less gifted than myself. I will judge according to an unrighteous judgment, and will miss the true visitation of the Holy One when He comes. If I think I have arrived, I will do my best to hold my position as “king of the hill” and I will subvert the work of others that I consider a threat to my position. If someone comes to me to test my words, I will shut them up with some sort of “spiritual word” that will make them unsure of their salvation. I will be un-teachable, uncorrectable, un-submitted and unloving. If someone gives a message that exposes me, I will do everything in my power (sphere of influence) to silence him or her.

We’ve all seen this done. Some of us have done it! But whether we admit it or not, it won’t stay hidden in the darkness forever. It will come to the light. God is nobody’s fool, and we will account for this spiritual kidnapping and murder. Yet, if we repent, if we understand that NONE of us will arrive without the others, then won’t it behoove us to reach out and help our brothers and sisters who are languishing in the ditch (that perhaps we helped put there by our false prophecies?) and begin sharing the true life of Christ with them?

In closing, let the Holy Scriptures reassure all of us that Christ gave the apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, and even though we have really made a lot of mistakes, we are still called.

Eph 4:11-16 11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head– Christ– 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (NKJ)

We must humble ourselves, repent, accept correction (by which we know we are children of God) and go on with new hearts and attitudes. There is much work to do, and He has chosen such vessels of clay to convey His Word and to do His works. But let us never forget that we are not only those He called and gifted, but we are also merely part of the Body that HE is the Head of, and we will not get “there” without everyone else. Let us love, share, work together and do our part so that we as the body will grow up as God has intended, edifying ourselves in love until that day we all come as the pure and spotless Church to be joined forever with our Lord Christ.

In love and humility I submit these words to you. I have been a victim of these abuses, and, worse yet, guilty of these same things, so I seek to help open eyes so that others may see their sin and repent.

Yours in Christ Jesus,

Pastora Covert

Dec. 2000

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