Amazing things have been said about the new U.S. president
Does your local church fellowship have prophets to guide you? Christians generally divide into two camps on this. Charismatics and Pentecostals affirm the gift of prophecy for today. After all, "Surely the Sovereign Lord does nothing without revealing his plan to his servants the prophets" (Amos 4:7), and the Church is "built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets" (Ephesians 4:11).
Most other Christians believe prophecy and other "sign" gifts such as miracles and speaking in tongues stopped when the canon of Scripture was complete. The favourite verse for this cessationist view is 1 Corinthians 13:4, "For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears."
One way to measure your theological pulse on charismatic prophecy is to study the recent election of Donald Trump as U.S. president. Consider these claims from contemporary prophetic figures:
- Lana Vawser of Australia reports being caught up to the throne room of heaven this past summer. She was with Jesus when He said for someone else to enter. Jesus placed a crown on the person and said, "During your presidential season I will make you like King David, a man after my own heart." That person was Donald Trump.
- A prophetess at the International Church of Las Vegas told Donald Trump on Oct. 30, 2016 God was saying of him, "This is my son with whom I am well pleased." (No, this is not meant to say Trump is on the same level as Jesus, but simply that he is a favoured child of God.)
- Lance Wallnau of Keller, Texas, was one of several who warned before the election that people were not to touch Trump since he is the Lord’s Anointed.
- Many prophets, including Apostle Peter Wagner, announced through 2016 that Trump is a Cyrus-like figure (Isaiah 45) and divine wrecking ball chosen by God despite his moral failures and character flaws.
- Kat Kerr prophesied in 2016: "The Devil is terrified. God Himself has told me Trump will sit in the White House. God likes him. God is voting this time. Get on God’s train – the Trump train."
Some prophets announced words from God about Trump long before he ran for the Republican nomination. Bill Yount argued Trump’s 2005 wedding to Melania was a prophetic sign for the church. Kim Clement (recently deceased) prophesied in 2007 Trump would be president. Mark Taylor, a retired firefighter turned prophet, prophesied in 2011 Trump would win the White House.
Does any of this prove God is speaking through such prophets today? Even for those who say an enthusiastic yes, here are five cautions.
1. Dig deep because prophecy advocates often skirt over serious problems. Kim Clement’s 2007 prophecy for example sounds like things were foretold for 2008–2009, not for 2016. In a similar vein Taylor has admitted he thought his 2011 prophecy was for 2012.
2. Don’t forget gifts can be abused. John Wimber, the famous Vineyard leader, told me in an interview that adopting the Kansas City prophets (Paul Cain, Bob Jones and others) into his movement was the biggest mistake of his ministry. Think of the debacle with Canadian prophet Todd Bentley in the 2008 Florida Outpouring, a tale of adultery, inflated miracles and bizarre behaviour.
3. Realize the prophets of today often contradict one another and sometimes blunder badly in predictions. On the former, yes, some prophets (T.B. Joshua of Nigeria, for example) predicted Hillary Clinton would be the victor. On the latter, Paul Cain prophesied that John Wimber was the end-time prophet. He also prophesied inaccurately that terrorists had poisoned the water system of Los Angeles.
4. Resist emphases in modern prophecy that are dangerous, such as anti-intellectual stances and minimizing the importance of Scripture. Prophet Patricia King, a Canadian native, is correct when she warns, "If a person lives outside the perimeters of the Word, danger lurks." For a careful probing of weaknesses in the prophetic world, consult Keith Gibson’s Wandering Stars (Solid Ground, 2011).
5. Watch current prophecies for future accuracy. Hank Kunneman says North and South Korea will be reunited and there will be a major Christian awakening in Israel. Kat Kerr has prophesied Trump will serve two full terms and then Vice-President Pence will become president and also serve two full terms. Mark Taylor prophesies Trump will elect five Supreme Court justices during his presidency and three current ones will resign due to scandal.
On all prophecies – and in every area of life – let’s be Christians who "test the spirits" (1 John 4:1).
James A. Beverley is professor of Christian thought and ethics at Tyndale Seminary in Toronto. He offers a resource guide at www.TrumpAndProphecy.com. Read more of his columns at www.FaithToday.ca/ReligionWatch.