The Christian internet is ablaze with many prophetic utterances about the coming election, and just who has God’s anointing for this election. Be careful, prophecy can be confused and distorted by our sub-conscious yearnings or deeply held assumptions.
As a historian let me give a case study of this that happened during the beginning of the Charismatic Revival of the 1970s. It was a prophetic utterance given by David Wilkerson (1931-2011) one of the great figures of that revival. Wilkerson authored the seminal book, the Cross and the Switchblade, which inspired many in the mainline churches to believe in the gifts of the Holy Spirit at a time when that was only a “crazy” Pentecostal thing. He went on to found Teen Challenge which did terrific work among addicted inner city kids.
This work is wonderful and still worth reading. It can be gotten HERE
Wilkerson was brought up in a rural Pennsylvania Appalachian town in a fundamentalist and Pentecostal environment. Among other things he learned from his pastors and neighbors was that the Catholic Church was the “hoar of Babylon” of the Bible and the Pope an anti-Christ, etc.
To his surprise, and to many other Pentecostals, the Charismatic Renewal broke out among Episcopalians (1960) who looked and smelled (incense and all) like Catholics, and even believed in many Catholic doctrines, like a “real presence” in Holy Communion. And then (oh no!) the Holy Spirit moved and began a revival among Catholics (1967) and thousands and thousands of Catholics were baptized in the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues, etc. Most disconcerting to Wilkerson and many other Pentecostals, they did not leave the Catholic Church, but in fact became more devote Catholics. Something must be wrong somewhere.
In 1973, Wilkerson spoke at a large inter-denominational charismatic gathering where there were many Catholics. There he issued a strong and lengthy prophecy. It warned of the wrath of God on Ameica, disguised by several years of great prosperity. (He missed the recession of 1974 – or maybe the Holy Spirit did not know it was coming.) Most importantly, he prophesied that Catholic Bishops and the Pope would clamp down on the Catholic charismatics and force them out of the Catholic Church. They would have to go to Pentecostal churches. This prophecy was published as a paperback book, The Vision (1974) and can still be had at online used book stores.
None of the things he prophesied happened. I believe that Ol’Scratch was using him and his authority, via his sub-conscious yearnings, suspicions and assumptions, to sow confusion into growing Catholic charismatic renewal. That renewal in fact had another decade of great growth. Neither the Bishops nor the Pope ever tried to stop it. In fact, several popes strongly affirmed the renewal. The Catholic Charismatic renewal petered out in the U.S after the 1980s for reasons that are unclear, but it is still going strong in the 3rd World, particularly Brazil and Africa.
So now to this moment in America. Be very wary of prophetic utterances that Trump is God’s man and like Cyrus of the Bible will “rebuild the Temple,” etc. We Christians lost the Culture War and have many unfulfilled longings for a righteous and revived America. But that make us all the more susceptible to prophecies that promise a quick reversal of it all.
In my earlier posting I suggested that it is possible for the Holy Spirit to work revival in America under a Clinton administration as under a Trump administration. In the election of 1800 Thomas Jefferson, a Deist, was elected to the horror of orthodox Christians. They thought the terrors of the French Revolution would soon come to America. That did not happen, and in fact the Second Great Awakening flowered under the Jefferson administration without him even knowing about it. See this HERE
The noted Pentecostal scholar Dr. Jon Ruthven wrote a very positive review of my latest book, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal. You can access it HERE.
The book may be purchased on Amazon, either print or inexpensive Kindle HERE You can purchase the print version at a discount from the publisher HERE
My wife has written a funny and inspiring story of how she transited from a cessionist and Baptist to a Spirit-filled Believer. The book has many stories of our three decades of ministry together. It may be purchased HERE.