In 1988, after attending a leadership meeting where visiting prophets ministered to those in attendance, I returned home sensing something was wrong. Something was missing. Many of the words were quite accurate, that was true. But every single word was overwhelmingly positive, and virtually every leader was going to have a mega church in the future. A few were also going to raise the dead!
And under no circumstances did any of the visiting prophets feel the need to step away from the mic, take one of the pastors aside, and minister to him in private. Instead, men whom we knew were struggling seriously and hardly fit to be in the ministry received wonderful, glorious words.
Not long after that meeting, I felt the Lord speak a powerful word to me about prophetic ministry:
“I want prophets,” says the Lord, “who will know My heart and not just My voice, My ways and not just My words, My pain and not just My power. I want,” says the Lord, “prophets.”
“But where are the Elijahs of God?” says the God of Elijah; “where are My men? Where are the intercessors who hear and speak?” says the Lord, “the prophets who moan and weep? Everybody is running,” says the Lord, “everybody is running—but I have not sent them all. Everybody has a message,” says the Lord, “everybody has their pet. But I have a burden,” says the Lord, “and I have a word. And My word pulls down powers of darkness, and My word consumes; My word is full of My life, and My word heals. MY Word,” says the Lord.
“For there are prophets and there are prophets,” says the Lord, “and I called men prophets in My Word who were not even prophets at all. [For those who bring oracles in My name are called prophets.] Now if these men who were not even prophets were called prophets, don’t let it disturb you if I call men prophets today who are only partially prophets.”
Now, 30 years later, Jeremiah Johnson has written a sharp, clear, brokenhearted, God-loving exposition of these very same words. How my own heart resonates with his writing! And Jeremiah has done it with accuracy, addressing many problems within the contemporary prophetic movement while pointing to Word-based solutions. And in all that he writes, he is jealous for the well-being of the local church.
Throughout his new book, entitled Cleansing and Igniting the Prophetic, Jeremiah is constantly calling us back to the Word, constantly turning our attention to Jesus, constantly urging us to submit to God’s standards, constantly showing that the Word and the Spirit and the character of Christ must always be in harmony and that humility and the fear of the Lord are even more important than the anointing. And throughout this book, he reminds that the message of repentance is foundational for all true prophetic ministry. How did we ever forget this?
Like Jeremiah, I too believe that God is preparing to do something amazing and far greater than anything we have witnessed so far. But that means that we must set our own houses in order. And since prophetic ministry is very powerful, not to mention very precious in the Lord’s eyes, it is essential that we address abuses and problems in our movement.
As you read the pages that follow, I believe your own heart will burn with holy jealousy, as does Jeremiah’s, and I believe you will lose any taste for hyper-grace prophets or manipulative prophets or mercenary prophets or prideful prophets. Instead, you’ll look for those who come out of the secret place with a message from the throne of God. Oh, that the Lord might raise up such a mighty company in our day!
May the word on fire burn afresh in your own heart and life as you read this vitally important book. And, although Jeremiah is still a young man, I couldn’t think of a better person to write these words. He lives what he preaches and preaches what he lives. And he ends with a vision of great hope for the future. I affirm that vision with him.
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