Friday, February 15, 2013

book review--Growing in the Prophetic by Mike Bickle

one reason the prophetic is a joke

Assuming, at least for the moment, that the prophetic is still something for today (debatable), it would still be true that no small amount of what Bickle writes in this book is not just unhelpful, but damaging, and I've little doubt that it is one of the reasons that the prophetic has deservedly earned itself a bad name.

For example, take this statement, "The primary way that the Father will show us what He is doing is by speaking to us in the “still, small voice.” The Father will also give us whispers or hints of what He is about to do. The “divine hint” may come as a subtle prophetic impression on our mind." (Kindle Locations 3386-3389). He tries to tie this to the account of the prophet Elijah hearing a still, small voice while he was on the mountain, but what happened to the prophet is not what Bickle says he and others experience. Elijah heard a real voice, not some kind of vague internal 'voice' that's actually little more than a feeling that can be interpreted any number of ways.

I would dare say that few modern-day teachings has been the source of more confusion, mistakes, hesitancy, and just all-around goofiness than the stress so many put on trying to hear some kind of quiet, inner voice. The Bible teaches nothing about our need to hear such a thing.

Another example is how he waters down the biblical requirement that anyone who prophecies be 100% accurate. "The New Testament doesn’t require the same standard of its prophets who prophesy by faith and often from subtle impressions of the Holy Spirit. (Kindle Locations 1121-1123). He gives no place where that is stated in the New Testament, but simply tries to extrapolate it. "In the New Testament, Paul taught us specifically to “let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (1 Cor. 14:29, emphasis added). The Revised Standard Version translates the passage this way: “ . . . let the others weigh what is said.”" (Kindle Locations 1124-1126). But he does not explain how that means that prophetic accuracy is no longer required, or how it downplays the importance of accuracy, or for that matter what the church was to do to those who prophecied falsely.

And in the New Testament, we are not given any instances of someone prophecying something wrong. All of the prophets in the New Testament were just as accurate as those in the Old. If one is going to say that prophecy is still for today, then watering down the need and requirement for absolute accuracy is dangerous.

But to work around this, Bickle spend much of this book explain his rather convoluted measures for determining who can prophesy, what kinds of prophecies they can give when, who has what level of prophetic ability, how to handle it when prophecies are wrong, and so on. It makes one long for the blunt simplicity of the Old Testament--you'd better be right, or the consequences will be serious. In other words, you'd better be very sure it's God telling you to say this and that. If all you got is a vague inner feeling, you'd best keep your trap shut.

One serious warning sign about Bickle's teachings has to do with what he says about a false prophet and teacher of yesteryear, "However, Branham ended up preaching some doctrinal heresy, although never to the extent of denying Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior or doubting the authority of the Scriptures." (Kindle Locations 2244-2246). But the truth is, those are the very things Branham got very wrong. He was a modalist who even taught that "In the beginning He (Jesus) wasn't even God", and he taught that the Zodiac and the pyramids were equal to the Bible. Bickle is flat-out wrong in his statement about Branham.

All in all, this book is a theological mess.

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