There’s one thing that makes me madder at God than anything else. It’s actually not when inexplicable tragedies happen or when people who prayed their hearts out lose their loved ones to diseases. Those things suck and are horrible. But what really threatens my faith more than anything is when well-meaning Christians who have devoted themselves to years of fasting and prayer end up making prophetic declarations that are monstrously at odds with the character of the God I have come to know. How does God allow people who have faithfully sought Him in prayer to get things so wrong? And if they aren’t getting it wrong, then why isn’t God showing me what He’s showing to them?
Over the past couple of days, I’ve encountered two preachers in the charismatic evangelical megachurch world who have some pretty scary convictions about how God is supposedly working in the world. Larry Huch, the pastor of New Beginnings church in Irving, Texas, declared last year that Rosh Hashanah, 2012 would start the year of the Lord’s government, adding the following:
This will begin what we call the end-time transfer of wealth. And that when these Gentiles begin to receive this blessing, they will never go back financially through the valley again. They will grow and grow and grow. It’s said this way: that God is looking at the church and everyone in it and deciding in the next three and a half years who will be his bankers. And the ones that say here I am Lord, you can trust me, we will become so blessed that we will usher in the coming of the messiah.
There is nothing Biblical about this nonsense! It’s incredible to me that God would allow a man like this to stand up in front of thousands of people and teach them on His behalf. In Ezekiel, it talks about the glory of the Lord leaving the temple in Jerusalem when it was desecrated. Do I have to conclude that everything the people of the New Beginnings church are experiencing is a complete demonic farce? Surely there are many people there who have genuinely been delivered from sin and have very real and legitimate walks of discipleship. But how does the Holy Spirit countenance this kind of Simon the sorcerer blasphemy by showing up in this man’s church and doing work there as though this teaching is perfectly acceptable?
Rick Joyner is a tougher case. I really think that his Morning Star ministry has done a lot of good for many people. But then he got on TV this week saying, “I believe our only hope is a military takeover.” I guess in this specific example, Joyner is not claiming to have a word from God or a teaching. It’s more a question of the irresponsibility of talking that way. And what’s with the sense of urgency in saying that “our republic can’t last much longer”? It’s hard for me not to see a beady-eyed lust for Armageddon underneath the hysteria of saying things like this. The far right Christians were eagerly sweating bullets a few months ago when it looked like the Japanese nuclear radiation leak might be the big thing that Y2K wasn’t. Why do they want the world to end so badly?
My theory is that our information age breeds a psychological need for something cataclysmic to happen. What’s unbearable is not President Obama’s “tyranny” but the tyranny of the utterly unheroic structure of our lives. It’s like the Matrix, except we don’t have the delusional happy world that we live in. We see all the hardware that has us plugged into the machine, and we see the aliens who are harvesting our life energy from us.
So where is the line that gets crossed when this becomes something serious? If we do ever have a fascist takeover in our country, the people who make the most sense to do it are those who are the most paranoid about a fascist takeover. I had to ban a wackadoo libertarian guy from my facebook page yesterday because of his profanity, but the scary thing for me was the way that he had no problem declaring that any form of taxation at all is theft, murder, and tyranny. If you come to believe that you’re literally facing thieves and murderers, at what point do you start a terrorist organization? People are so careless with their words because they think that words have no consequences. I just worry that we’re preparing our hearts for great wickedness when we parrot hyperbolic false accusations as the truth.
But back to the main point. How does God sit back and let Larry Huch, Rick Joyner, and others like them say these things on His behalf? When they’re praying, why doesn’t He reach out and sock them in the ears? He’s done that to me plenty of times. God’s rebukes are the most important part of my relationship with Him. Why does He refrain from rebuking men who are presumably really trying to love Him and have so much more power than I do and can cause so much damage to the body of Christ with that power?