In these last days, it is more important that ever.
The very first generation of Christians were already being corrupted from the simplicity of Christ, and the apostle Paul wrote to them (and to us) about it. He feared they were turning to another gospel which presented another Jesus.
Well, hold onto your hats folks, because Christians today are defecting from the simplicity of Christ at lightning speed, and in droves. And true to form, when this begins to happen, the first things to go are biblical faith concerning the rapture and the second coming of Christ, and interest in the subject of Bible Prophecy in general.
It is reported that Mike Bickle, contemplative prayer proponent and one of the Kansas City Prophets, teaches that although he believes there is a rapture of the church, he believes that it happens over a period of time, in an extended process, rather than the sudden event described in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (http://www.midnightcry.net/Prophets.htm [page now removed]).
Whether a Christian believes in a pre, mid or post tribulational rapture, Bickle's teaching on the subject is a deviation from any school of thought concerning the event, and his view can not be substantiated in scripture.
This writer was personally present when a Pensacola, Florida pastor insulted the traditional Bible-believers sitting in his congregation by telling them that their eschatology was getting in the way of their faith.
What a blatant admission that a solid understanding of Bible Prophecy is good protection against the deception being foisted on Christians by those involved in today's contemplative and/or false prophetic, "Present Truth," ministries. It is interesting to note that Christians who embrace contemplative spirituality which centers around contemplative prayer, a Christianized--unscriptural form of eastern meditation, do not necessarily move into the Prophetic Movement. But those who become involved in The false Prophetic Movement all seem to eventually embrace the contemplative.
A common denominator in both movements, in addition to exhibiting extreme ecumenism, is a major paradigm shift from depending on the written Word of God in determining truth, to embracing an experiential spirituality--deciding that what feels right must be truth--in spite of the fact that the Bible clearly says there is a way that seems right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death (Proverbs 14:12).
Add to these major shifts, a rejection of traditional, literal, belief in what the Bible teaches concerning the rapture of the Church and the second coming of Christ, and what we end up with are professing Christians that in many cases exhibit a generalized lack of interest in the subject Bible Prophecy altogether--other than to ridicule those who do take it seriously.
Rick Joyner, a leader in the Prophetic Movement, wrote in his book, The Harvest (1987), that although he had plenty of scripture to back up what he was writing, he was not going to use very much in his book. He said he did this because he wanted the reader to "commune with the spirit for confirmation" of the truth of what he had written--not just read a bunch of "facts."
He undermined the written Word of God--the Bible, by reducing it to just "a bunch of facts." He elevated subjective spiritual experiences above the factual truth of the Bible. In his writing, Joyner affirms the importance to our over-all faith of having a correct understanding of Bible prophecy, then proceeded to ridicule the doctrine of the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) by calling it a ruse of the enemy designed to implant a retreat mentality (Rick Joyner, THE HARVEST 1989 /1990 revised booklet on pg.121).
He does this because the basic premise of what he teaches is based primarily on Dominion Theology, which corrupts and spiritualizes Bible teaching concerning:
- The rapture of the Church
- The future Kingdom of Christ
- And the part God's people will play in the ruler-ship of that future kingdom
In his efforts to undermine the acquisition of sound doctrine concerning Biblical prophecy, Joyner writes that God is not interested in "impressing us with his ability to foretell the future." That statement is diabolically opposed to the what is written in the bible, where God tells us it is exactly that ability, that we can look to and depend on, for proof that our God is indeed the only true God, and that his written Word is indeed the only "standard" by which we can measure what, and what is not... Truth (Isaiah 48:3-5).