God In The Fissures


I’m going to kick this blog off with a question:  If the Israelites in the Old Testament would have decided that warring and violence wasn’t the answer to their problems, and that they were going to approach their enemies with love and passive resistance, how do you think God would have responded?

This past weekend, I went to a church to see a 20-year-old prophet named Manasseh Jordan.  This guy has been gaining some huge momentum in his ministry and apparently he draws some pretty big crowds.  It was kinda cool that he was coming to a small church in the tiny town of Glen Carbon, IL.  Now, I’ve probably already made half of you readers tense up as blogging about modern day prophets is one topic guaranteed to get people defensive and offended.  Don’t worry, this is not what this blog really is about.

If you’ve never seen one of these prophets or don’t know what they’re all about, I’ll give a quick synopsis.  Basically, they spend a lot of the service calling out people whom they’ve never met, and they’ll tell people things that God wants them to hear.  Usually the prophecies are all positive and encouraging.    For instance, if I lost my job and I was really torn up about it, and a prophet tells me, “God says to not worry.  A new job is coming soon and it will be better than your old one.”  This would be a good prophecy.  Now, no matter what you believe about modern day prophets, if you were there, you couldn’t deny the fact that this guy was scary accurate.  He was telling people things down to the tiniest detail that would have been virtually impossible for him to know otherwise.

But things got ugly for a brief moment.  The prophet transitioned to a time to take the offering, but it wasn’t the typical method where ushers pass around offering plates while some bad singer performs a song off a soundtrack.  The prophet had a different method that apparently, at least for one indignant man, didn’t sit well in the stomach.

Without going into too much detail, the prophet was saying things like, “God wants you to sew into this ministry by giving a seed of $1,000.”  If people in the congregation raised their hand and agreed to the amount, he would typically prophecy over them.  There were even a few people that he pre-emptively went over to and said, “God wants you to give $1,000 because…” and then would tell them something good.

On this particular night, the prophet said that there were 5 people in the audience that God wants them to give double; a $2,000 offering because God wanted to doubly bless them.  Four people raised their hand and the prophet prayed over each of them.  When the fifth person raised his hand, the prophet went over to him and that’s when things got ugly.

The man stood up, and tried to give the prophet a few (I think they were) twenty-dollar bills.  The prophet said, “Put that away, I want to pray for you”.

The man shoved the bills into the inside of the prophet’s suit and said, “This is my birthday money.  Take it.  I’m tired of you making my father’s house a den of thieves.”  And then we walked out.

Quiet gasps could be heard all over the sanctuary after the shock of what had just happened.  Sure, people disagree in churches all the time, but I’ve never seen someone express their disdain in such a publically confrontational and aggressive way like this before.

After the service, conversations all over the church were buzzing with what had happened.  I got to listen to several of these conversations.  Not that these words were actually spoken, but it seemed like a lot of people believed the man who had the outburst was deceived or not of God.  A few had looks on their faces like they thought this man was sent by the Devil himself to ruin the prophet’s ministry.  Even the prophet mentioned something about the enemy hindering the work of God and how it “attracts attack.”

The man who had the outburst didn’t stick around for an interview but judging by the look on his face, I’m guessing that he thought Manasseh Jordan was a false prophet and the audience was deceived.  He clearly didn’t think this prophet was of God.

This blog isn’t really about methods of taking offering, although this was a good example.  This blog is about the fact that in this example, we have two sides who are convinced that their belief is of God, while the other belief is sin.

And we see these fissures all over Christianity.

Now, I don’t want to just single out Christianity, because there’s differing opinion, facts, interpretations in just about everything.  Antimony is everywhere.  Even in science, where some have turned it into a religion of stability and pure objective truths are failing to see its fissures.

And differing beliefs aren’t really a bad thing.  But sometimes, when we defend our beliefs in the name of God, differences get defined as things like heresy, deception and sin.  And yes, I fully believe that heresy, deception and sin do exist.  But when two sides of a much smaller subject are calling each other heretics, and they both have scripture to back up their beliefs, is one side god-fully right and the other side sinfully wrong?

Let me explain it this way and use the example of the offering.  In regards to the man who had the outburst towards the prophet, his way of expressing his objection was wrong, but I can’t help siding with him in what he believes.  I just don’t feel that encouraging people to give money by telling them they’ll be blessed is appropriate and biblical.  It makes people give for the wrong reasons.  We, as Christians should take Christ’s example and sacrificially give because it is our duty as children of God and as ambassadors to his kingdom.  I feel like I have slightly more resolve than the average person and even I was tempted to reach for my checkbook; but not because I wanted to give, but because I wanted to receive a blessing.  I’m not saying that this is for everyone, but for me, I would have been doing wrong if I would have given to that prophet’s ministry.  Again, one man’s conviction is not universally shared and I’m sure there were many people who legitimately felt God calling them to donate to the prophet’s ministry.  But for me, it wouldn’t have been offering, it would have been gambling.

I WANT TO MAKE IT VERY CLEAR that I am, in no way, condemning anyone who gave an offering to that prophet’s ministry.  You may not see it the same way I do or God legitimately told you to give an offering.  Besides, God gives us all different convictions sometimes.  Some people are okay with drinking beer while others are convicted when eating meat.  God gives the freedom for both but sometimes he prevents these things for individuals in their own personal romance with God.

But should a prophet, who stays in Ritz-Carlton hotels and wears super expensive clothes; should he be peddling offering money in exchange for prophetic blessings?  My opinion is…no way, Jose!  I believe it’s wrong, wrong, wrongiddy wrong!

So is this prophet a heretic?  Is he a false prophet?   My opinion is…no way, Jose!  Opinions that he is a heretic are wrong, wrong, wrongiddy wrong!

So is this prophet a true man of God?  Does God speak through his “offering prophecies?” Will the people who received an “offering prophecy” get what they were promised?  My opinion is…yes, yes, yeppity, yes!

Wait, didn’t I just say the peddling was wrong and yet God still works through it?  Yes, I did.  And here’s where it gets tricky.

First, we have to realize, that no one, be he a pastor, prophet, or the pope himself does his ministry to the perfect will of God.  Even a prophet who hears from God as much as this guy does is not infallible.  He may be a fantastic prophet, but that doesn’t necessarily make him a fantastic teacher, apostle, pastor or evangelist.  This idea concerning the five-fold ministry in Ephesians 4 is to the credit of my beautiful wife, Sarah.  She said, “We live in a society where we want to be everything.  We can’t be everything!  We just can’t be a pastor AND a prophet AND an evangelist AND an apostle AND a teacher.”   Just because one is a fantastic prophet doesn’t mean he’s fantastic at everything else.

Second, we have to understand that being wrong simply does not negate us from God’s work.  God is not afraid of wrong.  He does not shy away from wrong. God doesn’t just stop using us whenever we get it wrong.  If he did, God wouldn’t use anyone!  The Bible is full of people who did really dumb things, and yet, God still worked some good in them.

The following is merely my theory; a fledgling thought that has been brewing up trouble in my head.  It is un-polished, un-researched and lacks enough solid backing to be labeled “my firm opinion”.  But it’s mine and it’s currently how I feel and it helps me reconcile some things.  Not only does God still use us while allowing use to my bad choices, he will sometimes work through the bad choices to ultimately bring good!  When the Israelites wanted a king, God advised against it.   The Israelites went through some pretty hard times because of the decision, but God allowed it and eventually worked it out for his glory.  That’s why when I asked the hypothetical question about the Israelites deciding not go to war with their enemies, I believe God would have honored that decision.  In fact, I believe that all the violence in the Old Testament wasn’t God’s perfect plan and intent.  But God still worked through his people’s bad decision.

This belief does not negate God’s sovereignty.  I believe it enhances it and shows just how good God is.  He allows the free will of our decisions, but he’s not going to completely deny us his goodness whenever we get it wrong.  He’s too good to let our finite and wisdom-less choices affect his ultimate plan of glory.   Now, in the case of the prophet, I think God would bless his ministry more should he be more humble with his finances and offering methods.  But that doesn’t mean that God isn’t going to work through it, because God is working through it.  God is still blessing his ministry and blessing those who give to it and teaching them some practical and radical faith.

Does this mean we can blindly believe whatever makes us feel good?  Absolutely not!  It is imperative that we keep praying, keep searching scriptures and keep trying to understand God so one day we can get it right.  But God is an unfathomable mystery.  And 2,000 years of trying to crack that mystery with our finite and limited minds, we still have only scratched the surface and we still get it wrong sometimes.  God understands this!  The important part is that we’re honestly seeking him and exhibiting his love as best as we can.

There are a slew of ministers out there that I completely disagree with on issues and that generally irritate me to the core.  But if their heart is fixed towards reaching people for God, then they are my family, my fellow soldier in the foxhole, my co-heir in Christ.  I can disagree with their methods, but I can’t demonize their souls.  They are sharing in the same mission of Christ.

It has long been my conviction and my dream that denominations and differing beliefs should come together and celebrate each other.  How much better would the good news of Jesus be spread if we were all united?  The fissures will always exist, but we should know that God is in them and he is ultimately in control.

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Comments on: "God In The Fissures" (15)

  1. This was written well and probably does help resolve some questions in certain people’s mind. I absolutely agree that Prophet Manasseh Jordan is a man of God and a True Prophet. He is young, but when he speaks, seems to be very old. Yes, God has blessed him immensely with an extreme prophetic gift and He has prospered him. I’m glad God takes care of his own. I have also been in services held by people that had prophetic ministries and I could not give to their ministry. God uses us at different times for different people. Bottom-line is that we have to be led by God.

    Since I was in all of the services let me make a few corrections. The prophet ministered to a lot of people that did not give anything. I know because I know the people and they didn’t give. Some didn’t because they couldn’t some just didn’t, but they were still ministered to. He also didn’t prophecy over every person that gave, however, he did to most, but deffinitly not all.

    I have never seen a person with a prophetic ministry that was so accurate. Wow, now here is my story. Friday morning, which was the first day of the service, I honestly had my doubts about this very young man. I tried to squash my troubled thoughts, but they still nagged at the back of my brain. One young man in our church had also expressed his doubting mind to me, which didn’t help my own state of mind. But since seeking God is what I do, that’s what I did. On my way home from work God started instructing me to give to this very young prophet. Sight unseen, I was getting instructions. God reminded me of the little boy with the loaves and fishes. He clearly spoke to me about what I have in my hand if I lose it he will use it. (words to a song). I walked in the house singing the song. I didn’t know what I was suppose to give, but I knew I had to. That night, with his very unusual method of taking an offering and teaching people how to receive from God he called for a few people that had 5,000 to give. I almost died when God said, that’s you. You see that’s the money I had put away to pay my taxes, so it wasn’t extra. When God speaks to me I know, that I know, that I know it’s Him. I’m very familiar with His voice and can’t mistake His for another. Yes, I was the first to raise my hand. I didn’t raise my hand for a prophesy. It never entered my mind. I didn’t expect an incredible blessing. I was just being obedient. I’ll leave out some of the details of the prophecy because nobody would believe them anyway, but I do. First of all he verified what I pray for all the time and that is a covering over our family. The funny thing is God showed him a vision of a bunch of kids surrounding us. He even laughed and said all these kids can’t be yours, who are they? This was Friday night and our kids weren’t there. Then he said that a disease was trying to overtake me, but God was stopping it. He didn’t know I was going to have a biopsy on Monday. Then he told us something amazing. After the amazing revelation, which was very hard to grasp he followed up with you have three homes and your trying to sell two. Don’t worry they will sell. Then he said, “your bulding a custom home, he described the counter and said that we had been discussing stools.” Wow, God cares so much about us he told us something about stools. This was God letting me know that the Amazing thing was real.

    I watched this young man, a prophet of God say things over people that only God knew. I did hear him give a couple of conditional warnings to a couple of people. That was done with extreme kindness and love.

    So do I agree with your explanation of how God uses us despite us, Yes. I don’t know if God wants him to use a different method for taking an offering. I probably wouldn’t use that method, but…..if he’s wrong I’m sure God will let him know eventually.

    PS When the AMAZING thing happens, and it will, you will be one of the first to know and also benefit.

    • joshuasphilosophy said:

      Mom – WOW! That was a fan-tast-ic response! You’re right about the prophet giving words to people who didn’t give offering. I would even say that the majority of people he prophesied for was well before he took an offering. I didn’t mean to imply that the only time he prophesied was during the offering, but I can see how someone might take it that way. I’ll do some editing.

      Perhaps the whole offering thing isn’t un-biblical as much as it is a-biblical, meaning God didn’t say, “Thou shalt not give offering this way!” From a logical Christian perspective, it does seem problematic, but again, perhaps it’s as easy as God wanting to bless his people with with the only requirement of a little bit of faith. Then again, maybe not.

      The point is there is going to be people on both sides who feel so strongly about their stance and will be able to use scripture to back up their claim. We need to start getting along, even when things don’t sit well with us.

      And when God crazy blesses you, you better pay off my college, amongst other things 🙂

    • Felipe Ramos said:

      Like your story

    • Hi Cindy,

      I have a question for you: What is a false prophet?

      Thanks,
      Bud Press

  2. I’m a prohet too. I will prohesy over you right now Josh and you don’t need to send me a dime.

    Take care of the widows and orphans; love your neighbors; share what the Lord has done for you, and you will be God’s hand in the lives of many.

    If you have a thousand dollars that is not needed to provide for your family’s needs, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, give a bible to someone who needs it, and God will call you faithful in the end, where you will recieve a blessing that cannot perish.

    • Yes Scott, That is new testament perfect religion. Why do folks want to stay under Old Testament law when a believer can walk in the liberty of the New Testament. Jesus is the new covanent, let’s abide in Him. If you choose to walk in the Old Testament Laws then you must follow all of them, that is what the Word say.
      The Lord has walked among the dead and sees them. He will raise them from the ashes.

      • joshuasphilosophy said:

        I’ve resigned to the fact that people are going to discuss prophets instead of what the post of really about – so I may as well join the conversation.

        Kris – I wanted to add on to what you said because you are right on. In the Old Testament, people found God’s will or their marching orders by visiting a seer, reading stars, casting lots, putting out fleeces, etc. Now, we have the Holy Spirit! And the last time we see in the Bible one of these methods being used was when the disciples cast lots for Matthias.

        But here’s the rub. I believe that God is still using prophets and prophecy. And that’s cool and all but I believe people are putting way too much stock into it. Prophecy, in my opinion, is great whenever God wants to tell you something so awesome that he needs to confirm whatever is already in your heart with a prophet, but people rely too much on prophecy instead of seeking God themselves I believe are getting it wrong. I would rather search God’s heart and know his will through me getting closer to him, because that’s much more beneficial and impacting.

        Scott- I love your comment. It’s funny because about a year ago I read a book by some PhD theologian (can’t remember his name) who almost said that exact same thing you did. He said, “You want to know the will of God for your life?” and then he quoted the scripture you gave. Awesome.

      • Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19-21)

        Revelation 19:10 “At this I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Do not do it! I am a fellow servant with you and with your brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ ”

        Joshua, I also believe God still uses prophets and that prophecy is for all of the body. Prophecy reveals the plans, purposes and ways of God. It is unfortunate that some have fallen into the ways of the paranormal realm. When you squeeze a lemon, you get lemonade. When you squeeze a carrot, you get carrot juice. When you squeeze a person, you get what is inside of them, be it Jesus or something else. I pray that the focus for the body of Christ be on what the will of the Lord is for their lives, rather than what the Lord will give them in this material world. The Isrealites were always crying for God to give them rulers and kings. He did it because they were his people, and he loved them. In spite of man, God’s plans and purposes were still fulfilled in them.
        Thank you Joshua, I enjoy reading your site.

      • joshuasphilosophy said:

        Fantastic response Kris! I enjoyed your squeezing analogy. Oh, and if you wouldn’t mind, could you tell me how you found my site? It’s always exciting when people find my site outside of my Facebook peers.

  3. Hello,

    I read your post about Manasseh Jordan with great interest, and I believe you owe it to yourself to read this in-depth article about Manasseh and his father, E. Bernard Jordan at

    http://www.christianresearchservice.com/Manasseh_Jordan3.htm

    Should you or your readers have any comments or questions about the article, please feel free to contact me.

    Sincerely in Christ,
    Bud Press
    admin@christianresearchservice.com

    • joshuasphilosophy said:

      Mr Press!

      I am way ahead of you! I have been to your site several times and I am honored that you stumbled upon my fledgling blog site. Thank you for your link. I’ve scanned it but will definitely give it a thorough read. And I appreciate your openness; I am sure I’ll have some ideas and questions I’d like to bounce off of you.

      In all truthfulness, I lay more in your camp when it comes some of the prophets and the whole prosperity movement. Honestly, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a Todd Bently or Kim Clement service. But then on the other side, I was raised in a more charismatic environment and personally know many awesome men and women of God who are on the other end of the spectrum. So I see some good in both sides. Perhaps I shouldn’t written about Christian unity with the example of modern-day prophets. I took more of a neutral ground and I’m getting a little fire from both sides 🙂

      So the main point of my blog wasn’t necessarily what one believes, it was more how we can and should reconcile with each other, even when our beliefs cause a bit of antimony. But on the issue of prophets and what-not, I’ll admit, I’m not as researched as I’d like to be. I will definitely enjoy reading your website.

      Joshua

  4. Hi Joshua,

    I appreciate your kindness, and will be glad to listen to your ideas and answer any questions you may have.

    Bud

  5. Felipe Ramos said:

    I really enjoy to read this comment. I agree you.. God is mystery even I do not understand why Apostle Paul say God hate Esau! I sure Apostle Paul have a reason for mention it to churches in Rome. Odd, you and I are in same boat. my dream is destroy the barrier of denomination and work together for spreading out God’s love and bring God’s kingdom into the earth TOO.
    You share a story about prophet… I happy you bring it up about that true story. Your comment is very well thoughful.

  6. Wow! What an awesome blog, and the comments keep it going. Most of the things discussed go right along with the pondering questions that run through my head o so often. Why do prophets and evangelists put a set dollar amount on the offerings they claim God wants them to sow so He can bless them? Every time I hear someone, be it on TV or in a church, that makes the statement “God says he is going to bless 1000 people who sow $1000” or what ever the numbers end up being, I think imediately that they are a joke. This could very well tie into your arguement that even if they are going about it wrong, God will still bless the people that are sowing into the ministry. I think the stipulation there should be mentioned, though, that God will bless those that are sowing into good ground. People can not mindlessly send people money that they see on TBN, or whatever channel they watch thinking that the preacher said that they would be guaranteed a new house, car, or lottery win. God is not in the business of making us wealthy on this Earth. The Bible clearly says that it is more difficult for a rich man to get into Heaven, than it is for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. We are to store up our treasures in Heaven where they can not be eatten by moths or decay. This to me means that if you want to sow money into a ministry, do it in one that you know is using the money to spread the gospel to all of the nations. Not one that simply travels through the glorious USA and preaches possitive messages to spirit filled Christian churches and tells them what an abundant blessing God will give them to materialize their wealth while on this Earth.
    For all that are Christian today, we are to be living out the New Testament Commission. That is we are to go and spread the Good News. Jesus Christ died and rose again, and has sacraficed everything so that we may have eternal life with him. There really is no other message more important than this.
    The simple fact is this: in regards to prophets, religion, interpretation of scripture, New Testament vs. Old Testament, Free Will vs Pre Destination, etc. there will always be two sides to each arguement. And just as you stated in your original blog, each side will be sure that they are right, and the other is sinfully wrong. What both sides to all of the arguements listed above need to come to grips with is that the most important thing for Christians today to understand is that Jesus is our personal savior. I think that Christians as a whole focus too much in this day and age on material wealth and spend much too much time praying, tithing, and offering in hopes that God will bless them with financial things. The truth is God blesses us all each day that we wake up and take a breath and live another day so that we can continue to help the lost souls in this world find Jesus and save them from eternal damnation. It would be so wonderful if the churches in America today could spend more time focusing on this simple and wonderful Great Commision!

    • joshuasphilosophy said:

      Julia,

      What a well-thought out response! Thank you for taking the time to give us your thoughts and understanding mine. You hit the nail on the head.

      I haven’t posted anything new lately due to a new job, moving across country and soon to be having a new addition to my family. I’ll be posting some new content within next week or so. Hopefully we’ll see more of you around here!

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