Pressing Through Fanaticism & Critisism
This past New Year’s, our ministry co-hosted a conference in Smiths Station, Alabama with the hope and expectation of touching God’s heart for direction and insight for this year and the coming decade. We were not disappointed! Considerable revelation was granted involving one of the most meaningful seasons in modern times.
Last year the Lord spoke to me and indicated that I was entering the most important seven-year span of my life. It was as though everything I have been through in life was preparation for this season. If that is true for me, then I suspect it is also true for many you as well. Clearly, a simple examination of the political, economic and spiritual climate would support this position.
Furthermore, the Lord also made it apparent that circumstances are going to dictate the emergence of God’s people in maturity, power and authority. The escalation in spiritual darkness will reach such a pinnacle during this season that the only remedy or resolution will come from the Lord’s people. We must become what we are destined to be and activate our calling as both “priests and kings” to our God. This admonition is given from Revelations 5:9-10 saying:
And they sang a new song, saying: “You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals; for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.”
This passage highlights multiple spiritual dynamics that will be unfolding in the coming days:
- It is a new thing.
- It is the revealing of what has been concealed.
- It is to the nations.
- It involves the purchase of His blood and harvest.
- It facilitates the activation of His people as kings & priests.
Mysteries & Secrets
Foremost among these mandates is the Lord’s unleashing of mysteries and secrets of His Kingdom that have been reserved for the end-of-time generation. This paradigm is made clear in the book of Daniel. This notable prophet received one of the most profound revelations ever given to mankind. However, the angel that delivered the insight admonished Daniel to seal the book and conceal the revelation until the last days. (See Daniel 12)
This is a clear reference to the generation that will be on Earth immediately prior to the Lord’s return. It would require very little effort to prove that we are that generation. That being the case, we are to then expect considerable revelation to be granted involving God’s plans, purposes, and the unveiling of His Word in greater measures as the mysteries of those things previously concealed are now revealed.
The sealed book was unsealed by the Lord Jesus and its contents are to be conveyed to a body of people called the Bride of Christ. Once this revelation has been consumed by this company they will then appropriate their calling as priests and kings and facilitate the harvest. This biblical admonition is one of the primary mandates we as a ministry carry.
Exponential Increase in 2010
As a result, the Lord spoke to me this past New Year’s concerning the imminent fulfillment of this biblical promise that I believe will be exponentially increased in 2010. Interestingly, the Lord also highlighted two prevailing enemy spirits that will be dispatched this year and the years to follow, with the given assignment of hindering this call. They are fanaticism and criticism!
I saw these two spirits functioning like book ends coming from two diametrically opposing directions yet with the same determination to squelch the prophetic release of God’s Kingdom and hinder the harvest. The first was a dark wave of fanaticism that will sweep behind the Kingdom truths that are to be revealed with the expectation of pressing them beyond biblical parameters and proper balance.
The Fear of Fanaticism
Fanaticism is simply defined as “wildly excessive or irrational devotion, dedication, our enthusiasm; an extreme zeal or enthusiasm as in religion or politics.” Unfortunately, Church history is filled with more instances of spiritual fanaticism than we could possibly enumerate. Every revival in modern times had its fanatical element. Clearly, the prophetic movement has had its fair share of hype and fanaticism that has effectually driven many away from this vitally important aspect of our heritage. Even so, we must embrace the admonition of
1 Thessalonians 5:19-21 saying:
Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
The diabolical intent of this spirit is to drive things beyond biblical balance and sway people away from the core truth because of the fanatical element that the more grounded Christians desire to distance themselves from.
Of course, fanaticism must be defined within a certain context. I remember as a young college student in the late 70’s, that word got back to my father that I was born again and participating in an on-campus Presbyterian Fellowship. Naturally, the Presbyterian movement is not known for excessive spiritual manifestations yet my unsaved father called me into his office at that time and expressed his concern that I had become, to use his exact phrase, “a religious fanatic.”
This perception primarily stemmed from the fact that I was very zealous about the salvation I had come to discover and often prayed, read my Bible and attended Bible studies with other students. You can imagine his shock when I became a Holy Ghost “Book of Acts” preacher. Fortunately, he came around and accepted the Lord Jesus as his Redeemer shortly before his death in 2005.
The point is I do not believe that I would have genuinely fallen into the definition of a fanatic as I am seeing it today. The fanatical spirit will have a tendency to cause genuine Kingdom seekers to sway away from the truth in order to distance themselves from the fanatical element. That would be tragic!
History records this fascinating observation concerning Martin Luther. Although Luther made glaring mistakes involving Israel and the Jewish people, it remains a historical fact that God used him to launch a great Reformation for God’s people. Many historians marveled not at the fact that he was able to survive his direct assault against the religious organizational structure of the day that possessed great political power to eradicate its enemies, but that he was able to keep his head above all the fanaticism that followed his movement.
My experience revealed the tendency of many saints to turn away from vitally important truth that is to be unveiled today because of various fanatical elements that will attempt to attach themselves to that truth. We must be like the Bereans and study the Scriptures to see if these things be so. If indeed it is supported by the Word of God and the Holy Spirit then we must embrace the balanced truth in order to become what we are called to be, despite the fanatical element.
The Spirit of Criticism
The other spirit that I saw coming from the opposite direction was criticism. Criticism is defined as “the act or instance of making an unfavorable or severe judgment, comment, analysis or interpretation of one’s theory, doctrine or life.” From what I saw, this season will produce even more harsh critical religious opposition to Kingdom truth with the hope of deterring the emerging army. Like fanaticism, history is littered with countless examples of unwavering criticism against spiritual outpourings and movements. This was clearly seen in the Azusa Street Revival, the Latter Rain Revival, the Charismatic Renewal and so on.
In my experience, I was personally told that the one that I must be the most cautious of is fanaticism, although I am to also be aware of the critical spirit. As an individual, I would be more prone to distance myself from the fanatical element than to give in to criticism. Even so, we must develop fortitude like the early apostles to forge this new day and present to God’s people revelatory truth that has been reserved for our day.
We are literally living in the day foreseen by Jeremiah when he said:
Call to Me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things, fenced in and hidden, which you do not know (do not distinguish and recognize, have knowledge of and understand). –Jeremiah 33:3 AMP
Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that much of this truth extends beyond traditional belief structures and into the realm of revelation. The Word of God is to be revealed in this hour on a scale never before seen in Church history. That is the prophetic directive of Daniel 12 and Revelations 10! It will expedite the emergence of God’s people in great power and facilitate the harvest. This prophetic promise will be realized despite spiritual opposition including fanaticism & criticism.