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Donald Trump’s Presidency and False Prophecy

Wilkerson especially warned Catholic Charismatics to expect persecution from their own hierarchy, that they would eventually be forced to choose between their Catholicism and the Spirit-filled life. As a practical measure, he warned all Christian churches to put their financial houses in order so as to weather the coming hard times. Specifically, no new buildings or borrowing should be initiated in the immediate future. All through the delivery of this prophecy, Wilkerson provided ample biblical quotations to give it a sense of biblical validation.

That The Vision was a false prophecy is obvious. Was it merely a subconscious concoction of the beliefs, fears and prejudices of a small-town preacher raised in a tradition that believed the Catholic Church was the “whore of Babylon?” Certain elements in the prophecy suggest that they may have had a deeper, demonic influence. The very shrillness and lack of humility in his assertions was itself a sign of that. The prophecy did not call Christians to prayer or repentance, nor did it console, edify, or exhort; it frightened and condemned. There was not a single suggestion that might have been remotely useful, such as might have prepared Christians for the energy crisis of 1975 when Saudi Arabia stopped oil exports to the USA to protest our support of Israel.

It is the task of the church to judge prophecy, not the prophet.

Further, the only practical suggestions were destructive. The separation of Spirit-filled Christians into “one true Church” would have resulted in a new Montanism with results perhaps as destructive to the Church as the old Montanism. Even the minor point of financial conservatism had a source that was not from the Holy Spirit, for many churches in the 1970s did in fact continue to flourish and expand and to build in response to their growing needs. In my own city, Atlanta, several large charismatic churches arose, borrowed some money for construction, grew tremendously and repaid their debts.

That the Catholic Charismatic movement did not follow the deadly advice of The Vision was due in great part to the intelligent and quick response of other, more mature leaders. David du Plessis, the elder statesman of Pentecostalism, and who had seen first hand the birth of the Catholic Charismatic movement, quickly denounced the prophecy as not coming from God. He compared it with many a false prophecy he heard as a young man which claimed the coming world rule of Stalin and the Papacy.[20] Ralph Martin, one of the best-known and respected Catholic Charismatics quickly spread the warning of “false prophecy” among fellow Catholics. Indeed, as time has shown, Catholic Charismatics never suffered persecution from their bishops, and although the movement slowed down in the USA after the 1980s, there are many Catholic Charismatic fellowships in the United States that are doing fine. Further, in Africa and South America the Catholic Charismatic movement has been instrumental in bringing millions of nominal Catholics to become true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Wilkerson’s prophecy goes to the core of the discernment problem. He did nothing wrong in reporting his prophecy. As a matter of fact, according to traditional Catholic theology, he would have sinned from cowardice had he not spoken. The famous Catholic theologian Karl Rahner, in a brilliant work, Inquiries, made clear that, the prophet is in a poor position to discern his own revelation. This is because if it is originating somewhere other than the Holy Spirit, it will play upon the fears, prejudices, and belief structure of his own subconscious mind and those in his immediate faith community.[21] It is the task of the church to judge prophecy, not the prophet. This again is Paul’s point in 1 Cor. 14:29.

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Category: Living the Faith, Winter 2020

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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    Donald Trump’s Presidency and False Prophecy