Return of the Thunder

Rob Rufus recently prophesied that the church had been going through a dry spell with limited experiences of the presence of God. It was confirming to hear this coming from a voice from such a different location. For the past few years I have been feeling like “nothing is going on” in the church. This is not to say that nothing at all is happening, or that we have not been advancing the gospel around the world, but that there was no movement which was positively moving the character of the church forward, and no place (at least on the radar screen) where the presence of God was working actively.

The fall of Paul Cain seemed like a decisive way of saying what was becoming increasingly apparent — the Kansas City prophetic movement of the 90’s was over. There are still some gifted prophets going around doing some interesting things, but for me anyway, it was more of something to taste, rather than something to drink. The disorderly meetings, the emphasis on strange manifestations and occasional disturbing elements in the worship were more common than the life changing anointing of God.

In the 1950’s William Branham was really the force which shaped and triggered a lot of the healing and latter rain revivals. Although when he died he held some unorthodox views, in his prime the awesome presence of God in the meetings shaped a generation. Leaders like Jack Coe and T.L. Osbourne got the impetus for their ministries from Branham. The Latter Rain movement itself was triggered by a visit to his meeting. It’s like the Elijah role of prophet. Someone who is vested with incredible prophetic authority blows in catalyzes events which will shape a generation. Although Cain was involved in the healing revival, his church shaping impact was felt in the late 80s and 90s, when he was catapulted onto the world stage by John Wimber and Jack Deere. In the process Cain has prophesied into and reshaped the lives of countless members of the highest echelon of Charismatic leadership. In fact, a whole class of leaders in the movement were basically people who rode to prominence on his coattails. This is not to say that he was perfect. With his recent fall we’ve all learned better now. And with some comfortable distance it’s easier to see some of the flaws built into the way the prophetic did Christianity. The overall point here though is that Cain in that period was a Branham-like figure. Meetings which changed people’s entire understanding of Christianity and level of faith were common

The question is, are things really over? Cain has recently been cleared by the team which was working with him for some limited ministry activities and he cropped up in a meeting in Idaho. Before his fall, things seemed to be wrong, although I certainly did not know what it was. I had attended a meeting in Kansas city a couple of years back, and when he appeared, not only was it not very anointed, a strange thing happened — when he was to speak, the people in the next room started making a LOT of distracting party music and noise. So there were no words, and barely any message. Cain was very overweight and not himself. The description of the meeting in Idaho reminds one of the old time Cain. Incredible words and atmosphere, and a message of real contrition. An Anglican minister named David Pytches wrote an aptly titled, if uncritical book about the height of the prophetic movement called “Some said it Thundered.”

Now that his weaknesses have been exposed, and hopefully healed, or at least managed, hopefully the church is wiser than to fall into the worship that many of us were in before. Perhaps this could lead to him coming back in a new way, and perhaps even with a new set of people and at a new level of authority. If he were to re-emerge on the scene in this way, it would definitely reshape the landscape, and perhaps in concert with other things that God is doing catalyze a new revival, and  perhaps the return of the Thunder.

We’re in such desparate need for a renewed vision of the God, and a renewed vision of holiness — a real “cleansing of the Temple.” I watched most of Luther the other night, and it’s disturbing how much things today are like they were then. We’ve come so far in some ways, and yet the same things still plague us. Abuse of authority, manipulative doctrines about money. In fact, really those are the things that Jesus faced. In that way revival is a pretty straight forward event. Preach the purity of God against the doctrines of the Pharisees, and in God’s divine timing, the whole world will be shaken..

What I wouldn’t give for one night at a red hot meeting where God shows up….

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