I’ve heard what seemed to be the audible voice of the Lord twice in my life. Both times were fairly precise directional commands which set me and my family on a certain course in our lives and service within the body of Christ. The most recent was in 2014, when the Lord released me from my last assignment, gave me my own ministry, and told me the purpose I was to pursue. He told me to “establish a prophetic culture.”
This is the first in a series of articles I plan to release that will challenge and address common mindsets and perspectives that hinder a healthy prophetic culture within the body of Christ.
1 Corinthians 14:5 (ESV) Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up.
1 Corinthians 14:12 (ESV) So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church.
Establish A Prophetic Culture
So God commissioned me to establish a prophetic culture, but I hadn’t heard that phrase before that I know of. I wasn’t sure what it entailed and I definitely didn’t know where to begin. But I did know that I was called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, so establishing a culture that not only values but also encourages healthy prophetic ministry to flourish was something that I was uniquely shaped to do.
I have known for many years that I would eventually influence the body of Christ across many streams and denominations, and that I was to be an influencer of influencers, a leader among equals. I always thought that would be a phase which would come later in life, but I find it all happening in an accelerated organic way. It has been a long process to understand how the pieces of me fit together and how I was made to fit in the body of Christ, but I understand today… I was born for this.
As I’ve engaged my calling, I’ve fully realized that in order to build and plant, there is inevitably the need to pluck up, tear down, destroy, and overthrow whatever is wrongly in place (Jer. 1:10). It’s in my nature to challenge thinking and systems, to call things the way I see it, to point out what is out of line, and to point the body back to God’s Word and our current covenant with Him. But I’ve also had to learn that if you always challenge, you will always be challenged. And if you’re not careful, it can close opportunities to influence streams, denominations, and individual’s lives that God intended for you to influence.
Now, let me also say that I’m okay with having doors closed and I expect it to some degree out of experience. Of course, no one enjoys having a door closed on them, but anyone who is truly called as a prophet has learned to stand all alone if and when they have to. It’s just not wise to create those situations when you don’t need to. So I’ve learned to pick my battles. Not every battle is mine to fight, but there are some that I cannot avoid.
Challenging & Addressing
As I work as an influence to establish a prophetic culture within the body of Christ, I am inevitably challenging deep set beliefs and long-taught and long-held perspectives. Not that I’ve figured it all out, but because of my calling and giftings, I see areas that need guidance within the streams I’ve been flowing in where a prophetic culture has already been embraced. But by being who I am and doing what I feel led to do, I’ve also stirred up issues, debates, and mindsets that I have long since moved beyond.
I had almost forgotten that the widely established culture in the body of Christ has not changed as I have. So I’ve decided to write a series of articles that will address a number of those things and give answers to questions that many believers have about prophets, prophetic ministry, and surrounding issues. In order to present many of the views that need to be challenged, I will heavily quote and refer to documents published by the Assemblies of God (AG). The reason is simple: they have publicly documented the views they commonly hold, and those views represent a large percentage of the church.
So let me make this crystal clear… I love the AG. I don’t want to seem to be picking a battle with the AG. Rather, I am unabashedly working to establish a healthy prophetic culture within the larger body of Christ. I grew up as an AG pastor’s kid; my father still pastors an AG church to this day. My earliest memories surround life in the AG. Many in my family are current members, leaders, or pastors in AG churches.
I myself, although I am not affiliated with the AG, have had the honor of ministering in AG churches and alongside AG ministers, as well as in churches and alongside ministers from many different streams and denominations. There is an open and growing embrace of prophetic ministry within the AG. In fact, many AG churches have transitioned more from a pentecostal culture to a charismatic culture following some of the large outpourings and revivals within the church in the last 20-30 years and the influence of powerful ministers such as Reinhard Bonkke.
It’s important here to note that the AG perceives itself not as a denomination, but rather as a fellowship of ministries and ministers. As a fellowship, they leave room for variety in perspective in many areas. At least beyond their 16 Fundamentals Truths, for which they require agreement as a stipulation for ordination and inclusion.
A Common Mindset
The AG has published a number of articles which express their commonly held understanding on various issues and topics. They have also released position papers which are reports that have been approved as official statements of The General Council of the Assemblies of God, the top tier leadership of the AG. Some of these documents clearly articulate the beliefs, ideas, and concepts which are typical of the culture and perspective of many believers throughout the body of Christ.
I want to answer the questions that are commonly asked, challenge wrong mindsets that are commonly held, and provide a perspective that is relevant to where many believers are coming from. Since the AG has documented a number of them, I’m going to quote their publications and answer the questions they lead to.
The remaining majority views for which my calling presents a challenge to are held within the reformed and calvinist side of the church. To address that, we have to start from a completely different place. It’s been on my heart for years to influence that side of the church also, but all in due time. I love and embrace the whole church as I hope to be loved and embraced in return. But I’m focusing here on influencing those who have a foundation which already values the current activity of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the spirit through believers to at least some degree.
I invite you to join me as I begin this series.
Jeremy Caris is the founder and president of Caris Ministries. Since he is called as a prophet and gifted as a teacher, much of his focus involves equipping believers to hear, know, and follow God in their own daily experience. He teaches the foundational truth of the Word with simple clarity, while revealing deep things of the spirit in practical ways. He has the unique ability to demystify the supernatural side of real relationship with a living God and make it an embraceable and accessible reality for all believers. Jeremy has been married to his best friend, Mandy Caris, for eighteen years, and is the proud father of two boys.