Wandering Stars, Contending for the Faith with the New Apostles and Prophets, by Keith Gibson (Birmingham, AL: Solid Ground Christian Books, 2011) 306 pp., paper $12.50
Keith Gibson has written a comprehensive, well documented and most helpful book detailing the modern prophetic movement. Much attention is given to Mike Bickle, Bob Jones, Rich Joyner and the so-called Kansas City Prophets, including the International House of Prayer ministry. Also included is C. Peter Wagner and his International Coalition of Apostles which boasts approximately 500 “apostles” who claim comparable authority and giftedness to the New Testament apostles. Gibson explains the roots and teachings of the Latter Rain Movement and its founder William Braham. Prominent early prophetic leader John G. Lake is given attention as well.
Wandering Stars is filled with information on the false teaching and ridiculous prophecies of many false prophets. Gibson has read and listened to thousands of the never-ending prophesies that are published on such sites as the Elijah List. While modern prophets uniformly claim that their revelations are “for revealing the strategic will of God, not for imparting doctrine” (p. 43), the fact remains that they are offering theological teachings not found in Scripture on such topics as angels and demons, heaven and hell, the atonement, open theism, dominionism, Word of Faith doctrine, views on inspiration and ecclesiology, among others (see chapter seven in particular). But it is the Scriptures which take the most direct hit. Wendy Alec, supposedly quoting a message from Jesus, claims He told her, “For the Word alone is yesterday’s manna…it is no longer enough to feed my people” (p. 67). And prominent author Tommy Tenney writes, “God chasers don’t want to just study the moldy pages of what God has done” (p. 83). Rick Joyner actually lists four levels of inspiration according to their rank in authority, beginning with impressions, then Scripture, next visions and, most importantly, trances. Scripture comes only in third on Joyner’s list (p. 80).
Gibson examines the biblical qualifications for a prophet, especially drawing on Deuteronomy 13 and 18, and in light of this rejects the modern prophets’ “claim that prophecy need not be infallible” (p. 87). The author rightly concludes that there is no hint in Scripture that a prophet may receive a true word but deliver a faulty message because his interpretation was incorrect (p. 45).
With Gibson’s strong views concerning the modern prophetic movement, I am surprised that he is not a cessationist, taking rather an “open but cautious position” (pp. 16-17). It is because of this that the author does not see a problem with Wayne Grudem’s New Testament prophecy view (pp. 18-21). Grudem teaches that a less inspired form of prophecy is being given today than is found in Scripture, although he attempts to work around this conclusion (p. 263). Grudem rightly states that any prophetic claim for new Scripture must be rejected (p. 100), but I have to counter—how is it possible for any revelation from God to be less than fully inspired and authoritative? Grudem is not as radical as Bickle or Joyner, but his view is basically the same—God is speaking today apart from Scripture, but what He is saying is not as authoritative as Scripture and can be mingled with error due to the fallibility of the prophet. This type of revelation is not found in Scripture despite Grudem’s attempts to find it in the New Testament.
With this one issue aside, Wandering Stars is a most helpful volume documenting the doctrines, excesses and heresies of the modern prophetic movement. There is probably more information here than the average person wants to read but if you want details on modern day prophets this is your book.