During my years living in Olathe and Kansas City, I had a bird’s eye view of the prophetic movement in Kansas City. I got to see the good, the bad, and the merely confusing. As one deeply concerned about our stewardship of God’s creation, I have also followed, as much an English teacher can, the science surrounding global warming. My approach to the first has helped me with the second.
It may seem absurd to connect prophets of global warming and the prophets of revival, but there are similarities. Both predict some future events and both call for policy and lifestyle changes in response to those predictions. We could add that both have their doubters and critics and both have acted in ways that fuel that criticism.
First, let me say I believe that God is restoring the ministry of the prophet to churches today. I have seen this ministry greatly bless people and I have seen the church strengthened by it. However, I have also seen people wounded and disillusioned when prophets have fallen into sin or when it seemed that the prophetic was exploited to build a ministry.
I have now lived 20 years in splendid isolation in Myrtle Point, Oregon, so I have had both the time and distance to evaluate my experience with the prophetic in Kansas City. As I have sorted this all out, I have learned to value and nourish everything imparted to me at Kansas City that should be a permanent part of every Christian’s walk with God.
The prophecies of an end time revival that will restore the Bride of Christ to power and purity still call me to be a faithful intercessor for the church. The vision of visitations of God that transform cities and nations still brings me to my knees for Myrtle Point. Even more important, the truth that God desires us to co-labor with Him to accomplish his purposes has awakened my heart to listen to God and discern his working in the earth. Because of my time in Kansas City, my walk with God is less about me and my plans and more about God and His work.
I have, however, let go of all timetables for revival and God’s working. I remember in the 80’s when prophets were proclaiming the move of God coming in the 90’s. And indeed there were times of refreshing, but nothing like the nation-changing, stadium-filling outpourings that had been prophesied. And yes, I think those given spiritual oversight of the prophets and the prophets themselves should be held accountable for every prophecy. There was and is work to do here as every detail of every prophecy is evaluated. That, however, is not work I can do from my position. What I can do is value and live out those permanently valuable truths imparted to me by the prophetic ministry.
I have a similar approach to global warming. I know that some of the scientists in England tried to manipulate the data. I know that some of the predictions haven’t come true and there is controversy about some of science. We have mixed phenomena: the Arctic ice-cap is melting, the one in Antarctica growing. And some of the scientists have displayed real arrogance in their proclamations.
Yet no matter how much fracking we do; oil and natural gas remain non-renewal fuels. When they are gone, they are gone. That reality should impact our policies and our lifestyles. There is absolutely nothing Christian about consuming a finite fuel supply as quickly as possible. There is nothing conservative about making major changes to our atmosphere and thinking that somehow human genius will help us escape the consequences.
At the risk of stating the obvious, conservatives should conserve. Christian conservatives should be humble and cautious about making changes in the complex ecosystem God has created. The arrogant assumption that human genius will deliver us from consequences of every assault on our environment is neither Christian nor conservative.
I do not know if all the predictions of global warming will come true or fall into the dustbin of bad science like the predictions of global cooling popular in the 70’s, but I do know it makes sense to pursue alternative sources of energy. It also makes sense for us to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases. We should always live a simple lifestyles driven less by mindless consumption of fossil fuels.
If I never see a mighty move of God that revives the church and sweeps many into the kingdom of God, I will never regret the time spent praying for one. I believe those hours are precious in God’s sight and that such intercession is simple obedience to Scripture. If no climatic catastrophe attached to global warming ever occurs, I think we will never regret polluting less, consuming less, and conserving more.
There are those called to sort out the prophecies and the science. All of that is important. No matter the timetable, Christ is coming back for a bride that is spotless and without wrinkle, so the church needs help from heaven. And no matter the timetable, pollution has consequences, and finite resources will be exhausted.
Specific predictions may be inaccurate. But we are foolish if we fail to recognize the larger inescapable truths. God calls us to be faithful stewards of the planet and faithful intercessors for the Church.