On March 18th 2020, shortly before the first world-orchestrated lockdown, I sketched out its likely effects on the blog with some fear and trepidation.
I pointed out that previous pandemics had had death rates in the same ballpark range as the Imperial College projections (though it was too soon to comment on how absurdly exaggerated they turned out to be) without much affecting life, but that the unprecedented lockdowns were likely to cause many deaths in themselves and to result in a huge economic recession.
I predicted a rise in many other illnesses and deaths as health services could no longer afford to do routine work.
I predicted headlines about out-of-work fathers, cooped up for months in council flats, killing their families and then themselves (interesting that even then I seem not to have believed in “three weeks to flatten the curve).
I said that, far from the peaceful and green “new normal” predicted by many (including bishops) we would be more likely to see food shortages, riots, injustice and widespread mental desperation.
I predicted that once states took our freedoms away, they would be very reluctant to give them back.
All in all, I think I have done pretty well on that initial set of predictions. At least, they weren’t bad compared to those of the prophetic super-apostles of the Word of Faith movement, the New Apostolic Roformation and all those other hyper-charismatic organisations that seem to be such a magnet to many members of our churches here in the UK, ever since the Kentucky Fried Prophets, the Tonto Blessing and the Pepsicola Revival, way back in the day.
Pretty much to a man these guys were prophesying last March that God would end the virus in a couple of weeks or a couple of months, tops, before it ever became a pandemic. Kenneth Copeland decreed a vaccine into existence amid much convulsive theatrics. Shawn Bolz of Bethel was less demanding, but promised that Israel and a Far Eastern country would get a vaccine out in no time. And a constant stream of accredited Apostles assured the world that President Trump would for sure win a second term.
Now, it seems to me that I got a lot more right than any of the anointed leaders of “Fred Fanackapan Ministries” and “The Revival Army of Joel” who are promising an imminent Spiritual Breakthrough that will change the whole world (as they have been for the last 50 years as I have followed the course of the Charismatic Movement). They are spreading their videos, books and music into most of the Evangelical churches in the western world, persuading deacons in Doncaster that only lack of faith is preventing their raising the dead like Jesus (yes, that innovative kenotic theology is at home there as it was a year or two ago in the Evolutionary Creation community).
Yet Kenneth Copeland has three private jets, and Bill Johnson of Bethel drives an Aston-Martin. These facts are nothing at all to do with their laying up treasure on earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and everything to do with the fact that God wants to bless us, and particularly to bless that new breed of apostles who converse with God so closely hour by hour that they never get round to using the Bible in context.
Now, miracles are the hallmark of all these ministries, though it’s remarkably hard to get hard evidence of them (a declaration of interest here – I worked a few miles down the road from the nearest British imitator of these ministries, a church called Peniel run by a charlatan called Michael Reid, whose guest speakers included some of the familiar named from America. I had patients who belonged to the church and witnessed them suffer great spiritual abuse, but never genuine healing. In the end Reid went the way of so many and was exposed in sexual sin, leaving and setting up again as a mighty man of the Spirit online as if nothing had happened).
The unprecedented spiritual power of the new prophecy, more powerful and world-changing even than that of Jesus or the original Apostles themselves, is the very bedrock of the heavenly ministries exercised by these few for the many, the latter only being called upon to support the outfits financially and treat every random thought of their own as if it were special revelation. Though claiming to be Fundamentalists, none of these prophets even gets stoned for their false prophecy. They just get huge houses on gated estates.
But if proclaiming a succession of completely false prophecies wins you the promised blessing of Jesus Christ, and if I’ve got a better track record on predicting the course and outcomes of world-changing issues like COVID-19, then where is my Aston Martin? Shall not the God of all the earth do right? I can’t even persuade people in my church that I know what I’m talking about, let alone 150,000 subscribers on YouTube, so where have I gone wrong?
I think that I may have the answer to my lack of recognition. It is because I haven’t enrolled in the authentic School of Supernatural Ministry and paid up to be accredited as an Apostle. In other words, I haven’t achieved the necessary spiritual breakthrough. If I were only in possession of the Blessing I wouldn’t need to prophesy truth, I could heal short legs that were never short, and I wouldn’t even have to handle the world of God rightly. Such are the glories of the new apostolic age.
Though to be fair, the real apostles, for all their supernatural gifting, haven’t received the whole measure yet: the final breakthrough is always another few months, and another revival campaign requiring funding, away. But you can bet your sweet life they will be the first when the Spirit pours it out – probably whilst they’re in the Learjet, especially close to heaven.