I’ve just had a packed weekend – firstly going down to hear Ian Clayton in Cardiff on Friday and Saturday, and then on Sunday to an event near Bristol to hear Joe Corry.
Ian Clayton is described as “part of a new breed of prophetic voices that are teaching a generation to walk in the mystic realm of God” – and is highly regarded by a number of friends in the Kingdom Renegades group. I was therefore very keen to go and hear him speak when he came to Cardiff this weekend, and about a dozen of us from in and around Cheltenham went down.
As someone who moves in Pentecostal and Charismatic circles, I’m always keen to hear from those who have developed proficiency in the spiritual gifts, including those who have mystical experiences. I’m all for it: we can hardly be surprised if a supernatural God gives his children supernatural experiences.
However, I do get concerned when there is some confusion between the earthly and heavenly. For example, if someone says “I did not understand science, but then I went up to heaven and Jesus gave me a scroll and said ‘eat this’, and I did, and now I understand science”, and then proceeds to spout baloney which would not pass muster even among creation scientists, then some doubt is cast on the credibility of what this person is saying. Prophetic insights are often allegorical in form (see for example Jer 13, 18 & 24; Amos 7 & 8 ) so it is really important to discern whether the understanding being given is meant to be technically correct, or an allegorical insight.
My general advice to prophets and preachers on speaking about science would be, unless you really understand the subject, don’t. If you really feel that you need to, then check what you are saying with someone who does. In my experience, even those preachers who have taken this amount of care rarely say anything that requires the use of a scientific example, and would be better served with something more everyday. I sometimes suspect that the preacher wants to show off his intelligence, and this is in danger of seriously backfiring. If you are an expert on the supernatural, or on the charismatic gifts, or on the mystical realities of heaven – stick to what you know, because that’s what people come to hear.
The best part of the two days was being able to spend quality time with friends. An unexpected delight when I arrived was to bump into three friends from Stockton, Rachel, Julie and Jenny. It was really good to be able to connect with them and to catch up on life up there. On the Saturday evening I joined Julie, Jenny and Pat in the Mad Hatters Cafe, a relaxing and spacious venue just below where the conference was meeting. As I looked at the menu I realised that, with my name, there was one item I had to order: it was called “Tweedledee, Tweedledum, it’s a burger in a bun”! (It was delicious!)
On Sunday afternoon I went with Dave Slight and a few others down to a meeting south of Bristol, in the home of Tim Bruce, to hear the genial Irish pastor, Joe Corry. After a short sermon, he proceeded to speak prophetically, one by one, into the lives of those there. He did so with great simplicity, and yet with accuracy and power.