This synergy paper is a combination of two assignments. We can only include a portion (abstract) of my spiritual biography, so this synergy paper is a combination of my spiritual biography and the project I am about to begin. This project is about comparing the prophesying practice between the LCM and the Pentecostal Movement. So in this paper, you will see a brief combination of my spiritual biography and my experiences in the LCM and Pentecostal Movement. My teacher is a Christian pastor with solid academic experience and a Wesleyan background. He is an expert on the Holiness movement taught by John Wesley. He provided the comments on this synergy paper, I am enjoying reading your material very, very much! Your journey is amazing and challenges my faith very much – to go deeper with the Word, and to keep seeking more revelation and empowerment. I think your project will be very interesting. This paper was really enjoyable and challenging, Sean. Thank you for all your hard work to advance the cause of Christ. I did not include his name here as this version is unofficial, and it may contain errors that I have made, and I don’t want him to bear any blame.
The literal interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:8-10 has shaped the general attitude toward prophecy in many modern evangelical churches. Verses 8-10 state,
Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.
Those who deny modern-day prophets, or that prophetic gifts exist today, argue that “when the complete comes” refers to the canonization of the Bible. That is, giving and receiving revelation like that which occurs when someone prophesies came to an end after the Bible was written and compiled.
Individuals who adhere to this belief are called Cessationist. Dr. John F. MacArthur, a Calvinist pastor and teacher, is one of the leading voices today in support of cessationism. MacArthur supports his view by commenting on what he believes is the conclusion many scholars have reached regarding the meaning of “perfect.” He states, “Significantly, though these scholars disagree on the identification of the “perfect,” they all reach the same conclusion—namely, that the miraculous and revelatory gifts have ceased.”
On the contrary, there are others who claim that prophets exist today. In fact, in many Pentecostal and Charismatic churches prophets speak to congregants and prophecy is given in the church setting. I was not brought up spiritually in either of these movements. Rather, I was saved and spiritually educated in the Local Church Movement (LCM) associated with Watchman Nee and Witness Lee. In this denomination, the leaders do not recognize the kind of foretelling prophecy like that which is practiced in modern prophetic movements and Pentecostal/Charismatic churches. They do advocate a form of prophecy though. The LCM practices a unique form of “prophesying.” They practice what is called forthtelling. Charismatics recognize forthtelling prophecy to be prophetic, but prophesying is generally thought of as foretelling.
Nee and Lee’s form of prophecy is supported by the interpretation of two scriptures: (1) “Those who speak in a tongue build up themselves, but those who prophesy build up the church” (1 Corinthians 14:4) and (2) “For you can all prophesy one by one” (1 Corinthians 14:31). The LCM rejected “speaking in tongues” since the Scripture suggests “those who speak in a tongue build up themselves.” They believed and encouraged everyone to prophesy so as to build up the church rather than self, just as the second part of the verse states. The LCM uses the acronym “PSRP” (Pray Reading, Study, Recite and Prophesy) to teach their members how to effectively prophesy.
While many believers were positively impacted by the LCM’s style of prophecy, their understanding and practice of prophecy does not form a complete biblical picture of prophecy because they overlook the aspect of “foretelling.” They also do not promote the baptism or gifts of the Holy Spirit. I learned many things about prophesying from the LCM that helped me grow in my spiritual life, but I also learned a lot from Renewal denominations on how to connect to the supernatural realm through the gift of prophecy. Leading a disciplined and biblically knowledgeable life are essential just as foretelling and moving in the gifts of the Holy Spirit are essential Christian experiences/tools that I had been lacking for many years. My experience has shown me that there exist many genuine prophets and Holy Spirit-led prophecies among persons of the Modern-Day Prophetic Movement.
Caution can be given to both kinds of churches—LCM and renewal churches—so as not to become false prophets but neither neglect the gift of prophecy that is still alive today. Among those with a genuine prophetic gift, some may lack a strong basis of biblical knowledge and discipline which could help them understand more of the Word of God systematically. Among the LCM, they have extinguished the flame of the Holy Spirit. Both parties would benefit from embracing each other’s practices. This would enhance prophecy for the Charismatic because they would have a more solid understanding of the Word and perhaps more precise interpretations to offer. The LCM, on the other hand, would experience a more abundant life as a congregation and encounter living in greater power.
The Lord showed me in a prophetic dream that these two rivers outlined above (denominations/streams) would converge, and a new movement would begin. Combining these two ways of prophesying will bring a convergence of Holiness with Power or Word with Spirit to usher in a new age in church growth and bring revival to China and the rest of the world.
This paper will discuss my personal experiences with prophecy in both the LCM and modern-day prophetic churches. The context of the LCM church and my involvement with them will be outlined. My journey into Pentecostal and Charismatic congregations will also be shared. A synergy of the context and my experiences form the basis for this project: that prophecy and the gifts of the Spirit are necessary components for ushering in revival to the body of Christ, Chinese congregants in my context, and the nation of China.
The Local Church Movement
The Local Church Movement began with Watchman Nee in the 1920s in China. It was one of the most controversial Christian movements in modern Chinese church history. It is considered by some the only denomination that originated from China and spread all over the world. Though its numbers of congregants are still small compared to many mainline churches, it may be the only denomination that spread outside of China that has a relatively large number of believers who are not Chinese. Watchman Nee’s writings also influenced many denominations in the West and other parts of the world.
In later years, Nee’s coworker, Witness Lee, established more Local Churches in Taiwan and in the United States. Local Churches spread to many other parts of the world. In 1952, Watchman Nee was put in prison and later sent to a labor camp until he died in 1972. Watchman Nee allegedly entrusted the leadership of LCM to Witness Lee. However, some coworkers of Watchman Nee did not agree with Witness Lee and, therefore, accused him of teaching heresy. This accusation was further exacerbated when many other allegations regarding the LCM were published in the West in the 1970s. These publications included the infamous books, The Mindbenders and The God-Men.
In these books, the authors defamed the LCM by accusing them of several things. Aside from being labeled one of the most dangerous cults in America, they were also charged with engaging in “deceptive, coercive, and destructive practices.” Other accusations included brainwashing, mind-bending, and fear tactics to keep members. The Defense and Confirmation Project of 2017 stated,
The first edition of The God-Men [italics mine], written and self-published by the Spiritual Counterfeits Project (SCP), contained gross misrepresentations of the teaching of Witness Lee concerning such things as biblical authority and morality. It also sought to associate Witness Lee and the local churches with mental manipulation and Eastern mystical practices.
In this wave of criticism, the Christian Research Institute in the United States also published an article claiming that the LCM was teaching heresies in the 1970s. The Local Church responded by filing lawsuits against these two books. The Local Church won the lawsuits.
In China, people still saw Western and American Christianity as the authority in terms of judging whether a group was heretical or not. As a result of this article and other books originating in the West, the Chinese authorities, despite the court ruling, considered this group heretical and cracked down on some of their meetings. Many Chinese believers in this movement suffered severe persecution in the 1980s. This experience also had damaging effects on the believers who lived in the United States. In early 2000, Christian Research Journal, led by Hank Hanegraaff, held an investigation on the Local Church Movement. They issued a special publication named “We Were Wrong,” as a way of apologizing for their careless article in the 1970s. They accepted the LCM as a genuine Christian movement henceforth. Many other Christian organizations, like Fuller Theological Institute, also issued similar statements declaring the LCM a genuine Christian group.
When the apologies surfaced, I tried to share them with my Chinese Christian friends who thought the LCM was heretical. It seemed other Chinese Christians did not care about this though. Many people today still hold a critical view against the LCM and/or do not care about them. American and other Western churches showed diminished interest in LCM because they did not keep momentum in growth in the United States in the 1970s. Even if the LCM is a genuine Christian movement comprised of genuine believers, some of their teachings and practices are indeed controversial.
Although practices of this group may be controversial, there are some positive things that can be highlighted. Rick Joyner, a well-known American prophet, comments in one of his blogs on prophecy that he considers it important to learn from the differences of others that exist within the body. The evidence that God used the LCM or was present in their meetings and years of ministry is clearly seen in the number of conversions they produced, and in the strong centering on Jesus and authority of God’s word that it produced. Afterall, the LCM was the only movement that originated in China and spread to the West and the rest of the world. Based on this evidence, I argue that God’s Spirit did bless their movement and spread it. The question now is, “What message did the Lord want to bring to the churches in the West and the rest of the world through the LCM?”
Function and Practice of the Local Church Movement
The Local Church Movement refers to themselves as the Lord’s Recovery. They believed their calling was to recover all the truths that were lost among many generations of the Church. It has been said that Watchman Nee had a vast amount of knowledge from reading a lot of Christian literature throughout history and from reading the Bible hundreds of times. He gleaned a lot from different eras of Christianity. Members of the LCM believed their organization succeeded due to the degradation of Western churches. Some may be offended with this idea, but there are many Christian leaders in the West who agree that there are problems in Western Christianity that prevent the body of Christ there from advancing in spiritual things.
Many teachings and practices from this movement have already impacted Western churches. For example, it was the Local Church Movement that first started the model of cell groups or small groups, even as early as the 1940s under the leadership of Watchman Nee. Witness Lee further developed these in Taiwan. In following years, these cell groups were instituted by the famous Korean evangelist David Yonggi Cho and they circulated in Korea. Many western churches also later adopted this model. Nowadays, cell groups or small groups are common in almost every American church. The LCM cannot take credit for being the originators of such groups, but they were pioneers in reintroducing, practicing and promoting small groups to make up for the lack of intimacy in large church gatherings.
Other examples of how the LCM functioned are provided. The LCM strongly opposed the typical laity system in Christendom. They removed the position of pastors because they believed every believer should function as a priest to God. Since there were no pastors in the meetings to preach the sermons, the meetings were open to every believer to speak or “prophesy” for the Lord. This was based on their understanding that “you can all prophesy one by one” (1 Corinthians 14:31).
The LCM also placed a lot of emphasis on Ephesians 4:12 which says, “to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ.” To them, this meant the body should not be seeking personal gain, but instead seek to build up the church. They encouraged all to speak as a pastor or a professional speaker on behalf of the Lord to edify the congregation. The church developed many practical ways to help people commonly called “lay members” in mainline denominations, to speak the truth of God. They also helped many lay members like me gain biblical knowledge and develop teaching gifts. These opportunities for growth may not be possible in a traditional church setting where only the designated members do most of the speaking.
The leaders in the LCM understood that unless every believer immersed themselves in the Word of God and spent time in prayer, one would hardly have anything to share that edifies the church. In the 1940s, an elder in a church in Shanghai Yu, Chenghua, under the leading of Watchman Nee, translated a book called A Short and Easy Method of Prayer into Chinese. In this book, Madame Jeanne Guyon briefly explains how believers may enter the presence of God by praying the Word of God. Her book greatly influenced the Local Church Movement. Witness Lee further developed Guyon’s teaching and called it “pray reading.” This was his most impressive practice in the LCM, as commented on by Hank Hanegraaff when he conducted his investigative research into the LCM in early 2000.
Pray reading is the first of the four steps developed by the LCM to prepare believers for “prophesying.” The other steps, study, recite and prophesy, form PSRP. In the LCM, prayer and meditation were given top priority. Pray reading is a unique practice, similar to the Catholic Church’s practice of “Lectio Divina.” In Protestant terminology, this refers to meditation. Pray reading actively combines both the written Word of God and prayer to God into one practice. It is a simple practice and very easy to employ. Members are encouraged to repeat a single verse or multiple phrases of a verse in prayer, either silently or out loud, for a certain period of time. Believers are encouraged to speak louder than softer when reading.
The LCM believed that once a person opened their mouth to make a vocal declaration, it would help them move past the distractions in their mind and engage with their spirit-man more easily. Wesley Campbell, who is a prophet in the modern prophetic movement, teaches something similar. Wesley taught that once a person opens their mouth, their mind does not work. This habitual practice helped members enter the presence of God and receive spiritual revelation.
The LCM also practices “calling on the name of the Lord.” This can also be practiced both silently or out loud, though practicing it out loud or vocally was more encouraged to exercise the spirit. Paul teaches that there will be life and peace for the one who sets their mind on the Spirit; death for the one who sets their mind on the things of the flesh (Romans 8:6). A lot of “spiritual death” in the modern church is due to believers setting their minds on the things of the flesh. Teachings like “calling on the name of the Lord” and “pray reading” were developed and promoted to help believers get out of their minds and engage their spirit-man.
Christians also claim they do not have time to read the Bible. If they do read it, they often scan through it quickly. It is very hard to absorb Scripture into one’s spirit when little is masticated. Many Christians do not experience more spiritual growth, even though they attend church every week and even read the Bible, because they are not meditating on the Word. Members of the LCM encouraged believers to digest the Word of God like a cow digests its food. A cow first takes in the food into its stomach and then regurgitates it many times before fully digesting. In the process of regurgitation, the cow chews its food several times. In this way, the body receives more nutrients from the food.
A prophet of the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement (AP), named James Goll, wrote a book called, The Lost Art of Intercession. In it, Goll describes the meditation of the Word of God as a lost art. This seems especially true for many Protestants who abandoned teachings in Catholicism that embraced this practice. Although modern-day church leaders like Goll may think this practice was lost, I do not believe it was. It was greatly endorsed and practiced among the LCM.
The LCM understood the importance of filling one’s spiritual car with fuel. Diligently studying and reciting the Bible and other spiritual books were greatly encouraged. These represent the next two practices of “study” and “recite.” LCM leaders believed that mental capability was created by God so that one can learn from others alongside receiving inspiration directly from God. They believed that if a person could not remember a quote or took a long time to find the right verse, this would impair one’s ability to become a good speaker and hinder the presentation of the Gospel. Instead, if believers committed the Bible to memory, like a pharmacist places and labels all their drugs in order, one could find what they need when the time comes. The LCM even conducted Bible reading competitions and prizes were given to the winners. These prizes included free Bibles, spiritual books, and free airline tickets to join denominational conferences.
The last step of PSRP is “prophesy.” This practice in the Local Church setting does not include “foretelling.” The Modern-Day Prophetic Movement recognizes “foretelling” as biblically “prophesying,” but does not only attribute it to the prophets in the Bible. They believe laypeople can also participate in this kind of prophecy. The LCM does not recognize or promote modern-day prophets or prophetic gifts. Their understanding of prophesying is “speaking for God, speaking God forth, and ministering God and Christ into people.”
The LCM believes that “speaking God forth” means no one should speak about trivial things. It rather means that one should spend time in prayer to receive revelation from God so that their speaking is indeed a revelation from God. The phrase “minister and dispense God and Christ to people” is measured against its effectiveness. A member, for example, cannot just say they spoke and therefore fulfilled their obligation to build up the church. They must measure their effect by seeing if the message edified other members.
To assist in the practice of PSRP, a book called Morning Revival was compiled weekly to give members written material for pray reading and spiritual reading. It also contained suggested Bible reading plans. Members are encouraged to have daily morning prayer time and study the material to prepare for their speaking on Sundays.
By using the PRSP model, many members in the LCM learned to speak eloquently and to encourage, edify, and build up other members and the church at large. This practice caused many members to grow up spiritually, because the Word of God was given space to transform their lives. However, this was as far as prophecy went in the LCM. The LCM held caution and neglect toward foretelling prophesy. For my wife and I this was a great disappointment because no one in the LCM was able to predict if we would one day have a child. This was a personal inquiry that I sought answers to after ten years of barrenness.
Personal Involvement with LCM
I never planned to become involved with the Local Church Movement. I was born and raised in China to a family that worshiped Buddha. My father was an atheist and my mother was a devout follower of Buddha. My great grandparents and grandparents worshipped another local idol. Our house was built on a former Buddhist temple which was demolished during the Cultural Revolution. Reflecting on my early experiences, I now see that God spoke to my heart and led me on a journey to know Him even though I did not realize it at the time.
A Korean prophet confirmed this in 2017 when he told me that the Holy Spirit had been leading my steps onto a path to know Him. I believe this to be true. In high school, I started to sense that I had a calling on my life to do greater things, beyond what I could imagine at that time. I started to prepare myself. The Holy Spirit spoke to my heart concerning which college to attend after I took the college entrance exam. He also placed a strong burden on my heart to study in the United States after graduating. When I failed to be accepted into my college graduate program, I understood it was the Lord closing the door to stay in China. This forced me to go on a journey to the United States but by first studying in England.
While I was in my first year of graduate study at the London School of Economics, I had an encounter with God. The weight of the Lord came upon me, convicting me of my need for Him, and I accepted salvation. With three hundred dollars in my pocket and a one-way ticket, I went to the United States for my second year of graduate study at the University of Southern California. I had no money to pay for tuition and no place to stay. After spending a whole day outside the registration office struggling with what to do, I decided it would be better to return to China. In desperation, I prayed, “God, I am such a sinner. Do you still remember me?”
Not too long after, I met a Chinese Christian in the street who was a member of The Church in Los Angeles. He invited and led me to their facility called Brother House. The Brother House was located near my school campus, and there I received practical help and spiritual training. It turns out that all my contact with other ministries during this time of my life were with groups associated with the LCM. According to Jesus, nothing happens if the heavenly Father does not permit it (Matthew 10:29). I believe these occurrences were not a coincidence but a divine setup. It was God leading me. Many other members of The Church believed that I was sent by God to join them.
I was astonished by how this time of despair in my life turned around. While living at the Brother House, I saw God’s favor. They allowed me to stay there for free the first year. Nobody ever asked me to pay rent. When I started to work a year later, I began to pay rent and gradually pay back what I gained via donations. A lovely Chinese Christian, affectionately called “Grandpa Chen,” led this on-campus group. The group operated in love, and people who opposed Witness Lee and his teachings were also members of this congregation. In this context, even though I was aware of different opinions against the LCM, I was still willing to learn what Watchman Nee and Witness Lee taught.
During the first two years of my Christian life, I was very lukewarm and often did not have much to say when it was my turn to “prophesy” in our congregation times. Sometimes I said nothing or said something very shallow. In 2004, I had an encounter with the Lord. Jesus appeared to me during a conference through an internal vision and told me that He would come back once the body of Christ was built up. After this vision, I became enthusiastic in practicing the PSRP steps. I made them a habit in my life. One day when I finished pray reading a verse, I went back to work feeling as if I were walking down the stairs into a cloud. I realized I had entered the presence of God unknowingly by immersing myself in His Word and meditating on it.
I am thankful that God used my time in the LCM to develop my teaching gift and a prayer life. Although I enjoyed my time with the LCM, I came to understand that the kind of prophecy taught in the modern prophetic movement is not an incorrect form of prophesying, but biblical. In 2015, I became connected with churches outside the LCM. This is how I became aware of ministries like John Wimber’s Vineyard Movement and Randy Clark’s Global Awakening. Wimber’s teaching on “do the stuff” encouraged everyone to pray for the sick and do the stuff that Jesus taught. Randy Clark’s “little ole me” is another saying used to equip many to practice healing. Randy emphasizes that if God can use him, who is just a regular guy, God can use anyone. I began to believe that God wanted to use me in a greater way.
Validity of the Modern-Day Prophetic Movement
By 2015, my wife and I had been married for ten years. Although we wanted a child, we were unable to have one. We started to think something might be wrong when we realized we were not getting pregnant without prevention. From 2010 to 2014, we attempted in vitro fertilization (IVF) five times. All our attempts failed. Our IVF journey ended when top medical professionals announced we would never be able to have a baby through natural means. During this time, we also tried Chinese herbal remedies, but they too failed. I felt completely hopeless. Even our egg donor bailed at the last minute.
I began to consider that the Lord may have another way of fixing our barrenness. I desired divine healing and prophetic words from the Lord about this. I decided to reach out to the older, more experienced believers in my denomination. They were loving and caring toward my wife and I, but they did not have a vision or prophetic word from the Lord to give to us. Some members said that it was the Father’s will for us, and we needed to accept it. Others said that it was God’s wisdom for us to have more time to serve Him. We could not help but think it was either our sin or ancestral sins that prevented us from having children. With all their biblical knowledge, my church elders still could not prophetically nor supernaturally minister to us. They could not tell me when or if I would have children, or if there was a reason I did not have them. I came to understand that they could not do this because they did not believe in these practices. I was desperate to hear what the Spirit of God was saying about my situation.
Like many other evangelical churches, my wife and I had no interest or knowledge about the Pentecostal movement or AP during this time in our lives. We had general impressions or thoughts about Pentecostals such as, “speaking in tongues may be from the devil,” “false prophecies,” and “deceived by the evil spirits.” Although these negative labels could have given us false impressions, our experiences eventually showed us a different perspective.
One preacher in our denomination commented that in his many years of “prophesying” in Local Church settings, he never saw what is described in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 happening in the LCM. Verse 24 and 25 state, “But if all prophesy, an unbeliever or outsider who enters is reproved by all and called to account by all. After the secrets of the unbeliever’s heart are disclosed, that person will bow down before God and worship him, declaring, ‘God is really among you.’” This preacher was commenting on the fact that he had never seen people bow down during LCM meetings claiming that the Lord was truly among them because of a prophecy. I, on the other hand, did see this happen when I later participated in prophetic meetings in Pentecostal/Charismatic churches. I came to realize this preacher’s observation pointed to the reality that something was missing in the way the LCM prophesied.
In 2014, I made a vow to God that I would never stop praying that year unless I received healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Lord had put a strong burden on me to receive His baptism, but I did not know how due to a lack of teaching and understanding. I would go out every afternoon to a park to pray until I hit rock bottom in the later part of 2014. At this time, the doctor gave us the final diagnosis that we could not have a baby naturally. I had lost all hope in modern medicine, and none of my prayers had worked thus far.
This disappointment became a spiritual turning point in my life. I realized the way I prayed might be lacking something. As the Bible says, God’s people went to captivity because they lacked knowledge (Isaiah 5:13). I did not know how to receive healing, prophetic words, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but I gradually began leaving my denomination and turning to other churches to seek help. I started to listen to teachings on healing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit on YouTube.
I began listening to healing evangelists such as Norvel Hayes, Kenneth E. Hagin, and Benny Hinn. I learned there are many healing evangelists nowadays and there were many healing revivalists in the past. I also learned from Andrew Wommack, Derek Prince, Reinhard Bonnke, and many others that being baptized in the Holy Spirit gives a believer access to speak in their own prayer language, tongues. Andrew Wommack states it this way:
There are other believers who acknowledge a second experience with the Holy Spirit which releases power, but they refuse the part of speaking in tongues, or at least say it’s not for everyone. But the baptism of the Holy Spirit is like a pair of tennis shoes: It always comes with tongues.
As I read more books about the Pentecostal movement and listened to preachers connected to this denomination, my spiritual eyes were opened.
I attended as many healing services as I could. In October 2015, my wife and I went to New York to attend Benny Hinn’s healing service. They spent a large portion of the service asking for donations. There was also a “prophet” who allegedly sensed and called out people’s first names to keep encouraging the audience to give one thousand dollars to receive blessings. After the healing service finished, we were very disappointed. However, during the meeting, Benny Hinn called out a word of knowledge that a lady named Elizabeth was there and that God would give her a child. Though skeptical as a medical professional, my wife said to me that if her name was called out, she would believe all of it was true. Unfortunately, Benny Hinn only called out a lady named Elizabeth. Although reluctant, I still persuaded my wife to stay until the end to receive prayer. When this did not result in anything miraculous, my wife further doubted these healing services. This was our first healing service in a Pentecostal church, and we had put so much hope in it.
Whether my wife believed for it or not, I listened to many teachings from Kenneth E. Hagin and was amazed by his gift of healing. When I heard Hagin’s son, Wayne, was having a meeting in New Jersey, I also went there. I asked Wayne to pray that I would have a healing anointing. He said it was up to God, but he still prayed that if God were willing, He would give me a healing anointing. In the evening, I had a dream where Jesus appeared to me and told me that he already gave me a healing anointing. I replied, “No, you did not.” In the dream, Jesus asked me to raise my right hand. I raised my right arm and it felt like it was burning. Then He asked me to raise my right hand again and my right hand burned. I understood that this gift did not manifest in the day service, but in the dream in the evening Jesus showed me that He had given it to me.
I came back telling my wife I had a healing anointing to pray for her. I started to pray for her every day. Unfortunately, my wife did not believe me. She told me she did not believe that I could heal even a mosquito. Soon enough, I came across a man named Randy Clark on YouTube. He said a man named James Maloney had the gift of healing and when he prayed, even metal in pacemakers dissolved.
I listened to James Maloney and was amazed by his prophetic gifting. When I learned that he was going to take a sabbatical for a year, I decided to fly to his last service in Kentucky. However, when I arrived, I discovered that James had sprained his ankle and did not show up for the meeting. I was so disappointed. One of his associates, who is also a graduate from Randy Clark’s supernatural school ministered in his place. I had brought an airplane pillow and asked him to pray over it to heal my wife. This did not seem to work. This man called out many words of knowledge, and one of them was related to nose congestion. I stepped out in faith to claim this healing for myself. It did not come true for me either.
Despite these failed attempts, something did happen at this meeting. For the first time, I felt a physical tingling sensation on my face. I was told by a lady who had a connection with Global Awakening that this was the Holy Spirit. When I went back to Maryland, I found a local church to join that was associated with them. While there, I felt an even stronger sense of tingling on my face during worship. I understood this was a confirmation that God wanted me to stay at this church. This is how I became more involved with Global Awakening.
During the trip to Kentucky, something else important happened. When I went to the altar to receive prayer from the pastor, I received my first prophetic word. The man said,
Brother, you will begin to flow. You are getting an understanding of this. You are going to pray for the sick. You have compassion and deep compassion for sickness and people that are hurting and have no hope. The Lord says, “I will raise you.” You are going to have a voice, and God says, “I am going to use you.”
I never dreamt that God would give me a ministry, especially because in the LCM we were not encouraged to have our own ministries. They taught us to carry out the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee to help spread the truths God gave to them. I did not know God had plans for my life. Even though the prophetic word sounded simple, my teacher, Kim Maas, from my prophetic class at Global Awakening, encouraged me by saying, “this is a powerful prophecy.” I started to wonder what my future would be like and what that word meant. I began to eagerly pursue the gift of prophecy. I attended more prophetic conferences, read books, and took prophetic certification classes at Global Awakening.
In October, I convinced my wife to join me for another trip to North Carolina, to receive prayer from Mahesh Chavda. I had read an article that he once prophesied to a woman, and that woman conceived a year later. He even jokingly says in his own preaching, “When Mahesh comes to town, every woman gets pregnant.” Before going, I told his staff we were coming, through an email. To our surprise, they treated us like VIPs. Not only did they reserve us a front-row seat, but another leading person in his ministry took the initiative to look for us. He arranged both a prophetic and a healing team to pray for us at the same time.
He told us he saw a vision of “two lines crossing together” and it could represent a convergence point. That is, the Lord led me to this place and it represented an intersection or convergence point for my life. He said he strongly felt that the Lord was leading me in a different direction. The Word made sense to me because I was secretly learning from the Pentecostal movement but had not officially left my denomination. I was experiencing a lot of internal struggle about leaving the LCM because many believers there helped me.
Another man with a prophetic gift told me he saw me with the gift of healing. He told me it was the Lord’s will for me to practice healing prayers on my wife, and that the Lord would heal my wife through my prayers. This was my exercise. He confirmed what I experienced in the meeting with Hagin. Another lady saw a vision of the Lord using a sword to cut off the dragon in my wife’s family line, removing the ancestral curses. Later, Andrew Canon White and Chavda prayed for us with anointing oil. The prophetic lady said she felt whatever needed to be taken care of in the spiritual realm had been completed, but that it often takes ten months to a year to manifest in the physical realm.
This trip blessed us, but we were still unsure if anything would change. When I came back from North Carolina, I joined my first Global Awakening conference called Cultivate Revival in Pennsylvania. At that time, I already experienced a breakthrough in speaking in tongues and received the baptism of the Spirit to some degree. In this meeting, when two Global students prayed for me, the Holy Spirit fell on me as well as two of them, and none of us could stand. We backed up a dozen steps and fell on the chairs behind us. A student prophesied over me as I tried to support a woman receiving prayer while waiting for my turn. I watched her receive deliverance from a demon. It was the first time I had seen anything like this. She kept coughing, and then the demon was gone. The student that prophesied over me said,
You are a warrior. You come from a lineage of warriors. The Lord wants you to take the authority that has been given to you while you are in this revival meeting because you are a very powerful man. When you came to pray for this young lady, you brought a force that enveloped her. I felt this, and I can even smell this and taste this. However, I don’t know if you can tell what is happening. Man, God has this gift of healing for you, and this is going to come more and more, and become something you can have more confidence in because it is so strong on you. He is assigning this to you right now. Your hand is so mighty in healing and brings freedom and breaks off chains from people. It is all over you, man. He trusts you with His mysteries because you dare to stand before the throne of God and dispel the things that were spoken when you were a young lad. You have come to understand not only the kingdom of God. You have reached the throne of God. Now you have come here to receive the outpouring God has downloaded to you. It is so amazing. God wants to expand His territory in your soul. He is always there in your spirit. He wants you to begin to be there in the morning to see your territory because he is expanding it more. He wants you to feel His presence. He might come and stand beside you. He might stand behind you. He might stand to the side. But He wants you in that territory, so you look out and see the fact that even heavenly hosts come to your territory to find solace from the battle. Even the heavenly hosts come from heaven to your territory to get away from the battle. They come so they can receive the refreshment God has placed in your territory. I know it is deep, but this is what God is telling me. In you, He is providing a place where souls can come to find sanctuary from whatever is going on, to receive refreshment so they can regain strength and go to battle again. In your territory, He is expanding it and making you aware of more and more of this universe that is in you.
I was amazed by these words. I came from an evangelical background where I heard accusations about the prophetic movement that said these prophecies cater to our self or ego. In other words, these so-called prophecies make someone feel awesome about themselves but are from the soul or even of devilish deceit. They supposedly promote a believers’ ego, but it does nothing beneficial to their spirit and may even harm their spiritual growth. I was not sure if the prophecy I received was true. Even the student who prophesied told me that it might sound too good to be true to me, but he said it was what the Lord was telling him at the moment.
Though I received prophetic words that God would use me greatly, I still did not have many prophetic words regarding whether I would have a baby or not. One Sunday in December the senior pastor of the church associated with Global Awakening suddenly became filled with the Holy Spirit while preaching and prophesied over me saying “your quiver is full.” He quoted this from Psalm 127:3-5:
Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the sons of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them. He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.
He explained to my wife and I that we would have a child, and that the Lord would make us have more than one child because God was declaring my quiver to be full. I was greatly encouraged but was still not quite sure if it was true because I did not personally hear God telling me this. I continued searching. I discovered that the Elijah List Conference would be held in Albany, Oregon in January of 2016. I went to this conference to seek healing and words from the Lord. Before this trip, I read a book by Chuck Pierce, one of the speakers at this conference. In his book, Chuck wrote about the Lord visiting him in the 1980s. The Lord told him that China would have a great revival, and that this revival would spread to the whole world.
When I arrived at the conference, another prophet named Dutch Sheets was speaking. In the end, full of the Holy Spirit, he said, “Today you come here not by coincidence. It is God who leads you here, and from today on, you will hear God speaking to you like you never have before.” I was greatly encouraged, so I went out during the lunch break to ask the Lord to speak to me. When I sat down in a chair outside of a Christian bookstore, my eye caught a 2016 calendar. The cover of that calendar said, “2016 Plan Your Family.” Suddenly, I heard God speak clearly: “2016, plan your family; you will have a child this year.” I was astonished as I had never heard God speaking to me so clearly, and He just said I would have a child this year. I immediately called my wife and told her what I heard. I finally received my prophetic word from God! It was the most powerful thing I have ever experienced.
I went back to China to visit my family in February 2016. My mother, who still worshiped Buddha, had been desperately praying to all kinds of idols to help us to have a baby. I had been trying to preach the Gospel to her since 2003 but had seen little effect. Since I heard God’s voice clearly saying I would have a child this year, I boldly told all my family members. I even prayed for my two cousins who could not have a baby. My mother was displeased with my behavior. She commented that I should not share such nonsense with others since I could not even take care of my own family matters. Though, I continued to believe the Word I received.
When I came back from China, I attended the Voice of Prophets conference held by Global Awakening in May 2016. There were many prophetic people there who gave me words from the Lord without knowing who I was. One day during worship, a lady from England approached me with a word. She said, “At one point in your life, you always went out to pray and dedicated yourself to the Lord, and God the Father was very pleased with you.” This brought tears to my eyes because only God and I knew that I asked Him every day in 2014 if He heard my prayers. I often cried out, “God, where are you?” or “God of Abraham, who can create things out of nothing, where are you?” After these prayers, I would confess my sins and dedicate myself to God and to His calling, even though I did not know what it was.
Her words were God’s delayed response to those prayers. I experienced 1 Corinthians 14:24-25. The hidden secrets in my heart were revealed and I cried and bowed down to God, amazed that this woman was hearing from Him. God is certainly among these groups of prophetic people. She even saw a vision of a male child running when I asked her to ask God if I would have child. I still hold this word with caution since we only currently have a daughter.
The words did not stop there. Another lady saw me with a quiver of three arrows on my back, which matched the prophetic word from my pastor in December 2015. One guy told me that God would use me greatly and he later returned to hand me a key as a prophetic action of God giving me the key to bring many into the Kingdom. I counted these words as true after the Holy Spirit told me the same things in a prophetic dream where I visited heaven. In this dream in 2017, Jesus himself told me He would use me greatly. Though all of the words I received were encouraging, I was eager to receive the fruition of having a child. I became desperate.
One day I said to the Holy Spirit,
In the Charismatic circle, people always teach that we should have an intimate relationship with you. I have prayed to Jesus and God, the Father, many times and I do not know when this is going to happen. Can you ask the Father and Jesus for me when this [pregnancy] is going to happen?
On the night of May 12, 2016, shortly after this prayer, I had a weird dream. In this dream, a woman (I figured it was the Holy Spirit) pointed to the back of a male figure (I figured it was Jesus). She asked me, “Did He not tell you that you will have a child next month?” I said in the dream, “No, I only sensed in my spirit it was coming soon, but I did not know it was next month.” I told my wife about this dream afterward, but she again had a hard time believing me.
Satan launched another fierce attack on my wife and I to make us quarrel. We did not talk for two weeks after I told her his dream. We only reconciled once she found out she was miraculously pregnant on May 28, 2016. Our baby was born healthy in early 2017. My mother was stunned and turned away from her idols that she had worshipped her whole life. She put faith in Jesus Christ, and I baptized her and my father when I came back to visit China in 2018. Ten years of persuasion and preaching could not change my mother’s heart, but one prophetic word from God turned things around. This event became a turning point for the salvation of my family members. My older sister also confessed belief in Jesus Christ. Later, the Holy Spirit told me through another prophetic dream that what He did in my family, He would do in many Chinese families through my ministry.
God Gives Me A Ministry
In 2016, at the Elijah List Conference, I received another prophetic word from God. This time it was about the ministry I would have. God said to me, “Jairus Bible World Ministry is from me.” At that time, I had begun this ministry in secret as my denomination did not encourage people to have ministries of their own. I used the name “Jairus” as a nickname to spread the revelations that I received from God in an online format. It was mainly directed toward Chinese audiences. When I received the prophetic word, I understood that God spoke this to help me overcome the fear of man so that I could walk in my calling and fulfill my destiny.
Upon leaving my LCM community, I struggled a lot. I recalled that they treated me kindly and helped me greatly during difficult times. Many believers there were like family members to me. I was very troubled thinking that I might be harming the unity of the body of Christ upon leaving. I realized afterward that the body of Christ was and is much bigger than just my denomination.
To help me through this struggle, the Lord gave me a prophetic picture. He showed me one stream of the Yangtze River, which is in western China. Then He showed me another stream in eastern China, which also flows into the Yangtze River. He reassured me that it was Him who put me in the first stream and now He was taking me to another stream. If I followed His leading, I would remain unified with the body of Christ. This comforted me. In another prophetic dream, the Lord appeared to me and there were two rivers behind Him. He told me these two rivers would converge in Maryland where I live. I received many personal prophecies about this too; words about convergence. I heard prophetic proclamations that “holiness and power” and “Word and Spirit” would converge together during this age and it would represent revival.
One day, after coming back from the Elijah conference, I was walking down the street pondering the revival in China that Chuck Pierce talked about in his book. Suddenly, I heard the Holy Spirit ask me, “What is a big revival?” I immediately answered back, “I heard that in China one out of ten people have received the Lord. Is this not a great revival already?” I answered this way because I had no special burden for China at the time. My burden was mainly for the Chinese students overseas. I did not have plans to go back to China to minister there.
The Holy Spirit promptly asked me another question, “How about two out of ten?” I was stunned. I quickly calculated that it would be another 100 million people saved. I believe the Holy Spirit was not meaning to limit salvation to only two out of ten Chinese people. Instead, He was trying to challenge and stretch me in my thinking. I had a burden for China after this encounter, and I started to have hundreds of prophetic dreams about a great revival coming to them. In these dreams, I was even brought to future events. I saw the nation change politically after this great revival. Many prophetic words were released over me from other prophetic people saying that I would travel to China extensively in the future to minister to different groups there.
The Synergy and Conclusion
It is believed that half or even more of Chinese Christians in China are meeting in Pentecostal or Charismatic churches. If they are following this pattern, I wonder if it is true among them also, that they prophesy well but lack discipline and understanding of the written Word. My assertion may be correct since many of these believers never had the chance to benefit from Witness Lee’s teachings or the practice of PSRP, since they had been labeled heretical and were banned.
God used the LCM to help me settle into the United States and build a strong life and foundation in the Word of God. I received a teaching anointing in the LCM, and I am a mature, discipled man of God because of them. Their emphasis on holiness prior to engaging in forthtelling ensures spiritual growth and readiness before jumping into making erroneous declarations. To become mature sons and daughters of Christ, ones who partner with God in His Kingdom, we must learn to be intimate friends with Him. This requires us to be holy, disciplined and knowledgeable in His Word.
On the contrary, God used Pentecostal and Charismatic churches to help my wife and I receive a breakthrough in healing and teach us about the charismatic gifts. We had a miracle daughter as a result of this, and these churches helped activate my prophetic and healing gifts. Prophecy has been extremely important to my journey of spiritual growth. Even when I was having a difficult time deciding whether I should continue with this doctoral program, God used a woman sitting behind me in a prophetic conference to say, “God wanted you to finish this degree, and He will use this as a knocking brick to open the doors for you to minister in the future.” I cannot imagine where my life would be without prophetic ministry.
The synergy of this paper is formed in these two conclusions. I believe my calling is to continue to spread the truths I learned from both the LCM and the Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. I admire the LCM’s diligence to the practices of PSRP. It is my conviction that their model of PSRP could help recover a sincere devotion and commitment to knowing God’s written Word, that which sometimes feels lost in Pentecostal and Charismatic churches. Also, PSRP affords the body of Christ more opportunity to practice public speaking in the form of prophesying.
Comparatively, the LCM and other evangelical churches need to awaken to recognize that God has used modern Pentecostal and Charismatic churches to recover and revitalize the prophetic gifts. These churches have embraced Paul’s teachings and have stirred the flame of God into action. They have honored God by honoring His desire to pour out His manifest presence in the form of many gifts to the body. A prophetic word can change a person’s life and can change one’s direction for life. A genuine prophetic word can also turn a whole family from worshiping idols to worshiping God. A prophetic word from God can even turn a nation around.
This thesis project focuses on holiness and prophesy. It is my attempt to be part of the new movement where Word and Spirit meet; holiness and power surge. The American prophet Larry Randolph said he felt what he could do for God is comparative to a drop of water in the ocean. Although so tiny, God still includes us in his plans. He does not need us, but He still gives us the grace to cooperate with Him. This project is about me doing my part in the body of Christ.
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Written by Sean Song
Edited by Danielle Pagnanella