UNITED THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Inspiration for this project came when I transitioned from my former evangelical church to a Charismatic denomination. After responding to the Lord’s nudge to pursue a doctoral degree, I wondered what to do for my project. It is fitting to preface this finalized thesis with the beginnings of my spiritual journey. Within the Local Church Movement (LCM) to which I was a member, there exists a form of prophesying different to what I witnessed in other churches. The main component of prophecy for LCM churches consists of the act of forthtelling prophecy. The foretelling aspect of prophecy was not taught or practiced within its denomination. However, in Charismatic congregations, the power of prophecy enacted in a foretelling manner was abundant. I eventually received instruction and the unction to also do this. I received my own prophetic gifting. I now receive accurate prophetic words from God for myself and for others.
One of the most powerful prophetic words I received for myself from God involved the impossible birth of my baby girl, and her birth happened according to what was revealed to me in the prophetic word. This experience impacted me greatly and largely affected my family and friends. My mother, for example, renounced her lifelong belief in Buddha and accepted Jesus Christ as her Savior after witnessing the prophetic miracle of my baby. There is power and authenticity that comes with Holy Spirit–inspired prophetic words. Using Paul’s words, prophecies reveal the secrets of a person’s heart, and these people will bow down proclaiming, “God is really among you” (1 Cor. 14:25).
In the synergy paper, two aspects of prophecy are outlined as I learned them from the LCM and the Charismatic denomination: forthtelling and foretelling prophecy. The practice of forthtelling prophecy in the LCM helped me build a habit of reading the Word of God and experiencing the transforming power of the Scriptures through meditation. The foretelling component of prophecy aided me in discerning my calling in life and it brought transformation to life situations that were otherwise powerless to change. This foretelling type of prophecy also brought me comfort in the darkest time of my life.
In the biblical foundations paper, I present to readers that Paul never meant to belittle the gifts of speaking in tongues during his discourse on prophesying in the context of 1 Corinthians 13–14. One of the major themes in the book of 1 Corinthians is to love others and avoid causing others who are weak in conscience to stumble. While the application of this verse pertains to eating meat, it also applies to whether we should speak in tongues in congregational meetings. Paul was not against speaking in tongues, but he preferred that someone refrain from doing so if it were to cause other believers to stumble. If people speak in tongues, they should be interpreted. In this case, these tongues would become prophecies that are able to build up others. It is important to note that Paul told the believers not to forbid speaking in tongues. Paul’s burden for building up the congregation of believers through prophecy is further investigated through word studies in the biblical foundations paper.
In the historical foundations paper, John Nelson Darby is used to connect both the LCM and charismatic churches in my discussion on the charismatic gifts and the pursuit of holiness. Darby had a significant impact on the LCM regarding the pursuit of holiness and efforts of abandoning the way of the world to be closer to Christ. Facts about him which are lesser known are also discussed in this paper. The Plymouth Brethren movement led by Darby exhibited sparks of Pentecostal outpourings through evidential manifestations of speaking in tongues, healings, and prophecies as practiced in Edward Irving’s church. Unfortunately, Darby’s cessationist viewpoint contributed to the disappearing of this early Pentecostal fire. Irving’s personal errors also contributed to its disappearing.
In the theological foundations paper, I share theological perspectives from charismatic doctrine to demonstrate that prophets and prophecy still exist today. I have listed modern–day prophets and their stories to support the proposal that the prophetic gifts are genuine, and that God supports their use in modern church congregations. In many evangelical churches including LCM churches, foretelling prophecy is often mislabeled and misunderstood. My own breakthroughs involving the practice of foretelling prophecy have enabled me to hear God’s voice better and encourage and build up others more accurately. This project is written in such a way that the following hypothesis is supported and defended: if believers in the LCM and other evangelical churches are taught how to hear God’s voice using the biblical training and doctrine used in Charismatic denominations, then these believers will be better equipped to hear God’s voice and increase in their ability to prophesy in a foretelling manner. This includes the ability to foretell prophesy.
The theoretical foundations paper discusses the concept of unlearning, which is often used in the fields of psychology and education. It is essential to unlearn antiquated concepts that block one from learning new things, especially biblical concepts of truth. Paul had to unlearn his paradigm of what it meant to serve God. To serve God is not to persecute Christians. Peter had to unlearn his paradigm that believing gentiles were unclean. Both Paul and Peter experienced visions and prophetic encounters that turned their lives upside down. Prophetic words are one of the greatest vehicles to help someone unlearn outdated or inerrant concepts. My personal testimony to the efficacy and validity of foretelling prophecy is the birth of this project. The papers serve as support for the labor and delivery of my hypothesis that every believer, after proper biblical training and practice, can hear God and foretell prophesy for the edification of the body of Christ.
This project was carried out based on a qualitative research model. The subjects comprise seven individuals, four of whom are former LCM members; one current LCM member; one member from another Chinese Evangelical church; and another member of our own home Bible study who was saved among us. The one member from our group had no prior interactions with Evangelical or Charismatic denominations. The small number of research subjects did not afford me the opportunity to use a quantitative model effectively, but it worked great to combine ethnography and narrative approaches. According to Creswell,
Qualitative research is an approach for exploring and understanding the meaning individuals or groups ascribe to a social or human problem. The process of research involves emerging questions and procedures, data typically collected in the participant’s setting, data analysis inductively building from particulars to general themes, and the researcher making interpretations of the meaning of the data.
Creswell outlines five basic approaches for qualitative studies. These include narrative research, phenomenological research, grounded theory research, ethnographic research, and case study research. These approaches may be combined to form a qualitative study. The focus for narrative research is to “explore the life an individual.” For phenomenological research, researchers aim to “understand the essence of the experience,” while for grounded theory research, the researcher strives to “develop a theory grounded in data from the field.” The essence of ethnographic research is “to describe and interpret a culture–sharing group” and case study research works to “develop an in–depth description and analysis of a case or multiple cases.”
This project does not involve much phenomenological research or grounded theory research methods. It mainly employs narrative research and ethnographic research methods, and to a certain extent, case study research. According to Creswell, researchers using narrative research collect stories of individuals about their lived experiences. This project was carried out during six weeks of training modules. Although this is not conducive to collecting research to write a narrative, I have personally known the participants for many years and, therefore, have narratives on their lives that predate the formal testing of this project. I may not have an entire narrative of their lives, but I do have substantial prior knowledge. This former knowledge was integrated with other information on my subjects from the questionnaires, group discussions, and interviews carried out in the six weeks of formal training.
Regarding the subjects, it is important to note that all of them are Chinese immigrants from China who now currently reside in the United States of America. Among these subjects, most of them were saved in the LCM denomination which added an extra element to the aspect of a culture–sharing group. These common experiences may serve as a catalyst for other Christians of LCM churches to receive training on how to prophesy according to the model explained and employed in the Charismatic denomination. Another culture–sharing group experience is that most Chinese Evangelical Christians like my participants hold common misconceptions about the gift of prophecy. The subjects’ collective experiences and their transformation may help Chinese Evangelical Christians like themselves to recognize the need and power of the prophetic gifts.
In my research, I used interviews, surveys, and group discussions to accompany the teaching on six different topics related to prophesying in the modern church context. The same list of questions in the pre and post surveys were sent to the subjects prior and following the six weeks of training in order to collect relevant changes after the training. For those who were not able to join the six weeks of training, the recordings were sent to them for listening, and a follow–up interview was performed with each person. Interviews were recorded via Zoom.
One person had not met regularly with our home Bible group throughout the years, so he did not receive many of the similar teachings and exercises I taught on during those groups. He is currently an LCM member and only became acquainted with me through sporadic participation in my virtual online study programs. He was not able to join the entire training in person. One other participant could not show up to the last meeting, so the recording was also sent to him along with an interview that was carried out after he listened to the recordings. He is a new believer, and data on him reveals that the training he received was new to him. Two other former LCM members could not join the training in–person, so I sent the recordings to them in an online video format. Interviews with them were carried out afterward. All three participants who joined the study offline were still required to fill out the pre and post surveys.
The six topics were (1) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit: How It Enables Believers to Hear God and Equips Believers to Prophesy; (2) The Gifts of the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Prophecy Explained Part 1: Forthtelling; (3) The Gifts of the Holy Spirit: The Gift of Prophecy Explained Part 2: Foretelling; (4) The Benefits and Importance of Prophesying and Building A Prophetic Community; (5) The Common Ways God Speaks; and (6) How to Prophesy and Activation of Hearing and Speaking Forth. Each teaching session lasted fifty minutes in length. Based on participant responses, these teachings largely helped to untangle common misconceptions, demystify debatable topics in Scripture, and offer a clearer understanding of the prophetic gifts and their purposes.
Identifying the Participants
The implementation of this project involves a strategy of combining different denominational subjects. All subjects are the constituents of my home Bible group which I have led for over seven years. Participant 1 is my wife. Her name is Ruth. She was saved in the LCM in 2003 and stayed active in the LCM denomination for twelve years afterward. She testified to being shaped spiritually by LCM teachings. She also testified to experiencing many miraculous things prior to testing, including getting baptized in the Holy Spirit and having a miracle baby after ten years of infertility.
Participant 2 (John) and 3 (Carol) were also saved in the LCM in 2009. This married couple was not heavily involved with the LCM church for years but were also shaped spiritually by LCM teachings. Unlike Ruth who spent a lot of time participating in and observing the PSRP model and prophesying meetings in LCM churches, John and Carol did not participate in these vigorous trainings and practices in LCM settings. Person 4 (Joy) was also saved in an LCM church in 2013 and stayed a congregant there for several years afterward. She became a member of our home group when we were both still in the LCM denomination. She started to become interested in participating in Spirit–filled gatherings after I was introduced to Pentecostalism and shared my experiences with her.
Participants 1, 2, 3, and 4 all eventually left the LCM on their initiative. Person 5 (Ben) is currently a member of an LCM church. We became acquainted when he found my teachings online and connected with me via WeChat. He was interested in learning more about the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues, but he could not join us consistently due to opposition he faces at home for his participation in these teachings. Person 6 (Laura) was saved in a Chinese Evangelical church outside of the LCM. Although she was invited to join LCM meetings by Christian friends in the LCM, she never officially became a part of the LCM denomination. One of her reasons for this is because many Chinese Evangelical churches hold negative views toward LCM churches based on the history of Chinese Christianity. Her church was also very against Pentecostal and Charismatic churches and their teachings.
Laura never learned about prophesying nor the LCM’s PSRP model prior to this research. She only started to learn about topics such as the baptism of the Holy Spirit, speaking in tongues, prophesying (both foretelling and forthtelling) after she started to join my Bible study regularly. Person 7 (Tom) is a Christian brother who gave his life to Christ in our Bible study. He never participated in any Christian meetings outside of ours, but he was familiar with the teaching topics from my former teaching within the home group. These seven participants represent a unique expression of a larger group of people. They all have obtained a degree in higher education equal to or greater than a master’s degree; maintain a stable job in the USA; and are all immigrants from China . As mentioned, while they share some common characteristics, their spiritual backgrounds differ which made for diversified data collection.
The project was carried out in six weeks starting on April 18, 2021. The participants and researcher met online once a week. The training and group discussion were recorded each week. Four members were consistent in joining the online classes each week. Three members were not able to join us physically, but they completed interviews after listening to the recordings. Due to these changes, I added an additional two weeks to finish all interviews. The project was still completed within the time frame projected and allotted.
The topic of the first week revolved around the baptism of the Holy Spirit and how it enables believers to hear God and prophesy. Since most participants expressed experiencing feelings of shame for speaking in tongues loudly, they admitted to only speaking tongues inaudibly during their private prayer time. I shared that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not always an automatic experience following one’s conversion to Christ. We must pursue this gift and experience, and this is sometimes referred to as a second blessing. Misconceptions limit Christians from receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Some Chinese Churches teach that Christians are baptized in the Holy Spirit once and for all when receiving Christ because the Holy Spirit fell on the disciples at Pentecost.
The concept of receiving an evil spirit when asking for the baptism of the Holy Spirit also widely circulates among Chinese Evangelical churches and is even used to intimidate believers into not pursuing such a baptism. I shared my experience of being enlightened by Luke 11. If we ask for a fish from our earthly father, he will not give us a snake (Luke 11:11); if we ask for an egg, he will not give us a scorpion (Luke 11:12). Snakes and scorpions are types of evil spirits. Jesus says in verse 13, “If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” The Bible clearly tells us that if we ask our heavenly Father, He will surely give us the Holy Spirit. Jesus stated, “For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened” (Luke 11:10).
During this week of conversation, I also shared that having manifestations is not the determining factor for whether one has received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Our faith must arise to experience the breakthrough in both receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. Our discussions around common misconceptions were lively. Participants understood that receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit is crucial to activating the gift of prophecy. This is based on Scripture that believers started to prophesy and speak in tongues after they were baptized in the Holy Spirit (Acts 19:6). I encouraged all members to be hungry for and to seek the baptism of the Holy Spirit so they could hear God’s voice better and become activated in a prophetic gifting.
In the second meeting, all participants prayed with me to receive the Holy Spirit and speak in tongues. We proceeded to discuss the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and this is where I explained forthtelling prophecy. This practice employed in LCM churches teaches believers to meditate on the Word of God, and then use Scripture to edify the congregation publicly with what they learned. I shared different examples of forthtelling prophecy with the participants, and we discussed the benefits of this kind of prophecy. It is true that this kind of prophecy can help believers to a certain extent, but this kind of encouragement is not the same as a personally applicable, rhema word from the Spirit of God for a particular situation.
Participant 2 shared an interesting insight using an illustration of a western medicine model versus Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Many Chinese people use both methods to solve their medical needs. While they may visit a western hospital to solve an average medical problem, they will likely and often resort to TCM if and when a certain disease has no standard for treatment in western medical protocol. Herbs and acupuncture of TCM are known for solving difficult medical cases that western medicine cannot solve.
Participant 2 explained there is a standard way to speak the general Word of God to believers to help them to grow in life. However, this way is helpless when it comes to special cases or individual problems. Foretelling prophecy, rather, utilizes a different way of receiving personal inspiration and supernatural revelation from God including through dreams, visions, healings, and words of knowledge. Foretelling prophecy is more like TCM. Participant 2 proposed we should learn both ways of prophecy and combine these two forms to help believers become transformed by the written Word of God and through personal encounters with Him, including receiving rhema words.
Week three curriculum included a more in–depth conversation on foretelling prophecy. I briefly shared a timeline of the recovery of the gifts throughout church history, including conversation about the Latter Rain Movement and the Kansas City Prophetic Movement. We also discussed Edward Irving and Darby’s negative attitude toward the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I specifically shared my own experience of learning how to operate in a prophetic gift of foretelling prophecy.
During our group discussion, we focused on conversing about the positive and negative impacts of prophetic words. Many churches close their doors to prophecy because of issues caused by immature prophetic people. While recognizing the potential negative impacts related to the prophetic gift and its improper use, participant 2 still praises the value of a prophetic gift. He expressed that although the risk for negative impact is high, it should not become an excuse for dismissing the gift of prophecy altogether. This participant also testified to having his own prophetic experience where God spoke to his wife through a dream about staying in their physical location pre–Covid.
Participant 4 also acknowledged the positive impacts of this kind of prophecy, especially after hearing my testimony of our miracle baby. However, she became dismayed after not seeing the fulfillment of a prophetic word given to her regarding a future husband. She concluded that she should put her faith in God alone instead of someone’s prophecy. Participant 5 encouraged participant 4 that just because she has not seen the fulfillment of a prophecy does not mean it was wrong. Participant 5 came from an Evangelical church where prophetic gifts were often misunderstood and discouraged. Upon hearing our testimony, participant 5 became encouraged and open to the gift of prophecy.
In week four, we discussed the importance of building a prophetic community. We discussed the longings of humanity to connect with God in today’s postmodern society, and how prophecy is a doorway to this. There is necessity for building a prophetic community where everyone can prophesy especially because when they prophesy, they reveal the secrets of people’s hearts and God can be made known among them (1 Cor. 14: 25). I shared with group about a missionary and American prophet named Ron Sawka. He leads a ministry called Arise 5 in Japan. He led and trained a group of Japanese believers to prophesy, and together these Japanese believers run a prophetic coffee shop where Japanese persons can come to drink coffee and receive a prophetic word from believers who work there. Many Japanese people have been touched by their efforts.
Prophetic evangelism is a highly effective tool to preach the gospel. To create a prophetic community and utilize this great tool, we must train and teach more people to prophesy and become part of a prophetic community. Dan McCollam, co–founder of Bethel School of the Prophets writes in his book, Prophetic Company, “A prophetic company is a people who believe everyone can prophesy.” It is not only one or two prophets who can prophesy; everyone can indeed prophesy. McCollam testifies to witnessing many healings and miracles through the power of prophecy. Many Chinese people are longing to have encounters with God and being a prophetic person is an effective way to bridge the gap to connect people with God in a very short time.
During week five, we discussed the common ways God speaks. God speaks in many ways. God obviously speaks to us through Scripture and the prophets. Scripture is a compilation of what God spoke to some prophets in the Old Testament and some apostles in the New Testament. There are prophets such as Judas and Silas (Acts 15:32) and Agabus (Acts 11:28) in the New Testament as well. When receiving dreams and visions, we may receive a revelation from God or be deceived by Satan. Even in receiving a revelation from God, one may still make errors in interpreting and applying the revelation.
I shared a personal example of how I wrongly interpreted a prophetic dream from God. Thankfully, God led me to the correct path through more dreams, prophetic words, inner speaking, and through my environment. Through this personal story, I showed the participants the necessity of balancing the recognition of the inner voice of the Holy Spirit, the leading of God through our environment, the speaking from people around us, and prophetic dreams and prophetic words from others. After I shared my testimony, group members shared their experiences with hearing God. Participant 6 had limited experiences with hearing God, but he expressed that he is sometimes touched by reading the Bible or hearing others share biblical insights. He also stated he feels God speaking to him through his wife to be more patient with his children.
Participant 5, Laura, has been going though chemotherapy and experiencing a very difficult season. The Lord spoke to her one day through the Bible app that opened automatically to Psalm 18 on her phone when she restarted it after the battery died. Verses 18 and 19 state, “He reached down from on high, he took me; he drew me out of mighty waters. He brought me out into a broad place; he delivered me because he delighted in me.” Verse 33 reads, “He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights.” She felt God promised her that she will have a bright future. After joining our Bible study and hearing the testimonies about dreams and visions, participant 5 started to have more prophetic dreams. Even during her treatment, she had a powerful prophetic dream. Although these occurrences happened before Laura partook in this project, her experiences with such things increased after being introduced to material and training on the prophetic and hearing God’s voice.
Participant 4 shared how God spoke to her through an internal feeling at her job. She had a coworker who did not receive a high salary. One day she noticed that her coworker was wearing summer shoes in cold weather. She felt God speaking to her to buy her coworker shoes. When she did, the coworker was very thankful. Participant 4 later found out that her coworker spoke in tongues and was secretly attending a Chinese Pentecostal church for conferences and special events. This coworker received the baptism of the Holy Spirit there and introduced Joy to this church. Joy joined that church on Sunday and met the Korean prophet who prophesied to her about a future marriage.
The teaching for week six consisted of practical tools for prophesying and hearing God. One way to activate this gift is by praying a prayer of faith. The Bible states, “for everyone who asks receives” (Luke 11:10). Whether one desires to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit as evidenced by speaking in tongues or some other manifestation, or activation in the prophetic gifting, simply asking the Father to give it to us can be enough. This was the foundation of our activation session.
Another foundation for moving in the prophetic is love. I quoted from Psalm 139 to illustrate my point. David mentions that the number of thoughts God had for him outnumbered the grains of sand. God is our heavenly Father. Like any father on earth, He thinks of His children more than the children think of Him. Our heavenly Father is deeply in love with every one of His children. It is no wonder His thoughts toward them outnumber the sand. Being prophetic is like gaining access to some of that sand (thoughts of the love of God toward a certain person). God surely loves to share of his vast thought collection with you to encourage His other children. Based on these two principles, I had our group pray that the Holy Spirit would activate the prophetic gifts in everyone. Then, we started to prophesy to each other.
First, the whole group prophesied to participant 5, Laura. During prayer, participant 2 received a picture in his mind of a Japanese shishi-odoshi fountain. Water fills the hole of a bamboo stick and the bamboo sticks tips over when full, pouring out into the garden (Picture 1). Participant 4 also received an image of a lady in a garden with a big willow tree. The tree was full of falling green leaves. She heard the words, “You have suffered a lot, but you will be okay.” Although participant 5 did not fully understand the implications of these words, she said she felt comforted. I stepped in to give an interpretation of fountain picture. I felt it meant that her trial will be over soon and she will experience a turnaround in her life, just as the bamboo stick fills up and turns over to dispose of the water. This interpretation proved accurate until at least the timing of this writing. Laura’s doctor told her that recent tests do not show any cancer. Even when some nodules were found in her lungs, the doctor reaffirmed after more testing that she is fine.
Next, the group prophesied to Joy, participant 4. Participant 5 started to prophesy to Joy by saying she saw a swing hanging on a big tree. Golden sunshine hit the swing and Joy, like a baby girl, swung on the swing. A man stood behind pushing her, and it appeared to be the Lord. Participant 5 continued by sharing a message from Jesus: “Daughter, I know everything you’ve done. You should not blame yourself or look down on yourself. You should not condemn yourself or lock yourself up. With me, you will always be happy as a child. I will protect you on this swing. You need to be free, and you will be free.” After participant 5 finished, I tried to ask Joy what she thought about these words, but she could not stop herself from sobbing uncontrollably. When she was able to speak, Joy confirmed that she has been condemning herself a lot recently and this word touched her heart.
Participant 2 also shared an image he received of a lady with a wedding gown. I explained that this may be a confirmation that Joy will indeed eventually get married. Joy, although sad that this has not happened yet, confirmed that she believed these words were from the Lord because she also had a dream about it. In the dream, she saw a letter with the words written, “You will get married.” Both participant 2 and 5 (the ones that prophesied to participant 4) were saved in denominations that did not afford them experiences in prophesying before I introduced the prophetic gifts and teachings to them. They are simple and genuine persons, and during this project they were able to hear from the Holy Spirit and share their prophecies.
When we prophesied to participant 2 (John), participant 4 saw the word, “humble.” She said that God loves John for being a humble man. She also saw a picture in her mind of John standing before many students to teach. John replied that the revelation of ‘humble’ is correct, but Joy’s interpretation was off. John confessed that the Lord has been dealing with him about hidden pride, so he believed the word meant that God wants him to continue to remain humble.
Participant 5 saw John standing on the top of a mountain with a tree nearby. Someone led John to this place under the tree on the mountain top and showed him the view in front of him. That person asked John to look outward like Abraham did. He was encouraged to step out as far as he could and John would be given whatever he could see or his feet touched, just as God did with Abraham. From time to time, John feels very stressed in his job because he handles a lot of money every day. I encouraged him that the Lord is training him and may ask him to handle more money in the future to finance or manage the finances of the Kingdom that God has prepared. John confirmed that he was encouraged by God’s calling and training in his life, and he felt honored about serving God in a greater way in the future.
Participants 5 and 6 were not present during this meeting, so I had the group prophesy over them, and their responses are recorded in the interviews that followed. Participant 2 shared a picture of a man climbing on a mountain, but he was only halfway up and struggling to reach the top. Participant 4 saw an ocean and within the ocean there was a rope to provide guidance to persons. Participant 5 saw a beach with sunshine gleaning down and a small figure of a man. Although the participants did not have an interpretation of the pictures, I shared that I believed God was revealing that both participants are struggling in their lives, but God is offering help and hope.
After the meeting, I interviewed participants 5 and 6. I was surprised to find out that they were both very much touched by these prophecies. Participant 5 said that he was the man who climbed halfway up the mountain. He came from a rural area in China and was trying to advance in his work. Sometimes, however, he was not confident in himself and could not overcome hindrances. Although he has made some progress, he did not clearly know where he was going. The third picture with the sunshine on the beach offered him great hope. He was encouraged knowing that God is leading him even though he does not always feel His presence.
Participant 6 was touched by the second picture of the man in the ocean and the guiding rope. He told me it spoke exactly to him. He said he wants to love the Lord, but he often feels his flesh pulling him toward the world. He likened the world to the sea. That is, he often feels lost at sea. The rope represents the hope he is looking for. He felt hope rise in his heart through this prophetic imagery.
Summary of Learning
Seven pre and post surveys were sent and returned completed. There was a total of twelve questions. The first seven questions were open ended. The first one asked about each participant’s denominational background. Questions two through four addressed their understanding and experience in hearing God before and after the training. Questions five through seven inquired about the subjects’ understanding and experience with prophesying before and after the training.
The second half of questions (eight through twelve) were based on a scale of 0 to 4 with regard as to how a participant feels they hear from God. Question eight, for example, was written as: “Using a scale where 0 = never; 1 = rarely; 2 = occasionally; 3 = regularly; 4 = all the time, please rate the following question by your experience: I have heard God speak to me in a mystical way (dream, vision, thoughts, voice, etc.).” In the presurvey, 71.4% of the people said that they rarely heard God speak to them in a mystical way. The remaining 28.6% of the participants occasionally heard God speak to them in this way (Figure 1).
In the postsurvey, those who answered to rarely having heard God speak to them this way declined from 71.4% to 14.3%. Those who occasionally heard God in this manner increased from 28.6% to 71.4%. This data alone demonstrates that the training and group practice worked to increase the participants’ ability and confidence to hear from God via dreams, visions, thoughts and voices, etc. See Figure 2 below.
Question nine asked, “Using a scale where 0 = never; 1 = rarely; 2 = occasionally; 3 = regularly; 4 = all the time, please rate the following question by your experience: I have had a revelation where suddenly I knew something was going to happen and it did.” In the presurvey, 42.9% of participants said they never experienced this. Another 42.9% of the group responded that they rarely experienced this. Only 14.3% indicated that they occasionally had such an experience (Figure 3).
In the postsurvey, those who claimed to have never experienced knowing something was going to happen before it did, dropped down from 42.9% to 28.6%. Those who said they had rarely experienced this declined from 42.9% to 14.3%. Those who claimed that they occasionally had this experience grew from 14.3% to 42.9%. See Figure 4 below.
Question 10 stated, “Using a scale where 0 = never; 1 = rarely; 2 = occasionally; 3 = regularly; 4 = all the time, please rate the following question by your experience: I believe God speaks to people in ways that they know what will happen in the future.” In the presurvey, 85.7% said they believed God occasionally speaks to people in such ways regarding the future. Only 14.3% believed God speaks this way to people regularly (Figure 5).In the postsurvey, those who believed God occasionally speaks in futuristic ways decreased from 85.7% to 28.6%. Those who believed God regularly speaks this way increased from 14.3% to 57.1% (Figure 6).
Question 11 asked the participants, “Using a scale where 0 = Strongly disagree; 1 = Disagree; 2 = Somewhat Agree; 3 = Agree; 4 =Strongly Agree, please rate the following question by your experience: I believe if I can hear God speaking to me more clearly, it will help me grow closer to God.” In the presurvey, 14.3% of the people somewhat agreed that hearing God’s voice will help them grow closer to God. About half of the participants (57.1%) agreed that hearing God’s voice will help their relationship with God. The remaining 28.6% of the group strongly agreed to this statement (Figure 7).
In the postsurvey, those who somewhat agreed with this statement decreased from 14.3% to 0%. That is, this person became convinced that growing in their ability to hear God would allow them to grow closer to Him. Those who agreed with this viewpoint originally decreased from 57.1% to 14.3%, and those who strongly agreed with this statement in the beginning increased from 28.6% to 85.7%. These numbers demonstrate a drastic change in the subjects’ viewpoints on hearing God’s voice and thus affecting their ability to get closer to God. See Figure 8 below.
The final question asked, “Using a scale where 0 = Strongly disagree; 1 = Disagree; 2 = Somewhat Agree; 3 = Agree; 4 = Strongly Agree, please rate the following question by your experience: I believe if I can hear God speaking to me more clearly, it will help me to foretell prophesy.” The presurvey results show that 28.6% of the participants somewhat agreed that hearing God’s voice would help them to foretell prophesy. About half, 42.9%, of the group agreed with this statement while 28.6% of them strongly agreed with this statement (Figure 9).
In the postsurvey, those who indicated that they somewhat agreed to this statement decreased from 28.6% to 0%. Those who agreed declined from 42.9% to 14.3% and those who strongly agreed drastically increased from 28.6% to 85.7%. These results demonstrate that subjects’ attitudes changed toward prophecy after this training (Figure 10). They now believe that hearing God’s voice will cause them to prophesy.
Receiving the Baptism of the Holy Spirit
By the end of the project, all participants testified to having received a baptism of the Holy Spirit. Participant 1, Ruth, already had a dramatic experience of receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit prior to testing. In a dream, she spoke with the pastor of a Charismatic church she attended. He approached her and asked if she wanted to receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She agreed and he laid hands on her. She started to tremble and shake uncontrollably in the dream and thus received a powerful baptism of the Holy Spirit. She testified that from that time on, she no longer doubted she had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. She also testified to speaking in tongues although she did not practice this gift often.
John and Carol also received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. John recalled feeling the weight of God’s presence in the atmosphere around him. Carol felt tingling in her face when the presence of the Holy Spirit was present. Joy had also already received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but she admitted that she did not speak in tongues often. Laura testified to receiving the Holy Spirit and practicing speaking in tongues earnestly. When she is unsure of how to pray about the difficulties she is facing, she now fervently prays in tongues and believes that this practice helps increase her faith. She thanked me for introducing this gift to her.
Tom, participant 6, said he felt something when I prayed for him to receive the Holy Spirit, but he did not have any physical manifestation. He admitted to feeling shy about speaking in tongues among the louder voices of others. Participant 7, Ben, listened very carefully to the recordings. Although he was somewhat familiar with these teachings, he had never experienced any changes in his personal life due to them. However, this time (in our testing) he received a breakthrough in his faith and understanding which resulted in receiving the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He also started practicing praying in tongues on his drive to work.
Increase in the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
Participant 1 said that prior to testing, she was able to discern people’s motives even if they hide their true intentions. She explained this to be more of intuition or feeling in her consciousness. After participation in this project, she experienced an increase in her ability to discern spirits. She now feels when something is wrong or if there is an evil presence around. Participants 3 and 5 testified to an increase in prophetic dreams and understanding of these dreams. Their ability to interpret prophetic dreams increased. All subjects testified to speaking in tongues after the training, though they do not practice on a regular basis.
Hearing God through Dreams
Some participants saw an increase in their ability to hear from God including in more ways than they have experienced before. Before the training, participant 1 only heard God during times of reading the Bible, prayer, or through an inner witness of the Holy Spirit. After the training, she testified to hearing from God sometimes through dreams. In her pre–interview, participant 3 said she used to have prophetic dreams about heaven, but she did not realize they were prophetic dreams. God already often spoke to her through prophetic dreams, and she saw an increase in these prophetic dreams after exposure to my teachings and testimonies on prophesy and the heavens.
Both participant 2 and 3 testified that one of my prophetic dreams about them greatly encouraged and comforted them. Participant 5 testified that she never had prophetic dreams before joining our group. She now often has prophetic dreams. Although participant 1 struggles with receiving restful sleep at night, she testifies to having some prophetic dreams after the training and or exposure to the prophetic teachings. Participant 4, Joy, was so encouraged by my teachings on prophetic gifts in past years, she started meeting with a prophetic teacher and pastor regularly to discuss her dreams and receive spiritual guidance from this pastor. This pastor has helped Joy to grow in spiritual maturity and her prophetic gift. Participant 6 testified that he still has not had any prophetic dreams. Participant 7 also said he is not a dreamer yet.
Increase in Understanding Prophecy
Collectively, the group testified to gaining a better understanding of the prophetic gifts, and my teachings helped them demystify harmful concepts and prejudices against the prophetic gifts. Participant 1 used to think that prophets are not legitimate prophets as in the days of the Old Testament, and that this is not a practice for today’s church congregation. Now, her view has changed. She acknowledges that God still speaks through prophets today and that not all prophets are false. She was particularly impressed with a lady named Lily who has a prophetic gift. Lily prophesied to participant 1 right after she found herself pregnant.
Participant 1 also shared another story during her interview in which she experienced the power of real prophecy among some prophetic people associated with the ministry of Mahesh Chavda. Participant 5 changed from someone who knew nothing about the prophetic to a promoter of the prophetic gifts. She still maintains good relationships with friends in her Evangelical churches, but she often argues with them that the prophetic gift is to encourage and build up others and is not of evil spirits. Although they disagree, she maintains her belief in the biblical rightness of prophecy.
Participant 6 did not understand the prophetic gift at all before the training because he was a new believer in Christ. He misunderstood the prophetic to be something like soothsaying which is a widespread practice in Chinese culture. He expressed in his interview that after the last teaching session, he has begun to understand that prophecy is for encouraging and building others up in love. Participant 7 expressed that he believes LCM churches and believers need to experience the power of true prophetic words and would benefit from having subjective encounters with God.
Activated to Prophesy
All participants demonstrated willingness to become activated in prophesying, and an increase in their ability to hear from God and prophesy to others after the training. Their prophecies had huge impacts on the receiving parties. This is demonstrated by the results of the last section of the training. However, one common characteristic among the group is that they did not deliberately seek opportunities to prophesy to others, especially strangers. They limited their use of this gift due to shyness or a lack of confidence in using it. Nevertheless, the concept that “everyone can prophesy and build up others” is substantiated by their participation and accuracy in the prophetic exercises we did together. I believe my participants can become bolder in exercising this gift.
Increase in Closeness to the Lord
All participants testified to a closer walk with Jesus and greater intimacy with God after the completion of the project. They claimed their spiritual lives have matured. The interview question aimed to delineate whether prophetic gifts helped them grow closer to God or if pursuing the gifts of the Holy Spirit carried them farther away from their focus on the Lord. Participant 1 said she became closer to God because she felt more of the realness of God through hearing Him. Participant 5 testified to being greatly encouraged by hearing the prophetic encounter my wife and I experienced with our baby girl. She also expressed an increase in comfort and courage because she was now able to hear God more through her own personal encounters. She now often spends time meditating on the Word of God and worshiping in the way she learned from the Charismatic denomination. In these moments, she feels the presence of the Holy Spirit.
Participants 2 and 3 both testified to now reading the Bible together every day and becoming more open to prophetic dreams from God. They felt they got closer to God and live more as Spirit–led believers in their jobs and church. Participant 4 also said she gained maturity after receiving these teachings, even though she was sometimes disappointed. Participant 6 said he would be willing to learn more about the Bible and prophetic gifts. He felt his growth was limited, but he desires to learn more. Participant 7 felt he received a lot of help through the teachings, especially because they are not available in LCM churches. Learning about the prophetic gifts caused him to feel that God is more real in his life. He expressed that only studying the Bible felt like reading a textbook. He longed for subjective experiences with God, and he now testifies to having had more subjective encounters with God since participating in this project. This is evidence of growing closer to God.
The project was a success by way of attendance. Everyone involved was very willing to cooperate, and I thank God for them. Even though I had a small number of participants, they represented the denominations I hoped to affect with this project. This qualitative study employed focus groups, surveys, and interviews for data collection purposes. My pre and post surveys presented questions with limited answer choices. In the future, I would include broader questions and answers to gain more data collection on my participants. This would allow me to track more of the participants’ attitude changes in other areas. I would also pursue enlisting a larger number of participants and enlisting more current LCM church members to join the project.
The original intention of this paper was to bring together the prophetic practices of both the LCM and the Charismatic denomination to form a more holistic biblical model of prophecy. That is, to combine Paul’s teaching on prophecy with the PSRP model used in LCM churches. However, in order to be accurate in my testing and results, I narrowed this project to specifically measure how people from Evangelical churches can grow in their ability to hear God and foretell prophesy if they were trained according to the model available in Pentecostal and Charismatic denominations. Therefore, this project did not include any comparisons with the PSRP model.
Overall, the interviews and surveys demonstrate that my participants could hear from God better after the training, and they demonstrated an ability to prophesy. My hypothesis is substantiated by the evidence. Spirit–filled believers can prophesy if taught to hear God accurately. This project will continue to live on in the ministry that I do through my home Bible study. I believe that LCM churches and congregants will one day be open to the baptism of the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and I hope this project could play a role in that awakening.
Arise Tokyo Christ Church. “About YOGEN CAFÉ.” Accessed November 6, 2021. https://yogencafe.com/about-yogen-cafe/.
Creswell, John W. and Cheryl N. Poth. Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design Choosing Among Five Approaches. 4th ed. London, UK: Sage Publications, 2018. Kindle.
Creswell, John W. and David J. Creswell. Research Design Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches.5th ed. Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2018. Kindle.
McCollam, Dan. Prophetic Company: The Joyful Journey Toward Building Prophetic Community. Vacaville, CA: Sounds of Nations, 2016. Kindle.
 John W. Creswell and Cheryl N. Poth, Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design Choosing Among Five Approaches, 4th ed. (London, UK: Sage Publications, 2018), 42, Kindle.
 John W. Creswell and J. David Creswell, Research Design Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, 5th ed. (Los Angeles, CA: Sage Publications, 2018), 4, Kindle.
 Creswell, Qualitative Inquiry, 67.
 Creswell, Qualitative Inquiry, 68.
 Arise Tokyo Christ Church, About YOGEN CAFÉ, accessed November 6, 2021, https://yogencafe.com/about-yogen-cafe/.
 Dan McCollam, Prophetic Company, The Joyful Journey Toward Building Prophetic Community (Vacaville, CA: Sounds of Nations, 2016), 64–65, Kindle.
 McCollam, Prophetic Company, 43.