During the past three years, Americans were made aware of the sexual and financial misdealings of two prominent television evangelists. These scandals were covered in depth by the national news media. ABC’s Nightline featured a special panel of ministers called together by Ted Koppel to discuss reconciliation in the Body of Christ. Unknown to the panelists, however, the program was to be entitled “The Billion Dollar Pie.”
In the wake of these scandals, a construction worker was heard to say, “If Jesus Christ was alive today, He’d drive out all these guys with a whip, just like He did to those money changers in the temple.” Although this man did not profess to be a born-again Christian, his analysis was partially accurate. Jesus Christ is alive today, and He is shaking and purging His house!
In 1987, the Lord revealed His sovereign power by exposing ministries which were involved in hidden sin. The Bakker and Swaggart ordeal only scratched the surface of a Church rife with immorality and greed. One denomination reported that year that it had more cases of church discipline involving ministers in sexual immorality than ever before. It became clear that the Lord was purging self-promotion, lust, and greed from the Church.
Outside the churches, the perception gained through the news media was one of sudden devastation. But as far back as 1983, God had been warning about coming judgments in the Church. One of these warnings was given by David Minor in the mid-1980s:
“The Spirit of God would say to you that the wind of the Holy Spirit is blowing through the land. The Church, however, is incapable of fully recognizing this Wind. Just as your nation has given names to its hurricanes, so I have put My Name on this Wind. This Wind shall be named HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD. For this Wind has been sent to blow through every institution that has been raised in My Name.
“In those institutions that have substituted their name for Mine, they shall fall by the impact of My Wind. Those institutions shall fall like cardboard shacks in a gale. Ministries that have not walked in uprightness before Me shall be broken and fall. For this reason, man will be tempted to brand this as a work of Satan, but do not be misled. This is my Wind. I cannot tolerate My Church in its present form, nor will I tolerate it.”
God’s mandate for the Church in the ’80s was drastic and succinct in view of coming judgment. There was a strong call to repentance directed to all Christian leaders: “Take some time off to let God search your heart – Get a revelation of Who Jesus Christ really is – After you can truly say that you know Him, you may bring your ministry back in a new and refined form.”
Jim Bakker had been repeatedly approached by ministers within his denomination about issues concerning his personal conduct, and improprieties within the PTL ministry. But Bakker had refused to submit to their counsel. Jimmy Swaggart’s good friend, David Wilkerson, had approached the televangelist prior to his downfall, saying he believed God was about to close down his ministry. Several years before, Wilkerson himself had closed his internationally-known ministry in New York City in order to withdraw and seek fresh direction from God. Wilkerson has repeatedly admonished ministers, “The one-man shows are over. The people won’t have it.”
Paul Cain, a minister who was prominent in the Healing Revival of the 1940s and 50s, recently reappeared in a public ministry role. Cain says many of the problems that plague the public ministries of today – pride, lust, greed, competition, and jealousy – also riddled the ministries of preachers during that earlier period. Cain was so grieved by the state of the Church during that time that he withdrew from public ministry for over 25 years.
Men such as Paul Cain are beginning to proclaim a new message for the Church which emphasizes humility, servanthood, and modest living … rather than the extravagance and arrogance which characterized so much of Christian ministry in the 1980s.
Many other emerging leaders in the Church are predicting a wave of healing and restoration in the Church in the 1990s which will bring significant awakening. This “second wind” was also a part of David Minor’s prophecy:
“Be not dismayed. For after this, My wind shall blow again. This wind will blow in equal force as the first wind. This wind too will have a name. It shall be called THE KINGDOM OF GOD. The world will laugh at you because of the devastation of the first wind, but they will laugh no more. For this wind will come with force and power that will produce the miraculous among my people and the fear of God shall fall upon the nation.
“Know this also: there will be those who shall seek to hide from this present wind. But again, they will be blown away by it. Only those who have turned their faces into the present wind shall be allowed to be propelled by the second wind. You have longed for revival and a return of the miraculous and supernatural. You and your generation shall see it, but it shall only come by My process, says the Lord.
“The Church of this nation cannot contain My power in its present form. But as it turns to the wind of the holiness of God, it shall be purged and changed to contain My glory. This is judgment that has begun in the house of God, but it is not the end. When the second wind has come and brought in My harvest, then the end shall come.”