A Prophet’s Crazy Wisdom By Dr. Randall Verarde PHD
I wandered into an evangelistic crusade near the U.C. Berkeley campus in 1972 and was born again. Three years later I was working with the young man who snatched me from the fire and led me to Christ. Mario Murillo had established Resurrection City to raise up hundreds of young people like myself who were being delivered from the mean streets of the Bay Area.
We hit those streets and confronted young people bound by many deceptions with the love of Christ. Chief among those deceptions were exotic teachings from the East.
What does that have to do with what the Church is facing today? Everything! Mark Twain once said that “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.”
With equally exotic names such as Muktananda, Da Free John, and Chogyam Trungkpa, the saffron-robed gurus, smelling of incense, pandered their mystical teachings to young hippies with slogans such as, “You are the One you are seeking.” Dubbed “crazy wisdom” by its critics, these gurus advocated total excess and practiced the same with their disciples. It was hip and cool. And deadly! Needless to say, the message of Christ followed by solid teaching
of the Word of God delivered many young people from the grip of a mass deception.
What does that have to do with what the Church is facing today? Everything! Mark Twain once said that “History never repeats itself, but it does often rhyme.” The exotic has made its appearance in our time, not in the form of saffron-robed gurus but of home-grown, self-appointed
prophets. Do we have the discernment to distinguish sound biblical teaching from the devil’s attempt to repackage “crazy wisdom” in a more palatable form?
The exotic has made its appearance in our time, not in the form of saffron-robed gurus but of home-grown, self-appointed
A small group of modern “prophets” are claiming to bring “new revelation” to the Church. Is it new or the same old lie in a new guise? The serpent told Adam, “You shall be as God, knowing good and evil.” His message hasn’t changed much. The appeal to our vanity and religious ego is always alluring. We must ask ourselves, “are the new ‘prophets’ teaching truth or
appealing to our itching ears?”
There are certainly those preaching prophetically in the Church today. But all that glitters is not gold. Each teacher and each teaching must be judged on its merits. Is their teaching biblical? Are they handling scripture responsibly? Is their argument compelling?
I’ve chosen to assess a recent presentation* by Robin Bullock, a self-identified prophet, with those questions in mind.
I’ve chosen to assess a recent presentation* by Robin Bullock, a self-identified prophet, with those questions in mind. In that presentation Bullock argues at length for the legitimacy of today’s prophets, even those who’s message may appear outlandish. Is his teaching biblical? Is his description of the prophetic compelling? Or is it more like “crazy wisdom” dressed in new garb?
On this occasion Bullock was introduced by the host pastor as a “powerful prophet of God” and “a deep well.” He emerged from the darkened side stage dressed in black, sporting a full-length leather coat, scarf, necklace, multiple rings, his long hair tied back into a half ponytail, carrying his “prophet’s” staff, a worn bible, and his notebook. First, he spoke to the prophets:
you must be steeped in the scriptures so that your prophecies follow the prophetic pattern laid out there. So far so good.
Bullock gave three examples of the prophetic pattern in scripture. The first was a “new” interpretation of the Good Samaritan story, which he claimed God had given him. In fact, his interpretation was neither new nor original. It came from two medieval Catholic priests, Origen and Augustine. They were early practitioners of the allegorical method—a way of interpreting the Bible to find hidden meanings beyond its literal sense.
Without acknowledging his medieval predecessors, Bullock explained that the man on a journey who fell among thieves was Adam, and the Good Samaritan was Jesus!
Without acknowledging his medieval predecessors, Bullock explained that the man on a journey who fell among thieves was Adam, and the Good Samaritan was Jesus! Taking the man to the innkeeper, who represents the Holy Spirit, the Good Samaritan promised to pay his expenses
when he returns in two days. Those two days represent the 2,000-year church age! And so on.
Unfortunately, God failed to tell Bullock he wasn’t the first to see through the story’s literal meaning to its mystical interior.
In fact, he completely overlooked the story’s plain but powerful message:
In fact, he completely overlooked the story’s plain but powerful message: A Samaritan became a neighbor to a Jew in need, giving him aid in defiance of longstanding ethnic animosities. But Bullock’s allegorical interpretation of the story did appear to demonstrate his claim that prophets such as himself are able to reveal the “hidden things” of scripture to the Church. Is that true?
There are several problems with this` teaching. First, it was not original despite Bullock’s claim to the contrary. We call that plagiarism. Second, the allegorical method has a long and sordid history in the Church. It was so abused in the Middle Ages that even the Catholic Church moved away from it because it tended to obscure rather than clarify the Gospel. In fact, Luther’s protest took aim at the elaborate allegories invented by the priests. Protestantism was built on the principle of understanding the plain sense of scripture, first and foremost. Bullock’s first example was not convincing. Perhaps his second would be better.
Bullock’s first example was not convincing.
`Bullock’s second example went like this: If God declares the end from the beginning and Genesis is the book of beginnings, then you should be able to read Revelation forward and Genesis backward! Bullock worked his way through the highlights of Revelation—the Beast’s mark, the tribulation, the rapture, Christ’s return, etc.—moving step-by-step across the stage as he
He then began to work backward from Genesis 7, moving back across the stage as he did: Noah is the end of the age; Enoch is the rapture; the Mark of Cain is the mark of the Beast, and so on. Here’s another prophetic secret! The Bible can be read forward AND backward! You see?! There are things in scripture you know nothing about! But God shows them to the “prophets” who reveal them to you!
Like his first example, this one also had its problems. Nowhere are we directed by scripture to read it backwards in order to derive hidden insights from it. Moreover, backward reading is an occult practice made popular by Aleister Crowley of the Golden Dawn mystical cult—another in a long line of “crazy wisdom” gurus. Crowley urged his followers to learn to read, talk, and walk backwards. The “law of reversal,” as it was called, was designed to overturn everything his followers thought they knew so he could overwrite it with “new” ideas.
Nowhere are we directed by scripture to read it backwards in order to derive hidden insights from it.
I cannot read his mind or intentions, but Bullock seemed to be doing something similar. The modern “prophets” like Bullock see through the literal words of scripture to its hidden dimension. You need them to reveal it to you! That is their claim. But does it hold up? Bullock’s third example of things hidden in the Bible was the Bible Code! Made popular by Michael Drosnin in 1997, it purports to find hidden messages in the Hebrew Old Testament that describe current events using a computer- generated skip-letter sequence.
Drosnin used the Code to find a prophecy describing Yizhak Rabin’s assassination. He tried to warn Rabin, but was unsuccessful, and Rabin was assassinated as the Code predicted. In telling the story, Bullocks failed to mention that Drosnin’s claims and methodology have been thoroughly discredited (see Wikipedia “Bible Code”).
Using the Code as his justification, Bullock went on to claim that everyone’s name is written in the Bible! Oh yes! Because, you see, God revealed to Bullock that the Lamb’s Book of Life is the none other than the Bible itself! Therefore, every believer’s name is written in it, and if you have the right code sequence, you can find your name in the Bible! Because, you see, there are things hidden in the Bible that you know nothing about, and you need prophets like Bullocks to reveal them to you! Needless to say, at that point he has stretched credulity to the breaking point.
Using the Code as his justification, Bullock went on to claim that everyone’s name is written in the Bible!
Bullock then got specific about various strange things that “prophet” Kat Kerr claims to have seen in heaven, including a mountain of Jell-O. Can’t find that in the Bible? Bullock asked. How about this? When the Jews crossed the Red Sea, the water heaped up and “congealed.”
“I’ve got one word for people who start talking about a (prophet). You had better watch your mouth. You better watch your mouth. You ought to repent for attacking a prophet! The Lord didn’t take it lightly. He didn’t. He didn’t like that. You are going to have to stop talking about prophets when you don’t understand what they are.”
Bullock then got specific about various strange things that “prophet” Kat Kerr claims…
Was Bullock’s allegorical, backward, coded reading of scripture an attempt to overwrite established doctrine with “new revelation”? Was his teaching biblical? Was his handling of scripture responsible? Was his rebuke of Kat Kerr’s critics appropriate when the Bible instructs us to judge the prophets? “Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge” (I Cor. 14:29).
The answer is clear. His message was not prophetic and he is no prophet!
He did not preach the Gospel. He went from medieval Catholic mysticism, to the occult “law of reversal,” to fake Bible Codes. If this is “new revelation,” we should reject it! God is not disclosing hidden mysteries to a select group of modern prophets and their followers. We are not called to see through the Gospel of Jesus to hidden revelations or Bible Codes. Christ is not a
hidden allegory, he is the revealed Son of God! The Gospel isn’t written in code that requires a modern prophet to explain it. It is disclosed in scripture and proclaimed by the Church.
The answer is clear. His message was not prophetic and he is no prophet! He did not preach the Gospel. He went from medieval Catholic mysticism, to the occult “law of reversal,” to fake Bible Codes.
There is nothing hidden pertaining to our salvation that hasn’t already been revealed.
“Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith— to God, alone wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen. (Romans 16:25-27)
Bullock and those like him are leading naïve Christians over a cliff.
Bullock and those like him are leading naïve Christians over a cliff. Don’t be fooled by “prophets” hawking crazy wisdom masquerading as “secret knowledge” and “new revelations.” We’ve been here before! And like before, all that glitters is not gold. And all that claims to be prophetic is not Truth.