By Elizabeth Prata
Have you noticed how many false movements and cults were started by women? And these women started them because they claim a voice told them to? A lot. It’s a pattern.
In the 1830s, Ellen G. White received visions that she claimed were from God and soon were accepted as such. She founded the Seventh-Day Adventist movement that has 18 million adherents today.
In 1901 Agnes Ozman was attending at Charles Fox Parham’s Bethel Bible School in Topeka, Kansas. Parham was teaching that students should seek the gift of tongues so that if they were to become a missionary, they could jump right in to the field knowing the language. One day, Ozman spontaneously began speaking in a tongue that Parham insisted was Chinese. Though language experts examined the writing (her ‘tongue utterances’ had been transcribed and then published in a newspaper) the experts claimed it bore no resemblance to Chinese. Nevertheless, more and more students at Parham’s School claimed tongues, and by 1909 the Los Angeles Charismatic revival led by former student of Parham’s, William Seymour, saw over 50,000 claiming the gift of tongues. Ozman is credited with sparking the modern Pentecostal-Holiness movement.
In the 2000’s, IF:Gathering founder Jennie Allen was busy being a stay at home mom when one day,
or night, she corrected herself, God spoke, er, whispered she corrected again, audibly to her. “I want for one second to give you a behind-the-scenes of where this all came from. About 7 years
ago, a voice from the sky, doesn’t often speak to me, but that day, there was this whisper. It was the middle of the night actually, and it was ‘gather and equip this generation.” ~Jennie Allen, founder of IF:Gathering.
The Commission was given to the church to gather and equip each generation of believers, but Allen believed God chose her to start an extra-church movement to do what He had previously commissioned the church to do- just as Ozman believed God suddenly delivered the Chinese language to her brain and White believed He appeared to her personally in visions.
Joanna Gaines had two small kids when she started her first Magnolia store. The one day God audibly and quotably re-directed her to stay at home for a few years, THEN he was going to fulfill her dream of building her home decor empire, He audibly promised (Joanna claims). All this came true later, even though when Joanna steed out to gain the ‘platform’ God had promised, she still had two more small kids at home. The ‘movement’ that Gaines sparked was the Waco, TX Magnolia Silos. She and her husband appeared on HGTV for many years, wrote books, and managed other aspects of their empire, while speaking to the public about the importance of stay at home biblical motherhood. Her movement was an unfortunate distortion of what biblical motherhood actually is and now represents a negative example of how to mix ambitious business dreams with being a mom, and motherhood gets second shift. Her secular-biblical mixture of a movement was started because a voice promised her that she’d become famous, have a platform, and her empire would grow beyond her imagining, all her dreams come true, if she’d just compromise and stay at home for a couple of years.
Beth Moore apparently hears from God/Jesus/Spirit frequently. Her lack of fear about making prophecies, pronouncements, and putting words in His mouth He didn’t say is scary in the extreme. Moore can be ‘credited’ with advancing into the most conservative quarters of the faith the notion of hearing directly from God.
If a voice from the sky says something to you audibly, suspect it. Suspect it hard. If the voice is assuring you that this is legit, ignore. If the voice it assuring you it won’t interfere with the kids, ignore. Genesis 3:15 after all.
Women who defend the ‘God told me’ voice point to the ‘success’ of the movement founded on such a voice. In fact, Jennie Allen was unsure if the voice from the sky was actually God, but a friend told her that IF it is, then He will give you her that she needs to succeed. But doesn’t satan have the ability to propagate success and give things to support his agenda? Exhibit A: Pharaoh’s wizards and Simon the Magician could do miracles. He gives smooth speech, Romans 16:18. He can do all that and more. So not only is the voice not from God, but neither is the success.
They think that the huge numbers of attendees, the waves of adherents, the long-lastingness of it means God surely is behind it. Not so. Look at Catholicism. It’s been 2000 years almost and satan’s greatest counterfeit is still going strong. Islam- started by a man named Muhammad who heard a voice while he was in a cave. Huge numbers. Long lasting. Nevertheless: false.
William Carey labored 41 years in India and after all that time ‘only’ had 700 converts in a country of millions. Yet his work laid the foundation for many more to come.
Dr. William Leslie labored for 17 years in the Congo, and returned home believing the mission had been a failure. He died a few years later disheartened. Yet 84 years later a thread of thriving reproducing churches was discovered all up and down the Vanga River. The seeds Leslie had planted grew and grew yet was unremarked and hidden in the jungle all this time.
God’s definition of success is not our definition of success. He has the long view. He sees hearts. He has appointed converts in cities all around, (Acts 18:10) we know not who they are at first, or ever, if that be His will.
Hearing audible voices promising success, or dreams come true, or delivering prophecies to women is suspect in the extreme. Yes, I am aware that many men have started movements and cults, not just women. I noted the origin of Islam was from Muhammad haring a voice, and there’s Joseph Smith the Mormon, and others. Yet, Adam sinned but Eve was deceived. (1 Timothy 2:14).
It should be apparent that any ‘voice’ telling women to go away from their husbands, or starting up a movement, or becoming something other than a mother – especially if they already are one – is a deceiving voice. Don’t listen. Read!
Michelle Lesley – Rock Your Role, series