WARNING: The Clerical System Is Out

In 1984, Mike Bickle claims to have heard the audible voice of the Lord that he was to call Bob Jones. So, he did. At that moment, Bob just had a vision of the dungeon where Joseph was imprisoned. As you may recall the story from Genesis, someone had tried to poison Pharaoh. Both the bread maker and the cup bearer were in prison until the culprit would be found. It turned out to be the bread maker. The bread maker was executed and the cup bearer was set free—and he eventually introduced Joseph to Pharaoh.

There have been two main ministries in the Body of Christ, the “wine” ministry (the work of the cup bearer), which speaks of the Spirit; and the “bread” ministry, which speaks of the Word of God. The Word of God can refer to Scripture, but it can loosely extend to include the words of preachers that help us learn about God and His Word. The Spirit ministry isn’t limited to Charismatic and Pentecostal circles. It also includes worship leaders, musicians, and song writers from nearly every denomination.

All denominational banter aside, there is little motive for Mike to have made up this story. His only conclusion is the message that, somehow, God will remove the “bread” ministry in the Body of Christ, just like the bread maker was found guilty and executed in the story of Joseph. The way Mike tells it, this is more of a warning than it is a reason to give him money.

Mike has not been extremely clear about what this judgment will look like, but he always emphasizes that “poisoned bread” means “teaching the Word of God without developing humility”. By that definition, this isn’t limited to Baptists—and it wouldn’t include all Baptists either. There are many arrogant Bible-know-it-all’s in the Christian world.

I suggest that “removal of the bread ministry” in the Church today means the removal of seminaries that produce clergy.

Does this mean that my own school, the Moody Bible Institute will cease to exist? I don’t think so. Moody has always been unique. While there is an ethos of Pharisaical arrogance on the campus, Moody students gravitate toward seeking truth and are willing to ax their own ideals if Scripture so proves.

More importantly, D. L. Moody founded the school, saying that they needed “gapmen” to stand between the preachers and the laity. Other leaders of the Institute knew that they could not rely on seminaries. Their practical field experience requirements remain unusually high, and their annual missions conference is one of the largest and most-reaching in the world. Moody will most likely last, though they may be shaken up a little. I’m sure they won’t mind, though.

About 18 months ago, Misty Edwards shared a word she received from the Lord along the same lines as Jones, “What’s it to you if I raise up a man, like an ax in my hand, to judge my Church. They lie. They lie about my Deity. They lie about my humanity. They lie about my first coming. They lie about my second coming. What’s it to you if I judge my Church?”

I think this is the same thing Jones had a vision about and that Bickle warned us about.

The Church is about to be shaken to the core. It’s for poisoning the “bread” ministry. And it means the removal of the clerical system once and for all. Then, as the Church, we’ll finally be able to get down to real business—and no longer business as usual.

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