Off the Charts

Off the Charts[1]

“Off the charts”—this is the phrase that opens the door for the prophets, prophetesses, and others who claim God, angels, or whatnot are speaking to them and revealing the future in “these last days,” because we are no longer in a time and place that the Bible covers, so it is no longer speaking to us.

The rationale is that, due to the fact that the end of history is upon us—an erroneous assumption that is nothing but speculation and based on nothing biblical at all—God is revealing details and events that are not described in the Bible.[2]

When questioned, the proponents of new extra biblical revelations respond, “How do you know God is not revealing new things to the Church?” and “How can you be so certain this is not happening now?” This form of questioning places people like me in a difficult place, since there is little to appeal to of a factual nature. I cannot point to studies, numbers, or other verifiable documentation to support my position. And, on the other hand, neither can those who are open to new revelations appeal to any objective evidence for their claims. Many of us will appeal to Revelation 22:18-19:

I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of the prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city which are described in this book.

Certainly the “off the charts” proponents will say that the admonition not to add or subtract from the Book of Revelation is merely an ancient form of copyright and is not applicable to the rest of the Bible and does not actually mean that one should not prophesy about these last days.

However, an examination of two other biblical passages suggests this concept to be at least questionable if not downright faulty. First, Deuteronomy 4:2: “You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God that I command you.” Second, Deuteronomy 12:32: “Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.” Thus it may be concluded that the warning not to add or subtract can equally be applied to the whole of Scripture.

Despite the obvious, those who are already trapped into believing the contemporary prophets will find it difficult to turn from and expose them. By trapped I mean, once a group or church commits to the words of its prophets about the future, naysayers will not be welcomed and minds will close.

Revelation 22:18-19 may in fact be an ancient form of stating, “Don’t touch this writing,” and legitimately so, as it is a thoroughly biblical warning. In addition, the attempt to justify “new improved truth” and revelations by the “thus saith the Lord” prophets ignores the fact that the Book of Revelation brings us right up to the grand finale, right to the Second Coming of Christ, the Day of Judgment, the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, the new heaven and the new earth—there is no more history after that, only eternity in the presence of God. And Revelation perfectly corroborates both what Jesus said in Matthew 24 and Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2.

The history, tradition, and councils of the Church down through the ages make it clear that the Bible is the sole source for Christian faith and practice. It has been the Protestant branch of the Church that has more carefully adhered to this policy, but now, however, we see this being largely abandoned by what I have sometimes called the Fourth Branch of Christianity, the charismatic/Pentecostal branch. It is here where we find the vast majority of those who declare we are off the charts and must open up to fresh words from God.

Sarah Young, Kat Kerr, Patricia King, Lorna Byrne, and many more

Jesus is talking to people now—so promises Sarah Young in Jesus Calling. It is very much like He is on the other end of the phone. Kat Kerr gives a constant flow of messages about what she just heard the other day, directly from God. Patricia King is in on it as well, the high priestess of prophetesses in the Bethel network, receiving messages from the Source. And one of these King predictions is that we are going to have a whole lot of contact with angels in 2015. And angels, being close to God, will be revealing many new things and imparting much needed wisdom. Though in a bit of a different category, the Irish lady Lorna Bryne is constantly, minute by minute, in touch with all sorts of angels and souls.

It is all okay, because we are off the charts. The Bible is not needed now; all we need is an angel, a direct call from Jesus, or even a chat with the Almighty in the “throne room” to find direction, comfort, and wisdom.

The persons mentioned above relate messages, however comforting and assuring, that are essentially false. Sarah talks about Jesus all the time; in fact, Jesus is the focus of the conversations. He is warm, comforting, and full of mercy, but of the ordinary human kind. There is something decidedly missing, namely the Jesus of the Bible. Kat Kerr is as spiritual as one can get, full of Bible phrases, and she loves Jesus. Patricia King is much the same, and all the Jesus talk is enough to convince most people that nothing could be the slightest bit wrong. Lorna Byrne, well she is far from sounding like an evangelical Bible believer, but she does throw in a “Jesus” or two from time to time. Are Christians being deceived? The answer is, they are.

Philpott, why are you writing this?

I am alarmed when I see Christians falling into deception, especially when those who promote and champion these deviations represent such a large swath of the Christian community. Since these views are widely and publically disseminated, it invites people like me to make comment. That is the way it is in a free society.

Five of Sarah Young’s books are among the top twenty-five best selling Christian books in 2014. Kat Kerr is a sensation wherever she travels and is currently on a world tour. Patricia King is easily the most respected and popular prophetess in the Bethel/IHOP/Kansas City Prophets/Morning Star/Toronto-Arnott network, as is made evident in her many YouTube videos. Lorna Byrne is big in the UK and is attracting many new adherents. Her books, Angels in My Hair, Stairways to Heaven, and A Message of Hope from the Angels are all on the bestseller lists in the UK. She is now making an impact in America as well.

Now you understand why I am writing this. And there is one more reason.

I am the pastor of a church; I have a congregation to care for. I read John 10:7-18, and I find Jesus cautioning about wolves who would harm the sheep. Then I read Paul’s warning to the elders of the church at Ephesus:

Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to care for the church of God, which he obtained with his own blood. I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock, and from among your own selves ill arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them. Therefore be alert…   Acts 20:28-31a

Concluding remark

This type of warning is something in which I wish I did not have to engage; there is enough work already. I find myself in solidarity with Jude 3: “Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.”


[1] This discussion is intramural in nature, that is, between Christians.

[2] This is not the only period in history that Christians have supposed theirs was the last generation and that Jesus’s Second Coming was imminent.