Vineyard Adopts Kansas City Prophecy….Circa 1990

    John Wimber, leader of Anaheim, California-based Vineyard
Ministries, released a 15-point statement in late June listing
errors he found at the controversial Kansas City Fellowship
(KCF). This article was dated Fall of 1990. Treat it as such.

    A short time later, Ernest Gruen -- pastor of the Full Faith
Church of Love in Shawnee, Kansas -- released a letter
apologizing for "any unnecessary pain that I have caused" in
charging the 3,000-member, six-church KCF and its leaders with
"charismatic heresy." He also retracted three questionable
charges he had brought against the KCF, while affirming the
essential accuracy of his documentation. He released the
situation into Wimber's hands for correction.

    Many leading voices in the charismatic movement are glad the
matter is apparently coming to a resolution. The battle between
Gruen (with his allies) and the KCF has been among the most
cantankerous to strike the movement in years.

    As a result of the correction, limitations on public ministry
were placed on KCF prophets Bob Jones and John Paul Jackson.
Jones's controversial tapes have been withdrawn from distribution
and his ministry is limited to church leadership "behind closed

    Part of the reason for Wimber's involvement was that in May
(a month earlier) the KCF came under his leadership when the
movement joined the Vineyard.*

    The KCF was founded in 1982 by Mike Bickle. By 1986, its
leaders formed Grace Ministries, an umbrella organization
designed to facilitate the emergence of a "new breed" into the
church -- end-time prophets. These they held to be part of the
restored "five-fold ministry" (Eph. 4:11). These ministries
immediately came under fire in the Kansas City area due to the
teachings of KCF pastors Bickle, Jones, Jackson, and others.
Strange stories were emerging of these men experiencing angelic
visitations, visiting heaven and hell, perceiving auras around
people, and giving public prophetic instructions to people (many
of which did not come to pass). They also claimed to have
received revelations from God on many subjects -- including the
economy, weather patterns, and natural disasters (many of which
also proved to be false).

    Later, Paul Cain -- a former associate of William Branham
(1909-1965) -- joined this leadership circle. Cain is considered
by KCF leaders and by Wimber to be a powerful prophet on the
cutting edge of a new wave of end-time "superprophets." Cain --
alleged by some to have predicted the California earthquake of
December 3, 1988 and the Soviet-Armenian earthquake of December
8, 1988 -- has also become affiliated with Wimber. Together, this
new prophetic movement has gone national and has been promoted by
influential voices in the charismatic movement, including
_Charisma and Christian Life_ magazine.

    Gruen, one of the fathers of the charismatic movement in
Kansas City, said little on the movement until January of this
year when he released a tape titled "Do We Keep Smiling and Say
Nothing?" In the tape, Gruen accused KCF of sending out false
prophets, of "prophesying" area churches would close down (and
then join KCF), and of outright lying.

    Gruen also released a 233-page document to Christian leaders
across America listing other alleged abuses at the KCF --
including charges that its leaders were involved in occultism and
with teaching variations of the elitist "Manifest Sons of God"
heresy of the Latter Rain Movement (1948-1952). This teaching,
based on an unorthodox interpretation of Romans 8:19, is that in
the end times certain overcomers will be glorified or
"manifested" to the world as sons of God. Some hold they will
even attain immortalization and be able to move in and out of the
supernatural and natural realms.

    Due to the agreement with Wimber, however, Gruen stopped
sending out the report in July.

    Wimber's 15-point statement agrees with many of the main
points outlined by Gruen. Wimber admitted KCF has a "lack of
accountability for prophecies that do not come true," and that
KCF leaders were wrong in engaging in the following practices:

    * Prophesying judgment against people without "first
confronting them."

    * Giving "public predictions of natural disasters, economic
events, and divine visitations." 

   * Using prophetic utterances for "controlling purposes."

    * "Teaching or implying that KCF and Vineyard are an elite
group or that we are the leaders of a new elite group about to be
revealed by God."

    Despite the attempt at correction, however, questions remain
about the role of Wimber and the Vineyard in correcting the KCF
problems. There are suspicions that the KCF had already affected
Wimber prior to the battle with Gruen. Charismatic leader Jamie
Buckingham wrote in the May/June issue of _Ministries Today_
that, "Now John Wimber has picked up the prophetic baton [from
Mike Bickle's KCF] and is running strongly. His February Anaheim
conference featured many of the prophets from the Kansas City
Fellowship. It drew a reported 9,000 -- with 4,000 turned away."

    Wimber's own testimony is another factor. In the Fall 1989
_Equipping the Saints_ magazine (a Vineyard publication), Wimber
wrote that in October 1988, while on a trip to Scotland, Bickle
convinced him to consider changing the Vineyard's emphasis to
that of a prophetic ministry. Two months later, he was hooked up
with Paul Cain, who soon became an important part of the Vineyard
ministry. Wimber also strongly affirmed his belief that the
prophets in the new movement need not be accurate with their
pronouncements: "Prophecy's first expressions will likely be
infantile," Wimber wrote. "Babies are messy and they make

    The centerpiece of this issue of _Equipping the Saints_ -- an
article by Kevin Springer entitled "Paul Cain: A New Breed of
Man" -- introduces the new prophetic ministry to the Vineyard.
The story highlights the life of Cain and how he became
affiliated with KCF and with Wimber himself.

    "As the years rolled by Paul kept looking for the new breed,"
the article states. "Then in 1987 God directed him to a small
meeting of pastors in Birmingham, Alabama. There he met Mike
Bickle and several of his colleagues from the Kansas City

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One Response to Vineyard Adopts Kansas City Prophecy….Circa 1990

  1. Pingback: Vineyard — Another Examination | The Life Less Faithful

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