My husband and I came out of the hyper charismatic movement in May 2019 after spending almost twenty years in a mixture of the Word of Faith and the New Apostolic Reformation movements. Ironically, the moment that began the unraveling started with a contorted teaching incorporating John 10:27. Looking back, I understand that God’s Word does not return void. It serves the purpose for which it is sent, and that purpose is to redeem His sheep (Isaiah 55:11).
After our departure, there was a gamut of emotions and questions bombarding my mind and heart. The biggest question I had was “What did Scripture have to say?” We had been taught so much for years about specific verses, which almost became like mantras when responding to things in this world. As someone who claimed to receive extrabiblical revelation from God’s Word in the prophetic movement for years, I was extremely Biblically illiterate. That reality did not sink in until I began to truly study the Scriptures and to simply read them in context.
I remember looking at key verses I had been taught through the years, and now with an open Bible in front of me without distractions or fanfare, I had no excuse not to read the verses before and after the verse in question. There were numerous times I found myself grieving over the fact that what I had been taught did not align with what was in black and white. One example occurred while looking at Romans 4:17, which is a common verse used to validate speaking things into existence. For years, I had heard this stated that it was we who were to speak things that aren’t as though they were. It is humbling when the wool is pulled from your eyes by the Holy Spirit and you see the truth by God’s grace that there is only One who speaks things into existence, and it is not you. I was thankful to have a better understanding of God’s Word and for the opportunity to be corrected. It has been a journey of repentance, sanctification, and growing in the truth while loving His Word and truly loving God. There is peace in being satisfied in what God has spoken. Reading the Bible is a vital part of our fellowship with Christ.
This subject is a passionate area for me because I understand the danger in being Biblically illiterate and how malignant this can be in a person’s life. When we do not take time to read God’s Word and to understand what it says, how it testifies of Christ, and the transformation it brings to our lives, we open ourselves up to deception, false teaching, and ultimately another Christ and another gospel. The desire in the prophetic movement to hear the voice of God for oneself is great. The desire for a fresh word from God is an asset to many. The desire to study Scripture and to read it in context is virtually nonexistent, and I would dare say the error to claim a word from God which contradicts Scripture is rampant. This is why it is so important to understand the sufficiency of Scripture and the contextual substance of Scripture.
Sobering Statistics Regarding Scripture
One of the things that alarmed me after leaving this movement was learning about the lack of value placed on the Bible in general by professing Christians. Unfortunately, the statistics over the past few years have progressively gotten worse. When looking at some studies done in the past year or so, the percentage of professing Christians who read the Bible on a consistent basis has dropped, with the percentage already being very low. In fact, according to one study conducted by the American Bible Society, “The number of Bible Disengaged respondents rose 45 million to 145 million from 2021 to 2022, while the Movable Middle dropped 29 million to 66 million and the Scripture Engaged declined 15 million to 49 million during this time. This was the first time since 2018 that the number of Bible Disengaged respondents increased.” When looking at the frequency of Bible reading, it is noted that only 10% read the Bible daily.
What is equally disturbing is that many people are now viewing the Bible as fallible and unauthoritative in their lives. A study conducted in 2022 revealed that only 20% of Americans believe the Bible to be the literal Word of God. Though this was decreased from 24% noted in 2017, there was a rise in belief that the Bible is merely “a collection of fables, legends, history and moral precepts recorded by man.” There have also been studies done in the past where professing Christians hold to beliefs in complete contradiction to Scripture, including that Jesus Christ was created and is not even God.
These things should sober us as believers and should cause us to evaluate our own personal relationship with Christ. We cannot truly know God without abiding in His Word. God has revealed Himself through His Word to us, and we know that Scripture testifies of our beloved Savior. It is the truth of His Word that sanctifies us in this world (John 17:17). Jesus Christ told the Jews who had believed in Him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:31,32) Scripture reminds us that His Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path (Psalm 119:105). Without His Word shining into the darkness of our hearts and the trials of this world, we cannot fully know the way in which we should walk. We cannot truly follow Christ.
John Calvin is noted as saying, “When we remember how quickly the human mind forgets God, we can see how great was the need for His truth to be written down. If we do not know His Word, we shall never reach our goal of knowing God.” I for one am thankful that God mercifully brought me out of deception. He used His Word to perk the ears of this wayward sheep. He extended grace upon grace to me, and rather than trying to hear the voice of God for myself, I treasure His pure and infallible Word testifying of my Lord and Savior and my Shepherd.
Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe, and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She writes articles for Christianity.com, Servants of Grace, and her blog posts have been shared by individuals such as Tim Challies. She will be featured in the upcoming docuseries, American Gospel: Spirit and Fire. She co-leads a women’s support group with Emily Massey called Snatched from the Flames, where they minister to women who have come out of the hypercharismatic and New Apostolic Reformation movement. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on The Lovesick Scribe and Instagram.