“Do not treat prophecies with contempt. Test everything. Hold on to the good. Avoid every kind of evil.” (1 Thess. 5:20–22)

It is Wednesday night, and I am sitting in the civic auditorium in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, waiting for signs of the apocalypse. I am not the only one. The hall is filled with 7,000 arm-waving, body-swaying worshipers, singing what could be described as adult camp songs.

Perhaps I should be in the Middle East, where most professional prognosticators say the final battle will be fought. But some are pointing to this heartland metropolis. Two thousand years ago, who would have put any money on Bethlehem?

I came to learn about prophecy. No, not biblical prophets, but real, live prophets—the Kansas City prophets, as some call them. Actually they eschew the label prophet, preferring to use the more cautious nomenclature of prophetically gifted minister.

These men—pastor Mike Bickle, and prophets such as Bob Jones, John Paul Jackson, and Paul Cain—and their church, Kansas City Fellowship (KCF), are creating a stir in charismatic circles. They claim that the prophetic gift should be restored in the church, that prophecy is a natural, biblical means for God to speak to his people, and that (here’s the apocalyptic part) this increased prophetic activity is a sign of the emergence of the last-days’ victorious church. They practice what they preach.

Their message is getting heard. Charisma magazine ran a cover story on their activities in late 1989 and has published several updates on the church’s activities. In Britain, Some Said It Thundered, by David Pytches (subtitled “A Personal Encounter with the ‘Kansas City’ Prophets”), is ...

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