Charismatics seek "rhema" words to the point where some even bombard prophets like John Paul Jackson, desperate for a word from God.
But biblical scholar and prolific author R.T. Kendall says you cannot charge after a prophetic utterance this way. Yet Pentecostals persist, craving something meant just for them.
"I think this is partly what I always say to charismatics if I got a chance is they only want a rhema word. My friend John Paul Jackson, who is now in heaven, says he can't walk across the hotel lobby in a convention. They'll come up to you and say, 'Got a word for me? Got a word for me?' That's all people want. They want a rhema word. I was watching religious TV, and that preacher said, 'Don't turn that dial, I've got a rhema word."
For those who thirst for such a word, Kendall is ready to satisfy that desire.
"I have a rhema word for you; I just now got it," Kendall said while speaking to Charisma Media employees. "Chase after a rhema word and you'll probably never get it. Seek God in His Scripture, and He'll give you a rhema word when you need it. Presence of God—you just wanna know him and the opportunity to get to please Him so you set Him before you. ... You may not feel [His presence], but do those things that please Him, and when you need it, you'll get the rhema word. And when you need it, you'll get His conscious presence."
But, if pushed, Kendall says a different kind of word surpasses rhema—logos words. Logos refers to the holy Bible.
"The reason I say logos is more important is because the Holy Spirit wrote it, and if you want to get on good terms with the Holy Spirit, you know His best product, and that's where I would begin. The trouble with so many Word people [is that] they don't believe God speaks directly anymore, and I do. God does give rhema words, but I think priority should be logos," Kendall says.
Kendall was at Charisma to promote his book due out this fall, The Presence of God. His wife Louise joined him and shared her own experience with rhema words.
Louise says she was in London one day and prayed for a rhema word to use in correcting a young man she was meeting with. Instead, the Lord gave her a verse commanding her to bless him.
When she approached him in humility, she shared what the Lord laid on her heart.
"I said, 'Listen, the Lord wants me to tell you what a blessing you are,' ... and that [Asian] kid, I mean young man, he starts to cry. They never express emotions, and you know what he said to me? He said, 'My parents were so strict and in school, and you're the first person [to tell me I'm a blessing].' And I was going to do the same thing they all did," Louise says.
"You can get a rhema word when you're reading your Bible, and I'll tell you, it's not always what you wanted to hear."