It was the late 1980s. The prophetic movement was expanding rapidly, but, as is usual when we grow rapidly, was awkward and clumsy and bumped into a lot of things.
I was attending a Vineyard conference in
. The leaders supported the
prophetic movement, but didn’t want to lose our grounding in the Word of God,
so the conference was on the Bible, and how the Word of God related to the
prophetic. The keynote speaker was going to be Dr. Gordon Fee, the brilliant
theologian, one of my favorite Bible scholars. I was looking forward to the
conference, as I’d only had a small introduction to the prophetic movement, and
I loved the Word of God. Canada
The first session started, before any introductions, with some outstanding worship, and then, as was the habit in those days, a prophet stood up to minister. This was the first time I’d ever met John Paul Jackson, and I’d heard he was a pretty gifted prophet. His hair was still dark back then.
John Paul called two or three people out, and told them what was on their heart, and gave God’s insight and prophetic promises for them; judging from the tears and shocked looks, I infer that he prophesied accurately.
Then he called out a guy sitting near the front, and then he really went to town. He spoke about the man’s dreams and visions for a while, while the man nodded sagely. Then John Paul got a funny look on his face, and declared that this man, a Canadian resident, had very substantial influence in several US cities, and he named six or eight cities where that influence was particularly strong.
Then John Paul spoke of the man’s love for the Bible, and named several books in the New Testament, including First and Second Timothy, Philippians and 1 Corinthians, that were particularly meaningful to him. The man was in tears, as John Paul described how God was incredibly pleased with the man, with his life and his ministry, and how his ministry would grow substantially in the future.
John Paul prayed blessing on the man, and sat down, exhausted. Then the host of the conference stood up, and asked the man whom John Paul had been ministering to to please stand. He stood, holding a tissue to his face, and the host introduced John Paul Jackson to Gordon Fee, the keynote speaker for the conference, and he confirmed that the two did not know each other, and had never met.
He then went on to describe how Dr Fee had written commentaries on the New Testament books that John Paul had named, and how he was a member of the team that translated the NIV Bible. The American cities that John Paul had been puzzled about Dr Fee’s influence in, a few of these were cities where Dr Fee had taught, where his children now lived and pastored a church, and where individuals he had mentored were now ministering.
The host then announced a coffee break for the conference, while the keynote speaker wiped his tears and regained his composure.
A few years later, Dr. Gordon Fee was appointed the editor of the notable evangelical commentary series, the New International Commentary on the New Testament of which his commentaries on 1 Corinthians and Philippians are a part.
This was my introduction to John Paul Jackson, and my first real baptism into the reality that the prophetic gifts were more than the beginner’s toys we’d been playing with.