Paul Cain was the most unusual prophetic person I ever met; his gift was extraordinary. I was honoured to meet him and to know him.
John Wimber (one of the founders of Vineyard Church) wanted us to meet. Paul said that when he heard my name he was anxious to meet me more than anybody else. He even said I would be the brother he never had.
We got off to a good start. It began with lunch with Paul, CARE's Lyndon Bowring and me (pictured above, left to right). Paul gave me a prophetic word that was so relevant that I knew I should affirm him. I immediately invited him to speak at Westminster Chapel.
He was well received from the beginning. He later asked to become a member of the Chapel, saying that he wanted this “more than anything I have wanted in my life”. We broke the rules and made him a member. If I could turn the clock back, I would not have allowed this.
After he was made a member he stopped returning my phone calls. His attitude toward me changed. I could not understand what was going on. This caused me a lot of pain.
In those early days he and his assistant Reed Grafke had become like family. We spent hours in London together and in Florida, where they would visit our family on our fishing holidays. We laughed a lot together. We spent days bonefishing over two summers in the Florida Keys.
He was present when I first spoke at the Toronto Airport Fellowship – the night I was literally unable to string two sentences together intelligibly in front of two thousand people; that is, until I changed my text to Hebrews 13:13. I have written about this embarrassing experience elsewhere.
Hearing Paul Cain stories was like reading accounts from both Elijah and Elisha. The extraordinary words of knowledge and prophetic utterances – often in puns – that he gave to people defy a natural explanation. No doubt other people who knew him will recount similarly amazing encounters. It is only a matter of time before a book about him will come out.
Gifts of healing and prophecy
There is no way to verify the story that his mother had cancer throughout her body when she was pregnant with Paul – that she was visited by an angel and was miraculously healed by the time Paul was born. What is undoubtedly true is that from an early age Paul was given a supernatural gift of healing and words of knowledge.
In the early 1950s he was a “boy wonder” – a healing evangelist that paralleled the early era of Oral Roberts. He said that the “healing anointing” that was present in several people in those days lifted but his prophetic gift continued on. He became a recluse after that for many years.
I refer to the influence Paul had on me in the opening statement of my book The Anointing. A conversation with him in a restaurant in Victoria Street, London, began the Word and Spirit ministry that I have sought to continue to this day.
I said to him: “Paul, you need my theology; I need your power”. He said: “You have a deal”. Our first Word and Spirit Conference was held at Wembley Conference Centre in October 1992.
Paul was a blessing to Westminster Chapel. He gave us timely words that were greatly needed. Nearly all he prophesied came true; almost all his words of knowledge were astonishingly accurate.
When the evangelist Rodney Howard-Browne preached for me, Paul said I would lose some people (twenty members resigned in twenty-one days as it turned out), “but they will be replaced by pure gold”. He was right.
“Thank God for the least thing”, he would say when you were praying for someone’s healing. By that he meant we should not be ashamed to pray for a common cold as well as cancer; many cynics were critical of this approach.
“The more God uses me the less I am able to enjoy it”, he used to say. I know what he means by that, having just finished preaching in Korea during a fifteen hour jet lag with little sleep. The preacher Arthur Blessitt used to say the same thing: “The tireder I am the more God uses me”.
Paul Cain was not an intellectual but he was very intelligent. He was conscious of having little or no education and was sensitive to any criticism. He would worry more about one person in the audience being against him than a thousand that were for him.
In 1988 I wrote a book called Is God for the Homosexual? It was widely accepted by the gay community in London for my sympathy toward one’s sexual proclivity, but not for the fact I said the Bible teaches total abstinence from sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage.
Paul avoided me in those years and would not return my calls. When I finally caught up with him years later – with my friend Jack Taylor – I said to him: “Paul, you are supposed to be accountable to me, but I have no idea who you are accountable to. I would lovingly warn you, if you do not listen, you are going to be yesterday’s man”.
He wept. He seemed grateful. But I knew the next day he was still staying aloof from me. Two years later Jack said to me: “Have you heard the news about Paul?” “No, what do you mean?” Jack then told me of his moral failure. It was the worst news I think I ever received in my lifetime.
The gifts of God are without repentance, that is, irrevocable (Romans 11:29). Paul’s gift pretty much continued on in his old age, although the last time I heard him he mostly reminisced and had minimal fresh prophetic insight.
I am not Paul’s judge. God will bring to light what is absolutely true (1 Corinthians 4:5). But if I am totally honest, it seems to me that Paul was an example of one who blew away his inheritance. He will be saved but by fire (1 Corinthians 3:15).
I kept praying for him daily. Louise and I prayed for years that he would finish well and achieve more at the end of his life – like Samson – than in the whole of his life.
Our prayers were not answered. But I loved him, I liked him and I admired him. I do not regret knowing him.