A Woman's Perspective On The Times We Live In


May 15, 2017

How The Church Got Off-Track

     This is a topic that has been rattling around in my head and pricking my heart for several weeks now, and I'm not sure that I can adequately unpack it all to my own satisfaction, let alone yours.  But I'm going to try...
     I've been researching just how Jesus's Church went from promoting Healing as a primary component of the Kingdom message in the first few centuries to such a state of denial in our commission to heal in the present century.  Why are we unable to take effective action in healing, which results in a helpless, powerless, and nearly impotent Body of Christ?
     Historically, we can see that members of early Christianity held a warfare worldview... they still held tightly to Jesus's teachings that forces of evil would come against Him and His Church.  During His entire time on earth, the Bible records the efforts of Satan to tempt Jesus, to send lying and deceiving spirits to sabotage His Message, and to defeat the ultimate plan of God to deliver Believers out of the hands of the Enemy.
     Christians, at that time, knew that this spiritual war between Jesus and the devil was at the heart of the sicknesses and demonic bondage that people were experiencing. They understood that Believers were to fight against sickness, disease and demonic oppression through the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we have the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John which provide historical documentation of countless healings done by Jesus, proving that He came to set the captives free.  Jesus was just doing what He saw His Father do when YHWH proclaimed in Exodus 15:26 that "I am the LORD who heals you." So what happened, and why doesn't Jesus's Church believe that today?
     It is hard for me to pinpoint the exact moment that things changed and the Church got off track, but many theologians point to the writings of Augustine which eventually moved the Church to a different worldview -- one in which the Church came to believe that everything in life happens due to the predetermined will of God.  In fact, it is largely accepted that Augustine was a primary influence on the Reformation and the theologies of Luther and Calvin. (Interested in exploring more about this connection?  Read here and here). I am not interested in dishonoring these important figures of the Reformation, but we need to understand how the Church got from a warfare worldview to what some call a blueprint worldview.  I think you can see how this new idea of God negated the part Satan plays, and would cause a shift in the thinking of the Church regarding healing.
     Augustine's writings (along with the Reformers) began to move the Church in a new direction. Instead of believing that sickness might be brought on by the devil (who the early Church knew should be resisted), people were to believe that God brought on sickness and personal trials for a person's spiritual sanctification.  Put in simple terms, God allowed sickness to purify a Believer, or in other words to prune them for greater faith.  This thinking then led to a belief system that to pray against an illness was to resist God's work He was trying to accomplish in you.  So, instead of praying for healing, the Body of Christ would pray for discernment about why God might have brought sickness or disease into someone's life.  And the truly remarkable aspect of this deception is that it removed Satan's guilt in our suffering, and placed all the blame at God's feet!
     And I can tell you that I have talked to many good Christian friends who see seasons in their life where they have dealt with sickness [or depression or adversity] as proof that God was trying to bring them to their knees in subjection to His will in their life; that somehow they were enduring a purifying fire to rid themselves of some aspect of sin.  I agree that God disciplines those He loves, but if Jesus is truly our model and a picture of how our God loves us, can you find an instance in Scripture where He allowed sickness to sanctify a Believer? Did He ever use sickness as a method to promote His Father's Kingdom? No! He used the miracles of healing to demonstrate what His Father's Kingdom was like and to illustrate the goodness of God!  God is not the author of pain and suffering in a Believer's life!  He is Life and Mercy and Grace!
     For too long, the Church has seen suffering [in its various forms, whether sickness or demonic oppression] as "carrying our cross" and an opportunity to glorify Jesus in our suffering-- almost as a badge of honor to prove that we are approved and acceptable to be called "Christian". But this is just a scheme of the Devil to turn us away from believing in healing and miracles for today! And it has all led to a Church full of people operating in Doubt and Unbelief, which renders the Body powerless to effect the unbelieving world outside the Church doors.
     We have lost the Truth of what Jesus meant when He said, The Kingdom is at hand.  By using the Power that the Father gave Him to perform miracles, healings, signs and wonders, Jesus was able to grab the attention of the people to share the Good News that God's Kingdom [as it is in Heaven] had begun on earth and would continue until it was fully achieved at Christ's Second Coming.  He taught that Truth to His Apostles and to the Disciples that He commissioned to continue His works. They were to persist in miracles of healing and deliverance [from demons] through the ever-present power of the Holy Spirit.
     But along the way, the Enemy seduced men like Augustine to diminish the supernatural character of God, and convince Church leaders of the impossibility of His working through Believers to heal and deliver and work miracles today.  Therefore we have not been equipped to carry on Jesus's work. The Pentecostal and Charismatic movements, which believe in the restoration of miracles, healing and deliverance [as part of the Church's ministry] has been reviled, and any talk of spiritual warfare in these areas is quickly squelched among many mainline denominations.
     But I hope you can see the devil's hand in man's reshaping of the Church.  For me, it is easy to see how the continued work of Jesus could transform our communities, our country, and the world.  Just look around you and see how many people could use the release of Jesus's healing power in their lives -- whether their pain is physical or spiritual.  And do not believe Satan's lie that these miracles are meant only for Believers.  It is my opinion that we have been given this Power [through the Holy Spirit in us] to show the healing power of God which gives us an opportunity to share a message about the Father's love for us and what Jesus did for us.  It's all in accordance to what Jesus did Himself.  For those with Faith, it confirms the power of God.  For those who are Lost, it can be the impetus to become born again.
     It is time that we, the modern Church, become partners with the Divine; and Healing becomes a tool in which we can resist the devil's evil plans and make this world a little more like Heaven.  By partnering with God, we release His purposes into the earth, and the Church begins to be restored to its own purpose. Let's change the Church from a powerless direction to one that is active, formidable,  and on fire with the power of the Holy Spirit!  It happened in that first Century, and God can do it again!

Thanks to the writings and ministry of Randy Clark for challenging me to ask the hard questions and to determine my own theology after searching the Scripture.

Luke 9:2    "And He sent them out to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to heal".

11 comments:

  1. In the words of Hillary "At this point what does it really matter". The real issue now is why can't church people as well as church leadership recognize the church has careened of pavement and is is so far in the weeds that oncoming trees could be a factor. Complacentcy? is killing the church and its up to the church to self critique. Lets face it, the secular world isn't going to put the church on notice that red lights on the dash are warning "oncoming tree ahead" We must save the church if it is to happen!! PLW

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    1. Your point is well made! And I am actually encouraged by the Church members I am seeing who are beginning to educate others within the buildings. Whether or not the body of the Church is willing to come out of that complacency you talk about -- or is comfortable in their powerless theology and doctrine -- remains to be seen. But I am believing in the movement of the Holy Spirit that I am seeing, and it is inspiring!

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  2. Great perspective, Pam. Thank you. I think that like most things, how the Church got off track is a layered onion. Certainly the blueprint worldview plays its part and one we all suffer from.

    Specific to healing, I'm grateful for the Pentecostal and Charismatic efforts to bring it back; however, the adversary has warped those efforts into something many of us can barely stomach and that's the dishonestly, lies, showboating, embezzlement, false doctrine, heresy, etc. that has infected those movements. In my opinion, the general perception of supernatural healing is stiffed by bad fruits of ministries gone wild. Televangelist faith healers might be the biggest stumbling block to real healing revival on any scale.

    Additionally, we don't have truthful answers to why some people are healed and others aren't. I've witnessed "failed" healing after healing after laying on of hands, fasting, declarations, etc. It's not because the individuals in need had sin in their lives or lacked faith. And it's not because the ones administering weren't following some bogus ritual (like pagan religious practice). We are simply ignorant of the whole truth (even me).

    Paul was not healed of his "thorn in the flesh." Many use this as evidence for the "blueprint" philosophy. For some reason, he wasn't healed. I can just see a TV star telling Paul he lacked faith or didn't send enough money.

    Some diseases and sicknesses are onset/switched on by lifestyle (I saw my father's battle with diabetes confirm this). Do they need supernatural healing or just some discipline with diet? Sometimes healing involves psychological resurrection... a conviction to get off the couch and be as proactive as possible.

    Some handicaps are hereditary (like mine and many in Scripture). Our genetics are indeed part of the corruption from sin. It is completely possible to be healed of these, yet some are healed and some are not.

    In all these scenarios, and from what I can tell from Scripture, healing accompanies the greater kingdom work of God. Like you said, it is used to to evangelize and encourage, to spread the message, to give hope and restore. It's certainly an expression and extension of God's love.

    So obviously my statements here are evidence I'm still learning. I appreciate you digging through this and trust I will be different as a result.

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    1. I absolutely agree with everything you said, and like you, I admit it is a mystery as to why some people are healed and some are not. Definitely, the choices we make in our diets and lifestyles attribute to the sicknesses in our bodies, and we have to take responsibility for those choices and not expect God to heal us while we go on sinning or destroying our human vessels.

      And, yes, Satan has been able to infiltrate various movements with false doctrine, and unscrupulous men, just as he's done whenever the Kingdom of God makes inroads in this world. But, it is up to us to diligently search out God's Truth in these ministries and acknowledge the fruit that is there, while denouncing all that does not line up with Scripture. For those with discerning hearts and minds, we can recognize that the fact that the Enemy has come against supernatural healing by corrupting these movements, shows that he knows the power of these new revelations.

      I totally agree with your statement that "healing accompanies the greater kingdom work of God" and I believe we are on the precipice of a new revival of the "works of Jesus" -- done by faithful believers who seek to follow His model and use the Power and Authority that He has given us. He wants us to do the work in His Name, which glorifies Him -- rather than us praying and expecting Him to do it for us. Make sense? I have always wondered if that is why God did not remove Paul's thorn ... because He wanted Paul to use His authority to command it to be removed, rather than praying for (and asking) God to remove it for him. (Just a concept I am still trying to flesh out).

      In the end, I am still learning, too, and trying to listen to the Holy Spirit for my answers. I simply want to be obedient and do all I can to bring the Kingdom of God to this corrupted world, which so badly needs it. I appreciate your comment so much! God Bless you!

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  3. Yes, agreed. It's taken me quite a bit to admit that some people are really healed in all the crazy knuckle-headed stuff going on out there, which reminds me of those who cast out demons in Jesus name bud didn't really know Him.

    One of the things my small group grappled with was praying for healing in one another, as James exhorts, verses actually performing the work (declaration) as the apostles were commanded to do. The accounts reveal they didn't go out and pray but they went out and healed, as Jesus did. They weren't praying for YHWH to intervene, they seem to be the conduit themselves for the healing. Maybe part of the design is for us to find balance between our own authority (which can slide into pride) and acknowledgment that it's actually His power, not ours.

    I'm like Peter apparently; my spirit is completely confident in my authority to heal but I don't utilize it (yet) because I think I'm afraid of sinking... that the person won't be healed. It seems to require huge faith and huge risks... and complete surrender of self because if God is anointing us to heal and people aren't healed, then I'm afraid He will look bad and myself too. That would be a type of blasphemy and taking His name in vain.

    I know I'm being asked to overcome these obstacles.

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    1. All the thoughts and doubts you are expressing are quite common among Christians who are beginning to see the Truth in Scripture. But realize that the devil wants you to embrace those doubts so you won't actually do the works.

      And you should start listening to faithful men like Steve Peace Harmon, Curry Blake, and Bill Johnson (all have videos on Youtube) , who are crazy successful in healing people. They all spent many months and even years, before they actually had a successful healing, but they never quit! They will all say that it was a matter of faith -- of believing Jesus's commission to heal and they only failed if they quit. Although they didn't heal anyone at first, they believed that God would eventually come through... and He did! Curry Blake is actually the one I would recommend.

      Go to YouTube and look up his name and DHT (Divine Healing Training). He is helpful in overcoming our "sacred cows" of doctrine and theology that keep us from doing as Jesus commanded. My husband and I are actually a part of a group of Christians who are doing the training and are committed to follow Jesus's commands to go out and heal. And yes, I'm pretty sure there is a part of Peter in all of us!

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  4. Thanks for the recommendations. I've listened to session one in one of his series. He seems balanced, so I'll proceed. It's a long road, but I trust there will be fruit.

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    1. God will be faithful to reward your obedience to know Him more and to follow His commandments. Blessings as you go forward!

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  5. It is not the foundation that is wrong it is with what we build that gets the living church to rumple...

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    1. Absolutely agree, when the building material is man-made!

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  6. Ditto all Ive heard here!

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