Some of the main points were that the “new faith movement” emphasizes the faith of the minister and doesn’t blame hurting people from “not having enough faith” to get healed. However, it continues to hold a strong position on faith, according to Jesus’ promise in Matthew 17.
Matthew 17:20 (NIV) Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
The “Strong Man’s Gospel”
Scripture says that Jesus healed everyone who came to him and everyone who touched him. He said those who believed would do the same works and greater.
Choosing to believe this continues to generate a lot of controversy. People ask “then why wasn’t so-and-so healed?” In the past, some healing ministers blamed that person for not “receiving their healing.” Yet the “new faith movement” rejects such a cop-out. It emphasizes the faith of the minister, teaching that God has already done his part, God’s answer is yes, and His time is now. This approach is what John G. Lake called a “strong man’s gospel.” (And it’s the “strong women’s gospel” too!)
Some of the most common criticisms of healing ministers are “How can you teach such a thing if 100% of the people you touch are not healed?” or “if what you say is true, why do you wear glasses?” The very thought of facing these criticisms (and the anger that is sometimes behind them) is what makes many afraid of embracing the “strong man’s gospel.”
Such critics say we are hypocrites if we teach what we do, yet cannot demonstrate 100% results in that everyone who comes to us is healed. (As everybody who came to Jesus was.)
I’ve also experienced some kickback from sharing my conviction that ministering healing and deliverance can be as simple for us as it was for Jesus. I’ve often pointed out that if everybody who so much as touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak was healed, Jesus didn’t have to have a counseling session with people to heal them. Nobody didn’t get healed when they touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak because unforgiveness, sin, or a need for inner healing “blocked” God’s power that flowed through Jesus. And so I don’t believe we should see these things as “blocks” for us either.
Some, who do believe in divine healing, have challenged my view on this by saying “Do you have 100% results?” I find it ironic that they also believe in God’s will to heal, yet they are using the same argument as people who absolutely oppose Christian healing ministry. Let’s look at how fallacious this “100%” criticism is.
The Word Is Continuing To Bear Fruit Among You
Let’s apply the logic of the “100%” criticism to a few other areas.
Do we believe that God’s will is for us to lead an absolutely blameless life, free of sin? I would think so! Do we believe that sin is ever God’s will? No.
Do we disqualify a preacher from talking about holiness because we saw him “lose his temper” once? Or we know him too well and he isn’t fully living up to his preaching? Do we invalidate his message about holiness from the Word of God?
Do we invalidate the 100% standard of the fruit of the Spirit because someone teaching it doesn’t walk in it 100%? Do we consider such a standard unreasonable or claim that nobody who doesn’t demonstrate it perfectly has a right to teach it?
Doesn’t scripture have amazing promises about God’s perfect peace for those who set their minds on the Lord and fullness of joy in God’s presence? Do we disqualify a preacher from talking about God’s peace because we saw how anxious he was last week over a financial problem? Do we doubt God’s promises because we haven’t seen them fully appropriated and lived out? No!
That kind of thinking— that says you can’t preach it unless you live it 100%—has encouraged many pastors to live hidden lives rather than being vulnerable and real. They feel like they are about to be exposed as hypocrites if they let others into their lives too much. That sounds kind of like some old-time healing ministers changing their names to check into hospitals, doesn’t it?
If we reject applying the same logic to other areas, how can we invalidate the clear scriptural revelation of God’s will concerning healing because we haven’t seen 100%? How can we disqualify a preacher from teaching on Jesus’ promises concerning faith because he has glasses? If it seems so preposterous to apply this “100%” criticism to topics such as God’s holiness and the fruit of the Spirit, then why does it seem reasonable to apply it to God’s will to heal as revealed in Christ, and to Jesus’ promises concerning faith?
As I was thinking about writing this post, the Holy Spirit brought this verse to remembrance:
Colossians 1:6 (NIV) In the same way, the gospel is bearing fruit and growing throughout the whole world—just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and truly understood God’s grace.
Understanding God’s holiness and union with Christ through faith produces holiness. These are truths that continue to bear fruit if we hold fast to them. Failure to demonstrate 100% of what scripture talks about right now does not make you a hypocrite or invalidate truth. What matters is that truth is bearing fruit and increasing in your life.
We understand that holding to God’s promises of peace and freedom from anxiety produces the fruit of peace. As we hold fast to truth, that truth continues to bear fruit and grow in manifestation in our life. Yet even Paul who said “be anxious for nothing” was hard-pressed with anxiety at least once. Does that invalidate God’s promises?
Friends, here is my response to the 100% criticism. I can’t say that 100% of everyone I touch has been healed, as all who touched even them hem of Jesus’ cloak were healed. But I can say that what I believe has born fruit and is continuing to grow and bear fruit. The message of doubt doesn’t.
I can say that I had never seen a single person healed through my hands until I became convinced that healing is always God will. And the truth of knowing God’s will about healing has continued to bear fruit so that far more people have been healed than I can remember or have ever consistently kept track of, even though I’ve tried to maintain a journal at times. I’ve been healed several times. My grandmother was healed at least three times of major issues. My sister was healed in a moment of needing glasses. Lives of others have been saved and surgeries canceled. And as long as I continue to hold fast to this truth, it continues to bear fruit. The message that “sometimes God says yes, and sometimes he says no, and we can never really be sure of his answer or his time” doesn’t bear this fruit.
Next week we’ll continue to deal with the “100%” criticism from those who say “If it is really so simple, why don’t we see 100% results?”