An urgent message from our friend, Pastor Rinzi Lama, in Nepal:
Ruin of the Himalayan Country of Nepal
At present Nepal is ruining, after a week of heavy rain brought disaster in Nepal. Thousands of houses are swept away, many areas of hilly regions have landslides and many are drowning.
Thousands of people are homeless and hundreds people are killed and hundreds of people disappeared. People are weeping, crying and mourning for their lost ones. Where does help come from for these people? We are the people chosen by God in this community.
Therefore my dear beloved brothers and sisters in Christ, we are appealing for your support for these people. We are really happy if you could support through prayer and by gifts.
Pastor Rinzi Lama
Like so many others, Rinzi and his wife Nani Beti care for large numbers of orphans in their home and in church families, and constantly help people in the community.
We work with and support our brothers and sisters in Nepal, and if you want to help them we can pass on your support. My mission account in Australia: Name – Geoffrey Waugh, BSB 014249, Ac. 5647 11123. Swift Code: ANZBAU3M
An evaluation of the extent to which healing is part of the atonement as drawn from Isaiah 53:4-5, Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24.
Edited from an essay by Brian Mulheran
Throughout the centuries, records of miraculous healings have challenged skeptics and inspired despairing sufferers with hope of the same deliverance. The birth of the healing movement ignited a worldwide interest in the supernatural. People claimed to be healed en masse. Multitudes were swept by the fervour into the “new found” church age of the miraculous. Churches multiplied across the world. The visible signs of God “in our midst” sparked hope for the disconsolate and passionate debate for the critics.
This tidal flood of healing and miracles encouraged preachers to inspire the sick and infirmed to seek God for their healing. Messages directed the hearts of the needy toward verses of scripture that instilled faith. Many claimed to receive healing, while others seemingly waited in vain. As the doctrine has developed and debates raged, many of those who were still seeking healing either, suffered without medication, or were accused of not having faith, or were accused of having some form of sin.
Although the doctrine has ensured positive results, the frequent devastation and disillusionment suffered by many that are not healed implores a re-evaluation. Questions such as: “Why are some healed and others not?”, “Is it God’s will to heal all?”, “Is God a respecter of persons?”, “Are the claimed miracles valid?”, “Is the miraculous for today?”, have provoked a plethora of scholarly investigation and argument. This paper while not able to discuss all issues relating to Divine Healing will endeavour to evaluate the foundations of the doctrine in light of those who are not healed. An examination of the doctrine, the history and the three primary texts used by advocates will seek to evaluate the extent to which healing is in the atonement. Other key eschatological elements will be investigated with the endeavour of formulating a correct understanding of the extent of Divine Healing. This will been seen to be essential for the church to perform its duty in its ultimate responsibility to love and care for the people.
A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE DOCTRINE OF “HEALING IN THE ATONEMENT”
The Doctrine Defined
The heart of the controversy concerning the doctrine resides in who can be healed and when can it be expected. Extreme advocates suggest that because healing is in the atonement it is as readily available to all as forgiveness is to all and it is to be received by faith. Less extreme advocates believe healing is available at present, but not all will be healed until the consummation of the age. The doctrine in essence can be understood by examining the fundamental aspects of what exponents emphasise are central to the doctrine, these include the nature of sickness, the nature of God and the nature of the atonement.
The nature of sickness
How proponents connect healing to the atonement is essential to understand how they view sickness. A. B. Simpson declares that both the body and the soul were equally affected by the Fall. He states that sin affects the soul while sickness affects the body. Vincent Cheung agrees that all sickness may be traced to its original source with the entrance of sin. By further stressing that not all sickness is a result of specific sin, Cheung cites Jesus’ acknowledgement that no specific sin was the cause for the blind man of John 9, and hence the link is made to the Fall, not to the individual. This inference adds weight to the Representative Head argument that sickness is not isolated from, but resultant from, the first transgression and therefore can be dealt with at a representative level – one for all.
Sickness is further linked to Satan as the one who caused the Fall, and also the one who’s works Jesus came to destroy. In the OT sickness is also stated as a result of the curse whereas healing is a result of the blessing. Blessings in the OT were conditional because of the Old Covenant whereas all the promises of God according to advocates are unconditional in Jesus through His sacrificial death. G.P. Duffield stresses that Jesus in redeeming us from the curse of the law, in fact bore the curse our sicknesses on the cross. This strong link of sickness to sin and the curse has led proponents to deduce that the atoning work of Christ must have included healing as well as forgiveness.
The nature of God
Proponents of the doctrine declare a plethora of scripture concerning God’s nature to heal. They promote the God who puts “none of these diseases” (Ex 15:26, Deut 7:15) upon the people and the God “who forgives all iniquity and heals all diseases” (Ps 103:3). Hugh Jester in describing the “Seven Redemptive Names of our Lord” refers to the “often forgotten” Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord who heals” (Ex 15:26).  Proponents also declare that God’s nature is seen in Jesus who healed “all” (Acts 10:38). Because God is a God who never changes, advocates of the doctrine believe that healing is inevitably received from God because He is always true to His character and nature.
The nature of the atonement
Although, advocates for the doctrine would agree that the essential object that mankind was redeemed from was sin, they promote that because sickness resulted from sin and that it is God’s nature to heal, that redemption from both was provided for in the atonement. Based on the three primary texts Isa. 53.4; Mt. 8.17; 1 Pet. 2.24 proponents are insistent that the interpretation of the relevant words in each text implies that physical healing is integral to the atoning work of Christ and therefore as readily available to all through faith as forgiveness of sins.
Exegesis of the main Bible passages used in support of this doctrine
Three main passages Isaiah 53:4-6, Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24 lead to the doctrine of healing in the atonement. An exegesis of these passages explores the extent to which healing is part of the atonement.
4 Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was bruised for our iniquities;
The chastisement for our peace was upon Him,
And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.” [Isaiah 53:4]
1 Peter 2:21-24
21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; [Isaiah 53:9] 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.
The identity and work of the Isaian Servant are integral to the interpretation of both God’s expiatory sacrifice for mankind and its extent.
The Identity of the Servant of Yahweh
According to C. Hassell Bullock the quest to identify the Isaian Servant of the Lord has fallen into five different hypotheses: “(1) an anonymous individual of Isaiah’s time; (2) the prophet himself; (3) the collective theory; (4) the mythological; (5) the Messianic.” Others such as Raymond B. Dillard and Tremper Longman III acknowledge in particular the work to categorise the Servant into either the individual or collective theories. They cite attempts of others to nominate the Servant as an individual, for example, Messiah, or Messiah as Jesus, or an historical individual such as Cyrus, Ezekiel, Jehoiachin, Moses, Uzziah, Zerubbabel, a leper or the prophet himself. With respect to the collective theories, they cite others who have included both the Nation of Israel and the faithful remnant. Although they acknowledge these works, they concluded that it is not possible to limit the identity to categories, but suggest that it requires a combination of both – as one theory never satisfies each representation of the Servant. William Sanford LaSor, David Allan Hubbard and Frederic William Bush also acknowledge the vastness of opinion that other scholars offer in trying to identify the Servant. However, they agree with Dillard and Longman not to limit the Servant to an individual nor a nation, but to identify a number of Servants. Although it is acknowledged that the identity of the Servant can be variously applied it will be deduced that the Servant’s identity has an ultimate fulfillment in a person, the Messiah.
It appears that through the views reflected in the works of Dillard and Longman, and LaSor et al. and others, one may deduce that God was looking for a Servant to perform His work in complete obedience (Isa 42:23, Ezek 22:30). Israel who is identified as the Servant in 41:8, 44:1,21 and 49:3 falls short of obedience and is deemed “blind” and “deaf” in 42:19. The identity of the Servant seems to progress from the whole nation of Israel to the faithful remnant and then to the individual who would ultimately suffer for the benefit of the whole. In identifying this individual, George Smeaton stresses that the NT authors in quoting Matthew 12:18 put beyond doubt that Jesus Christ is none other than the embodied Isaian 53 Servant and Messiah.
Matthew 12:15-18 And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all. 16 Yet He warned them not to make Him known, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: 18 “Behold! My Servant whom I have chosen, My Beloved in whom My soul is well pleased! I will put My Spirit upon Him, And He will declare justice to the Gentiles. [Isaiah 42:1]
J. Barton Payne also forcefully implies that the NT aptly portrays Jesus as both Messiah and the Suffering Servant of Isaiah 53. His strong words equate those who refuse to see Jesus as the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 with Jesus’ words to the two on the road to Emmaus, fools who are slow to believe the prophets concerning Him (Luke 24:24,25). It is also well documented that many Rabbinic scholars suggest that the Servant is Messiah.
An interesting Jewish concept concerning the Messiah that arose from their ranks was that of the dual Messiah. Since the Lord had anointed two kings to rule over Israel, namely Saul and David, they believed that there would also be two Messiahs. The first “Messiah ben Joseph,” like king Saul, the warrior, who suffered and died in battle and the second, “Messiah ben David,” like king David, the conqueror, who would resurrect the smitten Messiah and triumph over his enemies. The first Messiah is said to recruit disciples and make course to Jerusalem while gaining temporary triumph over his enemies. He is claimed to then humbly surrender to suffering and being slain by them. The second Messiah then ushers in the covenanted eternal Kingdom of peace and prosperity after raising the first Messiah from the dead and fully triumphing over the enemy. According to Levi Khamor, the Zohar infers that the two Messiahs are indeed one and the same.
This tradition may be worthy of further investigation with respect to the topic at hand by asking several questions. (Assuming that Jesus is the Messiah.) Is it possible that the two Messiahs speak of the First and Second Advent? If so, could the suffering Messiah of Isaiah 53, although triumphing through suffering, actually only provide partial/temporary triumph for His vicarious recipients until death (or the Second Advent)? Then at the death/resurrection of the vicarious recipients, could the second Messiah imply the actualisation of the complete and realised work of the Servant/Messiah for His recipients, resulting in total victory for the recipients in His everlasting and all conquering Kingdom? This reasoning adds weight to the ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ theory associated with ‘healing in the atonement’.
The Work of the Servant of Yahweh
The work of the Servant is both broad in scope and unfathomable in depth. To perform a comprehensive evaluation of the complete work of the Servant in this paper is not possible. However, this section will seek to specifically focus on evaluating the extent of the healing and atoning work of the Servant.
Charles L. Holman describes the mission of the Servant in three aspects: The Servant of Yahweh receives the anointing of the Spirit to accomplish His tasks; The Servant’s scope is worldwide being a light to the Gentiles and a Covenant to His people; and The Servant vicariously suffers for His people. Payne classifies the Servant’s work into the categories of Prophet – the proclamation and demonstration of the testament, Priest – the sacrificer and sacrifice of the testament to make atonement for and put an end to sin, and King – the executer of the testament, bearing the government and instigation of His Kingdom and rule. Bullock suggests that the work of the Servant is ultimately that of redemption and in particularly His saving acts. In each account the Servant is said to be personified in the person of Jesus Christ and realised through His acts.
According to Smeaton, to be the Servant of Yahweh implies one who yields to the direction and rule prescribed to him in complete obedience. Smeaton identifies this in the person of Jesus Christ, who not only did all that the Father asked Him (John 15:31), but thought it not robbery to be equal with God, who took on the form of a servant and was obedient to suffer death (Philippians 2:6-8). Hence the work of the Servant as seen through Jesus Christ, according to Smeaton, should be seen as the ultimate fulfillment of the Servant’s responsibility and work. The Servant was in part to be approved by God (Isa 42:1, 53:12, Matt 3:17), rejected by man (Isa 53:3, Matt 21:42, Mark 8:31) , to abstain from violence and sin (Isa 53:9,11, 1 Peter 2:22), refrain from speaking guile (Isa 53:9, 1Peter 2:22), heal the brokenhearted, preach the gospel, heal the sick,(Isa 61;1-3, Luke 4:18), bear our sins and be smitten by God (Isa 53:4,5,8,10,11, 1 Cor 15:3).
As Holman suggests it was when Jesus was baptised and endued by the Holy Spirit that His work was evidenced with power – through His miracles of healing and deliverance (Matt 3:16, 4:23), through the authority of His message (Luke 4:18-32), and through His offering of Himself as the supreme atoning sacrifice (Heb 9:14). When John the Baptist asked Jesus if He was the Servant, the Messiah, Jesus referred him to His works to prove His identity, specifically the works of healing and His message (Matt 11:2-5). Taking up Smeaton’s point of obedience, Jesus’ work can be summed up in what He did in obedience to the Father (John 6:38). During His ministry, Jesus on at least three occasions refers to His work as being in obedience to the will of the Father: while preaching the gospel (John 4:34), healing the sick (John 5:1-30), and offering up His life as the atoning sacrifice (Matt 26:42, Heb 10:7-9). The ministry of Jesus as the Servant of Yahweh is clearly evidenced by His miracles, His message, and His sacrificial atoning death.
16 When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon-possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, 17 that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“He Himself took our infirmities
And bore our sicknesses.” [Isaiah 53:4]
The subject of the authorship of Matthew’s Gospel has been one of rigorous debate for many years. Norman Perrin, Robert G. Gromacki and others have contested the issues of anonymity suggesting it protected the writer or proved the author’s genuineness. Other debate has raged around Papias’ suggestion that Matthew’s work was written in Hebrew and then translated by as many who had means into their respective languages. While others such as D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo and Leon Morris argue the support of the early church Fathers to trace the authorship of the Gospel back to Matthew. Further arguments such as those which debate Matthew knowledge of the customs systems, and the non-Jewish, non-apostle and multiplicity of authorship warrant further investigation, but are unable to be expounded in the present study. Suffice to say is that much debate has ensured that no decisive conclusion can be reached as to a definitive author. However, as Carson et al. state, neither the message nor the authority of the Gospel is altered by the standing of the author. What is brought into question is the perspective of evaluation which shall be discussed directly.
The Jewish Perspective
Clarifying the Matthean Community has particular relevance to the topic at hand in determining the meaning of “Matthew’s” interpretation of both the identity and work of the Isaian Servant. The discovery of a Jewish perspective is paramount in validating the author’s intent to shed light on the fulfillment of a Jewish prophecy that would ultimately have consequences for both Jews and Gentiles alike.
Carson et al. counteracts the proponents of the anti-Jewish perspective of Matthew’s account by mentioning various passages in the Gospel which are by nature parochially Jewish. Namely, Jesus being only sent to Israel and His restriction of the disciples to do likewise while they were with Him. Alan Cadwallader also gives credence to the Jewish perspective of the gospel listing such marks as: Sabbath and special days, food and dietary regulations, economics/taxes, Patriarchs, Laws, worship/temple, group identity, proselytising and appeal to populace. John Drane points out that Matthew meticulously used OT citations to map the life of Jesus as both the fulfillment of God’s promises to Israel and as an antitype of Israel’s experience. But in no way does he appear to compromise his conviction in his riposte of the Jewish religious leaders of the day and those who rejected Christ. Matthew seems to address key elements concerning the Jewish community and their proper perspective, however, he does balance his work to reach both Jews and Gentiles. Luz suggests that the Greater Church embraced Matthew’s Gospel as the chiefest, because of his inclusiveness of both peoples and establishing the worth of the Gentiles by including Gentile mission to his community’s mandate.
By Matthew having a strong Jewish perspective, although not an exclusive one, it can be suggested that the interpretation of historical Jewish tradition and prophecy kept their integrity. The strength that the author shows in balancing the communication of love and grace to the responsive Jews and the adverse rebuke toward self-righteous Scribes and Pharisees also attests to the integrity of his purpose in the Gospel.
The coming of the Kingdom
The Kingdom of God is principally where God rules and reigns as King. Drane suggests that the terms used by authors such as Matthew (basileia) and possibly Jesus Himself in Aramaic (malkutha) were not so much implying territory as they were implying stately activity. Humanity could then be said to have had a dearth of the Kingdom, as God’s rule is fundamentally, boundless in time, in space, in authority and in substance. History verifies the Kingdom’s absence which has often been described as not yet and futuristic, for example: one which is at hand (Matt 3:2, 4:16), not far from (Mark 12:34), waiting for (Mark 15:43), and to be inherited (Matt 25:34). Although Jesus stated that the Kingdom had also come (Matt 12:28).
Due to the enormity of the scope of the Kingdom, this section will narrow the context to examine principally the relationship of physical healing to the Kingdom and the coming Kingdom. In terms of the coming Kingdom, Drane suggests it may be expressed in a number of segments: The coming of Jesus, the coming of the Holy Spirit/Church, and the coming of the eschatological Kingdom. Firstly, in Judaism there was the concept that even though God was King, there was also the reference of God becoming King, which according to Ladd implied the manifestation of His kingship amongst humanity. Inevitably we see this as the coming of Jesus. D. Matthew Allen in quoting D.A. Carson and R.T France concurs with the first segment suggesting that the Kingdom had come in some preparatory way with Jesus and was clearly evidenced by His message and ministry. Secondly, Jesus spoke concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit that was to be imminent upon His return to heaven (John 16:7, Acts 1:8). This occurrence could also be suggested as the coming of the Kingdom, for the Kingdom is said to be righteousness, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit (Rom 14:17). Futuristic eschatology, which is mostly credited to the highly controversial pioneering theologian Albert Schweitzer correctly implied that Jesus had an expectation like the Jews that the Kingdom was imminent. However, contrary to Schweitzer’s false claim of Jesus’ despair in not seeing the fulfillment of His mission, he was correct in suggesting Jesus’ work would be a climax of history (to usher in the Kingdom). Thirdly, with respect to the eschatological Kingdom, Jesus also inferred to it being be fully realised and inherited at the consummation of the ages (Matt 25:34).
Whilst distinctly different, the first and second segments appear to be somewhat identical in scope. What Jesus did as king in the first segment, can be said to be seen and done by the church through the delegated power and authority of the Holy Spirit (John 14:12-18, Matt 28:18-20, Acts 1:8). According to John Wilkinson, Jesus Himself identifies His healing ministry as the fulfillment of Messianic prophecies and the coming of the Kingdom. Wilkinson cites a number of Isaian passages which Jesus was possibly refering to in response to John the Baptist question concerning His Messiahship, namely: Isaiah 29.18-19; 35.5-6 and 61.1.  Jesus’ response was that He primarily healed. According to Ladd, Jesus made it known after performing an exorcism that His authority to heal and cast out devils was a result of the coming of the Kingdom of God (Matt 12:22-30). Ladd suggests that the very essence of Kingdom theology, and the coming of the Kingdom, is found in Jesus’ inference of binding of Satan, and plundering of his goods (Matt 12:28,29). The binding of Satan by Jesus and giving power to the church to bind him imply the Kingdom has come (Matt 12:28,29, 16:18,19). The ultimate realisation of the Kingdom’s coming is the plundering of all his goods which is yet future at the end of the age (1 Cor 15:24-28, Eph 1:15-23, Heb 2:1-10).
Matthew’s use of the Old Testament
Matthew has been accused of contextualising Old Testament verses to his contemporary society especially those who bear credence to coetaneous events. This method of scriptural analysis is known as pesher. Lee Campbell heavily defends the Matthean work against it being branded pesherian especially in relation to the “fulfillment” verses such as Isaiah 53:4. Campbell argues that the author some fifteen times doesn’t merely refer to Christ fulfilling the precise prediction of OT passages, but to Him superabundantly fulfilling the anticipated redemptive purpose, which both significantly surpassed their immediate interpretation and was not hidden from the OT authors. Warren Carter in citing works by Lars Hartman, R. France and J.M. Foley agrees with Campbell’s implication of Matthew’s “fulfillment” citations. The Matthean passages, according to Hartman, were invoked by the author to: employ their authority; worded with the former author’s preferred words; or to point to the fulfillment of a greater purpose. Hence, it would appear that it was Matthew’s intent to neither manipulate the original intent of the passages nor minimise their extent, but rather to bring focus to the greater picture of the original intent in its fulfillment.
Foley, from a linguistics perspective, suggests that the oral culture within the Matthean community traditionally engaged the citations as portions which also echoed the larger tradition. Such an understanding of the Isaian 53 passage would presume that the Matthean Community had a firm tradition of the suffering Messiah and the work of the Messiah. Ladd would argue together with J. Jeremias that the tradition of a suffering Messiah was in fact pre-Christian, but only in the context of fighting one’s enemy, not to make atonement. However, Martin Hengel suggests that the idea of a vicarious sacrificial atonement by a man for the sins of others was debatably absent from the pre-Christian era. He suggests that even though there were isolated cases of such a notion, he infers that the suffering Messiah of Isaiah was not a popular perception of Old Covenant Judiasm. Carter’s suggestion that the earlier quotations from Isaiah, without specifically naming the prophet, adds weight to the argument that the Matthean community were familiar with the earlier traditions. However, as the citation in 8:17 is prefaced by the prophet’s name this may mean that the community did not hold a strong traditional view of the suffering of Messiah or His work. With Matthew’s intent to cite OT quotations with the purpose of seeing them fulfilled in their ultimate form, it could be seen that he was actually bringing clarification and understanding to his community concerning the Messiah’s healing work that wasn’t strongly traditional.
Taking into consideration the identity and work of the Servant of Isaiah and the content, context and purpose of Matthew one could interpret 8:17 as both confirming that Jesus is the suffering servant of Isaiah and also identifying a portion of His work as physical healing – which is both a partially present and wholly future in reality.
1 Peter 2:24
18 Servants, be submissive to your masters with all fear, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh. 19 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God. 21 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 “Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”; [Isaiah 53:9] 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; 24 who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. 25 For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:18-25)
Authorship and Purpose
George Eldon Ladd agrees with the strong tradition that the epistle was written by the Apostle Peter by the hand of Silvanus (Silas). Gromacki agrees also with the Petrine authorship and suggests that it has not been flaunted with any serious challenge. He cites some of the early Church Fathers and the historian Eusebius to support his evidence and adds weight by strongly evidencing references to Peter within the epistle in 1:1, 5:1,2,5. Although, Carson, Moo and Morris also agree with the authorship by the Apostle they do acknowledge some of the recent challenges to Peter’s authorship including, the “excellent Greek” argument which suggests that an unlearned Galilean could not have written the epistle. However, as Carson et al. suggest, the accusation against Peter being an unlearned man was in the context of rabbinical learning and as a result the inference that Peter was uneducated in other respects is unfounded. Other arguments such as the kinship with Pauline Theology and the lack of primary events of Jesus’ life are confidently contested, however, there is no strong evidence that supports a turning from the traditional belief of the Apostles authorship.
The major purposes of 1 Peter according to Carson et al. include four major headings: theological (God); sufferings of Christ and the believers following example; the atonement; and the ‘now’ and ‘not yet’ theory.  Gromacki outlines ten purposes of Peter’s epistle including: the enduring of trials in the light of God’s salvation, charges to holy and godly living, submission to authorities, masters and husbands, attitudes to suffering, and ministerial guidelines for elders. Ladd describes eleven purposes somewhat distinct from Gromacki, however, they agree on human suffering and the Christian living. Ladd also included purposes such as atonement, eschatology, temporal dualism, Christology and God. Perrin and Duling suggest seven purposes stating those inclusive of Gromacki and Ladd, and in addition include: baptism homily and salvation as fulfillment of prophecy. Hence three of the major purposes identified that warrant investigation in this study are suffering, the atonement and temporal dualism. These three appear to be intrinsically related and will be discussed accordingly.
Carson suggests strong evidence of the ‘now’ and ‘not yet’ in Peter’s writing, citing the present purification of the believers (1:22) in contrast to a salvation which is resultant at the end (1:5). This observation concerning this present age and the Age to Come is also picked up by Ladd. However, Ladd presents the concept in such a way that the theory can function with a dual role in this present age. Whilst acknowledging the theory from our present perspective, one could also suggest the prior application of the ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ in Jesus’ age. Once Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was complete and prophecy fulfilled, the then ‘not yet’ of the pre-messianic age commenced the ‘now’ of the age which was to come. This seems to imply that those who live in the present age are open (at least in part) to receive the ‘not yet’ of the pre-messianic age. Taking this concept further may suggest a greater benefit is available for those who live in this end age as ‘already’ receiving the ‘not yet’ of the pre-messianic age, yet Peter still infers there is both a ‘now’ and ‘not yet’ even of the messianic or end-time believers (1:10). Further investigation to discover the extent to which the benefits of the ‘now’ messianic age compared to the ‘now’ of the pre-messianic age could prove interesting in light of this study.
The pivotal point to usher in the ‘already’ and ‘not yet’ of the Kingdom was the death of Jesus, which inseparably linked the sufferings of Christ to the eschatological glory. Jesus, Himself saw both the ‘already’ sufferings and the ‘not yet’ of the glory, prior to the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Peter in addressing one of his primary purposes instructs his readers not to seek deliverance or freedom from tribulation but contrarily to embrace and imitate the sufferings of Christ. This appears to suggest that partaking and enduring of the ‘now’ is working toward the glory of the ‘not yet’. Hence the epitome of salvation seems to be the enduring of suffering resulting in glorification as seen in Jesus and exhorted by Peter. This may have considerable implications for not only enduring and suffering persecution, trials and testings but also sickness and infirmities.
Although, amazingly comprehensive in its scope, the epistle is distinctly quiet on matters concerning sickness and healing. It appears that the only mention of ‘healing’ is in 2:24 and in context, seems only to relate to the atoning work of Christ with respect to enduring suffering. However, the usage of the word will be examined more adequately in the subsequent section. Peter appears to suggest that the atoning work of Christ set the example to triumph through trial rather than receive deliverance and freedom from it (1:6,7, 4:12).
The Word Used for ‘Healed’ in 1 Peter 2:24
In the Dialogue of Justin, the Petrine usage of ‘healed’ is employed no less than six times. In each case where exposition is given, the reference appears to infer healed from sin. However, “healed/healing” are also referenced to believer’s operating in the gifts of the Spirit, in particularly healing, and also to Jesus’ healing ministry. A portion of the dialogue that followed the reference to Jesus’ healing ministry is worthy of note.
“Yet He [Jesus] wrought such works, and persuaded those who were [destined to] believe on Him; for even if anyone be labouring under defect of body, yet be an observer of the doctrines delivered by Him, He shall raise him up at His second advent perfectly sound, after He has made him immortal, and incorruptible, and free from grief.”
The author by employing the phrase: “for even if,” initially implies that Jesus healed believers with defects of body and that healing is still possible for them in the present time. However, the implication is not in line with the extremist view of the doctrine which states that healing is available to all and is to be presently realised. Yet the strong implication is that those who do not receive healing ‘now’ will none the less receive it ‘yet’ at the resurrection of the body.
Pentecostal scholars such as Duffield and Van Cleave are adamant that iaomai used by Peter cannot refer to spiritual healing. They base their claim by stating that the verb is always used in the NT for physical healing. Other scholars such as Wilkinson are confident Peter is referring to bearing of sin not sickness, due to the past tense referring back to the passion, not to physical healing, being available at present. A balance of the differing views can be see by Michael L. Brown, commenting on J.R. Michael’s understand of Peter’s usage of iaomai. He suggests that Michael’s and others like him oversimplify the salvation metaphor to the exclusion of the broader context. Brown contests that studies that focus on interpreting the prophetic references concerning healing of sickness purely on a figurative basis with respect to Israel’s “sin-sickness” fall well short of the total meaning. According to Brown, Israel’s condition was a complete and resultant condition of a spiritual disease which comprised of spiritual, emotional, physical, social, and national consequences and hence required a complete healing. In exploring Jesus’ healing capacity as Saviour (sōtēr) Brown notes four instances in His capacity to save (sōzō) within the space of two chapters in Luke’s gospel. He cites people being saved from sin (7:50), from demons (8:36), from sickness (8:48), and death (8:50). From here Brown portrays Jesus as the complete sōtēr who “forgives, delivers, heals, and resurrects, both temporally and eternally.”
Although Peter’s usage of iaomai in context appears to indicate spiritual healing as suggested by the likes of Justin and Wilkinson, Brown’s all inclusiveness theory may be more suitable. An overview of the terminology used for healing in the NT tends to indicate a great deal of fluidity between terms, hence the possibility for both terms to be used interchangeably or at least concurrently. Examining the Petrine counterpart in Matthew 8 reveals that within three verses the author equates both healing terms therapeuo and iaomai in the sense of physical healing with the Isaian quote. Hence in the broader interpretation of Peter’s usage of the term, physical healing is both plausible and appropriate.
A definition of “The Atonement”
A Narrow Definition
Mankind due to his sin was separated from God and destined to face righteous judgement. However, God compelled by His love sought a way to reconcile mankind back to Himself, through the offering of His Son as an atoning sacrifice.
La Sor et al. in acknowledging the difficulty of defining atonement suggests it means, “to cover” the sins of the penitent and make them “at one” with their Creator. Archibald Alexander Hodge suggests that Christ’s atoning work, through His sacrificial death, satisfied the requirements of the law and secured humanity’s reconciliation to God. Richard Mayhue stresses that from Leviticus 16:3-34 and Hebrews 10:9-14 the atoning sacrifice was for “sins” not for sickness. Payne argues that since the fall of man sacrificial atone for his sin has been God’s plan, stating that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins (Lev 17:11, Matt 26:28, Heb 9:22). Hence to make atonement kipper for “sins” for the people to God appears to be the most dominant form of atonement suggested in both the Old and New Testaments.
Throughout the NT the dominant theme relating to the atonement is the vicarious nature of Jesus’ sacrificial death that He suffered by the shedding of His own Blood for the sins of humanity. Jesus was said to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world (John 1:29). His name was called Jesus because He would save His people from their sins (Matt 1:21). His Blood was to be shed for the remission of sins (Matt 26:28). The church was purchased through His Blood (Acts 20:28). His Blood was the propitiation for our sins which God has passed over (Rom 3:25). Only two NT passages, that of Matthew 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24 appear to possibly link atonement to another aspect other than sin. Hence a narrow definition of the atonement could be stated as: The vicarious nature of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ who bore the sins of His penitents and shed His Blood for their forgiveness and covering in order to make propitiation on their behalf to the Father.
A Broader Definition
Smeaton suggests that the atoning work of Christ was not limited to the Cross or extended to the period of His passion, but to Christ’s entire life. Before the culmination of the curse on the cross, Smeaton believed that Jesus had already been bearing the curse from conception. He cites in particular the primeval curse of labour which he states Jesus bore while he was a carpenter (Mark 6:3). Initially, Smeaton’s theory seems plausible due to the fact that scholars dispute where to draw the line of demarcation for the atonement – in the garden, at the examination, at the whipping pole or the death on the cross. However, in no instance, either before or after the curse being ultimately born by Jesus on the cross is the result of the curse of labour ever lifted from man. On the contrary he is instructed that he is worse than an infidel if he doesn’t work (1 Tim 5:8). Smeaton’s theory, if plausible, could have been seen as the most comprehensive definition of the atonement which provided remedy for every aspect of every curse that mankind has been effected by.
In general the only broadening of the definition with respect to the atonement that seems plausible to many conservative scholars is that of including healing in the atonement. As noted in chapter 1, sickness and disease have been intrinsically related to the sin which resulted in the fall of mankind. Recent and older advocates for the doctrine including Jay N. Forrest and Simpson have suggested that not only do Matt 8:17 and 1 Peter 2:24 imply healing is part of the atonement, but they cite many OT passages and symbols as well. They convincingly suggest that the Passover (Exo 12, Ps 105:37), the bronze snake (Num 21-6), the plagues stopped by atoning sacrifice (Num 16:46, 2 Sam 24:10-25), God’s redemptive name Jehovah Rapha (Exo 15:26), sickness which is included in the curse has been redeemed (Deu 28, Gal 3:13), and sickness as a work of the devil has been destroyed (1 Jn 3;8, Lk 13:16, Acts 10:38) are all examples of association of healing and the Atonement. Even staunch opponents of the divine healing doctrine such as Mayhue, who believe that miracles ceased through men at the end of the apostolic age, believe that healing is in the atonement all-be-it to be realised at the redemption of the body. Hence the narrow definition of the atonement as stated above can be rightly broadened to include healing as part of the wholeness of redemption.
The Eschatological Setting
Conservative scholars agree that the ultimate fulfillment of the atonement will result in both the resurrection of the body and eternal sinless perfection for the soul. Simpson, however, stresses that the atonement will not only be fully realised at the end of the age, but that it has also brought a victorious life now both to the soul and the body. He states that this does not mean that the body is free from pain and sickness all the time, just as the soul is not free of temptation at all times, but Jesus gives us victory over them. Robert Dickson, on the other hand is adamantly opposed to the extreme views of both Holiness and Healing doctrines. He suggests that one cannot expect complete physical health for the body in this life nor sinless perfection for the soul until the day when our mortal body will be resurrected into immortality and our corruptible soul will put on incorruptibility. Whereas some of the proponents of the extremist view argue that just because some people aren’t saved now doesn’t mean that salvation is not both provided for in the atonement and fully available now. However all aspects of the atonement are given to us in a promissory note which is only fully realised at the consummation. Scripture indicates that salvation, although in promissory manner at the point of belief, is only actualised upon “receiving the end of your faith” (1 Peter 1:9) and is “nearer than when we believed” (Rom 13:11). Hence, caution is needed in the seeking of physical healing at present because of its partial and temporal nature. The danger of disillusionment is caused by false expectations. A proper understanding both of God’s will and His grace are needed to avoid false hopes.
The Apostle Paul sought God three times for the “thorn in the flesh” to be taken away. Paul pursued God for deliverance and then kept pursuing until he heard otherwise. God’s response to Paul was not to deliver him from the thorn, but to reveal to him a greater purpose of suffering that of building humility and trust. Dickson states that individuals like Paul who do not receive their expected answer, while waiting for the final hope, can confidently approach the great High Priest who is able to sympathise with humanity’s infirmities and pour out grace which is sufficient in times of need. Ladd sees this conquering over evil with God’s grace as part of His will till we come into His new immortal age. Hence a proper understanding of triumph through suffering while waiting for the eschatological hope emphasises the need for both an appropriate doctrine of suffering and a focus to trust God’s grace and His will.
Because healing at present is both partial and temporal the question needs to be asked, is it God’s will and time to heal? According to Matt 8:3, Mark 1:41, Luke 5:13 and Rev 21:4 the answer is an undeniable yes both now and in the future. Yet reality implies that for the future will of God to be achieved the temporal will must be abated. Being healed and not being healed both ultimately fulfill God’s will to heal. In Matthew 5 while Jesus is talking about the Kingdom He makes two statements concerning the body and sin (Matt 5:29,30). He appears to prioritise the profitability of losing one part of the body in preference to losing the whole body in hell. A hierarchy seems to be prevalent in Jesus’ thinking concerning what He wills. Ironically, the only way to enter into the ultimate of healing and the power of an endless life is through death like Christ. It must be concluded that God’s will may not be healing as in the case of Paul, (Gal 4:13) or Trophimus (2 Tim 4:20) because of a greater purpose. Wimber suggests with Ladd that although healing is secured through the atonement, it is to be sought by praying God’s will to be done and receiving whatever healing comes.
The extent to which healing is part of the atonement
It is evident that a definitive statement can conclude that the atoning work of Christ not only provided for the sin of the penitent but also healing for the body. The ultimate redemptive purpose of God will be actualised when He has changed the corruptible and the mortal to be both incoruptible and immortal, both in body and soul at the resurrection. In this regard the extent of healing is complete within the atonement. With respect to the present, the extent can only be said to be both partial and temporal in accordance with the greater will of God which is to be pursued by faith and that those who do not receive healing now will be sustained by His grace. According to Dickson, God’s ultimate solution for healing is death itself. C.S. Lewis aptly describes death as the great enemy and the great friend, our supreme hope and our greatest disgrace. In death is the consequence of sin and the entrance into eternal life. Ultimately the death that we are trying to avoid through healing will usher in our total healing.
While Divine Healing is available through the atoning work of Christ and will be ultimately received at death, God has also provided other means for healing. As noted earlier, Dowie, Simpson and Seymour would strongly opposed such a belief and considered it as belittling the atonement. However, Wesley who believed that healing was a part of God’s grace and experienced divine healing, also believed that God healed through surgery and medicine. George Jeffreys, pioneer of the Elim Pentecostal Church also advocated the use of means as well as prayer for healing from seeing scriptures backing of means in the case of Paul giving advice to Timothy to drink wine for his stomach’s sake (1 Tim. 5.23). The anointing oil as referred to in James 5 is also said to have medicinal purposes. Other means which God has provided include the body itself and more recent means such as counselling. Although divine healing is available to the church and should be sought by faith, God has also provided other means in aiding humanity with their needs and these should be appropriated where necessary.
The thrust of the study was to evaluate the extent to which healing is part of the atonement according to the primary texts used by advocates. It was concluded that the formation of the doctrine was strongly linked to the advocates of the Holiness movement. This gave reason for the doctrine in its extreme form, which appeared to come out of the same motivation that was behind the expectation of sinless perfection and hence gave notion that the body should also expect to be perfectly whole. The doctrine as a result was discovered to have implications that were as positively disastrous as they were blessings.
A brief exegesis of the main texts revealed that healing was altogether provided for in the atonement both in the future as an ultimate realisation, and in present as a partial and temporal taste of the hope to come. Subsequent exploration was sort to obtain key elements to maintain and accentuate the positives and at the same time stem the adverse affects that the extremities had on lives.
Two key elements that warrant further consideration are the doctrine of suffering and the will of God. A correct appropriation of these doctrines together with the doctrine of healing could well stem the tide of much guilt and condemnation. Additional investigation into these areas could strongly support the original intent of the church to love and care for the hurt and broken of our community.
Dialogue of Justin: Philosopher and Martyr, with Trypho, a Jew, Chapter LXIX, Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 2. Internet on-line. Available from Christian Classics Ethereal Library < http://www.ccel.org/fathers2/ANF-01/anf01-48.htm>. [11 February 2003]
Longman Jr. R., “Pre-Pentecostalist History,” (12 August 2001). Internet on-line. Available from <http:/www.spirithome.com/histpent.html> [25 February 2003].
Shetler, T., “Holiness and Missions: The Impact of the Sanctification Message on World Missions,” 7,8. Internet on-line. Available from <http://www.gospelcom.net/bcom/Resources/FacultyForum/Papers/TomShetler_HolinessandMissions.PDF>
 Simpson, A.B., The Gospel of Healing. (Harrisburg: Christian Publications Inc., 1915), 7. See also Duffield G.P., and Ban Cleave, N.M., Foundations of Pentecostal Theology. (San Dimas: L.I.F.E Bible College, 1983), 366.
 Simpson, The Gospe…, 7. See Also Jester, H., By His Stripes: A Biblical Study on Divine Healing, (Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1977), 31.
 See Simpson, The Gospel…, 9-12; Cheung, “Lectures…, 5-7; J. Niehaus, “Old Testament Foundations: Signs and wonders in Prophetic Ministry and the Substitutionary Atonement of Isaiah 53.” Quoted in The Kingdom and the Power, ed. Greig, G.S., and Springer, K.N., (Ventura: Regal Books, 1993), 120.
 LaSor, W.S., Hubbard, D.A., and Bush, F.W., Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form and Background of the Old Testament, (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1992), 393.
 Franz Delitzsch, O.T. Allis and J.A. Alexander as cited by Bullock in An Introduction…, 154. Also Payne, J.B. The Theology of the Older Testament, (Grand Rapids: Academie Books, Zondervan Publishing House, 1962), 255.
 Smeaton, G., The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement, (Winona Lake: Alpha Publications, 1979), 73.
 See Payne, The Theology…, 255-257. Especially footnote 30 on page 255 and the conclusion on 257.
 Although this speculation is not invited by the chapter at hand (Isaiah 53). It may not be speculative with respect to the actual healing ministry of Jesus. Jesus’ ministry on earth could be deemed as partial in the sense that He did not heal all those who were upon the earth at the time e.g. the cripple at the gate beautiful. And it could also be deemed as temporal in the sense that the raising of Lazarus from the dead offered him only relief until death ultimately took Lazarus into the eternal Kingdom to die no more.
 Perrin, N., Duling, D.C., The New Testament: An Introduction 2nd ed. R. Ferm gen. ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1974). 264. See also Gromacki, R.G., New Testament Survey, (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1974). 68. And Carson, D.A., Moo, D.J., and Morris, L., An Introduction to the New Testament, (Leicester: Apollos, 1992). 66.
 It is unsure if Papias is referring to the work known as the Gospel of Matthew or some other works. It is also dubious whether Papias’ statement is being accurately translated. Gromacki suggests that it has be read as “Matthew composed oracles” and also “Matthew collected oracles”. Perrin himself is also in doubt as to the correct translation noting it as “Matthew put together” and also the alternative “Matthew wrote”. See Gromacki, New Testament Survey, 68. And also Perrin, The New Testament an Introduction, 263.
 ibid., 120. See also Ladd, G.E. A Theology of the New Testament, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1994), 56. Ladd suggests that the majority of scholars believe in the Kingdom as both present and future. It would not be incorrect to break this interpretation into three segments as Ladd finally does (see 67.) to suggest the Kingdom: has come (in Christ), is present (through the Holy Spirit), and is future (at the consummation of the ages).
 It is acknowledged at this point that Peter specifically refers to the crucifixion to produce spiritual healing (inferring the atonement), where as the Matthean quote refers to the ministry of Jesus and may not (according to some scholars) be associated with the atonement.
 It is noted that the thorn in the flesh has been the subject of many debates. Whether physical, material or spiritual the thorn, here, only serves as an illustration of seeking God and answer to prayer.
ISRAELI RESEARCH SHOWS PRAYER IS GOOD FOR THE BODY AS WELL AS THE SOUL.
A new Israeli study has found that praying regularly can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by 50%. The study, which was funded by the National Institute of Health in Washington, D.C., found that women, who have a significantly larger chance of developing forms of dementia, could stave off the disease through prayer. The findings confirm earlier studies that indicated religion can play a positive role. “We found that people with higher levels of spiritual well-being had a significantly slower progression of Alzheimer’s disease,” Yakir Kaufman, the head of the neuropsychiatric department at Herzog hospital in Jerusalem said.
The Israeli organization Melabev has ten centres serving about 600 Alzheimer’s patients for whom prayer is part of the daily routine. “If prayer is done in a centre or a religious facility, it is communal and there is a social aspect,” Susan Sachs, the director of public relations and development at Melabev said. “It gives hope and perspective, and for many people it helps retain their dignity. They’re doing something that they did all their lives.” Melabev provides an alternative to institutionalizing Alzheimer’s patients by providing a full day of activities. Sachs estimates there are 100,000 people suffering from the disease in Israel.
The centres provide them with laminated cards with the most popular prayers printed in large type, although many of the patients rely on memory, which also helps strengthen their cognitive function. While prayer has some cognitive elements, it strengthens emotional functioning even more. As the patients’ cognitive function declines, his or her emotional function may be strengthened, according to Leah Abramowitz, the head of the Institute for the Study of Aging at Melabev. She said that, “It’s like a baby who can feel his mother’s emotions and will start crying if she is angry or tense. It’s like the person who is fully blind having more acute hearing.”
Prayer can also lower stress levels – one of the risk factors for Alzheimer’s. Other risk factors include high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. As people live longer, there is more chance that they will develop dementia. Israel’s life expectancy – 80 years for men and 84.2 for women – is the world’s fourth-highest, exceeded only by Japan, Hong Kong and Switzerland. Professor Rivka Inzelberg of Tel Aviv University, who led the research, told a conference that the study indicated that 50% more women than men suffer memory impairments. She said “rituals, like prayer, are especially comforting to Alzheimer’s patients. Prayer is something that went into their long term memory many years ago. It is a ritual that is very comforting for them.”
Chapter 8: The Birth of Christian Outreach Centre by Anne Taylor
This article describes the life of Clark Taylor and his influence through Christian Outreach Centre.
Clark Taylor was born in Queensland, Australia in 1937. He was a farmer with little formal education. As a result of being born again in 1959 in a Billy Graham Crusade in Brisbane, he began training for the Methodist ministry in 1961. This was interrupted in 1963 when he suffered from cerebral malaria and frequently lapsed into unconsciousness.
In 1967, God miraculously healed him. During the Sunday morning service at the Oxley Methodist Church, he believed God was telling him to obey James 5 as it was time for him to be healed. That is exactly what happened on the following Tuesday night when the Rev. Godfrey Williams prayed for him. It was in that same year that he first heard about the baptism in the Holy Spirit, which he received after being prayed for by Frank Fullwood, an Assembly of God pastor.
In January 1968, he became an assistant minister in the Holland Park Methodist Circuit in Brisbane. He was responsible for St. Paul’s Church at Upper Mt Gravatt. After a Bible Study on the Holy Spirit, some people remained behind for prayer. One young man who was prayed for that night spoke in tongues until 2am Another lady received holy laughter which lasted for three days. People who had a hunger for God began praying together three times a week.
Sovereign move of God
In July, God moved sovereignly at St. Paul’s. In a prayer meeting at the manse on 17 July, a lady had a vision of Jesus standing before her, telling her that there was going to be a special service on Sunday night, and that he would bring people from the highways and the byways. Normally there was only a small congregation.
True to His word, God drew the people from as far away as Toowoomba and the Gold Coast with the result that the church was absolutely packed, despite the fact that there had been no advertising. As an example of God’s ability to draw people, a man came from the Darling Downs after reading Haggai 2:1 about the 21st day of the 7th month. There were manifestations of the Holy Spirit during the entire meeting which came to an abrupt end with the appearance of the Senior Minister who had not received the same Holy Ghost revelation.
In 1969 the Methodist Church placed Clark Taylor in King’s College, their Theological College. Because there were people who had been filled with the Holy Spirit but were not being pastored, Taylor began a house meeting at Corinda in May 1969. Fifty people attended the first meeting from Brisbane and the surrounding area. Over the next two years, the numbers grew to approximately two hundred, with ministers, priests, nuns and other people being filled with the Holy Spirit.
Clark Taylor led a group of young people in the streets of Brisbane, who saw many other young people saved as they witnessed to them about Jesus. Some of the young people came from the Wavell Heights Presbyterian Church where the Spirit-filled ministers were Alex Wylie and Ian Barlow. Others were involved with Charles Ringma, who later commenced Teen Challenge in Brisbane.
Early in 1970, Taylor resigned from the Methodist Church. Later in the year he received a prophetic word. Part of it says “….The College which I have spoken about to you and have called you to is the College whereby you live in prayer and intimacy with the Spirit and where I speak to you Spirit to spirit. … I would have you to learn the fear of God; I would have you to seek the fear of God, for the fear of God will keep you stable. If you do not have a fear of me, then inevitably you will raise yourself up and the devil will snare you. …”
Late in 1970, Clark Taylor joined with Pastor Trevor Chandler to Pastor the Windsor Full Gospel Church. Later they both left to begin Christian Life Centre.
At the end of 1972, Taylor resigned from Christian Life Centre to spend eighteen months in travelling ministry.
Early in 1974 he wrote, “For a long time now the Lord has been impressing upon me to commence another Centre in Brisbane. It is a city of nearly one million people and God has given me a vision to reach many of the country areas round about”.
That vision found its fulfilment in Christian Outreach Centre, the major vehicle through which Taylor influenced Australia and other nations.
Christian Outreach Centre
Christian Outreach Centre began with twenty-five adults meeting in the Taylors’ home on 16 June, 1974. On the following Sunday, one hundred and twenty-six people took Communion in a rented building owned by the Teachers’ Union.
The Church grew rapidly. It had started with no money or resources, but by October was able to purchase a Salvation Army property in Woolloongabba. The Church kept expanding, particularly by unchurched people being saved. It was also a place where Christians, both Protestant and Roman Catholic could be baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Clark Taylor had a big vision for evangelising and teaching children. In 1974, Pastor Neil Miers was employed as the Children’s Pastor. Old double-decker buses were purchased from Sydney to transport unchurched children from the suburbs. The Woolloongabba property was bursting at the seams, but children and adults were crammed into every nook and cranny. Joy Time Clubs began for children in the suburbs after school. Saturdays found children’s workers dressed up in animal costumes, outreaching with the gospel. Before Pastor Miers left Brisbane in 1977, the Children’s Church numbered seven hundred.
Finding space was always a problem, but Taylor never allowed such problems to stand in the way of his vision of Australia For Christ. He believed that there was always a solution for each problem. He was not limited by traditional church thinking. In January 1975, a large property was purchased at Mt. Tuchekoi for a conference centre. Many a child’s life was changed at a Children’s Camp there.
Television was another medium which Taylor used very successfully throughout Australia. By 1976, Taylor was starting to talk about using television in Australia in a radical way. By that time the Church had outgrown the Woolloongabba property and had moved into a West End warehouse.
The bold television scheme could not have worked without Brian Millis, a TV journalist. Once again, Taylor’s vision was not hindered by lack of money or equipment. Under great difficulties, the Sunday evening services were filmed, then edited down to a half-hour programme called A New Way Of Living“. The first programme was shown on Channel 9 in Brisbane on 17 July, 1977.
During the next four years it was being shown on sixteen stations in Queensland as well as in South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. A New Way Of Living was radical in Christian Television. The average Australian who never went to church saw large crowds of Christians with smiling faces enjoying God. They saw people responding to an altar call to be born again. They also saw miracles taking place. Large numbers of people were saved.
Clark Taylor’s influence was also spreading throughout South-east Queensland by the establishment of other Christian Outreach Centres in such places as Nambour, Ipswich and Redcliffe. Centres continued to radiate out from Brisbane.
One of the most powerful ways in which his influence was felt was in the lives of Christian Outreach Centre pastors. His Methodist background influenced the way in which he structured Christian Outreach Centre. It is a connectional system. There is an annual conference, but pastors gather together in local regions more frequently for fellowship and training, which was vital in the early years because most of the pastors lacked formal or theological education.
Clark Taylor built faith into his pastors. No conference would pass without a sermon on Mark 11:22-24. He took God at His word concerning mountains of sickness, demon possession, spiritual apathy, attitudes to religion in Australia, bureaucratic red tape, financial need, unbelief and impossibilities in general.
To him, Australia For Christ were not empty words. He believed that unchurched Australians would be saved. He believed that unlearned men who had been with Jesus could turn Australia upside down. He believed that there would be a Christian Outreach Centre in every city and town in Australia.
Christian Outreach Centres such as Nambour are an example of that faith. In less than twenty years, the younger generation that was nurtured there has continued to carry the banner of Australia For Christ. The Holy Spirit is being poured out through the anointed music of such people as Tracy Ham, Andrew Ironside and Ian Beresford.
People world-wide are influenced by the magazine, A New Way Of Living, edited by Darren Trinder. Mark Ramsey, who went out from Nambour to begin Noosa Christian Outreach Centre, continues to run with the vision of “The Sunshine Coast For Christ”.
Clark Taylor’s influence spread to New South Wales. John Gear, a Spirit-filled Methodist who commenced Gloucester Christian Fellowship, listened to tapes of Taylor’s preaching. He persisted in inviting Taylor to conduct a tent crusade in Gloucester.
That was the initial step in small groups of Spirit-filled Christians becoming part of Christian Outreach Centre.
A number of the movement’s leaders, including the vice president David MacDonald, have come from that area, birthing new Christian Outreach Centres throughout New South Wales and beyond.
Christian Outreach Centre was beginning to flow out to other nations. One example of this is the establishment of the movement in the Solomon Islands. Pastor Kevin Dales had been a student in the one year Bible College at Mt. Tuchekoi. He went out from there to pioneer Christian Outreach Centre in Innisfail.
One of his members, Lafai Ituaso, had a great desire that Kevin would go to his people in Tuvalu, a Pacific island. Over the next few years teams from Innisfail ministered in the Pacific Islands. Hundreds of people were saved and healed.
Late in 1989, a Bible College building was completed at Balasuna in the Solomon Islands, due largely to the hard work and sacrifice of the Innisfail people. Since then, students from the Pacific have been trained there and gone out to establish Christian Outreach Centres.
After seeing a Christian school in New Zealand, Taylor began to set the wheels in motion to have a Christian school in Brisbane. In May 1978, Christian Outreach College began with 136 children in primary and secondary school to grade 10. It was established in crowded conditions in the West End complex using the Accelerated Christian Education programme. Subsequently, other Christian Outreach Colleges have been established using the Education Department Curriculum.
Clark Taylor also had a vision for a Christian University. In 1986, Christian Heritage College began, with the vision of bringing reformation to the nation in many areas, beginning with the field of education. In 1988 Christian Heritage College was given accreditation with the Queensland State Government so that Christian-trained teachers would be accepted to teach in State Schools. Graduates are now teaching with a standard of excellence in both Christian and State Schools.
Bible College and School of Ministries
From the first week of the inception of Christian Outreach Centre, Clark Taylor began Bible teaching. Bible Colleges of one year’s duration were held at Mt. Tuchekoi, West End and Mansfield. He also established a Video Bible College. The year 1988 saw the commencement of the two year Bible College course for the Associate Diploma leading into the Bachelor of Ministries course at Mansfield. Each January there is a Ministry Training School of intensified training for people going out to pastor Christian Outreach Centres.
Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre in 1989. He was involved in itinerant evangelistic ministry, and in November 2000 began Worship Centre in Brisbane.
The movement he founded, Christian Outreach Centre, continues and the vision of Australia For Christ continues to burn brightly in other nations of the world as well. The gospel has been committed to faithful people who are teaching others also.
Chapter 9: The Beginnings of Christian Outreach Centre by John Thorburn
Part I: Clark Taylor’s Life and Ministry.
Clark Taylor was a name that was well known in Australia, especially in Queensland, in the late seventies and the early eighties.
Every person who came across this man, either in person or through the medium of television could not avoid being touched and impacted by this dynamic and unconventional minister.
Taylor’s outgoing personality and his total dedication to the preaching of the Gospel were used by God to touch many lives. The result of this man’s God-given vision and his obedience to see that vision fulfilled is known today as Christian Outreach Centre.
Clark Taylor was born in Queensland in 1937 to Joe and Rita Taylor. His mother had always prayed, “Lord, make him a minister”, and like most mothers had always felt that her son was special.
In his early years, Clark had a great dislike for things academic. He was even known to have eaten green fruit in an attempt to avoid having to go to school.
Taylor was never afraid of hard physical work, having spent many hours working on the family property at Palen Creek, near Rathdowney, 70 miles south of Brisbane.
At the age of 14 his family moved to the Northern Territory, where they leased a property and raised beef cattle. At the age of 16 he was running a mustering camp, where he had authority over some of the roughest and toughest men in the Territory.
One sad event that took place during this period of his life was the death of his father who was killed in a tractor accident. It was after this tragedy that Clark moved back down south where he was to encounter something that would change his life forever.
The year was 1959 and at the urging of his Aunt Alexandra, Clark Taylor found himself at the Brisbane Exhibition Grounds where American evangelist, Billy Graham was holding a series of crusade meetings.
The following is an extract from the magazine A New Way of Living where the journalist describes what happened that night.
The choir, hundreds strong, led by Crusade Songleader Cliff Barrows, sang fervently. Tonight was the final night of the Crusade. The bright moonlight revealed a scene typical of Billy’s crusades. Thousands had gathered – many from outback Queensland, to join in what had already been described as an historic event in Australian church life.
The words of the hymn meant nothing, Clark told himself. Sitting on the grass in the arena, looking up at the thousands in the grandstands, he cursed their churchiness and their assurance. Had there been a group of vocal hecklers, he might have joined them … but here, he was alone – as alone as he had been on other moonlit nights, far, far away from crowds … and from Christianity. The crowd fell silent, drawing Clark’s gaze to the stage in the centre of the arena. The boyish looking Cliff Barrows had stepped back, giving place to a tall wavy-haired man whose craggy face and penetrating eyes commanded Clark’s attention: Billy Graham.
So this was Billy Graham. A dark suited, fortyish, tall figure whose right hand held a New Testament, whose left hand index finger stabbed skyward, and whose voice carried clearly to every part of the arena. After praying, Billy began to preach. He would preach for around forty minutes on this night. He would question, answer, anticipate, explain. He would speak of Heaven, and warn of Hell; he would even object, on his listeners behalf, to his own statements. “But Billy, you say …” would be repeated often … followed soon after by, “The Bible says …” By the close of his sermon he would have answered every objection, closed every exit, leaving only Jesus, The Way. He would have spoken thousands of words … and Clark would not have heard one of them.
“CLARK”. The voice, unlike any Clark had ever heard, somehow entered into the very centre of his being. There in front of him, and slightly above the heads of those seated a few feet away, stood Jesus. During the next forty or so minutes something took place that was unknown … even to Clark Taylor. Somehow the spirit of a man which life had battered and embittered received an awakening, in a communion that would defy explanation.
Then He was gone … and Clark, aware once again of his surroundings, was amazed to find that Billy Graham had finished speaking. The choir was again singing … this time softly, invitingly … “Just as I am”. The evangelist was standing, head bowed, chin propped, silently praying … In the moonlight, people were streaming forward … from the grandstand, from the open air seats, and from the grassed oval where Clark sat, stirred in his heart as never before.
Still within him, the battle raged, as reason fought revelation and pent up anger the love of Jesus Christ. Verse after verse was sung. Still they came — people from all walks of life; men and women of all ages …. coming to Christ. It was time. Fighting feelings of foolishness, Clark rose to his feet and joined the throngs.
What a beautiful description of a night that would change one man forever, but also see the beginnings of a ministry that would see worldwide effect.
In 1961, Clark began training for the Methodist ministry. It was during this time that he met and married his wife, Anne. This union was to produce three children, Linda, Philip and Robin.
In 1963, Clark contracted cerebral malaria, which would cause him to lapse into periods of unconsciousness. In 1967, he received healing from this disease. This was the same year that he was baptised in the Holy Spirit.
Clark and Anne then spent time as Assistant Ministers in the Holland Park Methodist Circuit where they were responsible for St. Paul’s Church at Upper Mount Gravatt. It was during this time that Clark began to have difficulties with his denomination over the gifts and manifestations of the Holy Spirit which were happening under his ministry.
Clark was then to spend some time at Kings College, but he eventually resigned from the Methodist Church in 1970. He then joined himself with Trevor Chandler at the Windsor Full Gospel and then they started the Christian Life Centre.
This partnership lasted until 1972, when Clark resigned and spent the next eighteen months in travelling ministry. After receiving a prophetic word, Clark returned to Brisbane where he commenced Christian Outreach Centre.
From very small beginnings of 25 adults meeting in his home, C.O.C. has grown through many different stages to what it is today. The vision began as Australia for Christ but this later grew to Reaching Our World for Christ.
Clark was known for his radical and unusual approach to ministry but there was no denying the anointing that was on his life.
Another outstanding aspect was in his ability to impart the ministry gifts to the pastors of C.O.C. Even though there was no formal theological training, he equipped these pastors in such a way that they were sent into towns and they established strong and vibrant churches. Even though this method had its limitations, it was instrumental in establishing churches in cities where there was very little Christian influence.
There were many other aspects of his ministry, such as television, outreaches, establishing Christian schools, and in the latter stages, a Christian Teachers College and School of Ministry.
Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre in 1989, and is now involved in itinerant evangelistic ministry. He should primarily be remembered as a man who ministered powerfully in the anointing of God and as the pioneer of a movement that has not only touched Australia, a country that he loved, but a movement that has impacted the world.
Part II: Christian Outreach Centre, Mansfield
At the end of Wecker Road in the Brisbane suburb of Mansfield stands a complex which is the hub of what is now a worldwide movement. From a small beginning of 25 people in the lounge room of Clark and Anne Taylor’s home on 16 June, 1974, this local church has grown to a current membership of approximately 2500 people, while the movement that was birthed from its vision has grown to a worldwide membership of about 1600 churches.
After that first meeting the numbers grew so rapidly that the church saw the need to move to larger premises. They spent the next nine months meeting in the Teachers Union Building in Spring Hill until further growth forced another move.
By God’s miraculous provision the old Salvation Army Hall in Trafalga Street, Wooloongabba was purchased. This building was soon bursting at the seams and after knocking out walls and even joining up to the house next door it had finally outgrown its usefulness.
Premises at 100 Victoria Street, West End were then purchased and the church was to have its home here for the next six and a half years. It was during this time that the Centre saw tremendous growth through the use of the medium of television.
A program called A New Way Of Living was produced and was shown on Sunday mornings. God had placed a powerful anointing for healing miracles and salvation over the church and as people saw these things happening in their lounge rooms they were drawn to the Centre to see for themselves.
Even though many had come out of curiosity and to have a look at this madman who seemed to break all the rules of what a preacher should be, many were saved as they sat under the anointing of God and saw the miracles that were taking place.
Another ministry that saw growth was with the children. It was during this time that Neil Meirs came on staff to head up the childrens work. Every Saturday Neil would take his eager team out into the streets and to the shopping centres. There they would be dressed up as clowns and would put on shows and invite the kids to come to Sunday School. As the children came, so did the parents.
The church continued this steady growth until once again the building was too small. Even though it seemed humanly impossible and too big a task, the people of Christian Outreach Centre once again put their trust in God.
Land was purchased at 322 Wecker and work was begun on the current Auditorium. Even though the cost was great, once again God supplied every need and the building was officially opened in May, 1983.
Even though the founder’s personal battle with immorality lead to his dismissal from the ministry in 1989, the movement which he founded is still growing strongly today. This proves beyond doubt that if God wants to build and use something to touch people, he will do so. And he will do it despite the weakness and the imperfections of the people that he chooses.
Perhaps one of the greatest strengths of Christian Outreach Centre has been its desire to “equip the saints for the work of the ministry”, and to see that work carried out throughout the nations of the world.
In its early years there was great emphasis placed on the vision to see Australia for Christ. There were many pastors sent out from the Centre and even though they had only very basic training they were having a great impact wherever they went. This is because of the emphasis that was placed on relying on the Spirit of God to see you through.
While this was a good principle to live by, over the years it was realised that more was needed. This lead to the establishment of another important part of the ongoing ministry of the Church. This is education.
The Church now has the facilities in place to educate and train people from Primary through Secondary and on to Christian Heritage College. Every day there are over 2000 men, woman and children either training or being trained within the grounds of the church.
Another important part of the ethos of the church is its Sunday services. These are a time of great joy and celebration of what God has done and is continuing to do in and through His people. There is always a time of praise and worship where people are free to express their love for God.
Another strength is found in the variety and quality of the messages which are preached from the pulpit. Because of the size and reputation of the church it is able to attract world renowned ministries to supplement the quality of the `in house’ preachers.
This provides the members with a very well balanced diet of spiritual food.
One of the challenges which a church of this size faces is found in the size itself. Because of the large numbers of people who gather together in one place every Sunday it is very difficult to maintain a family atmosphere. People can come along and not even be noticed.
In fact, it was not uncommon to find two people who had been attending the Church for a period of time and had never met each other.
This problem has been overcome by the introduction of the Home Cell principle. It has taken about 12 months to get people away from reliance on the Pastor to meet their needs and to look to each other for support. This has totally changed the atmosphere in the church and has formed a much friendlier and closer relationship amongst the people.
In summing up it is perhaps important to look at the vision statement of the Church: “Our vision is to lead people to Christ making disciples in our neighbourhood, city, nation, and overseas.”
The church was founded with the vision of outreach and it has seen success in this area. As a church and as individuals, we need to continue to be open to allow the Holy Spirit to mould us, change us, train us and use us.
If we continue to do this and remain faithful to God, we will continue to see our God-given vision fulfilled.
Christian Outreach Centre in 2011
Beginning with a home group in 1974, they moved their headquarters to the present location in 1982 when C.O.C. built their new auditorium to seat 5,000 people. Their school expanded from Preparatory to Grade 12 and has over 1,600 students. Their tertiary college, Christian Heritage College (CHC) commenced in 1986 grew from offering one course in education with an initial enrolment of nine students, to around 40 courses and a student community exceeding 800. The college offers a range of accredited degrees in Business, Education and Humanities, Ministries and Social Sciences.
By the end of 1988 there were 136 churches in the movement including churches in New Zealand, and the Solomon Islands. During 1989, churches were established in Papua-New Guinea, Fiji, Vanuatu, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. The movement experienced rapid growth with 44 new churches opening in 1990, the year Pastor Neil Miers became president of Christian Outreach Centre International.
By 2010 C.O.C. had around 1600 churches in 30 countries including Australia, Bulgaria, Chile, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Malaysia, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, PNG, Serbia, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Thailand, Tonga, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Vanuatu and Zambia.
The Movement is strongly involved in helping people in need especially through Global Care. This relief agency poured millions of dollars into worldwide relief.
This movement is one example of exploding movements of church growth across the world today. Most of their churches began as a home group, and then grew.
After Clark Taylor resigned from Christian Outreach Centre he travelled and ministered in America and then in 2000 founded the Worship and Ministry Centre, now the Worship Centre Christian Church, in Brisbane, and from 2012 handed the leadership of the church to Pastors Paul ‘Skip’ and Leah Smith.
Selected from ‘How I Learned to Pray for the Lost’, Back to the Bible pamphlet.
The author is anonymous.
The letter accompanying this testimony says in part: This is the result of my search for effective ways of praying for the unsaved. I have found it to produce amazing results in a very short time. After more than 20 years of fruitless praying, it seemed that there was no possible chance for my loved ones to ever return to the faith. But after only a few weeks of the type of praying that I have outlined here I have seen them studying the Bible by the hour and attending every church service possible. Also, their whole attitude toward Christianity has changed, and all resistance seems to be gone. I have taken my place of authority in Christ and am using it against the enemy. I have not looked at myself to see if I am fit or not; I have just taken my place and have prayed that the Holy Spirit may do His convicting work. If each and every member of the Body of Christ would do this, what a change would be made in this world.
Perhaps because the salvation of some seemed to me to be an impossibility, the first verse that was given to me was Mark 10:27: “With God all things are possible.”
The next Scripture verse had occupied my attention for some time, but it took on a new meaning: “(for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) casting down imaginations [speculations] and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” (2 Cor. 10:4,5). This shows the mighty power of our spiritual weapons. We must pray that all of this will be accomplished in the ones for whom we are concerned; that is, that the works of the enemy will be torn down.
Finally I was given the solid foundations for my prayers – the basis of redemption. In reality, Christ’s redemption purchased all mankind, so that we may say that each one is actually God’s purchased possession, although still held by the enemy. We must, through the prayer of faith, claim and take for God in the name of the Lord Jesus that which is rightfully His. This is not meant to imply that, because all persons have been purchased by God through redemption, they are automatically saved. They must believe and accept the gospel for themselves; our intercession enables them to do this.
To pray in the name of the Lord Jesus is to ask for, or to claim, the things which the blood of Christ has secured. Therefore, each individual for whom prayer is made should be claimed by name as God’s purchased possession, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and on the basis of His shed blood.
We should claim the tearing down of all the works of Satan, such as false doctrine, unbelief, atheistic teaching and hatred, which the enemy may have built up in their thinking. We must pray that their very thoughts will be brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.
With the authority of the name of the Lord Jesus, we must claim their deliverance from the power and persuasion of the Evil One and from the love of the world and the lust of the flesh. We should also pray that their conscience maybe convicted, that God may bring them to the point of repentance and that they may listen and believe as they hear the Word of God. Our prayer must be that God’s will and purposes may be accomplished in and through them.
Intercession must be persistent – not to persuade God, for redemption is by God, but because of the enemy. Our prayer and resistance are against the enemy – the awful powers and rulers of darkness. It is our duty before God to fight for the souls for whom Christ died. Just as some must preach to them the good news of redemption, others must fight the powers of darkness on their behalf through prayer.
We will find that as we pray, the Holy Spirit will give new directions. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Therefore we must constantly seek the motivation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, in our faith, in our prayer and in our testimony.
It is most important also that we confess our own sins and have them forgiven. The enemy will use every possible means to silence our intercession and to block our attack against him. We must not only understand our enemy, our authority in Christ and how to use our spiritual weapons, but also how to wear the armour that God has provided for our protection. Thus equipped and protected, we need not have any fear. But let us always remember that we have no power and no authority other than that of Christ.
Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ (2 Cor. 2:14).
He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).
God’s missional heart – Why do we do ‘Mission’? What is it anyway?
Mission’s End goal:
Revelation 7:9 After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and in front of the Lamb.
Revelation 22:2 On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.
Mission was God’s idea from the beginning
God made Adam and Eve ‘very good’, and because he wanted to have a relationship with them. God was the initiator of relationship, not people. In the garden, after the fall we see God calling people – “Where are you?” – rather than people searching for God. We see that pattern throughout the Bible. This is a key difference between Christianity and other religions. Mission is about us being sent from where we are most comfortable to go and tell people that God is calling them, that God can save them. Our God is a sending and saving God.
The first couple were told to
“Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Gen 1:28
This first commission was much more than go and have babies. It was to spread Eden across the globe, and to fill it with people in relationship with God. God made people in his image, after his likeness, to go out into the world and act like him.
In Gen 10 and 11 we see nations being formed. In Gen 12 God intervenes again, calling one man – Abram. Here God’s missional purpose is clear.
“I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”
God didn’t establish the nation of Israel in order to make a separate people who would worship him. He blessed them to be a blessing, to all peoples, all nations.
And yet for the most part, they are not a blessing. We see glimpses of it, such as in Joseph blessing Egypt, kings coming to Solomon to learn from his wisdom, or in individuals like Rahab and Ruth, but for the most part they remain inward looking, focusing on the blessing they receive, not the blessing they are to give. The period when we see the most blessing to the nations is actually the lowest point of Israel’s existence – the exile – when Judah is taken into Babylon and the likes of Daniel bless even to the king. But throughout the Old Testament we see calls to bless the nations, and hints of what God wanted to happen.
Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s missionary heart – his will to send and to save.
From the beginning he is for all nations. Of the five women mentioned in Jesus genealogy Mat 1:1-7, three were gentiles. Jesus is greeted by the wise men from the east, and takes refuge in Egypt. Simeon proclaims that Jesus is a light for revelation to the Gentiles (Luke 2:32)
When Jesus starts his ministry he quotes Isaiah:
17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.” Luke 4:17-19
In this we see that his mission was about much more than evangelism. It was about wholeness – body, soul and spirit. About making it on earth as it is in heaven.
We all know the great commission – Mat 28:18-20
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
The first act of the Holy Spirit for the new church was to make them able to be understood by people of all nations, in essence to reverse the Tower of Babel.
What is mission for?
On earth as in heaven.
Mission is not just overseas, it is more than evangelism. Making disciples of all nations (not in all nations) is about transforming societies as well as individuals. It is seeing the oppressed set free and the blind receiving their sight as well as (though not instead of!!) the good news being proclaimed. Think of the Lord’s Prayer – a missional prayer that embraces all of life
Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10 your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us today our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13 And lead us not into temptation,but deliver us from the evil one. Matt 6:9-13
It is OUR prayer, not mine, asking that we give God his proper place, that God’s will is done on earth (what is God’s will? – sozo – saved, healed, delivered), that OUR physical needs are met, that we are forgiven our sins and forgive each other, and that we are delivered from the evil one.
What are your passions in mission? How do you long to see earth become like heaven? What is the dream that God has placed in your heart? Or are you just starting to explore mission?
Where do you see God already working, and you’re feeling called to join in?
What do you need to help you to grow in this/ start on this journey?
By Chris Bullock International Missions Assistant Riverlife Baptist Church
This is a result of my search for effective ways of praying for the sick. I found it produced results after persisting in hope and faith. At first it was mostly in hope. I know that God answers prayer, but we don’t always know how. Gradually my faith grew as I persisted in faith, believing that God answers prayer and that God heals. The tide changed and waves of healing blessings flowed more fully.
When I was young, we prayed for the sick in general terms, such as “Please God, heal Mr or Mrs So-and-so. Amen.” Generally the people we prayed for seemed to improve and sometimes we saw rapid improvement.
Then I discovered intimacy with God and the power of his Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, in new ways. Jesus told us to seek this: “If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!” (Luke 11:13). We all need to ask, seek and knock, and Jesus promises that we will receive, find and have the door opened (Matthew 7:7-8).
So my journey in praying for others, including praying for the sick, began to change as I allowed the Holy Spirit to guide me more fully. Instead of praying the same old way, “Please God, heal that sick person,” I began praying the way I was led by the Spirit.
As I read about Jesus and his disciples, I realized that they rarely or never prayed this way, “Please God heal that sick person.” Mostly they commanded healing, and Jesus’ followers always did so in Jesus’ name. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth, and we have authority as we serve him and pray in his name, on his behalf.
That gradually opened new horizons for me! I began listening more to the still, small voice in my mind and heart, and found I was praying with more authority, in Jesus’ name. Increasingly I found myself led to pray, “Be healed, in Jesus’ name.“
As I persisted, the Holy Spirit quietly prompted me to take authority over attacks against the person. Sometimes (not automatically and not always) I was led to pray something like “Infirmity, get out in Jesus’ name.“
Increasingly I found more people reported that pain had gone or that they felt significantly improved. So then I realized that it helped to ask the person being prayed for how they felt. If some pain remained, I was often led to pray for them again, sometimes more than once more.
As first I was reluctant to ask how the person felt, in case there was little or no improvement! Then, gradually I realized that asking how they felt actually gave more opportunity to pray more if that was needed. When we persisted, we often saw improvement right there and then. A simple way to check is to ask, “How much pain do you have on a sale of 10 to 1?”
Many blockages in my thinking stopped me from praying with authority. Here are a few.
Not good enough. That can stop us. We think we’re not good enough for God to work in and through us. “No one is good but One, that is, God” (Mark 10:18). If you wait till you’re perfect, you’ll be in heaven! Confess sin quickly and gratefully move on, because the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, goes on cleansing us from all sin (1 John 1:7).
Fear of failure. What if the person is not healed? That is a common blockage because sometimes there is no evidence of immediate healing. I began saying, “We’ll keep on trusting God for more healing, however it may come.” As we persisted in faith, there seemed to be more healing, more often.
No healing gift. There are many gifts of healings (1 Corinthians 12:9), and some people have a gift of faith for healing – they just expect it. I think I had more hope than faith. But we can all pray for healing, even if we don’t have healing gifts.
Disappointment. We all experience disappointment sometimes when we pray for healing. Healing does not always happen, or it may be slow in coming. But we can persist, just as we do with medical treatments. We persist till healing comes.
No leading. What if you have no leading on how to pray? That happens at times. You can still pray in faith, knowing God hears and will answer in his way and in his time.
What helped me to overcome blockages?
God’s Word helped me most. The more I read about Jesus and his followers the more my faith grew. God’s Spirit speaks his word into our hearts and lives. We believe it and act on it.
Listening more for the leading of God’s Spirit helped me enormously. Note that “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:63) and that “the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2 Cor. 3:6). Often, a ‘hunch’ turned out to be a ‘leading’.
One night I prayed for a young relative who had been getting migraines. Medications had helped, but migraines persisted. I had a hunch we were dealing with an attack, so I was led to gently place my hand on his head and pray, “Affliction, get out in Jesus’ name.” I felt it go, and my young relative felt fine and has not needed medication for that since then. We don’t always ‘feel’ something, but we can pray in faith.
Why lay on hands?
Why do we lay hands on the sick to pray for them? It’s biblical. See Mark 6:5; 7:32; 10:16; 16:18; Luke 4:40; 13:13; Acts 28:8. It’s also a natural way to express care and concern. All parents know that touch brings comfort when a child is hurt.
Biblical passages taught me to persist. Here are some: Matthew 7:7-11; Luke 11:5-10; 18:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Jesus occasionally prayed/commanded for healing more than once, as for the blind man at Bethsaida (Mark 8:22-25) and the wild man of Gadarra (Luke 8:26-39).
Ultimate healing and the only total healing is in heaven. Meanwhile, in this broken world we can show compassion and care in many ways, including praying for healing. I know the pain of praying for a loved one’s healing, who died. Sometimes the healing is not here, but hereafter.
Sometimes God may surprise you, as you persist in simple faith. A nurse in one of our prayer groups was led to place her hand on a lady’s back and pray, “L4 be healed, in Jesus’ name.” The pain left immediately. Apparently the problem was in the lumbar (L4 region) of the spine.
A doctor, and my college class, once prayed for and laid hands on a lady student who was scheduled for an operation to remove a growth in her abdomen. Later that same day her specialist could find no growth, so they cancelled the operation.
Recently we prayed as a small group for a man with diabetes problems. When he had a blood test it registered normal, so he testified in church and gave thanks to God.
Healing is not always so quick. But it’s always a blessing to pray for one another. Sometimes it helps to pray in a believing group where those praying contribute their different spiritual gifts and insights. You can pray in the Spirit and often receive the Spirit’s leading on how to pray with authority in Jesus’ name.
Many people discover that God is real and personal, and they believe in him because someone prayed for their healing. We pray – God heals.
I pray that you will find peace and joy as you pray in faith for others, led and empowered by God’s Spirit. Just bless them in Jesus’name.
Much has been written about the revivals and awakenings that have taken place in the Church over many centuries. It is clear that there are a number of revival principles that constantly recur including persistent prayer; powerful preaching and testimony; and a deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received (Davies, 1992, p 217). This essay will illustrate from revival history these and other principles and explore the nature and potency of revival.
WHAT IS REVIVAL?
It is important to define in more detail what is meant by the term revival as this will determine which events are included as illustrations in the essay. Davies (1992, p 15) proposes a working definition of revival as
A sovereign outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon a group of Christians resulting in their spiritual reviving and quickening, and issuing in the awakening of spiritual concern in outsiders or formal church members; an immediate, or, at other times, a more long-term, effect will be efforts to extend the influence of the Kingdom of God both intensively in the society in which the Church is placed, and extensively in the spread of the gospel to more remote parts of the world.
Waugh (1998, p xxii) quotes Arthur Wallis definition of revival as
A divine intervention in the normal course of spiritual things. It is God revealing Himself to man in awesome holiness and irresistible power. It is such a manifest working of God that human personalities are overshadowed and human programs abandoned. It is man retiring into the background because God has taken the field. It is the Lord…working in extraordinary power on saint and sinner…Revival must of necessity make an impact on the community and this is one means by which we may distinguish it from the more usual operations of the Holy Spirit.
Edwards (1997, p 28) proposes the following definition:
A true Holy Spirit revival is a remarkable increase in the spiritual life of a large number of God’s people, accompanied by an awesome awareness of the presence of God, intensity in prayer and praise, a deep conviction of sin with a passionate longing for holiness and unusual effectiveness in evangelism, leading to the salvation of many unbelievers.
Revival is necessary to counteract spiritual decline and to create spiritual momentum (Wallis, 1956, p 13). In revival the church dormant becomes the church militant. For example, as the nineteenth century dawned America was again morally bankrupt. Eight years of war had drained the nation’s vitality leaving a dark cloud of spiritual indifference and moral degradation. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church circulated a pastoral letter declaring they were filled with concern and awful dread at the conditions of the nation. They expressed the solemn conviction that the eternal God has a controversy with this nation. This concern prompted fervent prayer that precipitated a national spiritual awakening beginning on the east coast around 1800 and spreading to the western frontier (Hyatt, 1998, p 121).
Charles Haddon Spurgeon experienced a continual revival in his church in London for many years in the middle of last century and he was convinced that a true revival is to be looked for in the church of God. In other words revival begins with the church and spills over into the world. It always begins by getting Christians right first, which is very painful.
Revival will always vitalise God’s people … but revival is not always welcome. For many the price is too high. There is no cheap grace in revival. It entails the repudiation of self-satisfied complacency. Revival turns careless living into vital concern…exchanges self-indulgence for self-denial. Yet, revival is not a miraculous visitation falling on an unprepared people like a bolt out of the blue. It comes when God’s people earnestly want revival and are willing to pay the price (Pratney, 1984, p 17).
Preaching at the Keswick Convention in 1922, Douglas Brown, who was used in a revival the year before, rightly maintained that “revival” is a church word; it has to do with God’s people. You cannot revive the world; the world is dead to trespasses and sins; you cannot revive a corpse. But you can revitalise where there is life… (Edwards, 1997, p 27).
Evan Roberts made the same claim in Wales in 1904: “My mission is first to the churches.” When the churches are aroused to their duty, men of the world will be swept into the Kingdom. A whole church on its knees is irresistible. Revival always brings the church to its knees. Rhys Bevan Jones who preached in Wales throughout 1904 declared that if ever there was a slogan for that revival it was this: “Bend the church and save the people” (ibid).
A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
This can also be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God: John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
Revival is not primarily to give the church power, though it certainly does this, but give it life. There is a world of difference. In one sense the church had no history before Pentecost. In Acts 2 the church was not restored to where it ought to have been and from where it had fallen, but it was the starting-point of the new covenant church. The Acts story certainly describes the effects of a community saturated with God. A revival is the spring of Christianity – the renovation of life and gladness … it is the season in which young converts burst into existence and beautiful activity … the whole landscape teems with living promises of abundant harvest of righteousness and peace… it is the jubilee of holiness (Jenkins in Hill, 1997, p xxx).
When a group of God’s people are revived there is an inevitable effect on those in the immediate neighbourhood. They see that something has happened, make enquiries, and are then told by those who have been revived. This is what happened on the day of Pentecost, and is what has often happened in subsequent times of revival. For example:
1. Wales, 1904, 100 000 conversions
2. Argentina, 1951, 300 000 conversions
3. Pensacola, 1995, 100 000 conversions
Revival is remarkable, large, effective and, above all, it is something that God brings about. It is quite impossible for man to create revival. Though men may prepare and pray for it, revival is the work of the sovereign God. Commenting on Acts 2:1, when the day of Pentecost came, Wallis in Edwards (1997, p 29) claims every genuine revival is clearly stamped with the hallmark of divine sovereignty, and in no way is this more clearly seen than in the time factor. The moment for the first outpouring of the Spirit was not determined by the believers in the upper room but by God, who had foreshadowed it centuries before in those wonderful types of the Old Testament.
The suddenness is a typical feature of revival. What happened in the time of Hezekiah was done so quickly and the same was true 700 years later when, on the day of Pentecost, suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind… (Acts 2:2). No matter how long people have been praying for it or expecting it when it comes it is always a surprise.
When God came to the north of Korea in January 1907 it was on the Monday following a particularly formal and weary Sunday. In revival things happen suddenly and unexpectedly. Meetings are lengthened, crowds gather, and sermons have to be preached, not because it is all arranged in advance, but because God is at work. At
Herrnhut in 1727, Zinzendorf acknowledged, hitherto we had been the leaders and helpers. Now the Holy Spirit himself took full control of everything and everybody (Edwards, 1997, p 30).
God longs to work afresh in the affairs of His people and bring them back to the knowledge of Himself and relationship with Him (Waugh, 1999, p 11). To illustrate, God gave a promise at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem in 2 Chronicles 7:14 – If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land (NIV).
He has kept this promise and the history of Israel gives many examples. This verse speaks of the need for God’s people to humble themselves and pray and seek God’s face and turn from their wicked ways, thus emphasising the paramount need for prayer. As God’s people truly seek his face, humbling themselves before him and acknowledging their complete dependence on him, earnest and urgent in expressing their wholehearted desire for his presence and blessing together with their determination, like Jacob (Gen 32: 26), not to give up until he answers, he will hear. They will find that He reveals to them their secret sins which up to that time they have cheerfully committed and tolerated, but which now become hateful to them as they have a glimpse of how He views them.
Orr (1993, p 13) quotes Pierson who said, there has never been a spiritual awakening in any country or locality that did not begin in united prayer. Joel 2: 15-17 is a vital passage to apprehend for revival – blow the trumpet in Zion … Here is a community of people of God called to pray for revival, and it clearly involved a radical alteration of their regular program. The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church. King Hezekiah set the example for the people by his own commitment to God in prayer.
Commenting on the prayer that preceded the revival in Shotts in 1630, one writer remarked that while God sometimes works without His people, he never refuses to work with them (Edwards, 1997, p 85).
The first hint of revival is frequently a stirring in the life of prayer in the church and this can be well documented from history. In the case of the First Great Awakening there were Christian leaders such as Cotton Mather (1663-1728) who over the course of his life spent hundreds of days in prayer and fasting for revival, even though he did not live to see the answer to his prayers, at least not in his own church.
George Whitfield attributed much of the blessing which attended his ministry and that of others to a daily prayer meeting which he and his friends began in October 1737. Jonathan Edward’s preaching derived its power from his prayer life. He would spend whole days and weeks in prayer and it was not unusual for him to spend eighteen hours in prayer prior to preaching a single sermon. The result was a revival that not only transformed the moral and spiritual character of his community but also that of an entire nation (Hyatt, 1998, p 116).
The Moravian church was renewed at Herrnhut in August 1727 and this was preceded by nearly a century of prayer for renewal by the persecuted remnants of the Unity of Brethren in Bohemia and Moravia from whom the refugees at Herrnhut had come. The twenty-four hour prayer watch which soon became a distinctive feature of the Moravians and which continued for another hundred years provided much of the moving power which sent the Moravian missionaries to all corners of the globe.
In the 1740s John Erskine of Edinburgh published a pamphlet encouraging people to pray for Scotland and elsewhere. Over in America the challenge was picked up by Jonathan Edwards who wrote a treatise called, A Humble Attempt to Promote Explicit Agreement and Visible Union of God’s People in Extraordinary Prayer for the Revival of Religion and the Advancement of Christ’s Kingdom.
For forty years John Erskine orchestrated what became a Concert of Prayer through voluminous correspondence around the world. In the face of apparent social, political and moral deterioration he persisted. In 1781 in Cornwall the heavens opened at last and across the country prayer meetings were networking for revival. A passion for evangelism rose and converts were being won – not through regular services of the churches but at the prayer meetings! Whole denominations doubled, tripled, and quadrupled in the next few years. It swept from England to Wales, Scotland, United States, Canada and to some Third World countries.
Matthew Henry wrote, “When God intends great mercy for His people He first sets them praying” (Robinson, 1993, p 8).
The prayer movement had a tremendous impact but waned until the middle of the 19th century. Then God started something in Canada and the necessity to pray was picked up in New York. A quiet man called Jeremiah Lanphier had been appointed by the Dutch reformed Church as a missionary to the central business district. He called a prayer meeting in the city to be held at noon each Wednesday. Its first meeting was on 23 September 1859 and eventually five men turned up. Two weeks later they decided to move to a daily schedule of prayer. Within six months 10 000 men were gathering to pray and that movement spread across America. Within two years there were one million new believers added to the church. The movement swept out to touch England, Scotland Wales and Ulster. It was estimated that 100 000 converts directly resulted from prayer movements in Ireland. It has also been estimated that during the years 1859-60 some 1 150 000 people were added to the church wherever concerts of prayer were in operation (ibid, p 10).
In describing how revival comes, believers can never overlook the part that urgent prayer and confident expectation play. There must be, especially among the leaders, the determination that God will come, that He must come. William Bramwell is typical of this. A powerful Weslyan preacher towards the end of the eighteenth century and the first twenty years of the nineteenth, Bramwell was on the Dewsbury preaching circuit and longing for God to come in revival. He had been praying fervently for this when God gave him the assurance that the revival, which actually broke out in 1792, would come (Edwards, 1997, p 75).
It is said of David Morgan that for ten years before 1858 he never prayed in public without praying for revival. The revival that came to England in 1859 and particularly to the preaching Charles Haddon Spurgeon can be traced back six years to the prayers of his London congregation. It is not always clear when prayer meetings are part of the revival itself or are preceding it. But the distinction does not matter too much. Prayer is both the cause and result of the coming of the Spirit in revival (ibid, p 78).
Commenting on the Welsh revival in 1904, RB Jones looked back to the latter years of the previous century. From 1897 many younger ministers were meeting together to pray for revival. One minister recalled that on a Saturday evening when his sermon preparation was finished he spent time in prayer and there would come upon him such a power as would crush (him) to tears and agonising praying (Edwards, 1997, p 77).
Pandita Ramabai opened a home for girls in India. In this endeavour she was totally dependent on God’s provision and prayer was truly her lifeline. In January 1905, she began to speak about the need to seek God for revival. Before long, 550 people, mostly women and girls, were meeting twice daily, praying for revival and for an enduement of power. On June 30 Ramabai was teaching the girls from John 8 when suddenly the Holy Spirit fell as in the book of Acts. Everyone in the room began to weep and pray aloud. The revival had begun. Pandita Ramabai left her imprint on her generation and surely deserves to be recognised as the mother of the Pentecostal movement in India.
Prayer seems to have been the foremost activity at the Azusa Mission. One participant said, “The whole place was steeped in prayer. William Seymour spent much of his time behind the pulpit with his head inside the top shoe box praying. Seymour was consumed with a passionate desire for God.” Seymour said, “Before I met Parham, such a hunger to have more of God was in my heart that I prayed for five hours a day for two and a half years. I got to Los Angeles and there the hunger was not less but more. I prayed, God, what can I do? The Spirit said, Pray more. …I increased my hours of prayer to seven, and prayed to God to give what Parham preached, the real Holy Ghost and fire with tongues with love and power of God like the apostles had” (Hyatt, 1998, p 156).
The event that preceded Azusa Street by five years and actually precipitated the revival in Los Angeles began at the outset of the century in a student atmosphere. It was in a Bible School in Topeka, Kansas, where Charles Parham’s students searched the scriptures and where the Holy Spirit came on a student during a prayer and study vigil.
Along with the growing acceptance of their movement, Pentecostals were, at the same time, experiencing a loss of spiritual vitality that always accompanies the onslaught of institutionalisation. The 1930s and 40s have been described as a time when the depth of worship and the operation of the gifts of Spirit, so much evident in earlier decades, were not so prominent. Many were concerned to the point that systematic times of prayer and fasting were instituted to pray for spiritual renewal and revival. The answer to their prayers began with the advent of the Healing revival which began in 1946 and the Latter Rain Revival which began in 1947 (Hyatt, 19 98, p 183).
The ministries of William Branham and Oral Roberts signalled the beginning of a significant era of healing evangelism. Almost immediately a host of other evangelists began reporting miraculous healings and other supernatural phenomena in their meetings, These included AA Allen, Jack Coe, TL Osborn, William Freeman, WV Grant, Kenneth Hagin and many other evangelists. In 1947, after a seven month season of focussed prayer and fasting, Oral Roberts received inner assurance that it was time for God’s call to be fulfilled – to take God’s healing power to his generation. Many remarkable miracles occurred and Roberts eventually became the most prominent healing evangelist of that era.
Before God began the revival that swept across Borneo in the 1970’s he had been preparing the ground by giving the missionaries the burden to pray. Ravenshill (1958, p 155) states that for this sin-hungry age we need a prayer-hungry church…prayer does business with God. Prayer creates a hunger for souls; hunger for souls creates prayer.
Cho (in McClung, 1986, p 99) states that before 1980 individual revival movements took place with such prominent figures as Billy Graham and Oral Roberts. More recently it appears that the individual revival movements have abated and revivals have burst forth in the local church. In Korea, where the church has grown from almost zero to a projected 50% of the entire population in this century alone, Pastor Paul Yonggi Cho attributes his church’s conversion rate of 12 000 people per month as primarily due to ceaseless prayer (Robinson, 1993, p 5).
A dramatic revival took place at Whittier Christian High School in Los Angeles from 1987 to 1989. It had been preceded by fifteen years of secret prayer for revival by the mother of one of the students who had attended in the early 1970’s and by four parent/teacher prayer groups who were similarly praying through the early part of 1987. The revival spread to some of the other colleges in the area and to two campuses on the other side of the United States. A prayer movement for God to send out 100 000 missionaries in this generation has grown out of the awakening.
The Toronto Blessing erupted in January 1994 and by 1997 attendance had reached the two million mark. Even though the leaders of this revival consider evangelism to be their second priority – after the renewal of the Church and individual believers – over 25 000 conversions have occurred of which 8-10 000 are first time decisions (ibid, p 210).
The lost of the Apostle Paul’s day were the same as the lost of today. Paul desperately wanted them to be set free. This same burden for the lost is at the heart of the Brownsville revival (Hill, 1997, p 12). One obvious characteristic of the Pensacola revival is its intense evangelistic emphasis. The meetings are obviously geared towards getting those who are unsaved or backslidden to the front during the altar service. Since its beginning in June 1995 it is estimated that two million people have visited the revival with over 100 000 making decisions for Christ (Hyatt, 1998, p 211).
John Kilpatrick, pastor of the Brownsville Assemblies of God church in Pensacola, Florida highlights the value of prayer in revival when he reflects on the powerful moves of God in peoples lives: I see the scenes replayed week after week, and service after service. Each time, I realise that in a very real way, they are the fruit of a seven-year journey in prayer, and of two and a half years of fervent corporate intercession by the church (Waugh, 1998, p 137). Stephen Hill (1997, p 2) notes that it was a deep-rooted motivation to do the ministry God had given that caused Kilpatrick to rise up for over two years, take hold of the horns of the altar, grab them firmly, and scream out, “Dear God, send revival to our church. Revive us, oh God!’ He also notes (p 5) the ministry of Lyla Terhune and the intercessors who spend time in the back prayer room during the revival services agonising over the souls of the lost. They can be found weeping and wailing, often travailing as a woman giving birth, not for themselves but for the salvation of others. They do not flinch at the thought of waging heated spiritual warfare during this revival.
Derek Prince notes in Hill (1997, p xxii) that Tuesday night is prayer night at the Pensacola revival. The seventeen hundred people present represented quite a large turn-out by most standards of prayer meetings … one distinctive feature was the presence of ten or more banners, each one representing some major theme of prayer. People focussed their prayer on a theme by gathering around that particular banner. There was none of what I would call ‘shotgun praying’, rather it was very directed.
There have always been pockets of believers, sprinkled throughout the land – earnestly seeking God – motivated by a desperate desire for revival. God has always had His remnant. They took hold of the horns of the altar. The darkness of night was pierced by their agonising pleas for a visitation from God. Their white-hot prayers lit up the sky just as lightning displaces utter blackness (Hill, 1997, p xviii). I know not what course others may take; but as for me, GIVE ME REVIVAL in my soul and in my church and in my nation – or GIVE ME DEATH! (Ravenshill, 1958, p 161).
POWERFUL PREACHING AND TESTIMONY
The second consistent principle of revival is powerful, urgent, relevant Christ-centred preaching.
On the day of Pentecost the 120 disciples were filled with the Spirit and immediately began to speak in various languages about the wonderful works of God. This was followed by Peter’s preaching which was accompanied by such spiritual power that 3 000 were convicted and converted (Acts 2). The work continued and spread as the Christians preached publicly and testified personally to the great saving acts in Jesus Christ.
Often in revivals, an individual or a small group, have experienced powerful awakening and renewal as they have waited on God in prayer and then their personal testimony and public proclamation have been the means of communicating that blessing to other believers as well as awakening and converting non-believers.
True revival is a revival of gospel preaching (Edwards, 1997, p 101). Powerful, urgent,
relevant Christ-centred communication of the gospel emphasising the holiness and grace of God and the need for personal response is a hallmark of revival. It is often because the preachers themselves have been revived and quickened, and the content of their preaching as well as their method of presentation bear evidence to what has happened.
Davies (1992, p 222) notes that preachers in revival are never flippant. They know they are the servants of the Most High God and they are aware of their awesome responsibility and of the seriousness of the task. They have a sense of the awfulness of men dying without Christ and are extremely concerned to communicate the gospel faithfully. They have an urgent desire to bring men and women to repentance and faith before it is too late. Preachers in revival are concerned to make the truth plain and to show each person its relevance for them. They are also conscious to avoid superficial and therefore false conversions.
The description of Duncan Campbell as a preacher shows how seriously revival preachers took their task: There was nothing complicated about Duncan’s preaching. It was fearless and uncompromising. He exposed sin in its ugliness and dwelt at length on the consequences of living and dying without Christ. With a penetrating gaze on the congregation and perspiration streaming down his face he set before men and women the way of death. It was a solemn thought to him that the eternity of his hearers might turn upon his faithfulness. He was standing before his fellow men in Christ’s stead and could be neither perfunctory or formal. His words were not just a repetition of accumulated ideas but the expression of his whole being. He gave the impression of preaching with his entire personality, not merely his voice (Edwards, 1997, p 103).
In revival Christ, and the blood of the cross particularly, is central to the preaching. Perhaps this is why many records of revival refer to the special blessings experienced at communion services when the blood of Christ is preached both from the Word and through the bread and wine. At Cambuslang in 1742 the presence of God was so real at the communion service held on 11 July that it was agreed they must celebrate it again, and very soon. Untypically for the Scottish Presbyterians, they arranged another service for 15 August and this was attended by some 20,000 people! Though only a few thousand were allowed to participate, hundreds were converted.
In the eighteenth century Whitefield and Wesley found that the preaching of the cross was hated, just as it is hated now. But thousands found in the blood of Christ justification, redemption, propitiation, peace, reconciliation and cleansing, whether or not they understood all those terms.
Joseph Kemp returned from a visit to Wales in 1905 and reported to his congregation at Charlotte Chapel in Edinburgh that the dominating note of the Walsh revival was ‘redemption through the Blood.’ Whenever we hear or read that the Spirit is at work we can assess the genuineness of the work by how central the blood of Christ is to the preaching and the worship. And if the cross is central in the preaching and the worship then it will be central in the lives of the converts (Edwards, 1997, p 108).
Jonathan Edwards complained, in 1733, that the young people, especially, were very careless and were not interested in listening to what God had to say through their parents or through the ministers of the gospel. But when the Spirit of God came in revival, ‘The young people declared themselves convinced by what they heard from the pulpit, and were willing of themselves to comply with the counsel that had been given; and it was immediately, and I suppose, almost universally, complied with.’ Submission to leadership is a biblical condition of worship and it runs tight through both Old and New Testaments. The description of the Christians in the Acts of the Apostles was that they were dedicated to the apostles’ teaching (Acts 2:42). And when revival comes, one of its hallmarks is not independency, but a holy dependence upon Scripture and a respect for those whose task it is to explain and apply it (Edwards, 1997, p 111).
The twin activities of public preaching and personal testimony provide the ideal combination which has so often been the way that awakening and revival have spread. Even when the preaching has been limited to ‘properly ordained ministers’ the witness of ‘ordinary Christians’ has been a major factor in the spread of revival. It is the emphasis upon living, vital and urgent preaching, together with the people’s confidence in Scripture and love for it, that produces such a powerful force in revival. Revival never begins with those who deny or despise the authority of the Word, and if people who do deny Scripture are effectively influenced by the revival it will always change their theology of the Bible.
At times of revival there has been a paramount need for sound teaching and instruction. When those who are revived are themselves soundly taught in the truth of God’s Word, they can properly interpret their own experience, adequately proclaim the truth to others, and also correctly instruct new converts. When this is not the case or when they fail to properly instruct new converts of the revival there is a strong possibility that there will be dangerous extremes of belief and practice and that the whole movement of revival will not produce lasting fruit. In the case of the Welsh Revival of 1904 many believe that Evan Roberts’ neglect of preaching and instruction was the cause of the revival’s failure to achieve its full potential (Evans in Davies, 1992, p 223).
One commentator on the eighteenth-century Awakening rightly claims that the uninhibited and compelling urge to preach the Gospel was the basic characteristic of all the personalities involved, whatever other gifts they might have: Both Harris and Wesley had keen organising ability, both William Williams and Charles Wesley had unsurpassed genius to write hymns, Whitfield’s compassionate heart and breadth of vision well-nigh encircled the globe, and Rowland’s communion seasons were heavenly, but each felt deeply the absolute priority and unique authority of preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit (Edwards, 1997, 104).
DEEP AWARENESS OF THE PRESENCE AND HOLINESS OF GOD
Another key principle of revival is the deep awareness of the presence and holiness of God leading to a strong sense of conviction of sin and repentance followed by extreme joy when peace with God is received.
In Israel’s time, under God’s judgement, people awakened to a realisation of better days and linked this back to their previous relationship with him. Prayer went up in agony for deliverance and God raised up another leader and another restoration. Right relationship to the righteous standards of the Word of God was also confirmed by Charles Finney who succinctly defined revival as nothing more or less than a new beginning of obedience to the Word of God (Pratney, 1984, p 19).
There is an observable connection in the history of awakenings between revival and holiness. An overwhelming sense of the holiness of God frequently characterises revivals bringing with it a crushing sense of personal and often corporate sin and guilt. The repentance which is produced in revival is a deep, radical, complete abhorrence of sin and turning away from it, with a heartfelt desire to have done with it completely. Sin is seen for what it really is, as God sees it, and it continues to be hateful to the young convert. Holiness is seen as beautiful and infinitely desirable. The new Christian longs after holiness, seeing it as a characteristic of his God.
Waugh (1998, p 136) quotes Kilpatrick regarding the Brownsville revival – corporate businessmen in expensive suits kneel and weep uncontrollably as they repent of secret sins … drug addicts and prostitutes fall to the floor on their faces beside them, to lie prostrate before God as they confess Jesus as Lord … souls who come to Christ, confessing their sins.
Revival is always a revival of holiness. And it begins with a terrible conviction of sin. It is often the form that the conviction of sin takes that troubles those who read of revival. Sometimes the experience is crushing. People weep uncontrollably. There is no such thing as a revival without tears of conviction and sorrow. In January 1907 God was moving in a powerful way in North Korea and a Western missionary recalled one particular scene: As the prayer continued a spirit of heaviness and sorrow for sin came down upon the audience. Over on one side someone began to weep and in a moment the whole audience was weeping. Man after man would rise, confess his sins, break down and weep, and then throw himself to the floor and beat the floor with his fists in perfect agony of conviction … sometimes after a confession the whole audience would break out in audible prayer and the effect of that audience of hundreds of men praying together in audible prayer was something indescribable. Again, after another confession, they would break out in uncontrollable weeping, and we would all weep, we could not help it. And so the meeting went on until 2 am, with confession and weeping and praying (Edwards, 1997, p 115). Scenes like these are typical of almost every recorded revival. There is no revival without deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin.
In some mines in Wales in 1904 the work came to a standstill because the pit ponies could no longer understand the orders that were given to them; the hauliers, classed as the worst group of men in the pits, proverbial for their profanity and cruelty, were no longer cursing their commands and the ponies were confused (Edwards, 1997, p 187).
A revival usually results in an unusual sense of spiritual interest or concern and it can first manifest itself as a deep concern on the part of professing Christians regarding the shallowness and superficiality of their spiritual lives. They become profoundly conscious of their poverty of their relationship with God, the standard of their moral lives and their service for Christ (Davies, 1992, p 19).
Revival rectifies the impoverished spiritual conditions of people, some of which are outlined in an internet bulletin from www.highwayman.net/prayernet titled A27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit. A sample includes – we need revival:
1. When we would rather make money than give money;
2. When we make little effort to witness to the lost;
3. When we seldom think thoughts of eternity;
4. When we know truth in our heads that we are not practicing in our lives
5. When we are more concerned about what others think about us than what God thinks about us.
The full list has been reproduced and is available in the Appendix. Revival will always vitalise God’s people. In the revival in Kentucky in the late 1700s sleep and physical comforts seemed to be forgotten as things eternal gripped the hearts and minds of the people…cries of distress over sin soon gave way to shouts of joy arising out of assurance of salvation (Hyatt, 1998, p 123).
The deep, uncomfortable and humbling conviction of sin can be demonstrated in the Brownsville revival in 1995. Stephen Hill (1997, p 74) noted that as in the revivals of old, people fell to their knees, prostrate or backward on the ground, weeping and wailing and crying out to God. John (Kilpatrick) and I prayed for individuals, and I realised that repentance was on the hearts of these people. I heard them cry out to God about their lukewarmness and stale Christianity, confessing their sins, and wanting desperately to get right with God. It seemed that everyone in that sanctuary desired a renewed relationship with their Lord Jesus Christ.
OTHER REVIVAL PRINCIPLES
There has been much written and spoken of about the dynamics and principles of revival. Nine outstanding characteristics of the major revivals have been articulated by Fischer (in Pratney, 1984, p 19) as follows:
1. They occurred in times of moral darkness and national depression
2. Each began in the heart of a consecrated servant of God who became the energizing power behind it
3. Each revival rested on the Word of God and most were the result of proclaiming God’s Word with power
4. All resulted in a return to the worship of God
5. Each witnessed the destruction of idols where they existed
6. In each revival there was a recorded separation from sin
7. In every revival the people returned to obeying God’s laws
8. There was a restoration of great joy and gladness
9. Each revival was followed by a period of national prosperity
Revival brings vitality to God’s Church and His people. A principle of revival is that it brings results. There is an increase in evangelism, mission, social action and the increased involvement of the laity. A revival always has an effect upon the nation. Edwin Orr (in Edwards, 1997, p 185) claims that the evangelical awakening in the eighteenth century saved Britain from the revolutionary experience that ravaged the continent of Europe at that time. Wesley, the English evangelist, defeated Volataire, the French philosopher and Deist.
2 Kings 18: 7-8 notes the success of King Hezekiah during the revival – And the LORD was with him; he was successful in whatever he undertook. He rebelled against the king of Assyria and did not serve him. From watchtower to fortified city, he defeated the Philistines, as far as Gaza and its territory (NIV). The nation was sufficiently strong to throw off its slavery; the revival gave the people of Judah moral and military fibre and it was this that led Hezekiah to make a bid to secure spiritual unity in the nation after 200 years of warfare between the north and south. The revival was also a time of his brilliant engineering.
There are also hindrances to revival which the believer needs to be aware of. Some of these have been outlined in Waugh (1999, p 9) and include pride (when Christians become proud of their great revival); exalting self over God; prejudice (when Christians lose the spirit of brotherly love); exhaustion; self-reliance (when dependence on the Spirit in replaced by human effort); conflict (when there is continued opposition of the >old school’ combined with a bad spirit in the >new’ school); and neglecting missions.
The life of a believer of prayer, striving for holiness, and wholehearted evangelism must all go on as if the future of the Church depended on them. At the same time believers should long for the community to be saturated with God, should talk of the great acts of God in revival, and should pray to continually remind God that a special occasion is needed for this generation.
When the prophet Micah looked around him he could find little to encourage him in the nation. An honest assessment convinced him that the forces of evil were gaining ground. In spite of this, or perhaps because of this, Micah set out his own position:
But as for me, I watch in hope for the LORD,
I wait for God my Saviour; my God will hear me
Micah 7:7 (NIV).
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Hill, Stephen. 1997. The Pursuit of Holiness. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.
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McClung, L Grant Jnr. 1986. Azuza Street and Beyond: Pentecostal Missions and Church Growth in the Twentieth Century. South Plainfield, New Jersey: Bridge Publishing Co.
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Pratney, Winkie. 1984. Revival: Principles to Change the World. Springdale: Whitaker House.
Ravenshill, Leonard. 1959. Why Revival Tarries. Tonbridge: Sovereign World.
Robinson, Stuart. ‘Praying the Price’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 5-12.
Wallis, Arthur. 1956. In The Day of Thy Power. Christian Literature Crusade.