Current Revival in America’s largest University

Current Revival in America’s largest University

ASU
By George Otis, Jr.
President, The Sentinel Group
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Current Revival in America’s Largest University
https://renewaljournal.com/2018/11/16/current-revival-in-americas-largest-university/
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As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
This huge university, the largest in the United States, has been in the grip of a bona fide spiritual awakening.
By our definition, formed over twenty years of monitoring transforming revival around the world, a true awakening means the work of God is comprehensive. This stands in contrast to a human campaign or initiative where results are typically confined to a single category or location within the community.
At ASU [Arizona State University], God’s sweep is as broad as it gets.
Not surprisingly, united prayer has proven to be a major factor behind these happy developments. After several tough years where campus ministries tended to go their own way, things took a pleasant turn in the fall of 2017. Instead of the usual two to three ministries coming together before God, prayer events at the local Campus Christian Center were rocking a three-fold increase in intercessory participants.
This past spring, fully a dozen ministries united behind a forty-day prayer focus where petitions were lifted day and night from a tent erected near the main campus square. The initiative was so fruitful, the ministries decided to continue the effort over the balance of the academic semester.
This fall, the tally of participating ministries and campus churches reached seventeen, as a fresh fifty-six-day campaign drew prodigals, atheists, Muslims, New Agers, and students suffering from depression. In addition to witnessing numerous conversions, healings, and deliverances, the intercessors also watched God begin to move among the University faculty and administration.
One of the more significant breakthroughs involved the school’s Interfaith Council of Religious Advisors. For years, the woman directing the council was motivated to establish ASU as a model of the global interfaith movement. Unfortunately, this highly syncretistic vision proved to be a major hindrance to the gospel. As time went by, her attitude toward Christians hardened, and ministries found their access to campus facilities severely limited.
Faced with this opposition, students and ministry leaders began to pray that God would either change this woman’s heart, or install someone more sympathetic.
It did not take God long to act. Within a period of weeks, this woman who had so vexed campus leaders disappeared from the Interfaith Council. None of the Christians on campus seemed to know where she had gone, or why. She was simply no longer there. Her replacement, a man even more hostile to the Christian cause, was similarly prayed out. Today, the council is headed by the son of a Baptist minister!
Even more dramatic has been the departure from the university of notorious atheist Lawrence Krauss. Virulently anti-Christian, the highly-paid professor routinely packed out Gammage Auditorium on campus by bringing in atheist luminaries such as Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Hawking.
A theoretical physicist, Krauss founded the Origins Project in 2009 with the aim of placing the university at the forefront of the New Atheist Movement. By promoting hostile, anti-religious rhetoric and policies (“teaching Creationism to youth is child abuse”), Krauss bullied Christian students and faculty into silence.
During the worst of Krauss’s campaign, God assured one late-night intercessor that the professor would be brought low, and that the backbone of the atheist movement on campus would be broken.
Given Krauss’s fame and tenure, this prospect was almost unimaginable.
And yet, on Oct. 21, 2018, Lawrence Krauss announced his resignation after being stripped of his role as an academic chair and as the Director of the Origins Project. This action came in the wake of an impending termination procedure urged by the dean of ASU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
According to ASU provost, Mark Searle, action was taken because the physicist “violated the school’s sexual harassment policy and code of ethics.” In a July 31 letter to Krauss, Searle told the professor his behavior was “unprofessional, reflects a failure of leadership, and is extremely disappointing.”
As for the Origins Project itself, the university newspaper notes that “sources point to a very different future for the project.” The initiative has already lost its name.
With Krauss out of the picture at ASU, Christian faculty in both the arts and sciences are again raising their flag.
A March 2019 conference on Science and Faith allowed students to engage faculty in six fields, an approach being lauded by the university president. As one professor’s official profile declares: “Through his work he intends to glorify God, from whom all good things come.”
Transforming winds have also been coursing through the university’s athletic department. Just last month, over 100 Christian student athletes attended an all-sport gathering in the men’s football facility that featured worship, prayer, and inspirational messages.
Many athletes were touched at this student-led event as the room was charged with the Spirit of God. One of them, star wide receiver N’Keal Harry — whom many analysts peg as a top-15 pick in the upcoming NFL draft — gave his heart to Christ and is devouring the Word. He is arguably the most popular personality on the ASU campus.
And Harry is but one of an estimated twenty to thirty football players who have turned their lives over to Jesus in recent months. The wrestling team has also been impacted through the open witness of Austyn Harris and All-American Josh Shields, and encouraging reports are coming in from athletes associated with hockey, lacrosse, gymnastics, track, swimming, and volleyball.
Dorm and Greek life are likewise feeling the impact of the Gospel. As one knowledgeable source told me, “Before this year, it was hard to find any Christians in the Honors dorms. Now, it seems like they are everywhere!” Better yet, they are uniting in prayer that God’s purposes will be realized in the lives of these elite students.
So much more could be said, but I’ll leave you with the observation one student athlete shared with me earlier this month: “The identity of ASU is being flipped.”
As of Fall 2018, every single nation on earth is represented at Arizona State University! Over 150 nations have someone on the ASU campus, while other nations are involved online – including North Korea and Antarctica! From this one place, Spirit-led believers have the potential to impact the entire family of nations, just as the apostles did on Pentecost!
Here is how you can be a part.
First, we need people who will partner with us to supply transformation video libraries to the dorms and athletic teams at ASU. There is great interest in these stories, and I believe they will inspire students to embrace even more of God.
Second, we believe God has called us to document this unfolding story on film so it can stir up faith on other campuses. We began this effort during a short visit to the ASU campus two weeks ago, but we want to return in late January to film a much larger set of interviews and events that are being arranged.
This story has already stirred audiences in several states. Just last week, I was able to share highlights with campus ministers from all the Ivy League schools plus Stanford University. This coming May, these leaders will join us on a revival exposure tour to see more of God’s handiwork in the Fiji Islands.
We need approximately $25,000 for these undertakings. If you can make a year-end gift to the ministry on Giving Tuesday (November 27), this will allow us to capture and transmit this glorious story to thousands.
Finally, please continue to pray for us as we complete other important research, training, and media projects. It is our heart’s desire to offer up some much-needed good news in this dark and uncivil hour.
Warmly,

The Windowsill of Heaven

The Windowsill of Heaven

Every morning, lean thine arms awhile
Upon the windowsill of heaven,
And gaze upon thy Lord.
Then, with the vision in thy heart,
Turn strong to meet thy day.

Poem by Thomas Blake 

In the early days of his ministry, Dr. Theodore F. Adams vacationed in Wisconsin where he attended an outdoor vesper service led by an Episcopal rector who recited the verse above. Dr Adams never forgot those words. He committed them to memory.

callout
From 1936-1968 Dr. Adams served as senior pastor of Richmond’s First Baptist Church. During that time he referred to this verse countless times as one of his favourites. He even had desktop placards made and sent to every member of the church.

Many readers are aware that the beautiful stained glass windows surrounding the FBC Sanctuary were part of a renovation project initiated by Dr. Adams in the late 1940s, but they may be unaware of the message he left in one of the windows by which we remember him today.

In the commission of the windows’ refurbishment, Dr. Adams’ goal was twofold. The larger windows that surround the balcony were to portray the significant events in the life of Jesus, while those below were to demonstrate how followers could live out Jesus’ lessons in modern times. Each upper window correlates to the one below it and is interpreted there for modern understanding. Each window is also accompanied by a scripture passage – except one.

There are two windows in the church picturing Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, one in the Chapel and one in the Sanctuary. The Chapel window’s focus is on prayer, but the story in the Sanctuary’s window shows Jesus, having been strengthened by prayer, telling Peter, James, and John, “Behold, the hour is at hand—Rise, let us be going.” The light shining on Jesus comes from heaven and affirms Jesus’ declaration that, “Thy will, not mine, be done.”

garden-of-gethsemane-500px
The Garden of Gethsemane 

Bathed in sunlight in the corollary window below kneels a lone figure, praying the very poem that begins, “Every morning, lean thine arms upon the windowsill of heaven.” These verses are not found in the Bible, but send the message that made such a marked impression on Dr. Adams’ life that he was determined it be memorialized in this window.

windowsill-window-500px
The Windowsill of Heaven

Could he have guessed that with each reading, those who remembered him would also see him reciting it before a congregation of First Baptist Church members, even today?

In writing about Dr. Adams, Dr. W. Randall Lolley, former pastor of FBC Greensboro, NC, says that Dr. Adams was a man, “who truly perceived the earth as the ‘windowsill of heaven.’ Every person he met, every event he enjoyed, every experience he knew worked ‘inside/out’ rather than ‘outside/in.’”

May we put into practice these words so dear to Dr. Adams.

Source: First Things First, the online magazine of Richmond’s First Baptist Church

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God saves and heals – including HIV

God saves and heals – including HIV

AIDS
You too can pray and believe – even now as you read this report.
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God saves and heals, by Daniel Kolenda:
https://renewaljournal.com/2018/06/09/god-saves-and-heals-including-hiv/
See also: He woke up totally healed, by Daniel Kolenda
Kampala, Uganda – Day 1
May 06, 2012

We are rejoicing tonight after the first meeting of our Gospel Campaign here in Kampala, Uganda has just come to an end.

 

The very fact that we are here is a sign and a wonder in itself.  We experienced a miracle of provision a couple of days ago that has made this event possible and already we can see that this is going to be a historic event.  Here are just a few things that have happened since we arrived:

•      Many of you may be familiar with the remarkable story of what happened in Jinja, which is located just about an hours drive from where we are now.  (If you’re not familiar with this story, you can read all about it in Chapter 30 of evangelist Bonnke’s autobiography – Living a Life of Fire).  Today, for the first time in two decades, evangelist Bonnke set foot on Jinja soil again to pray for this city that has suffered so much since those events transpired some twenty-three years ago.  Hundreds of pastors came out to meet him and the presence of God moved in a very special way.  I wish I had more time to tell you the whole story, but suffice it to say that what Satan meant for evil, God has turned around for good.  The peace of God has returned to Jinja and a new day has dawned!

•      Last night we were received by the president of Uganda, his wife and his whole family at the state house, where we had dinner and wonderful fellowship. Afterward, evangelist Bonnke preached the Gospel and we prayed over the first family.

•      Tonight evangelist Bonnke preached a powerful evangelistic message and thousands responded.  Then we prayed for the sick and wonderful miracles of healing began to take place

•      An old lady who was totally blind in both eyes received her sight tonight 

•      A father carried his daughter from the hospital with the intravenous catheter (from an i.v. drip) still attached to her arm.  She was inflicted with both typhoid fever and malaria. Tonight she was totally healed and she walked, unaided, up onto the platform to testify.

•      A man who had a severe back injury in a motorcycle accident was confined to a back brace.  Tonight, after the power of God came on him, he ripped that brace off and began to dance and jump!

There is much more – too much to tell.  We are so grateful to be here and so excited about what Jesus will do here in Kampala this week. Please bombard heaven for us this week.  Pray that every chain will be broken and every captive set free.

Kampala, Uganda – Day 2
June 07, 2012
 
This morning was the beginning of the Fire Conference here in Kampala.  Rev. Peter van den Berg and I ministered to the pastors and church workers who have come from far and wide to receive an impartation for their lives and ministries. 
 
I believe that the Fire Conference, in many ways, may have an even more long-term impact than the crusade itself because it’s multiplication effect.  Once the crusade is over, these ministers, filled with power from on high, will take up the baton and continue on to see Uganda impacted for eternity.
 
Tonight, after I preached the Gospel, there was an overwhelming response from those who wanted to repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus Christ.  Thousands were born again into the Kingdom of God.  And the blood that brought salvation is the same blood that brought healing tonight;
 

– A lady who had four lumps in her breasts said that, during the prayer, she felt heat cascade over her and she felt like things were leaving her body.  Afterward, she checked her breasts and found that all the lumps had completely disappeared along with all pain!

– A woman who had fallen into a pit and broken her arm went to the doctors, who put it in a cast, but it did not heal properly – it was twisted and misshapen.  But during the prayer she said she could hear popping and cracking coming from her arm.  Before her very eyes that twisted arm snapped into place and is now perfectly normal!

– Another woman who had a back injury also heard the bones snapping and popping as the spine righted itself and now she is completely well!

– As I was praying for the sick and rebuking sicknesses, demons began to manifest all over the place.  Many were violently thrown to the ground as the demons were leaving their bodies.  This mass deliverance that started tonight will continue tomorrow night.  I will be breaking the familiar local curses in the name of Jesus and we will burn the articles of witchcraft that are brought; charms fetishes, amulets, idols etc. 

Please pray for a mighty and complete deliverance tomorrow for the people of Kampala.

 

Kampala, Uganda – Day 3
June 08, 2012


This is a very special year for the nation of Uganda.  They are celebrating 50 years of independence and everyone is using the word “Jubilee.”  But the greatest jubilee of all is the Good news of the Gospel; proclaiming liberty to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind and setting free those who are oppressed.  I believe this Gospel campaign is a prophetic sign to this nation and what we are seeing this week is not only a sign but also a wonder.

After preaching the Gospel and breaking the curses tonight in the name of Jesus the power of God began to roll across that field. 

A young man, totally blind in both eyes for five years received his sight tonight! 

Another young man with AIDS was hit by the power of God on Wednesday. He said he felt electricity going through his body.  He was so sure he had been healed that he came forward to give his testimony.  But the ushers told him to go see his doctor and have a check-up.  Tonight he brought the diagnosis straight from the hospital – I read it with my own eyes – HIV NEGATIVE! 

A crippled girl walked for the first time tonight as well as a lame woman who was carried to the meeting!

These are but a small sampling of the many wonderful things that Jesus is doing.  But the greatest miracle of all was the many thousands who surrendered their hearts to Christ tonight, making him Lord and Savior.  This is the Jubilee that Uganda needs and this is the acceptable year of the Lord’s favor!

Kampala, Uganda – Day 4
June 09, 2012

What a glorious day we’ve had in the presence of the Lord.  The Holy Spirit fell in power in both the Fire Conference this morning and then again in the mass meeting tonight.  As Peter said on the day of Pentecost, “This is that which was spoken of by the prophet Joel.”  Many demoniacs were delivered, deaf ears were opened, paralytics walked and tumors disappeared!

Multitudes responded to the Gospel and received Jesus as Savior and Lord.  Our bodies are weary, but our spirits are soaring.  We are looking for one more mighty harvest tomorrow night.  I believe Jesus has saved the best for last.  Please continue to pray for us.

 

Kampala, Uganda – Day 5
June 10, 2012

 

Uganda is a nation that has been in the news a lot lately.  The Kony 2012 initiative put the international spotlight on this country that has been plagued by violence, bloodshed and mass murder.  We have seen a lot of concern for the people of Uganda – even to the point of putting up posters and petitioning government officials.  But perhaps the most significant thing that has happened this year is the Gospel crusade that has just come to a close here in Kampala.  It is likely that more people were born again here this week then in any other single place on the face of the earth.  We have seen cripples walk, the blind see, the deaf hear, the mute speak, tumors disappear, mass outpourings of the Holy Spirit, witchcraft abandoned, repentance and restitution, forgiveness granted, curses broken, demoniacs delivered and the blessing of God descend in a huge, public, national and prophetic expression of the Kingdom of God!  This is what we came here for; this is God’s initiative – HARVEST 2012!

Although the Devil did everything he could to stop this crusade from happening; financial difficulties and logistical challenges, many dangers, toils and snares, the Lord has been faithful, you have prayed for us and helped us financially and now the work has been done.  Local congregations are bursting at the seams with new converts and the Church has been elevated; not only in a spiritual way but also having received the public recognition of the President himself and the First Lady who personally attended the crusade.

I mentioned before that, this year, Uganda is celebrating 50 years of independence and it is being called a “Jubilee” year.  It just so happens that, even though we weren’t aware of any of these things, the Lord directed us to be in Uganda this year, not once, but twice (it is the only nation we will be in more than once this year).  

I can’t help but feel that there is an extraordinary spiritual significance that is far deeper than we even realize.  HARVEST 2012 continues next month as we return to Uganda, this time to the city of Gulu (which happens to be very close to where Joseph Kony was born and is now home to thousands of refugees, displaced during the hostilities between the government and Kony’s army, the LRA).  God has a plan for this nation and we (you and us) have a strategic part to play.  Thank you for interceding and also for standing with us financially.  

 

 

Healing in the Atonement by Brian Mulheran

Healing in the Atonement

by Brian Mulheran

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Healing in the Atonement:
https://renewaljournal.com/2017/08/14/healing-in-the-atonement-by-brian-mulheran/
See also: How I learned to pray for the Sick:
https://renewaljournal.com/2017/08/06/how-i-learned-to-pray-for-the-sick/

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

Mulheran Brian 

Introduction

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.[1] He states that sin affects the soul while sickness affects the body.[2]  Vincent Cheung agrees that all sickness may be traced to its original source with the entrance of sin.[3] 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.[4]

Sickness is further linked to Satan as the one who caused the Fall, and also the one who’s works Jesus came to destroy.[5] 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.[6] 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.[7] 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).[8] 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). [9] 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.[10]

Isa 53.5 stripes

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.

Isaiah 53:4-6

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;

Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
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.
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.

Matthew 8:16-17

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.

Isaiah 53:4-6

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.”[11] 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.[12]  With respect to the collective theories, they cite others who have included both the Nation of Israel and the faithful remnant.[13] 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.[14] 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[15], 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.[16] 

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.[17] 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).[18] It is also well documented that many Rabbinic scholars suggest that the Servant is Messiah.[19]

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.[20] 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.[21] The first Messiah is said to recruit disciples and make course to Jerusalem while gaining temporary triumph over his enemies.[22] He is claimed to then humbly surrender to suffering and being slain by them.[23] 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.[24]

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)?[25] 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.[26] 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.[27] Bullock suggests that the work of the Servant is ultimately that of redemption and in particularly His saving acts.[28] 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.[29] 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).[30] 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.

Matthew 8:17

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]

Authorship

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.[31] Other debate has raged around Papias’ suggestion that Matthew’s work[32] 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[33] to trace the authorship of the Gospel back to Matthew.[34] 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.[35] 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[36] and His restriction of the disciples to do likewise while they were with Him.[37] 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.[38] 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.[39] 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.[40]

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.[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44] 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.[45] 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).[46] 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.[47] 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. [48]  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).[49] 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).[50] 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.[51] 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.[52]  Warren Carter in citing works by Lars Hartman, R. France and J.M. Foley agrees with Campbell’s implication of Matthew’s “fulfillment” citations.[53] 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.[54] 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.[55] 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.[56] 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.[57] 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.[58] 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.[59] 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).[60] Gromacki agrees also with the Petrine authorship and suggests that it has not been flaunted with any serious challenge.[61] He cites some of the early Church Fathers[62] 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.[63] 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.[64] 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.[65] 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.[66]

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. [67] 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.[68] Ladd describes eleven purposes somewhat distinct from Gromacki, however, they agree on human suffering and the Christian living.[69] 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.[70] 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.[71] 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.[72] 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.[73] 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.”[74]

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.[75] 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.[76]  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.[77] 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.[78] 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.[79] 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.[80] He cites people being saved from sin (7:50), from demons (8:36), from sickness (8:48), and death (8:50).[81]  From here Brown portrays Jesus as the complete sōtēr who “forgives, delivers, heals, and resurrects, both temporally and eternally.”[82]

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.[83] 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.[84] 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.[85] Richard Mayhue stresses that from Leviticus 16:3-34 and Hebrews 10:9-14 the atoning sacrifice was for “sins” not for sickness.[86] 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.[87] 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).[88] 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[89] 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.[90] Even staunch opponents of the divine healing doctrine such as Mayhue,[91] 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.[92] 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.[93] 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.[94] 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.[95] 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.[96] 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”[97] 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.[98] Ladd sees this conquering over evil with God’s grace as part of His will till we come into His new immortal age.[99] 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.[100]

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.[101] C.S. Lewis aptly describes death as the great enemy and the great friend, our supreme hope and our greatest disgrace.[102] 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.[103] 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).[104] The anointing oil as referred to in James 5 is also said to have medicinal purposes.[105] 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.

Conclusion

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.

Books

Brown, M.L., Israel’s Divine Healer, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995.

Bullock, C.H., An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, Chicago: Moody Press, 1986.

Carson, D.A., Moo, D.J., and Morris, L., An Introduction to the New Testament, Leicester: Apollos, 1992.

Dayton, D.W., Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, 3rd ed. Metuchen: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987.

Dickson, R., Does God Heal Today, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1995.

Dillard, R.B., An Introduction to the Old Testament, Leicester: Apollos, 1995.

Drane, J., Introducing the New Testament, Oxford: Lion Publishing Place, 1986.

Duffield, G.P., and Ban Cleave, N.M., Foundations of Pentecostal Theology. San Dimas: L.I.F.E Bible College, 1983.

Greig, G.S., and Springer, K.N., eds. The Kingdom and the Power, Ventura: Regal Books, 1993.

Gromacki, R.G., New Testament Survey, Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1974.

Hengel, M., The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament, Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981.

Hodge, A.A., The Atonement, Grand Rapids: Baker House Books, 1974.

Jester, H., By His Stripes: A Biblical Study on Divine Healing, Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1977.

Khamor, L., The Revelation of the Son of Man, Petersham: St. Bede’s Publications, 1989.

Ladd, G.E., A Theology of the New Testament, Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1994.

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.

Mayhue, R., Divine Healing Today, Chicago: Moody Press, 1983.

Payne, J.B., The Theology of the Older Testament, Grand Rapids: Academie Books, Zondervan Publishing House, 1962.

Perrin, N., and Duling, D.C., The New Testament: An Introduction 2nd ed. Ferm R., gen. ed. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, Inc. 1974.

Simpson, A.B., The Gospel of Healing. Harrisburg: Christian Publications Inc., 1915.

Simpson, A.B., The Lord for the Body, Harrisburg: Christian Publications, Inc. 1959.

Smeaton, G., The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement, Winona Lake: Alpha Publications, 1979.

Taylor, V., The Atonement in New Testament Teaching, London: Epworth Press, 1954.

Turner, M., The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts: Then and Now, 2nd ed. Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1999.

Wilkinson, J., The Bible and Healing, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Pub. Co., 1998.

Wimber, J. and Springer, K., Power Healing, 4th ed. Dunton Green: Hodder and Stoughton Ltd. 1986.

Journals

Kay, W. K., “Approaches to Healing in British Pentecostalism,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Issue 14. (April 1999), 113-125.

Synan, V., “A Healer in the House?” Asian Journal of Pentecostal Studies, Volume 3, no. 2 (July 2000), 189-201.

Theron, J.P.J., “Towards a Practical Theological Theory for the Healing Ministry in Pentecostal Churches,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Issue 14, (April 1999), 49-64.

Wilkinson, J., “Physical Healing and the Atonement,” Evangelical Quarterly, Volume 63, no. 2, 1991, 149-167.

Web Items

Allen, D.M., “The Kingdom in Matthew,” Internet on-line. Available from http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/mat/kgdm.htm  [21 February 2003].

Cadwallader, A., “Introduction to Matthew’s Gospel.” 31 October 2001. Internet on-line. Available from <http://www.ministry-development.org/pdfs/intromatthew.pdf> [12 February 2003].

Campbell, L., “Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament: A preliminary analysis.” 2000. E-Journal on-line. Available from Xenos Christian Fellowship <http://www.xenos.org/ministries/crossroads/OnlineJournal/issue3/mttotal.rtf> [12 February 2003]. 1-39.

Carter, W., “Evoking Isaiah: Matthean Soteriology and an Intertextual Reading of Isaiah 7-9 and Matthew 1:23 and 4:15-16” in Journal of Biblical Literature 119/3 (2000). E-Journal on-line. Available from http://www.sbl-site.org/Publications/JBL/JBL_119.3/6carter.pdf [12 February 2003]. 503-520.

Cheung, V., “Lectures on Biblical Healing,” 2001. 4. Internet on-line. Available from <www.rformationweb.com/books/healing.pdf> [16 January 2003]

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]

Forrest, J.N., “Is Healing in the Atonement?” 2002. Internet on-line. Available from Jay Forrest Ministries <http://www.jayforrest.org/healinginatonement.htm> [6 January 2003].

Holman, C.L., “Isaiah’s Servant of Yahweh and Christian Mission in Luke-Acts,” (2000). Internet on-line. Available from Regent University < http://home.regent.edu/charhol/word/acad/Isaiah.doc>

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>

Wesley, J., Wesley’s Journals: Chapter 6, Wesley’s Chancery Bill. Internet on-line. Available from Christian Classics Ethereal Library < http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/journal.all.html>. [11 February 2003].

Notes

[1] 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.

[2] Simpson, The Gospe…, 7. See Also Jester, H., By His Stripes: A Biblical Study on Divine Healing, (Missouri: Gospel Publishing House, 1977), 31.

[3] Cheung, V., “Lectures on Biblical Healing,” 2001. 4. Internet on-line. Available from <www.rformationweb.com/books/healing.pdf> [16 January 2003]

[4] John Wimber held this view see Power Healing 165.

[5] See Acts 10:38, 1 John 3:8, Luke 13:16 as discussed in Cheung’s Lectures…,

[6] Cheung, “Lectures…,  4,5.

[7] Duffield, Foundations…, 389,390.

[8] 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.

[9] Jester, By…, 36. See also Cheung, “Lectures…,

[10] Theron, J.P.J., “Towards a Practical Theological Theory for the Healing Ministry in Pentecostal Churches,”  Journal of Pentecostal Theology, Issue 14, (April 1999), 51.

[11] Bullock, C.H., An Introduction to the Old Testament Prophetic Books, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1986), 153.

[12] Dillard, R.B., An Introduction to the Old Testament, (Leicester: Apollos, 1995), 278.

[13] ibid., 278.

[14] 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.

[15] 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.

[16] Smeaton, G., The Apostles’ Doctrine of the Atonement, (Winona Lake: Alpha Publications, 1979), 73.

[17] See Payne, The Theology…, 255-257. Especially footnote 30 on page 255 and the conclusion on 257.

[18] ibid., 257.

[19] Khamor, L., The Revelation of the Son of Man, (Petersham: St. Bede’s Publications, 1989), 173,174.

[20] ibid., 174.

[21] ibid.,

[22] ibid., 175.

[23] ibid.,

[24] ibid.,

[25] 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.

[26] Holman, C.L., “Isaiah’s Servant of Yahweh and Christian Mission in Luke-Acts,” (2000). Internet on-line. Available from Regent University < http://home.regent.edu/charhol/word/acad/Isaiah.doc>

[27] Payne, The Theology…, 271-184.

[28] Bullock, An Introduction…,156.

[29] Smeaton, The Apostles’…, 73.

[30] ibid.,

[31] 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.

[32] 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.

[33] Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Origen.

[34] Carson, An Introduction…, 66-74.

[35] ibid., 74.

[36] Matthew 15:24

[37] Matthew 10:5-6 See also Carson, An Introduction…, 74.

[38] Cadwallader, A., “Introduction to Matthew’s Gospel.” (31 October 2001) Internet Online. Available from <www.ministry-development.org/pdfs/intromatthew.pdf> [12 February 2003].

[39] Drane, J., Introducing the New Testament, (Oxford: Lion Publishing Place, 1986), 190.

[40] Luz, Commentary on Matthew 1-7. 87. quoted by Cadwallader, “Introduction…,

[41] Drane, Introducing…,113.

[42] 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).

[43] Ladd, A Theology…, 58.

[44] Allen, D.M., “The Kingdom in Matthew,” Internet on-line. Available from http://www.bible.org/docs/nt/books/mat/kgdm.htm  [21 February 2003]. See also C.H. Dodd in Drane 118,119.

[45] Drane, Introducing…,116.

[46] ibid., 116,117.

[47] Wilkinson, The Bible…,104.

[48] Wilkinson, The Bible…,104.

[49] Ladd, A Theology…,63.

[50] ibid.,

[51] Campbell, L., “Matthew’s Use of the Old Testament: A preliminary analysis.” (2000). E-Journal on-line. Available from Xenos Christian Fellowship <http://www.xenos.org/ministries/crossroads/OnlineJournal/issue3/mttotal.rtf> [12 February 2003]. 2.

[52] ibid., 6.

[53] Carter, W., “Evoking Isaiah: Matthean Soteriology and an Intertextual Reading of Isaiah 7-9 and Matthew 1:23 and 4:15-16” in Journal of Biblical Literature 119/3 (2000). E-Journal on-line. Available from http://www.sbl-site.org/Publications/JBL/JBL_119.3/6carter.pdf [12 February 2003]. 505-506.

[54] ibid., 506.

[55] ibid.,

[56] Ladd, A Theology…,154.

[57] Hengel, M. The Atonement: The Origins of the Doctrine in the New Testament, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981), 57-59

[58] Hengel, The Atonement:…,59

[59] Carter, “Evoking…, 509.

[60] Ladd, A Theology…,641.

[61] Gromacki, New…,349.

[62] Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus, Polycarp and Tertullian.

[63] Gromacki, New…,349.

[64] Carson, An Introduction…, 422,423.

[65] ibid., 422.

[66] ibid., 422,423.

[67] ibid., 428-430.

[68] Gromacki, New…,352.

[69] Ladd, A Theology…,641-648.

[70] Perrin, The New…, 377-379.

[71] Ladd, A Theology…,641.

[72] ibid., 641, 642.

[73] ibid., 642

[74] 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]

[75] Duffield, Foundations…,391.

[76] Wilkinson,  “Physical…,161.

[77] Brown, M.L., Israel’s Divine Healer, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1995), 185.

[78] ibid.,

[79] ibid., 85,186.

[80] ibid., 212,213

[81] ibid., 213.

[82] ibid.,

[83] 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.

[84] LaSor, Old…,156.

[85] Hodge, A.A., The Atonement, (Grand Rapids: Baker House Books, 1974), 33.

[86] Mayhue, R., Divine Healing Today, (Chicago: Moody Press, 1983), 44, 45.

[87] Smeaton, The Apostles’…,135.

[88] Smeaton, The Apostles’…,138.

[89] Most scholars from both sides of the Divine Healing debate consent that healing is in the atonement, the ultimate questions are by who, to whom, when and how much.

[90] Forrest, J.N., “Is Healing in the Atonement?” 2002. Internet on-line. Available from Jay Forrest Ministries <http://www.jayforrest.org/healinginatonement.htm> [6 January 2003].

[91] See also Wilkinson, “Physical…, 167.

[92] Mayhue, Divine…,53.

[93] Simpson, A.B. The Lord for the Body, (Harrisburg: Christian Publications, Inc. 1959), 142.

[94] ibid.,

[95] Dickson, R., Does God Heal Today, (Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 1995), 56.

[96] Duffield, Foundations…, 415.

[97] 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.

[98] Dickson, Does…,56.

[99] Ladd, A Theology…, 67.

[100] Wimber, Power…,169.

[101] Dickson, God…, 117.

[102] Lewis, C.S. as quoted in Dickson, God…, 117,118.

[103] J. Wesley as quoted in Dickson, Does…,12.

[104] Kay, “Approaches…,116.

[105] Dickson, God…, 117.

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Prayer ~ good for the body as well as the soul

Isa 40,31

ISRAELI RESEARCH SHOWS PRAYER IS GOOD FOR THE BODY AS WELL AS THE SOUL.

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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.”

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How I Learned to Pray for the Lost

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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.

Mark 10,27 possible with God

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 strongholds;) 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.

2-corinthians-10_4-5

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.

2-Corinthians-2-14-Thanks-To-God-green-copy

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).

1-john-44-greater-is-he

See also: How I Learned to Pray for the Sick


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How I Learned to Pray for the Sick

Prayer for healing

How I Learned to Pray for the Sick

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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).

Mt 7,7 A S K

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?”

Blockages

Many blockages in my thinking stopped me from praying with authority. Here are a few.

  1. 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).
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

John 6,63

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.

HEALING BLOGS

 

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Principles of Revival from History by Andrew Staggs

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Andrew Staggs is the Dean of the School of Ministries at Christian Heritage College, Brisbane.
Staggs Andrew
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Here is a paper that I wrote many years ago about the amazing way that God moves in His people, His church and His world.
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I hope that it helps you position yourself under God to receive His favour and love at a completely new level.
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INTRODUCTION
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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.
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WHAT IS REVIVAL?
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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
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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.
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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.
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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).
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PERSISTENT PRAYER
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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).
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POWERFUL PREACHING AND TESTIMONY
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The second consistent principle of revival is powerful, urgent, relevant Christ-centred preaching.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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).
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DEEP AWARENESS OF THE PRESENCE AND HOLINESS OF GOD
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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.
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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).
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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).
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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).
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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.
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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).
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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.
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OTHER REVIVAL PRINCIPLES
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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
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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.
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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.
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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.
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CONCLUSION
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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.
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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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REFERENCES
Davies, R.E. 1992. I Will Pour Out My Spirit: A History and Theology of Revivals and Evangelical Awakenings. Tunbridge Wells: Monarch Publications.
Edwards, Brian H. 1997. Revival! A People Saturated With God. County Durham: Evangelical Press.
Hill, Stephen. 1997. The Pursuit of Holiness. Lake Mary, Florida: Creation House.
Hyatt, Eddie L. 1998. 2000 Years of Charismatic Christianity: A 21st Century Look at Church History from a Pentecostal/Charismatic Perspective. Dallas, Texas: Hyatt International Ministries Inc.
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.
Orr, J. Edwin. ‘Prayer and Revival’. Renewal Journal: Revival. Vol 1, Number 1. Summer 1993. pp 13- 18.
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.
Waugh, Geoff. 1998. Flashpoints of Revival: History’s Mighty Revivals. Shippensburg, PA: Revival Press.
Waugh, Geoff. 1999. Class Notes for PB110 Renewal History. Mansfield: COC School of Ministries.
 
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APPENDIX
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27 Evidences of the Need for a Fresh Visitation of the Spirit.
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.
6. When we do not love Him as we once did.
7. When earthly interests and occupations are more important to us than eternal ones.
8. When we would rather watch TV and read secular books and magazines than read the Bible and pray.
9. When we have little or no desire for prayer.
10. When our Christianity is joyless and passionless.
11. When we have time for sports, recreation, and entertainment, but not for Bible study and prayer.
12. When we do not tremble at the Word of God.
13. When we are more concerned about our jobs and careers than about the Kingdom of Christ and the salivation of the lost.
14. When Christian husbands and wives are not praying together.
15. When our children are growing up to adopt world values, secular philosophies and ungodly lifestyles.
16. When we watch things on TV and movies that we would not show in church.
17. When our prayers lack fervency.
18. When our hearts are cold and our eyes are dry.
19. When our singing is half-hearted and worship lifeless.
20. When we aren’t seeing regular evidence of the supernatural power of God
21. When we are bored with worship.
22. When we are making little or no difference in the secular world around us.
23. When we are unmoved b y the thought of our neighbours, business associates and acquaintances going to hell.
24. When we have ceased to weep and mourn and grieve over our sin.
25. When we aren’t exercising faith and believing God for the impossible.
26. When the fire has gone out in our hearts, our marriages and our church.
27. When we are blind to the extent of our need and don’t thinks we need revival.
(Source: www.highwayman.net/prayernet 11 May 1999)

The Healing Power of Prayer

THE STUNNING SCIENCE BEHIND THE HEALING POWER OF PRAYER

Article written by Dr. Don Colbert.  Dr Colbert graduated from Oral Roberts Medical School in 1984. Dr. Colbert has practiced medicine in Central Florida and has been board certified in Family Practice for over 25 years.

Dad pray

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The Healing Power of Prayer:
https://renewaljournal.com/2017/06/10/13582/

See also: How I learned to pray for the Sick:
https://renewaljournal.com/2017/08/06/how-i-learned-to-pray-for-the-sick/

Even a mere 30 seconds of prayer, acknowledging God and giving thanks for all the blessings in your life, can have a powerful effect on your body, mind, and spirit.

If you have a regular practice of prayer, then you are well aware that benefits are very real and wide-ranging. Many people who engage in these activities report psychological and spiritual benefits such as a sense of greater clarity, purpose, gratitude, presence, sense of connection, and overall well-being. However, these sorts of subjective benefits can be hard to measure scientifically. Interestingly, despite the difficulty in quantifying the spiritual effects of prayer, there have been many studies looking at the physical benefits of this ancient practice. A 2013 Pew Research Poll estimated that over half of Americans pray daily.

A University of Rochester study found that over 85% of people dealing with a major illness turn to prayer.

Every religion or spiritual belief system has a form of prayer or meditation as a foundational principle. This shows that prayer is not merely a cultural phenomenon but a fundamental aspect of the human experience. Yet, many people still struggle to reconcile belief in the power of prayer with a scientific worldview. Duke University’s Harold G. Koenig, M.D, author of several books on faith and healing, says “studies have shown prayer can prevent people from getting sick, and when they do get sick, prayer can help them get better faster. So how does that happen? Harvard Medical School cardiovascular specialist Dr. Herbert Benson discovered what is called the “relaxation response.”

 This is the physiological state that occurs during prayer. It involves the autonomic (automatic) nervous system shifting over to a parasympathetic (rest and digest) dominant state, as opposed to the sympathetic (fight, flight, freeze) state that most of us spend the majority of the day in. The act of prayer has shown to increase certain helpful neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, which help promote a state of relaxation, focus, motivation, and well-being. But the effects are not confined to momentary relaxation. Long-term prayer can actually rewire and rebuild the brain! With the ability to scan the brain using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), researchers have been able to note the physiological changes that occur in the brains of those who pray regularly.

 Lisa Miller, professor and director of Clinical Psychology and director of the Spirituality Mind Body Institute at Teachers College, Columbia University conducted a study on 103 people who were at a high risk of depression. Using MRI, she found that those who prayed regularly tended to have a thicker cerebral cortex which has been associated with less depression and anxiety. Another study has shown that urban children with asthma cope better when incorporating prayer into their lives. Prayer is also good for your heart. Christians have been shown to have lower average blood-pressure than non-believers. Prayer also is correlated to less heart attacks and quicker recovery from heart surgery. There is even evidence to suggest that regular prayer will help you live longer! So with all these benefits, you should consider incorporating prayer as part of your daily regimen.

 According to a study published in the journal Sociology of Religion titled “Prayer, Attachment to God, and Symptoms of Anxiety-Related Disorders among U.S. Adults,” looked at the data of 1,714 volunteers. What they found is that those who pray with a loving and protective conception of God experience a more dramatic reduction in anxiety related symptoms compared to those who pray without the expectation of comfort or protection. This shows us just how important faith actually is! The publishers believe that the emotional and spiritual comfort from prayer to a loving and compassionate God offers a sense of hope and security, while those who pray with a more judgmental conception of God breeds resentment, rejection, and detachment. So understanding the character of your God is important.

 The most beautiful thing about all of this research is not only that it validates the ancient wisdom behind prayer, but it also shows us how incredibly easy it can be to implement powerful healing practices into our lives. With so many benefits on the physical, psychological, and spiritual levels, there is really no reason to not pray or meditate every single day! The best times of day are first thing in the morning and right before bed. However you can pray in the car on the way to work, in line at the grocery store, sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, or before you eat your meals. Even a mere 30 seconds of prayer, acknowledging God and giving thanks for all the blessings in your life, can have a powerful effect on your body, mind, and spirit. So what do you think? Have you been inspired to reinvigorate the prayer in your life?

boy dog pray

 Source: Breaking Christian News (bold font added)

HEALING BLOGS

 

Students ignite charismatic movement

1

Global: How God used Catholic students to ignite a charismatic movement

Fifty years ago, Catholic Charismatics as a group didn’t exist. Today, there are around 120 million of them. Their emergence began when the Holy Spirit came to a dozen Catholic students in a Pennsylvania forest in February 1967.

They were from Pittsburgh’s Duquesne University, out to enjoy a spiritual weekend retreat at a place called The Ark & The Dove. The theme of the retreat was the person and the work of the Holy Spirit. Retreat leaders had assigned each of the students coming to first read David Wilkerson’s The Cross and the Switchblade – a miracle-filled story of a young Pentecostal pastor leading violent New York City gang members to the Lord.

As she read it, Patti Mansfield (then Gallagher) found herself asking, “Why isn’t the Holy Spirit doing these dramatic things in my life?” That led her to pray, “Lord, as a Catholic, I believe I’ve already received Your Spirit in baptism and confirmation. But if it’s possible for Your Spirit to do more in my life than He’s done till now, I want it.”

‘My spiritual life felt powerless and pedestrian. It was like I was pushing a car uphill.’

It first hit David Mangan, though, after he listened to a teaching that weekend that the Holy Spirit could still bring tongues and power like dynamite. Mangan wanted both – the tongues and the dynamite – and asked the Lord for it because his Christianity felt powerless and pedestrian. “My spiritual life could not be described as dynamite,” he said. “It was limping along. The way I describe it, it was like I was pushing a car uphill.” As for what he was hearing about the gift of tongues, he was so intrigued, “I wrote in my notebook, ‘I want to hear someone speak in tongues – me.’ I realized I did that because I don’t know how much I would’ve believed it if it was someone else.”
 
Mangan received a powerful answer as he sought the Lord alone that weekend in a chapel located on the upper floor of The Ark & The Dove, a location that’s become known now as the Upper Room. That’s the same name used for the place where the Holy Spirit fell in the Book of Acts on the disciples after Jesus had ascended to heaven. 

‘I lost all sense of time. I was lost in Christ and happy to be so.’

“The presence of God was so thick, so powerful, you could cut it with a knife,” Mangan said of the atmosphere in that room. “It’s the most intense experience I’ve ever had in my life. Time meant nothing to me. I had no idea if it was two minutes or two hours; it made no difference. I was lost in Christ, and happy to be so.”
 
And he got his dynamite. “There were all these electrical explosions going on in my body,” Mangan described. Then he began to speak in tongues. The overwhelming feeling caused him to run and ask the retreat leaders if it was really possible. They said it is a valid experience which happened throughout history to a lot of saints. The experience infused him with a new dynamism and power in his spiritual life – or as he puts it, “It was like somebody told me that the car I’d been pushing uphill had a motor and now I had the key.”

2

Shortly thereafter, Patty Mansfield had her own Holy Spirit encounter as she was in the same chapel and His Presence came upon her. “As I knelt in that chapel, I actually began to tremble with this sense of, ‘My gosh, this is God and He’s holy!’” she said. Mansfield soon found herself prostrate, flat on her face. “And as I was lying there, I felt immersed in the love of God. I realized that if I could experience the love, the goodness, the sweetness, the mercy of God like that, anyone could.”

‘What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!’

When right after her experience Mansfield encountered two young ladies, they said: “What happened to you? You look different! Your face is glowing!” She was so excited by what was happening, that she dragged the young ladies right up to the Upper Room so they, too, could experience what she just had. About a dozen ended up with her and David Mangan in the chapel.

As Mansfield describes it in her book As By a New Pentecost, like before, a heavenly Presence filled the Upper Room. “As we were kneeling, some were weeping, others were laughing for joy. Again others, like myself, felt like our bodies were on fire. My hands and my arms were tingling. Others, like David, knew that they wanted to praise God, but it wasn’t going to come out in English.”

‘He said: You’re praying in Arabic! I was astounded. I had no idea.’

At a prayer meeting soon after, a student of French was sitting next to Mangan when he started to pray in tongues. “David, I didn’t know you spoke French,” she said. He said: “Oh, I don’t speak French. I only studied Latin and German.” She told him he was praising God for streams of living water and thanking the Lord for the Divine Child who had come. Later, seeking confirmation, Mangan visited a linguist, who asked the young man to pray. After a few minutes, he jumped up with a look of shock on his face. “You are speaking Middle French!” The linguist asked Mangan to pray for him some more. “When we finished, he turned around and said, ‘Now you’re praying in Arabic!’ And I was astounded. I had no idea.”

In the months and years that followed, by word of mouth, the Catholic Charismatic Renewal spread from the The Ark & The Dove and Duquesne University across the world. Holy Spirit-baptized Catholics and non-Catholics gathered in interdenominational gatherings where their differences and conflicts melted away, and all that mattered was that they were one in the Spirit.

‘The charismatic movement is a current of grace.’
 
“Now we share this new alive faith in the Spirit and a personal relationship with Christ, I’ve seen many walls come down,” Mark Nehrbas, a Catholic Charismatic who frequently worships with non-Catholics said. Another one, Deacon Darrell Wentworth, points out how Jesus preached in John 17 that such unity is essential for the world to believe. “We need to love one another and be a bold witness for God, so that the world can see that the Father loves everybody.”
 
Pope Francis has encouraged the Charismatic Renewal, calling it ‘a current of grace’, and urged the Charismatics to bless the entire Church with what they have.

Source: Patti Mansfield and David Mangan, interviewed by Paul Strand, summarized by Joel News International, # 1031 | April 5, 2017

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