Northern Nigeria is a dangerous place for Christians – especially for those who have left Islam to follow Christ.
But God intervened in power to save 72 converts and their children from Boko Haram militants, according to a report by BarnabasAid.
Their remarkable story begins with a group of 500 Nigerian Christian converts from Islam and their children. Boko Haram attacked the group and captured 76, taking them back to their camp.
At the Boko Haram camp, the Christians were tortured, and their four male leaders were told they must deny Christ and return to Islam or they would be shot.
The four refused and were shot dead in full view of the rest of the group.
A week later the four widows of the dead men were told they must renounce their Christian faith or their children would be shot. They were given time to think over this dreadful choice.
As they agonized together that evening, their excited children came running in, telling their mothers that Jesus had appeared to them and told them all would be well.
Jesus then appeared to the whole group of 72, and told them not to fear for He would protect them. He said they should not renounce Him but should stay strong, and that He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Deliverance from evil
The next day, the four mothers gave their decision to the militants – they would not deny Christ.
The terrorists prepared to shoot the children, who were lined up against a wall. The youngest was a little girl of four. Suddenly the militants began screaming and clawing at their own heads. Shouting “Snakes!” they fled the scene, and some of them dropped dead.
One of the Christian men reached for the gun of a dead militant but the four-year-old put her hand on his arm to stop him. “You don’t need to do that,” she said, “Can’t you see the men in white fighting for us?
Since this remarkable incident, meeting Christ face-to-face, hearing Him speak, and experiencing His miraculous deliverance, these believers continue to excel in faith.
To learn more about the work of BarnabasAid, go here
To know more about a personal relationship with God, gohere
Christianity marked their household as much as poverty.
Because God was in his heart, William never accepted his fate to a life of poverty and impossibility. The Holy Spirit illuminated his mind to see he could use existing resources to create success.
William Kamkwamba was born amidst famine and poverty on a farm in Malawi, but with God’s inspiration he fabricated a primitive windmill to bring electricity to his house. His ingenuity caught the eye of international organizations that opened doors for him.
“With a windmill, we’d finally released ourselves from the troubles of darkness and hunger,” the resourceful youth told the Malawi Daily Times. “In Malawi, the wind was one of the few consistent things given to us by God, blowing in the treetops day and night. A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom.”
William’s improbable journey from farm subsistence in Africa to international mover and shaker in technology education begins with his father, a rough fighting man who settled down after he received Jesus into his heart. Christianity marked their household as much as poverty. The only boy among six sisters, William shouldered the burden to help his family survive. When rains skipped 2001 and famine clouds gathered, William had to drop out of school in 2002 because the family couldn’t afford the fees.
William dutifully toiled the soil, but he never let go of his hunger for learning and frequently visited an internationally-supported library near his home, where he found a couple of books about energy that piqued his curiosity. One was called ‘Using Energy and How it Works’. As he thumbed through the pages with diagrams, he understood the basic mechanics behind magnetism for generating electricity in a turbine and a windmill.
He was a tinkering kid who once disassembled his father’s radio because he thought there were little people inside that he wanted to talk to. He was not able to reassemble the radio, so when he asked permission of his father to disassemble his bike to build a windmill, his father was resistant. Eventually he prevailed on his father and began to collect scraps of junk to fashion his windmill.
Like Noah building an ark, William became the laughingstock of the townspeople, who watched the formation of his quixotic windmill, resembling a modern art assemblage in the famine-stricken plains of Africa. But when William brought light to his house in Mastala Village, a section of the country unreached yet by the government’s electrification projects, villagers no longer laughed at him. “When I was making all these, some people were mocking me that I was going mad but I had confidence in what I was doing because I knew if it was written in the books then it was true and possible,” William remembers. “When I succeeded they were impressed.”
He charged car batteries throughout the day, which then were used to light houses or power radios in the neighborhood. Encouraged by his first success as a 14-year-old inventor, William next devised a plan to build a larger windmill to pump water during the drought. He received donations from outsiders to help his project. After his second triumph, the town was no longer at the mercy of darkness or drought. It was an astonishing feat and the world took note.
William was invited to speak at a Ted Talk and given the chance to resume his studies after a 5-year lapse. He received a scholarship to study at Dartmouth University, where he attended the Thayer School of Engineering’s ‘Humanitarian Engineering Leadership Program Worldwide’. A documentary was produced on-site of his childhood accomplishments. His autobiography, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, credits God with the inspiration to overcome the cruel capriciousness of Mother Nature and impose order to a chaotic world using rational engineering.
With the wind in his sails, William began launching other projects to help boys unable to continue their education. One such project was a soccer team. He has since produced solar-powered water pumps for his and other villages. He’s produced clean water plants, worked on malaria prevention and developed a drip irrigation system, according to his website. Today, William is employed by Ideo.org, focusing on human-centered design development projects across the globe, from sanitation in India to gender-based violence prevention in Kenya. He is now working with WiderNet to develop an appropriate technology curriculum that will allow people to bridge the gap between ‘knowing’ and ‘doing’. WiderNet will distribute the content through ‘e-granaries’ around Malawi and across Africa.
Because God was in his heart, William never accepted his fate to a life of poverty and impossibility. The Holy Spirit illuminated his mind to see he could use existing resources to create success.
Source: William Kamkwamba, Stephen Lahood
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has been turned into an inspiring movie that currently runs on Netflix. Click to watch the trailer.
Source: Christian TodayJoel News #1130, June 18, 2019
Doctors’ X-rays confirm divine healing of Cookie Padayachee’s brain tumour through prayer.
October 1989 X-ray – 1.5cm bone density cancer tumour surrounded by inflamed tissue.
September 1991 (straight after prayer healing) – tumour and inflamed brain cells completely gone.
Her husband Jesse prayed for her. He has seen many others healed through prayer also.
“We have to check this out because it is impossible. I have never seen anything like this before,” the doctor stammered.
With amazement and disbelief the Radiologist proclaimed that this was indeed a miracle. “I am a man of science, I don’t believe in God but I have to admit that there is definitely Someone up there taking care for you.”
A lot of key passages and exciting developments get lost in the details of this book so I have highlighted passages in this book which bring some of those key revival passages together.
From Chapter 5 – Australia: Elcho Island (1994)
In that same evening the word just spread like the flames of fire and reached the whole community in Galiwin’ku. Gelung and I couldn’t sleep at all that night because people were just coming for the ministry, bringing the sick to be prayed for, for healing. Others came to bring their problems. Even a husband and wife came to bring their marriage problem, so the Lord touched them and healed their marriage.
Next morning the Galiwin’ku Community once again became the new community. The love of Jesus was being shared and many expressions of forgiveness were taking place in the families and in the tribes. Wherever I went I could hear people singing and humming Christian choruses and hymns! Before then I would have expected to hear only fighting and swearing and many other troublesome things that would hurt your feelings and make you feel sad.
Many unplanned and unexpected things happened every time we went from camp to camp to meet with the people. The fellowship was held every night and more and more people gave their lives to Christ, and it went on and on until sometimes the fellowship meeting would end around about midnight. There was more singing, testimony, and ministry going on. People did not feel tired in the morning, but still went to work.
From Chapter 9 – Philippines (1995)
During the class seminars, my students reported on various signs and wonders that they had experienced in their churches. Many of them expected God to do the same things now as he did in the New Testament, but not all! “We don’t seem to have miracles in our church,” said one student, a part-time Baptist pastor and police inspector. “You could interview a pastor from a church that does,” I suggested.
So he interviewed a Pentecostal pastor about miraculous answers to prayer in their church. That student reported to the class how the Pentecostal church sent a team of young people to the local mental hospital for monthly meetings where they sang and witnessed and prayed for people. Over 40 patients attended their first meeting there, and they prayed for 26 personally, laying hands on them. A month later, when they returned for their next meeting, all those 26 patients had been discharged and sent home.
From Chapter 9 – Ghana (1995)
When we arrived in the mountain town of Suhum, it was dark. The torrential rain had cut off the electricity supply. The rain eased off a bit, so we gathered in the market square and prayed to God to guide us and to take over. Soon the rain ceased. The electricity came on. The host team began excitedly shouting that it was a miracle. “We will talk about this for years” they exclaimed with gleaming eyes. We had clear days all that week, although it was in the monsoon.
My interpreter that night didn’t know a lot of English. I think he preached his own sermon based on some phrases of mine he understood or guessed, and apparently he did well. When we invited people to respond and give their lives to Christ, they came from the surrounding darkness into the light. Some wandered over from the pub, smelling of beer. They kept the ministry team busy praying and arranging follow up with the local churches.
At that point I left the work to the locals who understood one another. I just moved around laying hands on people’s heads and praying for them, as did many others. People reported various touches of God in their lives. Some were healed. Later in the week an elderly man excitedly told how he had come to the meeting almost blind but now he could see.
Each day we held morning worship and teaching sessions for Christians in a church, hot under an iron roof on those clear, tropical sunny days. During the second morning I vividly ‘saw’ golden light fill the church and swallow up or remove blackness. At that point the African Christians became very noisy, vigorously celebrating and shouting praises to God. A fresh anointing seemed to fall on them just then.
From Chapter 9 – Toronto, Canada (1995)
Over 100,000 a year flocked there from all over the world for well over a decade. The wide diversity of people from different denominations and countries there impressed me. Love and respect for others filled the atmosphere and testimonies. We joined the crowds of over 1500 each morning and night, enjoyed the low-key sensitive worship (knowing very few of their songs), appreciated the balanced teaching, and received personal prayer.
Both of us appreciated the gracious, caring way people prayed for us, and others. No rush. No hype. No pressure. Whether we stood, or sat in a chair, or rested on the carpeted floor, those praying for us did so quietly with prayers prompted by the Holy Spirit. Those praying laid a hand on us gently, as led, and trusted the Lord to touch us. He did. Warmth and love permeated us. We returned to our hotel after the meetings aware of increased peace and deeper assurance of the Lord’s love and grace.
After returning to Brisbane I noticed that people I prayed for received strong touches from the Lord, most resting in the Spirit on the floor. We needed people to be ready to catch those who fell, to avoid them getting hurt (then needing extra healing prayer!). Some of them had visions of the Lord blessing them and others.
From Chapter 13 – Nepal (2000)
After praying on the bridge we approached the Chinese officials to get a permission to enter Tibet. The first official refused but the second one nodded approvingly, taking the four Australian passports from my hand as security, and let us go free of charge! This could happen only by the supernatural intervention of our Almighty God, Hallelujah! We had good prayer inside Tibet, especially on those individual shopkeepers whom I would grab and pray on without any resistance from them!
On 21 April all the eight of Australians and I had a trip to Gochadda in west Nepal and held a three days conference over there at Easter. While driving toward the destination I shared the Word with the driver of the private bus and during the inauguration of the conference he approached the altar and accepted Christ as his personal Saviour. On the same day a Christian brother whose hand was partially crippled for six years was touched by the Holy Spirit and healed absolutely. He was shaking in his whole body and raising his hands, even the crippled one already healed, praising the Lord with all his strength, he glorified the Lord for his greatness, Hallelujah!
Out of about 200 participants in the conference by the grace of God 100 of them were baptized in the Holy Spirit praising the Lord, singing, falling, crying, and many other actions as the Holy Spirit would prompt them to act. About ten of them testified that they had never experienced such a presence of the power and love of God. Some others testified being lifted to heavenly realms by the power of the Holy Spirit, being surrounded by the angels of the Lord in a great peace, joy, and love toward each other and being melted in the power of his presence. Many re-committed their lives to the Lord for ministry by any means through his revelation.
On the second day of the conference the trend continued as the people seemingly would fall down, repent, minister to each other in the love of Christ, enjoy the mighty touch of the Holy Spirit, singing, prophesying, weeping, laughing, hugging, and all the beauty of the Holy Spirit was manifested throughout the congregation by his grace and love. One woman of age 65 testified that she never had danced in her life in any occasion even in secret, but the Lord had told her that she should now dance to him and she was dancing praising him with all her strength. For hours this outpouring continued and the pastors of the churches were one by one testifying that they had never experienced such a presence and power of God in their whole Christian life and ministry.
Some 60 evangelists from Gorkha, Dhanding, Chitwan, Butwal declared that they were renewed in their spirits by the refreshing of the Holy Spirit and they are now going to serve the Lord in the field wherever the Holy Spirit will lead them to be fully fledged in His service. In the last day of the conference while praying together with the congregation and committing them in his hands, many prophesied that the Lord was assuring them of great changes in their ministry, life and the area. While the power of God was at work in our midst three children of 6-7 years old fell down weeping, screaming and testifying about a huge hand coming on them and touching their stomachs and healing them instantly. After the prayer all the participants got into the joy of the Holy Spirit and started dancing to the Lord, singing and praising Him for His goodness.
Before leaving Gochadda while we were having snacks in the pastor’s house a woman of high Brahmin caste came by the direction of the Lord to the place, claiming that she was prompted by a voice in her ear to go to the Christians and ask for prayer for healing of her chronic stomach pain and problems, and that is why she was there. We prayed for her and she was instantly healed and we shared the Gospel, but she stopped us saying, “I need to accept Christ as my Saviour so don’t waste time!” She accepted Jesus as her personal Saviour being lifted in spirit, and even the body as she said she didn’t feel anymore burden in her body, and spirit, Hallelujah!
On 25 April we held another conference in Nazarene Church pastored by Rinzi Lama in Kathmandu. Ten churches unitedly participated in the two days gathering where about 100 people participated. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit continued in this conference refreshing many in their spirits and bringing much re-commitment. Some cases of healing were testified. …
On 27 April we held a one day conference in Hosanna Church where the touch of the Holy Spirit was tremendous and people blessed by the Holy Spirit and his might were manifesting his power and presence in the place. While people were worshipping and praising the Lord, a prophecy came and the Lord said, “What happened to the vision given to you six years ago? You have forgotten to pray about it but I have not forgotten what I have promised to you through the vision!” I was reminded by the Holy Spirit that I had seen a vision where I was taken over the highest mountains in this country with a few of my foreign friends and some of our evangelists and as we put our step on the top of the mountain it started shaking and melting and my friends and the evangelists started disappearing, then I cried out, “Lord where are my friends?” And He said open your eyes and see, and I saw all my friends and the evangelists were scattered all over the mountains and they were coming towards me with multitudes of people behind them. I started weeping and with a feeling which words cannot explain I was thanking the Lord for His goodness, I was laughing in the Spirit for the repetition of the vision which I could see again. Hallelujah!
From Chapter 14 – USA: Pensacola
I liked the spontaneous bits best. Before Friday night’s revival service some people in the singing group of over 50 people on stage began singing free harmonies without music while they waited for the sound system to work, and we all joined in. It sounded like angels harmonizing in continual worship. Wonderful. No need for words!
Later, during the service Lindel Cooley, their worship leader, led spontaneously from the keyboard without other instruments, singing the chorus of an old hymn from his youth (and mine) – ‘Love lifted me’. All the oldies joined in, and then it went on to a verse sung from memory. It moved me deeply, from my own boyhood memories, especially as I had just then been asking the Lord for a personal touch from him.
A visitor preached, calling for faith and action. Their prayer team prayed for many hundreds at the ‘altar call’ – short and sharp, but relevant and challenging. The man who prayed briefly for me spoke about national and international ministries the Lord would open for me.
From Chapter 15 – Vanuatu (2002)
By Romulo: “The speaker was the Upper Room Church pastor, Jotham Napat who is also the Director of Meteorology in Vanuatu. The night was filled with the awesome power of the Lord and we had the Upper Room church ministry who provided music with their instruments. With our typical Pacific Island setting of bush and nature all around us, we had dances, drama, testified in an open environment, letting the wind carry the message of salvation to the bushes and the darkened areas. That worked because most of those that came to the altar call were people hiding or listening in those areas.The Lord was on the road of destiny with many people that night.”
Unusual lightning hovered around the sky and as soon as the prayer teams had finished praying with those who rushed forward at the altar call, the tropical rain pelted down on that open field.
God poured out his Spirit on many lives that night, including Jerry Waqainabete and Simon Kofe. Both of them played rugby in the popular university teams and enjoyed drinking and the nightclub scene. Both changed dramatically. Many of their friends said it would not last. It did last and led them into ministry and mission.
From Chapter 16 – Vanuatu (2003)
Significant events associated with the coming of the Gospel to South Pentecost included a martyr killed and a paramount chief’s wife returning from death.
Thomas Tumtum had been an indentured worker on cane farms in Queensland, Australia. Converted there, he returned around 1901 to his village on South Pentecost with a new young disciple from a neighbouring island. They arrived when the village was tabu (taboo) because a baby had died a few days earlier, so no one was allowed into the village. Ancient tradition dictated that anyone breaking tabu must be killed, so they were going to kill Thomas, but his friend Lulkon asked Thomas to tell them to kill him instead so that Thomas could evangelize his own people. Just before he was clubbed to death at a sacred Mele palm tree, he read John 3:16, then closed his eyes and prayed for them. Thomas became a pioneer of the church in South Pentecost, establishing Churches of Christ there.
Paramount Chief Morris Bule died at 111 on 1stJuly, 2016, the son of the highest rank paramount chief on Pentecost Island. After a wife of Chief Morris’s father died and was prepared for burial, the calico cloths around her began to move. She had returned from death and they took the grave cloths of her. She sat up and told them all to leave their pagan ways and follow the Christian way. Then she lay down and died.
Chief Morris’s son, Paramount Chief Peter, had an uncle who returned from Queensland as a Christian in the early 1900s. When he was old, after many years telling them about the Gospel, one day he called all his relatives to him, shook hands in farewell with everyone, and lay down and died immediately.
From Chapter 16 – Solomon Islands (2003)
Revival began with the Spirit moving on youth and children in village churches. They had extended worship in revival songs, many visions and revelations and lives being changed with strong love for the Lord. Children and youth began meeting daily from 5pm for hours of praise, worship and testimonies. A police officer reported reduced crimes, and said former rebels were attending daily worship and prayer meetings.
Revival continued to spread throughout the region. Revival movements brought moral change and built stronger communities in villages in the Solomon Islands including these lasting developments:
1 Higher moral standards. People involved in the revival quit crime and drunkenness, and promoted good behaviour and co-operation.
2 Christians who once kept their Christianity inside churches and meetings talked more freely about their lifestyle in the community and amongst friends.
3 Revival groups, especially youth, enjoyed working together in unity and community, including a stronger emphasis on helping others in the community.
4 Families were strengthened in the revival. Parents spent more time with their youth and children to encourage and help them, often leading them in Bible reading and family prayers.
5 Many new gifts and ministries were used by more people than before, including revelations and healing. Even children received revelations or words of knowledge about hidden magic artefacts or ginger plants related to spirit power and removed them.
6 Churches grew. Many church buildings in the Marovo Lagoon were pulled down and replaced with much large buildings to fit in the crowds. Offerings and community support increased.
7 Unity. Increasingly Christians united in reconciliation for revival meetings, prayer and service to the community. …
Children received revelations about their parent’s secret sins or the location of hidden magic artefacts or stolen property. Many children had visions of Jesus during the revival meetings. Often he would be smiling when they were worshipping and loving him, or he would show sadness when they were naughty or unkind. …
At Seghe the children and youth loved to meet every afternoon in the church near the Bible College there. The man leading these meetings had been a rascal involved in the ethnic tensions but was converted in the revival. A policeman from Seghe told me that since the revival began crime has dropped. Many former young criminals were converted and joined the youth worshipping God each afternoon. Revival continued to spread throughout the region. …
We taught in morning sessions about revival and answered questions. One mother, for example, asked about the meaning of her young son’s vision of Jesus standing with one foot in heaven and one foot on the earth. What a beautiful, powerful picture of Jesus’ claim that all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to him (Matthew28:8), seen in a child’s vision.
From Chapter 17 – Vanuatu: Pentecost (2004)
By Matthias: The deliverance ministry group left the college by boat and when they arrived at the Bungalows they prayed together. After they prayed together they divided into two groups.
There is one person in each of these two groups that has a gift from the Lord that the Holy Spirit reveals where the witchcraft powers are, such as bones from dead babies or stones. These witchcraft powers are always found in the ground outside the houses or sometimes in the houses. So when the Holy Spirit reveals to that person the right spot where the witchcraft power is, then they have to dig it up with a spade.
When they dug it out from the soil they prayed over it and bound the power of that witchcraft in the name of Jesus. Then they claimed the blood of Jesus in that place.
Something very important when joining the deliverance group is that everyone in the group must be fully committed to the Lord and must be strong in their faith because sometimes the witchcraft power can affect the ones that are not really committed and do not have faith.
After they finished the deliverance ministry they came together again and just gave praise to the Lord in singing and prayer. Then they closed with a Benediction.
From Chapter 19 – Vanuatu Pentecost (2004)
By Don: The night’s worship led by the law students started off as usual with singing, then spontaneously turned into a joyful party. Then Joanna Kenilorea gave a testimony about a very sad event in her family that brought the Keniloreas back to God. She was especially eloquent in her address and when finished, Geoff found that it had been so powerful that he had no more to add that night and made an immediate altar call for prayer. Almost as one, 300 high school students, teachers and others present rose from their seats and moved out into the aisle to the front of the hall. There were a couple of slow starters, but when it became apparent that Geoff could not possibly pray for each individually, even these moved up to the back of the crowd until everybody in that room had come forward. Geoff in all his years of ministry and association with renewal ministries and revival (and that was the subject of his doctorate) had never experienced anything like it. The most remarkable thing for Helen and me was we were there and part of it in such a remote and previously unknown part of our world! It was surely a night to remember.
From Chapter 21 – Vanuatu: Pentecost (2005)
Many of the older people attending these intensive teaching sessions had been involved in local revivals through many years. They understood the principles involved such as repentance, reconciliation, unity, personal and group prayer that was earnest and full of faith, and using various gifts of the Spirit. They were most familiar with words of wisdom and knowledge, discerning spirits (especially from local witchcraft), revelations, healings and deliverance.
I learned much from them, especially about the spirit world and humbly seeking God for revelation and direction. We westerners tend to jump in and organize things without really waiting patiently on God for his revelation and direction. Many westerners, including missionaries, find waiting frustrating or annoying, but local people find it normal and natural. Wait on God and move when he shows you the way. For example, you can seek the Lord about who will speak, what to say, and how to respond.We westerners often use schedules and programs instead.
“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say, on the Lord!” (Psalm 27:14)
From Chapter 22 – Kenya (2005)
Before the Kibera slum church moved into their corrugated iron shed they met in a community hall. I taught leaders there, and spoke at their Sunday service with about 30 people. We gave them real bread for communion, not just symbolic cubes. The Spirit led me to give them all the bread we had, just t loaves (not five barley buns as the boy had in Scripture).
“Can I take some home to my family?” asked one young man. That’s a hard question to answer in front of 30 hungry people.
“It’s yours. You can take some of your own communion bread home if you want to,” I answered.
Everyone then took a large handful of communion bread, and most put some in their pockets to take home later. We shared real glasses of grape juice in plastic glasses, thanking the Lord for his body and blood given for us. After my return to Australia I heard that the bread apparently multiplied, as those who took some home had enough for their families to eat. Some of them were still eating it two weeks later.
From Chapter 22 – Fiji (2005)
By Jerry:While we were praying and worshipping, the Lord told me for the first ever time to take the salt water and the land and give it back to God. And I told this brother that when we offered it to God the rain is going to fall just to confirm that God hears and accepts it according to His leading.
I told him in advance while the Lord was putting it in my heart to do it… this is the first ever time and I always heard about it when people are being led… now it has happened to me… I could not even believe it.
As soon as he brought the water and I brought the soil to signify the sacrifice, I felt the mighty presence of God with us and was like numb… and the sun was really shining up in the sky with very little clouds. This rain fell slowly upon us…. I still could not believe… my cousin was astonished and could not believe it… it happened according to the way the Lord told me and I told him. It was like a made up story.
It was the blessings of God and I told the Lord that I am waiting for His own time to rebuild the walls of my village… but the Lord already told me that He wants and has chosen me to rebuild the wall of my village like Nehemiah.
From Chapter 23 – Fiji (2006) re Tanna Island
The Director of the Department of Meteorology in Vanuatu was in Fiji for a conference and I met him there again. He is also a pastor (Pastor Jotham) at Upper Room church in Port Vila where many of the law students attended.
In May 2006 he had been on mission in Tanna Island where the Lord moved strongly on young people, especially in worship and prayer. Children and youth were anointed to write and sing new songs in the local dialects. Some children asked the pastors to ordain them as missionaries – which was new for everyone. After prayer about it, they did.
Those children are strong evangelists already, telling Bible stories in pagan villages. One 9 year old boy did that, and people began giving their lives to God in his pagan village, so he became their ‘pastor’, assisted by older Christians from other villages.
From Chapter 24 – Vanuatu (2006)
At sharing time in the Upper Room service, a nurse, Leah Waqa, told how she had been recently on duty when parents brought in their young daughter who had been badly hit in a car accident, and showed no signs of life – the heart monitor registered zero.
Leah was in the dispensary giving out medicines when she heard about the girl and she suddenly felt unusual boldness, so went to the girl and prayed for her, commanding her to live, in Jesus’ name. She prayed for almost an hour, mostly in tongues, and after an hour the monitor started beeping and the girl recovered.
The revival team, including the two of us from Australia, trekked for a week into mountain villages. We literally obeyed Luke 10 – most going with no extra shirt, no sandals, and no money. The trek began with a five-hour climb across the island to the village of Ranwas on ridges by the sea on the eastern side. Mathias led worship, and strong moves of the Spirit touched everyone. We prayed for people many times in each meeting. At one point I spat on the dirt floor, making mud to show what Jesus did once. Merilyn Wari, wife of the President of the Churches of Christ, then jumped up asking for prayer for her eyes, using the mud. Later she testified that the Lord told her to do that, and then she found she could read her small pocket Bible without glasses. So she read to us all. Meetings continued like that each night. …
Revival meetings erupted at Ponra. The Spirit just took over. Visions. Revelations. Reconciliations. Healings. People drunk in the Spirit. Many resting on the floor getting blessed in various ways. When they heard about healing through ‘mud in the eye’ at Ranwas some wanted mud packs also at Ponra!
One of the girls in the team had a vision of the village children there paddling in a pure sea, crystal clear. They were like that – so pure. Not polluted at all by TV, DVDs, videos, movies, magazines, and worldliness. Their lives were so clean and holy. Just pure love for the Lord, especially among the young. Youth often lead in revival.
The sound of angels singing filled the air about 3am. It sounded as though the village church was packed. The harmonies in high descant declared “For You are great and You do wondrous things. You are God alone” and then harmonies, without words until words again for “I will praise You O Lord my God with all my heart, and I will glorify Your name for evermore” with long, long harmonies on “forever more”. Just worship. Pure, awesome and majestic.
From Chapter 24 – Solomon Islands (2006)
Revival in the Guadalcanal Mountains had begun at the Bubunuhu Christian Community High School on Monday, July 10, 2006, on their first night back from holidays. They were filled with the Spirit and began using many spiritual gifts they had not had before. Then they took teams of students to the villages to sing, testify, and pray for people, especially youth. Many gifts of the Spirit were new to them – prophecies, healings, tongues, and revelations (such as knowing where adults hid magic artefacts).
The National Christian Youth Convention (NCYC) in the north-west of the Solomon Islands at Choiseul Island, two hours flight from Honiara, brought over 1,000 youth together from all over the Solomon Islands.
By Grant: “Most of a thousand youth came forward. Some ran to the altar, some crying! There was an amazing outpouring of the Spirit. There were so many people, Geoff and I split up and started laying hands on as many people as we could. People were falling under the power everywhere (some testified later to having visions). There were bodies all over the field (some people landing on top of each other). Then I did a general healing prayer and asked them to put their hand on the place where they had pain. After we prayed people began to come forward sharing testimonies of how the pain had left their bodies and they were completely healed! The meeting stretched on late into the night with more healing and many more people getting deep touches.
It was one of the most amazing nights. I was deeply touched and feel like I have left a part of myself in Choiseul. God did an amazing thing that night with the young people and I really believe that he is raising up some of them to be mighty leaders in revival.”
A young man who was healed that night returned to his nearby village and prayed for his sick mother and brother. Both were healed immediately. He told the whole convention about that the next morning at the meeting, adding that he had never done that before.
The delegation from Kariki islands further west, returned home the following Monday.
The next night they led a meeting where the Spirit of God moved in revival. Many were filled with the Spirit, had visions, were healed, and discovered many spiritual gifts including discerning spirits and tongues. That revival has continued, and spread.
From Chapter 25 – Solomon Islands (2007)
We held revival meetings at the Theological Seminary at Seghe in the fantastic Marovo Lagoon – 70 kilometres with hundreds of tropical bush laden islands north and west of New Georgia Island. Morning teaching sessions, personal prayers in the afternoons and night revival meetings, with worship led by the students, filled an eventful week in September 2007. That was the first time the seminary held such a week, and again we prayed for so many at each meeting, students and village people. Meetings included two village revival services in the lagoon. At the first, an afternoon meeting in the framework of a large new church building, everyone came for prayer, all 100, and 30 reported on pain leaving as we prayed for healings. Then we had a long evening meeting at Patutiva village, where revival started in Easter 2003 across the Lagoon from Seghe. That meeting went from 7pm to 1.30am with about 1,000 people! We prayed personally for hundreds after the meeting ‘closed’ at 11pm. Students told me they could hear the worship and preaching on the PA across the lagoon 1k away in the still night air, so those in bed listened that way! …
The week at Taro was the fullest of the whole trip, the most tiring, and also the most powerful so far. Worship was amazing. They brought all the United Church ministers together for the week from all surrounding islands where revival is spreading and was accelerated after the youth convention near here in Choiseul the previous December, where the tsunami hit in April. Many lay people also filled the church each morning – about 200.
Night rallies at the soccer field included the amplifiers reaching people in their houses as well. Each night I spoke and Mathias also spoke, especially challenging the youth. We prayed for hundreds, while the youth lead worship at the end of each meeting. The ministers helped but they preferred to just assist us, and people seemed to want us to pray for them. I involved the ministers in praying for people also. There was a lot of conviction and reconciliation going on.
It’s fascinating that we so often see powerful moves of God’s Spirit when all the churches and Christians unite together in worship and ministry. God blesses unity of heart and action, especially among God’s people. It always involves repentance and reconciliation.
In all these places people made strong commitments to the Lord, and healings were quick and deep. Both in Vanuatu and in the Solomon Islands the people said that they could all understand my English, even those who did not speak English, so they did not need an interpreter. Another miracle.
Saturday night was billed as a big meeting at Patuvita across the channel. This is where the revival started with children of the lagoon at Easter 2003. Geoff had previously visited this church in September 2003. The old church building has been pulled down and the foundations were being pegged out on an open ridge high above the lagoon for the new one, which will probably hold up to 1000 as the revival swells the numbers.
Again students led the worship. Most of the adults were traditional, but there were forty or so in revival ministry teams who pray for the sick, cast out spirits and evangelise. We joined the meeting by 8pm and finished at 1.30am!
Worship went for an hour. Geoff then preached for nearly an hour. In his words –
Very lively stuff. Only tiny kids went to sleep – 50 of them on pandanus leaf mats at the front. Then we prayed for people – and prayed, and prayed, and prayed and prayed, on and on and on and on! I involved the ministers (after praying for them and leaders first), and the students – and still people came for prayer – by the hundreds.
We prayed for leaders who wanted prayer first, then for their ministry teams, then for youth leaders and the youth, and then for anyone else who wanted prayer, and at about midnight Mark called all the children for prayer, so the parents woke them up and carried the babies. I guess I prayed for 30 sleeping kids in mother’s arms and for their mothers and fathers as well.
Then after midnight when the meeting “finished” about 200 remained for personal prayer, one by one. So I involved 4 students with me, and that was great on-the-job training as well as praying. We prayed about everything imaginable, including many barren wives, men whose wives were un-cooperative, women whose husbands weren’t interested, and healings galore – certainly many more than 100 healings. In every case, those with whom we prayed said that the pain was totally gone.
I doubt if I’ve ever seen so many healings, happening so quickly. At 1.30am there were still 30 people waiting for prayer, so I got desperate, and prayed for them all at once. I told them just to put their hands on the parts of their body needing healings, and I prayed for them all at once, while the students and some ministers still there laid hands on them, and I also moved quickly around to lay hands on each one.
They were all happy, and again reported healings. I wish I’d thought of that at midnight! But at least a few hundred had a chance to talk with us and be specific about their needs.
From Chapter 27 – China (2007)
I loved it there among such humble, hungry, receptive, grateful, gentle, and faith-filled believers. I was often in tears just being there, appreciating their heartfelt zeal in everything. I have rarely been so impressed anywhere. No concerts. No acting. No hype. Just bare essentials. What a big and wonderful family we belong to, and our Father is so proud of his family there, I’m sure.
I had the great honour of speaking at a house church. People arrived in ones or twos over an hour or so, and stayed for many hours. Then they left quietly in ones or twos again, just personal visitors to that host family. Food on the small kitchen table welcomed everyone, some of it brought by the visitors.
About 30 of us crowded into a simple room with very few chairs. Most sat on the thin mat coverings. They sang their own heartfelt worship songs in their own language and style, pouring out love to the Lord, sometimes with tears. The leader played a very basic guitar in a very basic way.
Everyone listened intently to the message, and gladly asked questions, all of it interpreted. There was no need for an altar call or invitation to receive prayer. Everyone wanted personal prayer. Our prayer team of three or four people prayed with each person for specific needs such as healing and with personal prophecies. That flowed strongly. I knew none of that group, but received ‘pictures’ or words of encouragement for each one, as did the others.
While prayer continued, some began slipping quietly away. Others had supper. Others stayed to worship quietly. It was a quiet night because they did not want to disturb neighbours or attract attention.
Most people in that group were new believers with no Christian background at all. They identified easily with the house churches of the New Testament, the persecution, and the miracles, because they experienced all that as well. Many unbelievers become Christians because someone prayed for their healing and the Lord healed them.
From Chapter 28 – Fiji (2008, 2009)
By Romulo (2008): “Inter-tertiary went very well at Suva Grammar School that was hosted by Fiji School of Medicine Christian Fellowship (CF). It was an awesome two nights of fellowship with God and with one another. The Pacific Students for Christ combined worship was a huge blessings for those that attended the two nights of worship. Pastor Geoff spoke on Obedience to the Holy Spirit – this being a spark to revival and power.
“Students came in droves for prayers and the worship lit up the Grammar School skies with tears, repentance, anointing and empowerment. The worship by Fiji School of Medicine students brought us closer to intimate worship with the King. It was a Pacific gathering and each and every person there was truly blessed as young people sought a closer intimate relationship with the King. We were blessed beyond words. Thank you all for the prayers, the thoughts and the giving.”
Roneil, a Fijian Indian, added, “It was all so amazing, so amazing that words can’t describe it. For me, it was obvious that the glory of God just descended upon the people during the Inter-tertiary CF. I’ve never seen an altar call that lasted for way more than an hour. I myself just couldn’t get enough of it. It was and still is so amazing. God’s anointing is just so powerful. Hallelujah to Him Who Was, Who Is and Who is to Come.”
By Romulo (2009): Two of the memorable highlights were the washing of leaders’ feet at RCCG Samabula and the worship service on Wednesday at RCCG Kiuva village. In fact I remember picking up the pastors on Sunday morning, and seeing Pastor Geoff carrying towels. I said to myself, ‘This is going to be fun.’ And fun it was.
God was teaching the church the principles of servanthood, demonstrated not just by words but by actions. It was a moving experience as Pastor Geoff on his knees started washing feet, drying them with a towel and speaking into the lives of leaders. Powerful also was the fact that Pastor Geoff’s leading was to wash the feet of leaders.
That Sunday former PM Rabuka, who heard of the Pastor’s visit, came to church for prayer. Of course, the leading for Pastor Geoff to pray for leaders meant Rabuka would get his feet washed too. One of the acts that will be embedded forever in my mind was seeing Rabuka sit on the floor, remove his coat and wash the feet of Pastor Geoff and KY Tan. He then dried their feet with his ‘favourite’ Fiji rugby coat (he played in their national rugby team). I was blown away by this act of humility, as demonstrated by Christ on his final night with the disciples before his arrest and execution.
On Wednesday night, (their last night in Suva), we were at Kiuva village in Tailevu. The powerful and angelic worship of young people and kids in Tailevu made the atmosphere one of power with a tangible presence of the Lord in the place. We saw a glimpse of revival and the power of God at work in such a simple setting. I was blessed to witness for myself the prevalent hunger in the body as lives connected with God. In all, it is purely refreshing being in the presence of God and being touched and filled by the Holy Spirit.
100% of the 6,000 in a Pygmy tribe close to the area where the Ebola virus began now follow Christ 5 years after the young chief’s conversion.
Dick Eastman, International President of Every Home for Christ (EHC) – formerly Christian Literature Crusade – describes his visit to this area even though he was warned not to go. Catholic nuns and nurses who cared for the first known Ebola victims there also died from the highly contagious virus. The EHC team had round-the-clock prayer warriors praying for them the whole trip. They arrived 3 years after the pioneering Bantu Africans began sharing good news there and 4,000 had become Christians. Two years later all 6,000 of that tribe professed Christ.
This edited excerpt is from Chapter 3: People of the Trees (pages 37-51).
It would take eleven days travelling by canoe up the mighty Zaire River (also known as the Congo) before the two Every Home for Christ pioneer missionaries (Bantu Africans) from Kinshasa (Zaire) would reach their destination deep in the equatorial rainforest. From the Zaire River they would travel several days more against the strong current up the smaller Momboyo River. From the Momboyo they would journey still deeper into the forest on small tributaries, until they reached the heart of the rainforest rarely seen by outsiders. It was a dangerous journey few ever made.
The Power of a Prayer Shield
Despite what I knew was the harassment of the enemy, my colleague and I soon found ourselves in Kinshasa, Zaire, loading our small tents and other supplies – including 100 pounds of salt for the Pygmies – into a small Mission Aviation Fellowship plane.
Thankfully we had found a courageous MAF pilot willing to take us to a rugged landing strip an an encampment called Boteka, located along the Momboyo River. It would serve as the launching pad for our trip still deeper into the forest … to our final destination, the village of Bosuka, where hundreds of Pygmies were turning to Jesus.
The MAF flight took us only three hours. As if to heighten my concern, we were flying straight into huge, billowing clouds with raindrops ripping against the windshield and lightning dancing just beyond our wingtips. Yet the plane flew steady as an arrow. I was amazed how the Lord guided our MAF pilot straight through the weather with hardly a bump. Not a moment of our entire journey, day or night, lacked at least a few people praying as part of our special prayer shield.
The Last Tree on Earth
The plane landed safely on a patch of grass in Boteka, which I soon learned had been a Belgian Catholic mission since the early 1950s. (Zaire was known then as the Belgian Congo.) I also discovered that the Every Home Crusade ministry had already seen significant results in the region around Boteka. In fact, many of the Pygmies and Bantu people (taller Africans) who stood cheering along the small grass landing strip when we arrived were converts of EHC’s systematic every home evangelism ministry in the Boteka area.
At daybreak the next day, just before 6 a.m., we climbed into our borrowed 40-foot canoe to begin what would be a 14-hour journey against the strong current of the snake-like Momboyo River. We would not arrive at our destination, an encampment called Imbonga, until eight o’clock that night. We faced an additional 32-kilometer (20 mile) trek even deeper into the rainforest the following day.
The Momboyo was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of rivers that flow throughout the several rainforests of central Africa. As I looked at a map, I noticed, not too far north, the name of another river I recognized – the Ebola. Being reminded of that name made me a little uneasy.
The Catholics of Imbonga had the only vehicle within hundreds of kilometers – an old, beat-up Land Rover. Then we learned that the narrow road – not much more than a twelve-foot-wide jungle clearing – included 222 separate log bridges. Each bridge consisted of little more than 10 or 20 thick logs.
Along the 32-kilometer journey from Imbonga to the Pygmy settlement of Bosuka, we saw numerous Bantu villages – not uncommon in the area. Pygmy villages, on the other hand, were highly unusual, since Pygmies tend to be nomadic, seldom settling down to live in conventional huts or dwellings.
None of the initial progress reports from our workers had indicated how many homes were being reached even though this statistic appears on every report coming to our central office from the field. But our area director had been reporting only the numbers of conversions (and subsequent baptisms) among the Pygmies. So we asked him for updated reports that included the number of actual homes being reached.
He wrote again suggesting we still did not understand. The Pygmies do not live in homes, houses or even huts in the trees. They just live and sleep in the trees, sometimes on the thick leaves, sometimes under them and sometimes in temporary thatched shelters assembled hastily when a tribe moves to a new area for hunting. Occasionally they even tie themselves into a tree, he wrote, so they will not fall asleep (quite literally) from a high tree and injure themselves.
This report from our director ended with the usual African humour: “Brother Dick, we have now launched EHC’s very first Every Tree Crusade.” Then he modified our long-standing goal, which speaks of reaching “the last home on earth with the Gospel,” by printing in large letters on his report: “WE WILL NOT STOP UNTIL WE REACH THE LAST TREE ON EARTH WITH THE GOSPEL!”
The settlement called Bosuka meant “the end of the world” in their Pygmy dialect, for not much lies beyond Bosuka but dense forest. Indeed, the very village of Bosuka did not even exist until relatively recently. But here I was, standing among these usually nomadic “people of the trees” and seeing with my own eyes that they had formed a village with a church at its centre. It was a Christian phenomenon, I was told, and had resulted in thousands of Pygmies in the area giving their lives to Christ.
Half an Arm’s Length
The work had gone slowly at first. The two EHC workers, who had come to this part of the forest 14 months earlier – not for a visit but to live – were a married couple, both Bantu.
But as far back as anyone can remember, the smaller Pygmies have feared the larger Bantu. They learned to trade with them for precious commodities not available in the deep forest, commodities like salt and metal (the latter to make tools and weapons), but for generations the Bantu had slaughtered the Pygmies and driven them deeper into the forest.
Pygmies are the world’s shortest people. Because they are unable to process the hormones needed for normal growth, adults reach an average height of only four feet six inches. Pygmies feel they are second-class human beings – like monkeys, perhaps, or a category of human just above the animals. Their very name derives from the Greek word pygme, which means “half an arm’s length.”
The Pygmy sense of inferiority made it difficult at first for the Bantu workers to make even an initial presentation of the Gospel. So they had to be unusually creative. They would go to a clearning, for example, where they knew Pygmies could see them, and leave a quantity of salt on an old stump or mound in the clearing. Then they would retreat into the shadows of the forest but stand near the edge so the Pygmies could see they were still there. Soon the Pygmies would come, ever so slowly because they wanted the salt so desperately. Then they would snatch up the precious substance, leave monkey meat or fish in its place and rush off into the forest.
The Christians would come a third day, but this time they would wait only a few paces from the salt. Now it would take even more time for the Pygmies to cultivate the courage to come. But because salt is priceless to a Pygmy, a brave adult (usually a young warrior) would soon step into the clearing and move toward the salt. As he did, the Bantu Christians would walk very slowly toward the salt, trying to send a signal that they meant no harm.
Eventually at least one of the Pygmies, sometimes more, would muster enough courage to approach the believers waiting nearby with the salt. In this moment – through interpreters, if necessary – the Christian workers would begin to tell them they had come in a spirit of love with Good News for their people. The Pygmy listeners almost never looked into the eyes of the speaker, reflecting their conviction that they were less than human.
These first close encounters usually lasted only a few minutes, but they were crucial for building trust that might later lead to longer meetings. Still, in these first moments of contact, the Christians sought to share the gospel message as quickly as possible. They never knew if they would get another opportunity.
Sometimes it took two or three encounters before there was an indication the message was being understood. When it was, it was clear something was happening in the heart of the recipient. The pattern was almost always the same. The Pygmy would agree to say the sinner’s prayer, still not looking into the eyes of the believer. Then he or she would begin to weep, sometimes uncontrollably. Then, just as suddenly, as one worker described the process to me, “The Pygmy will lift his head boldly, look you straight in the eye and laugh with joy. We know then that something has really happened. The Pygmy has just met Jesus.”
A Cornelius Conversion
When our team had finally arrived at Bosuka, we discovered that a groundswell of conversions had taken place over an amazingly short time. Our last report some six months earlier had indicated that as many as 1,200 Pygmies in the Bosuka area had received Christ. But because of a lack of radio transmitters in this village, or any other communications from this deep in the forest, we did not know this number had grown significantly. There were now 4,000 converts from a tribe of little more than 6,000. Two thirds of the tribe had come to Jesus! (Two years later a report would indicate all 6,000 had now professed Christ!)
One of the special converts – and one of the very first ones – was Lendongo Botshemba, the 30-year-old chief of the tribe, who greeted us graciously on our arrival. His conversion, our director of the region told me, had been like that of Cornelius in Acts 10.
The young chief had grown up worshipping the snakes and trees of the dense rainforest along the Momboyo River, just as his parents Bokimba and Bolanza had before him.
But the miracle of the Gospel was now transforming those parts of the rainforest. Lendongo’s entire family had been converted affecting some 40 persons in all. And churches were being planted to help nurture and sustain these new believers. Lendongo was responsible for the formation of at least 18 additional Christian villages in the region, each one established around a church.
In a neighbouring part of the equatorial rainforest, where we had heard that 32 churches had been planted by EHC workers 36 months earlier, we now learned that an astounding 300 additional fellowships of new believers had been born. In still another rainforest area (in Cameroon, West Africa) 5,000 more Pygmies were converted and baptized. Several hundred additional churches were formed as a result.
The “Every Tree Crusade” launched in the rainforest had been responsible for more than 15,000 Pygmy conversions – in just 36 months! And as our journey to the people of the trees ended, and our large canoe headed back down the Momboyo River, I could not get a verse from Isaiah out of my mind: “The earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9)
Jesus Christ’s cosmic, eternal victory over all evil on the cross is a central theme of the whole Bible. The Old Testament points to it, and is fulfilled in it. The Gospels announce and proclaim it with vivid details on Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The Epistles explain its importance. Christ’s victory on the cross is the only basis for salvation in all its fullness, including the place signs and wonders have in demonstrating the power of the cross in all things.
From This Topic You Will Learn
There is a direct relationship between The Cross and the Power of God.
The significance of the cross is shown in how God reconciles all things and all peoples back to himself through Jesus’ death and resurrection.
The death of Christ on the cross has overcome the powers of darkness and through belief in Jesus Christ and his death on the cross; we receive that same power over the devil and can live victoriously.
Isaiah Chapter 53, the prophetic word about the Suffering Servant and Messiah, was fulfilled by Jesus Christ during his ministry (Matthew 8:16-17).
BIBLICAL FOUNDATIONS CONCERNING THE CROSS
Isaiah 53: The Messianic Prophecy of the Ministry of Jesus Christ
Isaiah chapter 53 portrays the character, ministry, sufferings, death, and exaltation of the Messiah. Isaiah’s prophecy also anticipated the healing ministry of Jesus Christ. As a fulfilment of that prophecy Matthew wrote: 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, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: “He himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses.” (Mt. 8:16-17, cf. Isaiah 53:4).
Jesus quoted from Isaiah 53:12 at the Last Supper Passover meal: ‘It is written: “And he was numbered with the transgressors”; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfilment.’
The Substitutionary Atonement of Christ on the Cross
Throughout the scriptures we find evidence of the supernatural and miraculous signs and wonders pointing to the power of the cross and authenticating the preaching of the Word of God. Interestingly, there is a significant relationship between the Gospel and the Atoning Work of Jesus Christ on the cross. “The substitutionary atonement of Christ on the cross is the heart of the gospel.” That is the reason why “we preach Christ crucified” and nothing else lest we nullify the message we proclaim. In fact, “Christ’s atoning work on the cross is the centre of gravity in the New Testament Faith” (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 12:27,31-33; Rom, 3:22-25; 5:8,9; 2 Cor.5;21; Gal.3:13; Col. 1:21-22; 1 Tim.2:6; Heb. 2:14; 9:14, 26-28; 10:10; 1 Pet.1:18-21; 2:24; 3:18; 1 Jn. 2:2; 3:5, 8; Rev.12:11) (Greig & Springer 1993:22).
Furthermore, “the power of the cross is first and foremost in the atonement and the forgiveness of all sin that the cross provides” (1 Jn. 2:2). Christ’s atoning work is also the “basis for all God’s work in our lives” as he sanctifies our soul and restores us from the brokenness of sin to wholeness (Greig & Springer 1993: 22).
The apostle Peter applies Isaiah 53:5 to the forgiveness of sin. He says of Christ, 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 (1 Peter 2:24).
Jeffrey Niehaus explains this: Just as Isaiah portrays sin as disease (Isaiah 1:5, 6), Peter uses Isaiah’s words to inform us that the “healing” of Isaiah 53; 5 is first and foremost a healing from sin. That is the healing we find in the atonement. In the same vein, Peter goes on to quote Isaiah 53:6: “For you were like sheep going astray, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls” (1 Peter 2:25).
The work of the atonement is to heal us from sin and to return stray sheep to God, as Peter’s application of Isaiah 53:5, 6 makes clear. It makes physical healing possible (“He took up our infirmities” Isa. 53:4 and Matt. 8:16, 17) but does not necessarily guarantee it in this age to God’s people (Niehaus 1993: 50).
The atonement is central to our faith. Hence, if Christ and what he has done on the cross is the “cornerstone of Christianity” then the time of Christ’s incarnation, ministry, death, resurrection and ascension is the pivotal time in the Kingdom of God. Everything in the Old Testament – especially the sacrificial system – points to the cross, and everything since then looks back to it. That is the mystery of Christ’s death and the love of the Father for us (Wimber 1986:165).
The “Already-Not-Yet” Tension of Healing and the Miraculous
According to Gordon Fee, “healing is made possible by the atonement of the cross but is not necessarily guaranteed to be fully experienced by believers in this age.” (Greig & Springer 1993: 22). Fee says: Healing is provided for [in the atonement] because the atonement brought release from the…consequence of sin; nonetheless, since we have not yet received the redemption of our bodies, suffering and death are still our lot until the resurrection (Greig & Springer 1993:220.)
In other words, there is the “already-not-yet” tension of the kingdom of God in relation to healing and spiritual gifts, and the supernatural and the miraculous (Greig & Springer 1993:22; David 1993:125-127). This raises the issue of whether “healing is in the atonement” or not. According to R. A. Torrey, “healing is in the atonement,” that is, “based on what Jesus has done on the cross, we may experience 100 percent healing on earth.”
On the other hand, J. Sidlow Baxter asserts that “healing for our mortal bodies is not in the atonement.” Colin Brown agrees. He believes that “forgiveness of sins is based on covenant grace: God intends that everyone who trusts in him will experience forgiveness of sins. But, physical healing is different: many are healed, and many are not.” (Wimber 1986:166).
Both Brown and Baxter believe that divine healing is available today but the “atonement is the basis for physical healing.” Baxter explains: “it is still true, however, that divine healing for sickness comes to us through the atonement, just as all the other blessings of salvation do.” This explains why some people do not get healed (Wimber 1986:166-167; Niehaus 1993: 48-49).
Moreover, healing as a part of salvation does not rule out the place of suffering in the life of the believer. Suffering, when rightly and meekly borne for Christ’s sake will refine character and strengthen faith, thereby playing its part in producing wholeness (Rom. 5:3-5). The problem with this is that many Christians assert that because of the suffering aspect, disease is to be accepted as part of God’s perfect will them. The Lord can and does use disease and disaster to chasten his children in the short term (Ps. 119:67-71), but Peter definitely states that Christians should not regard this as God’s perfect will (1 Peter 1:24). In other words, by New Testament standards, asking for and receiving healing is the norm not the exception (MacNutt 1988:88).
The Power of The Cross
The Gospel could and would have been believed apart from any miracles for the Word of God is complete, not deficient. It is “the power of God to salvation” (Romans 1:16). Christian miracles and healings are a gracious gift from God and may serve many functions including the authentication of the Gospel message, but they are not a necessity – on their own they mean nothing (Deere 1993:114; Greig & Springer 1993:23).
The cross of Christ is the solution to every problem on earth. However, healing and spiritual gifts are not the solution to every problem nor is the cross limited to or equivalent to spiritual gifts and healing. As mentioned earlier, the atoning work of Christ on the cross to forgives sin is the fountainhead, the cornerstone, from which all other blessings flow including healing and spiritual gifts (Greig & Springer 1993:23; cf. 2 Peter 1:3)
Love: The Motivating Power of the Cross
When we view ourselves as failures and unworthy of the love of God, we will not want to draw close him. The fact is that he not only loves us but also cares and accepts us just the way we are. Not only did Christ die for our sins, he died for us.
When we look at the atonement of Christ, we look not just to the work that was done but at the Person of Christ who is the embodiment of love for God is love. In doing so we get a better picture of the personhood, nature, and kingdom of God. Our Christian faith rests not only in what Jesus has done and will do but also in who he is. Jesus is love and power at the same time.
Jesus never used his power either to show off or to serve his own ends. Jesus’ use of spiritual power was always a means, never an end. He used God’s power always to demonstrate the love and nature of God. The purpose of spiritual power in Christianity then is to show love and compassion for others. It also gives us opportunity to serve them and God. Jesus has the authority and power to forgive sins. Likewise he has given all believers the authority to forgive (John 20: 23). He also graces them to receive forgiveness anytime (1 John 1:9). Satan frequently uses guilt and condemnation to cripple Christians, even after they have supposedly repented and asked for forgiveness. Knowing that in Christ there is forgiveness and no condemnation, we can come boldly to him for we have access to God (2 Cor. 5:7; Rom. 8:1; Heb.10-19-23).
THE EPISTLES ON THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE CROSS
The Apostle Paul emphasised the significance of the cross in many of his letters. These are some of the main passages on the cross from the epistles.
1 Corinthians1:17-18, 23-24
For Christ did not send me to baptise, but to preach the gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect… but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and the Greeks, foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
There is a direct relationship between the cross and the power of God as well as the unfathomable wisdom of God – far beyond all human power and wisdom.
But God forbid that I should glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
The Galatians had problems with legalism. Today, we also slide into rules and become legalistic. For example, we are ruled more by the clock rather than the promptings of the Spirit in our meetings.
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been made near by the blood of Christ. For he himself …has broken down the middle wall of division… so as to create in himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, and that he might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity…. For through him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father.
In the New Testament time, this enmity was the division particularly between the Jews and the Gentiles. For them and for us today, the significance and importance of the cross is that it reconciles us back to God.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus…a servant, and … as a man, He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted him and given him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In the biblical times, the cross was meant to be cruel and despicable yet God used it for his redemptive purposes. Here, the focus is not so much the individual salvation (which is very important to God) but it is about bringing the whole cosmos and universe back to God, himself through Jesus death on the cross.
For it pleased the Father that in him all the fullness should dwell, and by him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of his cross.
The cross is the focus of how God reconciles all things to himself. The victory of the death of Jesus on the cross is far greater than salvation for people, although it includes that amazing triumph. It involves reconciling everything to God or bringing everything into harmony with him.
And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, he has made alive together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which as contrary to us. And he has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
The legal right of the devil and his demons has been removed by the Cross. Therefore, we can repent and their legal right to afflict and torment and influence us is removed from our lives. To experientially know and understand this truth is important in moving in signs and wonders.
This is a paradoxical truth because most of the time, it is when we are most helpless, that God demonstrates his power and authority over the devil in our lives. For example, this can be seen in the life of Moses as the redeemer of Israel in the book of Exodus.
For us today, culturally, we can live lives independent of God. The cross rips all of this independence away and in our weaknesses we are strengthened by God. God comes to us in our weaknesses – so quickly. God is not so much impressed by our best strengths but in our frail weaknesses God comes to us immediately – right there and then. It is then that it becomes a knowing that it is not us but it is God working in and through us.
The volume of our emptiness determines our filling in…Heaven does not run out, earth just stopped being empty and hungry…When you get hungry, He gets close. Brokenness on earth opens heaven for He is near to those with a broken heart. – Tommy Tenney
Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Jesus, who both was 100% God and 100% man, became incarnate. He took on a human body and all it weaknesses yet resisted temptation and remained sinless. He lived in holiness and outworked all that the first Adam had fallen from and he became the second Adam who is a life giving being and spirit.
Jesus through the cross conquered, overcome, triumphed and won the victory over all the forces of darkness, death, sin, sicknesses and diseases, and all the obstacles in obtaining salvation for all who would believe.
Reality is this: what he did on the cross provided redemption for mankind. It’s a free gift for all. We simply need to appropriate it. Our understanding of who we are in Christ must be awakened and quickened to this reality. Only in understanding this reality will we be able to walk victoriously just as Jesus did who is the author and finisher of our faith.
The prayer of faith (James 5:15) can only be exercised in the light of God’s will. Faith is based upon a word from God and not merely on positive thinking. It is not that we believing something so strongly that we make it come true – or that God must do what we believe will happen. The prayer of faith can only be prayed when God speaks to reveal his will and intention. Occasionally, God makes his will known clearly. In all the cases, it is exciting to pray a prayer of faith – and watch God work.
Major Points of this Topic
Jesus’ death on the cross, validated in his resurrection, is central to all Scripture.
The victory of Christ Jesus on the cross has secured for us freedom, authority, and our victory over sin, death, and the powers of the evil one.
The cross focuses us on God’s redemptive plan of reconciling all people and all things to himself.
Review or Discussion Questions
Explain the relationship between the cross and the power of God.
Give some of the Pauline scriptural verses that explain the significance of the Cross.
Why is the atonement the cornerstone of Christianity and the heart of the Gospel?
Discuss: The offence of the cross. Refer to 1 Cor. 1:17-18, 23-24.
Discuss Isaiah 53. Why is it called a Servant Song or the “gospel” chapter of the Old Testament?
Discuss: Salvation is in the atonement but healing is through the atonement.
Further Readings or Research
Lake, John G. 1994. “The offence of the Cross.” Chapter 26 in John G. Lake: His life, His Sermons, His Boldness of Faith. Published by Kenneth Copeland Ministries, pp. 277-283.
The Kingdom and The Power edited by Gary Greig and Kevin Springer. 1993.
Surprised by the Power of the Spirit by Jack Deere. 1993. pp. 109-110
A Theology of the New Testament by George Eldon Ladd. 1989. Chap 3#.
Power Healing by John Wimber. 1986. Ch. 8 .
Renewal Theology by Rodman Williams. 1996. Volume 1, ch.14: The Atonement.
See also The Lion of Judah (4) The Death of Jesus, by Geoff Waugh (2015)
Much of this Study Guide material is adapted with permission from materials used in the former Fuller Theological Seminary course taught by John Wimber, MC510: Signs and Wonders and Church Growth (1984). John Wimber and Kevin Springer adapted some of that material for their two books Power Evangelism (1985) and Power Healing (1986). Geoff Waugh attended that course in 1984 as did John White who then further researched this topic and in 1988 published his book with InterVarsity Press, When the Spirit comes with Power: Signs and Wonders among God’s People.
Signs and wonders occur throughout the Old and New Testaments. They express the magnificent creativity and sovereignty of the Lord, described in the Bible. They are also expressions of the power, goodness, mercy, grace, compassion, and love of the Lord, and show the nature of our omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God.
Signs and wonders point to the One and True Living God, and also demonstrate that this Living God is a Personal God who is very interested in people, both individually and corporately. This same God described in the Bible is very much alive and active today just as he was then.
Our hope is that through this subject you will encounter God and be transformed in this encounter. We pray that you will be challenged and stirred up to move in faith and obedience to God who can empower you with his Holy Spirit to do what Jesus did and even greater works (John 14:12). As you learn to move in God’s power and in ways that are naturally supernatural and supernaturally natural, may you become more Christ-like in your personal life, ministry, and vocation in this world. And may you be an instrument in advancing the Kingdom of God on earth as you become filled with passion and clothed with power from on high.
We especially thank Cecilia Estillore Oliver, a medical doctor and B.Min. graduate, for her work in helping to compile and write this Study Guide. Cecilia prepared and compiled the information in this Study Guide from materials gathered and arranged by Geoff Waugh for the degree programs of Citipointe Ministry College, the School of Ministries of Christian Heritage College in Brisbane, Australia, and made available here with permission of the college. This book reproduces the content of that former Study Guide, adapted here for general use.
This Signs and Wonders study guide includes
The Epistles The Cross
The Kingdom of God
Practices and Pitfalls
Much of the material is developed and adapted from the course at Fuller Theological Seminary conducted by John Wimber in 1984, titled MC510: Signs and Wonders and Church Growth, used with permission.
Reproduced from the Signs and Wonders Study Guide Appendix
A student we prayed for one morning in class went to her doctor that afternoon for a final check before having a growth removed from her womb. That afternoon her doctor could find no trace of the growth after checking with three ultrasound machines, so he cancelled the scheduled operation.
“My class at college laid hands on me and prayed for me,” she explained to her doctor. “I believe God healed me, and that’s why you can’t find the growth any more.”
“I don’t know if God healed you,” he responded. “But I do know that you don’t need an operation.”
Our class studied this Signs and Wonders subject. We usually began each class with prayer, and that day our prayer included praying for specific needs such as that woman’s health. One of those praying in class was Cecilia, a medical doctor. She prayed with strong faith, joining us in laying hands on the ‘patient’ student, knowing that God heals through prayer as well as through medicine. What rich resources we have for ministry – right there in the group.
I love hearing medical people pray for healing. They have medical skills as well as faith in God. A nurse in one of our week night meetings prayed for another lady who had severe back pain.
“L4, be healed in Jesus’ name,” the nurse commanded as she lay her hand on the woman’s back. It takes medical knowledge plus the revelation of a ‘word of knowledge’ to be able to pray like that. All pain immediately left the lady being prayer for. Apparently the problem was in the Lumbar 4 (L4) section of her spine.
Many people are not healed so quickly. Perhaps most are not healed so quickly in our materialistic Western society. There are many reasons for that, including our Western scepticism, lack of compassion or faith, and our sinfulness such as jealousy, competition or failing to forgive others freely as God has forgiven us.
We all can learn more together about effective ministry. That learning is enhanced and expanded rapidly when we share our experiences and learning together. The ‘teacher’ usually shares from his or her experiences, but others can do also. So the more that our ministry education fosters mutuality, the more we can learn from one another.
We call this open education, or open ministry education. It is open to everyone and everyone can be involved. It is not just for leaders. Our leaders can help us, but their main job is to equip the saints for the work of ministry for building up the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12). We can do these things in classes, small groups, seminars, training courses and home or church groups.
This testimony is also included in the Introduction to
Learning Together in Ministry Mutual Education: from compteition to co-operation
CONFIRMING THE WORD WITH SIGNS FOLLOWING (MARK 16:20)
Signs and wonders are controversial. They were in Scripture. They are still.
The early church prayed earnestly for signs and wonders (Acts 4:29-31). It was extremely controversial. But the kingdom of God came in power and the church grew rapidly with thousands added to the faith, amid persecution. That now happens for millions of Christians today.
Some people argue that signs and wonders ceased with the passing of the apostles. However, Scripture and church history indicate the opposite (John 14:12; Matthew 28:20). The kingdom of God is not a matter of words but of power – the power of God. Signs of the kingdom and wonders declaring the reign of God break in upon us still.
We see this most powerfully in Jesus’ life and ministry. He proclaimed and demonstrated the rule of God in everything – in people’s lives, over demonic powers, in creation and history. It was true in the early church. It continues to be true.
The cross is the power of God for salvation to all who believe. We can have a diminished view of the cross of Christ and the incredible salvation wrought by Jesus on the cross. It involves far more than providing a personal entry to heaven for individual believers. Our concern with personal salvation can obscure for us the immense power and glory of God revealed in Jesus’ total and awesome victory on the cross. In Jesus’ death and resurrection the power of evil was defeated forever. The Lord reigns. All the powers are subject to Jesus Christ the Lord (Colossians 1:20; Philippians 2:11).
Signs of God’s kingly rule testify to Jesus’ triumph. God reigns. We don’t initiate signs and wonders. We can’t. But we can obey God. We can repent (especially of our unbelief) and believe. We can do what Jesus commanded all his followers to do in his name and authority. Then, as in the early church, the gospel is proclaimed with signs following.
We live in a time in history when millions of Christians are learning that again, especially as the Spirit of God renews life and faith in us. We have not always believed or obeyed God’s word to us. We can rationalise our sin of unbelief and disobedience, calling it theological wisdom. Yet, Jesus, who alone is the truth, confronts and unnerves us with his awesome claims and authority. Those who found Jesus in Gethsemane fall backwards at his word. Soldiers at his resurrection shake in fear and collapse as dead. Saul is blinded by the glory of the Lord and falls to the ground overwhelmed. John falls at the feet of his Lord as though dead (Revelation 1:17).
No church tradition nor theological position can fully express the awesome reign of God. We still see and know only partially (1 Corinthians 13:12). For example, the Lord has one church – his. We often see the church mainly in cultural, doctrinal and denominational terms. These fall far short of the glory of God revealed in his people, the church. So we all need to walk humbly with our God as we proclaim God’s reign and live in his kingdom.
Jesus’ life demonstrated the reign of God fully. In our lives we merely glimpse it. However, as we allow the Spirit of God who anointed Jesus to also anoint us, we continue to glimpse even more of the signs and wonders of God’s presence and power among us.
This issue of the Renewal Journal examines some recent blessings which been very controversial. Part of our difficulty is that God works in fallible people through fallible people – including you and me. Often our behaviour involves very human reactions to signs of God’s reign and wonders of his power breaking in upon us. Furthermore, our words and actions are affected by many influences – God’s Spirit and other spirits, our personalities, our culture, our relationships. Normal expressions of joy and worship in Latin America may be regarded as wildly excessive in northern Europe. Our explanations are inadequate and incomplete. Who can express the inexpressible? God’s thoughts and ways are far beyond ours (Isaiah 55:8).
Reactions to God’s action are mixed. God moved powerfully in the Azusa Street Apostolic Faith Mission in 1906. That was controversial. Loud noise, tongues, fainting, and falling on the floor were common. Yet amid the varied reactions, it ignited pentecostal fire around the world. Gamaliel suggests we leave the jury out for a while on such matters lest we fight against God (Acts 5:39).
Often visitations of God’s Spirit stir up varied reactions. Then, later we learn to incorporate these new developments effectively and powerfully in our work and witness. Remember the youthful zeal of the Jesus People, the rediscovery of spiritual gifts, the fresh insights of inner healing, the new awareness of deliverance, the leaps of faith to release millions of dollars and thousands of people for mission in the power of the Spirit?
Fortunately we have Scripture as our guide – not just our interpretations of Scripture. Our interpretations often include unbiblical rationalising which may deny the powerful presence of God’s Spirit among us. Many of the articles in this issue of the Journal examine our reaction to God’s action.
Brian Hathaway emphasises the importance of words, signs and deeds in proclaming and demonstrating the gosel. Derek Prince reflects on the overwhelming impact of God’s Spirit. John Wimber gives guidelines for coping with various phenomena. People involved in recent events in England and Australia offer their perspective. Jerry Steingard presents observations from Scripture, church history and current ministries. Bart Doornweerd tells how he learned to proclaim God’s word with signs following. Stephen Bryar addresses charismatic issues in his tradition.
May we repent of our unbelief, believe and proclaim God’s word in the power of the Spirit with signs following, and see the kingdom of God break in upon us more fully. May God grant an impact of his Spirit with thousands converted, filled with the Spirit, and living for the glory of God as Jesus our Lord is honoured and glorified among us all.
Julia C. Loren, a psychotherapist and writer, interviewed Dr John White, psychiatrist and widely read evangelical author, about a theology of the supernatural.
Oh I’ve come home. This is what I want.
This is what I’ve been looking for all my life.
Q. How did you begin shifting towards a theology which included signs and wonders?
A. An obvious case of a shift in theology was when I met John Wimber. When I arrived at his course at Fuller Seminary (MC510: Signs and Wonders) I realized here was the Christ I was looking for all my life, the Christ who heals, the Christ who does this and it is all happening in front of my nose. The search had been going on for much longer and I’d been having visions for much longer without knowing that I was a charismatic. I suppose I was one then but I hadn’t entered into the fullness of being able to do these things.
Yet God had been preparing for that so‑called sudden shift for many years, both by my seeing the supernatural in operation among primitive tribal people and by my encounter with a Pentecostal guy while a medical student. And I thought there must be something in it. But I didn’t know what. I thought especially that I needed to be baptized by the Holy Ghost but the Holy Ghost wasn’t cooperating.
Q. Were you seeking such an experience?
A. I don’t think I was. Or it never occurred to me to seek it. I had read a writer’s work while in the New Tribes boot camp. He described the Holy Spirit’s activity in the 19th century. He talked about it, described his own experience and I thought, “Oh dear, I’d love that.” But it wasn’t clear enough to me to seek it actively.
Toward the end of my time pastoring the Winnipeg church, Ken Blue was at Fuller Seminary finishing his Ph.D., and he called me about this remarkable man John Wimber. I thought that was interesting and I’d like to sit in on his lectures. So Lorrie and I went down to Fuller. Fuller graciously gave us an apartment.
It was the sense of the presence of Jesus during John Wimber’s lectures; I thought, “Oh I’ve come home. This is what I want. This is what I’ve been looking for all my life.” And Lorrie was the same. The moment I got in I thought, “Christ is here.” It was remarkable. My hunger for Jesus has never stopped. And I felt that the anti‑Charismatics particularly also robbed me of Jesus.
Q. This is the first time you ever really encountered the manifest presence of the Holy Spirit?
A. Yes. What happened in the third lecture he gave ‑ he would have a lecture then a workshop ‑ he finished his lecture and asked people who had sicknesses of some kind to come forward. There were about ten of them. The first guy was a football player who was studying theology at Fuller. He came because his leg had, until that week, been in a cast and the cast had been removed after a month. It was his Achilles’ tendon that had been torn. So John propped him against the wall and asked him to demonstrate how much movement he had in both his feet. It was very limited in range as it would be after a tendon had been sown up.
Then John prayed for him and he started shaking. He finally went onto the floor. And I was worried because one leg was kicking wildly and I thought that was his injured leg. So I said to three guys, “Look stop him. Get hold of that leg and stop him from doing this.” When they got hold of the leg they were all shaking too. I was mad at them and said, “Stop it! Do what you’re supposed to do and hold that leg.” I was concerned about his leg but I was mistaken. It was the other leg that was injured and when he got up he had a full range of movement. I got used to seeing things like that.
I asked John, “How do we get into this stuff? Do we get zapped by the Holy Ghost or what?”
John’s reply was, “No, you just stick your neck out and start doing it.” He says in retrospect that he saw great faith in me. See a real Christian has the Holy Spirit and has potentially all the gifts of the Spirit. That was suddenly revealed to me. I thought, “Well, I don’t like his answer but I’ll start.” So we started praying for people’s headaches and sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn’t.
Q. Had it occurred to you to pray for people to be healed before?
Q. Despite Lorrie being healed just before you were married?
A. That’s right. And despite the fact that it was my prayers that apparently did it. I know that I was before long doing major stuff. I was so excited about it after completing MC510 I went around the world talking about this. I prayed for a little two year old girl in Malaysia. The parents brought her ‑ they were Haaka speaking Chinese. She had been running around the room. She had kept her parents awake for 36 hours and when they brought her to us, struggling, she was covered with her execma ‑ and as Lorrie and I prayed we saw the wet area shrinking. This was very exciting to watch the shrinking take place as we prayed. I thought, “Gosh what power I’ve got.” And then the suggestion came to me, “Oh but maybe it’s Lorrie’s prayers that are doing it.” And I was filled with wild jealousy. I suddenly saw how dangerous it is to have power. After that I was very careful. I saw that my own heart was corruptible.
Q. You were quick to see that and to write about it. You mention in The Pathway to Holiness the error of considering manifestations as evidence of superior spiritual power. Is that also a criticism of the Vineyard movement?
A. It is more a criticism of people who have been affected by miraculous power whether Pentecostal, or so‑called “Second Wave” or Vineyard. I think the Lord saw to it that I recognized it right away and I’ve seen it ever since. I’ve seen what it does to people to have that kind of power.
To me Christ is central to everything. Signs and wonders isn’t everything. They probably will be helpful because God loves people and loves to heal their diseases but its no credit to us that we can do it. We should all be able to do it.
Q. After reading about Jack Deere’s theological shift I have a sense that you’d agree with him that the evangelical, intellectual mindset fights against the spirit but that we need both word and spirit.
A. Yes it does. I feel that intellectuals among the evangelicals are not what the Puritans were. I make a distinction between J.I. Packer and many other Bible scholars and theologians. Packer was part of Lloyd‑Jones studying of the Puritan movement. Lloyd‑Jones had an experience of the Holy Spirit, an experience of being picked up in the arms of the Father so to speak. He studied the Puritans and the Puritans knew about the Holy Spirit. That is why John Owen, who was a puritan and I think the vice‑chancellor of Oxford University at one point, was able to write about the difference between those who have the Spirit and those who didn’t.
Q. You have emphasized the healing gifts of the Spirit in recent years. Do you believe that people can operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit without having an experience such as a “Baptism in the Holy Spirit” in the Charismatic sense?
A. Yes. I think the focus on the baptism of the Holy Spirit came with the Pentecostal movement. It was the Holiness movement at that time. They decided to wait on God until they had something like that. I’m not even sure that the disciples needed it. When Jesus breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit”, at that point they received the Spirit of God. He was in them. But I supposed they needed something extraordinary to initiate the powerful testimony that came. That’s how it was in my own life anyway.
I don’t think there is any difference between Charismatics and non‑Charismatics. That is to say, I think those Christians who do have the Holy Spirit in them, many don’t, may never have repented and those are not true Christians. There are many who are powerfully anointed and that is why their speaking is so effective. They may not realize that they can heal the sick but that seems to come in waves anyway. It seems to build somehow.
Q. Your recent though unpublished book tentatively titled Control, reveals the way control and manipulation dominates individuals in evangelical and charismatic ministries. You cry out against this “witchcraft” or abuse of power and advocate a humility and dependency on God to further the work of His kingdom. You offer your subjective experience of being a “controller, con-artist, and manipulator” as the log you believes God revealed and removed from your eye so that he may remove the mote in the church’s eye. Your subjective experience of an encounter with God leads you to call this “witchcraft” in your lectures. Are you encouraging a more experiential interpretation of scripture?
A. I would say first of all, it enters the whole realm of the objective versus the subjective. That was what God said to me when my computer crashed one day. I was filled with fear for some reason when the computer crashed and I said, “Lord what have I been doing?” It was then that he said, “You have been practising witchcraft since you were three years old.” That was a subjective impression.
I deplore an increasing tendency in scholarship to overemphasize the letter of Scripture and minimize subjective experience of Scripture. The two ‑ objective and subjective ‑ are inseparable. It is only as the Holy Spirit illuminates our understanding of Scripture that we will truly understand it. Jack Deere has taught us that when we speak of our convictions we are often speaking of what we were taught in church or in seminary. Divided seminaries and divided churches are an evidence that we follow human opinions as frequently as we follow divine. Two and a half centuries ago, John Gifford taught John Bunyan this very lesson.
Q. How have you learned to hear the subjective voice of God?
A. That’s a tough one. You see, nobody explained to me as a child that such communications had ceased, so that from earliest childhood I did hear, or else I thought I did. I subjected my impressions to “scientific” checks. I am most certain of God’s voice now as I read Scripture. Even when I was a psychiatrist I would be listening to the Lord. I would pray with my patients whether they were Christian or not. And I would have hunches about them which really were prophetic.
He speaks to me on many channels now. He speaks to me in the night when I sleep and I remember it exactly when I wake up. This is something new for me. He also speaks in night visions which are not the same as dreams ‑ which may emerge out of dreams ‑ but suddenly you know that you’re in a different space. In a dream you don’t usually recognize you’re in a dream but there becomes something different about it and I can’t explain what it is.
Q. You went from hearing God’s voice to seeing visions?
A. Though I resisted it at the time, I was also having visions during my residency and I knew those weren’t hallucinatory experiences. There is something about a vision that you know that you know that you know. First of all in a vision I can understand everything. It’s immediately self‑apparent. I can’t explain this but it is. Even though the vision is symbolic I don’t need anyone to tell me what it’s about.
Q. In other words, you know what your vision means but with psychiatric patients suffering hallucinations and delusions, they don’t know?
A. They don’t know. Many of them have hallucinations that they are demonized. They hear demonic voices. I think psychosis reduces your ability to discern, to discern between the demonic and the differences between the two. Satan mimics God’s voice superbly. But God has taught me to distinguish by the darkness that comes on me. I can’t explain it.
Q. Do you have a sense that those who walk into a growing awareness of the power of the Holy Spirit also come into greater awareness of the demonic?
A. You can’t have with one without the other. The moment you are in touch with the Lord you are open to the whole bang shoot. It’s spiritual sensitivity. Sensitivity to spirit beings.
Q. In the wake of your theological shift towards signs and wonders, a fury of criticism followed. Many evangelical doors have slammed shut against your ministry while charismatic doors swung open. How do you view this shift?
A. I wish the two sides would get together. That’s the only thing that I regret. One door closes and another door opens wide. I long for the day when people realize that the “Charismatic curtain,” as I call it, is not necessary. Real Christians are real Christians.
Q. Where do you believe the church is going?
A. I’m concerned about apostasy and the parable of the wheat and the tares. All the reformers spoke of apostasy. Certainly Calvin did, Arminius did. Calvin said it was impossible for them to have seen the light but John Owen explains it the best of all.
The Seventh Volume of Owen’s works is a careful exposition of Hebrews 6, focusing particularly on versus 4 through 6. His attempt is to understand apostasy. Owen maintains that one may operate in all the power of the Holy Spirit, without any of the inward graces of God’s character, that is, without being “saved” at all. You do not have to be a Christian to display spiritual gifts. Non‑Christians can display them also, since the Spirit falls on whom He will.
What John Owen says is that you can have the Holy Spirit and still apostatize and you do that because you opt for power rather than for the brightness of the glory of Christ himself. In other words you are not pursuing Christ, you are pursuing power. So it means that on both sides of the Charismatic curtain, there are wheat and tares.
Q. Apostasy as you see it, is more than lapsing into chronic sin, renouncing Christ and abandoning the profession of faith. It is an abuse of power. Frightening thought.
A. It is a very frightening thought. When I first began to understand this I thought, well, what about me? My fear about this personally was countered when Jesus said to me, “He who comes to me I will never reject.” And that filled me with great relief.
Q. Throughout your ministry and particularly in The Pathway of Holiness, you mention a vision of darkness “that falls on men and women when they do not let God be God in their lives,” referencing Romans 1:21‑23. What do you foresee will happen if the darkness is not lifted off of the church?
A. The darkness will be lifted off of the church. There are some Christians who develop so far and then they lose their curiosity and become worshippers of mammon or whatever unwittingly. God doesn’t seem to go on doing things in them. See, in my life, God has been merciful and constantly dragging me into something new. Sometimes against my will.
The church free of darkness would look marvellous. The marvellous church cannot occur unless there is a split ‑ a split between those who have the Holy Spirit and those who haven’t ‑ the wheat and the tares. At what point that would occur I don’t know except that somehow it’s involved in world war and all that’s going to happen in the next little while. Individuals will have to give God control and they will find one another.
Pastor David Hogan is the founding leader of Freedom Ministries, a pioneering mission among remote Mexican mountain tribes. This article is edited from a message he gave at Christian Outreach Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
Between 150 and 500 people a month are being saved
A new move of the Holy Spirit has started. It’s been all over the place. It’s got a whole lot of different names, depending on what part of the world you’re from. Some people call it ‘The River’, some people call it ‘The Refreshing’, some people call it the ‘Fire of Heaven’, others just call it plain ‘Revival of God’. I don’t particularly care what we call it as long as we’re in it!
Our work is now so large that I have to take care of it, which means I have to protect it in the way of not allowing any false doctrine to get into it. Westerners are real ‘faddish’ people and tend to jump into the latest thing for a little while, until it subsides and then people go back into their normal way of life. Well I don’t agree with that.
I agree with Jesus and going and staying in the flow and allowing it to change you and be completely radical in the Holy Spirit. You have to do things by faith. Everything has to be done by faith or it’s sin.
I am responsible to the Holy Spirit for what happens to the people he’s given me. And I’m not going to jump in just because America jumps in, or just because Australia jumps in, or New Zealand, or England or anybody else. I’m going to jump in when the Holy Spirit jumps in our work. Now that’s not to say I’m fighting it, I never was fighting, please understand. I was not against the Refreshing, the River, the flow, the wind, the fire. I never was against all that. Every time I’d come out, or go around the world somewhere, I’d mix with everybody but I was being cautious.
So I went after God. I told the Lord: “This is what we’re going to do God, and if I’m wrong you can do whatever you want to. I am not going to preach this Refreshing, this Revival, in our work. I will not teach one message on it. I won’t allow anyone that comes from around the world to speak about it in our work till I see you divinely touch us as you have in the past.”
You may say, “You shouldn’t be that strict. You shouldn’t be that serious.”
Yes I should! If you knew how hard it is for me to dig those Indians out of those hills, to get them born again, to get churches started, to get it established, then you’d understand why I’m so serious about how I undertake what I do in my ministry.
And it really happened, it really, really happened.
We’ve had over 400 people raised from the dead in our work. God can raise anybody from the dead. It’s awesome to watch.
We had a lady the other day, just before I came over here, a 70-year-old grandma, who was dead for about 14-16 hours. The Holy Spirit touched her and raised her up, but it was after the whole family was brought in. They washed her for burial. They set her up on the altar in the house, and the whole town came through and acknowledged her death and gave respects to the people. Then God raised her from the dead! Hallelujah!
It’s wonderful. God can raise people from the dead, whoever he wants to. And it doesn’t make me any different whether you believe it or not. It matters that I believe. It matters that our work believes. It matters that Jesus is King.
We see the dead raised, the blinded eyes opened, the lame walking, and all sorts of tumours fall off people and every kind of miracle – tuberculosis is healed. Yes, we get that, we do get that and let me tell you something, that’s the very reason I was so cautious about going into this revival with the rest of the world; because I don’t want our work tainted at all.
Our work has got high integrity. It’s new. It’s fresh. It’s just 20 years old and I want the thing to carry over into the next millennium with glory and honour and victory! And we will, in Jesus’ name, if Jesus doesn’t come back.
So, I blocked it. I wouldn’t allow people to talk about this new revival that’s taking place in the world.
People say, “You can’t tell people what to preach.”
I wasn’t telling them what to preach, I was telling them what not to preach. They could preach on anything but this thing that was going on. We are stuck up in the mountains. It’s off the trail. It’s not a beaten path. It’s hard to get to. It’s not an easy thing to accomplish, and so people never would come to see us.
But now we’re a thousand strong and we’ve got every kind of miracle known, so now everyone wants to come! That’s fine, you can come, but there are certain things you’re not going to talk about.
The work must be protected. It’s a worthy thing that God’s doing. But God can do it because God wants to. God can quicken the dead if he wants to. I watched him do it, I’ve personally been in on 19 dead raisings and I know. I have watched people. We had a couple of girls that were dead for 3 days that were lying, covered in lime and the Holy Spirit brought them back from the dead. It’s wonderful. A couple of teenage girls. They loved it when they got up, spitting that lime out of their mouths.
Remember Romans 4:20: Abraham ‘staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strong in faith, giving glory to God.’
So, about the new wine. I was blocking people, not God. I wanted something that would last.
I visited an outlying village. It took 4 hours in a 4 wheel drive and then 2 hours on foot, uphill. It’s very remote. There’s no radio, no T.V., and no outside influences. I was sitting up there in this little hut on a piece of wood against the bamboo wall on the dirt floor. Chickens were walking around in there.
The pastor walked up to me. He’s a little guy, and he was trembling.
He said, “Brother David, I’m really afraid I’ve made a mistake.”
I hadn’t heard of any mistakes. I was wondering what had happened in the last few days. He’s got four little churches in his area.
He said, “It’s not my fault. I apologize. I’ve done everything right, like you taught me. I pray every day. I read the Bible. I’m doing it right. What happened is not my fault.”
I said, “What happened? Come on, tell me what happened.”
He was trembling. Tears were running out of his eyes. He said, “Brother David, I got up in our little church. I opened my Bible and I started preaching and the people started falling down. The people started crying. The people started laughing. And it scared me. I ran out of the church.”
That’s what I was looking for. That’s what I was waiting for, when God came in our work, not because somebody came and preached it, not because I said it was okay or not okay, because I was neutral about it. I knew it was all right, but I wanted to see it in our work not because I ushered it in, but because the Holy Spirit ushered it in. And he did.
I got together with my pastors and we made a covenant to do a month’s fast in September 1995. This was as well as the 3 days on and 3 days off fast that we had been doing that year anyway, so we were ready for whatever God wanted to do. That year every day at least 365 people were fasting.
God hit me on the third day of that month of fasting, but I continued the fast and on the seventh day he hit me again greater than I’ve ever been hit in my life up to that point. But we continued fasting for the whole month.
The River of God
Psalm 47:4-5 says, ‘There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God. God is in the midst of her…’
I found the river. It’s real. The Shekinah presence of God has come into our work. There is a river of God wider and deeper than we know.
The minute you think you are accomplishing something is the minute you should repent. Find ways to keep yourself humble. Look for ways to not be a ‘big shot’ and to stay in the river. We are the habitation of God, Zion, God’s people. He wants us flowing in the river.
It doesn’t matter what’s around us – bullets, knives, disease, the state of the economy. It matters that our eyes are fixed on Jesus. When the Holy Spirit fell on us there was war around us. Bullets were being fired. People were dying.
I don’t have words to describe what happened to us when the Holy Spirit fell on us on Friday 27 October 1995. If you had been there, you wouldn’t have words to describe it either.
It’s an awesome thing I’ve been able to witness.
The river of God is here, and it’s full. There’s plenty for all.
We were in an awesome time. I didn’t know how deep we were in the river of God. I’d been fasting for a month, and I didn’t know what was happening. So I decided to get my pastors together in each section. We had groups of about 30-75 pastors in each section. I went into the most conservative area of our mission first, because I wanted to see what would happen.
At the first meeting, with about 75 of my pastors I got up, I opened my Bible, and I shared one or two verses. Suddenly I felt, that’s enough. They’re used to me preaching two hours sometimes, but it hadn’t been ten minutes.
I said, “Stand up.” And they stood up.
I said, “Receive the River of Life.”
You should have seen it! It looked like someone was hitting them with bats in the stomach and the head. But nobody was touching them. People were lying over benches, forward, backward, all over the place. I was trying to help, but I couldn’t help. People were just flying everywhere. And these were ministers.
So I went through all the sections like that. I got into one section, and they were glad to see me. They hadn’t seen me in a few months. I stood up. I opened my Bible. I read one verse about the fire of God, and the people started shaking.
I thought, “Oh God, this is way out.”
So I said, “Stand up.” They tried to stand up. Some of them couldn’t stand up. I just said the word “Fire.” And the whole place fell.
It was getting more and more scary to me. But people were getting healed without anybody touching them.
A man in that meeting had been deaf for 27 years. I didn’t know the man. He fell over and hit his head on a bench, and fell underneath the bench. He got up from there after a few minutes and he took off running out of the room. His ears had unstopped and he was running from the noise!
After I had been through all the sections, introducing this softly, it finally came time to call all the pastors together from the whole work. A couple of hundred of our pastors came. I wish you had been there to see what we saw! It was amazing.
On the first day there were about 200 pastors there, and the whole church that was hosting us. That made about 450 people.
The first day was awesome. God hit us powerfully. There were healings. I was happy. The people were encouraged.
The second day was even better. It was stronger. I thought we were peaking out on the second day. I got there at 8 o’clock in the morning and left at 10 o’clock at night, and there was ministry all day. We were fixing problems, and God was working through the ministry. It was wonderful.
But I tell you, I was not ready for the third day.
We were coming in from different areas. The Indians were all there. I didn’t know they had been in an all-night prayer meeting. I didn’t know that the Holy Spirit had fallen on them and they couldn’t get up. I didn’t know that they had been pinned down by the Holy Spirit all night long, all over the place, stuck to the ground. Some of them had fallen on ant beds, but not one ant bit them.
I was staying about 45 minutes away. I got in my 4 wheel drive and as I drove there I began listening on the two-way radio. Some of our missionaries were already there, and were talking on the two-way radio saying, ‘What’s happening here. I can’t walk.’
As I listened to them on the radio I felt power come on me. And the closer I came, the more heat I felt settling on me. I could feel heat, and I had my air conditioner going!
When I got to the little church, I opened the door of the truck and instantly became hot. Sweat poured off me. I was about 300 yards from the church. The closer I got, the more intense was the heat. I could hardly walk through it, it was so thick. I’m talking about the presence of God. That was 7.30 in the morning!
I walked around the corner of the building. People were all over the place. Some were knocked out. Some were on the ground. Some were moaning and wailing. It was very unusual, and I could hardly walk. By the time I got to the front of the church where the elders were I could hardly walk. I was holding on to things to get there. I could hardly breathe.
The heat of the presence of God was amazing.
The people had been singing for two hours before I got there. At 8.15 on the morning of October 27th, 1995, I walked up there and lay my Bible down on that little wobbly Indian table. Hundreds were looking at me. Some were knocked out, lying on the ground. I could hardly talk.
I called the nine elders to the front and told them the Holy Spirit was there and we needed to make a covenant together, even to martyrdom. We made a covenant there that the entire country of Mexico would be saved. They asked me to join them in that pact.
When we lifted our hands in agreement all nine fell at once. I was hurled backward and fell under the table. When I got up the people in front fell over. In less than a minute every pastor there was knocked out.
We were ringed with unbelievers, coming to see what was going on. The anointing presence of God came and knocked them all out, dozens of them. Every unbeliever outside and everyone on the fence was knocked out and fell to the ground. There were dozens of them.
From the church at the top of the hill we could see people in the village below running out screaming from their huts and falling out under the Holy Spirit. It was amazing.
We always have a section for the sick and afflicted. They bring them in from miles around, some on stretchers. There were 25-30 of them there. Every sick person at the meeting was healed: the blind, the cancerous, lupus, tumours, epilepsy, demon possession. Nobody touched them but Jesus.
There was instant reconciliation between people who had been against each other. They were laying on top of each other, sobbing and repenting.
I was afraid when I saw all of that going on. I looked up to heaven and said, “God what are you … ?” and that was the end of it. He didn’t want to hear any questions. Bang!
I was about three or four metres from the table. When I woke up some hours later, I was under the table.
When I finally woke up my legs wouldn’t work. I scooted myself around looking at what was going on. It was pandemonium! When some people tried to get up, they would go flying. It was awesome.
We had five open-eyed visions.
One small pastor was hanging onto a pole to hold himself up. He was there, but he wasn’t there. He said to me, ‘Brother David, look at him. Look at him, Brother David! Who is it? Look how big he is! Oh, he’s got his white robe on. He’s got a golden girdle.’ It was Jesus.
He said, “Brother David, how did we get into this big palace?”
I looked around. I was still on the dirt floor. I still had a grass roof over me, but he was in a marble palace, pure white.
I crawled over to look at him. He was seeing things we could not see. Another of the elders, a prophet from America, who had been working with me for thirteen years, crawled over and we were watching this pastor who was in a trance. It was amazing.
The three of us were inside something like a force field of energy. Anybody who tried to come into it was knocked out. It was scary.
The pastor said, ‘He’s got a list, Brother David.’ And he started reading out aloud from the list.
I was looking around, and as he was reading from the list people went flying through the air, getting healed and delivered. It was phenomenal, what God was doing. And he’s done it in every service in our work that I’ve been in since then. It’s been over a year. It’s amazing. Wonderful.
Rev 22:1 says, “And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb.”
I saw that river. I actually saw the river, its pure water of life from God’s throne. If I could see it again I would know it. I saw it. I experienced it. I tasted it.
God came because we waited, and listened. We didn’t jump in at the first sprinkle. We will keep it through prayer and fasting.
Between 150 and 500 people per month are being saved because of it, just through what the North American missionaries are doing.