Too Mutch

...a safe place to dance with ideas, play with theology, and re-create a life implicated by God

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Lenten Themes--Healing

Traditionally, the fourth Sunday of Lent is referred to as Rose Sunday (though I didn't see any roses at either of the two churches we went to on Sunday). It is given this special name because there is a significant shift that takes place at this stage of the Lenten journey. After a few weeks of reading and reflecting on sin and temptation and mortality, the theme switches to the powerful healing touch of Christ. One of the churches we went to on Sunday did a phenomenal job of pointing us to this life-giving theme. It was both instructive and interactive, but has left me asking some questions...

When does healing really happen? Why is it so foreign to us? Why are we more willing to believe that someone's marriage can be "healed" rather dramatically, but the woman in the wheelchair is NOT going to get up and walk no matter how much oil you anoint her with?

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine from a more charismatic background taught about spiritual gifts at on of Cornerstone's chapels. Again, I found myself asking similar questions. Why don't we see more of this happening? Why are so many people in "closed" countries coming to faith in Jesus through dreams and visions, while in my own Christian experience I've never had a dream like that nor really heard of one? Why THEN and not NOW? Why THERE and not HERE? Why THEM and not US?

And here is where I began to make a proposition. Is it possible that as Christians in a country that has been dominated spiritually by cessaitionists...that we have been developmentally impeded from experiencing the gifts of the holy spirit? Is it possible that we don't "have faith" in these because they are so foreign to us? Is there part of our spirituality that has been squelched because of the kind/type of Christianity that we have grown up with?

Part of my discomfort with my more charismatic friends, I think, is related to my lack of familiarity and understanding and experience with the things that they HAVE experienced and are more familiar with. Could this be a case of impeded spiritual development due to the dominant non-charismatic evangelical landscape of our country?


At 10:42 PM, Anonymous raptor said...

Wow, Greg. This is HUGE. Interesting that my denomination did not change their view of cessation of the charismatic gifts until they were forced to by the evidence in the Second Wave of Pentecostalism in the 1970s. I think we don't experience the Spirit (good and bad) world in general in the wealthy West as much as in other parts of the world. How much are your blog questionshave related to the enlightenment. Probably a lot. You ask if something has been squelched? I think a lot has been squelched, though every time we see a conversion, is that not a supernatural intervention? What are emergent writers writing and thinking on this topic?
Interesting antidote I'd like to share: At a certain Californian seminary I once attended a very well known professor who has written on these issues met with me in his office for a deliverance session. He then attempted to cast several demons out of me. He seemed to think he got some out, but he was struggling a lot with some others. In the end, although I felt the presence of God in the room, I'm not sure what happened. I'm not sure anything changed. It's all so strange. I asked the question, why did he have to stuggle so hard? Why couldn't he just say, "In the name of Jesus, Come out" and then see it come out?
My fairly young Aunt right now is withering away from cancer. She'll die probably in 2 months or less. Am I not praying enough for her? If I prayed more would the chances of a miracle increase? There's a lot to write on this subject.

At 8:15 AM, Blogger Greg said...

There is a lot to write on the subject. I'm not really sure what emergent writers are saying in this regard, except that I suspect they are more "open" to such things. They would ask some questions about the supernatural conversion experience, I think. Not b/c there isn't anything happening with the Spirit--they would just push back against this idea that we cross a line of salvation. I've been reading some from Leron Shults from Bethel Seminary. He says our "order of salvation" is too heavily dependent on forensic metaphors for salvation. One might say, like Peter who confessed Christ as savior, but then appeared to have another "conversion" 10 years later upon his encounter with Cornelius--that conversion is a supernatural PROCESS rather than an EVENT. I might say, "I am being saved" rather than "I'm saved."

At 3:29 PM, Blogger revnace said...

Shults and Sign gifts make me uncomfortable.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Greg said...

Nace, what's wrong with uncomfortable? A little healthy discomfort will push us along, I think. And sign gifts make me uncomfortable too...but WHY?

At 12:15 AM, Anonymous "M" said...

I won't reveal my identity because of the church I work for. You can just call me "M." I dabbled in the charismatic stream for quite some time. I really think some of the stuff they hold on to is stuff that the rest of the church in the west is missing out on. However when tounges and prophecy become the heart of your message, you've missed the point. It seems like much of the good things in the charismatic church have become so over-spiritualized, that they start to pervert the good. I have had some experiences with people prophesing over me, where i just wept because of the truth and insight God was giving them to speak into my life. One ministry that I feel walks powerfully in the supernatural, but are more balanced is.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Micah said...

Thought you might like to see some of the healings being shared just from last sundays service at MArs Hill. Kinda long but worth the read. Oh, and by the way. I couldn't agree more with you "M." well said!

* The gentleman with Parkinson's who we told you about last month was at the "W"
last week and he sat through the entire meeting without trembling at all. His doctor does not know what to do since he has never seen a patient where the Parkinson's diminished. Bless God for He is awesome.

* We got a note from an intern at Mars after yesterday's healing prayer times. He said "A man asked for strength in his marriage. I anointed his head and prayed for his marriage. Twenty minutes later he came up to me and said, " The moment you anointed my head with oil the pain in my hip was gone. I wasn't even coming up for that, but the pain is gone.""

* A baby was born two months ago with holes in its heart and other issues. You may remember seeing it on the email prayer alerts. We prayed for Payton three weeks
after he was born and again on Ash Wed. He was taken to the surgeon the next day to begin planning for surgery. The doctor came in holding the file shaking his head.
He said, "This is not the same heart we saw two weeks ago. I cannot explain it but the holes are gone and the oxygen is at 100%. Go home, we do not need to operate on this heart". God responded to the prayers of His people.

* A young person with an incurable juvenile condition was prayed for and when they went to the doctor three weeks ago the condition had disappeared.

* A person with severe back pain was prayed for and as the team prayed the pain went away.

* A woman suffering from severe migraines was prayed for and the pain went away and
the migraine stopped as she was prayed for.

* A woman whose husband is in the hospital was prayed for over the phone and she felt the tangible peace of God wash through her entire body as she was prayed for.
Adonai Shalom is true to His name.

* A woman with severe hives and allergies asked for prayer. The Holy Spirit revealed that it was as a result of her participation with the New Age movement 25
years prior. She repented and the influences were broken and removed and now she can eat out with friends and the hives and allergic reactions have all ceased.

* A young man who we prayed for last month came to the "W" last week. He was suicidal and deeply depressed when we prayed and last Wed. he was so peaceful and
balanced that he joined in the prayer time in his group and even had advice (excellent advice we might add) for the person that was being prayed for. God makes
deep lasting changes when we pray and believe. What a turnaround.

* A man with Macular Degeneration was prayed for and went form all fuzz to being able to read the first three lines of the eye chart. The doctor said "I have never seen this in all my years of medicine. This kind of thing just does not happen."
Well, this kind of thing happens every week at Mars. We need to continually thank Hashem for His goodness.

At 10:21 PM, Blogger revnace said...

Nice fish Michah...

I would not include healings as one of the sign gifts. Please don't make me write a list.

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At 6:47 PM, Blogger grace_explosion said...

Hi Greg,

I met you today... and found your blog. I enjoyed the call to review cessationalism and it's effects on experiencing spiritual gifts. Natural reason or intellectualism, as I see it, resides in the natural man and quenches the Holy Spirit. Cessationalism, perhaps, places human reason by natural means above the Spirit. Perhaps when we place human reason at the top of our hierarchy in "how we know and relate to God" we "lose contact" with what God has deposited within us spiritually in Christ.

My thought would be to "reverse the polarity" of natural unbelief and reasoning vs. spiritual faith and reasoning in Christ. Natural reasoning may suppress/cap/limit or "quench" God's Spirit whileas spiritual faith and reasoning may release the Spirit.

Perhaps walking by faith in Jesus and not by sight in what we focus and think on internally "frees the flow" of the gifts of the Spirit. Perhaps changing what we focus and think on is one way to exert spiritual energy in Christ to restore the flow and function of spiritual gifts.

We are to capture all thoughts contrary to Christ and bring them subject to obedience to Christ. That's one way of looking at "taking off the old self" and "putting on the new self".

I very much enjoyed the post on Lenten Themes - Healing. Again, nice meeting you. Dropped by to say "hi". I will see if I can learn how to host/start a blog. Thank you for the counsel on that and other ideas! "LeeLee"


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