Understandably, many Bible-believer evangelicals raise their antennae when they hear the word “miraculous healing” outside the comfort and context of their home church. They are concerned about the practices and teachings of those whom some might call “hyper-charismatics” which they consider unscriptural. They are concerned that such practices might slowly infiltrate their church. As one cessationist evangelical put it, “It is only a small step from raising one’s hands to cutting backflips off the pew.”
THIS is not THAT.
What has happened within more conservative circles of the evangelical church is what often happens when human beings are confronted by what they consider to be a dangerous extreme. In order to fight that extreme, we sometimes go to the very opposite extreme. In doing so, however, we might be “throwing out the baby with the bathwater.”
In charismatic groups there is found a range of teachings and practices with regard to healing. Some may indeed have some basis in Scripture, while others appear to have relatively weak support. For example within some circles one can hear the teaching that it’s God’s will for every sick believer to be healed, and that if a sick believer is not healed it’s because that believer lacks faith. Sick believers are taught to “claim” their healing by faith according to Mark 11:24. Ministry to the sick believer can be by means of the gift of healing (or other gifts of the Holy Spirit), and accompanied by speaking in unknown tongues. Sometimes the sick believer falls (or is pushed) backwards in a phenomenon called “being slain in the Spirit.” Accompanying ministry to sick believers In charismatic circles there can be praise and worship lifted up to the Lord and even dancing in the Spirit before Him—practices which are not actually seen in the gospels or Acts or anywhere in the New Testament for that matter when the sick were healed.
The Elijah Challenge does not address any of these teachings or practices since they are outside the scope of our specific calling from the Lord. Moreover, with regard to ministering to the sick we purposely limit ourselves to teaching and applying the underlying principles seen in the ministry of Jesus and his early disciples in the Scriptures. In that way we are actually quite conservative.
First of all, the teaching the Lord has entrusted to us is primarily for use in sharing the gospel with non-believers, especially gospel-resistant peoples like Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists. Therefore it is not primarily for ministering healing to believers as in the above context which encompasses most healing ministry today. The purpose of the miraculous healings is rather to provide non-believers with overwhelming evidence that our God is in fact the only true God, and that Jesus Christ is the only way to Him—based on the powerful, instant miraculous healings which they have never before experienced with their gods or beliefs. What the Lord has graciously entrusted to us is training His Church to use these powerful weapons in the context of preaching the gospel to all creation and for making disciples of all nations during these last days before the great and terrible day of the Lord.
Moreover, there is no “drama” involved in ministering to the sick in the context of sharing the gospel with the lost—as is sometimes seen in charismatic healing services which are attended mostly by Christians. Instead we teach present-day disciples to follow in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus by ministering to the sick as He and his disciples did when they proclaimed the kingdom of God. Instead of the drama, we simply “say the word” as Jesus did (Luke 7:7) and as we see the disciples continuing to do in Acts in the context of demonstrating to the Jews and Gentiles who Jesus actually was. In this way we see many people with infirmities healed miraculously in the name of Jesus confirming the truth of the gospel with tangible evidence that Jesus Christ is in fact the Son of God. Witnessing the incomparable power of our Father opens the heart of the lost and gospel-resistant to our Lord Jesus.
At our Training Events there is no time on the program set aside for urging the participants to sow generously by “giving their best to God.” We do not “pass the plate.” Freely we have received, freely we give.
Might we be a “Trojan Horse?”
Is the teaching actually a plot to secretly introduce extreme charismatic practices—like “grave-sucking” practiced by a ministry in California as just one example—to conservative evangelicals in a gradual way? After all, “it is only a small step from raising one’s hands to cutting backflips off the pew.”
We do not teach believers to speak in tongues or even to raise their hands. But neither do we forbid it. That is not the area to which the Lord has called us. Rather He has clearly called us to equip the Church to preach the gospel effectively to all creation in fulfillment of the Great Commission. What takes place inside the Church is not our primary concern and not our business. We teach believers how to reach the lost outside the four walls of the church.
Actually expelled and criticized by hyper-charismatics
We once attended a Baptist Church where we taught that God does not heal everyone. We also disagreed with what we considered the hyper-charismatic positions of some well-known preachers with whom our Senior Pastor agreed. Later we were essentially declared persona non grata by the Senior Pastor. On another occasion, a sister who had invited us to speak on her radio program withdrew her invitation after discovering articles on our website that were critical of hyper-charismatic practices based on kundalini. She told us that “you should be ashamed of your behavior…”
So THIS is not THAT.