H004 - THE GRAND CANYON OF STUPIDITY
The following is a guided tour into the Grand Canyon of Stupidity. Man's religious mental reasoning will be our tour guide. Notice that the whole descent starts with one bad foundation -- experience. This should show you the danger of using anything but the Word of God as a foundation for doctrine. And now, let the ignorance begin!
--- START HERE --->
John and Linda just lost a little girl to leukemia. They were fine Christians who attend a "faith church." John and Linda are shaken up and don't know why this happened to them. But we'll make them feel better by telling them that God took their little girl. We will tell them that it was God's perfect will for the child to die, and that He knows what's best for us. Even though it seems to be contrary to every long-life and healing promise in the Bible, we'll try to shoehorn Romans 8:28 into the situation and say that God meant it for John and Linda's good -- to draw them closer to Himself. Just think of how they have to depend on God just to make it through the day now. Of course, we have to mention in passing that everything they were taught about faith for healing at the church doesn't necessarily work. Then they won't feel so bad that their girl was not healed. We'll just plant a little seed of doubt that there must be something wrong with the healing message, although we're not quite sure what. We just know that it must not always work. We wouldn't want to make John and Linda feel bad by saying that healing is for all.
Now that we have established that God has made an exception in the case of John and Linda's daughter, we can no longer teach that God forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases. We will now teach that God forgives all your sins and heals some of your diseases, when it's his will. We'll assume that it's usually his will and that he makes exceptions in his sovereignty to teach us lessons and for other mysterious purposes. This sounds very good and religious. (Actually, it's religious but not very good.) We'll say we believe in healing because we believe that God does heal today. We just won't say that he always wants to heal because he might want to make an exception in his sovereignty, as he did for John and Linda's daughter.
--->THIS WAY DOWN--->
Now of course we have some awkward verses that we will have to explain away. For example, that one in James 5 about praying the prayer of faith for the sick. Well, that obviously can't be for us today, because you can only pray the prayer of faith when you know the will of God. That is because faith is the assurance, not the hope-so, of something you can't see. Since God can make exceptions in his sovereignty, the elders cannot pray the prayer of faith for a sick person. Instead, tell the elders to water it down and pray for "endurance" rather than healing, just so that no one gets disappointed. Cheer up the sick with small talk, and watch trash on TV with them in their hospital rooms for a while. Do anything except what God said to do -- anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord and praying for them in faith so that the Lord raises them up! Oh, I know, James was just for the early church before the gifts of healings passed away with the last apostle. That sounds like a reasonable excuse.
<---CAUTION: STEEP HILL AHEAD<---
Now about believing you receive when you pray, as Jesus taught. Well, we can't do that unless it's God's will, and since we don't know whether or not healing is God's will for us, we will have to pray and ask God for a direct revelation that it is his will to heal us before proceeding in faith. Remember, God makes exceptions in his sovereignty -- he did for John and Linda, you know. So until you get a witness in your heart that you're not a sovereign exception, you can't pray for your healing in faith. The trouble is, God doesn't give out direct words like that because he gave you his general words in the Bible that apply to everyone. So you don't get a direct word from the Spirit that he wants to heal you. Ah, you know why that really is? He doesn't want to heal you right now! You don't have a revelation that he wants to heal you in particular, or heal you at this particular time. Oops, I guess you have to put up with that sickness, because God could be making an exception for you like he did for John and Linda's daughter. Just trust in his sovereignty and believe that he will "permit" whatever is best for you. Don't forget Romans 8:28.
--->DANGER: SHIFTING SAND --->
Now you aren't getting healed either. It appears that God's sovereign exceptions occur more often than we thought. In fact, let's make healing the exception and staying sovereignly sick the standard. After all, we know other "faith" people who didn't get healed when they prayed. Yeah, we all remember Uncle Barney -- he died too, you know. And Phyllis the singer from the church across town -- God saw fit to confine her to a wheelchair with multiple sclerosis. Actually, there aren't many people getting healed supernaturally. Most of the people at our church get prayed for and then have to get operated on anyway. So, yeah, maybe God is more into giving surgeons wisdom these days than into healing the sick. After all, God invented medicine, didn't he? Yeah, we don't see many miracles. Hah, that proves that miracles are exceptional and sickness is normal. In fact, sin is pretty normal at our church, too, so maybe that's the sovereign will of God. Oops, no, we know better than to judge God's will on sin by the experience and practice of those around us! Sin is wrong, but sickness is different -- we should expect that the current state of the church in this area is the will of God. The experience and practice of those around us should determine our doctrine.
<---CLIMATE CHANGE ZONE<---
Let's cool off a bit and get lukewarm with God. After all, we're not so excited about him anymore now that he doesn't seem like he's willing to help us all the time. Wow, it was more exciting thinking that he loved us enough to heal us. Being sovereignly sick is a drag. But we should condemn ourselves when we feel like we want to be healed. Wanting healing is so selfish and me-oriented. Yeah, what do you want to get healed for, anyway, just so that you can feel good or something? God could be teaching you lessons, you know. Feel guilty that you should love God more and more, although you are coming to respect him less and less because of his capricious ways of dealing with you.
No one has any guarantee of divine healing. Most of those healing crusade people are probably charlatans and frauds anyway. We're glad we know better than to go to a healing crusade and expect healing in our bodies! We're sophisticated now; we accept sickness as God's sovereign will. We accept the untimely passing of those around us as part of God's mysterious plan. He let some famous preachers die from illnesses, you know. When God doesn't heal, we bow before his mystery and majesty, and we worship the ‘God Who Doesn't Always Heal’. Those miracles in the Bible, well, we guess they aren't for today or at least aren't for everyone. We know they aren't because John and Linda didn't get one. Yeah, so there! John and Linda's experience proves that the Bible's promises aren't always for us today.
---->ONE WAY OUT---->
If you want to get out of this canyon of unbelief, start reading and meditating on the healing Scriptures found in the Bible rather than basing your faith on people's experiences. Find out what the Bible standard is and move up in that direction rather than settling for making your life a sad copy of someone else's bad experience. I'm not making fun of anyone's experience, but you need to base your doctrine on the Bible, not experiences. That is, unless you like where this trail went.
[Note: This story was made up. Any similarity to real people named John and Linda (including the fact that they are named John and Linda) is totally coincidental and unintentional.]