New Teachers in the Postmodern Church: Faith Healing, Salvation and the Gospel of Prosperity
Meaning of New Stone: Rev. 2: 12 – 17 (17).
And will give him a new white stone
The phrase, “to add a white stone”, with the Latins, is used to give one’s approbation of anything; and could it be applied here, might signify the approbation Christ gives of his church and people here, amidst the testimonies they bear, and the persecutions they endure for his name’s sake, and that which he will give of them before his Father, angels, and men, at the last day: white stones were used on various accounts. The Grecians used them to mark good or lucky days with them, as they called them; and could the allusion be thought to be to this custom, the sense would be, that Christ promises, to his people that overcome, happy days, after the times of Popish darkness and persecution were over: white stones were also given to the conquerors in the Olympic games, with their names upon them, and the value of the prize they won; and, here applied, may respect the crown of life and glory given to them who are more than conquerors through Christ, with their right and title to it, and the excellency of it. The Romans in judgment used to give their suffrages for condemnation by casting black stones into the urn, and for absolution white stones; to which Ovid has respect, when he says F18,
“Mos erat antiquis, niveis atrisque lapillis, His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpa.”
And this is thought by many to be referred to here, and may denote, that though the pure members of Christ, and who abhorred and protested against the abominations of the church of Rome, were charged with heresy and schism, and what not, yet Christ would absolve them, and justify them from all those charges. But rather the allusion is to a custom among the Jews, who used to examine the priests and Levites before they went to their service, or to the sanhedrim, to judge and pass sentence, whether their ways and works were right; and if they were as they should be, they gave them (avdqmd armwx) , “the stone of the sanctuary”: if not, they might not enter on business, as it is said; “and of Levi he said, thy Urim and thy Thummim be with thy Holy One”, ( Deuteronomy 33:8 ) F19. Now on the Urim and Thummim, the stones in the high priest’s breastplate, were engraven the names of the children of Israel; and, as the Jews say, the name Jehovah, to which reference may be had in the following clause; and may denote that the church, though in the wilderness, is regarded by Christ, is bore upon his heart and cared for by him; and also its spotless purity in him, and justification by him.
And in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth, saving he
that receiveth [it];
by this name may be meant, either the name of “Jehovah” our righteousness, which is the name both of Christ, and of his church, ( Jeremiah 23:6 ) ( 33:16 ) , or the name of a child of God, sometimes called a new name; see ( Isaiah 56:5 ) ( 62:2 ) ; and so designs the blessing of adoption; this may be said to be a new name, because renewed, manifested to, and put upon the people of God, when they are made new creatures, though provided in predestination, and in the covenant of grace from eternity; and because a renowned and excellent one, better than that of the sons and daughters of the greatest prince on earth; and because a wonderful one, being an instance of amazing love and grace; and is what “no man knoweth”, but the receiver of it; the Father of these adopted ones is unknown to natural men; and so is Christ, through whom this blessing is bestowed; and the Spirit of God also, who witnesses to it; and the persons that enjoy it, and the blessing itself, and the inheritance to which they are adopted: and this new name being on the white stone, may show that the blessings of justification and adoption, though they are two distinct ones, yet they are inseparable: they go together, and both give a right to the heavenly inheritance; and they are also, as well as the hidden manna, gifts of free grace, and not owing to the works and merit of men, and are given by Christ, and in and through him. At Rome, some white stones have been dug up, some lesser, some greater, with names and letters, and other engravings upon them, which Pignorius F20 has given the figures of; and to such some have thought the allusion here is, and may serve to illustrate this passage. The Ethiopic version, instead of a “white stone”, reads, a “famous book”. (Internet Extraction April 2016)
Antiretroviral Treatment and the Application of Faith: Towards Healing and Cure
Introduction: “Should a Christian (and for that matter any one) use the services of medical doctors? Does the Bible forbid the use of medicines? If it is not God’s will to heal the person miraculously right now, is it wrong to seek medical aid? Would seeking such help be interfering with God’s will? These are important questions, because the answers have serious implications — implications of suffering or relief, life or death. They are also questions that may not even occur to most people, and may seem unnecessary to some. But the questions do occur to sincere persons who are laboring under certain false impressions (and some who are convinced that they are acting on a type of faith that is pleasing to God) about divine healing and the Bible position on it (Additions mine)”.
There is a challenge that needs some investigation concerning statements made by some evangelistic groups which claim the healing or cure of HIV and AIDS. This rudimentary concept paper struggles with such statements and seeks engagement with people of faith on the general matter of ‘Faith and Medicine’ and the specific concern of the healing and cure of HIV and AIDS by faith or prayer.
Hypothesis: Antiretroviral treatment and the application of faith towards healing work together.
Sub-hypothesis 1: People can use their faith as well as adhere to treatment. There is no contradiction between taking treatment and having faith for health and healing. The use of ARVs is not against the application of faith.
Sub-hypothesis 2: The application of faith should encourage people to adhere to treatment and with confidence knowing that the scriptures do not forbid the use of medicines towards health, healing and cure.
Problem Statement: The application of faith leading people to default or abandon any form of medical treatment puts the patients at very high risk which may lead to death if not attended to on time. There have been peddlers and bogus claims of the cure of HIV and AIDS since the virus has been diagnosed from around the 1980s. At the beginning some people of faith stigmatized people who were diagnosed HIV positive and followed by the latest and sprouting evangelistic groups who encourage their converts to abandon ARV treatment.
What Do the Scripture Say? “Colossians 4:14 refers to Luke as the “beloved physician,” showing that Luke was a physician and was well thought of. The Bible nowhere states that Luke stopped using his skills after conversion, and it would not be proper to conclude that he did merely from the Bible’s silence on the subject” One of the accolades and appellations of Yahweh is Jehovah Rapha, the Lord our Healer (Ex. 15: 26) a praise-word Yahweh got by healing the waters of Marah with a tree. Apocalyptically the leaves of the trees are for the healing of the nations (Rev. 22: 2).
“Olive oil also can be used on wounds. Wine was used medicinally in the New Testament. Paul told Timothy, in 1Timothy 5:23, to use a little wine as a digestive aid due to Timothy being sick. Also, the Good Samarian used wine in Luke 10:34, “…bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine.” Alcohol is an antiseptic. In “Wine as Food and Medicine”
Other Texts: Ezekiel 47: 12; Jer. 30: 13 – 17; Jn. 9: 1ff (6 – 12)
Question for Discussion: How is it possible that a person who had tested HIV positive come to be tested HIV negative?
Is there any evidence that faith healing works?
Plato said, “The greatest mistake in the treatment of diseases is that there are physicians for the body and physicians for the soul, although the two cannot be separated.” While Plato said this many years ago, his ideas are still pertinent in today’s society. Many people believe that medicine and faith should remain separate and that there is no connection between the two. However, new research shows that faith plays a major role in the health of patients. As a result of these studies, there is a growing interest in exploring the role of physicians in patients’ spirituality. Some medical schools are even including classes on spirituality to enhance the physicians’ knowledge and awareness of their patients’ faith in the clinical setting. Brooke Walls.
When an alleged cure by faith healing occurs in a religious context it is usually called a miracle. Those who have investigated these claims have not found a single case that stands up to scrutiny and that can be explained only by appealing to a miracle (Mackay 1841; Rose 1968; Nolen 1974; Randi 1989; Nickell 1993; Hines 2003; Barrett 2003).
In KZN, South Africa faith healing is a community norm. In every city and small town you come across posters written join the miracle service, with the name of the church, the pastor and contact person. Many community radio stations are dominated by these faith healer including some TV channels. Faith healing is founded on the belief that certain people or places have the ability to cure and heal—that someone or something can remove disease or heal injuries through a close connection to a higher power. Faith healing also involve prayer, things like water, anointing oil and even clothing or simply a strong belief in a supreme being. Available scientific evidence does not support claims that faith healing can cure HIV/AIDS or any other disease. Some scientists suggest that the number of people who attribute their cure to faith healing is lower than the number predicted by calculations based on the historical percentage of spontaneous remissions seen among people with cancer. However, faith healing may promote peace of mind, reduce stress, relieve pain and anxiety, and strengthen the will to live.
KZN, Bishop Hamilton Qhoshangokwakhe Nala is one amongst others who claim to heal all diseases including HIV. He claims faith can cure blindness, deafness, cancer, AIDS, developmental disorders and total body paralysis, and various injuries. He believes that illness is an illusion that can be healed through prayer: They must say medically there is no cure for Aids. I agree with that, but through prayer and through faith water and any material branded my name, as God said prophetically, I believe in that. People can be healed of Aids,” said Nala.
700 Christian Pastors were interviewed through the KwaZulu Natal Christian Council, Good Shepard Ministry Board, KwaZulu Regional Christian Council and Midlands Christians Council. 500 were also interviewed through traditional healers Association and Iteach. 450 people living with HIV were also interviewed separately through TAC, NAPWA and support groups. Faith Healing conference was also convened by Treatment Action Campaign and KwaZulu Natal Christian Council. 90 % of these believe from a scientific perspective, faith healing is unexplained, incomprehensible, and should not work. Yet it does work. While faith and medicine have not been officially practiced together that much, there has recently been an indication that faith plays a vital role in the lives of patients who are experiencing life-changing events such as pregnancy, terminal illnesses, chronic diseases, unexplained illnesses, heart disease and stress.
Fraudulent Healers/Fake Healers are problematic.
Some extreme religious leaders even ask their congregation to stop all medical treatments and give themselves over to God entirely as an act of faith that may persuade God to help them. They also ask huge amount of money in their services. The service is not for free. It is deeply a commercial issue. Some faith healers suggest that all sickness is caused by wickedness and a separation from God. Some of the local prayer ministers we train have never seen a miracle happen through them before.
Andrew Wommack: Is one of the persons many Christians faith healers used his teaching material
“Would you like to see the blind receive their sight or the lame walk when you pray? Do you desperately need healing yourself? Here’s the good news —whether you’re praying for another’s healing or receiving your own, it’s available to every true follower of Christ! Jesus gave every disciple who believes the power and authority to do the same works that He did. What a statement! But it is absolutely true. John 14:12 says,
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
All believers will do the same works that Jesus did; it’s not limited to ministers. There’s just a shortage of believing believers.
How do you get to the place where you can see the miraculous happen in and through you? It starts with the renewing of your mind. Faith is based on knowledge, and everything we need to know to be a victorious Christian is explained in God’s Word. That’s what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 1:3-4:
“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”
Knowledge of a few basics truths, when properly understood and applied, will make a huge difference in releasing His power and receiving your healing. Last month I shared one of the most important things the Lord has ever shown me: God has already placed His healing power within us, and it is now under our authority. It isn’t up to God to determine who receives healing; it’s up to us! What a powerful statement! It’s our failure to understand and use the authority we have that is keeping God’s healing power from flowing as it should. It’s imperative that we discover what we have and learn how to release it. If you don’t have my album entitled The Believer’s Authority, you need to get it. The message will not only affect the way you receive and minister healing, but it will change the entire way you relate to God. It’s a powerful teaching.
Here’s another indispensable basic truth you must know and understand about healing: It’s never God’s will for us to be sick; He wants every person healed every time. That’s nearly-too-good-to-be-true news, but that’s the Gospel. Most Christians don’t know or believe that. They think the Lord makes them sick, or at the very least, He allows Satan to make them sick to either punish or correct them. That kind of thinking will get you killed; it’s not what the Bible teaches.
One of the most elementary principles in God’s Word is given in James 4:7. It says,
“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.”
This verse clearly teaches that some things are of God, and some things are of the devil. Notice it doesn’t present a third category: from God through the devil. No! Sickness has nothing to do with God! Submit to the things of God, and resist the things of the devil. It’s that simple. To believe that God allows or approves of Satan’s actions defies the logic of James 4:7. It eliminates our responsibility to resist and places ultimate responsibility for everything back on God.
The widely-accepted doctrine that God controls everything is a deception. If Satan can confuse and deceive you on that issue, he’s got you! Why? Because you’ll stop resisting. No one wants to resist God’s will, and if you think that God is behind your sickness, you’ll submit to it. That violates the instruction of James 4:7, it won’t get you healed, and it lets Satan have his way in your life.
You must believe God always wants you healed. It’s so simple, it takes help to misunderstand. But sadly, most Christians receive plenty of help from religion in misunderstanding this. Look at it this way: If God wanted you sick, for whatever reason, then why visit the doctor or take medication? It would seem more logical to allow the sickness to run its course so God’s purpose could be accomplished. Of course I think that’s foolish, and hopefully, so do you.
What’s the bottom line on God’s will for our healing? His Word reveals that to us in 3 John 2, which says,
“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”
John was writing a letter to believers under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. He revealed that the Lord wants us healthy just as much as He wants us to prosper emotionally and mentally.
When Peter preached the Gospel to Cornelius in Acts 10:38, he summarized the ministry of Jesus by saying,
“How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.”
Today some preachers are saying that healing is of the devil, but that’s not the message Peter gave. Notice what Peter said under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Not only was Jesus doing good when He healed people, but He healed all that were oppressed of the devil, not of God. That scripture clearly proves that sickness is not from God.
Isaiah 53 should end all debate. It was written prophetically about Jesus, the Messiah. Isaiah 53:4-5 says,
“Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.”
Many faith healers like Bishop HQ Nala and many others exploit religion. Many people infected by HIV are blacks, women and poor in our country and KwaZulu Natal Province.Despite the problematic presence of faith healing discourse at community level, and acknowledging the few attempts to challenge individual churches, there has in fact been little attention paid to faith healing in international dialogues and strategizing on treatment, or indeed in national advocacy around improving responses. Faith healing is not a secret. But people never really know the scale and the consequence or damage that faith healing causes within communities. It’s almost like an accepted misfortune.
Antiretroviral treatment and the application of faith towards healing work together.
Faith in Jesus Christ, His father God and belief in medical science will never contradict if God, in any circumstance, exists and is the Creator of the earth. If God is the Originator of the creation, and there is sufficient evidence that He is, then science is just knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths about His creation. If God doesn’t exist, then faith and science will contradict since science is the search for facts about the universe. For those with faith, however, science can be one of our greatest forms of worship. Science is mankind’s attempt to understand how the world works.
Antiretroviral treatment (ARV’s) and the application of faith towards healing work together. There is nothing malicious or even unbiblical about praying and taking ARV’s. God made light, matter, water, plants, animals, and humans. We honor Him when we endeavor to understand His amazing creation. We also learn more about Him, about His wisdom and power and elegance. And we appreciate His grace more fully when we understand the implications of the miracles He performs. Science is about fact alone. Faith, however, is the basis for ethics. Faith tells us that humans have value far above fact. That is knowing the Lord. We, of course, also use the tools of science, archaeology, history, literary criticism, personal experience, and similar methods. These things give us evidence of the existence of God and of His character.
What does the Bible say about the wholeness of the person? Genesis 2:7 says that God took the dust of the ground and formed a person. He used natural elements to make arteries, veins, and blood cells; nerves, muscles, sense organs and all of our organ systems. However, amazing as this creation was, it was not alive. The person did not become alive until God breathed into it the breath of life, his Spirit. So we are more than just a physical organism; we are a physical organism imbued with spirit. Medical and pastoral leaders need to find ways to develop this team approach in hospitals, clinics, and private practice situations. We must try to involve the whole congregation in the many aspects of this healing ministry.
This integrated medico-pastoral approach to healing should be practiced in South Africa because; this is a very religious country. Carol Glatz once said: Science and faith need each other for the benefit of all of creation.
Every place of worship should be a treatment, support and a care zone.
The application of faith leading people to default or abandon any form of medical treatment puts the patients at very high risk which may lead to death if not attended to on time. There have been peddlers and bogus claims of the cure of HIV and AIDS since the virus has been diagnosed from around the 1980s. At the beginning some people of faith stigmatized people who were diagnosed HIV positive and followed by the latest and sprouting evangelistic groups who encourage their converts to abandon ARV treatment.
Strict adherence to antiretroviral therapy (ART) is key to sustained HIV suppression, reduced risk of drug resistance, improved overall health, quality of life, and survival, as well as decreased risk of HIV transmission. Conversely, poor adherence is the major cause of therapeutic failure. Achieving adherence to ART is a critical determinant of long-term outcome in HIV infected patients. For many chronic diseases, such as diabetes or hypertension, drug regimens remain effective even after treatment is resumed following a period of interruption.
In his June 2014 budget vote speech Health Minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi stated that 37% of patients starting antiretroviral treatment are lost to follow-up three years after initiation. Information recently released by SANAC shows that 25% of patients on treatment drop out during the first 12 months. This drop-out rate is much higher than had been thought previously.
In order to combat this loss to follow-up an integrated medico-pastoral approach to adherence is needed. People of faith should lead a grassroots approach that will mobilise communities to ensure they have the information and understanding about HIV and TB treatment to ensure better and long-term treatment adherence.