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Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Neither Healthy Nor Gospel: the Health and Wealth Gospel


I recently came across a little booklet entitled Health and Wholeness through the Holy Communion by Joseph Prince (who is the pastor of a mega-church in Singapore). After glancing through it, I felt motivated to write a response.

(Preliminary note on the term “health and wealth gospel”: By that term is designated a brand of teaching within the professing Christian church that espouses and emphasizes the idea of temporal benefits (mainly, health and wealth) as being of great importance in God’s will for all Christians. According to this teaching, Christians can and should access such divine benefits by claiming in faith God’s supposed promises in these regard. Associated ideas and terminology include “faith healing”, “positive confession”, and “name-it-and-claim-it”. The intuition or reasoning behind such teaching is the rather simplistic one that moves from certain obvious scriptural truths, e.g., God’s love for us and His omnipotence, to the false conclusion that He must therefore want and would bless His own with what seems obviously desirable to humans—health and wealth. This teaching, however, ultimately fails to do justice to the whole counsel of Scripture, and fails to glorify God in all His revealed wisdom, love, majesty and sovereignty. I believe that “health and wealth gospel” describes Prince’s teachings; but whether or not it accurately describes the said teaching is not the main point of this critique.)

I shall first briefly lay out the main propositions of Prince’s teaching on the Holy Communion (HC), and then proceed to examine each of them in further detail. His teaching can be summed up thusly:

Optimal health is God’s will for all Christians. Therefore, something is very wrong when Christians suffer weakness, sickness, or premature death (WSPD). To be precise, there is “one and only one reason” (10) for WSPD and that is the “failure to discern the Lord’s body” (11) in the partaking of the Holy Communion. Now, if it is true that there is only one reason for WSPD, and that it is the unworthy partaking of the HC—understood as the failure to discern and claim by faith the healing power of the communion bread—then Prince is justified in concluding that Christians should be in good health if they do what he proposes as they approach the Lord’s Table. It is my contention that this claim on which his entire teaching on the HC depends is false.

Prince then goes on to interpret a few relevant verses in 1 Cor 11, attempting to clarify what a few of the key expressions mean. First, it is to the “principalities and powers” (that is, the devils) that we “proclaim the Lord’s death” (v. 26) and His victory over them. Second, partaking “in an unworthy manner” (v. 29) refers to the partaking of the HC without a recognition and claiming by faith of its healing powers. Third, the command to “examine yourselves” before one partakes (v. 28) refers, once again, to reflection to see if one is approaching the Table in faith that consuming the bread will make one healthy and whole. Fourth, the warning of drinking “judgement” to oneself (v. 29) refers to missing out on the blessing of healing, and continuing to suffer the divine sentence of physical susceptibility to WSPD that befell all humankind when Adam and Eve fell into sin. All these notions, however, seem to be neither taught in 1 Cor 11 nor in the handful of other verses he cites in support of them. I will consider, for instance, his use of Col 2:15 in his teaching of the proclamation made to devils (v. 26); and Acts 2:42 which he cites to persuade that his view of the HC is not a novel one but indeed one that was accepted and practiced by the early church.

In conclusion, since the effects of the HC are so wonderful, guaranteeing health and wholeness—even a sort of perennial youthfulness (“And even your friends will see the results. They will begin to ask you, “Hey, why do you seem to look younger and younger? You never seem to age!” p. 47)—Prince encourages his readers to partake of the HC as often as possible, as often as you need it, as the more you partake, the better you will get.

Now I shall move on to a more detailed examination and critique of Prince’s teachings listed above. If you are interested in critiquing Prince's or like teachings; if you agree with Prince and would like to respond; or if you're simply interested for other reasons, read on!

Health the Lord’s Will for All Christians and the Holy Communion the Channel : citing 1 Cor 11:29-30, Prince says that WSPD befalls Christian because they fail to recognize and claimthe healing power of the communion bread. Quoting him: “And this was the reason why they were not receiving the divine life of their Saviour,” getting weak, sick, etc. So, according to Prince, the purpose of the Holy Communion is to receive divine life and health from Christ. According to our Lord Jesus and the apostle Paul, however, we are to partake of the Holy Communion simply, and profoundly, “in remembrance” of Christ’s sacrifice for us (Luke 22:19, 1 Cor 11:24). And trying to argue that the healing power is not explicitly stated in these verses because it was assumed and understood by the early church, and thus not in need of explicit mention, is a dangerous Pandora’s box—and certainly not a good interpretative principle, especially when it is nowhere else clearly taught.

According to Prince, the Bible gives exactly only one reason why weakness, sickness and premature death (WSPDC) befall Christians (10). But that does not seem correct. Just off the top of my head, I can think of various possibilities. How about the glorification of God (e.g. Paul’s “thorn in the flesh” recorded in 2 Cor 12:7-10; and Prince’s interpretation of this as persecution is not a convincing one), and the effects of sin? In fact, Prince himself later writes that “disease is due to the devil’s oppression,” (22) and still later, that we should “understand that when Adam sinned against God, a divine sentence fell on the human race. Weakness, sickness and death are some effects of that divine sentence.” (47) There seems to be an inconsistency in his claims: is there one or a number of reasons why WSPD befall Christians? The widely accepted view of WSPD is that it is a result of our fallen condition in a fallen world. So, I agree with Prince when he attributes WSPD to the fall, but disagree with him if he’s trying also to attribute all disease to the devil, which is strongly suggested.

Prince attempts to argue that “the Bible treats disease and demon possession as the same thing since they both originate from the devil. Acts 10:38 says that Jesus went about doing good and ‘…healing all who were oppressed by the devil’. Notice that disease is due to the devil’s oppression.” (22) I shall just examine the verse cited here. “Healing all who were oppressed by the devil” does not translate easily to “all who are sick were sick because they were oppressed by the devil”. Jesus went about “doing good and healing…” We know for certain that He cast out demons, and that he healed people of their diseases. The latter activity could certainly be described as “doing good”, thus making it totally unnecessary for one to interpret the "healing all who were oppressed by the devil" as including those who were simply sick by no specific and direct fault of the devil. This verse cannot properly be used as biblical evidence that all sickness is solely or even primarily of the devil’s doing.

Relatedly, I find it hard to see how the “proclaim[ing] [of] the Lord’s death until He comes” (1 Cor 11:26) refers to a proclamation of Christ’s victory to the devil, and denouncing the devil’s power over the Christian. There is nothing in the context that even suggests that it to is the devil that we are proclaiming the wonderful truth of Christ’s triumph over sin and death. Rather, the obvious teaching in 1 Cor 11:23-26 is that the purpose of the HC is to commemorate and celebrate the Lord’s death and resurrection for our redemption, and that it is to be observed “until He comes” – that is, it is to be a perpetual observance until Christ’s second coming. Likewise, Col 2:15 which is cited by Prince to relate to 1 Cor 11:26, does not seem warranted, in the context of the latter, to have that significance with which to guide our interpretation of it. Col 2:15 appears in the context of Paul’s exhortation to the church to be no longer subject to former superstitions and rituals that are contrary to, and which slight, the victory of the cross of Jesus Christ over spiritual death. Quoting Col 2:13-17:
13When you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions,
14having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us, which was hostile to us; and He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.
15When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He made a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him.
16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.
What is clear in these verses is that Col 2:15 leads to the conclusion (“Therefore”) in verse 16. There is no mention of the HC here. Nor is there mention of health and wholeness for all Christians. To use Col 2:15 to interpret 1 Cor 11:26 is not warranted by the contexts of either verse, and is a dangerous hermeneutic that can potentially lead to all kinds of error.

To Partake Unworthily is to Do So Without Recognising the Bread’s Healing Power
Prince also attempts to answer the question: “What is it to partake unworthily? Read the rest of verse 29 and you will conclude that if you fail, to discern or understand the significance of the Lord’s body, you are eating and drinking in an unworthy manner. The Corinthians partook unworthily because they did not recognize that the broken body of the Lord was meant to bring them health and wholeness.” (42-43) If these verses are read in context, it will be seen that the much more obvious reading of partaking unworthily is to use the HC as an occasion for feasting and factious gratification of the flesh, and not as a grateful remembrance of Christ’s death for us. It is worth quoting several of the surrounding relevant verses here (with emphasis of my own in italics):
20Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord's Supper,
21for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk.
22What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? In this I will not praise you.
23For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread;
24and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.
27Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord.
28But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
29For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.
30For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number sleep. …
… 33So then, my brethren, when you come together to eat, wait for one another.
34If anyone is hungry, let him eat at home, so that you will not come together for judgment. The remaining matters I will arrange when I come.
Interestingly, Prince does comment on these verses, on the impropriety of treating the Holy Communion “as a common meal”, and “not apprehending their [the bread and wine’s] symbolic import.” (quoting from the Vine’s Expository Dictionary) What is wrong is that he continues to insist on adding his own preferred teaching to what the Bible clearly teaches. He emphasizes what is not in the verses: “Jesus wants us to take the bread and believe that His body was broken so that our bodies can be made well. And when we discern it that way, we are partaking worthily.” (45) Not surprisingly, he does not offer any other scriptural basis for this his main teaching. If, as he claims, he is merely giving attention to what the Bible gives focus to, one should reasonably expect to see him substantiating his key teaching/s with a whole list of verses, all carefully exposited. We do not see more than a small handful of verses in his entire booklet. Further, many, if not most of those he cites he interprets all too conveniently and mistakenly to give the appearance of supporting his own teaching.

Prince then mentions the generally understood way in which participating unworthily means—using the Supper as an occasion for feasting and sensual gratification instead of remembering the Lord. Following this, in a move that makes light of Paul’s command to “examine yourselves” and his grave rebuke of the Corinthians, goes on to write: “So, Paul was not saying that if you have sin in your life, you cannot partake.” (44) First of all, this sounds almost like an implicit endorsement of the Corinthians' behaviour. Secondly, it is ambiguous what "have sin in your life" means here. Read as "having still a sinful nature in you," this seems to be an attack on a strawman, which is, in this case, the supposed misconception of many or most orthodox Christians that we can approach the Lord’s Table only if we are 100% sure that we have confessed all our sins, and are sin-free. This is not recognized orthodox teaching; we can never be totally sinless in this lifetime. Nevertheless, this strawman inserted here could help make his case seem stronger. And Prince mentions, only to gloss over this correct understanding of what partaking “unworthily” means (the one emphasized by Paul), and goes on to repeat his own teaching, this time putting it into the apostle’s mouth: “Paul…was teaching us that when we fail to discern the body, we should not partake because we are not claiming by faith what Jesus has done for us.” (44)

Partaking in the Lord’s Supper Reverses the Effects of Sin on our Bodies
Having supposedly established that the Lord’s Supper was instituted to give physical health to believers, Prince goes on to explain that drinking judgement to oneself does not mean condemnation to hell (which is correct, since once saved, always saved), and that the Greek word often translated as judgement is krima, which means divine sentence. (Why the Greek word is brought up here is a puzzle to me. It is also not always used to refer to divine judgement, e.g. Matt 7:2) He then goes on to argue that krima in 1 Cor 11:29 refers specifically to the physical deterioration and imperfection that arises from Adam’s fall into sin. Where does he get this from? Certainly not from krima alone! What krima refers to has to be carefully discerned from the context in which it appears, here as in elsewhere. Krima is also a fairly common and general word for judgement, of various sorts (see Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words on this).
Contrary to Prince’s assertion, there is nothing in 1 Cor 11:29 which specifies that the krima here refers to the postlapsarian curse. Going by what the following verse provides, it most probably refers to the judgement or punishment of weakness and sickness for those who partake of the Supper unworthily, not judging the body rightly, that is—not doing it in thankful remembrance of Christ’s sacrifice for our sins (vv. 24, 25).

He concludes: “Everytime you partake, you are reversing the effects of the curse or divine judgement in your body.” (46) So Prince is teaching that the worst that can happen to those who partake unworthily is that they will be denying themselves the healing and restorative power of the communion bread. This sounds, at best, like a really weak interpretation of such strong expressions as “will be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord,” (11:27b) and “eats and drinks judgement to himself…” (11:29)!

The Early Church Believed in the Healing Power of the Holy Communion
We can examine Prince’s use of Acts 2:42 as an example of another rather careless application of scripture. Acts 2:42 is cited seemingly as evidence that the early church believed in the “Holy Communion as a key channel of health of wholeness for His people”. “The early church believed this. That is why ‘…they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.’ They made a big deal of those things that God made a big deal of.” (13) Let us now read the verse ourselves: “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

The last sentence of Prince’s quoted here is ironic, as there is no explicit teaching of the health and wholeness gospel in the Bible, much less any emphasis (“big deal”) on any putative health and wholeness purpose of the Lord’s supper. Acts 2:42 simply describes what the early church did, which includes “the breaking of bread,” but does not state any very specific reason why they did so. We can only properly deduce that they did so from what the Lord Himself taught, e.g. in Luke 22:19, which is to commemorate His death and resurrection until He comes.

So…the More the Better
Prince also teaches that “…healing through the Holy Communion can also be a gradual process. As you partake, you will get better over time. The more you partake, the better you get.” (34-35) Not only is this based on the very suspect teaching of the healing powers of the Lord’s Supper, it is the case that even if one accepts the latter, one is not sure where this principle of “more is better” comes from. Certainly not from Paul’s epistle. He urges further, that “Jesus told us to have communion often.” (37) Where did our Lord say that? The Bible only records, on this issue, Jesus’ words “as often as you” partake of the HC (e.g. 1 Cor 11:25), which does not mean in a straightforward reading as do it often, but as often as you do it. Since the HC is a commemoration of the key event in redemptive history, we can safely say that the Lord will be pleased if we do it often, in the right way. There is no prescriptive frequency of this ordinance, however, in the Bible. Not surprisingly, Prince does not attempt to offer any scriptural support attempted here when he advocates: “Do as Jesus said – have it often.” (38) “How often? … It depends on how much you want His health and wholeness.” (Ibid.) “Pastor, don’t be extreme…” Actually, the question is not one of whether what is taught is “extreme” or not. That’s the least of our concerns. What matters is whether it is what the Bible teaches. It is not. Where then did Prince get this idea that one will get progressively better, increasingly healthy and whole, by having HC often? I guess Prince may have derived this idea from the common unreflective intuition that if something is good for one, then more of that something is better. On a little more reflection, however, there is much that is suspect with this line of reasoning. Vitamin supplements come immediately to mind.

Prince’s teaching, like those of Kenneth Hagin’s and Kenneth Copeland’s, seem to me to tend towards trivializing a great and sovereign creator God. I quote from an article on a similar topic:
In contrast to word-faith theology, sound biblical theology teaches that God does not have to do anything. God, the Creator of all things, is sovereign in all things, not the creature. God is not obligated to heal or prosper anyone, yet He graciously does, and neither is deserved. Someone has said: "healing is not a divine obligation, it is a divine gift". The receiver of the gift can make no demands. God can be trusted to do all things well.
While there are biblical commands and principles for skilful living (e.g. in Proverbs) and a joyful, blessed life, the Bible does not portray God as functioning like a perfectly running vending machine where we will surely get our pop if we insert our coins. Often He works in mysterious ways, and Job eventually came to know this well. What He promises is that He has our best at heart and will reward the faithful in His own way and in His own time (Rom 8:28; Heb 11:6). Importantly, consistent throughout Scripture is the teaching that Christians should not seek a heaven here on earth. Rather, “we are seeking the city which is to come.” In the light of that glorious promise and prospect, we consider it our principal duty and joy to “do His will” (Heb 13:21), obeying His Word and trusting that He will give the increase (1 Cor 3:6), and waiting eagerly for His second coming (Tit 2:13). This is also why we are told to “consider it all joy…when [we] encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of [our] faith produces endurance.” (Jam 1:2-3)

Testimonies of Healing Through the Holy Communion
The booklet also attempts to use testimonies to persuade the reader of the rightness of the teaching. The use of testimonies, and other so-called evidences to prove any one position can get tricky (see, for example, my earlier posts here and here). My point here, however, is a modest one—that it may be a big mistake to give to testimonies more significance than they properly deserve (e.g. the healing of the Khmer pastor, and Prince’s own). Testimonies of God’s goodness and grace are good--edifying to believers, and glorifying to God, and may lead some nonbelievers to seek after Him. They do not, however, constitute in any straightforward way solid evidence for the spiritual condition of the professors, or for the positions that they hold. Many faith healers and their proponents like to argue this way: how can one witness such wonderful miracles and doubt that they are from God? Christ Himself has the answer: "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'” (Matthew 7:22). "For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders, so as to mislead, if possible, even the elect.” (Matthew 24:24) My purpose here is not to suggest that Prince or his followers are deliberately being false teachers or false prophets. In all likelihood, if I am correct, they are sincerely mistaken. These passages were cited to show that the mere performance of “signs and wonders” such as physical healing does not prove that one is of the Lord and of the truth. Scripture aside, what shall we as Christians properly respond to similar testimonies that we know have also been given, and are currently still being given, by those of other faiths—say, Hindus or Muslims?

Final Thoughts
A typical strategy of health and wealth gospellers is to base whole teachings (the ones they and their church emphasize) on one or very few verses which might suggest, at a glance, something of a support for their preferred doctrine. For an example of this, we can do worse than examine Prince’s use of Psalm 105:37 as evidence that all the Israelites who left Egypt during the historic exodus left “healed, healthy and whole.” The problem is that the Bible does not make that explicit. The word that is translated as “feeble” in the phrase “none feeble among His tribes” in the NKJV which Prince quotes from is the Hebrew kashal. A quick check with Vine’s Expository Dictionary revealed that the primary meaning of this word is “to stumble, to be weak.” It appears some 60 times in the Old Testament, also often used figuratively to describe the consequences of divine judgement on sin—as in how God will “lay stumbling blocks before this people…” (Jer 6:21a). The first thing that can be observed is that it is far from clear how we can get the idea of perfect health from “none feeble”, where kashal refers primarily to stumbling, or falling. The NIV and the NASB in fact, translate the same phrase without using the word “feeble”, staying closer to the literal Hebrew. If this is the only verse which one can appeal to for the reading that all the Israelites left Egypt perfectly healthy and strong, then we should at least prudently withhold either assent or denial of this claim. The primary point that seems to be made by Ps 105:37 is that every Israelite was physically able to walk out of Egypt.

Prince teaches elsewhere of the power of one’s words to bless or to curse, and many of his followers exhibit a certain wariness of even mentioning what’s ‘taboo’. An obvious taboo for them is sickness. The apostle Paul himself, however, did not superstitiously refrain from mentioning Timothy’s “frequent ailments.” (2 Tim 5:23b) He recognized them as what they were, and recommended a commonsensical, very pragmatic help for them: to “use a little wine” for the purification of the water Timothy was drinking. Contrast Paul’s advice to Timothy with, for instance, health gospeller Kenneth Hagin’s plain denials of the reality of headaches: “…if I had a headache, I wouldn't tell anybody. And if somebody asked me how I was feeling, I would say, "I'm fine, thank you." (The Name of Jesus, p. 44; taken from “How the Health and Wealth Gospel Twists Scripture”) Hagin’s God is too small. “He who is in you is greater than He who is of the world.” (1 John 4:4b) We should fear--that is, reverence--the Lord, not be in constant superstitious terror of accidentally saying (or, as many of them like to put it, “pronouncing”—) anything that even remotely smacks of the negative, fearing that we would be then sub- or unconsciously bringing a curse unto ourselves. God is all-sovereign, and has promised that “all things work for the good of those who love Him.” (Rom 8:28) God knows we are but dust (Ps 103:14) and knows to help, deliver and richly bless (in His own way—not necessarily, perhaps not even primarily, in the forms of health and wealth) those who trust in Him (e.g., Matt 28:20; Jam 5:11; 2 Pet 5:6, 10; Phil 4:6-9, 19; Col 3:23-24).

It is joy that is promised. It is the Lord’s presence with us always that is promised. It is that trials refine and strengthen our character and faith that is promised—not that it will always be well and dandy, comfortable and luxuriant here on earth for His children. One major principle of the Bible, made most clear in the New Testament, is that there will be trials, as it was in the days of Job, as it was it the days of the apostles, as it is in our day. God allows trials in the lives of Christians, such as persecution which is promised to those who desire to live godly in this world (2 Tim 3:12), so that they might be blessed and so that He might be glorified. The disciples, seeing a blind man, asked Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus’ answer is instructive: “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.” (Jn 9:1-3)

In any case, what one is asked to do in response to sickness is to pray: “Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him…” (James 5:14a) There is simply no verse in the Bible that explicitly teaches that Christians should partake of the Lord’s Supper to gain physical healing.

We may feel that it’s “not nice” to criticize and confront fellow believers, and disagreement is necessarily unpleasant (if we are right in maintaining p, then they who maintain ~p must be wrong!). Where the truth is concerned, however, I believe there is no other way. Like Paul in Acts 4:19-20, we must fear and heed God rather than man.
“We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful.” ~ James 5:11
Further reading:
A Summary, According to the Holy Scriptures, of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, 1550
“Four Views of the Lord’s Supper”
“The Word-Faith Movement”
“Weblog: Kenneth Hagin, 'Word of Faith' Preacher, Dies at 86”
“How the Health and Wealth Gospel Twists Scripture”

122 Comments:

Blogger cybeRanger said...

“Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him…” (James 5:14a)

Do you agree that only healthy elders can pray over him? :)

5:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Click here if you wish to walk in Divine Health

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thank God for a church that practises Holy Communion weekly because it helps release our faith and consistently reminds us of what Jesus has done for us. By His Stripes, we are healed!

11:22 AM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Dear anonymous I,

I believe that the validity (or, the scriptural-ness, if you may) of "Divine Health" as understood and taught by Prince is exactly what is at issue here. As such, I thought that would be helpful would be for readers to carefully read my critique and judge if it is valid. Alternatively, they could also listen to Prince himself first (by clicking on the link you have provided) and then go on to consider my analysis of it. Thanks for your comment anyway.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Dear anonymous II (if you're a different person),

I think it's great that we celebrate the Holy Communion often, weekly, because--as you said--it serves to remind us of what Jesus has done for us. By His stripes we are indeed healed, having forgivenesss from spiritual bondage and death. And Jesus can surely heal our physical diseases as He pleases. Praise God for His mercies!

However, if you mean to suggest that taking the Holy Communion is itself a way to "release our faith" in the way Prince is teaching, perhaps it would be better for you to identify the exact parts of my critique which you think are invalid or unfair, and I would be glad to consider your critique of my critique.

2:50 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Dear cyberanger,

Thank you for your two comments, both with helpful, specific comments/questions (see comments for the very first post on top).

No, I do not agree that *only* (healthy?) elders can pray over the sick person. This verse certainly does not say so. Thus, from this verse alone, we may consider that there are other things that can be done for one who is sick. However, this does not mean "anything-that's-reasonable-sounding-goes". The final test and guide remains Scripture. The sick person can and should, of course, pray himself; others who are not elders can also do so. There are many injunctions to pray, in all situations, at all times. I would be a lot more wary, for instance, to claim that water baptism, for instance, will make one "whole" (physically as well), even though this sounds plausible, simply because Scripture does not teach this.

5:58 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:21 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Do you agree that we will have to pray according to God's Will? Is it God's Will to heal or not to heal? God is NOT the author of confusion...people are confused.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Gracie said...

Hmm.. intresting Point of views.. I mean.. my personal conviction is that EVERYTHING happends for a reason, all part of God's Devine plan.. Even sicknesses.. I mean.. We will never be sick if God had not allowed us to be sick.. or poor.. I mean.. Life on Earth is NOT meant to be comfortable.. we are here temporay.. Heaven is our home.. Earth is not heaven.. and what we should aim for is to hone our character to be more like Christ.. after all the body we have, the money we have, we can not take to heaven.. they will be meaningless.. We will only be taking our character.. So I reckon God is more intrested in shaping and molding our character.. and so it seems..best way is thru problems in life.. thru sicknesses.. where we are put in a situation where we need to rely on God to get thru it.. where we find we cant overcome that circumstances in life without God..

Devil is out to harm us though.. soo I reckon that sicknesses do come from him.. he is out to rob, steal, hurt.. etc.. you get the drift.. cos we we are God's wonderful creation.. the bible also says..

Genesis 50:20
You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

So. yeah.. God allowed things like that to happen cos he sees the overall BIG picture.. that our lil minds can never comprehend unless God does show us his plans.. But jus look back to like.. 1 yr ago. how you were when u were going thru a problem.. and how much a better person you are now when you choose to do the right thing by God's standard even though it hurts ur human nature..

Well.. this is my life lesson that I wanted to share with you be blessed..

agape love,
Grace

2:43 PM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

cyberanger:

(I'm the other person who blogs here.)

There are two distinct senses to "...is according to God's will" that should be made clear. Confusion between them drives a lot of other confusions.

(1) X is according to God's will = X is according to God's general will, as revealed in Scripture. It is called "general" because it applies to all Christians.

Consider the below two NT passages (all citations henceforth from the NASB updated; emphases are added by me):

Col 1:9-12: "For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light."

1 Thess 4:3-8: "For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you."

Some theologians call this "God's will of precept"--it's what God requires of us. It defines our duty toward him. All the commandments in the Bible can be grouped under this. And everytime someone breaks one of these requirements or fails to do according to them, i.e., he sins, he acts contrary to God's general will.

(2) X is according to God's will = X is according to God's specific will or purpose for some particular individual. Though God's general will applies to all, God has a different specific will for individuals (including even those who hate him; see e.g., Acts 4:27-28).

For example, it is God's (specific) will that Paul should be an apostle (Cor 1:1 "Paul, called as an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God..."), who would do such and such within such and such a lifetime (e.g., Acts 9:15-16: "he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel...").

Now, when we say that Christians should, and should only "pray according to God's will", we mean in the first instance, that we should pray in accordance with His general will. For example, there is no such thing as praying "about whether I should steal from my neighbor" or "about when is a good time to murder this guy I hate" or "whether I should have a wild night with this person who is not my spouse". Whether or not I should do--even think (see e.g., Matt 5:21-22, 27-28)--these things has already been clearly revealed in scripture. To pray thus is basically to slap God in the face!

Note, however, that it is perfectly good form to pray that we would understand His general will, or that other people would too (see the Col 1:9-12 quote above). There's always more in His word (and thus, more to His general will) that we can discover as we mature in Christ.

But with regards to God's specific will for the praying Christian, he or she may not know all the details. After all, even Paul, who was highly confident of his specific calling as "an apostle to the gentles" says in Rom 1:10-11: "...always in my prayers making request, if perhaps now at last by the will of God I may succeed in coming to you." (See also Rom 15:32) In other words, he prayed seeking God's specific will on this matter of eventually travelling to Rome. He would like to go, he know that going would not be in disobedience to God's general will, but he wants God to direct and guide him specifically.

There is a lot of scope in our prayers for discovering God's specific will in our lives. But to say that is precisely to say that--sometimes, we don't know exactly what God's specific will is or will be in the particular circumstances. (So it doesn't make sense to say that we are praying "in accordance with His specific will for us--we are praying to discover that.)

This passage in James goes further:

James 4:13-17: "Come now, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit." 14 Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. 15 Instead, you ought to say, " If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that." 16 But as it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. 17 Therefore, to one who knows the right thing to do and does not do it, to him it is sin."

There's nothing wrong in engaging in business, or travelling, etc., but the point is that we should have a firm awareness that what will happen to us in the future--including (if I may add) whether we will be in health or fall sick, or live to a ripe old age, or be martyred--is up to God to decide, i.e., up to God's specific will. The phrase "if the Lord wills" is thus not a redundant one.

We can and should make these things a matter of prayer--like Paul, we can always pray for the things we would like (not contrary to God's general will), but whether we actually get them is not completely up to us. God is not a vending machine. We serve Him, not the other way round. This means that His answer to some of our prayers--prayed perfectly "in accordance with His will" as they may be"--may be "no". Not necessarily because we are sinning or are praying without faith, but because he has a different plan.

Another couple of Paul examples. He desired to preach the Gospel in Asia (Minor), and we can all agree that preaching the Gospel would be something that is perfectly in accordance with God's general will (given the Great Commission). But God said "no", and directed him to Macedonia instead (see Acts 16:6-10).

And then there is this one--2 Cor 12:7-10: "Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me — to keep me from exalting myself! 8 Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 9 And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong."

We need not actually agree on exactly what the "thorn in the flesh" (some say it is a specific illness) is to see the larger, more important point. That is, Paul obviously didn't like it, and would gladly be rid of it. And to that end, he "implored [i.e., prayed] the Lord three times that it might leave [him]." But in the end, the answer was "no"--not because God is a sadist, but--as Paul discovered and God made clear--because God wanted him to fully understand the principle of "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." And when Paul understood that, he rejoiced and said that he would "rather boast about [his] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in [him]."

I think the above has important implications for the issue of praying for healing. It is God's will that we should pray ernestly and in faith for the sick among us (James 5:14-16). To think from the onset that He must answer us in a particular way, e.g., that He must heal, automatically, would have been somewhat presumpteous (see James 4:13-17). (To think from the onset that He can't or won't heal, however, would have been unfaithful.)

Think of it this way: when the Christian, in praying to God for something to be done, he is not, as it were, using an ATM (i.e., he presses the buttons, out comes the cash). Rather, he is making a request of a person--loving Father who loves the Christian as a child, but who also is all wise and all sovereign and has purposes that go beyond our desires (no matter how important our desires may seem to us). God knows much better than we do about what is truely good for us and for His Kingdom as a whole. Once we see that, it is only natural to see that how He answers each of our prayers may not always be how we would like Him to.

The remaining question is whether we can accept His will and provision for what they are and rejoice in them--both in the times when He does answer as we would like Him to, and the times when He answers in a different way, as the prophet Habakkuk did after God told Him that the Kingdom of Israel will be destroyed--judged for its sins--rather than saved once again from the invaders as he would rather happen:

Hab 3:18 "Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation."

3:06 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Dear Grace :)

>God allowed things like that to >happen cos he sees the overall >BIG picture.

IMHO, God does not approve of everything He allows. God was angry because Balaam went with the princes of Moab (22:22). Let there be no doubt that God is not pleased when men do the evil that He permits. God sometimes allows men to sin, even though He has condemned and forbidden it. This is a good example of what we might call “God’s permissive will.” God forbade Balaam to go with the delegation that had come, and also He forbade Balaam from cursing Israel, the people He had blessed. God’s direct revelation to Balaam, forbidding him to go, was His will in precept. When He permitted Balaam to accompany these men to meet with Balak, it was His permissive will. God allows men to do those things which He has forbidden. Woe to those who persist in their path of sin, for it is surely the road to destruction. Just because God allows men to sin does not mean that He approves of sin.

11:24 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Hi HUICHIEH:

First of all, we need to be fully persuaded that human impossibilities are God's opportunities. Nothing is impossible to God, not even to heal the most impossible disease! Amen?

Jer 32:17 "Ah, Sovereign LORD, you have made the heavens and the earth by your great power and outstretched arm. Nothing is too hard for you."

Luke 18:27 "Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God.""

The best example of this is Jesus during His ministry on earth. It is clear that He had both the power and the authority to heal any infirmity, and He gave that power to His followers:

[b]Read Luke 9:1-2[/b]

There were situations where Jesus could not perform many miracles.

[b]Read Matt 13:58[/b]

Do you know why Jesus could not perform miracles in Nazareth?

11:29 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:54 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

If you read Deut 28:21-22 and verses 27,28,35,59,61, you will find some sicknesses mentioned here are plagues, plagued with diseases, wasting disease, severe burning fever, inflammation, boils, tumors, scabs or sores, incurable itching (skin disorders) blindness, fearful prolonged plagues, serious sickness and prolonged diseases and every other kind of sickness and plague.

It is crystal clear here that God does not consider sickness to be a blessing, but rather a curse. The good news though is... Gal 3:13-14 says "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: 'Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree.' He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit."

How can we receive "the promise of the Spirit"?

12:01 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

I am not totally satisfied with my above reply (though it would have to do...) for the following reason: There are actually more distinctions to make than the ones I did make.

1. The distinction between God's will-descriptive vs. God's will normative/regulative. The latter is about what God wants people to do in the sense of what he requires them to do or would approve of us doing (there may be a distinction here, but let's keep it simple). The former (descriptive) is about what God either makes happen or allow to come to pass (cyberanger's "permissive will")--i.e., what did, does, will actually happen.

2. Second distinction is between general--for all people, say--and specific--for individuals. The relevant domain, however, is usually in the realm of God's will-normative. That is: what God requires of all people vs. what God wants a specific individual to do over and above what he wants all to do.

Contrast:

It is in God's will (general, normative) that the Christian should, e.g., not to be "conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind."

It is in God's will that Paul should go to Macedonia (specific normative). Fully compative with God's will that Paul (like every other good Christian), should preach the gospel--but not entailed by it. There is no general commandment to peach the gospel in Macedonia. Another example would

It is in God's will that Paul did go to Macedinia (specific descriptive).

Also:

It is in God's will that "there were gathered together against...Jesus, whom [God] anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel" (see Acts 4:27-28), i.e., that these people would be there being nasty to the disciples and being a hinderance to the gospel. (Case of specific descriptive wherein God permits evil men to do evil things, things that are contrary to God's normative will for them.)

Will probably have to do for now...

Ok, re: new comment by cyberanger

I would never say that there are things that God cannot do (well, it's more complicated than that once we get into such intricacies as logical contradictions, but let's just grant the point). In fact, I think in every case of sickness, God can heal.

Given this, it stands to reason that when we do pray--say, on behalf of a sick friend--we must have faith that God can heal him. Let's face it, He has raised people from the dead before--if we can swallow that, we shouldn't have a problem in the usual, much less dramatic cases.

But the issue is not really be about that (whether God can or cannot heal). Rather, the issue is with whether God must (i.e., will) heal each time we do pray, and secondly, exactly what conclusions to draw if, having prayed, the person is not healed. I'll come back to this last bit below.

The two passages you cited.

1. Luke 9:1-2 "And He called the twelve together, and gave them power and authority over all the demons and to heal diseases. 2 And He sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to perform healing."

Note the object of the verb "gave", that is, note to whom the power is given. Contrast the tone of James 4.

2. Matt 13:58 "And He did not do many miracles there because of their unbelief."

Actually, the more interesting verse is Mark 6:5-6 "And He could do no miracle there except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. 6 And He wondered at their unbelief." This passage appears to suggest that what God can do is limited by men's faith; actually, it need not, and given the parallel in Matt, does not.

Consider two other NT passages in which the the same verb for "cannot" is used:

Luke 14:20 The parable describes a man who was invited to the wedding dinner. But he refused, saying "I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come." Of course he can--that is, he has the power to do so, but chooses not to on account of a (supposedly) compelling reason. This is idiomatic in English too: "I can't join you guys today because I have some work to do..." (Of course I technically can, but I chooses to do my homework instead.)

1 John 3:9 "No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him; and he cannot sin, because he is born of God." But again, of course he can sin--otherwise, the earlier bit about "If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us." (1 John 1:8-10) becomes nonsense. Rather, the point is similar to what the girlfriend might say to the boyfriend: "if you do love me, then you can't just leave me alone in the cold here..." Of course he can, but choosing to do so is at odds with his profession of love.

So, back to the Mark passage, I think we can safely conclude that God--Jesus's--power to perform miracles is not per se limited by people's faith, though the absence of faith may be a reason for Him not to do the miracle.

Now back to an important question: suppose we (make that good, faithful people) did pray and the person was not healed, what conclusion are we to draw?

We might be tempted to draw the conclusion that--since in every case, God can heal--it must be because we are not faithful enough in our prayer. But that doesn't follow: it would only follow if the only reason why God would choose to answer our prayer in that particular way is because of unbelief. This additional premise is not scripturally sound--at least it is not obviously sound.

What we can say is that unbelief would be a reason, all things equal, for God to say "no" (actually, exactly how that works we have not really even spelled out, but at least the Matt and Mark passages points in the ball park of that direction).

But I seriously doubt that it is the only possible reason.

First, a general consideration--Ex 33:19 "I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom I will show compassion." (also Rom 9:15) This suggests that I'd rather not be too presumptous about divining God's reasons...

Second, circumstantial considerations: the various faithful but sick and suffering people in the bible who did not see relief; see e.g., this. Can't vouch for everything there, but it's a start.

I think Elaine's original post should have more material relevant, so I may have to come back to this.

Finally, quickly--because I want to go to bed already--Deut vs. Gal 3:13-14: context important

Gal 3:10-14: "For as many as are of the works of the Law are under a curse; for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO DOES NOT ABIDE BY ALL THINGS WRITTEN IN THE BOOK OF THE LAW, TO PERFORM THEM." 11 Now that no one is justified by the Law before God is evident; for, "THE RIGHTEOUS MAN SHALL LIVE BY FAITH." 12 However, the Law is not of faith; on the contrary, "HE WHO PRACTICES THEM SHALL LIVE BY THEM." 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, having become a curse for us — for it is written, "CURSED IS EVERYONE WHO HANGS ON A TREE" — 14 in order that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we would receive the promise of the Spirit through faith."

The first bit tells us that the "curse of the Law" is upon all who seek to gain righteousness by performing the works of the law. Now, presumably, not all who do so are cursed by sickness and plague, ergo, these are not the same "curses". The promise in the Gal passage is that in Christ we are liberated from the curse of never attaining righteousness though we may try, by performing the works of the law. Nothing per se about sickness and plagues.

Same problem with another one often cited: Isa 53:4-6

4 Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
/ And our sorrows He carried; / Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, / Smitten of God, and afflicted. / 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions, / He was crushed for our iniquities; / The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, / And by His scourging we are healed. / 6 All of us like sheep have gone astray, / Each of us has turned to his own way; / But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all / To fall on Him."

In isolation, the last bit of v. 5 might sound like we are going to be healed--of physical ailments--upon the basis of Jesus's work on the Cross. But the context of the entire stanza says otherwise: what He healed us of are the effects of "our transgressions", "our iniquities", etc. And in that sense, "The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him...": not physical well being, but much more importantly, spiritual well being.

How to receive the promise of the spirit? I am going to do what every sensible man does when he is faced with a difficulty, he takes a nap (see Matt:18-20).

1:04 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

No problem for us to believe God can heal... Well, I choose to believe He can and will heal me..

Hebrew 11:6 says, "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen"

Jesus often said to those he healed, "Your faith has healed you."

You shall serve the Lord your God, and He shall bless your bread and water, and I will take sickness from your midst. (Exodus 23:25)

Because you have made the Lord your refuge, and the Most High your dwelling place, there shall no evil befall you, nor any plague or calamity come near your tent. (Psalm 91: 9, 10)

1:59 AM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

Just my opinion on some Scriptures I thought should have had their context examined.

Genesis 50:20 The context was Joseph speaking to his brothers who sold him but Joseph credited to God for turning it for His Glory and His salvation plan for Jacob's family. Not about divine health or whatsoever. Devil was not in the picture.

Luke 18:27 "Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God."" This is after Jesus taught thru the parable of Camel entering eye of needle, right? It is about Salvation. What is impossible is for man to gain salvation thru own humility. Some people talked about unloading the material and kneel in humility (which is wrong) in order to enter the Kingdom. But Jesus was saying even if man were to humble and surrender, salvation still belongs to God. Again it is nothing about divine health or wealth. It is simply and purely about salvation.

Luke 9:1-2 This is not a situation when Jesus CANNOT perform miracles. It was because of the lack of faith that they will not credit to God for whatever healing that may take place. That is why Jesus don't want to give glory to their own gods by performing miracles or healing. Who can stop Jesus from doing His will? Not even the sin of man.

2:17 AM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

I think the statement "we need to be fully persuaded that human impossibilities are God's opportunities." sort of undermine God Himself. Does God need opportunity? I can't think that God need human to create an oportunity for Him to do something whether is it out of our sin or our folly or our inability. When God want to do something, He will simply do it. I kind of concern what will happen to those who profess 'Divine Health' if someone they know or even themselves falls sick.

2:28 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Have you heard of "Sozo"?
Sozo is the Greek word for Salvation. It was used in the new testament to describe the salvation of God. It is the salvation that only comes through the name and person of Jesus. It means complete deliverance from your current disposition, psychologically, physically, and eternally. Body, mind and spirit. It means deliverance from bad health, poverty, broken emotions.

5:33 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Hi Ah Kok,

Does God need opportunity?

If a person choose not to eat and drink, can God force him to do so? :) Can God force to save a person from committing suicide?

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

Well, I do know God does not contradict Himself like us human. So if our theology does not contradicts throughout all the points we put across, then chances are it may be correct. Although not contradicting itself can also mean I am wrong all the way, that's why. But if my theological points contradict each other, then I know some part of what I say is not correct. How can God who can do what is impossible fail to force a man to do what he does not want to do? How can God who can do all things be impossible to stop a person from committing suicide?

And I also know God does not need a man to create an opportunity so that He can create the world.

6:15 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

Hi Ah Kok,

Do you know that you have freewill?
The fact that you make many choices or decisions daily proves that you have freewill.

What you believe is your choice! You can choose to believe the Word of God or not. John 7:17 "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

9:46 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

1. "Does God need opportunity? If a person choose not to eat and drink, can God force him to do so? :) Can God force to save a person from committing suicide?"

Strictly speaking, you have answered your own question earlier--remember:

"...we need to be fully persuaded that human impossibilities are God's opportunities. Nothing is impossible to God..."?

2. "Do you know that you have freewill? The fact that you make many choices or decisions daily proves that you have freewill.

What you believe is your choice! You can choose to believe the Word of God or not. John 7:17 "If anyone chooses to do God's will, he will find out whether my teaching comes from God or whether I speak on my own."

First of all, this is totally question begging. The dispute is about what God's word actually says. We cal all agree that if God's word says X, then if I chooses not to agree with X, I am going to have a problem with God. But right now, the disagreement is about just what is it that God's word teaches--whether X or Y.

Second of all, all this emphasis on choice makes it sound as if it's just up to us to choose to believe this or that. You say: "I choose to believe He can and will heal me..." But how does that help anything? Any tom dick or harry can say: "I choose to believe that he can't and won't heal me..." or for that matter, "I choose to believe that only those who are blonde will be saved". By all means, that's their choice. But just because they choose to believe whatever doesn't make it right that they do so.

The mere fact that you are still arguing suggests that it's not just a matter of choice. Otherwise, you have your choice, and we have ours. End of story. You do think that you are right and we are wrong, I presume, about what the Bible actually teaches. So we are back to square one: what exactly does the bible teach?

Finally, a lot will depend on what is meant by "freewill". If all that is meant is "able to make choices", then the argument is sound but also not very interesting: we make choices therefore we can make choices. The traditional (philosophical theological) debate about freewill is much more complicated than that.

3. "Have you heard of "Sozo"? Sozo is the Greek word for Salvation. It was used in the new testament to describe the salvation of God. It is the salvation that only comes through the name and person of Jesus. It means complete deliverance from your current disposition, psychologically, physically, and eternally. Body, mind and spirit. It means deliverance from bad health, poverty, broken emotions."

First of all, a bit of methodological advise: never hang your theology on the meaning of a single word; not even a Greek word.

Second of all, it is also highly advisable that we not talk about things we don't really know: sōzō is a verb, so it can't mean "salvation" (which is an abstract noun). In fact, sōzō is the present tense first person singular form of "to save". This verb is used over a hundred times in the NT, and usually translated "save", sometimes "deliver", or even "heal". It often occurs in the context of a passage that is about divine salvation (not surprisingly), but not always (e.g., Acts 27:31).

Thirdly, the issue is not about what the word means--but what is the teaching concerning salvation in the NT.

(More later)

9:10 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

This discussion is not fruitful.. I choose to rest. Period.

10:34 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Dear Gracie,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts in the spirit of edifying fellow saints! I agree with you that God is most interested in making Christians more like Him--through trials if necessary. God knows what is best. I wouldn't say, however, that the "best way is through problems... sicknesses"--at least not always or necessarily so. The Bible does not say so. It makes good sense, though, that we as fallen and prideful people often seek God and learn to rely on Him the most when we feel our need of Him most keenly, in times of distress. But God is *often* so merciful, remembering that we are made of dust, and helps us to learn His lessons in less trying ways--as a compassionate Father (Psalm 139).

All said and done, I think that the one thing we can all agree with is that God will do what's best for us, and that He makes no mistakes. In light of this wonderful, simple truth, questions like whether God will always heal really become quite irrelevant. No?

Have a blessed week, Gracie!

11:06 PM  
Anonymous Gracie said...

Hey cyberanger and elaine,

Hmm.. Read your comments to me.. A bit too bz to read the others atm.. Kk.. well. yeah.. not the best way.. since its painful.. hehe. but yeah.. it seems like.. thats one of the better ways to show God's mercy n power.. thru one's weakness.. yeah. you have a blessed week too:)

agape love,
Grace

9:29 AM  
Anonymous Gracie said...

"According to your faith will it be done to you";
Matthew 9:29 (NIV)

Jus thought this verse may be relevant.. Didnt really read all the comments. jus breeze thru it..

I also belive that NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE for God! but jesus also did say that "According to your faith will it be done to you". I reckon thats like a test he has set for mankind.
I mean.. we do in someway limit wat God can do in our lives when we view the problem or circumstances to be bigger then our God.. Cos I remember something about if you dont belive in speaking in tounges or something.. then.. God wont bless you with that gift since you dont want it kinda thing.. he is a gentleman.. jus sharing my thoughts on this..

9:38 AM  
Blogger MonkeyBoi said...

Interesting discussion

I firmly believe, that this temporal world is just a test, our reward is not here, it is found after death

Hebrews 12:6
"because the Lord disciplines those he loves,and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son"

Decriptive/normative will that!

and also the Devil is the ruler of this world, ooops was i not supposed to say that
Luke 4:5-7


As for "thorn in the flesh" i think it is important to recognise it is a demon, and not a non-spiritual sickness

10:12 AM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Hi Gracie,

I fully agree with you that nothing is impossible with God. As for Matthew 9:29, about how things shall be done to/for us "according to our faith," there are a few things to be said: first, that this is applicable insofar as we ask for that which is according to God's will (e.g. no such thing as God granting a robber's prayer of faith for a successful robbery); second, we do not always know exactly what's best and ask amiss--God's promise here would be that He would grant to us what's truly best. Even Paul, for all the great apostle that he was, didn't always have his prayers answered in the way he would have liked (e.g. Macedonia, thorn in the flesh). Thus, I think Matt 9:29 can't really be used (not saying that you are doing so :) to support the teaching that God will *always* heal those who ask in faith. And, similarly, since you mentioned the tongues example, IF tongues as practiced in many charismatic churches today is not a spiritual gift given by the Spirit to just any Christian who asks it, it won't much matter if the request is made with great faith or no.
Note: this is not really a provocation/invitation to discuss the topic of tongues. :) --unless, of course, you are sincerely seeking the biblical position on it and would like some friendly discussion on it, or help with relevant passages...

6:19 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Hi Monkeyboi

Glad you found the discussion interesting.

Amen to these comments of yours [my added comments in square brackets]:
"I firmly believe, that this temporal world is just a test [a training ground, a transit point], our [ultimate] reward is not here, it is found after death."

Hebrews 12:6
"because the Lord disciplines those he loves,and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son"

The Bible does teach that the Devil has temporary rule over this world, an this reminds me of the hymn by Watts (I believe) entitled "Am I a Soldier of the Cross?"

A question: why do you think that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" "is a demon, and not a non-spiritual sickness"?

6:28 PM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

Hi Monkeyboi, greetings! I feel that this temporal world is more than just a test. It is a place where we witness for the Lord also and we do have our reward here. When we witness and bring lost souls to the Lord, we experience that undescribable joy, that is a great reward. Of course, when we go to heaven we will experience the other kind of joy.

I agree that Devil is a ruler of the world, he is the ruler of those who wanted to be ruled by him, his lies, his temptation. But he is not ruler of Chrsitians even though we are also in the world.

At one point I was also very keen to know what Paul meant by "thorn in the flesh" because I too have my 'thorn in my flesh' and I was reading commentaries after commentaries and commentaries. The only similarity I found between them is none of the scholars can conclude what it really refers to although some guessed it is a sickness, some guessed it is a habitual sin, some guessed it is demon. In the end, we may have to ask Paul personally when we see him up there. :)

8:59 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

What is the Biblical Definition of a Thorn?

Please refer to http://www.mountainretreatorg.net/bible/thorn.html

12:01 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

Like ah kok, I have no idea what the "thorn in the flesh" refers to, and have never seen an explanation that is so convincing as to simply overturn all the contrary opinions.

The question is, can we nevertheless learn something from the verse?

I think we can--viz., not everything that we think is good for us, even if it is perfectly in line with (our understanding of) God's work for us (it stands to reason that having the 'thorn' removed--whatever it is--will help Paul in his missionary work) is in fact what God wants for us. Sometimes, God allows us to be uncomfortable so that we will understand and appreciate His power and grace so much more. And the presence of this discomfort or problem or trial, however you characterize it, is no indication of our lack of faith or God's not answering our prayer. In face of this, we could, like Paul, "boast about [our] weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in [us]":

"Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong." (2 Cor 12:10)

In other words, there could be a perfectly good reason why God sometimes does not give us what we would prefer, even when what we prefer seem so "reasonable".

12:31 AM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

As I read the commentaries by Tony Warren, I do feel that he commented rather well to compare 'Thorn in the flesh' with 'Messenger of Satan'.

I was quite impressed actually.

Except that I had no chance yet to look at whether thorn in Hebrew and in Greek means the same thing in terms of both languages and Hebrew and Hellenis culture. So I will have to consider that if I want to do a detail study.

Another thought is the author seems to miss out 1 area to comment. That is to convince readers that 'Thorn in the flesh' is definitely not referring to other than purely demonic. Good conviction is required not just to prove that A is A, but also have to prove that A is not B. In this case, I couldn't be convinced that 'Thorn in the flesh' is not physical sickness because the arguement is Satan cannot cause sickness. I remembered Job was severely hurt by Satan, but God did give Satan the permission. Satan can cause sickness although he has no part in creating viruses (because only God can create).

Yes, thorn in the flesh could be demonic activities, yet it could also be other things, may not even be physical sickness. I still have no idea what it refers to after reading Warren's comment.

But I do know that whatever the thorn is, 'God's grace is sufficient for me'.

1:41 AM  
Blogger Sharon said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:11 PM  
Blogger Sharon said...

Hmm.. a very long "argument" over Pastor Prince's book on Health and Wholeness through the Holy Communion. I'm kindda amused or rather not.. I can say only is that after I've understood Pastor Prince's message on the Holy Communion, I've realised that whatever I've learned in my previous church was really a partaking of the Lord's Supper is in an unworthily manner (that means I had been asking Daddy God to heal me instead of thanking Daddy God that I'm already healed by Jesus' stripes). In this way, I was pronouncing judgment to my health and indeed I was in a very bad shape during then. I took the HC without realising that it's actually health, wholeness to my body until I've listened to Pastor Prince's message.

I'm not trying to defend my pastor or whatsoever. Truly speaking there was once that I had told many people that Pastor Prince had preached terrible and erroneous sermons coz I had listened to his messages earlier (with the wrong heart and not believing that Daddy God is actually for me). During then, I kept thinking that I must face the punishments whenever I started to sin. But I was totally wrong!

I'm not trying to say anything against my previous church as well. I'm just sad that the doctrine taught really put me into total bondage and I was so highly distressed when I was in that church. I still love the people there but not the doctrines that were being taught.

Anyway, back to the topic.. Jesus had already received all the punishments for me on the cross! If I say that I still have to receive my punishments for my sins, then why don't I quit being a Christian since I still have to keep confessing my sins?

Nevertheless, I thank God that He opened up my heart to listen to the messages very carefully and it was then that I realised I was mistaken! If Jesus did not say "It is finished", we still have to face the punishments for our sins.

Ever think how many times when you tried to be holy, thinking that you have to be good, etc, the very fact that you will fail?? I used to have this kind of thinking too. However, it doesn't mean that I will go on to continue in my sinful actions. If I continue in my sinful actions, that means I still don't know Jesus at all. It's showing my true nature. Why is it that many Christians always like to make this statement that let God do everything. But it seemed that most of the time, we are the ones doing instead of letting God take over.

Are any one of our hands bigger than God? Well.. think again.. Anyway, why does Jesus started the Holy Communion and said take it as often as possible? When we take HC as often as possible, we are remembering what He had done on the cross and what He had received on the cross on behalf of us. This is to discern (ie to understand) what He will be doing on the cross (that divine exchange) for us. We are to remember that and how do we remember?? By Holy Communion!!

During the time in Corinth is that the people took the HC after they had a good meal (or perhaps with good wine and food). Think of it this way.. When there's good food, who doesn't want to take as much as possible?? Frankly speaking, I would too.. The problem is that the Corinthians took food and wine until they are really like "drunk". Once a person is drunk, will that person ever remember what the Lord Supper is supposed to signify??

Ok.. another question.. Will anyone be able to survive a minute on the cross when Jesus was actually hung on the cross for 6 full hours with lacerations on His entire body and having loss so much Blood? For a normal person (even the strongest) cannot. The 2 thieves who were hung on the cross did not suffer the same fate as Jesus suffered (meaning they were not given that kind of treatment as bad as Jesus had).

So, when we partake the HC, this is to remember that Jesus took these all on our behalf. He is the Lamb. And we all know that a lamb is actually innocent. And definitely we know that Jesus is the Lamb. He is the once for all sacrifice.

And since if God's will is for us to be sick, poor, then God might as well can forget about sacrificing His own Beloved Son. If by being sick and poor can glorify God more, then let that person be sicker and poorer. If Daddy God is going to make us sick and poor, He is not loving us. I thank Daddy God that He LOVES us too much to let us be sick and poor. That's why He had chosen His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us.

What is the will of God?? First.. What is a will?? A will is a legal document declaring a person's wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die. So.. what does that mean?? In order for us to be partakers of the will, someone has to die.. Who died?? Jesus.. Why?? To give us the inheritance that God had for us.

Anyway, everything is all clearly stated in the books of Romans and Galatians.

A last note.. I was healed of a backpain that caused me to be under medication for 3 long years. It's because of the HC that I partook regularly and believing in Daddy God's good will for me. If Daddy God doesn't love me, He would have killed me coz I've done so much wrongs in my life and most of them good enuf to warrant a death sentence if I'm still under the law. Praise be to God that He doesn't coz Jesus had already fulfilled the Laws and already died my death. That's why Romans 8:1 came.. HA!! Hallelujah to Daddy God and Lord Jesus Christ who are the ALMIGHTY!!

2:15 PM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

Sharon:

Some specific comments, in no particular order of importance.

1 Our intentions were never to refute Pastor Prince. There are more important things to do in life. Rather, the question that faces every Christian when confronted with any teaching that purported to claim our agreement is always the one same as the one facing those faithful Bereans of old (see Acts 17:11, contrast 16:5)--does it conform to scripture? If it does, it deserves--nay--demands our agreement and action. If it does not, then we are not at liberty to agree. We have to disagree. That one particular pastor or other just happened to be the one that preaches it is not even the issue.

2. What is the will of God?? First.. What is a will?? A will is a legal document declaring a person's wishes regarding the disposal of their property when they die. So.. what does that mean?? In order for us to be partakers of the will, someone has to die.. Who died?? Jesus.. Why?? To give us the inheritance that God had for us.>

Even in English, the word "will" means more than one thing; in any case, there are more than one Greek word involved. Contrast the following sentences in which "will" is used as a noun (i.e., not auxillary, as in "I will do this tomorrow".)

(a) Father left me the house in his will.
(b) It is the King's will that you be set free.

Only in (a) is a legal document involved. In (b), no legal document need be involved at all. The word there is replacable with "intent", "purpose", "desire" or something like this. Now the two are related--one might say that the "will" in (a) is a formalised, legalised, written down of someone's will-intent-desire, etc. More specifically, it is actually a formalised version of a promise (since wills are written down before one dies). But not every intent involves a document, etc.

In any case, when the NT talks about will (a)--there is a different Greek word (diatheke) that is sometimes translated testament or covenant. When we are talking about God's will, however, the usual reference is to God's intent (thelema)--will (b).

And yes, the will-testament/covanant of God to man is secured by nothing less that the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And so the Christian's inheritance is secured. But what exactly is in this inheritance? I hope you can see that even if we agree with everything said in the passage, nothing is resolved--since the dispute is about what exactly is the promise in the inheritance. Is it, for instance, that we would have health and wealth here on earth if we take the Lord's Supper often and in the right frame of mind; or is that not part of the promise but something else.

3. And since if God's will is for us to be sick, poor, then God might as well can forget about sacrificing His own Beloved Son. If by being sick and poor can glorify God more, then let that person be sicker and poorer. If Daddy God is going to make us sick and poor, He is not loving us. I thank Daddy God that He LOVES us too much to let us be sick and poor. That's why He had chosen His Son Jesus to die on the cross for us.

How could I possibly know if it is God's will for any particular person to be sick or poor? I know that it is God's will (general will) for all Christians to live worthy of the calling--to avoid sin, to conduct ourselves blamelessly, to do everything for His glory, etc. But who would have guessed beforehand that it would be God's will (specific) that Paul would become a missionary to the Gentiles, or that Peter would end up ministering to Cornelius, or that John would end up on the island of Patmos, or James and Stephen to die a martyr's death. How can we guess such things?

No, the point is not that it is God's will for anyone to be poor or sick, but only that if some particular person is poor or sick, we shouldn't be too quick to judge that he must be out of God's will, that it must because of something wrong he has been doing. Nor would I fault him for wanting to improve his circumstances. But rather, the point is only that it is entirely possible that it is every bit God's intention to do something very special through extraordinary circumstances. Just one example: Fanny Crosby was blind, but that motivated her all the more to write such amazing hymns--to the greater glory of God.

And it doesn't follow from "by being sick and poor can glorify God" that "let that person be sicker and poorer"--how can I tell if this would be true if I can't even tell in advance what special plan God may have for the person. This is the very mistake that some medieval monks and hermits made--they thought that by suffering more, they glorify God the more. And so they whip themselves, and go on fasts, live in hovels, wear rough clothing, etc. But really, both reactions are only all too human--both assume that it's the circumstances that matter. But it's not the circumstances that the man might find himself in--being poor/sick, or for that matter, healthy/wealthy--that matters, but God working through those circumstance, whatever they are.

4. Why does Jesus started the Holy Communion and said take it as often as possible?

He said no such thing (see 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:14-20). Now Paul said something close:

1 Cor 11:23-26 For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; 24 and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "This is My body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." 25 In the same way He took the cup also after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in My blood; do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until He comes.

After all, saying: "as often as you go to the market, buy me an icecream" is not the same as "go to the market and buy me an icecream as often as possible".

In fact, there is no instructions whatsoever in the NT as to just how often we are supposed to take the Lord's Supper, only that whenever we do so, we do so in remembrance of Jesus and His finished work. There are all kinds of discussions (which you can find online even) about just how often Christians should take the Lord's Supper--but my guess is that if this is such an important issue, much clearer instructions would have been given. What instructions that were given in the bible, however, teaches that (among other things): whenever we do so, we do so to remember Jesus--what He has done for us, which, given the way the word is used in the Bible, suggest more than just "oh, I happened to remember that..." but a more active affirming, or focusing in our mind. So, much of the rest of what you said (in that part of your comment) is most appropriate:

When we take HC as often as possible, we are remembering what He had done on the cross and what He had received on the cross on behalf of us. This is to discern (ie to understand) what He will be doing on the cross (that divine exchange) for us. We are to remember that and how do we remember?? By Holy Communion!!

This has to be true. But it doesn't actually resolve anything--the question is still going to be: because the teaching you are defending says a lot more than that. Specifically, it makes a connection between all this and somehow receiving the blessing of health by partaking of the Lord's Supper, and somehow loosing the said blessing when we fail to partake of the Lord's Supper if we don't realise that the Lord's Supper is meant to be a way by which we receive the blessing of health. All of this does not follow.

5. Anyway, back to the topic.. Jesus had already received all the punishments for me on the cross! If I say that I still have to receive my punishments for my sins, then why don't I quit being a Christian since I still have to keep confessing my sins?

Fact: Any who has already confessed with his/her mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in his/her heart that God raised Him from the dead is already saved (Rom 10:9-10).
Fact: Being saved, he or she is forevered delivered from the penalties of sin--eternal death (i.e., he or she will no longer have any business with what will happen in Rev 21:8).

However: he or she could still very well fall (to sin)--for the simple reason that our sanctification is still ongoing. Yes, like Paul, we can be "confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus" (Phil 1:6-7), but that also means that we are not quite there yet. In fact, it is not for no reason that Paul likes to characterise the Christian life in terms of soldering and running a race (see 2 Tim 1-7)--it is not meant to be a cake walk but a struggle, one in which the Grace of God is sufficient for us; or that John would say:

"This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; 7 but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. 2:1 My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; 2 and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world." (1 John 1:5-2:2)

That is: he exhorts the Christian not to sin--because sinning is incompatible with our new identity as people of God; but that also implies that we still physically, technically, could--in fact, he suggests that it would be presumpteous for us to think that we have already been so perfected as not to have to worry about it. But praise the Lord that if we do stumble and fall, we have an advocate with the Father. In addition, we also have the promise that no temptation will overtaken us "but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it." (1 Cor 10:13)

So: In a nutshell, ONE, it would be strange for a Christian to keep confessing his or her sin--if by he or she is doing it with the thought "if I don't God is going to punish me--send me to hell". That only goes to show that the person fails to understand what he or she received at salvation. TWO, but it doesn't mean that he or she will no longer be tempted, and sometimes, might still fall. THREE, and when that happens, the proper and right thing to do is to confess, and move on!

And FOUR, no, God is not in the business of "punishing" His children for their sins. All the puhishments have been settled by Jesus' finished work already. This does not mean, however, that if and when we do sin, we can escape all the consequences of sin--e.g., people gets hurt, and that's consequence too, you know. In addition, the bible does say that God does "discipline" his children:

"MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD,
NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM;
6 FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES,
AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."

7 It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? 8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. 11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness." (Heb 12:5-11)

Note that the passage is not about sickness per se--the context indicates that it's persecution that is being under consideration. But the point is a very general one. Don't assume that it's God's intention for us to live hunky dory here on earth when there is so much to do. We will get our banquet in Heaven. In the meantime, there's a dark and dying world to preach to, people to minister to, circumstances to overcome, etc. The promise is not that life would be easy, but that it will be interesting and challenging! We can look at the "scourging" and say, woe is me God is punishing me, or we can realise that he is disciplining us precisely because He loves us and wants to shape us to be better than we already are.

As one matures in the Christian life, and one learns more and more about God, just how Holy and how high His standards are, one cannot but be more and more impressed by a deeper understanding of just how wicked and sinful we really are, on the one hand, and just how merciful and loving God has been to us, on the other. When that happens, we could turn inward and focus on ourself--woe is me, how bad I am; or we could turn upwards and look at God and realise just how Good and Merciful He is towards us and give thanks for that. (And look sideways at our brothers and sisters in the same boat and encourage them.)

4:24 PM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

It is important to understand the background of all Scripture in order to read the Bible exegetically.

From what I understand, in the Corinthian church, the partaking of HC is not just taking a small cup of wine and the broken bread. it was a full meal like the last supper. In fact, I can visualise it as a feast because everyone would brough the best food for this HC. Some church members at that time purposely skip meal so that they can feast on what others brought. Thus because they partook the HC not primarily to remember Jesus but to feast, that is why Paul said they partook in an unworthy manner. Unworthiness here has got nothing to do with partaking with our heart not believing we had been healed.

The starting point of message on HC bringing health and wealth was already incorrect in the first place.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Hi Sharon

Thanks for long comment. I'm thankful for the spirit in which it was written: to edify and emphasize our Lord's sacrifice and complete payment for our sins.

I--like many hundreds of others (well, perhaps not unusual for such a large church)--once attended New Creation Church, and was uncritical about Prince's sermons. Services usually made me feel good. However, it is ultimately not a matter of how we feel: a doctrine is neither true nor false based on whether it makes US feel 'oppressed', lousy, or liberated and wonderful. I and the Bible have nothing against joy and delight in the Lord, and the blessed assurance He gives to those who trust in Him, but I also recognise what the Bible teaches regarding feelings: the heart is deceitful above all things. Something that is false can seem and feel so right--doesn't make it so. This argument by feelings, if I may call it so, is also excessively self-regarding when Christians should really be focusing on God and how He can use them in their lives--rather than how He can give them all that they want, even though He is a good Lord who does provide abundantly for His saints. In a similar vein, listening to a sermon "with the right heart" and believing that God is for us, while excellent, does not mean we cannot identify errors of reasoning and interpretation in it.

The way I see it, we are in substantial agreement as regards Christ's death for us and His complete and once-and-for-all atonement. Read my husband's reply, and we can hardly emphasize this more. It is really the very specific teaching of Prince's regarding the HC as a means of healing taught by the Bible that we question. If anyone wishes to convince us otherwise, he or she must go directly to the specific details of how Prince claims to derive this teaching from the Bible and see if his arguments and methods of interpretation are valid. For instance, just analyse any paragraph (point) of mine in the original post, and show me where I've gone wrong in my reasoning.

Just some thoughts on your following comments:
1. "I kept thinking that I must face the punishments whenever I started to sin. But I was totally wrong! ...Anyway, back to the topic.. Jesus had already received all the punishments for me on the cross! If I say that I still have to receive my punishments for my sins, then why don't I quit being a Christian since I still have to keep confessing my sins?"

It is surely true (and praise God for that!) that Jesus' payment for our sins is complete. We no longer have to bear the penalty of everlasting condemnation, and are considered righteous (that is, positionally righteous) by God who sees Jesus when he looks at us who have received Him as our Saviour. This does not mean, however, that we no longer suffer consequences of our actions. This seems apparent enough: for instance, if you steal, you may get caught. The Bible also teaches that God chastens those He loves (Hebrews 12:6). Now this chastening (disciplining, testing) has to be some kind of rebuke (or character moulding) for sin. It's not exactly punishment except in the sense of earthly parents punishing for the good of their children. Anyway, on Prince's own terms, there obviously can be "punishment" (sickness, etc.) for what he regards as the sin of partaking in HC without claiming its salubrious benefits.

2. "I was healed of a backpain that caused me to be under medication for 3 long years. It's because of the HC that I partook regularly and believing in Daddy God's good will for me."

I'm glad that you're rid of the nasty back pain. We believe that God can and does heal. It is rather the method through which we think we can procure or guarantee such healing that we question. Testimonies like yours, unfortunately, edifying though they are to believers of similar doctrines, do not properly count as "proof" of the correctness of the doctrine. See, for example, my original post on the use of testimonies as evidence.

3. "If Daddy God doesn't love me, He would have killed me coz I've done so much wrongs in my life and most of them good enuf to warrant a death sentence if I'm still under the law."

Of course God loves you (and I know you know that)--He died for you. We are all rebels against a holy God; even after we have been saved, we are none of us perfectly sinless. We still offend by our thoughts and actions. That's why, for example, 1 John 1:9 (if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us) is such a wonderful promise! God, however, does not simply kill us or non-Christians simply because we sin. Just look at the countless numbers of unbelievers who live healthy, extremely properous (e.g. Psalm 73) lives and who live to enjoy their great-grandchildren. God is gracious, and there is a thing as common grace. At the end of the day, however, the Bible assures us that--despite all these 'injustices' we may observe in this life, the end of the believer is goodness and life, while judgement awaits the unbeliever.

Okay, got to go now and catch a few winks before baby wakes up for a feed. Hope that what I've shared will provide some food for thought, or a closer critique of my specific arguments in the original post! :)

Have a blessed weekend:
Elaine

11:26 PM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

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5:06 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:11 AM  
Blogger cybeRanger said...

God does discipline us as Hebrews 12 says, but not "according to the flesh" like our dads did by spanking us, but He disciplines us spiritually because He is the "father of our spirits" (Heb. 12:9). He disciplines us according to the Word.

Can't you see that God wanted you to be healthy, just like you want your baby to be healthy? Think again... How will you discipline your child? :)

5:19 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

"He disciplines us according to the Word."

Actually what does that mean? Look at the Hebrews passage again, look at the word "scourge" for instance. And as I said, the passage is not really about health per se, but persecution. The immediately preceeding passage says:

Heb 12:4-5 "You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; 5 and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons"

and a few more lines before that, in recounting what befell the faithful--that great cloud of witnesses, the text says:

Heb 11:32-40 "And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received back their dead by resurrection; and others were tortured, not accepting their release, so that they might obtain a better resurrection; 36 and others experienced mockings and scourgings, yes, also chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated 38(men of whom the world was not worthy), wandering in deserts and mountains and caves and holes in the ground.

39 And all these, having gained approval through their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 because God had provided something better for us, so that apart from us they would not be made perfect."

Did God do all this to them? Well, the very least we have to say is that God allowed these things to happen them (your earlier "permissive will").

Again, this is not about health per se (though, frankly, if you are being put to the sword by those who are out to persecute you, your health will be affected, shall we say), but the much more general point that discomfort, pain, suffering here on earth may yet be part of the circumstance that God allows into a Christian's life. Here, the writer of Hebrews calls it "discipline", but the accent is not "we did wrong and God is spanking us". Rather, the thought is: God want to shape us, make us better than we are. The Bible elsewhere calls it "testing"--this is not to check if we pass, but a training process with the understood result that it "produces endurance":

James 1:4 "And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

There are other passages in Paul as well.

Incidentally, the word translated discipline, sometimes "chasten" is paideueo (from which our pedagogy is derived). It has a sense that range from teaching (of young children) to reproving, to punishing (as of a judge to a criminal; see Luke 23:16, 22).

There is an Old Testament connection as well:

Prov 13:24 He who withholds his rod hates his son, / But he who loves him disciplines him diligently.

Prov 23:13-14 Do not hold back discipline from the child, / Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die. / 14 You shall strike him with the rod / And rescue his soul from Sheol.

(So when such occasion arises, I pray that God will give me the fortitude to discipline my own children accordingly; to do otherwise will be not to love them!)

And finally, I am not God--I am in no position to discipline my child the way God can the Christian. I can never be completely sure of my motives the way God is Holy. I want my child to be healthy and happy--but I want my child to grow up a good person as well.

I don't doubt that God wants the best for us. But the last I checked, His Son died for us not quite so that we can enjoy a good life here on earth. Rather, the goal is that we would be sanctified, made perfect, conformed to the image of Christ, that we would present our limbs a living sacrifice by living a blameless life. And all this in a dark and dying world!

In short: God wants us to be Holy as He is Holy (1 Pet 1:16) more than anything else. Why should I be so worried about this body--as if it is the end of and be all--when a more perfect one awaits me upon the general resurrection?

By all means we should take good care of our health, and we should be thankful when God bless us with good health, and pray for good health when we fall sick--all very normal and very natural (and taught anyway). It's the larger attitude that is more important: to what purpose our good health? For it's own sake, or so that we can fulfill our function on earth--this temporary abode--better?

10:04 AM  
Anonymous Ah Kok said...

We need to know God as He is according to the Word in the right context, and not what we think He ought to be and find words in the Bible by using them out of context to fit into that narrow mindset that we have of Him, in order to justify what we think He ought to be.

11:05 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

My typo: paideuo not paideueo (now where did that extra epsilon come from...)

11:13 AM  
Anonymous Jesus Love U:) said...

http://www.sidroth.org/healing_main19.htm

11:06 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

A quotation from Charles Hodge:

Necessity of a complete Induction

Illustrations without end might be given of the necessity of a comprehensive induction of facts to justify our doctrinal conclusions. These facts must not be willfully denied or carelessly overlooked, or unfairly appreciated. We must be honest here, as the true student of nature is honest in his induction. Even scientific men are sometimes led to suppress or to pervert facts which militate against their favorite theories; but the temptation to this form of dishonesty is far less in their case, than in that of the theologian. The truths of religion are far more important than those of natural science. They come home to the heart and conscience. They may alarm the fears or threaten the hopes of men, so that they are under strong temptation to overlook or pervert them. If, however, we really desire to know what God has revealed we must be conscientiously diligent and faithful in collecting the facts which He has made known, and in giving them their due weight. If a geologist should find in a deposit of early date implements of human workmanship, he is not allowed to say they are natural productions. He must either revise his conclusion as to the age of the deposit, or carry back to an earlier period the existence of man. There is no help for it. Science cannot make facts; it must take them as they are. In like manner, if the Bible asserts that Christ's death was a satisfaction to justice, the theologian is not allowed to merge justice into benevolence in order to suit his theory of the atonement. If the Scriptures teach that men are born in sin, we cannot change the nature of sin, and make it a tendency to evil and not really sin, in order to get rid of difficulty. If it be a Scriptural fact that the soul exists in a state of conscious activity between death and the resurrection, we must not deny this fact or reduce this conscious activity to zero, because our anthropology teaches that the soul has no individuality and no activity without a body. We must take the facts of the Bible as they are, and construct our system so as to embrace them all in their integrity.

Bottom line: Man shall not use Scripture to fit into self agenda. Holy communion has got nothing to do with health or wealth. If so, what about those in the OT? None has health or wealth? But they had not partake in the Holy Communion. So how to reconcile that?

10:53 PM  
Anonymous JesusLovesU said...

Who says Holy communion has got nothing to do with health?

http://www.bytheword.com/communion

9:28 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

I quote from http://www.bytheword.com/communion

In breaking of bread-Jesus said, "Take, eat, this is my body which is for you, (for your healing). This do ye in remembrance of me."
In partaking of the wine-Jesus said, "This cup is the New Testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."

After comparing to the 3 accounts of Holy Communion in the synoptic gospels, I must say i fail to find the bracketed (for your healing) recorded in the Bible. See below.

Matt 26:26-28 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body". Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

Mark 14:22-24 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take it; this is my body." Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, and they all drank from it. "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many," he said to them.

Luke 22:19-20 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.


In light of Rev 22:18, I will be careful not to add anything to the Holy Scripture. Similarly I will also be careful not to believe in anything extra that is not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Surely the Holy Spirit had not 'forgotten' to add this 3 words (for your healing) and need someone to add it for him.

The passover in Exodus and the crucifixion of Jesus is a typology. Where the crucifixion of Jesus redeems mankind, the passover cannot be taken literally equal to Jesus' crucifixion simply because Jesus don't have to die twice to save man.

11:07 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Please meditate on...
John 6:54

10:13 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.

I am sure no body here denies we have eternal life in Christ. Your point is?

10:42 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeal said...

My point is:
Do you live eternal life now? Or
start living eternal life after your death?

9:48 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

Does eternal life = (physically) healthy life? The last I checked, the words don't mean the same.

Romans 8:16-18: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. 18 For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.

Romans 8:22-25 For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. 23 And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. 24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.

Romans 8:35-39 Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." 37But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

To answer Jesusheals,

My eternal life starts the moment I was accepted by Christ into His presence.

But I still have to go through my physical death. And I also still have to go through physical sickness like fever, cold, yes and even SARS, if I am not careful. Even if I am spiritually strong, I will still contact diseases if I do not take care of my wretch body. This is science, got nothing to do with divinity.

10:49 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Ah Kok,

Do you believe in Divine Protection?

11:08 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

Would you like to define 'Divine Protection' so that we may talk on the the wavelenght?

Thanks!

11:10 PM  
Anonymous JesusLovesMe! said...

Jehovah-Shalom (Sha-lom')
The Lord is peace - Judges 6:24

The word "Shalom" is a rich word that literally means: health, prosperity, happiness, favor, safety and peace. This word speaks of our wholeness and harmony with God, and our contentment and satisfaction in this life.

2:26 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

I don't see the definition of 'Divine Health' from the way the word 'Shalom' was being explained. Shalom have a lot of meaning, one of which is referring to the City of Jerusalem. We need to know exactly which aspect is it referred to in the context of Judges 6:24. We cannot fit all the meanings of the word 'Shalom' into Judge 6:24 if it did not mean all of the aspects. Therefore let's look at the actual reason that Gideon named the altar 'Jehovah Shalom' before we discuss further.

3:11 AM  
Anonymous JesusLovesMe! said...

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our SHALOM was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:5-6

How do you explain this verse?

9:12 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

JesusLovesMe! If you had bothered to read the earlier comments above, you would have noticed that I've briefly discussed Isaiah 53:4-6. In one word: context. But let me quote v. 5 again (note the emphasised words):

He was pierced through for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our iniquities;
The chastening for our well-being (shalom) fell upon Him,
And by His scourging we are healed.

See also 1 Pet 2:24:

...He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.

In both the OT and NT passages, the context makes clear that it's spiritual healing that is at stake.

11:03 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

We need to know in what way one is being hurt in order to know how the healing was being applied. For example, if one is having an open wound on the foot, there is no use keep feeding the person with pain killer without applying bandage, because the person will die of loss of blood.

Now if we look at the crucifixion of the Lord, we will be able to see how His stripes healed us. First we need to ask ourselves was the healing meant for our spirit or our soul or our body. Before we believed in the Lord, our spirit was dead because the Bible said we suffered eternal death from our birth. Among our spirit, our soul and our body, the only one that is eternal is the spirit. That is why when we were born, we began our walk towards spiritual death. The body will grow old and die. The soul is our sinful nature so it will not be eternal also. The 1st part of salvation is the salvation of our spirit. Our spirit were dead when we did not acknowledge God. When we do so, our spirit was revived. Our spirit is the most sensitive to God and it is our spirit that will help us to be Christ-like when our soul will caused us to have constant struggle with the spirit. Whether our body is for the good or for the bad depends whether we yield to the Spirit or to our sinful nature, the soul.

When Jesus took our place on the Cross, He was punished for our sin that caused death to our spirit. His stripe was primarily for the healing of our spirit, not our body. Spiritual healing is more important than body healing. There is no use healing our body when our spirit is not being healed because we will still die.

The crucifixion of Christ brought peace between us and God, we are no longer at war with God. It is the spiritual part, not the body part. Our body can never be at war with God, not physically since we can't even go near God because of our sinfulness. His stripes heals us spiritually, not of the body. If his stripes heals us of our body, takes away of our sickness, why are Christians still need to go to doctors? Why are Christians still becoming doctors that show no faith in God if He indeed heals? Hmm...

11:07 AM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Just a thought: Contentment and satisfaction in this life we will surely have as Christians if we obey the Lord and walk in His ways.
By His grace, we can say along with the apostle Paul, that "I have learned in whatever situation to be content. I know how to be brought low and how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me." (Phil 4:11b-13)

The Bible-- especially clear in the lives of the apostles--shows us time and again that contentment and happiness have little to do with our physical state and everything to do with our knowledge of and reliance on a merciful and sovereign Lord!

10:28 PM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Contentment and happiness have little to do with our physical state

Seems that your mind is very confused now... hmmm.. Are you happy when you are sick? Are you happy when your child is sick? Are you happy when loved ones are sick?

Don't you know that your body is the temple of God? The Bible does not say your soul is the temple of God. Don't you believe that divine health is a provision from God?

8:50 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

why are Christians still need to go to doctors?

Well, God can heal through doctors too.

Why are Christians still becoming doctors that show no faith in God if He indeed heals?
No, they need to heal people with unbelief...

8:56 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

Are you happy when you are sick? Are you happy when your child is sick? Are you happy when loved ones are sick?

Nobody is happy in sickness, if so, the one is really sick. But the joy in sickness is there is no sickness that can rob us from God. Even if the sickness cause our death, we will still be with God because He healed our spirit. If he had healed just our body but not our spirit, then we should really be sad.

Don't you know that your body is the temple of God?

Yes, I know that my body is a temple of God. And I also know that God allows his temple to be destroyed, both the 1st and 2nd as well as Jesus Himself and all the apostles', for John who was not martyred, I don't see divine wealth with him.

The Bible does not say your soul is the temple of God. Don't you believe that divine health is a provision from God?

I don't see the phrase 'Divine Health' in the Bible. That would mean it is not biblical. What does Divine health mean? That Christian never get sick? That means never die also?

7:58 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

Well, God can heal through doctors too.

But doesn't 'divine health' suggest Christians are immuned from sickness? Then how come still need God to heal through doctors? Healing through doctors are call human health lah, not divine health.

No, they need to heal people with unbelief...

Then those Christian doctors who believe in divine health should not be doctors, they should be pastors who proclaim divine health because that according to 'Divine Health' heals people.

Look, you are contradicting your belief and it is a sign that the theory does not work. A true theology will not contradict itself.

8:03 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Perhaps I should have clarified that true Christian happiness and contentment fundamentally have little to do with our physical state, in that it is not dependent upon it. That is to say, physical health is not a necessary condition for a Christian's joy.

Am I happy if my child is sick? Humanly speaking, of course not! But our feelings are one thing (not that they don't matter); what the Bible says about how we should respond is another. God promises His joy and in fact commands and exhorts us to, for instance, in James 1:2-4, "consider it all joy...when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing."

1 Corinthians 10:13 applies generally to testings (like refining fire) in a Christian's life, and encourages us in knowing that "not temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it."

Paul also clearly teaches us by his testimony in 2 Corinthians 12 that God allows "weaknesses" (whatever they may be, these are unpleasant; Paul used the word "torment"; God does not guarantee that life's a bed of roses) in His children's lives for their own good, to make them more spiritually mature--and for His glory:

"Because of the surpassing greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me--to keep me from exalting myself!

Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.

And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me."

Physical health is certainly a blessing, and all good things come from above (James 1:17). God, however, places our spiritual condition and His glory far above physical well-being and comfort. Again, I cannot think of better examples to illustrate this than to point to Job and to Paul.

Christian joy is a joy without which the billionaire in the pink of health can say at a ripe old age that life is meaningless; a joy which if possessed can enable bedridden young women such as Eliza Hewitt and Charlotte Elliot to compose such victorious and well-beloved hymns such as "Singing I Go", "My Faith Has Found a Resting Place", "Victory in Jesus", and "Just As I Am".

I think it's worth quoting at greater length from Hewitt's "My Faith":

I need no other argument,
I need no other plea,
It is enough that Jesus died,
And that He died for me.

Enough for me that Jesus saves,
This ends my fear and doubt;
A sinful soul I come to Him,
He’ll never cast me out.

My heart is leaning on the Word,
The living Word of God,
Salvation by my Savior’s Name,
Salvation through His blood.

My great Physician heals the sick,
The lost He came to save;
For me His precious blood He shed,
For me His life He gave.

- note that she joyfully boasts in our Lord's healing powers (never mind that she herself may not be physically whole) and rejoices time and again in the most vital salvation of all--that of her sinful soul!



"

9:32 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

1 Corinthians 6:19 teaches us that our body is a temple of the Lord, and the point there (read in context) is not that it as such enjoys perfect health, but rather: Flee immorality! Glorify God in your body. "For when I am weak, then I am strong... I will rather boast in my weaknesses, so that the power of God may dwell in me." (2 Cor 12)

As for "divine health", I shall believe in it IF the Bible says that there is such as thing as understood by Prince and those of like mind. As far as I can honestly see though, from my Bible study, there is no such thing.

God is an extremely merciful God, and for that we can praise Him and simply sing: my faith has found a resting place, not in device or creed. I trust the ever living One (in all things; and may He help us do that!), His wounds for me shall plead.

9:42 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

JesusHeals:

I find it rather strange that you should say that Christians (of your persuasion) should still be doctors to heal those with unbelief. So, you're saying that: for those who are sick, go ahead--choose one of the following?
1. Faith in the supposed promise of "divine health"
2. See a doctor and take medication

This seems to me at least, if anything, to be thoroughly condescending to God!

Furthermore, to be consistent, a Christian doctor who believes in divine health should really treat only nonbelievers while directing believers to his pastor (or maybe preach, or pronounce the healing himself)?

9:54 PM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Do you know that Jesus was never sick because He never sinned?

Don't you know there are unbelieving believers?

God can heal unbelieving believers through doctors.

When you are sick, do you thank God for the sickness or pray for healing?

10:16 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

- Do you know that Jesus was never sick because He never sinned?

Please show your claim with Scripture.

- Don't you know there are unbelieving believers?

I didn't know there are hungry people who are full, or dumb people who can talk.

- God can heal unbelieving believers through doctors.

oh please

- When you are sick, do you thank God for the sickness or pray for healing?

No body thank God for sickness. Not even job. But I thank God in sickness. There is a difference. I thank God while I am in sickness because I know nothing can separate me from God, certainly not mere sickness. And of course I pray for healing and let God do his will whether to heal or not. I won't say His will is definitely to heal me the way I want, but it is the way HE wants.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Jesusheals said...

Believing a sickness is God's will, yet seeking to be rid of it medically ---> Unbelieving believers

11:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where does sickness come from?

http://www.answers2prayer.org/sickness/sickness0.html

12:12 PM  
Blogger Elaine Loy said...

Hearty agreement with Ah Kok's request for JesusHeals to support his claim about Jesus' perfect health with scripture; and also with his comment that there is a VITAL DISTINCTION between thanking X FOR, and thanking X IN! Distinctions should be respected where they exist, if we are to think and discuss issues with any benefit.

Yes, I would have read the "unbelieving believers" as referring to Christians like us who do not believe in divine guarantees for health and wealth. Precisely my earlier point! Doesn't this make it worse (more insulting to God, downplaying the significance and necessity of His blood) that even sick believers can choose between 'seeing God', as it were, and seeing doctors--as if the two were on a par since both, according to you, ostensibly, do result in healing (note: my point would still stand even if you were to say that healing by medicine is not a guarantee...)?

5:14 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

visited http://www.answers2prayer.org/sickness/sickness0.html

1 point I agree with is that the author mentioned God is not the one who cause sickness although He do allow the Devil to cause sickness. But I also observe the view is pretty much one sided. A right way of reading Bible is what we call Systematic Theology. We read the whole bible, know God entirely then we look at all the cases about healing and sickness, then we form our opinion.

In the Bible there is more than one case of healing. Are they all suggesting sickness are due to sin? No.

I refer to Luke 5:12-13 While Jesus was in one of the towns, a man came along who was covered with leprosy. When he saw Jesus, he fell with his face to the ground and begged him, "Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean." Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. "I am willing," he said. "Be clean!" And immediately the leprosy left him.

There is no suggestion that this man's sickness has got anything to do with sin. He had also not confessed any sin before he got healed. He simply was willing to be healed, that's all.

The dead girl of Jairus, did she even have a chance to confess her sin before Jesus resurrected her? How has her death got to do with sin then? How did her 'believe' saved her? I wonder.

Luke 17:11-19, Luke 18:35-43, John 4:43-54 again and again no mention of sickness caused by sin.

Because there are cases where sickness are caused by sin and there are cases where sickness are not caused by sin, therefore we cannot say because of 1 isolated case that sickness is caused by sin.

Now allow me to share the classic case. John 9:1-11 Jesus heals a man born blind.

As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" "Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life. As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work. While I am in the world, I am the light of the world."

Not only the sickness was not due to anyone's sin, it was meant for God's glory, for His work to be displayed that the man was sick.

One of the most important thing in reading Bible is to read it as a whole, to read out of the Word (this does not mean read out of context, in fact it's the contrary) and not to read into the Word, to know God as He is and not as we want Him to be, to know God as a whole and not as a hole. Another important thing is not to make assumption if it is not clearly stated in the Bible. To paraphrase it, 'If I say I don't hate durian, that does not mean I love durian'. It just mean I don't hate durian, that's all.

:)

11:29 PM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

I am in agreement with Ah Kok, but let me add a small qualification.

There is a very general sense in which all sickness is caused by sin--that is, the fact there there is even sickness at all is due to the presence of sin in this world. Because of the rebellion of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, a curse is upon God's creation. Because of the sin of Adam and Eve--and of all of us as well--creation is not what it should be, and physical sickness is part of this package. Conversely, in the New Heaven and New Earth, I believe that physical sickness as we know it will no longer exist.

But granting the above, it does not follow that the particular sickness of a particular person at some particular point in time must be caused by some specific sin in his life (or the lives of his ancestors). To think this is to make exactly the same mistake made by the questioners in John 9:1-11.

That is, even if, in a general sense the man in the passage is blindness is caused by sin (the possibility of blindness being a condition of this sin beset fallen physical world), even his own sinfulness (i.e., in the genearl sense that we are all sinners, even if sinners saved by grace), it would still be wrong for us to assume that the blindness is caused by some specific sin of the man in question, or of his parents.

11:49 PM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Wow... this is really long and drawn out. I have just one question to ask those who believe that they can 'attain' Divine healing by consuming Holy Communion as often as possible: "What happens if you consume it as much as possible and you remained in sickness and plague by disease? What happens if a relative of yours do the same and ultimately succumb to the disease?"

Imagine the disaster this would be to your faith because IMHO, you will either start questioning yourself, or you would wonder if God is there or not.

I do not intend to refute Pastor Prince's view on this matter. I just cannot help but felt that it is standing on very shaky ground. Frankly, while there are testiomonies coming from some that this is true, would there be yet someone who have tested this, and didn't experience it in a positive manner, actually come out and say so before the congregation?

I sincerely doubt so.

I propose a 'cease fire'. Why not we all just express love to one another, agree to disagree, and move on?

1:20 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Can we agree that sickness is a CURSE?

Why is there a curse in the first place?

Jesus was never sick? Why? Simply because He never sinned. (Hebrew 4:15)

Blindness is not a sickness.
Do you know that a Blind and Visually Impaired Person can live a healthy life?

7:18 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

To paraphrase it, 'If I say I don't hate durian, that does not mean I love durian'. It just mean I don't hate durian, that's all.

Can anyone tell God this
"If I reject Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, that does not mean I want to go to hell"?

7:26 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks, for visiting my blog. I hope that you were blessed! The wonderful thing about this subject is that God won't force His hand on you! If you don't believe that He wants you to prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers, then that's ok. You can still go
to heaven if you are born again!
I believe that He is my Father, and as a good Father I believe that he wants to give me good things, not bad! If you don't believe in these things then
you probably won't experience them. That's just a part of being human being... having a choice. So, praise God! God bless you all!

8:45 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Thanks, for visiting my blog. I hope that you were blessed! The wonderful thing about this subject is that God won't force His hand on you! If you don't believe that He wants you to prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers, then that's ok. You can still go
to heaven if you are born again!
I believe that He is my Father, and as a good Father I believe that he wants to give me good things, not bad! If you don't believe in these things then
you probably won't experience them. That's just a part of being human being... having a choice. So, praise God! God bless you all!

8:45 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

I agree that this is not a death and life issue.

For those who believe that Christians are greatly blessed, highly favoured and deeply loved, yes, as long as you confessed with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that He is the son of God who die to redeem man from sin, you can still go to heaven.

8:30 PM  
Anonymous ah said...

To Jesusheals,

I presume when you mentioned - Can anyone tell God this "If I reject Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, that does not mean I want to go to hell"? - You are referring to non-believers? Because Christians will not say that. And yes a non-believer's stand to your question is 'When I reject Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, I do not mean I want to go to hell, I mean I want to work my way towards heaven.'

Not so for a Christian because this question should not be even asked to a Christian.

- Is Sickness a curse? yes, I agree with that. But sickness can also be present not as a result of curse. Talk to Job if you will.

- Why is there a curse in the first place? A curse is there because someone wants to curse. Even a Christian can curse.

- Jesus was never sick? Why? Simply because He never sinned. (Hebrew 4:15)

This verse merely showed that he never sinned. It did not showed the connection between sinless and sickness.

- Blindness is not a sickness. Do you know that a Blind and Visually Impaired Person can live a healthy life?

You can group all handicap cases in the bible out of sickness for all you want so that your claim is justifiable. Let me give you a testimony. One of my friend walks very closely to God. She was sick and she know that it was God's timing to bring her back to be with Him eternally. The sickness caused her family to come close to God individually in a way that they had never been before. They prayed so hard that she recovered, but not for long. Within one day, her health fell. Her close friend who is also close to God personally received a message from God 'I am bringing her to be with me becuase she had completed her race and I am pleased with her.' This friend of mine told her best friend, 'Don't need to pray for me, God's will is for me to go back to Him because it is my heart's desire to be with Him. Although I love my family here, I love God more and He knows it. He is bringing me back.'

God uses her sickness to speak to her family members individually that He touches their life in a way all of them devoted their lives to Him. God brought her home peacefully to be with Him eternally. God has a purpose in this episode. I agree that God is not the one who brings sickness upon her. But God certainly allowed it to happen. Satan may had planned for something worse. But God can always use satan's plan to work for Himself. If according to your doctrine, God is a good father who will take care of His children, He will never had allowed the sickness to come upon her. But He did. The thing we see here is what we think is the best is not necessarily the best, what we think is not the best may not necessarily be bad for it is only God who can see beyond what we can. Sickness is not always bad. We've got to look beyond sickness, God Himself.

9:36 PM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Sickness a curse?

I would hardly find it a curse if I get catch a flu because I insist of sleeping naked with my air-conditioner on.

3:19 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

That will be a cause rather than a curse :)

9:57 PM  
Anonymous New Creation said...

http://www.cbnasia.org/fact_sheets/gods_healing.htm

10:50 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

http://www.cbnasia.org/fact_sheets/gods_healing.htm is rather one sided.

10:55 PM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

I feel uneasy when people puts up an URL and then ask of others to read instead of referencing to the Bible, and also not discussing the matter at hand based on what he understands from Scripture.

It is like discussing Mao with a mainlander, and then the mainlander pulled out Mao's "Little Red Book" and asks you to read it.

There is nothing more to discuss in that case.

1:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one very simple question.. In Acts 28 - Esp verse 5.. Why didn't Apostle Paul die when he was bitten by the most poisonous viper on the island called Malta?

Take time to think about this.. Is this a curse or a blessing? Ultimately, to the people of Malta, it is similar to a curse or rather the so-called retribution. But Paul didn't die.. Why??

11:15 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

Anonymous: I am not sure what's the point you are making. Perhaps you could tell us more directly?

(I think we could all do each other a big favor by stating our positions and arguments clearly and explicitly--no need to keep other people guessing as to what is it that you want to say--e.g., by asking engimatic rhetorical questions, or leaving behind unexplained urls. So--according to your reading of the bible--is sickness supposed to be a curse or not? if so, in what exact sense a curse? And besides, what exactly is the larger point of saying that sickness is or is not a curse? What exactly is the connection between this and the larger issues at hand?)

11:52 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

I believe God's will is for all His children to be healthy and wealthy and prosperous. For that matter, He also wants not just His children but even those who are not His follower. But I have tio understand that what I poerceive as wealth and healthy may not be what God perceives. True health is already secure when our salvation is secured. True wealth is ours when we have God the Creator as our very own Father. God is not the one who brings sickness and proverty unto us but He allows it for His divine purpose.

In sickness or in health, I know He is aware. Sickness is not all the time a curse, an act by the Devil. We live in the world so we have to keep our self healthy otherwise we will fall sick. Sometimes God allow a person to go through things that are 'unfavourable' in our perspective so that we grow closer to Him, for our own good and for His glory.

8:46 PM  
Anonymous New Creation said...

Beloved, I wish above all things that you prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers. (3 John 2)

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Dear New Creation,

The NIV reads:

3JN 1:2 "Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well."

And may I enquire how is this relevant to the stand you are taking; and what is your stand on the matter of the 'Health and Wealth' Gospel.

11:11 PM  
Anonymous New Creation said...

I believe with all my heart that God is my Healer and Provider. If you don't believe in these things then you probably won't experience them.

3:06 AM  
Anonymous Messianic Jews said...

SICKNESS IS A CURSE, NOT A BLESSING AND YESHUA DIED TO REDEEM US FROM THE CURSE!

3:26 AM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

Dear New Creation,

I believe I didn't make myself clear. So I shall repeat my question simply: "How is the verse relevant to the stand you are taking?"

~~~
Anyway, I believe with all my heart that God is God and not just that He is my healer because if that is the case then I probably couldn't take into my heart the fact that He is also my peace, my shepherd, my fortress, my strength, my refuge and much, much more.

God is Jehovah Rapha, no doubt about that. But he is also far, far more than that.

To put it across bluntly, stop staring at one facet of the jewel. Step back, and look at the glory of the entire jewel itself.

I am also not going to go into the debate on whether sickness is a curse or not as I have made my point on that. It is my view that sickness is one of the means for the glory of our LORD to be revealed and for Him to be magnified. No more, no less.

Or else you end up 'over-spiritualising' even the occurance of a common cold.

3:43 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

Lord Jesus did not die to redeem us from mere sickness. He redeemed us from spiritual sickness. He said, 'I came not for the healthy, but for the sick.' This is referring to spiritual sickness.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Sickness is a curse.
Please read Deuteronomy 28:15-68, sickness is called a curse.


According to John 10:10, it is the devil who steals, kills and destroys. Jesus came to give abundant life, not abundant death or abundant sickness. Sickness takes away from the abundance of your life. It also steals your time (and often that of others who must care for you) and sometimes destroys your bank account in the process.

Ultimately, it's your choice to believe or not to believe that God will bless/heal/protect you in this world...

10:49 AM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

We are back to where we started, so no point going on.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Nelson said...

It appears to me that the passage in Deuteronomy talks about what happens if ISRAEL is disobedient. Isn't the context here an emphasis on obedience instead of the terrible things that might happen to those who disobeyed tha LAW?

John 10:10 is continuation from the miracle Jesus did in John 9, where he opened the eyes of a blind man from birth. Please note that Jesus said this in John 9:3 -
"Neither this man nor his parents sinned," said Jesus, "but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life...."

This was what I said in an earlier comment: It is my view that sickness is one of the means for the glory of our LORD to be revealed and for Him to be magnified. No more, no less.

I am flabbergasted how a passage in Deuteromy is taken out of its context along with a verse in John 10, to present an argument that 'sickness is a curse'.

I was NEVER taught to read the Bible like this. I have known non-believers who pulled the verses out of the Old Testament and suggest that Christianity is a violent religion, and that's how they read the Bible.

8:20 PM  
Anonymous JesusHeals said...

Indeed, no point going on... we can argue until Jesus comes back..
I choose the path of "agree to disagree" and move on...

2:02 AM  
Anonymous susej said...

Have you read this article?

http://www.chc.org.sg/harvesttimes/ht_25/ht_25_02a.asp

5:52 AM  
Anonymous susej said...

Have you read this article?

http://www.chc.org.sg/
harvesttimes/ht_25/ht_25_02a.asp

5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haiz.. if I'm still an unbeliever, I would have said that this is absolutely dumb to continue arguing for who is right in understanding. Like what Jesus had said to His disciples when He was still walking on earth.. Those who said that they can see, will be blinded and those who said they can't see, their eyes will be opened. The bible is truly written in a way that not many people can see its Glory and what hidden things there are in it. I don't want to say that I know much, lest I boast coz there are so much more to find and I'm letting the Holy Spirit to uncover.

Why not just rest and let Daddy God defend Himself about this entire post and comments.. (A message to those who know what I mean.., if u have heard it somewhere). If the message doesn't come from the bible itself, let Daddy God deal with the person who puts that message.. We are in no position to make judgements on such topics..

Whatever it is, a non-believer will just say.. u r just being plain childish, fighting over certain topics to such extent. And, truthfully, sicknesses to a non-believer is a curse.. so, please just use some practical wisdom to understand this...

11:16 AM  
Blogger Huichieh said...

susej:

No. Care to tell us the gist of the argument?

anonymous:

1. If I am still an unbeliever, the first thing I will say to myself is: this is not really of my concern; but, having said that, and having studied a bit about the history of Christianity, I can perfectly understand why it might be important for believers to figure out that exactly their doctrinal commitments are. It tells me that these people are serious about truth!--even if I don't happen to agree with them.

2. Ok, now speaking as a believer. Granted that those who can see will see and those who can't won't, what exactly follows? Imagine one of the Bereans (in Acts 17:11) saying to people in his congregation "Those who said that they can see, will be blinded and those who said they can't see, their eyes will be opened. The bible is truly written in a way that not many people can see its Glory and what hidden things there are in it."--so...it's now redundant to search in the scriptures and apply ourselves to discovering what God says and what is demanded of us? Of course not!

3. That said, I still don't have no idea what exactly the deal is with sickness being a curse or not a curse... what exactly is the point either way? The discussion has been a tad too long and winding for its own good. I'm not even sure if we are all on the same page anymore. It would be good if anyone who wants to join in read carefull everything that has transpired above first.

11:51 AM  
Anonymous Nova Cat said...

I agree. I also do not see why some people are still obsessed with arguing whether sickness is a curse or not. It has departed way from the original discussion on the matter of 'Health & Wealth Gospel'.

BTW, I was told that obsession is also a form of mental sickness. So for those who actually suggest that sickness is a curse, going by your own arguments, you are cursed.

Duh!

12:50 PM  
Anonymous ah kok said...

A Christian is to be a witness for the Lord. That includes ensuring the defence of the full gospel i.e. the gospel that is according to the Bible and with no compromise to the good news: the favorable portion and the unfavorable portion, both are from God. That is the reason for doctrinal debate. Sometimes it is discussion, sometimes it needs to be debated. Paul in the Bible had debated with other apostles regarding practices and doctrine. There is nothing wrong about doctrinal debate as long as we remain subjective and not heat up.

8:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a long drawn out debate, I'm no theologian nor bible student, nor in my opinion a devout church going christian.

But I would like to ask, so what?

If one brethren through his faith in God believes that by approaching HC in this manner, is healed and thus grow closer to God, loves God more and filled with greater joy to in his relationship with God, is it a bad thing?

If another brethren believes otherwise and in his faith accepts what sickness and illness as trial from God and take joy in his tribulation to boast of God's glory and thus become closer in his relationship with God, is it a bad thing?

Let him who has the faith to eat from the idol's temple, eat. He who has the faith to eat not, eat not.

As long as they are not treating God as a vending machine that will give X once Y is done, I think it does not matter how exactly one practises one's faith as long as the key precepts are upheld.

Love God above all else and love others as yourself.

- Lost Angel

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciated the blog, very interesting and true.

If health and wealth be true.

Then the apostle Paul must have been a false prophet!

Oh what a fallen world we live in, who are you to say a Christian with cancer is somehow doing something wrong. Jesus said 'Take up your cross and follow Me'! The Christian walk is not easy! It's hard... Jesus couldn't carry His cross how then can we?! It's hard.

I seem to remember the apostle Paul, while he was in prison facing the same slander. That if he were truly following God then he wouldn't be in prison. What lies - lies from the pit!

As Pawson says

Holiness now happiness ever after!

8:38 AM  
Blogger bill said...

communion is a marrage agreement that you partake of and except the body as part of you in spirit you now have jesus dna for your healing

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Health and wealth gospel" is another gospel, definitely not the Gospel the Apostle Paul and other Apostles were propagating, much less to be called the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is popular and has come into the ecclesiatical realm like a flood. It is very popular now but very deceptive. Prince put in a lot or his salt and his pepper into the doctrines of Holy Communion. His other writings must be studied and examined, for soundness because thousands of souls are at stake who come into his meetings. If he preaches another gospel, he must be exposed for the good and purity of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Corrupt doctrines are sometimes sign and manifesto of the corruption of a man per se. Thank God that you are discerning, Elaine.

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Heidi said...

God loves me, He heals all that would come to Him. I know my earthly father would never wish anything bad to happen to me.. What more my heavenly Father.. I have experienced divine healing before, so has my mum. JESUS came to take away our diseases. So the diseases couldn't be from Him. Yes, He allowed it but it wasn't from Him. He wants us to go to Him to be healed. So that thru Holy Communion, we can remember Christ's work on the cross & know that sickness has no right in our bodies. IT HAS BEEN PAID FOR!! We are the children of God. Divine health is one of His many blessings that sets us apart from the world. Grace (Jesus) has come so that we might have life, & LIFE!! more abundantly (John 10:10).. Is LIFE sickness? Is LIFE poverty? No, I guess not. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness & all things (ALL THINGS!!) shall be added unto us (Matt 6:33)

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About this health & wealth ministry debate, I was listening to a sermon by PJP yesterday and he said "God will not only provide all your needs, but also all your WANTS." He used Psalm 23 (The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not WANT) to illustrate this. However, I feel he failed to address the fact that not all WANTS can be justified. In a modern materialistic society, some may misunderstand that and think that God is our genie in the bottle.

11:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addressing to Anonymous 11:45 PM

I tend to agree with your comment. Further to what you have mentioned about PJP preaching on the Shepherd Psalm verse 1, the Word "Want" in old English means "I shall not LACK." In Hebrew means "I shall not fall in needs". Beware of PJP. He is not sound in many doctrines, teachings and practices but his main attractions is wealth and health.

6:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God deals with us differently. To some he gave better health than others. To others he allows them to be more wealthy than many. There are diversified kinds of circumstance, trials and ways of life that to each his own trials as how he would overcome. Health and wealth are never the basis of God's favour though to some of His saved people he might give them more than others. When a teaching makes everybody crave for health and wealth, it is another gospel indeed very very close to heathenism - god of wealth, god of health and the god of longivity.

7:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Addressing to Heidi 3:03 PM

"SEEK YE FIRST the kingdom of God and ITS RIGHTEOUSNESS and all these things shall be added unto you." Matthew 6:33

First thing first should be our primary concern. "and all these things" only come as the result of Seeking first the kingdom of God and it righteousness. You have put the cart before the horse.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Which concept is more appropriate?

1) Calling the elders? or
2) Professing that by Jesus' stripes you are healed?

The answer is both. However, health should not be obstructed by the lack of available elders.

Jesus came so we can have direct access to Father God.

Elders are wonderful, however they should not get in the way between you and Jesus.

Focus on Christ, the author and finisher of faith.

9:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Full Gospel? There is only a very simple Gospel, and that is "The Gospel of Jesus Christ", the Word made flesh, died, and rose again for us.

When you manage to remove all the doctrines, theology from your head, you will find, that the entire bible is focus on Christ.

By telling people that there is fuller gospel than that, is adding words, and unnecessary complications to a very simple gospel.

10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

testing,new to this

5:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lol, pastor prince health and wholeness thingy is alr so long liao. If you go to new creation church now, they emphasise the part "do this in rememberance of me"

12:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous 12:04 PM

LBLL - Laugh Best Laughs Last.
1. Heresies went as far back as the days of Constantine. Julian the Apostate was at 300AD. Joseph Prince is still new of the old Apostate.

2. Now JP has gone to another phase of heresy worse than healthy or wealthy gospel - he had said that the Holy Communion is the actual blood and body of Christ.
This means CANNIBALISM! Africa's, and New Guinea's tribal chiefs will love this doctrine.

6:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One father has 3 sons, eldest being most matured, middle being younger but has some experience, the youngest would need advice from the elder brothers.

The 2nd son believes that they should study hard as ordered by father so that they get their favourite toy and at the same time gain knowledge, however, father would always give the demanded favourite toy if study hard, because father loves them as his son.

While the eldest believe that father orders them to study hard, ultimately, to gain knowledge, because father love them as his son and wants them to be knowledgeable.

Now the youngest comes, and 2nd brother tells his opinion. Youngest son then studies hard but father does not give him the toy he demanded. Youngest starts wondering, perhaps himself hasn't study hard enough, or father has never loved him, or he is not one of the true sons. In fact, the toy demanded is not matching his age.

If you are the eldest brother, will you interrupt?

What if one day 2nd brother does not get his demanded toy from father?

Having toy is for temporal need, knowledge has its long lasting value in life. Is our heavenly Father so blind that He gives blindly whenever demanded, or He is wise to gives whenever He sees constructive? Apostle Paul also did not claim his wealth and health, is our explanation to that is simply he didn't ask? So he was a silly old man which like to suffer for nothing? Or he had not had enough faith that God can offer him wealth and health?

Sia

2:55 PM  

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