Thursday, May 30, 2019

Trade Wars

I am intrigued by arguments about who will win a trade war between China and the United States. Those who think life is only about winning and losing have watched too many Westerns.

There are few real winners in a trade war. Just like military wars, the winners usually find out too late that the costs of winning were much greater than they expected. For example, Britain and the United States thought that they won the second world war (started to defend Poland), but found that all of Eastern Europe was controlled by the Soviet Union.

In the same way, no one really wins a trade war. There will be winners and losers in the United States, and there will be winners and losers in China. We can be certain of two things. The winners in both countries will be the businesses that collude with government to protect their patch.

The unintended secondary consequences will fall far and wide in unexpected places and be more severe than expected. Just as with military war, the losers in both countries will be the ordinary people who get caught in the crossfire.

We should not trust political leaders who think that war is a good thing, whether military or economic.

The questions that Christians should be asking is what are the spiritual powers of evil intending to accomplish through a trade war. War of any kind increases their freedom to operate.

Wednesday, May 29, 2019


Jesus said that we should take the plank out of own eyes before we try to remove a speck from another person’s eye.

Zeynep Tufekci gives a good example of this challenge in a comment about Fundamental Attribution Error

We also have a bias for the individual as the locus of agency in interpreting our own everyday life and the behavior of others. We tend to seek internal, psychological explanations for the behavior of those around us while making situational excuses for our own. This is such a common way of looking at the world that social psychologists have a word for it: the fundamental attribution error.

When someone wrongs us, we tend to think they are evil, misguided or selfish: a personalized explanation. But when we misbehave, we are better at recognizing the external pressures on us that shape our actions: a situational understanding. If you snap at a coworker, for example, you may rationalize your behavior by remembering that you had difficulty sleeping last night and had financial struggles this month. You’re not evil, just stressed! The coworker who snaps at you, however, is more likely to be interpreted as a jerk, without going through the same kind of rationalization. This is convenient for our peace of mind, and fits with our domain of knowledge, too. We know what pressures us, but not necessarily others.

Christians can easily fall into this trap by making excuses for our behaviour, while denying that privilege to others.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019


Alan Streett gets this right.

I am convinced that most churches incorrectly define the term sacrament. In the first century a sacrament (Latin, sacramentum) was a common term that described a soldier’s pledge or oath to serve Caesar as Lord. It was his promise of fidelity to the emperor and empire. The early Christians adopted the word for use and applied it to baptism. At baptism believers pledged their allegiance to Jesus as Lord and promised to forsake all other lords.

Jerome (ca 345–430 CE) was the first to redefine sacrament as a mystical event in which God imparts grace to the believer.

While some Christian communities view baptism as a vehicle for transmitting salvific grace and others view it only as a symbolic act or ordinance, I believe both views fall short of the mark. Baptism in NT times was a person’s public sacramentum or vow of commitment in sight of witnesses to serve Christ regardless of cost. In this sense baptism was a status-changing ritual.

Faith is allegiance to a different Rescuer and Political Leader.

Monday, May 27, 2019


Reading about King Jehoshaphat this morning, I noticed something I had not seen before.

The Lord was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the example of his father David’s earlier days (2 Chron 17:3).
God was with him, when he lived the way that David lived in his early days.

Many Christians have made a hero of David, but we need to be careful. David started really well. He loved and served God wisely as a young man.

However, at the end of his life, he made some serious mistakes. He committed adultery, and murder to cover it up. He had troubles with his children that he did not resolve. He organised a census that God did not want.

There are two lessons here.

  • We must not gold-plate David. Jesus is the only one who lived a perfect life. We should model our lives on him, not on David.

  • It is not enough to start well. We must all endeavour to finish with the same zeal and love for God that we had when we began. That is a serious challenge for every follower of Jesus.

Friday, May 24, 2019


The prophet Miciah gives an interesting insight into how God accomplishes his purposes in situations where he does not have authority.

Jehoshaphat was a good king, but he had formed an alliance with Ahab through marriage. Ahab was keen on war and persuaded Jehoshaphat to join him in a war against Aram. The court prophets urged the two kings to go to war and promising that they would win easily (1 Kings 22:1-6).

Ahab and Jehoshaphat went to war, but were easily defeated. Ahab was killed and Jehoshaphat nearly lost his life (1 Kings 22:29-37).
God had a purpose to achieve in this situation. He worked through his prophet Miciah to accomplish this purpose. Miciah explained what God would do to advance his plans.

I saw the LORD sitting on his throne with all the multitudes of heaven standing around him on his right and on his left. And the LORD said, ‘Who will entice Ahab into attacking Ramoth Gilead and going to his death there?’

“One suggested this, and another that. Finally, a spirit came forward, stood before the LORD and said, ‘I will entice him.’

“‘By what means?’ the LORD asked.

“‘I will go out and become a deceiving spirit in the mouths of all his prophets,’ he said.

“‘You will succeed in enticing him,’ said the LORD. ‘Go and do it’ (1 Kings 22:19-22).
There are two important things to note.
  • The spirit that deceived the court prophets came from God. It was a good spirit. However, it went and became a deceiving spirit in the mouths of the court prophets. God gave these prophets a false message by sending a good spirit to deceive them.

  • God said that this spirit would be successful in deceiving the court prophets. The reason why knew a deceiving spirit would succeed was that a warring violent spirit was already at work amongst them. This spirit was revealed when one of the leaders of the court prophets (Zedekiah son of Kenaah) confronted Miciah. He struck Miciah on the face (1 Kings 22:24). The warring, violent spirit had such a stronghold in his life, that he could not respond to someone challenging his point of view without resorting to violence.

There is an important lesson here. Prophets with violence in their hearts and prophets who love war are vulnerable to a spirit of deception.

The same mechanism seems to be at work in Pompeo and Bolton.

Thursday, May 23, 2019


A year out from the next general election in New Zealand, Christian leaders are being drawn into talk about forming a new political party to contest the election.

One leader says that he wants to make a stand against the four big issues of abortion, euthanasia, genderism and homosexuality. Unfortunately, when Christians campaign on these issues, the fear, anger and hatred that pervades the modern church is exposed. When people see the lack of love and compassion, they will react with hostility. The media will have a field day.

Another leader says that the government is not supporting Christian values. The problem is that New Zealanders no longer support Christian values. They like what the church does when it cares for the weak and vulnerable (the Salvation Army still gets strong support). However, they intensely dislike some of the things that the church stands for and the way that it operates. People have adopted different values and now place tolerance and inclusiveness as their highest value. They still believe in some Christian values, such as generosity, forgiveness, kindness, but they will no longer accept the entire package of so-called Christian values.

Christians cannot blame the government or the media for the rejection of their values. They have failed to proclaim the gospel to the nation in the power of the spirit, so the percentage of the population that follows Jesus has dropped significantly. When Christian values do not flow out of love for Jesus and the fruit of the Spirit, they become harsh and sterile. Only the gospel and the Spirit can change that.

Christians claim to believe in grace, not law. They acknowledge that laws cannot change human hearts. Yet when grace is rejected, they always seem to fall back on using law to change people’s behaviour. They want to use the power of the state to enforce Christian morality. Unfortunately, using laws in this way always fails, and creates hostility to the Christians who try to impose their laws on people who do not want them.

When Christians use political power to impose their morality, they are seen as legalistic and hypocritical, and the gospel of grace gets lost in the smoke.

I don't understand why people with the wonderful gospel supported by the glorious Holy Spirit would prefer to rely on law and political power, as it turns the good news into bad news.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Solomon and Sheba

The queen of Sheba came to visit Solomon in Israel. She was amazed by his wisdom.

When the queen of Sheba saw the wisdom of Solomon, as well as the palace he had built, the food on his table, the seating of his officials, the attending servants in their robes, the cupbearers in their robes and the burnt offerings he made at the temple of the LORD, she was overwhelmed (2 Chron 9:3-4).
The queen was overwhelmed by what she saw. She gave honour to Yahweh, because she recognised him as the God of Israel, but probably not of Sheba.
Praise be to the LORD your God, who has delighted in you and placed you on his throne as king to rule for the LORD your God. Because of the love of your God for Israel and his desire to uphold them forever, he has made you king over them, to maintain justice and righteousness (2 Chron 9:3-4).
It was good that she acknowledged Yahweh, but this was not really what he wanted. God’s desire for the nations was different. Moses explained the desire of God in Deuteronomy.
See, I have taught you decrees and laws as the LORD my God commanded me, so that you may follow them in the land you are entering to take possession of it. Observe them carefully, for this will show your wisdom and understanding to the nations, who will hear about all these decrees and say, “Surely this great nation is a wise and understanding people.” What other nation is so great as to have their gods near them the way the LORD our God is near us whenever we pray to him? And what other nation is so great as to have such righteous decrees and laws as this body of laws I am setting before you today (Deut 4:5-8).
God wanted the Israelites to implement his law. When they brought blessing, the nations would see and want to copy them. God’s plan was kings of other nations would see the greatness of his law and choose to implement it in their own nation.

Unfortunately, the queen of Sheba did not see the benefits of God’s law. She saw a great king, with great wisdom. She could not copy that. Because Solomon had not applied God’s law, she did not see the benefits of it.

Modern Christians fall into the same trap. We get seduced by great political leaders, and fail to understand the Government of God is radically different.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Thorn in the Flesh

In his second letter to the Corinthians, Paul claimed that he had been caught up into paradise on a couple of occasions and seen things that he could hardly describe (2 Cor 12:1-6). He did not record them in any of letters.

Paul then explained that God gave him a “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from becoming conceited because of the greatness of these revelations. He explains that this was a messenger sent from Satan to torment him (2 Cor 12:7).

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!
Commentators have discussed the nature of the “thorn in the flesh. Most believe that it was some physical disability. Some have suggested that Paul was short-sighted. A couple suggested that he had bad headaches. Another suggested that he was afflicted with ear infections. One suggested that he had a bad toenail infection. These commentators missed the point, because they failed to understand what Paul actually wrote.

When Paul asked for the thorn in the flesh to be removed, God refused, but said,

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in your weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
Paul understood this truth and responded by boasting about his weakness, so that the power of Jesus could rest on him. He then explains the nature of the weakness and describes how he responds.
That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Cor 12:10).
He delights in insults, hardships and persecutions, because when they make him weak, he becomes strong in the Spirit of Jesus. But that is exactly what he had already explained that thorn in the flesh does. The weakness it causes makes him strong in Jesus.

The thorn in the flesh is the hardship, beatings and persecution that Paul experienced. A person who was radically pursuing God’s will like Paul could claim that God would protect from all trouble, but that had not happened. A spiritual power had been given authority to attack him.

Paul does not say that God sent this evil power. Rather, Paul was working in areas where the political and religious leaders had given spiritual principalities and power permission to work. By going into Asia Minor, Paul was working into enemy territory. This meant that the powers of evil had authority to stir up the political and religious leaders to attack Paul in an attempt to disrupt his message. Paul describes the nature of their attack in the previous chapter (2 Cor 11:23-25). The list of his trials is alarming.

  • Jail — Frequently
  • Cuts and scars — Exceedingly numerous
  • Beating to near death — Numerous
  • 39 lashes — 5 times
  • Beating with rods — 3 times
  • Stoned — 1 time
  • Shipwrecked — 3 times
These sufferings were caused by the spiritual powers of evil that had authority to attack him while he was in enemy territory. They did the worst they could, but the power of Jesus did even greater things Paul despite his sufferings. His mission was stopped, but was strengthened.

Why did Paul use the expression “thorn in the flesh”. When I read the list above, my first thought was that Paul experienced even worse physical sufferings than Jesus. But Paul would not want anyone to think that, so he described his suffering as a thorn in the flesh.

Jesus wore a crown of thorns. The thorns pressing into his head represented the terrible pain that he had to bear on our behalf. Paul said that his sufferings were like only one thorn pressing into his flesh, to indicate that his suffering was far less than born by Jesus.

Whereas, Jesus wore a crown of thorns, Paul was annoyed by just one trivial thorn. His trials were real, but they were minuscule compared with what Jesus carried on the cross. That's how Paul saw it anyway. An he rejoiced in his sufferings, because they allowed him to experience the power of the Spirit.

If we follow Jesus and Paul and go into enemy territory to share the gospel we will sometimes be attacked by the spiritual powers with authority in that place, as they try to hold back the gospel. However, whatever we suffer is just one thorn in our flesh. We don’t get a crown of thorns pressed onto our heads like Jesus. Better still, our sufferings release the power of the Spirit.

Thursday, May 16, 2019

God is Good

The core of the gospel message is that God is good.

Many people find this hard to believe. Life often seems to be stacked against them. Judging by their life experiences, they assume that God (if he exists) is mean, nasty and capricious. They feel like God enjoys playing tricks on them and making life miserable.
Jesus came with the message that Good is good. He healed the sick and cast out evil spirits to prove it.

The bad stuff that happens to people results from bad choices. More often bad experiences are the result of the spiritual powers of evil being mean and nasty. The bad news is caused by the bad guys, not be God.

The good news is that Jesus can redeem our bad choices and turn them into good. The best news is that Jesus came to deliver people from the control of the spiritual powers of evil. He wants to set crushed and broken people free to truly experience God’s goodness.

This world was created by a God who is good. That is good news.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Blessed are the Merciful

I am always amazed when Christians, who have experienced God’s gracious forgiveness through Jesus, want God to be really nasty to those who have rejected it. They seem to like the doctrine that people who have rejected Jesus will be tortured for eternity.

Fortunately, that ugly doctrine is not true, but why would people who have benefitted so much God’s love and grace want it to be true. Surely people who have received such immense and undeserved generosity from God would be praying, “Please show grace and forgiveness to them too”.

Blessed are the merciful (Matt 18:23-35).

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Accused Woman

This morning when reading the New Testament, I came across the story of the adulterous woman in John 8:1-13. When the Pharisees brought her to Jesus, he did not accuse her, but drew in the dust on the ground. Most commentators claim that Jesus was showing that mercy is greater than the law, but that is not right. Jesus showed mercy, but he also applied the law more correctly than the Pharisees.

Commentators also speculate about what words he wrote that caused the crowd to slowly disperse, but they have missed the point. Jesus did not write any words. If he had, such powerful words would have been recorded. Every male should understand what he was doing. He doodled in the dust on the ground, because he wanted the people gathered to realise where he was looking.

Jesus was the only man in the crowd, who was not looking at the woman, and he wanted them to notice. (No women were there, because the Pharisees would not have allowed a woman to be a witness).

This woman had been "caught in adultery, in the very act". Women in those times wore a single garment. They did not have fancy lingerie. So, she would have removed her garment while she was engaged in the adulterous act. When they dragged her out of the house and placed her in front of Jesus, she would have been standing naked. Her lack of clothing during the middle of the say was proof of their claim that she had been caught in adultery.

I presume she was an attractive woman, or she would not have been in this situation, so every man in the crowd would have been ogling her. Except Jesus, who was looking at the ground. When they noticed that Jesus was not looking at her, they would remember that Jesus had taught on the nature of adultery.

The teachers of the law and the Pharisees brought the woman to Jesus and made her stand in front of him. They demanded that he condemn her. They were testing Jesus to see if he would apply the law of Moses. However, Jesus understood the law better and applied it correctly to this situation.

The law has specific requirements for witnesses. Firstly, a person can only be convicted of a crime if there are two or three witnesses to it.

One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offence they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses (Deut 19:15).

The Pharisees and teachers of the law understood this, so they stood the woman in front of the crowd and claimed to be witnesses who had caught her in the act.

Jesus knew that the law had a second requirement. The witnesses must not have committed the crime they are testifying against. Adulterers cannot testify against adulterers. A witness who has committed the same crime is a false witness (Deut 5:20). Jesus reminded the teachers and Pharisees of this requirement, when he said,

Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her (John 8:7).

This was not a new idea, it was a requirement of the law of Moses.

After saying these words, Jesus continued doodling on the ground. Every man in the crowd would have noticed that Jesus was not looking at the naked woman, and have remembered that Jesus had taught on the nature of adultery.

I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart (Matt 5:28).

As they looked at the naked woman, and noticed Jesus had not, they would realise that they had committed adultery where they were standing. They had disqualified themselves as witnesses, because they were guilty of the crime that they were accusing her of committing. There was no alternative but to leave before Jesus revealed their sin.

When they had all gone, Jesus looked at her. He was probably the only man on earth who could do that without sinning. However, he had not witnessed her sin, so he could not condemn her. He told her to leave, and to stop sinning.

There was no witness, who was not guilty of the same sin, so the woman could not be convicted of a crime. Therefore, Jesus fulfilled the requirements of the law of Moses, he did not set them aside.

Jesus did more than that. He demonstrated that the adultery laws could not be applied. Given the nature of human hearts, it would be impossible for three men to observe a man and a woman completing an act of adultery without committing the same sin by lusting after the woman. If they did not do it at this time, they would have done so previously. Therefore, there could never be innocent independent witnesses to testify against the adulterers. Adultery is an unenforceable crime.

This was not new. Moses understood this. Jesus had already explained that Moses did not enforce the laws against adultery.

Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard (Matt 19:8).

Moses did not apply the penalty of exclusion for adultery, because he understood human hearts and knew that he could not get three independent, innocent witnesses who had not committed the same sin. Instead, he allowed divorce as a pragmatic solution to the problem.
Jesus did not change Moses' standard.

I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery (Matt 19:9).

Jesus did not abolish the law that required exclusion for adultery (Lev 20:10; Deut 22:21). He left it on the books, to demonstrate God's abhorrence for this sin. It is a serious evil that undermines society from the inside out. Jesus also confirmed that this law should not be enforced, because human hearts are not up to it.

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

Paradox of Democracy

Silvio Simonetti comments about the Paradox of Democracy.

There is a perverse logic that has been commanding human history at least since the French Revolution: The growth of the state’s power. Regardless of the rhetoric employed, every political action has invariably been expanding the power of governing groups over individuals. The state – and the bureaucracy that accompanies it – has increasingly occupied a central role in social interactions and it has slowly replaced old institutions like the Church as mediators of social relations.

The paradox of democracy – in which the people namely rules and the bureaucracy effectively does – prevails despite the will of political agents. The construction of a bureaucratic authoritarianism under the excuse of democratic progress is not an ideological matter insofar as an ideology does not allow the existence of the bureaucracy’s power; on the contrary, it justifies its exercise for the masses. Ideology confers an emotional veneer and helps to break down resistances toward the relentless exercise of the power to govern. However, ideologies are not the engines of power. Power obeys a dynamics of its own that must be understood to be controlled.

Democracy’s dynamic is not unique to this political system. Quite the contrary, the concentration of the power of command and its exercise by a ruling class is a constant in all human political associations. What is striking in the case of modern democracies is the accentuation of this phenomenon precisely at a time when the myth of the increase of both individual liberties and political participation has become universal. The more the reality of the exercise of power is covered by rhetorical layers that celebrate the achievements of human rights, the more relentless the control of the bureaucratic state over individuals becomes.

Monday, May 06, 2019

Jesus Forsaken??

Many preachers claim that Jesus cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me” because God the Father had deserted him (Matt 27:46). The idea is that the huge weight of human sins placed on Jesus caused God to turn his face and withdraw his presence from him.

This teaching does not make sense.

Sin is a thought or action. Once a sin or thought is completed, it no longer exists. It becomes an event in the past. What remains is the consequences of the sin. There are three four consequences. The sins themselves do not have any weight, because they disappear into the past, but the consequences can be weighty.

  • Shame and guilt that the person sinning feels. This shame can carry on a long time.

  • Obligation to pay any penalties required by God’s law. God does not demand that these be paid, but the spiritual powers of evil do demand their implementation.

  • Obligations to human courts (these end with death so they are not relevant to this discussion).

  • Requirements to pay a ransom to the powers of evil. If the person sinning submits to them, they have authority over the sinner, and will not let them free without a payment of the ransom.

Jesus died on our behalf. God made him sin so we could be set free.
He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Cor 5:21).
God made Jesus sin, but he did not sin on our behalf. He did not need to do the same sins as we had done to rescue us. He was not doing our sins when he died upon the cross. He could not carry our sins, because they were events in the past. He could not carry them, because they no longer exist (they are not kept in a box somewhere). What he had to deal with on the cross was the consequences of those sins, which continued on.

Jesus died that we might be set free from the consequences of our sin. He did not carry our sins themselves, because they belong to us, so our sin could not separate him from God. Jesus did not sin prior to the cross, or on the cross, so there was no sin that could separate him from the father. He was doing what the father asked him to do, not sinning.

Jesus did not feel our shame or guilt when he was on the cross. He was obeying God, so he did nothing to produce shame. He did not deal with our shame by taking it from us. Rather he dealt with the shame by delivering God’s forgiveness to us. Once we know that God has forgiven us, the basis for the shame disappears.

Jesus' death was the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded for the release of God’s people. That was the price Jesus was paying on the cross. They also demanded the penalties specified in the law for all human sins. Jesus dealt with the consequence of sin by dying for our redemption.

When he agreed to die the cross, he placed himself in the hands of the Roman governor and soldiers who would crucify him. He was not just submitting to them, but also to the spiritual powers of evil that controlled them. This is why Jesus' death on the cross brought him so much anguish. The spiritual powers of evil were free to torment him in any way that they chose.

My understanding is that in Jesus time, the Psalms were not numbered, so they were referenced by quoting the first line. So when Jesus said, "My God, why have you forsaken me", he was really crying out "Psalm 22". Jesus was saying that the prophecy of the psalm was being fulfilled in his death.

Psalm 22 explained what was happening to Jesus. He was surrounded by hostile evil spirits. These are the bull, lions and dogs that the Psalmist refers to. Jesus submission to the Jewish leaders and the Roman governor gave them authority to attack and torment him.

Jesus was not alone, because God was angry with sinful humans. Because the father loves the son, he felt or the agony that Jesus felt. However, the father could not rescue Jesus, as he would usually do, if Jesus called out for help (Psalm 22:5). God had to leave Jesus to face death on his own, because only a man could pay the ransom that the spiritual powers of evil demanded. This was not God’s will. He would have preferred to rescue Jesus. However, the spiritual powers of evil demanded the payment of a perfect human life for the redemption of the humans who had come under their control.

The spiritual powers of evil forced the Father to allow Jesus to suffer alone on the cross. He hated doing that, but he did it because that was the only way that Jesus could pay the redemption fee and set humanity free from bondage to the spiritual powers of evil. God suffered with Jesus, but separately, so that his death would count for every human who puts their trust in Jesus.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

NT Evangelism Strategy

  1. Evangelists should be led by the Spirit to a place where God has prepared people and wants to do things. This will usually be a public place where a crowd is likely to gather. Jesus was always in the right place at the right time (John 5:19). He exercised his ministry in public where the Holy Spirit was moving.

    One day as he was teaching... And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick (Luke 5:17).
    Evangelists should follow the Holy Spirit to the place where a crowd will gather.

  2. Once in the right place, the evangelists should then identify the person that the Father wants to heal. The Holy Spirit will point him out. When Jesus went to the Pool of Bethesda, he chose the paralyzed man out of the great number of sick people waiting by the pool (John 5:3). He was the one that the Father wanted to touch. Sometimes the person will come to the evangelists. The lame man at the gate of the temple came to Peter and John asking for money, but the Holy Spirit wanted him healed (Acts 3:3). When Paul was at Lystra, he saw a lame man whom the Holy Spirit had given faith to be healed (Acts 14:8,9).

  3. Having identified the person that God wants to heal, the evangelists should lay hands on them and pray for them to be healed in the name of Jesus. If the Holy Spirit has indicated that he wants the person to be healed, he will do what he said he would do and make the person whole.

  4. When the person is dramatically healed, a crowd will gather. An evangelist will take the opportunity to preach to the crowd. They will explain that the healing is a demonstration of the grace of God and the power of the gospel.

  5. The evangelist must be prepared to pray for all people who come seeking healing. When they see what the Holy Spirit can do, many will come looking for God to touch them. They will be looking for God’s mercy, so he will not disappoint them. In the evening after Jesus had healed Peter’s mother-in-law, the whole town gathered at the door and Jesus healed many who had various diseases (Mark 1:30-34). The same thing happened when Paul was on the island of Malta and prayed for a sick man. All the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured (Acts 28:8,9).

  6. All who respond to the gospel should be baptized.

(From BCWWL p.118).

Friday, May 03, 2019

Cry for Community

The need for Christian community is greatest in modern cities, where migration and urbanization have broken down traditional community relationships. Social mobility prevents stable relationships from developing and family life is breaking down. People feel like cogs in a machine and life is characterized by loneliness and personal insecurity. In this bleak environment, people are crying out for real community. Worse still, these people do not see the modern church as an answer to their heart’s cry. They see it as another institution that meets personal needs with programs run by professionals (BCWWL p.35).