Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Affliction and suffering are a God-ordained part of the
normal Christian life.
One of the reasons God ordains affliction, suffering and illness in the Christian’s life is that he or she can in turn help others who are going through similar affliction, hardship and illness.
Many Christian groups have dedicated “Healing Services”. Typically, the pastor calls the diseased, disabled or despairing person to the front and claims their healing in Jesus’ name.
However, in 2 Corinthians 1:3-11, we read that God has ordained that Christians face affliction for a purpose – to help, encourage and comfort others facing affliction.
It may well be God’s will to heal the diseases, disabled or despairing Christian (through miracle or medicine), but that’s God’s work not ours. We should certainly pray for God to heal people, but it’s always with the caveat, “Your will be done, not ours”.
It may also not be God’s will to heal as God may have an even greater purpose in mind.
Pastors certainly do not have the power or authority to
claim healings in Jesus’ name.
“You are a King’s Kid as a Christian, you are royalty!You shouldn’t settle for second best!”
“God favour should overflow into your life as you walk in God’s anointing and enjoy health and financial prosperity!”
“God hates poverty and illness, you should claim your victory!”
“If you’re not walking in full victory of sin, illness and financial difficulty, you either lack faith or have unconfessed sin. Jesus came to give us abundant life!”
This is the Prosperity Gospel.
The Prosperity Gospel (PG) is called so because it teaches that God desires all his people to be prosperous.Physically prosperous.Healthy and wealthy.
To put it simply, the PG is the belief that God grants health and wealth to those with the right kind of faith.
The PG movement (according to Kate Bowler1, an assistant professor of the history of Christianity in North America at Duke University) has its roots in the late 1800’s in American tradition of New Thought.That is, that positive thoughts yield positive circumstances; and negative thoughts, negative circumstances.
The American New Thought movement took a Christian slant with a Pastor named EW Kenyon, who ministered in the US in the early 1900’s.
I know this is a very sensitive question as many Christians struggle with all kinds of illness, depression, mental illness and genetic disorders.
Note that the question is not, “Can God heal me?”
We know that God can.
If God can create the universe by speaking words, he can do anything.
The reason I ask is because some churches are teaching that Jesus died to take away all ours sins and sicknesses. They teach that physical health demonstrates a robust faith and physical weakness, or illness, demonstrates a weak faith. Health is therefore an indicator of the strength of one’s faith.
The cross was not a sad mistake, as some may think, but crucial to the mission of Jesus.
At the cross, Jesus made a once-for-all sacrifice for the sins of the world. He made propitiation to God for all the sins of all of God’s people throughout all the ages.
Jesus’ death is central to Christianity.
The symbol for Christianity, is not an empty tomb or a dove, but a cross.
The importance of the cross may seem self-evident, but a characteristic of prosperity preachers, with their false theology and ”victorious” version of Christianity, is that they downplay the importance of the cross. They speak about victory, anointing and breakthrough; but they seldom speak about the sin-bearing death of Jesus.
We don’t need the Bible to tell us about the reality of suffering and evil, it’s all too common to us. The Bible says we live in a fallen, broken, scarred world where evil and suffering are prevalent. In fact, the Bible is the only book in our world that can truly explain why the world is like it is.
There is a certain activity I do from time to time that is to the detriment to my mental and spiritual health. I know this, but yet I’m inextricably drawn to switching on the “Christian” TV channel, FAITH TV (channel 341 on Dstv). If it’s not the prophet speaking, it’s the apostle or bishop.
Of course, they ignore Ephesians 2:20 where it says that the church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and therefore now that the foundation is laid these offices have fallen away.
Of course, they ignore the fact a bishop is an appointed overseer, not a self-appointed leader of their own church.
Nevertheless, the far greater cause of my mental health issues is the blatant false teaching and distortion of the gospel, all in the name of Christ.
May I warn you that if you base your spiritual life and growth on FAITH TV, you are in great spiritual danger. You need to be committed to a local church to fall under the rule of Christ as God’s word is systematically and consistently preached week by week.
We love superheroes. When I was 7 years-old I just about gave my mother a heart-attack by dressing up as Batman and climbing onto a high, narrow wall and casually strolling along it. Thankfully, she managed to cajole me down. We especially like it when superheroes are “normal” first, then something odd happens and they discover that they have superhuman strengths and abilities. I think we like these “superhero” movies and TV series because God has placed in all our hearts a desire for a better body. It seems we all have a built-in dissatisfaction with our present bodies.
We have all been following with horror the atrocities committed by the Islamic State in northern Iraq against Christians and other minority groups. We are all filled with revulsion knowing that Boko Haram has kidnapped over 200 mostly Christian schoolgirls. Our news reports are filled with acts of violence being committed against Christians. Christians are suffering, going hungry and dying of exposure. How ought we to think about the suffering of God’s people?
Christians sometimes experience the depths of despair In Job chapters 1-2 Job has lost his livelihood, his business, his employees, his children and has been inflicted with a loathsome, painful, debilitating skin-disease. Yet 3 times in these chapters it says he is blameless. In other words, he is above reproach, a man of integrity and not living in sin. He is also a believer. Blameless believers, who have not fallen into sin, may go through utter dereliction.