Friday, August 24, 2012
Fill in the gap, anyone?
Here were men like John Wesley who started a revolution, a Great Awakening, or George Whitefield or Charles Spurgeon who were considered massive influences in the advancement of the gospel, but practically each one had strange drawbacks in their lives. Spurgeon had anxiety attacks and severe depression. Whitefield had painful gout and at times could barely stand. Wesley had marriage problems that left him miserable and poor. How could it be that such servants of God could be so plagued with problems?
There's a mindset - a paradigm (for those of you who'd like to add a new word to your vocabulary:) among Christians that fighting the good fight of faith only includes fighting against sin, injustice, unbelief and anything that blocks the gospel from being preached. No true Christian would argue against any of those things. But there was a huge gap in their beliefs when it came to confronting evil spirits attacking them in their personal lives.
When Jesus encountered the poor woman bent over double in the synagogue, He rebuked the evil spirit that was in her. How did He know that a common problem of osteoporosis in an old woman was a spirit? Why wasn't He just sweet and kind and feel sorry for her like most "good" Christians are taught to do to the sick and infirm? Why did Jesus speak against the fever that afflicted Peter's mother-in-law? But the biggest question is, why did this concept of rebuking evil spirits disappear from the Early Church? Only during the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900's did people begin to believe in healing - and though there were many legitimate healings, a lot of quacks and charlatans came along to create havoc so that now, the idea of a faith healer is nothing but a joke.
The fact that these great influential men had no clue that they were being attacked spiritually and could be healed and set free says a lot about the huge gap that exists in most Christians belief system today. It's that gap that allows people who don't believe to ask, "Why would a good God allow good people to suffer?" And the typical Christian answers with, "God works in mysterious ways. We must learn patience and faith through adversity." And because of these vague and comfortless answers, a good many former Christians have just drifted away from faith completely. No one could reconcile their life with what they read in the Bible any more.
Is that all there is to it? Of course God teaches us through adversity, that's basic Christianity 101. But doesn't He ask us to put on our armor and fight? Aren't we supposed to drive out demons, heal the sick and raise the dead? How about doing even greater things than Him?
I'd say that it's time we close this gap.