Tuesday, 7 January 2014

WHAT FAITH IS

The word "faith" certainly has a number of connotations. Some people use it as a synonym for a religion or sect of one. Others use it to mean acceptance of unprovable ideas. For true students of Scripture, it has a much deeper meaning.

Lately, a group of charismatic ministers have arbitrarily added a new definition to the biblical doctrine of faith. In their view, faith is a force that Christians can use to cause things to happen, either positively or negatively, to themselves.

They further teach that words are containers of this force. In their distorted view, a Christian 0can become free from the "curse' of poverty by speaking to a wallet and positively confessing that it be filled with money. Similarly, they believe that any disease can be cured by speaking faith-filled words to it.

Forty years ago, I was a member of an aberrant house church. Its minister taught that Christians with enough faith had the power to speak forth healing over people on whom they laid their hands. The leader often quoted James 1:6 (KJV) which says "But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed".

Whenever the members laid hands on me and prayed in tongues, as well as rebuking the demon of poor sight in English, nothing happened. Though I seemed to see better after one prayer session, my vision remained as bad as it always was.

To make matters worse, the elders commanded me not to wear my eye glasses lest I lose my healing. Later, out of habit, I put them on and felt extremely depressed at my supposedly weak faith. I've lost track of how many times these Ernest-but-misguided people performed this ritual without any improvement in my vision.

I became so fed up with this cycle of failure, as I believed it was, that I turned my back on God for nine years. Eventually, I realized God wasn't at fault. It was those deluded folks who were to blame for teaching me blasphemous theology and then condemning me for lacking faith. I learned that God is sovereign and what he allows to happen is part of his good plan.

It didn't seem good to me that I was stuck with limited vision but I now see his wisdom in not healing me. God isn't a genie in a bottle or an intergalactic Santa Clause but a loving heavenly Father who gives us what will make us holy.

Because so many well-meaning believers struggle with the charismatic notion of faith, I wrote How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. I show how hard I tried to live up to the wrong standard and how I eventually learned the truth. This marvelous testimony of God's providential guidance is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm Publishers.