16 November 2007
Friday– 7.00 PM
Offices in all Malaysian states are open from Mondays to Fridays with the exception of three states in the East Coast. Kedah, Kelantan and Terengganu follow the Isl–mic calendar and close their offices on Fridays. As Kerteh is a town in Terengganu, churches held their worship services on Fridays. I did not preach that Friday morning at Kerteh Charismatic Centre because a team from the Open Doors Ministry was scheduled to do their presentation. I was glad to attend the meeting and learned much about the other suffering and persecuted churches around the world.
As I had lived in the Philippines for three years and just ministered there in the last three months, the report of the plight of a Filipino pastor’s family overwhelmed my heart. Pastor Mocsin L. Hasim, a former Musl__m, had received death threats telling him to stop ministering to the Musl__m tribes and return to embrace Isl–m. After officiating a wedding on 3 June, 2006, he was ambushed on the way home in an isolated area of Zamboanga and shot 19 times – mostly in the back. His 22-year-old daughter, Mercilyn, who pillion-rode on his motorcycle, was shot five times. Police said that the father and daughter were killed by three gunmen and possibly assassins of the Moro Isl–mic Liberation Front, a rebel group known for persecuting the Christians in the Philippines. With the pastor dead, one would think the ministry to the Musl__ms had ended. The truth of the matter is that in his place, his widow and remaining children have taken over. They are continuing the ministry to the Musl__m tribes. This and other reports challenged me with a sense of great urgency – Elijah Challenge End-Time Model of Evangelism should be taught to as many Christians as possible and… as soon as possible. Through this “Power Evangelism”, even hardcore practitioners from other religions cannot deny that Jesus Christ is Lord.
Since it was a holiday, the training session for the evening began an hour earlier. Five young Malaysian engineers who work for Petronas had been invited to be observers at the training session by a church member. Four of these had yet to know Christ. The rest of the trainees had arrived and for the subsequent half-an-hour, everybody was enthusiastically worshipping God. The night’s lesson began with the question: “Does the Bible teach that we, the disciples of Christ, have also been given authority to heal the sick as Jesus did?” Referring to Luke 10, the participants learned that as followers of Christ, they already have the authority to heal the sick. Jesus was known as the Man of the Spirit and Christians are known as the Church of the Spirit. What Jesus had done when He was bodily here on earth, the disciples would have to continue. That was the reason why the Book of Acts read as a continuity of the Gospel of Luke. The former recorded the miraculous works of Jesus and latter the works of the Church. I pointed out these important words of Jesus found in John 14:11-12: “Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves. I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father”. The context of “greater things than these” is “at least believe on the evidence of the miracles themselves”. It would be difficult to dispute the fact that we, who believe in Jesus, would do greater things than just miracles. He did not say that we should do away with miracles because He was asking the people of His days to “at least believe” that He was in the Father and the Father in Him based “on the evidence of the miracles themselves”. In short, Jesus declared that He was actually God Himself in answer to Philip’s question, “Lord, show us the Father and that will be enough for us” (John 14:8).
Why are we not doing the same – using the evidence of the miracles to prove that Jesus is God and Saviour? Why do we even doubt? The promise that we will do greater things should be sufficient for all Christians. I specially emphasized that in the New Testament, preaching about the kingdom of God was regularly connected with the healing of the sick. Many modern churches have removed the “power” from “Power Evangelism”. Very few of them actually experienced miracles in their ministries to the lost and thus in this way they have failed God.
The participants were amused when they were presented with this idea: “You heal the sick ‘by faith’ believing that they are already healed whether or not they are really healed.” The reason was because some of them were practising this erroneous notion and was suffering silently. This “accept-by-faith” approach is detrimental to the infirm because after prayers, if they were to reveal that they are still sick or in pain, then they would be soundly reproved for not having enough faith. The participants were extremely relieved to know that in Elijah Challenge, we emphasize that no one should testify about their healing until they are “really” healed. When someone says that “I believe I am healed”, we would normally ask, “Is the pain still there? Have you gotten a medical report confirming that?” I stressed, “Pretending to be healed is not faith!” Having faith to be healed and actually being healed are two diametric poles. One is the process of believing and the other is the result of believing. It is like David who believed that he could kill Goliath as contrasted with the fact that he had already killed Goliath. He would never kill the giant if he were to claim that he had already done so.
Another question that really got the people’s attention was whether we should push people down so that they can get healed. When I impersonated a “push-them-down” preacher who knocked people down either by his bad breath or his tripping-feet technique, the participants were roaring with laughter. I clarified that I was not mocking or against the experience of being “slain” but against fake experiences. Personally, I had the experience of being “slain” or knocked down not once but twice by the Holy Spirit. The encounters were not voluntary – with a broken back, I would be the last person who would want to go crashing to the floor. At one time, in the Filipino church that I helped to pastor, parishioners were voluntarily hitting the floor. They stopped after I warned them that pretending to be “slain” was a form of lying. Therefore, to push someone down or to voluntarily go down by oneself is a highly inappropriate behaviour.
The participants already anticipated the answers to the question: “Why are miraculous healings rare in the churches today?” Some said that because they were not taught how to do them. Others expressed that it was due to unbelief in the churches. I concurred and shared that the primary reason was that of disobedience – the churches had failed to recognise, accept and obey Christ’s command to heal the sick as He did. Since the churches did not believe that they had the authority to do so, they would therefore become handicapped. Another reason is that the churches had tried and failed before and had become discouraged. In place of healing the sick in Jesus’ name, they sought easier ministries that were more within their control. However, I pointed out to the participants that no matter how many failures, we still have to obey the commandment of the Lord. The final command of Jesus before returning to heaven is found in Matthew 28, also known as the Great Commission. Jesus has commanded all his disciples to proclaim the Kingdom of Heaven and to heal the sick. As long as there are unbelievers and sick people, our task is not finished yet.
With other teachings, I challenged the participants to build up their faith. During the demonstration, there were only three persons who needed healing. Without me being directly involved, some of the leaders and members of the church began to take authority over the infirm. One of the five young men who had a painful ankle was partially healed. After the initial command, the pain subsided and subsequently, it became a mere “shadow of pain”. As the brothers continued to command and as there was no further improvement, their faith was wavering. I was tempted to heal this young man myself but there was a check in my spirit. If I were to do it, these brethren would never be able to trust in the authority and power given to them by the Lord. They would forever believe that only the pastors or special ministers have such power. The young man was very happy with the significant improvement of his painful ankle. He could turn his foot without the extreme pain that he had felt before. However, he promised me that he would come back to the church and receive complete healing. Sister Pek Lian was healed of her neck pain after some sisters laid hands on her. The participants also took authority over a baby’s hand that had a misplaced bone.
The faith level of the believers in Kerteh was still in its infancy. In tiny steps, these brethren had moved some small hills but definitely not mountains. Since one should never despise humble beginnings, one must trust that the Holy Spirit would continue to do mighty works in their hearts and one day; this congregation in Kerteh will do great exploits for Christ.
Rev Albert Kang
Elijah Challenge Asia