It is my view that two of the most significant and challenging issues that we face in today’s Church are Islam and Pentecostalism. I say “significant” because they are both to the fore, and “challenging” because there is a clamour to compromise biblically on both. Islam, for all its claims to be “peaceable” is militant, as Winston Churchill describes in his 1899 River War, with “a fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog” (refer CETF 56 p. 33). Much of western society and of Christendom have succumbed to Islam due, in part, to the perceived threat of “violence”.

Is There a Muslim in the White House?

obamawww.NewsWithViews.com believes there is. On August 11, 2011 they published this photograph and statement.

Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim. Why would he deny it?

Honesty demands that we treat this as conjectural. There are as many internet articles in denial as in favour of the idea. At best the jury is “out” on the issue and may never pronounce a satisfactory “verdict”. However there is no disputing the following:

  1. Washington — More than 30,000 Muslims from across America attended the 46th annual convention of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) July 3–6, 2011 in Washington.
  2. rickandcatPastor Rick Warren, left, shakes hands with Yusuf Islam, best known by his former name Cat Stevens, (born July 1948) after speaking at the convention.
  3. From Wikipedia - Cat Stevens, is an English singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, educator, philanthropist, and convert to Islam. Stevens converted to Islam in December 1977 and adopted his Muslim name, Yusuf Islam1.
  4. Rick Warren Asked Allah for Forgiveness?2
    The preamble to the document Loving God and Neighbour Together: A Christian Response to A Common Word Between Us and You3 ends with these words:

    ...many Christians have been guilty of sinning against our Muslim neighbours. Before we "shake your hand" in responding to your letter, we ask forgiveness of the All-Merciful One and of the Muslim community around the world.

    It is a common practice among Muslims to refer to Allah as the All Merciful One. Any Muslim reading this would interpret the statement as a group of Christian leaders praying to Allah for forgiveness.  

    Rick Warren and nearly 300 other evangelical leaders signed this document. Yet, it appears to be invoking Allah, the false god of Islam and asking for Allah's forgiveness! AT BEST, this document makes it sound like Allah and the Christian God are one and the same. This is compromise that amounts to idolatry and treachery.

Pentecostal compromise is sourced differently. Frequently it flows from a recognition of errors within the movement, but unfortunately fails to realise that the errors actually flow from extremes and are not the whole or even the real deal.

I and my friends are “traditional” or “classic Pentecostals”, examples of whom can be traced throughout Church history4 and who became a force within the church due to what is now known as the “Pentecostal Revival” of the late 19th early 20th centuries—not of a principally experiential but rather of a biblical kind. Classic Pentecostalism is rooted in the Bible and is doctrine based not passion or emotion driven. Following the Great Evangelical Awakenings of the 1800s sincere spiritual men and women, desiring holiness of life, searched the scriptures and rediscovered what motivated and mobilised the early New Testament Church. It was the baptism into the Holy Spirit with the accompanying supernatural signs including, though not limited to, “speaking in tongues.”

“Sola Scriptura” was the early Pentecostal catch cry. Sadly, with what was to any intelligent person, obvious distortions, perversions and downright deceptions associated with Toronto and Pensacola et al, the appeal to Scripture was largely abandoned or plainly distorted and misapplied in favour of excitement and emotional highs. I have an audio tape recording of Andrew Evans stating that just like the early New Testament apostles and elders met in Acts 15 to rule on a dispute so he and his colleagues as their modern counterpart had met to “judge this movement” and they concluded IT WAS OF GOD—end of argument. No—it was hardly the beginning. You can’t play fast and loose with scripture like that. The false so called “revivals” of Toronto and Pensacola divided the Pentecostal Church. It was a watershed in deception.

In the two previous CETFs I wrote a two part series entitled AoG and Elim – Living in a Fool’s Paradise and foreshadowed a look at Classic Pentecostalism in the light of their departures. Starting with this issue of CETF, God willing I hope to develop a series on Traditional Pentecostal doctrine of which the following is the first.

Undoubtedly Healing in the Atonement as a teaching was developed by Pentecostal Bible teachers. Let’s have a look at the teaching from a biblical perspective.

ED – I wrote the following in May, 2005 and see no reason to change it in any way - plp.

BY HIS STRIPES WE ARE HEALED

Isaiah 53: 5

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed (NKJV).

Based on these and parallel words in the New Testament, men have established the doctrine of HEALING IN THE ATONEMENT. BUT what do we mean by it?

The Hebrew word that is translated “wounded” is rendered “profane” 36 times, “pollute” 23 times and “defile” nine times in the KJV. On one occasion it is applied to the act of “prostitution”.

Do not prostitute your daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness. He was WOUNDED for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities: Leviticus 19: 29

The Hebrew pesha‘ = “transgression” and ‘avon = “iniquity” convey the ideas of rebellion, perversity and depravity. Christ was profaned, polluted and defiled on account of our depravity so that He might cleanse us from our rebellion and perversity. His was much more than physical suffering and the healing secured is far greater than physical healing. Quite obviously He did suffer bodily as the words “wounded” and “bruised” rightly convey. But interestingly the Hebrew daka’ here rendered “bruised” is three times elsewhere rendered “break” and three times “break in pieces” and once “beat to pieces”. Yet Scripture specifically tells us that not a bone of His body was broken. It was torn, pierced and mutilated, but not broken. So the description relates to something other than to the physical.

We will never plumb the depth or know the extent of His spiritual suffering when the Lord Jesus Christ drank for us the cup of human iniquity after He pleaded:

Matthew 26: 39

O my Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.

Paul the apostle by revelation provides an insight to what happened:

2 Corinthians 5: 21

For he {God} has made him {Christ} to be sin for us, {He} who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Maybe the abhorrence of the despised sin of prostitution embodied in the idea of His being “wounded” helps us to appreciate what He suffered. The prophet says that the “chastisement” i.e. the discipline, chastening, correction “of our peace {shalom} was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.”

So what do we mean by healing in the atonement?

Interestingly just as Isaiah 53: 5 does not emphasise the physical sufferings of Christ so it does not focus on our physical healing either. When it says “with His stripes we are healed” the context does not feature physical healing nor do the actual words “we are healed” or as Peter renders it in his epistle “you were healed”.

1 Peter 2: 24

Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed.

The word that the Holy Spirit chose to express the healing that is ours as a result of Christ’s sufferings as described in Isaiah chapter 53 is the Hebrew rapha’, which is the suffix of one of the great Jehovistic names of God – Jehovah-rapha. The origin of this name is explained in Exodus chapter 15 when the bitter waters of Marah were healed. So even there in the origin of the word the basic idea was not the healing of the human body though there is a reference to bodily ailments and by extension to physical healing:

Exodus 15: 26

If you will diligently hearken to the voice of the LORD your God, and will do that which is right in His sight, and will listen to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon you, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the LORD that heals {rapha} you.

Of the more than 60 uses of “rapha” in the Old Testament, physical healing is in view only 20 times at the most and some of those are questionable e.g. 6 relate to leprosy, which clearly has connotations of sin. Leviticus 14: 48 refers to a house being “healed” of leprosy. The English “cleansed” or “cleansing” conveys the truth better. Based on a word study the most that we can say is that the meaning of “rapha” is determined by the context. For example Elijah is said to have “repaired” {Hebrew rapha} the broken down altar (1 Kings 18: 30) while Elisha “healed” {Hebrew rapha} the waters of the spring at Jericho (2 Kings 2: 21-22).

Interestingly while the prophets use the word “rapha” frequently it is never used in the sense of physical healing after the book of Psalms. So why is it assumed that the healing referred to in Isaiah 53 is physical? Twice Jeremiah applies the idea to the effect of false teaching about peace: (Repeated verbatim in 8:11.)

Jeremiah 6: 14

They have healed {rapha} also the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, peace; when there is no peace.

There is absolutely nothing in either Isaiah chapter 53 or in 1 Peter chapter 2, which suggests that the healing referred to, is principally physical healing from bodily sickness. On the contrary in both passages it is sin that is in view not sickness.

So is there healing of the body in the atonement? Yes, God has made provision for physical healing in and through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross, but not in an exclusive sense. Healing is included in the atonement in the same way that every blessing is provided for in the atonement. If there were no atonement there would be no resurrection and no rapture, no heaven and no hope and of course no healing, either now or in the future. The atonement is central to everything in the Christian gospel.

This is not the way most Pentecostal preachers view the so-called doctrine of HEALING IN THE ATONEMENT. What they mean and teach is that in the same way that Christ suffered for our sins He also suffered specifically for our sickness. As a consequence of this it is our right and God’s obligation that we should be healed. This is what Paul (or is it David?) Yongi Cho and the several healing TV evangelists teach. Some go so far as to say that Christ died to deal with sin and He suffered beating and torture to deal with sickness.

One preacher I heard went so far as to say that Christ suffered 39 stripes to atone for the 39 major diseases known to man. This is absurd for a number of reasons not least the fact that there is no evidence that there are 39 major diseases. Christ did not suffer only 39 stripes, which was the Jewish maximum for corporal punishment. Christ suffered under the Roman flail not the Jewish rod. His “stripes” were more numerous and severe than those administered under Jewish law. Scripture describes his back as being like a ploughed field as a consequence of His suffering (Psalm 129: 3). In fact the expression “with his stripes” would be more accurately rendered “by his bruise” we are healed.

Extreme teaching about healing in the atonement is false and dangerous. There are Bible passages that show that it is not true. It conjures up a false hope and ends undermining not creating faith. It detracts from the glory of Christ’s death, both in its purpose and in its achievement. Christ did not die to deal with sickness. He died to deal with sin. That is the gospel as defined everywhere in the New Testament but particularly by Paul:

1 Corinthians 15: 3

I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

We must understand that both Isaiah and Peter are talking principally about the effect of the atonement upon mankind’s basic ailment, namely sin. Peter’s phraseology makes this abundantly clear – “by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2: 24). The Greek “iaomai” translated “were healed” conveys the idea of being “made whole” i.e. “to free from errors and sins, to bring about (one’s) salvation.” The “stripes” are viewed as part of the cross experience. It is actually a euphemism for Christ’s death and does not allude to His whipping or suffering separate from His death on the cross. It is heresy to divide the atonement into sections, so part deals with sin and another part with sickness. “Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15: 3). His death is effective for our salvation – which in the ultimate sense affects the whole man – body, soul and spirit. However the ultimate is not yet. Paul the apostle explains that part of redemption is not complete. We are waiting for something:

Romans 8: 19 & 23

For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God … (23) We ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, that is to say the redemption of our body.

When Isaiah refers to the “chastisement of our peace” being laid upon the suffering Saviour (Isaiah 53: 5) he uses the Hebrew word “shalom” which expresses far more than our English “peace”. It embodies the ideas of physical and financial well-being. When our Lord voluntarily accepted the divine discipline, chastening and correction that should have been ours He secured everything that is essential to our spiritual and physical life and well-being for this present world and for our future in the next. These are the benefits that flow from the atonement, and so long as you see Healing in the Atonement in that context your faith is totally biblical. BUT, and here is the major area of dispute, to remain biblical you must recognise the time warp. Physically we “were healed” at the cross. Practically we are still subject to sickness as members of the groaning creation until Christ returns.

So can we enjoy the healing that has been secured for us now? The short answer is yes. The explanation is much longer than I can deal with here. You can obtain a full teaching on this subject by contacting CWM and asking for the tape “HEALING IN THE ATONEMENT.”

Suffice it to say that the Bible always provides the answer. Paul wrote:

Romans 8: 11

But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwells in you.

The final demonstration of this will be at the resurrection and rapture of the Church. Those who have died in Christ will be “quickened” i.e. “made alive” by the Holy Spirit and those who are still alive will be “quickened” i.e. “changed in their bodies” by that same Holy Spirit. That’s not just pie in the sky when you die. There’s also some steak on the plate while you wait. All of this is contingent upon the work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the Cross i.e. The Atonement.

By faith that “quickening” of which Paul speaks and which is general for the future can be experienced now. For those who are interested in these things theologians call it the “proleptic” principle – but as I have suggested it’s a big subject. I have dealt with it in a full message available from Christian Witness Ministries.

NEXT – Classic Pentecostal Teaching on “speaking in tongues, interpretation and prophecy.” As a precursor see LETTERS – this issue

Footnote:

[1] http://cetf.co/ng0jjq
[2[ http://cetf.co/p0WRBs
[3] http://cetf.co/pfvgiE
[4] http://cetf.co/oa07Ll cf. http://cetf.co/q4eXjT

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