Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Refutation of City Harvest's "Divine Healing" Article (Part 2)

This is a continuation of an article that I wrote some time ago with regard to Harvest Times' Why Do We Believe In Divine Healing?

Kong Hee:
Four hundred years later, in His first advent, Jesus Himself took away any shadow of doubt concerning healing in the atonement. At Capernaum, after healing Peter's mother-in-law of fever, Jesus delivered those who were demon-possessed by His command. He then "healed all who were sick" (Matt. 8:16). The Scripture immediately reminds us that this is exactly what Isaiah the prophet says Jesus would come to do:

That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses." (Matt. 8:17)

Response:
What exactly is the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ? It is simply this: the sacrificial offering Jesus Christ made on the cross of Calvary. In Romans 3:25, it is written:
God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished.
Therefore, citing examples of miraculous healings BEFORE the occurence of the substitutionary atonement on the cross does not prove that physical healings are covered in the atonement.

Take for instance, it is as illogical as saying because Jesus performed the miracle of calming the storm in Luke 8:22-25, good and fair weathers are covered in the atonement. Or the miraculous feeding of the five thousand in Luke 9: 10-17 means that Christians will never go hungry.

With specific regard to Matthew 8:17, there is no mention of the cross where the substitutionary atonement took place. Instead, this verse is simply meant to show the readers that Jesus’ ministry of healing fulfilled the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah 53:4. Performing miraculous healings was never the main mission of Jesus Christ. His purpose on earth was to be the “atoning sacrifice for our sins.” (1 John 4:10)

Kong Hee:
Christians everywhere would agree that Jesus didn't go to the cross for some, but that He went for all of us.

Response:
The above statement shows a pretty poor understanding of the history of Christianity and of Christianity in general. The biblical doctrine of limited atonement is still being preached in many Calvinistic and Reformed churches.

The historical Canons of Dordt, which was written in 1618-19 in the Netherlands, rejects the doctrinal error of unlimited atonement by the followers of Jacobus Arminius,
For this assertion is an insult to the wisdom of God the Father and to the merit of Jesus Christ, and it is contrary to Scripture. For the Savior speaks as follows: I lay down my life for the sheep, and I know them (John 10:15, 27). And Isaiah the prophet says concerning the Savior: When he shall make himself an offering for sin, he shall see his offspring, he shall prolong his days, and the will of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand (Isa. 53:10). Finally, this undermines the article of the creed in which we confess what we believe concerning the Church.
The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646), the London Baptist Confession of Faith (1689), and the Philadelphia Confession of Faith (1742) all state,
The Lord Jesus, by his perfect obedience and sacrifice of himself, which he through the eternal Spirit once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of his Father; and purchased not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto him.
Kong Hee:
If "our" in verse 17 means all of us can have salvation in a Savior, then "our" must also mean all of us can have healing in a divine Healer. But why aren't all healed? The same reason why not all are saved. Just as salvation is not automatic but a gift you receive by faith, similarly healing is not automatic. You also have to receive it by faith! If you can't believe God for it, you won't get it. It is as simple as that.

Response:
This is a faulty comparison. The reference to healing at Matthew 8:17 does not have anything to do with the substitutionary atonement, and thus it has nothing to do with “salvation in a Savior” since it is the blood of Christ at the cross that saves us (Colossians 1:20).

Earlier on, Kong Hee declares physical healings to be in the atonement. In other words, physical healings are defined as one of the covenantal blessings of the New Covenant, along with blessings such as the forgiveness of sins and the gift of eternal life.

And there lies the thorny question to be answered. If forgiveness of sins and eternal life are granted automatically upon salvation, why isn't physical healings accorded the same treatment as the rest of the covenantal blessings?

If healing is received by faith as Kong Hee claimed, shouldn't the Apostle Paul be telling Timothy about his “lack” of faith in 1 Timothy 5:23? The Apostle Paul wrote, “Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.”

He also wrote in Galatians 4:12-14,
I plead with you, brothers, become like me, for I became like you. You have done me no wrong. As you know, it was because of an illness that I first preached the gospel to you. Even though my illness was a trial to you, you did not treat me with contempt or scorn. Instead, you welcomed me as if I were an angel of God, as if I were Christ Jesus himself.
The Apostle Paul was obviously afflicted with a physical illness. If faith is a requisite for healing, then perhaps Kong Hee is suggesting the apostle did not have enough faith to be healed.

Kong Hee:
Acts 10:38 says, "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him." One fact stands out very clearly in this Scripture: sickness is an oppression of Satan the devil. You have to be very careful not to attribute a disease to God.

I have heard so many ignorant Christians making statements like "God has sent this sickness to teach me a lesson," or "This cancer is a gift from the Lord to bring you closer to Him." God doesn't do that. You must be clear that God heals while the devil afflicts. Healing is from the Lord while sicknesses are from Satan. Only then will you have the confidence and conviction to seek God's divine healing.

Response:
Does Kong Hee mean that God is not in sovereign control over sicknesses or Satan? Job 2:4-7,10 clearly shows that sickness is the result of God’s divine purpose. Job even associated his sickness with "trouble" from God.
"Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face." The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head.
...
He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
God said to Moses in Exodus 4:11,
The LORD said to him, "Who gave man his mouth? Who makes him deaf or mute? Who gives him sight or makes him blind? Is it not I, the LORD?
In 2 Corinthians 12:7, God has given the Apostle Paul “a thorn” in the flesh, “a messenger of Satan,” to keep him from becoming “conceited.”

And in Numbers 16:46-47, God started a plague among the Israelites.
Then Moses said to Aaron, "Take your censer and put incense in it, along with fire from the altar, and hurry to the assembly to make atonement for them. Wrath has come out from the LORD ; the plague has started." So Aaron did as Moses said, and ran into the midst of the assembly. The plague had already started among the people, but Aaron offered the incense and made atonement for them.
If sufferings or sicknesses are not governed by God, the following passage from Hebrews 12:5-11 would be meaningless.
And you have forgotten that word of encouragement that addresses you as sons: "My son, do not make light of the Lord's discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, and he punishes everyone he accepts as a son."

Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined (and everyone undergoes discipline), then you are illegitimate children and not true sons. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of our spirits and live!

Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Kong Hee:
The leper knew God has the power to heal, but he wasn't sure if God was willing to heal. Without hesitation, Jesus reveals the will of God in regards to sicknesses and diseases. He said, "Of course I am willing, be cleansed from your leprosy." The man was healed.

Response:
It is clearly shown in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 that it is not always the will of God to heal.
To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.
Kong Hee:
Faith is the atmosphere for miracles and healing. Doubt and unbelief are definite miracle killers. When Jesus came to His hometown of Nazareth, He was greatly despised by His own people. They scoffed at Him for being just the son of a simple carpenter (Mark 6:2-3). Jesus marveled at their unbelief and could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them (6:5-6).

When a Christian adopts an attitude that says, "Well, let God first heal me; then I'll believe in divine healing!" That is the surest way of hindering God's healing power. God's way is the way of faith—you believe first with conviction, then you will see the miracles of God taking place in your life.

Response:
There is no mention of faith in Matthew 8:14-15,
When Jesus came into Peter's house, he saw Peter's mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever. He touched her hand and the fever left her, and she got up and began to wait on him.
Neither is there any mention of faith in Acts 3:1-7,
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong.

35 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to point out that the majority of your presentation in refutation to City Harvest is indeed very enlightening. However one passage you quoted

It is clearly shown in 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 that it is not always the will of God to heal.

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me.

I would like to point out, even many theologians, commentators, expository preachers do not single out that Paul is talking about a sickness. Therefore to use the verse alone is insufficient to make the point. And to say, God is not willing to heal in some occasion, i think it needed more evidence from the scripture to support that view. :)

2/1/06 1:33 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Thanks for pointing it out. I will concede that theologians are divided over the "thorn in the flesh." Let me then offer a clear biblical example of God not willing to heal.

"Now Elisha was suffering from the illness from which he died. Jehoash king of Israel went down to see him and wept over him. "My father! My father!" he cried. "The chariots and horsemen of Israel!"... Elisha died and was buried ..." (2 Kings 13:14,20)

I believe this passage is pretty explicit: Elisha, a prophet of God was suffering from an illness. God was not willing to heal Elisha, and as a result, Elisha died from the illness.

3/1/06 10:24 PM  
Anonymous ruth said...

hi beowulf, can i hv ur email address? i'd like to send you an article to read...

4/1/06 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi
Thanks! I think the scriptures stating Elisha's illness is a better inference to the point you were making.. just my two cents worth.

5/1/06 9:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i'm not a member of chc but i have watched the pre-recorded services via internet and i find it inspiring. i too, from a charismatic church serving in the music ministry and often i am involved in some healing crusades. although i have not seen big miracles such as restoration of missing limbs or even raising of the dead (as reported by some speakers), i know of some cases where God has touched those with sicknesses and even cancer patients from my church. i do believe God is still healing , maybe through doctors or new medical treatments. maybe we cannot witness miracles as in the times of Jesus due to our lack of faith ?

13/1/06 4:34 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

To say that we cannot witness miracles because of the lack of faith is not biblical. If you read my article carefully, I have brought up Matthew 8:14-15 and Acts 3:1-7 where faith is not the determinative factor for miracles.

I have commented about this before – how do you evaluate miracles? The true test for miracles is found in the teachings of the miracle healer. We must authenticate his teachings against the Word of God. The service may be "inspiring" like an Anthony Robbins motivational seminar, but does it prove anything? The Word of God tells us that false teachers can perform miracles too. See Matthew 24:24.

Do not be mistaken. I do believe that God do allow miraculous healings even today. However, miracles must never be used to authenticate the teachings of a preacher. There is only one absolute authority that we can rely on – the Bible, which is the Word of God.

14/1/06 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems that you have a lot to say about the charismatic movement and also benny hinn. well, i cannot be a judge nor judge what you have proclaimed about these people. would it be proper to let God judge them instead?

24/1/06 9:33 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I have previously written an article specifically to address questions like yours. Please refer to the article Should We Christians Judge?

If you do not see anything wrong with the theology of Benny Hinn, which I find it hard to believe, I strongly suggest you spend more time studying the Word of God in order to learn biblical discernment.

The Apostle Paul has strong words for people who preaches the false gospel e.g. Galatians 1:8-9. Perhaps in your eyes, the apostle is guilty of judging and should "let God judge them instead."

If one displays apathy towards judging false teachings, then how could one be fervent for evangelism and missions when one of the goals of evangelism is to refute false teachings? Therefore, to preach the gospel is also to judge false teachings.

24/1/06 2:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, there is a lot of issues concerning the properity gospel. i personally believe God will honor those who honor Him. There has been a lot of condemnation on Pastors who are successful financially. Why is is that its okay for businessman to own bungalows and big cars and if a pastor owns one its gonna be a big problem? If he really is a man or woman who is genuinely after Gods heart and honors Him with his giving and all, I think he really deserves it, provided he does not misappropriate the funds from the church. For example, my pastor just moved in to a new home about RM300k and is furnished with imported furnitures, this has caused the members demanding for an EGM and the accounts audited. To me, i began to question myself whether our tithes are being properly channeled or not. I am not judging our beloved pastor. Infact our church is very active in evangelism and also setting up churched overseas and supporting them financially.

25/1/06 12:48 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I have covered the issue of the prosperity gospel in this post. If you do notice, I have not used the wealth of prosperity teachers as one of the points of my argument. For I believe in the sovereign will of God to bless whoever He pleases. “He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous,” according to Matthew 5:45.

My primary concern is the teachings of the prosperity gospel, not what houses or cars these people own. The prosperity gospel is a gross perversion of the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. If you say your church is active in evangelism, and by this I take it to mean evangelizing the prosperity gospel, then I am afraid this evangelism is really no evangelism of the gospel at all. Take for instance, even the Mormons and Jehovah Witnesses are active in evangelism and missions, but it is clear that despite their sincerity and zeal, they are not preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. They are preaching a false gospel.

25/1/06 2:59 PM  
Blogger Benjamin Ho said...

excellent posts you have down here. By the way, would you be interested in joining a Christian group in Singapore - check out our blog at www.theagorasg.blogspot.com

1/2/06 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) said...

I really personally think this is an unfruitful & unnecessary discussion that will not only bring division within the Church (that is in a spiritual sense 1 body) ((though not physically)) united in Christ but its also getting us nowhere! I think we should get our priorities right & instead be focusing on how to carry out the great commission of Jesus & win souls to Christ (the very heartbeat of God) if we truly say that we love Him & are His disciples & not in spending so much free time coming out with refutations, rebukes &/or finding fault with others who do not share or even practise the faith the same way as you do. This is indeed not only the shallow way of thinking but also a lowly way of living too! I would indeed call on all who read to 'judge' CHC by its fruits & achievements, like me for eg. a new convert who just got converted not too long ago through 1 of it's healthy yet wholesome outreach programmes & I'm also greatful to its leaders who preach the uncompromising message of FAITH that I can daily have a victorious walk with our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ! I'm also greatful to my CGL & members who truly cares for me (with no strings attached of course) & daily encourages me when I'm down, what a great Church to be in! I would also like to call on all the curious & seeking to attend its weekend Services & tell me who's truly glorified in the Service, Jesus or the devil? Action speaks louder than words folks, ask any other Churches around & they'll tell you of how co-operative CHC is in maintaining good relations with them & helping them in many ways or another! I'm truly proud to be a City Harvester & stand united with the sound doctrinal views (that almost all other Churches have no prob with & look up to) of my leaders & members alike regardless of what other smart alec (or attempting to be smart alec) say who's trying to be a religious pharisee whom we all know what their end would be, like'd Jesus said!

7/2/06 2:42 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I was posting a reply to Terence when I saw your comment. And I would respond in a similar way to you.

We are commanded to worship God in spirit and in truth (John 4:24). The truth requires knowledge of the Word of God. And theology is the pursuit of this knowledge of truth. If we have a deficient knowledge of God, our worship of God is deficient. An improper theology leads us down the path of idolatry. Do take for instance, the god of Roman Catholicism, Mormonism and Jehovah Witnesses. Obviously, their gods are not the God founded in the Scriptures.

It may be true that discussing theology is rather divisive. After all, the second greatest commandment is to love your neighbor as yourself. Ideally, Christian unity should be sought after. However, we must never let the second greatest commandment usurp the place of the greatest commandment. That is, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. Our minds must be involved in the worship of God. If our love for God comes at the expense of “Christian unity,” so be it.

Our priority is to glorify God, which is to obey the greatest commandment. Perhaps this should be your priority also. Apologetics should be part of evangelism and missions. When you want to preach the gospel, you must also be ready to defend the gospel. It is our duty to defend the gospel from false teachings. The Great Commission commands us to make disciples, not simply to make converts. True disciples of Jesus Christ must strive to be grounded in biblical truths. True disciples place their love for God first in their lives, and “Christian unity” second.

If you have read the Bible, that is if you are encouraged by your church to study the Bible, I am pretty sure you are able to find many instances where refuting false doctrines is considered quite important. Since you are a new convert, let me help you out by giving you a couple of Scriptural references to look up. For instance, Galatians 1:6-9, 1 Thessalonians 5:21, 1 Timothy 4:16, 1 Timothy 6:3-5, 2 Timothy 1:13, 2 Timothy 2:15, 2 Timothy 4:2, 2 Timothy 4:3, Titus 1:9, Titus 1:10-14, and Titus 2:1.

I am sure many religions other than Christianity can cite numerous examples of their fruits and achievements. But surely you are not going to vouch for the soundness of their doctrinal teachings based on their works? What should we as Christians do then? We should emulate the example of the Bereans who examined the Scriptures to test the teachings of the Apostle Paul. It is written:

“Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” (Acts 17:11)

7/2/06 3:48 AM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) said...

Seems to me from all your comments that john calvin is the 1 & only 1 who seems to know everything & the 1 & only 1 to have the 'truth of the gospel' through whom Jesus restored the supposedly only right church & the 1 & only 1 to know & have a right revelational knowledge of the Scriptures & of the Lord! Then what about Martin Luther? From what I know, before your calvin can even come up with the institutes of the christian religion, Martin Luther has already nailed his 95 theses of reformation to the cathedral door of the pope where even your calvin got his inspiration from to break off with the the R.C.! For your info God also doesn't need people or I should say self-appointed people to defend His gospel for Him, He is all Sovereign & is more than able to defend Himself (even Jesus said He could call on legions of angels to defend Him!) He most certainly does not need self-righteous people like you to defend Him which would in turn not only make a mockery of Himself in the sight of unbelievers but also cause a stumbling block to the unity of the Christian Brethren. It's also an abomination to declare that yours is the 1 & only true church in the world which is not only far from the truth but also contradicts the Bible as well, as it records there were many well established churches though there were disagreements between Paul & Barnabas who went on about their own ways. Seems also to me that the majority of the Churches now are either Pentecostal if not Charismatic in ethos & the traditionalist are also now in their minorities! You mean to tell me this is not the work & move of God in reviving His Churches (as in the case He did in John & Charles Wesley's work in revitalising the Anglican Church) & that all of them (Pentecostals & Charismatics) will eventually go to hell & that only you & your calvinist are the only ones to go to heaven? Then you are also a gnostic no different from the J.W. who believe that only they & their 144000 anointed witness who'll inherit the Kingdom. You only have head but NO heart knowledge @ all & the Holy Spirit living in you is so grieved! On top of that, you are also being a potential threat to the religious harmony that our nation have painstakingly build up over the generations by insulting other religious beliefs system? Is that what your church teaches you? Is the Lord in heaven wanting people to do all these for Him? Another thing seems to me that your priority is not in winning the lost but attacking other denominations creeds & creating confusion within the Christian circles to targeting their saved in the hope of winning them to your church! My advice to you is to stop continuing being a vessel of the devil but yield to the Holy Spirit of God to be used & enlightened by Him!

7/2/06 11:14 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I do not see what John Calvin and Martin Luther have anything to do with this article. I have great respect for both men, but their teachings must be subordinate to the Word of God. We must emulate the Bereans who tested the teachings of the Apostle Paul (Acts 17:11). If the teachings of John Calvin and Martin Luther run contrary to the Scriptures, then we must not hesitate to discard them.

I am also afraid that you have gotten yourself confused. There is a distinction between Charismatic / Pentecostal theology and word-faith theology. While it is true that certain Charismatic and Pentecostals believe in the theology of the word-faith movement, there are many who do not. Perhaps you need to try to understand more about my beliefs and my background instead of quickly branding me as a “tool of the devil.”

Now, I do not recall anywhere in my writings where I declare that my church is the one true church in the world. Nor did I say only Calvinists go to heaven. You are able to enter heaven only by the grace of God alone. As long as God regenerates your heart so that you are able to have faith in Jesus Christ alone, you are justified in God’s sight. I have no doubt that there are many in City Harvest who are saved by the grace of God despite the word-faith teachings of the church.

One must recognize that there will be certain people in churches who might not be truly saved. This problem is present in both Calvinistic and Arminian churches. Even in the New Testament, we have seen this:

“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” (1 John 2:19)

It is quite surprising that you wrote “God also doesn't need … self-appointed people to defend His gospel for Him.” You might be interested to know that many opponents of Calvinism accused Calvinists of being apathetic towards missions and evangelism. According to these opponents, if predestination is true, why bother to preach? To paraphrase your words, God is all sovereign and is more than able to bring people to the saving knowledge of the gospel. There is no need for evangelism at all. Let God do the work Himself.

There are some who believed in this kind of theology. We call these people hyper-Calvinists. They are not the true representatives of Calvinism, which is fervent for missions and evangelism. We recognize that God ordained Christians as the means for evangelism. In the same way, God ordained Christians as the means to defend the gospel. Whether you are a Calvinist or an Arminian, apologetics has been recognized by both sides as a necessary discipline in the propagation of the Christian faith.

Which of the two do you love more? God or men? If you love God more, keep His commandments. Keep His greatest commandment. Love Him by worshiping Him in spirit and in truth. Preach the gospel of Jesus Christ as taught in the Scriptures. Let your allegiance be to God, not to human institutions. Just as Martin Luther said, “Peace if possible, truth at all costs.” We must seek truth, not unity. If it can be conclusively proven from the Word of God that Calvinism is in error, I would not hesitate to renounce its theology.

I rather enjoy my discussion with Terence, a member of City Harvest, which could be found in Refutation of City Harvest's "Divine Healing" Article (Part 1) and A Response to Terence Concerning the Prosperity Gospel. Even though he and I differ theologically, I am glad he regards the Word of God as important, and I pray that he will continue to study the Word of God. I also sincerely pray that you too would someday discover the glorious truths found in the Word of God.

8/2/06 1:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi,

wht are your views concerning of women speakers in church? I am not a male chauvinist but while reading 1 Chorinthians 14, Paul mentioned to them that women should be quiet while in church worship service. I do realise that there are some churches who liked to speak in tongues (me to, sometimes) but I believe in what Paul has to say concerning the issues of speaking in tongues. People should pray that they could intepret tongues so that it will edify the church rather than edifying themselves. I am not against tongues but it would seem strange to an unbeliever who attends church for the first time to witness it.

8/2/06 4:29 PM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) said...

Dear Mr Beowulf,
I would greatly encourage you to watch Pst Kong's message which was preached over last weekend of Feb 11-12 & will soon be shown on CHC's website this coming week on its video segment. Pardon me but I think you represent the submarine aspect of the church that Pst was talking about which is so deep into theology (they can't wake up), theology that even God dosen't know about & once in a while would emerge with their binoculars to view the world as evil & condemns them to hell! Btw, most Pentecostal & Charismatic churches believe in Divine Healing regardless of which denomination they may come from, be they A/G, Church of S'pore or the Foursquare Gospel & not only limited to the Word-Faith Movement & I distinctively remembered your 'headline' being in this article refuting our Divine Healing Article published. So you are not only going against our Church but also the millions of Pentecostals/Charismatics worldwide who share the same tenents of precious like-faith. I think you better sit down & think over carefully what you've just said or going to say in the future as it seems to me that you'll most probably be branded a rush-die as Terence has mentioned its not that we do not have the theological expertise to refute you but its just that we feel we have a whole world to win over to Christ (as preached over the weekend) & not just sit down & engage in a never-ending shallow 'fight' & splitting theological hairs with you which would not edify us @ all & if that's just all of your concern & what you're living for, I pity you & you have my deepest sympathy for the greatest tragedy in life is to not be able to enjoy it (true freedom that Christ's died to purchase for us) & be held captive by theology & a set of methodology to play the Holy Spirit in your life!

13/2/06 3:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i believe what you said it true. we all should stop all the mud slinging. we're all serving the same God, using the same bible (different ver. only). What God has done during bible times, i know HE will do it even now. But what about the message which pastor kong preached 2 weeks ago concerning drinking alcohol or smoking? he used an example of Martin Luther and other famous christians who used to be a chain smoker. Althought I am not one of those "pagans" or pharisees who judges them, but won't a young believer be confused over this? our bodies are the temple of the holy spirit, spritually and physically. Although its not written that drinking / smoking is a sin, I think as a matured christian, we ought to be careful of not being a stumbing block to the young believers or non believers.

13/2/06 5:44 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

A response to Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) can be found at this link.

13/2/06 9:42 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

To Anonymous in both above comments (I’m not sure if it’s the same person),

I have not reached a definite theological position on the role of women in the church yet. Perhaps I may give my views on this issue in future.

As for the second anonymous comment, I am not entirely sure what your position is. Are you saying that we should not contend for the truth? The Jews and the Muslims can say that we are serving the same God as them. So should we abandon the preaching of the gospel then? Is Martin Luther and the rest of the Reformers mistaken about the importance of the gospel and should instead pursue “unity” with the Roman Catholic Church? Are the doctrines concerning the gospel so trivial that we could ignore them in pursuit of “unity?” According to you, we are “using the same Bible” after all.

If Kong Hee preached on Martin Luther being a chain smoker, perhaps you could cite a reliable historical proof of this remarkable claim. Martin Luther lived between 1483 and 1546. According to the history of tobacco, tobacco was introduced to France only in 1556, Portugal in 1558, Spain in 1559, England in 1564 or 1565, and Poland in 1580. Hence, it appears extremely unlikely that Martin Luther was a chain smoker since smoking was not introduced in Europe yet.

14/2/06 12:06 AM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) said...

To: Some smart alecs out there who listens to Pst Kong's messages in part & comment the 'in part' that he/she heard. Pst did not say that Martin Luther was a chain smoker rather it was Charles Spurgeon & C.S. Lewis that he was talking about! Please get your facts right the next time before you comment & become the next rush-die just like beowulf! If CHC is indeed a 'cult' like you commented mr. beowulf, then pray tell me why influential & respectable Psts in S'pore like Rev. Canon Dr. James Wong, Rev. Dr. Issac Lim (his godfather), Rev. Dr. Patrick Lau, Rev Dr. Naomi Dowdy, Rev. Dr. Rick Seaward & Elder Goh Ewe Kheng don't seem to have a prob with Pst Kong's teachings (like the way they had with joseph prince of ncc) & fellowships & even engage in corporative projects with Pst Kong? But they sure do have a big prob with people like you calvinists & bps!

14/2/06 2:33 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I did not say that City Harvest is a cult. There are certain characteristics of cults which differentiate them from legitimate churches. I do not possess the necessary information to draw the conclusion that it qualifies as a cult.

I do not know the reasons these men you cite support Kong Hee, the same way I do not know why prominent evangelicals like J.I. Packer, Charles Colson and Bill Bright signed the Evangelicals and Catholics Together (ECT) document, which compromises the essential doctrine of justification by faith alone.

Regarding the ECT document, many concerned Christians have voiced their views by appealing to the Word of God as their basis. Books and articles have been written to show why signing this document is a mistake. Likewise, I make my case by using the Scriptures as my basis, as you can see from my article. We are to test all things according to 1 Thessalonians 5:21. Not by appealing to worldly arguments, but by going back to the Word of God.

14/2/06 11:06 AM  
Anonymous patriot said...

its true, i heard pastor's message and it was c.s lewis / charles spurgeon who happened to be chain smokers. i think ananymous wanted to mentioned them but forgotten their names but only remembered martin. anyway, pastor did say that martin took off his pants and showed his bum to the pope who is not a christian. well, i dont have anything negative to say about pastor kong, whom i believe is a dyanamic leader and knows what he is preaching. But i understand what anonymous try to say, that our bodies ought to be treated like a temple. drinking to me is OK except i dont get drunk and start doing wrong, but smoking , wee that different if we are well matured born again believers. That is my personal opinion, I was waiting for pastor kong to discouraged the members from smoking.

14/2/06 11:08 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I have absolutely no doubt Kong Hee is a “dynamic” leader who knows how to motivate his audience. But so was Adolf Hitler, who was highly effective at speaking in front of large crowds. Portraying a “dynamic” personality in no way validate the truthfulness of the leader’s teachings.

As for smoking, I would oppose it on medical grounds, not on biblical grounds. The key verse many Christians appeal to is 1 Corinthians 6:19. Here is the verse in context:

“Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” – 1 Corinthians 6:18-20

As we can see, the Apostle Paul was specifically referring to sexual sins. Do note his phrase “all other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.” The apostle deliberately excluded all other sins. To include smoking in 1 Corinthians 6:19 is to stretch the Scriptures beyond what the author is meaning to say.

If anything goes, then why not include junk food also? Junk food is known to be unhealthy. You can say eating at fast-food outlets like McDonalds and Burger King is a sin against our own bodies. And how about obese and fat Christians? Does one include obesity in 1 Corinthians 6:19 too?

14/2/06 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's Zone) said...

Pst does not need to discourage us (the members) from smoking as, if you had indeed heard his entire message, he mentioned that he's proud of the fact that 99% of us (City Harvesters) does not have the/any habit of smoking, gambling &/or drinking & he continues to pray it'll be so but on the other hand, he preached that it dosen't mean we CONDONE the wrongful actions of other people ( the unbelievers) we see, doing when we get to meet them in the course of our lives evangelising. But what we do here is we win them over with our genuine love, care & concern & then we disciple them & help make them better people than they were before (ask any of those've that've been long enough in CHC & they'll tell you of the numerous & countless testimonies of lives changed they've heard ever since those've (the unbelievers) came into contact with the true & living God here in CHC)! & not to condemn them with weird & funny theological insights that we've seen 'brainaic' theologians debate over the centuries (with no end & results ((still ongoing by the way)) as we can see here in this site) & make them twice a son of hell than they were before with their rules & regulations (laws) & wonder why their church never grows & become greeneyed @ others' successes & starts refuting them (Word-Faith ((that've great success)) in their ministry) with their deep theology that I think Jesus also never taught in His entire earthly ministry!

16/2/06 3:29 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Your phrase “make them twice a son of hell” is derived from Matthew 23:15, where it is written, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to win a single convert, and when he becomes one, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.”

Now what exactly were the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the teachers of the law doing wrong? Perhaps these verses could shed some light on this matter:

"Jesus replied, 'You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.'" – Matthew 22:29

"Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that." – Mark 7:13

The errors of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law were not because they were “brainaic theologians.” It is because they do not know the Word of God. It is because they diminish the Word of God by following after man-invented traditions that usurp the place of the Scriptures. If there is anything we can learn from the mistakes of the Pharisees, it would be to study the Word of God lest we repeat their same errors.

The phrase you made, “condemn them with weird & funny theological insights,” reveals your ignorance of the history of Christianity and its theological development. I would strongly suggest you devote some of your spare time reading about the subject.

And as far as I can tell, the accusation you have made towards Bible-believing Christians is unsubstantiated and unwarranted. I have challenged you before to bring up Scriptural proofs to support your remarkable claim that our “deep theology” is not supported by the Scriptures. Alas, you have not done so.

There are basically two kinds of theology; one good while the other bad. Good theology requires deep contemplation, careful study and critical debate. Bad theology is disorganized, shallow and pictures itself above criticism. Does your aversion to “deep theology” concede that the “theology” of City Harvest is superficial and shallow?

16/2/06 3:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whether it is good theology or bad theology, what we really ought to do is just to make fishers of men and spread the good news. Isn't this its all about? Instead of spending half of our lives reading and reading the bible, I believe we should just be obeying it.Simple as that. Knowledge does not equal spiritual maturity. We're only matured when others can see the Gospel in us even without us preaching it. So too much bible theology can sometimes cause spiritual constipation.

22/2/06 12:50 PM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Correct. Knowledge does not necessarily equal spiritual maturity. But with spiritual maturity, there must be a growth in knowledge. Consider the following Scriptural passage:

“In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” (Hebrews 5:12-14)

The Apostle Paul equates elementary truths of the Word of God with milk. Solid food is therefore advanced truths from the Word of God for the spiritually mature. Do also note the phrase “by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.” If you want to discern false teachings and false gospels, you need to constantly study the Word of God.

You are setting up a false premise: that studying the Bible does not result in obedience. That’s absurd. On the contrary, if you do not study the Bible, you would not know what to obey. If you do not study the Bible, you would not know and understand the gospel found in the Word of God. If you do not understand, how would you know that you are correctly preaching the gospel?

Anyone can claim that he is obeying God and spreading the good news. Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses and Roman Catholics can claim that. But are their “gospels” the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ? Of course not, since bad or wrong theology is found in these “gospels.”

I am disturbed that you made the statement “others can see the Gospel in us even without us preaching it.” This is worse than preaching the watered-down gospel. This is not even preaching the gospel at all. Your statement is clearly unbiblical. For it is written: “faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word of Christ.” (Romans 10:17).

To imply that the gospel can be “seen” without preaching the Word of God exhibits signs of self arrogance.

22/2/06 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Geoffrey said...

Dear Mr Beowulf

I have never come across such lucid intelligence and wisdom from a Christian, learned or not.

Kindly forgive our fellow Christians for their excesses in criticising you, for they know not what they say while intoxicated by the fervour of their beliefs as presented by their leader.

I easily agree with you in more than 90 per cent of what you have stated.

I wish you good health and many deep joys from knowing the deep truths of God.

I wish I had your intellectual experience and qualities of comprehension.

May our Lord Jesus bless and protect you and your family.

Geoffrey

23/11/06 4:13 AM  
Blogger mytableisafirehazard said...

hey, I'll like to say something about your last evidence that the lame man was healed without the mention of any faith on his part.

in Acts 3:16, after the man was healed, Peter told the people who saw the amazed people that "through fath in his name [Jesus], hath made this man strong, wome ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all" .

Well, doesn't it mean that coz the lame man had faith thus he got healed?

Haha, anyway I agree with everything else of what you are saying. Btw, what church do you go to? :D

24/12/06 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Beowulf,

It's obvious you are studious....and loves to show off your knowledge.

In reading your blogs, I do wonder why you seem to attack your brothers and sisters in Christ with such thinly-concealed venom and hatred?

I wonder if you would change your tone if your Saviour, the Lord Jesus was standing in person in front of you as you blog. Could you truthfully say you blog as unto the Lord, and Jesus and His finished work on the Cross is magnified and glorified? Do you understand with your heart what His sacrifice is about, or are you skilled in quoting verses but running on empty in your heart?

The Pharisees in Jesus' day love to stand at street corners to be seen and show off their knowledge of God's Word. In their prideful arrogance and blindness, they love to catch Jesus "trangressing" the Word, afterall, He was only a carpenter. They, on the other hand, were learned, taught, intellectuals and theologians. When Jesus healed on the sabbath, they accused Him of breaking God's law. When He cast out demons, they accused Him of working with satan. God in the flesh was in their midst but they were blinded by self righteousness.

Gal 6:1 says those who are spiritually mature should restore their brothers / sisters with a "spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted".

As the spiritually matured - since you are able to point out others' errors, why not obey God and restore "false teachers" in the spirit of gentleness. Afterall, we should love God and obey Him with all our heart and strength, and obey the Bible, right? C'mon, surely you can do it, right?

9/2/07 1:36 AM  
Anonymous Mike Chen said...

Hi there, I happened to come across your article and I read with interest your rebuttal on divine healing. Currently I’m pursuing my Masters in a local theological College and divine healing is one of the areas that I explore with great interest. I can’t really agree with your view that healing was not provided for in the atonement. Many scholars would agree that Isaiah 53 is the passage prophesying about the atoning work of Christ, which includes forgiveness of sins and healing of the body. In fact, if we study Scriptures, it would not be difficult to find that very often, forgiveness of sins goes hand in hand with healing of the body. In 1 Pet 2:24, Peter emphasized the same thought I Isaiah 53 and Matthew 8. When Jesus gave the Great Commission in Mark 16, the promise of healing was given to confirm the preaching of the Gospel. Looking at the ministry of Jesus, we can see 2 things that He did with great consistency in line with preaching the Gospel, that is healing and deliverance. I'm still doing more research on this area, but I tends towards believing that healing is part of the atonement.

Also a slight comment on [Kong Hee:
Christians everywhere would agree that Jesus didn't go to the cross for some, but that He went for all of us.]

You might want to explain the famous verse, John 3:16. I think it make sense to say that Jesus did die for all, but not all will be saved because it depends on the respond of the individual to choose to believe in him. By the way, the issue on pre-destination and election is still a much debatable topic among the Christian scholars. You might want to explore on the other side of the argument before you come to an objective conclusion. You might be interested to know that, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Movement embraced Arminian theology and became its most prominent champion. Today, Methodism remains committed to Arminian theology, and Arminianism itself has become one of the dominant theological systems in the US.

11/8/07 1:34 PM  
Anonymous Logic said...

Basically CHC does not think twice about what it does and how it is portraying itself to the public.
I do not agree with Ho Yeow Sun dressing like a harlot and spreading the word of God through her so-called music. It is extremely sad that God has to be represented in this manner.

Also the emphasis on money and entertainment is totally out of line with God's teachings.

12/9/07 2:46 PM  
Anonymous e said...

hey beowulf. i would like to ask you on your views of praying in tongues.

24/9/07 11:42 PM  
Anonymous website said...

Thanks so much for this post, really helpful material.

30/5/12 10:26 PM  

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