Saturday, February 25, 2006

An unpleasant encounter with an anonymous visitor

There was recently an anonymous visitor to this blog, henceforth referred to as AV, who is under the obstinate delusion that I do not believe in divine healing. I was seriously contemplating whether I should continue the argument with this fellow who, despite my attempts to reason with him, denounces me as someone who comes close to blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

AV’s comments can be found in the comments section of the article Refutation of City Harvest's "Divine Healing" Article (Part 1).

AV revealed that he is from Marine Parade Christian Centre. In addition, he has made some unfounded accusations and fantastic claims:
  1. He attacked my character and disparaged my sincere intentions to reveal the theological errors present within the divine healing article by Kong Hee.
  2. He accused me of not being grounded in the Word of God. He has also stated in his own words, “You are merely selective in taking passages out of context and ignored reality... You are the one who lacks knowledge.” However, he has not cited any examples to back up his accusations.
  3. He has quoted Bible verses out of context, which I have addressed and refuted in my responses.
  4. He cursed me i.e. “Cursed be your self-righteousness!”
  5. His remarks were extremely impolite i.e. “Young man… Stop practising armchair Christianity…”
  6. He claimed to possess first-hand accounts and witnesses of divine healing. But when probed further, he was unable or unwilling to provide further details and proofs. Instead, he dodged my question and accused me of denying divine healing.
  7. He refused to give himself an alias to make our discussion less awkward.
  8. He flattered himself by saying “So, you cannot stand to my scrutiny already?” despite me taking pains in addressing his accusations.
  9. He has not, at any time, address the points that I have brought up in the parent article on divine healing.
Through this unpleasant encounter with AV, I do feel a certain empathy with James R. White, in his recent email exchange with Ergun Caner. Now I confess I am far from being as gifted as White in his exegetical Biblical arguments, but I do get an inkling of the frustration he felt when his opponent is unable or incapable of seeing reason and debating rationally.

While White has invited Caner to a public debate, I have invited AV to present his supporting evidence in detail, which he has refused to do so. Instead, he has resorted to challenging me to go to word-faith churches, as if that would address the main issue of concern – the absence of medical evidence for divine healing. And by the way, I have attended more than my fair share of “healing” rallies when I was in the charismatic movement.

I would like to reiterate once again that I believe in the sovereignty of God in healing. However, like any discerning Christian (or any theistic-minded and rational person for that matter), I do not simply accept any claims of divine healing without clear medical proofs or believe in anybody who waves the Bible around, purporting to be a healer.

Strong claims of miraculous healings require factual backing. Even Jesus, after healing the lepers in Matthew 8:1-4 and Luke 17:11-19, asked them to show themselves to the priest, to prove that they were actually healed. Therefore, I do not think I am being unreasonable in demanding medical proofs for verification. Attacking my faith is also irrelevant since my faith is in Christ, not in some alleged healing miracles or faith healers.

Anyone can easily invoke the name of God to lend a semblance of authority to his “ministry.” Like this guy “John of God” for example, who claimed to be possessed by the spirits of deceased doctors. Or the alleged healings at Lourdes that supposedly cured blindness, cancer, paralysis and tuberculosis. Or even Haitian voodoo healing, which mixed Roman Catholicism with African primitive religions. Would their gods be real then, since there are many claims of miraculous healings?


Blogger Ignatius said...

To the AV, I think I would say to him that being an armchair Christian is MAYBE better than a Christian who believes in only himself! Only a person with such belief would say to others, "So,you cannot stand to my scrutiny already?" I don't think we need his scrutiny. What we need is that he needs God's scrutiny!! ...

26/2/06 8:51 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

I believe that there are miraculous healings in the world, some close friends of my family work in third world countries for Christ, and miraculous healing are quite common. However, I have not proof for you unfortunatly. :(

Well God bless you!

1/3/06 10:39 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

That does seems to be the problem with fantastic claims of miraculous healings. They cannot be medically verified. Either the testimony is passed down from a friend of a friend of a friend, or it happened in some out-of-reach third-world countries, or you have to be persuaded to go to a “healing” crusade where “miracles” could possibly be orchestrated.

With thousands, or perhaps millions of purported “healings” happening around the world, surely we would be able to find at least one healing that can be medically verified.

1/3/06 1:04 PM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's) Zone said...

Hi, I saw the expression of your 'grief' over this anonymous visitor that you've created a link for it. Well, what I can say to you is that which is your own words that you've mentioned to me before "be prepared to face this when you choose to stand for the gospel". Hope my encounter with you is not like that visitor in your estimation. But I still think you're too vocalise in your refutal(s) & should tone down on your comments, being considerate to the feelings of others' (who may not be like-minded like you). Remember, Grace & Love produces more obedience than 'beatings & scoldings'. The way to win people over is to be diplomatic & not be critical or have a judgemental attitude towards others. I have absolutely no doubt that you're a man of good character who shuns away evil & stands for nothing but the truth & also a diligent student of the Word & servant of the Lord! Perhaps the method you adopt must change a little, I dunno but hey nice meeting a person (youth) like yourself who's so on fire for the Lord & lover of His Word & commandments, you've such a vast knowledge of the Word to be an edifier to others, remember, use the Word in season to 'slay' the works of the evil one k, God Bless & hang loose :-)

4/3/06 12:37 AM  
Blogger gayle said...

eh! i agree with that daniel guy ;)

4/3/06 1:36 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

Hi Daniel,

Well, I thought your language and tone in your comments was rather harsh too. As for my comments, I do try to tone down as much as possible, focusing on the theology, rather than the person. If I do make criticism or judgment, it would be directed towards bad theology and heresies, which I make no apologies. It is never my intention to attack someone's character or motives.

It must be noted that I do not presume to know the hearts of the people behind these aberrant theologies. Only God knows the true intentions of their hearts. Therefore, I deliberately refrain from criticizing people based on outward appearances i.e. the size and lavishness of the church, how a pastor dresses and how much salary does a pastor earns.

However, on some rare occasions, I do judge people whose intentions are clearly to deceive. Take for instance, Benny Hinn and certain word-faith preachers.

4/3/06 1:06 PM  
Anonymous Daniel (Pst Audrey's) Zone said...

Well, I think your rebuttal towards me wasn't exactly very nice too right? I also do not think that Benny Hinn or other Word-Faith teachers are out there to deceive others as all ultimate glory goes back to God & the finished work (Cross) of calvary & not to them! Benny Hinn or other individuals DOES NOT possess any power @ all to heal, but God alone! You further mentioned that IT MUST BE NOTED you do not presume to know the hearts of the people behind these 'aberrant theologies' but only on some 'rare occasions' do you judge, well, its either you do or you don't! What I can say is that we'll all stand before God one day in judgement & give an account (to Him) of what we've done with our lives here on earth & all our work(s) will also be tested by fire on that day by the way so let God be God to do all the judging for He is the only righteous One (Judge) worthy to pronounce all judgement on us & I'll gladly lay all my crown(s) @ His feet for He alone is truly worthy to receive all the glory & honour! We've got His 'business' to do here on earth in the meantime & it is to: Find a need & meet it; Find a hurt & heal it & we'll see daily, thousands upon thousands being added to the kingdom of God by showing genuine love & pratical care & concern to the lost as Jesus came for this sole purpose: to seek & save them!

5/3/06 3:13 AM  
Blogger beowulf said...

I have read my previous comments that were addressed to you and I could not see any place where I am being not “very nice.” As far as I can tell, I have carefully and courteously responded to your comments even though they are very provocative and consist of unsubstantiated accusations. Here are some of your statements:

1. “This is indeed not only the shallow way of thinking but also a lowly way of living too!”
2. “…regardless of what other smart alec (or attempting to be smart alec) say who's trying to be a religious pharisee …”
3. “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”
4. “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!”
5. “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!”
6. “…stop continuing being a vessel of the devil…”
7. “…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!”
8. “…But they sure do have a big prob with people like you calvinists & bps!”
9. “…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…”
10. “…with their deep theology that I think Jesus also never taught in His entire earthly ministry!”

I do not generally judge people’s hearts because I do give them the benefit of the doubt. However, there are certain individuals whose actions are beyond reasonable doubt. Benny Hinn is one clear example. Unless one stubbornly refuses to consider the plain evidence that exposes his outrageous teachings and claims, one cannot possibly accept Benny Hinn as a man of God. Benny Hinn has made a couple of false prophecies and claimed that he has been visited by angels. If this is not trying to deceive, then I don’t know what is.

It is interesting that despite your declaration “let God be God to do all the judging,” you are doing plenty of judging on my blog. However, I honestly believe that you are unwittingly being misled, and therefore I choose to give you the benefit of the doubt.

It is written, “Test everything. Hold on to the good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21). It is clear according to the Scriptures that we are supposed to judge in order to discern between good and evil. It is also written, “The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment” (1 Corinthians 2:15).

It is written in the Scriptures that there will be false teachers. “For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, masquerading as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.” (2 Corinthians 11:13-15). These false teachers are preaching false gospels that are not found in the Word of God. Unless you make time to study the Word of God, I am very afraid it would be difficult for you to discern truth from error.

You wrote, “Find a need & meet it.” The needs of men must always be subordinate to the glory of God. The Great Commission given to us is to make disciples for the glory of God. It is our duty to preach a Christ-centered gospel, not a man-centered gospel. It is our duty to teach and to instruct everyone the gospel of Jesus Christ found in the Bible. It is our duty to expose false gospels and to preach the good news to all men. And last but not least, it is our duty to proclaim the gospel among ourselves and among those who profess to be Christians, whether from church pulpits, in fellowship meetings or in bible study groups.

5/3/06 7:25 PM  

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