It is with a broken heart that this article is written. I feel so much compassion for the family who lost their 2-year-old son due to a freak accident in their home. The agony and devastation can especially be felt and known only to those who may have lost a son or a daughter they love. Everyone who has lost a loved one can identify with this and our hearts go out to those who are going through such a period of loss. Words of comfort seem to escape us as it leaves all of us with this sense of inadequacy when faced with such a circumstance on a personal level.
This article is not to berate this family or any family who was close to this particular event who attempted to give words of hope and comfort. What equally saddens my heart is the kind of comfort and hope that was offered to this family and I hope this article helps to open some peoples eyes to the devastation of the false teachings that surrounded this horrendous loss of this 2-year-old boy.
I am quoting portions of an article written by Jean Torkelson who writes about various religions in the Colorado region for the Rocky Mountain News. The headline of her article reads, Childs death seen as facet of Gods plan. (Rocky Mountain News November 25, 2002 pg.5A)
Notice that those involved are from what most would consider a Christian church. I am not judging as to whether those involved are Christians or not but I can judge the teachings according to what the bible does teach and to let the reader make their own determination on the matter.
I wish to point out the key phrases in this article and this is where I want to keep the focus.
(1) As Christians, they believe in miracles and certainly in resurrection
(3) trusting God for such huge, unnatural things
(4) Better unity with nearby churches, and a more mature, less shallow trust in the incomprehensible God
The first phrase was made by Jean Torkelson, who covered the story, and she acknowledges that Christians do believe in miracles and certainly in resurrection. I agree with her statement. God certainly is a God of miracles and I certainly do believe in the bodily resurrection of born again believers who have placed their faith in Jesus. However, what I do disagree with is that miracles are a result of our faith that causes God to perform miracles. Faith is taught as a power or a force that we can exercise and that a lack of miracles is a lack of our faith. This reduces faith in Jesus to a magical formula to where it is not your will be done Lord but rather my will be done according to my faith. This is how Kenneth Copeland explains this kind of faith.
Faith is a force just like electricity or gravity. (Kenneth Copeland on TBN. Mon, 09 Sep 2002 09:53:03 GMT http://www.letusreason.org/Pent40.htm )
This takes me to the second statement of Faith-filled. More often than not, when you see this phrase, the implication is that faith-filled Christians are on a higher level of spirituality than those who are not faith-filled. Those who are not faith-filled are those who are not trusting God for such huge, unnatural things as stated in the third phrase listed above.
It is a shame that this couple was joined by others who prayed for the resurrection of this little boy that only served to bolster the belief that if they just had enough faith that God would raise up this little child. What this devastated couple will be faced with in the future is the nagging question of, why did God not respond to their faith? Will they be told that they lacked in faith and need to conjure up more faith in the future? This is what I fear because this is what they were taught. This couple was seeking a church that was the right fit for their deep Christian faith. Instead, what they found was that their deep Christian faith was still lacking. I fear what will now happen will eventually result in the abandonment of what they perceived as being Christianity as I have observed so many times with others who were taught to exercise such a deep faith.
However, in keeping with what is typical of those who have greater faith than the less faith-filled Christians, there is always a way out when the exercise of their faith was found to be futile. It is explained in another way, in this case, perhaps it was not the will of God to resurrect this little boy, but perhaps the reason for this little boys death was for better unity with nearby churches, and a more mature, less shallow trust in the incomprehensible God.
I truly do understand the reason the pastors wife made this comment. She is genuinely trying to find another way to comfort this devastated couple. She is trying to ease the hurt and confusion by offering an explanation as to why God chose not to resurrect this child and to make sense out of a senseless death. I am certain her heart breaks for this couple as well but lets take a close look at this last statement.
First, what was the reason for this prayer vigil? Was it not for a gathering of other faith-filled believers to pray for the resurrection of this little boys embalmed body?
The Atkinsons joined faith-filled strangers to pray over the toddlers still form. As Christians, they believe in miracles and certainly in resurrection.
The little boy was not raised up to life so what happened? The deeper faith of the faith-filled was no more of a faith than the shallow Christians faith. It is difficult for me to understand how the demonstration of their lack of faith somehow unified other churches and bought them into a more mature, less shallow trust in the incomprehensible God.
I certainly would like to believe what the pastors wife really meant was that the more mature and less shallow trust was the abandonment of the falsehood of faith teachings and this is the unifying of the churches in the area. However, I believe this was just a way to explain away their faith teachings and to shift the focus away from the falsehood of their teachings when the body of this little child was not raised and this statement was made to save face.
A true mature faith is a faith the does not require working miracles but is a sustaining faith in Jesus no matter what may befall us and to trust in his goodness despite what the eye may perceive. Ironically, the very verse that faith teachers use as a proof text of the basis for faith teachings is the very one that exposes the falsehood of faith teachings. Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Faith teachers twist this to say that faith is being sure of what we see rather than what we hope for without seeing. It does not require faith to hope for what we do see; it requires faith to hope for things we do NOT see.
There is a teaching that is at the root of what we have read that explains what went wrong at this vigil of raising the dead. In the late 40's, a teaching called, the Manifested Sons of God doctrine was introduced. The most recognized movement that came from this teaching is called, The Latter Rain movement. This heretical teaching, picked up by mainly Pentecostal churches, has spread from there and is making its way into almost every major denominational church today. Although the main body of these teachings is predominately non-denominational, it is growing at an extremely fast pace and this is why some suppose that it is a movement of God. Other names of movements that have been attached to the Manifested Sons of God doctrine are called Kingdom Now, Joels Army, Five Fold Ministries, Deliverance Ministries, Word of Faith, and others.
In a quick nutshell, this teaching is that God will manifest himself through special super-anointed apostles and prophets in the last days. These special anointed people will win the world to Christ through the operation of wonder-working miracles. Not only will these handpicked super spiritual people be able to perform the same miracles that Jesus did but will perform even more miraculous miracles than Jesus did. Of course, one of the miracles that will soon become commonplace will be raising the bodies of the dead.
Suggested reading to become familiar with this movement that is destroying so many lives can be read at this URL. http://www.letusreason.org/Latrain1.htm
The best defense against false teachings are to be thoroughly grounded in the world of God on a personal basis and to become familiar with false teachings so they can be spotted if it should crop up in your church or neighborhood.
In His love,
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