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From The Regular Mailer
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Tue, Mar 20, 2012 at 4:12 PM
You may have already seen the above. Have you considered writing a book on this subject for believers as well as nonbelievers? I will explore further myself where this craze is heading. I've heard about the mark of the beast connection; but think the enemy has something even more sinister in mind. Any thoughts? On a different subject I'm looking for a Holy Spirit Bible home church in the Tweed area, or further out. I'd go up to CWMFellowship but it's a bit far. A brother in Christ. JF.
From Lance author of the series of articles - Certainly there is a link between Tattoos and the Mark which I will explore in Part 3.
ED - Unfortunately there are very few fellowships that we can recommend with confidence. Those that we do recommend can be found at - http://www.cwmfellowship.org/network.html
Dear Lance, I have read your article with interest and am troubled by where the logic instantly leads. To "cut to the chase", your endeavour to expose a trend that, I agree, is troubling within 'Christianity' introduces legalism. If we are to obey this command given to Israel, then we are responsible to keep all the Levitical lawsand for what purpose?—certainly not salvation which is by grace through faith. The far greater need for the church today is faithful exposition of the teachings of The Apostles regarding how we, as believers, should live. In making these statements I hope that you consider the guilt/condemnation that many may be left under. Please do not misunderstand me; I am not in favour of tattoos. You must expose the reason God gave the Israelites these commands (not the Church - an important distinction); so they would not appear as the pagan idolaters around them. Why can't we keep the instruction to the church in the same vein as that of the Council at Jerusalem? You take one verse (Lev 19:28), from God's instruction to the Jews and imply an inherent sinfulness for today's believer, even potential demonpossession through skin puncturing? Are you saying getting a tattoo is a sin and gateway to demon-possession? Do you have a clear scripture for this? I am not aware of any such Bible verse, and it sounds dangerously similar to the heresy of “transference of spirits” that predominated the church in the 80s & 90s. Today's professional tattooists, many of whom are artists with no religious views or practices (I can't believe that I feel a need to defend their practice) have Health Department regulations to follow, are simply seeking to make an income. Also, you defend your use of Lev. 19:28 by highlighting the prohibition of prostituting of our daughters, citing there is no NT equivalent. Not true. What about the law of Love? How could I prostitute my daughter in the light of the vast volume of instruction and commandments to love?
ED – The above is a combination of two comments, on the topic, made on our www.cwm.org website which has attracted over 1200 hits and where there are a number of other comments and responses – (see http://cetf.co/IrjdC6 – end of article). Your questions and/or comments are invited there and/or at our CWM blog (http://www.christian-witness.org/blog/) and FORUM (http://cetf.co/okRwwN) plp.*******
Thank you for the good article on tattoos. I have long felt they are demonic, and am uneasy to see so called Christian leaders sporting them. Now, can you do an article on the growth of Labyrinths, please? The Anglican Church is very keen on promoting them and their adherents follow without question! I am told there are 26 labyrinths in Shepparton alone—outside the University campus and at schools as well. One of my friends has made a DVD on the history of them but I`m afraid the "powers that be" wouldn`t want to see it! Last week`s SS lesson had a big picture of one that the kids had to trace around with their fingers and find God in the middle!! We need to be warned! With best wishes, to you and Kath, from FM – Victoria, Australia
The Psalm of the Cross
Blessings Philip: With great and much awe I read the various comments in the magazines sent to me. One I lately have been looking at is the December, 2011 17.4 issue 58 viz. the writings and comments on pages 26/7 about Jesus on the cross. Yes Psalm 22 is very beautiful prophetic Messianic Psalm. How true is your hermeneutic explanation that we must never ignore what the Bible says or simply interpret a difficult text or passage arbitrarily on the basis of what we think or even believe! Verse 1 – “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” We all know the original writing had no commas. So man in his wisdom placed the commas where we see them today. Let's place the comma behind the "WHY". We now have a totally new meaning to this cry. It becomes a painful cry of the God/man who is cr ying out in desperation, knowing what is about to happen. God does not and never will forsake us. Verse 6 has hardly ever been commented on: "But I am a worm...." WORM in Hebrew is TOLA. The juices from this grub were extracted and used as a colouring dye for royal robes. When ready to lay its young it would attach itself to the underside of a branch, lay its young and die. The young then immediately ate and drank of its parent's body thus starting new life. This is a prophetic analogy of what our partaking of Christ. John 6:51-56 - Jesus said, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of God and drink His blood, you have no life in you." We would not exist or survive without Christ and His death. Brother Philip I would be most grateful for any comment. Yours in Christ Jesus, JH – Australia.
ED - You are right - Several years ago I preached on The Scarlet Worm focusing o n th e verse yo u cite. It's an overwhelming TRUTH. The tape may be available through the CWM Resource. We now have provision for ON-LINE comments. Go to - http://cetf.co/IfoEXT Surf to the end of the page and make your comment. plp
Healing in the Atonement
Hi Phillip – thank you again for the CETF publication – I am just reading through Sept 2011 Issue and refer to your article By His Stripes We Are Healed. I recall in 2005 when you first printed this piece and at the time I thought it was a good analysis of the scriptures in point. I remember however that while the article clearly explained the purpose and priority of Christ's death and resurrection, to heal and restore our severed relationship with God caused by sin, it did not however give answers for physical healing. I will try and be brief with some comments in relation to this article, though it is not a simple subject.
Physical healing, from my experience, is one area that is sadly neglected in the church today, especially when we see certain ones who sensationalise healing in “look at me” type crusades, so called, where there is no real healing at all. The main question for me when it comes to healing is “Where does sickness come from?” That is to say, what is the cause of sickness? It stands to reason that if we knew the answer to that question then perhaps we would be able to work towards dealing with the cause, not in our own strength of course, but with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. One thing that we must conclude from the scriptures is that nothing in this world happens by chance - nothing happens randomly. God is a God of design, and pattern, and methodology and reason and purpose. If He didn't have input in the affairs of men then He wouldn't be God. When I have suggested to people that the cause of sickness is sin, I am either gently rejected or rebuked and scorned as if I am some kind of madman. Once, I too would have been affronted if someone had told me sin was the cause of sickness, especially if I was sick. Now that I know and understand a bit better the power and effect of Christ crucified, in one sense being a sinner is not life threatening as I have a Saviour who lives and cares for me. My focus has shifted from my shortcomings to the mercy and forgiveness of God. Not that I sin that grace may abound - please keep my comments in context.
My response on a few occasions has been that we have a Saviour that paid the penalty for all sin and unrighteousness — a Saviour who became a curse to redeem us from the curse of the law—and the power of that sacrifice is still effective today. I remind them that “if we confess our sins then God is faithful and just to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.
My point is, if sickness comes as a result of sin, and I have not been able to come up with another answer to the above question, then it can be removed as a result of repentance and forgiveness of that sin through the blood of Jesus Christ our Saviour. There are numerous verses throughout the Bible that encourage and promote the Mercy of God, how bountifully merciful God is – “His mercy endures forever”.
A basic Christian principle is where there is sin, and the individual acknowledges the sin, repents, avails himself of the shed blood of Christ, and turns away from the sin, restoration with God or “healing of relationship” with God will come, just as you have said in your article. This then is the primary purpose of the perfect and sinless sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the penalty for sin is paid and we are reconciled with God. Justice and Mercy kiss. Given that we are not perfect this is an ongoing process, but thank the Lord “His Mercy endures forever”. Something that can only be appreciated I think once we have experienced it – I cannot say enough about the goodness and Mercy of God toward me.
If then sin is the cause of sickness, restoration of relationship (covenant) with God should also remove curses and bring the blessings as described in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. At least one of the blessings and curses is in relation to our physical bodily health. (It seems different sins brought different consequences.) Of course under Mosaic Law there were different sacrifices for different offences and occasions, and these were also prescribed in the law, but we have our saviour Jesus Christ the sinless, perfect sacrifice given once for all. The Jewish people of the Old Testament were restored to covenant/relationship through blood sacrifices and then the blessings flowed. We also are restored to covenant/relationship with God through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. With restoration of relationship, blessings will come including restoration of health.
I can bear witness to this principle as I have had 3 healings in my body, (since Jan 2009) and I thank the Lord for His Mercy which He has shown toward me. With understanding of my shortcomings and genuine repentance and changed behaviour, came complete restoration – relational and physical. The healing then is not a right or “obligatory” (after an individual's initial salvation experience) as you point out, but once conditions have been met in relation to particular sins i.e. genuine repentance and restoration, God honours His Word and reverses any negative consequence that came as a result of that sin. I am working through another healing right now and the timing is the Lord's.
In conclusion, I can agree with your article up to a point, regarding relational healing with God as primary, first and foremost, which it is. If however we only look to a glorious day in the future sometime when we will all have glorified perfect bodies and no longer need to worry about sickness and ill health, as an explanation for physical healing, that is not really "a lot of meat on the plate to eat while we wait.” With all due respect to you, healing was common in the days of Jesus and His apostles, and if we “as members of the groaning creation until Christ returns”, are to only look to some futuristic day as the time when all believers will be physically healed, this could in itself be a form of Cessationism.
I was trying to keep it brief as I know you have so much to read and respond to. I hope I have conveyed my thoughts clearly and have other scriptures (James 5:13-18 especially v 17-18) with comments that I can share with you if you think it would be beneficial. I have based my comments on my understanding of the scriptures so your feedback is also welcomed. An excellent book that released me is The Good News that No-one Wanted to Hear by Tom Hewitt an Anglican Minister from Tasmania, who I have personally met and who has experienced healings of hundreds of people during his life. Best regards - David Cohen - Geraldton Western Australia.
ED – thank you David for your good letter albeit a bit long. However seeing my article on the topic was even longer I felt it only fair to give you the space. You'll see that I have written what is in reality an extension to my earlier article - http://cetf.co/IibMiE. As you say it's a big topic and I doubt we'll resolve all the issues. I'll try to keep my responsive comments brief:
- Biblically Sin and Sickness are frequently connected – “who forgives ?? ?? all your iniquities; who heals all your diseases” - Psalm 103:3 cf. James 5:15 etc;
- Biblically all sickness came through Adam's fall, but is NOT attributable to personal sin in every case – cf. 2 Timothy 4:20 with Philippians 2:25-28 see also 2 Kings 13:14 cf. Genesis 48:1 with 49:33;
- Biblically neither Jesus nor the apostles healed everyone on every occasion – cf. Mark 1:34 and 3:10 “healed many” with other occasions where it says He healed “all” or “everyone”. See also 2 Timothy 4:20 (above) cf. 2 Corinthians 12:9 – afflictions were always bodial;
- Biblically physical healing is the “children's bread” of a world to come. The redemption of the body is yet future – cf. Romans 8:23;
- Biblically we can partake of the things of a world to come based on what theologians call the proleptic principle – see Romans 8:11;
- Biblically your assertion that there is no such thing as chance is not correct. The idea and even the word is repeated throughout scripture cf. Ecclesiastes 9:11 with Luke 10:31 etc.
To argue as you do that my article endorses a form of Cessationism is to disregard the facts of the New Testament. What I presented is no different from what happened to and through the apostles and even through our Lord. I agree with you that healing is a neglected topic. I trust my series will help bring it back into vogue and that we like our Pentecostal forefathers and pioneers will again see genuine divine healings and miracles occurring among us. To suggest that all sickness is attributable to personal sin, as some do, is neither biblical nor helpful. It has the tendency to produce a feeling of guilt by a person who already has enough to deal with in respect of the sickness. I was pleased to note that you did not fall into that trap – plp.
Thanks for Quarterly Magazine
Dear Phillip, Someone has been paying for me to receive your CETF magazine for quite a few years. To begin, I thought it was very negative and did not appreciate what you were saying. However over the years I have seen all the things you warned about come to pass and I am very grateful to you and your contributors. I was brought up in Australia in the Catholic Church and suffered a great deal of abuse, not sexually, although that happened to relatives – but physically, verbally and spiritually, which eventually turned me into an atheist. But praise God He had His hand on my life. My youngest son, while studying at Armidale Uni., came to the Lord through an AOG church and as a consequence of that I was saved at Blenheim Elim Church at the age of 51. I don't have to tell you what the state of the church is here in NZ. It is grievous. I pray Jesus returns soon, but in the interim, for revival. I was moved to tears by Aeron Morgan's pleas in your last publication, Dec.'11 [http://cetf.co/KcHnO1] I am writing to let you know my change of address .... . Could I send a cheque to the NZ address on the back page of CETF? Thank you for serving the Lord so faithfully. I am so grateful for the truth you have continued to preach. Your sister in Christ, PG (Mrs).
ED – Any financial help is much appreciated. It helps us “tick-over” financially, which is all that we ever do. Yes you can send a cheque made payable to CWM to the New Zealand address on the back of CETF. Thank you.
We really appreciate the work done by all the people involved in producing CETF, and all those who write the articles. We always look forward to receiving the magazines. We enclose our cheque as our donation towards the magazine. We pray God's abundant blessings on you all. Many thanks, W & F B – Auckland.