Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Demon Possession-That's Crazy Stuff, Right?

I have been challenged.

I am reading "Revolution in World Missions" by K.P. Yohannah.  (Get it free here.)  He is the founder of Gospel for Asia.  His organization is doing amazing things.  They are building schools, finding sponsors for missionaries, women, and children, building Jesus Wells (clean water), providing farm animals to villages, they have a radio ministry, they are helping in flood relief efforts, and running Bible colleges.  All of this in the name of Jesus.  This book is his journey on the mission field.  He has been beaten, stoned, received death threats, seen thousands come to Christ, and witnessed miracles and cast out demons.

And I'm only on Chapter 2.

Cast out demons.  Ummm... that's all fake, right?  Or at most it's what used to happen.  You know, back in Bible times.  Christ and many of his followers cast out demons, but everything I've seen as far as miracles and demon possession goes looks fake.  I've seen the televangelists and I just want to scream when they start asking for money for some holy prayer towel or special prayers from them, as if they possess a special favor with God that He would hear their prayers, but not the prayer of the one in need.  Those "pastors" have fraud written all over them.  It's the same deception and manipulation as the selling of indulgences.

I have never seen demon possession or miracles like you read about in the Bible in person.  Sounds downright scary.

As I read the pages of this book, I think of the people I know who have said that they witnessed these sorts of things first hand.  I'm incredibly skeptical, even though I trust that these people are telling me the truth.  I just don't know if they saw what they think they saw.

I think about the missionaries I've read about who say they are doing healings in the streets and it's always accompanied by speaking in tongues in a way that I don't find Biblical, although I trust their sincerity.  Something is happening, I'm just not ready to say they are speaking in the "tongues of angels."  Should I not accept a reality that includes demon possession and healings because I do not accept the reality of tongues today as I see in scripture?

Ugh!  These are big questions for someone who has gone to a Baptist church since birth!

A large part of why I want to go on a mission trip is because I want to see for myself if what I read and hear about is true.  I am a highly skeptical person, I think because of how many times I have believed something and found it to be false.  Our world is surrounded by lies.  Nearly every advertisement lies.  Nearly every politician lies.  Hollywood lies continually.  And I have to admit that when email was new and did not exist, I fell for a lot of urban legends and jaw-dropping, fabricated lies.

Is poverty as bad as the media reports?  (Speaking of lies, I failed to mention the media!)  Are the stories they tell the exception or is it common?  Are people in poverty really as happy as people tell me they are, despite their ghastly circumstances?  And are there really miracles and demons cast out in other countries?  Is it really, truly like what I read in the Bible?  Are we more progressed in the USA and know better than to believe this or have we, swimming in our riches and comfortable lives, regressed into spiritual apathy and powerlessness?  

I was once a part of a Baptist church that was full of people who were ready to experience Christianity differently.  They were ready to do things that they saw as Biblical, even if it meant that other Baptist churches in our association would call us heretics.  (As far as I know, they didn't.)  It probably sounds like child's play to those in charismatic churches, but we decided to lay hands on a woman who had been experiencing back pain for years.  She laid on the pew many Sundays because of the pain.  She was tired of trying this and that and experiencing little or no relief.  And so we prayed.  The entire congregation gathered around her, laid hands on her, and prayed.

Within 2 weeks she received a call from a doctor, saying they had a new treatment.  She experienced incredible results!  It was thrilling to see God work!  She wasn't healed instantly. She wasn't healed completely.  But I find it hard to believe that it was all a coincidence or that our prayers were like a placebo effect.  It was God, I know it!  I cherish those times.

I don't want to spoil the story, so if you have a chance to hear Francis Chan speak on what happened with his ministry event in San Francisco with Trader Joe's, DO IT!!!  My jaw literally dropped.  It wasn't Jesus turning 5 loaves and 2 fishes into a meal for thousands...with leftovers...(Matthew 14 and 15) but it was no doubt supernatural.  It was God!

And Francis Chan says that miracles are happening and he says that he is seeing things like they did in the Bible, like he always wanted to see today, but figured they were all in the past.  He, like me, wondered if those things still happened today and he has discovered that they do!

Whoa!  Really???  This is a new thing to him.  When I read his books and hear his words I think, "You are reading my mind!"  He had the same questions, the same thoughts.  What exactly is he now experiencing?  Does he mean all of it or just the obvious Divine intervention?  Is he telling the truth?  I have no reason to doubt that he is.

And here I am once again, just like when I started this whole journey, full of questions with little answers.  And I have to admit that it's scary to ask these questions.  I don't want to play the fool and find out that, once again, I have been lied to.  And I don't want to find myself with answers that I don't like.  I may find out that everything I have believed so far is true.  Or I might not.  Or maybe I'll find out I'm asking the wrong questions.  I just want to see it for myself.

No comments:

Post a Comment