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Elijah Stephens from Redding, California is a former Vineyard Pastor with the ambition to make a documentary about evidence for miraculous healings. The film’s working title is Prayer Movie, and in a recently released video Stephens describes the project idea as following:
In the video you can spot professor Candy Gunther Brown who has written Testing Prayer: Science and Healing dealig with this very issue, as well as Craig Keener who has documented several medically verified healings in his big book Miracles. Heidi och Rolland Baker along with Randy Clark will also be a part of the film.
While the documentation of inexplicable events is far from new, films on this topic are quite rare other than looking at specific, individual cases. Stephens give some really compelling arguments on his website for why Christians should welcome evidence to support miraculous claims rather than brushing it off as a sign of weak faith or as a way to test God. He refers to how Johsua commanded the Israelites to put stones in the middle of Jordan so that their grandkids can be reminded of the miracle God did there (Josh 4:4-7).
If you want to support the project you can donate to Stephens’ Kickstarter. If the target isn’t met you wont have to give your money away. I myself am very excited for this movie and will pray and give for it to become a reality!
“Pastor” comes from the Latin word for shepherd, and is commonly used as a description for the person leading a congregation. You know how many times the term is used in that sense in the Bible?
Once: Ephesians 4:11.
The other ministries Paul lists there – apostles, prophets, evangelists and teachers – are much more described and discussed in the Scriptures. Still, in many churches and denominations today, pastors are much more common than apostles and prophets (and often evangelists as well).
Let’s focus on the ministry of the apostle. The Greek word describes someone who have been send, a clear illustration to Matthew 28:18-20. Looking at the lives of Peter, James, John, Paul and the others we see that their ministry simply is about missions and church planting. It’s a translocal ministry that equip local churches and start new ones so that the Gospel may reach the end of the world.
Catholics and Orthodoxs have tried to replace the ministry of the apostle with church tradition. Protestants have tried to replace it with the Bible. In both cases, apostleship is viewed as something cessational and temporary, a ministry that gave us the foundation of our faith only in order to disappear after that. This is contradicted by the simple facts that:
1. Apostleship is never described in the Scriptures as something that would cease or decline; on the contrary, more and more apostles pop up the further we read the New Testament (Rom 16:7, 2 Cor 8:23).
One and a half year ago I attended a Healing School conference in Malmo here in Sweden, arranged by Global Awakening and New Wine Sweden. Randy Clark, Bill Johnson, Tom Jones and Will Hart were speaking in 26 different sessions about how to pray for the sick and seeing the Kingdom of Heaven manifest on earth. Many miracles happened during that conference, as can be seen in the video above that I made. For example, a guy named Magnus was damaged in a car accident 21 years earlier and got metal plates to stabilize the body, something that made it impossible for him to bow down entirely. He named and claimed his healing and bam – he could touch the floor.
With this wonderful conference in mind, I was excited when I attended the New Wine leader’s conference in Stockholm this week where Randy was the main speaker. It was the same message – healing does not belong to the church margins but is at the heart of the Kingdom – but he had some new wonderful testimonies that illustrated his points. For example, he showed us this powerful video about a woman getting healed from metal constraints, just like Magnus:
I like Randy. Even though I think his former mentor John Wimber (someone I keep comparing him with) had a slightly sounder theology at some points, I love his passion for Jesus, the Kingdom, and the spiritual gifts. His ministry, labeled by Wimber as apostolic, has changed the life of millions – including Heidi Baker. And God surely blesses his meetings through marvelous signs and wonders.
At the first night of the leader’s conference, a man started to shout joyfully and clap his hands. It turned out to be Pekka Liljeblom, a passionate Pentecostal evangelist – and a Facebook friend of mine. He got up on stage and explained that about 30 years ago, he got hurt in a boat accident and damaged his left eye. Since that day, he could only see ten centimeters with it. After receiving prayer at the conference however, his vision got restored with 90 %. He could now see to the other end of the room! I spoke with him two days later and his vision continued to improve.