PRACTICAL THEOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES OF FAITH FOR DIVINE HEALING MINISTRY

In document John G Lake & S Wigglesworth (Page 158-200)

After dealing in Chapter IV with Wigglesworth’s and Lake’s divine healing faith and its necessary conviction to perform an effective and powerful ministry of divine healing, we will deal with the same subject of divine healing faith from a different perspective, i.e. investigating the practical theological principles of faith for such a ministry. The substance of the investigation is their beliefs and experiences.

This chapter will demonstrate, firstly, the shared perspective of Wigglesworth and Lake on the practical theological principles of divine healing faith for its fruitful result. They advise that we practice a child-like faith, have the fundamental

knowledge of faith for divine healing, awaken the faith expectation for divine healing on the sick, act by faith on the Word, and maintain the focus of spiritual gazing of faith solely on Christ. More specifically here, in acting by faith on the Word, Lake develops a practical suggestion of relying on the covenant of God for divine healing.

Secondly, the unique principles of Wigglesworth suggest a more aggressive attitude for the most fruitful result: to stay constantly in an attitude of the rest of faith in the Word as an undisturbed confidence in the warfare of faith for divine healing, to be absolutely bold in faith and its action, and to fight persistently in this warfare.

Thirdly, the distinctive principles of Lake advise a more searching position to obtain a fruitful result: to know the work of faith for divine healing in attaining the greatest benefit, to obtain faith in Christ first for spiritual healing and then, to consciously extend this faith to the body for divine healing. In reworking the practical theological findings, the researcher proposes a slight modification for integrating them into a Continuationist Reformed view. In addition, the revealed principles of Wigglesworth and of Lake are expected to produce the best result, as they are integrated

complementarily.

The outline is as follows. The study will first identify their practical

theological principles of the divine healing faith of their ministry. It will start with the

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shared principles of Wigglesworth and Lake, followed by the distinctive principles of each, respectively. Then, integrated throughout the investigation, the study will rework their practical theological principles into a Continuationist Reformed position by responding and evaluating the suitability of the findings. Finally, the researcher will draw an overall conclusion.

The writing method utilizes the same points as stated in the introduction of Chapter IV and the general rule of writing of Chapter I.

5.1 The Shared Principles on Faith for Divine Healing in the Lives of Wigglesworth and Lake

Wigglesworth’s and Lake’s fruitful ministries of divine healing highlight some vital, practical theological principles of faith. The following are those principles:

5.1.1 Obtain a Child-like Faith

The principle held by Wigglesworth and Lake here, is also true for the

Reformed tradition. The study will deal first with investigating this principle.

5.1.1.1 The Idea according to Wigglesworth and Lake

Wigglesworth’s and Lake’s suggestion to maximize a fruitful manifestation of faith, including divine healing, is to have a child-like faith. This faith is “the faith of Jesus” as the man before His Father1 (Wigglesworth 1938: 6; 1999b: 488, cf. 1999b:

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For Wigglesworth (see 1999d: 65), “the simple faith of a little child” is necessary for divine

healing. This faith, which is the same as the faith of Jesus, is God’s greatest gift communicated by the Spirit to the heart of those who put his trust in God and Jesus Christ (Wigglesworth 1999b: 569). It is given personally by God through the Holy Spirit “as we press in and on with God” (Wigglesworth 1938: 6). In the same vein, Lake (Liardon ed. 1999: 302) states, “God gave the power of healing to the Christian Church in the Holy Ghost, and as long as they … exercised the faith of Jesus in their hearts, the healing power of God manifested and still manifests where this condition exists.”

Oswald Chambers supports those ideas. In Conformed to His Image, when dealing with the

“Psychology of Faith,” he correctly maintains that faith includes not only faith in Christ, but also faith in Jesus’ faith (i.e. faith in the things the man Jesus believes in). He (Chambers [1950] 2000: 361) concludes that the essence of true faith is the same as the faith of Jesus: “Faith means that I commit myself to Jesus, project myself absolutely on to Him, sink or swim – and you do both, you sink out of yourself and swim into Him. Faith is implicit confidence in Jesus and in His faith. It is one thing to have faith in Jesus and another thing to have faith about everything for which He has faith. Galatians 2:20 does not refer to the Apostle Paul’s elementary faith in Jesus as his Saviour, but to the faith of Jesus. He says that the identical faith that was in Jesus Christ, the faith that governed His life, the faith which Satan could not break, is now in him through identification with the death of Jesus; the faith that characterised Him now characterises Paul.” Again, in a different place, explaining Gal 2:20, “I live by the faith of the Son of God,” Chambers ([1927] 2000: 761 - March 21) states, “This faith is not Paul’s faith in Jesus Christ, but the faith that the Son of God has imparted to him – ‘the faith of the Son of God’ It is no longer faith in faith, but faith which has overleapt all conscious bounds, the identical faith

of the Son of God” (original emphasis).

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569; Liardon ed. 1999: 302). It is the simplest, purest, boldest, most mature and powerful kind, thus, the greatest one that is required for such fruitful results of divine healing.2 They believe that to attain this kind of faith and manifest its effect is God’s desire.3 We need to understand the peculiar characters of this kind of faith.

According to Wigglesworth (1999b: 486, 489, 491, 498-499; 1999d: 14, 21,

22), the greatness of the child-like faith is obvious. Firstly, God works for the holder of such faith, giving present inheritance and rest. Secondly, God delights in and

works within such faith by giving His infinite power to its holder for actions that

“could shake hell and move anything else,” including performing divine healing.4

Similarly, divine healing deals with the miraculous faith or faith of miracles (cf. Henry [1721, 1994] 1999: vol. 8: 1182). This kind of faith is explained by Jesus to His disciples in Mark 11:22,

“Have faith in God” (lit. “Have the faith of God” - Barnes [s.a.] 2000: vol. 12: 655; Clarke 1997: vol.

5: 663). Albert Barnes ([s.a.] 2000: vol. 12: 655) comments on that: “This may mean, have strong faith, or have confidence in God; a strong belief that he is able to accomplish things that appear most difficult, with infinite ease, as the fig-tree was made to wither away by a word.” Adam Clarke (1997:

vol. 5: 663) moves further, calling this a vocation to have “the strongest faith” that manifests a

“superlative degree.”

Likewise, while accepting that child-like faith “has no power nor holiness of its own,” Andrew Murray (1992: 23) states, it “commits itself completely to Him who is faithful, and whose almightiness can fulfill His promise,” and “expects all from God and His Word.” This child-like faith is a necessary means for divine healing, as he (Murray [1984] 2002b: 174) indicates that this kind of faith “claims the whole heart and yields up the whole being … trusts unreservedly in the [divine] power that seeks to take possession of it.” This faith “always includes entire surrender. To believe with the whole heart means to surrender with the whole heart to Jesus, in whom life and salvation are found” (Murray [1981] 2002: 52). According to Wigglesworth and Lake, this type of faith is not only supernatural and saving, but also efficacious for healing. They do not distinguish the essence of saving faith and divine healing faith. Those are of the same essence but different in maturity, depth, boldness, power, and simplicity (see Wigglesworth 1999d: 65; Liardon ed. 1999: 634; cf. Liardon ed. 1999: 595).

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For Lake (Liardon ed. 1999: 626), a “man of great faith” has a “simple trust in God.”

Comparable to this kind of faith is our simple mind and attitude to God. Chambers ([1930] 2002: April 21) correctly states, “Our Lord must be repeatedly astounded at us - astounded at how ‘un-simple’ we are. It is our own [autonomous] opinions that make us dense and slow to understand, but when we are simple we are never dense; we have discernment all the time.” Here, “simple” means not to be intricate,

i.e. not asking more than Jesus, His revelation, and His present guidance for us, His children.

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Emphasis on the greatness of faith in its simplicity is similar to the idea of Thomas Watson

(a Puritan preacher and theologian), Spurgeon, and Tom Wells. The former (Watson [1692] 1989: 72) states, “The faith that is strongest was once in its infancy.” Similarly, in preparatory prayer before his preaching on “The Personal Touch” (November 4, 1877), Spurgeon ([s.a.] 1996b: 9) presupposes the same thing: “Lord, maintain the faith Thou hast created, strengthen it, let it be more and more simple.”

Likewise, a Reformed minister, Tom Wells (1992: 13) rightly states, “In some ways … we must grow beyond spiritual childhood and become mature men and women, but in other ways we must remain children. Should we ever outgrow simple trust in our heavenly Father? Surely not!” See also the definition of faith and the degree of it according to its measurement as understood by Wigglesworth and Lake in Chapter IV.

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Wigglesworth (1999d: 65; cf. 1999b: 498) maintains that God’s power is in true faith “to

accomplish wonderful things,” producing victorious effect (including divine healing). Furthermore, in a sermon from Mark 11:23-24 in which Jesus uses the illustration of a mountain, Wigglesworth (2000a:

17) states, “Why does He speak of a mountain? If faith can remove a mountain, it can remove anything. The plan of God is so marvelous that if you will only believe, all things are possible.” In a different place he (Wigglesworth 1999b: 530) says, “Sometimes things appear as though they could not be moved, but you can believe in your heart and stand on the Word of God, and God’s Word will never

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For Wigglesworth (1938: 3, 7, 10; cf. 1999b: 486, 489, 491, 498-499, 573;

1999d: 14, 21, 22), those who are bestowed with this child-like faith will walk in all of Christ’s way, order, and principle. Firstly, receiving Christ, His quickening Life in full. Secondly, believing all the promises of God in full. Thirdly, being transformed into full obedience “to all the will of God.” Fourthly, receiving the Spirit’s power.

Fifthly, claiming the saving and healing power of Jesus. Sixthly, being in the state of

“perfect rest.” Lastly, God mightily accomplishes everything necessary within and through the person with such faith.5 Through this simple faith, one possesses all of

those at the same time. A fruitful ministry of divine healing needs this simple faith.

For Lake (Liardon ed. 1999: 128), the purest form of the child-like faith is to

put all hope and help only in Christ, not in humans: “when we cut ourselves off from every other help, we have never found the Lord Jesus Christ to fail.”

5.1.1.2 A Continuationist Reformed Evaluation

Wigglesworth’s idea of the child-like faith can be adopted into a Reformed view if we really can have this child-like faith in the fullest sense.

Next, receiving such help from others (Lake) may be a direct help from the

Lord if keeping all trust in Him and the eye of faith is directed only to Him. Thus, taking a medicine is an act of simple faith if faith is applied and there is no indication of God’s objection in His providential guidance. Yet, in the life of Lake, God’s providential guidance dealt specially by prohibiting him from using any natural medicine.6 In so doing, His will is final for Lake, personally. With another person God may deal differently, so that one particular case may not be a general rule for others.

be defeated.” Wigglesworth (1998e: 9; cf. 1999b: 498) literally believes Gal 3:14 that “we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”

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Wigglesworth (1999b: 487) demonstrates the basis of such faith from Acts 26:16-18.

However, similar to the abovementioned idea (see text), Andrew Murray (1992: 24) maintains, “Not only does God give or withhold His grace according to the faith or unbelief of each, but they [graces]

are granted in greater or lesser measure, only in proportion to the faith which receives them.” Murray (see 1992: 26, 36) in other places reemphasizes this idea. We will deal further with Wigglesworth’s idea of “amen” and “perfect rest” in this chapter.

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Similar experience occurred in the special providence of God over James Hudson Taylor’s mission ministry in which he was required through God’s guidance to cut off the whole of his instrumental financial supply. After maintaining that in everything we absolutely depend on God and only God alone would provide our needs – either with or without means – Spurgeon ([1893] 1997: vol.

39: 201, cf. 199) expresses his great respect for his friend’s experience: “I could not help laughing when I read the story of a good Christian lady, who spoke of our friend, Mr. Hudson Taylor: “Why,”

she said, “there is no Society to take care of him! Poor man, he has nobody but God to depend upon!”

You may well smile. “Nobody but God to depend upon;” but that is everybody to depend upon.”

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Concerning a great manifestation of God’s work in the act of simple faith needed in His ministry, Spurgeon ([1866] 1997: vol. 12: 651) states,

God never fails the man who, in simple, child-like faith, rests entirely upon him.

Have you never noticed that when you are content to wait for God’s plan it opens up to you very wonderfully? You could not have opened it up, you did not understand it, but he cleared the way; instead of laying awake all night, how much better to go to sleep, and wake up in the morning, and find that God had done all for you. Faith goes forward in the name of God, and the gates of iron open to her through Divine strength.

This confirms the aforesaid principle as taught and practiced by both practitioners.

5.1.2 Have Fundamental Faith Knowledge for Divine Healing

This principle is maintained by both Wigglesworth and Lake, yet it may

correctly be held by the Reformed position as well. It presupposes the Word as the basis of the ministry of divine healing.7 The following will elaborate this principle.

Both persons agree that we must pay great attention to our faith knowledge in order to perform divine healing in a fruitful way. Lake believes that true knowledge of faith can protect us from sicknesses (Lindsay ed. 1949: 105). For Wigglesworth (1999b: 459-461, 570; Liardon ed. 1996: 99, 101, 103), true knowledge of God is the basis of divine healing faith.8 It is needed as a controlling point of the Spirit over

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According to Wigglesworth (1998e: 19, 22), divine healing must be performed on the basis of God’s living Word, both the Word as a whole and its the particular messages: “Whenever I go to homes to pray for the sick I turn to this scripture [i.e. James 5:13] because it is Scripture that is used. … It is the Book. It is not Wigglesworth. It is the Book. That was God’s remedy for people like me and Mrs. McPherson and others of us who cannot reach the people [for divine healing].” He

(Wigglesworth 1999b: 471-472) also highlights the importance of having the Word of God as the only foundation for every meaningful and powerful action: “If we are ever going to make any progress in the divine life, we will have to have a real foundation. And there is no foundation except the foundation of faith for us. All our movements, and all that ever will come to us that is of any importance, will be because we have a Rock. If you are on the Rock, no powers can move you. And today we need to have our faith firmly built on the Rock. … there is no establishment outside God’s Word for you. Everything else is sand. Everything else will break apart. (See Matthew 7:26-27).”

Likewise, Lake (Liardon ed. 1999: 552) maintains that the written Word is the final foundation of faith for divine healing and every aspect of divine healing must be instituted and seen in the light of God’s written Word. Similarly, evoking an observant discernment on the foundation of faith for action, David

du Plessis (1977: 79) rightly insists, “if the faith is not properly founded, those things growing from it will not be properly founded either.”

Basing all things on the Word is certainly the characteristic of the Reformed faith. Calvin

(Inst. I. xviii. 3) maintains that true faith is “founded upon God’s Sacred Word, [consequently,] it is above the whole world.” The Word of God is the “wellspring of faith,” and “the basis whereby faith is supported and sustained” (Calvin Inst. III. i. 6). Again, the “foundation of [faith] is a preconceived conviction of God’s truth” (Calvin Inst. III. ii. 6).

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Wigglesworth (1999b: 459, 461) asserts: “faith based upon knowledge [of God]. … Jesus … did great works because of His knowledge of His Father. Faith begets knowledge, fellowship, and communion. If you see imperfect faith, full of doubt, a wavering condition, it always comes because of imperfect knowledge.” He (Wigglesworth 1999b: 570) also expresses, “I believe that all our failures [including to perform divine healing] come because of an imperfect understanding of God’s Word.”

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believers: “When we have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, there is nothing to hinder the Holy Ghost [from] having the control of the whole being” (Liardon ed. 1996: 81). The faith knowledge is necessary as a basis for

empowerment and nurture:

Thank God that through the knowledge of the truth of the Son of God I have within me a greater power, a mightier working, an inward impact of life, of power, of vision, and of truth more real than anyone can know who lives in the realm of the tangible (Wigglesworth 1999b: 537).

The faith knowledge of God, as indicated by Wigglesworth (1999b: 466), is a

perceptive encounter with God that includes the living fellowship, transformation, and manifestation of this faith, in accordance with His good and glorious purposes:

[T]here is something different in knowing God, in having fellowship with Him;

there are heights and depths in this wonderful blessing in the knowledge of Him.

Everybody can see Jacob, but do not forget, beloved, that God changed Jacob into Israel. The Holy Spirit wants everybody to see the unveiling of Jesus. The unveiling of Jesus is to take away yourself and to place Him in you, to take away all your human weakness and put within you that wonderful Word of eternal power and of eternal life that makes you believe that “all things are possible”

(my emphasis).

Thus, faith knowledge is intellectual, practical, and experiential.9 It entails a spiritual application of God’s works, manifesting an experience with God and His sensible truth: “Oh, that God would so bring us into divine attractiveness by His almightiness that all our bodies would wake up to resurrection force, to the divine, inward flow of eternal power coursing through the human frame” (Wigglesworth 1999b: 467).

Attaining a substantial portion of the faith knowledge, especially of the Son of God, His promise, and our inheritance in Him (through the Word) is significant for

Maintaining true knowledge of the Word as the basis of faith is typical of the Reformed conviction.

Calvin (Inst. III. ii. 2; cf. III. ii. 6) believes that true “faith rests not on ignorance, but on knowledge … knowledge not only of God but of the divine will [toward us].” Calvin (Inst. III. ii. 2-3) continues, “By this knowledge [of the Gospel]… not by submission of our feeling, do we obtain entry into the

Kingdom of Heaven. … it is not enough for a man implicitly to believe what he does not understand or

Kingdom of Heaven. … it is not enough for a man implicitly to believe what he does not understand or

In document John G Lake & S Wigglesworth (Page 158-200)