Adventist Media Response and Conversation

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Raising the dead and other Christian problems.

I am constantly amazed at the things I read in the Adventist media. It is astounding the things some people say, some of them thankfully don't get wide distribution, sort of like me only read by a few, though I wish I got a little more readers and some of them even less. But none the less I am going to point you to their material because if nothing else I want my readers to learn something. It may be silly but silly ideas taken as true can cause a lot of trouble. So with no further ado here is my latest excursion into Adventist media foolishness.

This is taken from the Pacific Union Conference publication the Gleaner Online, it has a blog by Mike Jones which begins with the following:
Is it crazy to suggest we start casting out demons and raising the dead?

If you think I’m not in my right mind asking such a question, I would remind you that in Matthew 10:8, Jesus instructed His disciples (and presumably you and me) to “heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons” as an integral part of sharing the gospel message.
What do you see there, a serious question that we don't ask too often and then an interpretation that goes against the context of the text he quotes. The instruction is to Jesus' disciples it is not presumably to you and me. Just read the text if you are uncertain of this fact:

Matt 10:5-11
5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. 8 Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. 9 Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, 10 Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. 11 And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence. (KJV)
Not going to the Gentiles or any Samaritian cities only go to Israel heal the sick raise the dead cast out devils take no money or extra clothes. It sounds kind of specific to the disciples right? But somehow Mike Jones can find this to presumably be directed at you and me.

Well maybe if he was not making such presumptions he would have a better reason to understand why there is not a lot of raising the dead going on around by us Christians. He would not have to resort to one of the often less then factual missionary books found at the Adventist Book Center, Jones writes:
And since Matthew 10:8 references raising the dead, does that only mean those who are dead in their sins?  If you think so, please read Greg Rudd’s One Miracle After Another, the story of Pastor Pavel Goia and some of the incredible events of his early life.  You’ll be amazed at the story of the boy who died beneath the wheels of Pastor Goia’s car who came back to life after being pronounced dead and his body sent to the hospital morgue over night.  What happened the next morning when the keeper of the morgue arrived for work will amaze you.  Contact your nearby ABC for this wonderful book.
But that is not all, much of the article is about casting out demons who he sees as the cause of homosexuality and various other mental disorders. Mike Jones states the following:

In one horrifying sentence, the Bible says the natural man (unconverted, in other words) can be “taken captive by (the devil) at his will.”—2 Timothy 2:26 (KJV).

Now that is scary, the devil can take any unconverted person at his (the devils) will. If you think about it that is everyone...because there had to be a point where one became converted and any time before that point they would be unconverted.

Fortunately for humanity Mike Jones has once again presumed too much. Unless of course he is one of the King James Only advocates who holds the strict and wooden literalness of the KJV. Though if he was reading a modern language Bible or even the Authorized Standard Version he would not need such an interpretation.
2 Tim 2:24-26
24 And the Lord's servant must not strive, but be gentle towards all, apt to teach, forbearing,
25 in meekness correcting them that oppose themselves; if peradventure God may give them repentance unto the knowledge of the truth, 26 and they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, having been taken captive by him unto his will. (ASV)
As the Expositor's Bible Commentary says:

25,26 And so Paul goes on to say that the good minister must "gently instruct" ("in meekness") "those who oppose him"-- tous antidiatithemenous (only here in the NT). He does this in the hope that God will give them "a change of heart" (metanoia, "repentance"), leading to "a knowledge" (epignosis, "full knowledge") of the truth. He hopes that "they will come to their senses and escape" (v. 26). This is all one word in the Greek: ananepsosin. The verb (ananepho) literally means "return to soberness." Thayer says that this passage indicates "to be set free from the snare of the devil and to return to a sound mind [`one's sober senses']" (Lexicon, p. 40).

Still if you think that diseases or genetics or chemical imbalances etc. are really demonic manifestations I suppose it can make some sense to believe that such things are done at the will of Satan. After all there is the mythology of the ancient Israelites that diseases were caused by demons in the wilderness so he does have that on his side. So if he can ignore the context of verses and the meaning of the words and hold to ancient superstitions I suppose I can see where he is coming from.

And hopefully so can you, and avoid such things.

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