5238Re: What Think Ye
- Sep 2, 2002Dear folk on the Covenanted Reformation List,
I would like to add some more on the matter of prayer, the
discussion started by Mitch.
I think that the key point is to appreciate the different worldviews of
Calvinists (i.e., predestination; providence; the upholding power of
our Sovereign God governing all things) and Arminian Charismatics
(freewillist; the universe governing itself; occasional Divine
intervention). These two groups see the world very differently; so
much so, tht they think they live on different worlds!
The Lord's Prayer chain letter/ "power of prayer multiplied by the
power of pyramid selling" stuff comes from the world of
Arminianism/ Charismaticism-writ-large, which is -- let's tell it like it
is -- a 'Christianized' version of old Greek deism, come through
revived Greek humanism during the Renaissance, and
'Christianised' through the minds of such notables as Erasmus of
Rotterdam and James Arminius.
These two worlds have very different ideas about what prayer is all
For the Arminianism/ Charismaticism/ 'Christanized' humanism/
deism, prayer goes like this:-
1. A long time ago, God made the world (and universe) and left it
under the governance of 'natural laws', chance, and subject to the
influences of human 'free will' and the demonic realm.
2. All was originally designed (some say 'evolved') to operate
according to God's eternal plan, but then with the Fall, things
started going wrong -- "coming off the rails" if you like.
3. Arminianism/ 'Christianized' humanism focuses its attention on
the love and mercy of God so much that it loses sight and denies
that God would ever plan and decree that bad and evil things
should happen. Their ideals deny, especially, that Christians
should ever suffer, be poor, get ill, etc. They say, "God is love; he
would never really want me to go though this..." It is believed that it
is always God's will to answer prayers with answers that we
percieve as positive, affirmative and good.
4. True, some have been forced to face the harsh facts of reality,
and so concede, "Perhaps God has allowed this (bad thing) to
happen, so that he can teach me something, or somehow bring
about a greater good..." But this thought does not really fit with
their worldview (see 1 above), and they have borrowed it from the
Calvinist worldview, though they would not like to admit this. I will
come to this thought again (point 9).
5. For the Arminian/ Charismatic, prayer is all about asking God
"for his will to be done" down here in the world, where God's will is
no longer, generally speaking, being done. It is all about asking
God to intervene in situations that have gone wrong.
For an extreme example: I used to attend a faith-prosperity false
gospel house-church, where Kenneth Copeland videos were shown
every week, and all manner of faith-prosperity, faith-healing, and
pentecostal "full gospel" books and other materials were read and
shared around. In the prayer and healing meetings I attended there,
it was a common thing to hear: "Are there any wheel-chairs in
heaven? No! Then let us pray for God's will to be done on earth as
it is in heaven, and get ... ... ... ... up out of their wheel-chairs!"
As I said before: Been there. Done that. Repented of it all. Now I
(rightly!) percieve these things are heretical and evil.
6. In this Arminianism-writ-large world, God is generally seen as in
need of somebody to pray "in faith" before he can answer, before
he can intervene in the affairs of this world.
(a) Some say that this is because God needs permission before he
can intervene in "man's world". Or, some other such "permission"
(b) Others say that God needs a person to send up a prayer of faith
as though such a prayer contains a payload of a special mystical/
etherial energy/ force/ 'substance' called 'faith', out of which God
can shape the answer to the prayer, or which somehow enables
God to act in this world.
Whatever or however this is illustrated in different books or
sermons on the subject, this so-called 'faith' is the pivotal, crucial
element or power that gets the job done and the answer manifested.
7. When a heresy meets the real world, the people (the weakest
first) get crushed beneath it. In this case, when the person stays in
their suffering, pained state, in their wheel-chair, or in whatever
other bad situation that is being prayed about -- somebody gets
blamed for the "unanswered" prayer. There are three ways this is
(a) either someone has not "prayed in faith" (i.e., they don't have
enough 'faith' to make it happen, to get the prayer answered);
(b) else, someone is harbouring a secret, unconfessed sin, which
stops the prayer being answered. Many say that God will not
answer the prayers of those who nurse a secret sin; some say that
'faith' is neutralised by such sin, and that's why God cannot answer;
(c) or else, someone parent or grandparent (...) was an occultist,
freemason or whatever, and they had a demon that, when they
died, jumped down the family bloodline to the person who is
blocking the prayer from being answered. Again, this is said to
neutralize the power of a 'prayer in faith'.
8. And moreover, since the supercharged, 'faith'-filled superman or
superwoman who is leading the prayer must always be seen as
above blame for such unanswered 'prayers' -- so, guess who gets
to feel guilty, and so have more mental suffering heaped upon
them: the poor person in the wheel-chair, or whatever.
9. However much an Arminian or Charismatic disagrees with the
foregoing points and denies that he/she believes such things, by
that same amount he/she us being untrue to the worldview of
Arminianism-writ-large, and is borrowing from the worldview of
Calvinism-writ-large -- i.e., from what the Bible really teaches.
That's enough for now. Let is discuss these points some more (if
anybody wants to!), and thereby clear away the rubble, so that we
can erect a proper, Biblical, Reformed theology of prayer in its
Best regards, Simon Padbury.
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