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26 Apr '12

Are you an evangelical functional deist?

Posted by T.J. Addington in evangelicalism, healing, hope, miracles, spiritual formation
This blog is likely to make some uncomfortable. My observation is that many who call themselves followers of Jesus, at least in the west, are functional deists - they don't believe in their heart of hearts that Jesus breaks into our lives or our situations personally to do the unexpected, the miraculous or speak to us personally. It is as if there is a God in heaven who does not break in and work in our lives personally.

Thomas Jefferson was one of the most famous diests among the founding fathers. He actually modified his Bible by taking out all references to the miraculous. His god was a small god who set the world in motion and let it move along according to the natural laws of nature and no natural law of nature had room for the miraculous. We would never modify our Bibles but do we harbor doubts in our mind just as Jefferson that our God does not do the unexpected and miraculous today?

Well, God is a God of surprises who loves to challenge our thinking. Here is a great example from a member of ReachGlobal's staff in Africa - in his words

"The day was fresh.  New.  My heart was still and waiting.  As I sat quietly on the upper floor balcony of my house overlooking the hills of the city, I just praised the Lord for this new day.  I spent some time reading and listening . . . and then began a time of rested listening prayer.  I enjoy these kinds of times many mornings where I just want to SOAK with Jesus.  Just rest in His presence and not have to accomplish anything.  I want to hear His voice.  I often ask for that one simple thing:  “Jesus, I just want to hear Your voice.  Speak to me.  Tell me what you want me to do.” 


"As I sat there in my wicker rattan chair, legs crossed and arms folded, I heard something that surprised me.   I just heard these simple words:  “Go to the hospital and pray for Clarice.  Ask me for her complete recovery.  Try me and I will do it.”  Our dear national friends who are part of our church family had just been married in the last two years and had been expecting TWINS!  At the birth of the children, Clarice suffered a massive stroke.  A young Cameroonian mother . . . having just birthed a beautiful boy and a beautiful girl . . . experiencing a life-altering, life-threatening, life-scrambling STROKE.  Our hearts just ached.  We felt sorrow and we wondered what God would do.


"Now, here I am sitting on my balcony and God simply says in a quiet, clear voice:  “Go and pray.  Ask me.  Try me and I will do it.”  My eyebrows went up.  I shook my head.  I literally said OUTLOUD, “You’ve got to be KIDDING!?!”  And then I prayed:  “Lord, that was YOU, wasn’t it?”  I knew it was.  It was a direct answer to my prayer:  “Jesus, I want to hear Your Voice.  Speak to me.  I will do what you want me to do.”  And I remembered the prayer months earlier that my teammate, Arthur Ellison, had prayed over me in one of our team meetings, that I would pray for people’s physical healing as God might prompt me.


"Well, after wrestling with this for three days and then repenting from a lack of faith and wondering if God was really serious, I decided to take HIM seriously.  My wife and I and our national pastor and his wife got in the car and did exactly what God asked me to do.  As I stood over her bed, wearing a mask and gown—one visitor allowed at a time . . . I simply told Clarice what I felt God had asked me to do and prayed over her and anointed her with oil.  She received . . . eyes bulged open, not herself in the slightest.  She worked to speak at all . . . and said . . . “Thank . . . . . you.” 


"My wife went in, my pastor went in, then our pastor’s wife spent a few minutes with her—only to tell us on the way home from the hospital that night this unbelievable report:  “Clarice told me that she had a vision just three days ago, that God came and told her that YOU needed to come and pray over her for healing.  She has been waiting here three days knowing that you would come.  And . . . that God would heal her.” 


"I could hardly believe what I was hearing.  The same day He spoke to me, He spoke to her.  What a confirmation that God is clearly, actively wanting to do extraordinary things IN and THROUGH US!  We need to expect!!  WE need to yearn and hunger for His miraculous and simple voice to show up each day.  Then, we need to just yield and do as He asks. 


"Clarice was told she’d never walk.  She would most likely never speak and may be bed-ridden the rest of her life.  Well, all praise to God—she not only walks, she runs.  She not only speaks.  She speaks French and English and her mother tongue as well!  She sings.  She smiles.  She testifies and evangelizes.  She shares with everyone what God has done for her!  She is a happy and proud mother of two beautiful kids.  Her husband Claude never doubted for a moment that God would bring his wife back to her original self.  And . . . by God’s great grace, He has done JUST THAT!


Humbled and honored,  Jeff Brown"


As one who has experienced the miraculous myself, I am no functional deist. Not only do I believe in the power of God to break in but I would not be alive today if He had not.

Invite Him into your situation, or the situation of someone who needs it. He may surprise you.