Question: I receive The Berean Call and enjoy your articles. However, your November issue has a misleading statement that needs to be publicly corrected: “In spite of Pentecostal and charismatic claims that no Christian need ever be sick. . . .” I am an Assemblies of God pastor. Neither my denomination nor I believe that.
Response: Certainly I didn’t mean that all Pentecostals and charismatics believe that “no Christian need ever be sick,” nor do I think most people took it that way. However, it would have been clearer had I said, “In spite of the claims by some Pentecostals and charismatics. . . .” I recognize that there are many such as yourself who do not hold that extreme position.
There is, however, some confusion. The Assemblies of God “Position Paper on Divine Healing” doesn’t say that one can always claim a healing and admits that not everyone is healed. Yet it does say, “healing is in the atonement.” Yes, all we have is in the atonement, but many AOG pastors give the impression that healing is ours by faith in the same way as forgiveness of sins. Unfortunately, the Position Paper puts its major emphasis upon the parallels between healing from sickness and from sin in a way which could leave some readers with the wrong impression.
I have encountered many within the AOG who teach that one can always claim a healing from anything. This impression is certainly given in the way many pastors command the sick to be healed in the name of Jesus. Is it not destructive to a young person’s faith to hear the pastor week after week, in the name of Jesus, command the sickness to depart and note that it very rarely does? I agree with your denomination’s official position. Unfortunately, something else is often practiced and believed by many within its ranks.