Many people who call themselves Christians have come to that decision on a purely subjective and emotional basis. Their Christianity is self-centered and dependent on feelings. They go from church to church seeking signs and wonders, always hoping for a new experience and fleshly excitement. As Paul said, they “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Timothy:4:3), which alone provides a solid foundation for the Christian life. Many think they are Christians because they had a seemingly miraculous experience of being healed, of falling into a trancelike state when touched by a faith healer, of feeling warmth or electricity in their bodies, of shaking violently or of voicing strange and involuntary sounds.
For such Christians (if such indeed they are), prayer is a religious technique for getting what they want. They pray mightily to persuade God to fulfill their desires. “Faith” becomes the struggle to believe that what they are praying for will happen, they don’t need God. Indeed, they have become their own gods, able to create reality with their minds by “believing.”
Multitudes have been taught (by authors and televangelists) to seek personal acquisition of “supernatural power.” John Wimber and the Vineyard Christian Fellowship have been foremost in promoting this delusion. While Christian terminology is used and Bible verses are sometimes cited in supposed support, the healing movement within much of today’s church is a mixture of heresy and occultism more akin to the holistic movement than to Christianity. This “Christian occultism,” a subject to which we will return later, is described by former Vineyard pastor John Goodwin:
“Wimber talks about healing as though this is a technique that someone can learn…. He goes on to say in this healing video, ‘As I’m praying for somebody, in evaluating them and taking in information with my five senses…I also send up my antenna into the cosmic reality and begin to gather information…. When you feel that heat in your hands you know somebody is going to be healed.’ This is dangerous stuff. It’s important that you understand the connection…between what we see happening in the Vineyards, and in the occult and in the New Age movement…. They are all related because they have the same source.”
What then is true faith? Jesus said, “Have faith in God” (Mark:11:22). Faith is believing that God will answer prayer—but only according to His will, in His time, and in His way. Faith does not attempt to bend God’s will to its own ends by some prayer technique. Instead of mentally trying to create the fulfillment of his wishes by Positive or Possibility Thinking, or by a Positive Confession or some other technique, the true believer, in submission to God’s sovereignty, love and wisdom, sincerely prays as Jesus Himself prayed: “Nevertheless not my will but thine be done” (Luke:22:42).
In contrast, holistic medicine involves no concern for truth or for God’s will, but only for something that will work. And it relies upon techniques which contradict conscience and the Bible. Holistic medicine attempts to tap into an occult force; and that very attempt rejects the grace of the one true and personal God whose very existence and sovereignty it denies. The appealing magic of the occult produces just enough results to keep its victims nibbling the bait.