Gary: Welcome to Search the Scriptures 24/7, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. I’m Gary Carmichael. Thanks for tuning in! In today’s program, we continue a series of classics from our Search the Scriptures Daily archives with the late founder of The Berean Call, Dave Hunt, and TBC executive director Tom McMahon. This week, they address the question: What Is the Law of Miracles? And now, here’s Tom.
Tom: Thanks, Gary. You’re listening to Search the Scriptures Daily, a program in which we encourage everyone who desires to know God’s truth to look to God’s Word for all that is essential for salvation and living one’s life in a way that is pleasing to Him. In this first segment of today’s Search the Scriptures Daily, we’re continuing through Dave Hunt’s book, Seeking and Finding God: In Search of the True Faith. Now, we are currently in chapter 8, and the title of that is, “Concerning Prayer,” and although prayer sometimes becomes a form of seeking and finding God, for many people, it occurs in a time of crisis. They take a shot at seeking God, hoping He’ll bail them out of whatever bad situation or circumstance that they are in. Dave, we talked about this last week; it’s sort of the “faith in the foxhole” scenario, in which, as you explained in the book, for a number of reasons it doesn’t make any sense.
Now, of course you list a number of other attempts at prayer that are just as bogus, I’ll just mention a couple. Those who are interested, you know, we have our radio programs archived so they can go back and look at earlier programs if they would like. But anyway, you mentioned having enough faith, or believing strongly enough, as the key to answered prayer, or prayers in the form of a positive affirmation like, you know, the saying of Émile Coué. This was in the 20th century, early 20th century, his line was: “Every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better,” and people would repeat that like a mantra, and for some people it worked. But that’s not faith! At least, not faith in God at all. That’s just mind power, right?
Dave: Well, that’s, unfortunately, not just…for everybody out there. When you get in trouble then you cry out to God. Suddenly an atheist is crying out to God that he claims doesn’t exist. But they think that somehow (and we talked about this last week), somehow “if only I can believe.” So that’s what people think is faith. Well, if I can get myself to believe something, I’ve got to believe this – whatever I am praying for – I’ve got to believe this.
Tom: They are putting their faith in the technique, in the concept, in the power.
Dave: Well, in their faith – their faith is in their faith. In fact, some of these positive confession guys say it literally like that: “Have faith in your faith!” Well, that is not faith! Jesus, as you alluded not to earlier – He said, “Have faith in God,” in Mark:11:22.
So, look, here’s the basic problem: maybe it’s not God’s will! Am I going to force my will on Him? “Well, if I just had some technique, if I could just believe it strongly enough….” Well, if things happen because you believe they will happen, then you don’t need God; that’s just mind power, as you mentioned. Or maybe it’s not God’s way, what I’m asking for. He’s going to do it another way. Maybe it’s not God’s time. I can’t force God to do something when I want it to be done. So, there are a lot of considerations here, but prayer is not a religious technique to get my own way. We set our sights on what we want, and then we spend the “sweet hour of prayer” trying to talk God into working it out for us. That is not faith!
Tom: Dave, you made a confession last week, and so did I. We’re trying to explain why this is not biblical, but you’ve fallen into it, I’ve fallen into it.
Dave: But many years ago, not recently.
Tom: Well, yeah, absolutely. But what we’re saying here is that we can understand people, in the time of crisis or whatever, looking to what might be expedient and so on, and they’re missing what the Word of God says. They are not doing it His way. But the verse that you (correct me if I’m wrong here), but the verse that you said really you took to heart was Hebrews:11:6, “But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently…(look for their solution to their problem, for going to get what they want or what they are crying out for?). It doesn’t say that, does it? It says: “…and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” And you mentioned an atheist or agnostic, or somebody who thinks they are a Christian, but really doesn’t have a relationship with the living God. They don’t know His character, they don’t understand what He’s about, they are just crying out to anything that will solve their problem, and for some Christians that know Christ, still, they’ve got the cart before the horse. They’re looking for the reward or for the solution and not His character, and better understanding of Him and who He is.
Dave: Well, Tom, we’re very self-centered creatures, and we want something for ourselves. Not too many people have really surrendered their lives 100 percent to the Lord. I can remember when – well, I had a pain down here somewhere, and I could literally feel food going past an obstruction – that’s what it seemed to me, pretty serious sign. I was sure I had cancer somewhere in there. I mean, I wasn’t totally sure, but I hadn’t been to a doctor to check it out. In that situation – this was many, many years ago, I didn’t cry out, “O, God, please heal me!” I had a lot of reasons for it: four young children, a wife, and so forth, and my own hopes and desires to live a little longer. But that was perhaps the first time – I can’t remember exactly – but that may be the first time when I totally surrendered to God. “Lord, You want to heal me, that’s up to You – whatever you want. But I want Your will, not my way!” And that was quite a crisis.
Tom: But, Dave, as you’ve been saying over and over again, you can’t do any better than that – His will versus what you think, right?
Dave: Well, He’s a little smarter than we are, and He does love us.
Tom: Beyond what we can even imagine…
Dave: You see, so there are people who dedicate their lives to Christ – they come forward; maybe it’s an emotional time. Then what do you know? Pretty soon they’ve got to rededicate, and re-rededicate. The problem with that is, they were the heroes and God was the villain: “Well, okay, God. I’ll knuckle down and I’ll give up everything and I’ll live this sober and sad, self-denying Christian life, and miss out on all the fun, but if I don’t, you’re going to zap me some way or another. So okay, God, I’ll dedicate myself to you.” But the heart is not in it, and God is not being honored. I should surrender myself to Him as the One who loves me, and His way is best. All He wants is what is best for me. Now, even I have got some problems going on right now. Well, I haven’t said, “Lord, please heal me of this.” We’re in His hands. We are on our way to recovery by God’s grace.
Tom: And people are supporting us in prayer, and they are praying for us to be healed.
Dave: Right. So, we want God’s will, and why would I want to get my legs back to working and some of the other things that I’ve had a recent operation on?
Tom: You’re talking about swelling, a slight swelling.
Dave: Right, well, that’s getting better. But anyway, mobility, because it’s still - I don’t get the message from my brain to my feet. I think I want my foot to go there, but it doesn’t always do that.
Tom: Now, for some that don’t understand, Dave, you’ve had a second hip replacement.
Dave: On the right side, yes, only one on the left side. So, they do a lot of cutting in there and the nerves get disconnected. But anyway, Tom, why would I want to be in better shape? Only one reason! I want to serve the Lord. Right now, I am involved, as some people out there know, in writing what I think could be my most important book, Cosmos Creator and Human Destiny: A Response to the New Wave of Aggressive Atheism. And I want to confound the enemies of the Lord, and I want to rescue people, because these atheists are number-1 bestsellers!
Tom: Right, they are evangelists for the idea that there is no God. I mean, what is that!
Dave: Right, and they are determined to stamp out all belief in God. They say it’s not only stupid; it is wicked. It must be stamped out, and they have been doing a very effective job. I want to confound these men.
Tom: Dave, as though they had a criteria for wickedness, right? I mean, not even that’s absurd.
Dave: Well, Tom, I’ve been in this quite a long time, and they would say they do.
Tom: Wow! “The fool has said in his heart, there is no God.” So there are a lot of things they say.
Dave: Right, but where are their morals, or what is the basis? Well, it’s built into us by natural selection and evolution, you know. It’s in our genes. Richard Dawkins says in one of his books, his first book, The Selfish Gene, “It’s only genes that run us, you know. We’re just a bag…a container for our genes to help them survive.” And Francis Crick, well, he’s the co-discoverer of the language of DNA. He says, “You think you have a real desire that you love your wife, and you have ambitions and personal thoughts, and so forth? No, that’s all created by your molecules of your body.” Now this is a brilliant man.
Tom: It’s like a burp, isn’t it Dave? Wouldn’t you say love is just like a burp or something like that? I mean it’s absurd!
Dave: These guys are brilliant in some ways, but, Tom, maybe we have quoted it before – let me just finish this thought here. Here is George Wald, Nobel Prize winner, Harvard professor (I think he may be dead now; I’m not sure), and he says, “We know that there’s no spontaneous generation. Louis Pasteur, he finished that one off. We know the law of biogenesis, life only comes from life, but if you take that 100 percent, then the only way life could be here is a supernatural act of a Creator, and we will not believe in Him. Therefore, here we are, by an act of spontaneous generation.” That’s stupidity, but they will not believe in God! They are determined. Well, one day they will find out.
Tom: Right. Dave, getting back to issue of prayer in Seeking and Finding God, you know you say (and this is so important related to Christians, or related to anybody who wants their prayers answered, or is crying out for help, or whatever), you say that God, the God we petition, cannot be a stranger, or one from whom we are alienated. Well, why not?
Dave: Well, I often us the example of the little boy, or whatever, and he has been just disobedient, he’s been rebellious, he’s been impossible to handle. He never does anything, he’s a slacker at home, he doesn’t help his mother, who may be even a single parent. But then he wants something. “Oh, Mommy, could you let me have this?”
Well, wait a minute! Why should she give him what he wants right now? He has been a rebel! Is that how you reward rebellion? Once in a while we have to learn our lesson sometimes from God. And sometimes, you know, every prayer is answered, but some of them the answer is no, or wait.
Tom: Well, we’re going to get into, if we have time, some conditions for prayer, but before that, Dave, again, looking to Christians, those who profess to really have a relationship or know God, many times they get drawn off to deviate from what the Word of God says. You know, that’s why, to me, it’s so key. Many of the things that you articulated earlier are based on your trust, your faith in God, your knowledge of Him, your understanding, your relationship with Him, the experiences that you’ve had over the years – not only in understanding the Word better, but walking with Him, knowing Him, and of course, God’s Word – His revelation to us – He lays all that out for us.
Now, you say the idea that faith is a kind of a force, or something that we can manipulate, which is, I mean, it is persuasive in the church, especially among the word-faith, positive-confession people, and so on. But you give some problems with that. First of all, you say the Christian is not under law, but under grace, Romans:6:14, yet grace has no part to play in this supposed law of faith.
Dave: Right, where did that come from? That was invented by Pat Robertson in his…
Tom: Well, I mean, he was the soft sell of it, but it really goes back to the positive confession guys, the Word Faith…. You know, everybody from Kenneth Hagen, Kenneth Copeland, and it’s now Marilyn Hickey and Joyce Meyer, I mean, we are seeing various forms of that. Joel Osteen, you know, his father John Osteen was a part of this whole movement. Now we are seeing it sort of massaged around. Here’s another one, the Bible never even hints, number two – you say the Bible never even hints that the realm of the spirit is governed by laws similar to those governing the physical realm. They’ve got it dead wrong!
Dave: Tom, again, that’s what the atheists would say: You think you had an answer to prayer, and you didn’t realize that – well, it was a scientific…”I mean, if you only knew the laws of science you would understand that this is how it came about.” So this is what the skeptics would say. Finally, one day science will have answered everything. Science will – you don’t need God anymore because your god is a god of the gaps, they call it. You god was postulated in order to explain what science hasn’t yet explained. But one day, when science has explained everything, we don’t need your god anymore.” Now, this is what the positive-confession people are doing. This is what Mary Baker Eddy did: “Oh, Jesus was a scientist, and He knew the laws.” If we could just understand these laws, but what do you know? There’s a law of faith, there’s a law of miracles; Pat Robertson said, “Jesus never does a miracle except by the law of miracles.”
Tom: Dave, I can remember clearly. This was, you know, his laws, The Secrets of the Kingdom, his book to that end, this has got to be at least 15 years ago. But I remember him articulating why he was interested in this, why he wanted to get into it, because he was never a part of, you know, the word faith movement and so on. But he said: I want some continuity; I want some consistency with how God is going to answer my prayers. So that’s how he got into these laws, because, hey, don’t laws work by cause and effect, and if you do this, this, and this you are going to have this result?
Dave: Yeah, another problem with laws, Tom, is you don’t have to be a Christian to follow laws, the laws of aerodynamics. I hope every pilot is following the laws of aerodynamics when I’m in the airplane, but I don’t get in the cockpit – well, you can’t do that anymore; I used to – and say, “Are you guys Christians?” No, you don’t have to be a Christian to be a good engineer or a good pilot. This is exactly where they are putting us back to.
“Well, if it’s laws…” And in fact, Pat Robertson says it, Kenneth Hagin said it. Kenneth Hagin said, “I used to wonder why non-Christians got miracles in their lives, and then God showed me, well, it’s the law, the law of faith, and it works for anybody whether you’re a Christian or not.” Now that is not what the Bible says! It’s not even rational.
Tom: Right, but, Dave, it just doesn’t go away. You know, we could throw in…well, now he calls himself David Yonggi Cho in the fourth dimension, the same kind of thing. Why do the Buddhists get what they get? Well, because they know these “spiritual laws” and so on.
Let me go over the last two of these things. You said, “The physical laws God has established are intended to control man. Even Adam and Eve were subject to them, and to limit what we can do with God’s universe, but this presumed ‘law of faith’ does just the opposite. It allows each person to become a god, which was a part of their teaching, as you know. Waving a magic wand over the physical universe and thus does not fit the pattern of physical laws that God has established.”
Dave: Yeah, well, He has laws, but His laws – He established them, but there is no such thing as a “law of faith.” But anyway, even if there were a law of faith (this is what we are saying here), then I can make that do whatever I want? No! I can’t use the law of gravity to levitate, or whatever, but I have to obey the law of gravity.
Tom: And Dave, we have seen, because we have had programs on this, a number of programs on The Secret. Now we see it coming back in the secular vein, but the bottom line is still the same: “I’m the master of my fate. I’m the one who controls. I’m the one who, whether a mantra, an affirmation or something like that, I’m the one who is in control of my destiny.”
Dave: They intend to, whatever god they believe in, they only believe in him, or it, or her, or whatever, in order to get what they want, and they think they can use it. It’s like science of mind – science of mind is based upon the idea that there’s this universal mind out there. But in the universal mind and in religion, science of mind has no mind of its own. So, you just use it to get what you want. It doesn’t make any sense, but selfishness just drives the human brain.
Tom: Without a doubt! And the idea, you know, as we saw that these ideas that come out of Hinduism, that come out of the mind sciences, we end up being god. So they began teaching, “We’re little gods under God. He works by faith, we can work by faith,” and so on.
Dave: Paul Crouch even wrote a newsletter about that, and he and Benny Hinn have said it more than once on the TV program.
Tom: Now you conclude that these four ideas – or, dealing with these issues – you say, “The very heart of the prayer pattern Jesus taught His disciples is, ‘Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, in earth as it is in heaven,’ that’s Matthew:6:10. But the imagined law of faith would accomplish just the opposite, gaining for man the desires of his own will. Indeed, the teachers in this movement insist that it destroys faith to pray, If it be thy will.” I mean, how tragic is that!
Dave: Well, Jesus said it; so did Paul say it. Well, Tom, everybody prays. They may not admit it, but when they get in a difficult situation: If you’re dying in the wreckage of a car, and you’re crying out for help. There’s nobody around. Who would you…I don’t care how staunch an atheist you are – you’ve been preaching atheism all over the world – you’re going to cry out to God! But, as we’ve mentioned in this program, that’s not genuine. See, that’s one of the reasons, Tom, why when you are in hell in the lake of fire, it’s too late because the torment is so great you would promise anything to get out of there! Well, God doesn’t want that kind of a promise. You didn’t give Him your heart when you had the opportunity. Now, this is not your heart, this is under coercion, and this is something that you feel forced to do in order to be rescued, and that is a prayer that will not be answered.
Tom: The Lord willing, next week in this segment of our program we’re going to talk about conditions to prayer. There are many conditions that God lays out and we’ll go over them.
Dave: Sometimes God will answer the most desperate prayer, but He does it because He knows the heart, but I don’t think anyone in hell has that heart.
Gary: You’ve been listening to a special edition of Search the Scriptures 24/7 with Dave Hunt and T. A. McMahon, a radio ministry of The Berean Call. The complete radio discussion of Dave’s “Seeking and Finding God” is available from The Berean Call. We offer a wide variety of resources to help you in your study of God’s Word. For a complete list of materials and a free subscription to our monthly newsletter contact us at PO Box 7019 Bend, Oregon, 97708. Call us at 800.937.6638; or visit our website at the bereancall.org. I’m Gary Carmichael, thanks for tuning in, and we invite you back again next week. Until then, we encourage you to Search the Scriptures 24/7.