Healing on the frontlines
[Above: Sinopensis, f29r, Christ healing a a Blind Beggar, 6th C.—Unknown Author / [Public domain] Wikimedia]
Randy Clark (p. 43) spoke with a number of his colleagues in the Third Wave movement to discuss how they put their biblical and theological understanding of healing into practice.
Throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, people are coming to Jesus as they hear the gospel and see healing, deliverances, signs, and wonders. Hundreds of them have since been martyred. Future church historians will write about the great explosion of Christianity in the Global South during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. These interviews show forth that future. I am privileged to call these pastors and apostolic leaders my friends, and I have personally witnessed their ministries. All have seen God’s miraculous power up close, have trained people in their churches to pray for healing, and have provided ways for people who need healing to receive prayer.
A spiritual milestone
Carlito Paes pastors the Igreja da Cidade (City Church) in São José dos Campos, Brazil, with an attendance of 22,000. He leads a network of 700 churches with 50 other apostolic leaders helping him; each leader has 1,500 to 7,000 in attendance. Almost all are members of Brazil’s traditional Baptist Convention. He testified,
The prophetic healing ministry at Igreja da Cidade has been a spiritual milestone in the church’s life and a great move of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The church grew on the movement of the Spirit and on the search for more of God in an organic way, throughout all age groups. We have seen healings of all kinds of diseases, and unbelief gave way to faith and an expectation of being healed.
Our healing rooms have grown and served people not only from the church, but from all over Brazil and even from other countries. We believe that there is no way for a healthy growth if healing doesn’t become a way of life for all our spiritual children and families.
Paes credits healing as the main catalyst of growth of the churches in the network he leads, though systems for administratively handling the growth are also important.
The command of Jesus
Pablo Deiros, a historian of world Christianity, was for many years the copastor of the oldest and second-largest Baptist church in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Iglesia Del Centro. He was ordained as an apostle and has taught at Princeton, Fuller, and the International Baptist Seminary in Argentina.
Deiros noted that Tommy Hicks’s 1954 crusade, focused on healing, brought about a huge change in Argentina. Hundreds of thousands came to the meeting; the crusade changed the perception of Protestants in Argentina. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Carlos Annacondia (b. 1944), like Hicks, focused on healing and deliverance. Spectacular growth resulted as people accepted Christ and came back to Christ. In some cities the total number of Protestants doubled:
On every occasion that believers fulfilled the mission of the church represented by Jesus’s command to the 12, to the 70/72, and in the Great Commission (Matt 28:18–20) by announcing the good news of the kingdom—with healing and deliverance accompanying this proclamation—more people came to salvation. This results in a marvelous manifestation of the Kingdom of God, the increase of the Kingdom, and the testimony of the Kingdom in the world.
“Please bring the sick”
Henry Madava is the founder and senior pastor of Victory Christian Fellowship in Kiev, the second-largest non-Orthodox church in Ukraine. He leads the apostolic network of Victory Christian Churches and Christ for All Cities Ministries. Madava has conducted Jesus Festival events that focus on healing and has preached in 46 countries, seeing well over a million people come to Jesus. This growth in evangelism exploded after his church offered a school of healing and impartation. There, many of his members were activated in the gifts of the Spirit and received a fresh filling of the Holy Spirit:
When the miraculous happens, we can change history. Sodom and Gomorrah could have been spared if somebody had brought the miraculous to them. But nobody did, and I think today that change of history is still happening as long as we bring the miraculous to the people.
Madava first became involved in deliverance and healing in Zimbabwe when a preacher didn’t show up. After preaching his first sermon for five minutes, he had nothing more to say. He began to pray; with his eyes closed, he heard “thuds” as bodies hit the floor.
When he opened his eyes, he saw four or five young people lying on the floor. He had no reference point for this phenomenon, having never seen anyone fall under the power of God. He went to a teenage girl and asked her what was happening; she responded with a male voice and a demon manifested. After this event healing came into his ministry.
In Ukraine Madava met people who helped him grow in healing ministry: Charles (1916–2009) and Francis (1920–2010) Hunter, Benny Hinn (b. 1952), and me. Now he looks for young men and women called into healing ministry:
When I see that, I put extra emphasis on them . . . because that’s who I was. . . . So I told the church, “please bring the sick. The Lord says we should do a healing meeting.” And the people were so disobedient. They didn’t bring the sick; they brought the dying.
In his first healing service at the church, a woman died in the balcony. Members of his church prayed for her, and she was raised. Now, he says,
they have maybe 12 people who have been raised from the dead by people from the church. But I never raised any of them. . . . That’s how our church began to grow from twenty people. . . . We began to open new churches and every one of our pastors, I try to help them to move in the anointing for healing before they go. . . . [Healing] is like the mantra. It is the victory. Healing and church planting go together. . . . Now we have churches in Ukraine and in Poland. . . . [In Russia] we have about 300 churches all over the country. . . . I try to show the whole church miracles every Sunday; I personally pray for people. The ministry team prays as well, and the church also sends people—including doctors—to minister healing in the hospitals. . . .
The power of God is moving. People are getting healed. We are not trying to convince anybody who is in our church. They are willfully convinced. And that’s an atmosphere that will help to see miracles.
Heidi Baker is cofounder with her husband, Rolland Baker, of Iris Global Ministries. Based in Pemba, Mozambique, they have planted thousands of churches in that nation and seen over a million people come to Christ. At first they had planted four churches—only one in Mozambique. Then Baker experienced a powerful impartation in Toronto that lasted seven days and included a prophetic word from me that God was going to give her the nation of Mozambique: the blind would see, the deaf hear, the lame walk, and the dead be raised.
For the first 18 months after that, few healings or miracles took place. Baker persevered in praying until three blind women were healed in three days. Nearly all the deaf in Mozambique she prays for receive their hearing (see p. 54). Hundreds have been raised from the dead. She says,
We’re just little people. Little laid-down lovers following Jesus, and we never use the titles [apostles]. . . . We’ve given our lives to bring the lost to him and to encourage the church and just to be his lovers. . . .
You just can’t separate healing from church growth. It would be like [an eagle] flying with one wing. We’re about a holistic gospel; healing, deliverance, drilling water wells, providing 35,000 meals a day for the hungry, taking care of orphans and widows, and education. We’re working in 39 nations with over 80 bases. All the church growth has everything to do with intimacy with Jesus, first of all. Out of that intimacy comes the signs and wonders. Out of that face-to-face love with Jesus comes the healing.
In Toronto Baker responded to a sermon calling her to spend herself for the salvation of souls. Since that experience she has been thrown in jail, beaten, stoned, slandered, walked through crocodile-infested waters, and shipwrecked:
I’m telling you, it’s not a problem compared to the glory, the beauty of Jesus and being able to serve Him, to love the poor and to see people running to him.
Knowing God is real
Bill Johnson is the senior leader of Bethel Church in Redding, California, a congregation of over 11,000. He impacts a network of churches around the world. He reflects:
Healing reveals God’s nature that he cares about what we care about. It’s not just about eternity. It’s His love for us right now when He relieves pain, when He causes a tumor to dissolve, or mends a broken bone. It reinforces how practical the love of God is for us.
Healing is God’s ultimate calling card, as when people realize it is real, that He cares, that He can be encountered, and He can be known. . . . Healing automatically attracts people. You don’t have to hype it to build a crowd. People in their heart of hearts want to know that He’s real, that He’s genuine, and that He’s a father. . . .
Healing is a lifestyle, not a program at Bethel. We have people getting healed as they are waiting in line to get into the building. . . . I remember years ago . . . walking through the offices and over to the sanctuary . . . we had secretaries praying for this group, and the janitor was praying for another guy.
Our people look for opportunities to pray for the sick and to prophesy to someone. For our church healing is huge, and it is powerfully related to our growth. We have people who come to our Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry from all over the world, nearly 2,600 of them this year.
Leif Hetland is an apostolic evangelist who leads a network of churches around the world. Like Baker and Madava, he has led over a million people to salvation in Jesus. In June 1995 he received a prophecy from me and an activation of gifts, especially healing, through the Holy Spirit’s impartation, hearing,
I see you in a dark place, all around you is darkness, but God is going to make you light in the darkness. He is going to make you a bulldozer, you will make a way where there has been no way. And I see you leading a multitude of people out of the darkness into the light.
Immediately following those words, God knocked Hetland to the ground where he shook under the power of God for almost three hours. For six months Hetland didn’t understand the significance of what had happened. Then while he was in the Middle East, some Muslims had carried their quadriplegic friend on top of a bus for seven hours to get to the meeting and receive healing prayer:
That was the night I realized everything changed. I thought they were attacking us. . . . But I realized they were not angry; they were not there to kill us. . . . [Their friend] had broken his neck about 12 years earlier, fell down and now he was quadriplegic. When he was healed in the meeting all of them surrendered their lives to Jesus. Because of the testimony of the quadriplegic’s healing, the news spread. We started with a small group. . . . Before the few nights of healing meetings were over, 22,400 people had given their lives to Jesus. . . . A demonstration of the gospel led to people hearing a proclamation of the gospel. Over 26 years we have ministered in 101 countries with ongoing ministry in 22 countries [including 16 non-Christian ones] and close to 1,000 churches. . . . I can look around the world, I see my spiritual sons and daughters. Healing is so much part of our DNA.
Hetland told me how a radical imam who had opposed him for five years witnessed a powerful healing of his broken arm when Hetland touched him and prayed. This healing did what five years of verbal witnessing had not done; he went from hating Hetland to hugging him:
I have never led someone to Christ through apologetics or theological argument. They accept the gospel when they see a demonstration of the gospel in power; in healing, words of knowledge, miracles, and deliverances. . . . I’ve seen Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and atheists turn in repentance and faith to Jesus after they see the miraculous healings and hear the gospel. . . . When I minister, I tell them that I can’t heal anyone, it is Jesus who is alive who is doing the healing. Jesus is living in me, and it is Jesus who is the healer. It is Jesus who is the savior. He’s not dead. He’s alive!
Hetland is known in Pakistan as the “ambassador of love.” He holds peace and reconciliation meetings among top religious leaders in Pakistan and is the only westerner who has spoken at their top university. He also conducts large celebrations of healing through which many thousands have come to Jesus.
Healing to evangelize
Each of these ministries strongly embraces the importance of healing for evangelism. We have seen explosive growth in many new apostolic networks and in older denominations that have opened to the miraculous. I believe the way to reach the post-Christian world of the twenty-first century is the same way the early church reached the pre-Christian world. Church history is presently being written in the lives of people who received a powerful experience of impartation and surrendered to the call to “spend and be spent” by laying down their lives for Christ. CH
Some terms often used by modern healing ministries
• activation: fanning into flame gifts of the Holy Spirit (2 Tim 1:6, 1 Cor 12: 8-10)
• anointing: power of God on a person to give or receive a work of the Holy Spirit, sometimes experienced as a tingling, heat, or strong awareness of God’s presence (Acts 10:38, 1 John 2:20)
• apostle: one commissioned by Jesus, as confirmed by signs, wonders, and miracles, to break new ground for the gospel (Luke 6:12-13, Eph 4:11, 2 Cor 12:12)
• deliverance: liberation from torment by demons or evil spirits by commanding their departure in Jesus’s name and authority, often after closing “doors” that allowed the spirit(s) in (Matt 12:44; 17:18, Eph 4:27)
• falling (under the power): phenomenon of falling to the ground, as one is overcome by the power of the Holy Spirit (2 Chron 5:13-14, Acts 9:4)
• impartation: transference of anointing from God for spiritual gifts, infilling with power, and/or baptism of the Holy Spirit, through laying on of hands and/or prayer (Acts 19:2-6, 2 Tim 1:6)
• prophetic word: message spoken under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, confirming scriptural guidance and encouraging faith to follow God’s direction (1 Tim 4:14, Acts 19:6)
—Candy Gunther Brown and Randy Clark
By Randy Clark and the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #142 in 2022]Randy Clark is overseer of the Apostolic Network of Global Awakening, president of the Global Awakening Theological Seminary of Family of Faith Christian University, and author of 40 books including There is More and Intimacy with God.
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