I am a Baptist. Bethel Church and Jesus Culture are more charismatic. They fall most in line with the Pentecostals. For the most part, the conference was not too scary or difficult for me. If the band and preachers and followers where mostly Pentecostal (or Charismatic) then they were really watered down during the conference. There was not a lot of people falling over slain in the Spirit and those sorts of things.
Although, there were miraculous faith healings. I still cannot stop thinking about one instance. A deaf lady from birth, was prayed over with the laying of hands and everything. After the prayer, she started hearing things. I talked to her and her friends, it was a crazy thing. I believe God can do healings, like this on Earth, if He desires to.
Bill Johnson, the pastor of Bethel, laid out an argument for faith healings....basically firstly, the disciples did it:
Mt. 10:8- Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give. Then in John 1: 50 - Jesus says that greater things are yet to come than these [things you have seen me do].
There were some areas I could not completely agree with Bill on, but why aren't we out in our communities/streets praying for healing for people in our local communities?
Obviously I have some warnings:
1. This is NOT about works. It can easily begin to look like and feel like works. But it is only God who does the healing, not us.
2. God may not always heal every single time we ask for healing in our prayers. Sometimes He has a greater purposes that we do not understand. Remember home is NOT on this earth.
3. Theology. One thing Bill Johnson said that is the most debatable is his understanding (or lack of it) in Christology. For me, Jesus was 100% man AND 100% God.
For Bill, Jesus was 100% man who forfeited completely ALL of His God-abilities and did the miracles as a complete man. Meaning any man can perform the same miracles if they rely completely on the Father as Christ did.
This gets sketchy for a couple of reasons. Again, as with point one, it can easily start to become a works based system. But second and worse offense, is centered on Christ. Christ had to be 100% (as well as 100% man), in order for His offering for our sins, as our substitute, to be acceptable and infinitely valuable (1 Pet. 1:18-19).
So all of this has got me thinking all week and it is an amazing God thing. I see, not only at this conference but through-out history that God can use us despite our bad theology and even despite our differences in beliefs/theology. I hear reports that Redding, Ca is a safe haven, a cancer-free zone and that the presence of the Holy Spirit is there. All of that sounds wonderful, I do not have any data to prove it but I believe that God can work in that way if He so desires.
He is bigger than our human understanding of theology. I do not know who is more correct in a lot of areas in theology. I see good arguments on my areas of debatable topics and yet while it seems that the two sides can not agree and work together....they can. God is bigger. God does the Healing. He does the saving. I am just glad to be a part of it. I want to continue to work out my faith and continue to study these things. Do not get me wrong I desire truth and solid Biblical answers and I believe that a foundational worldview with essential doctrines is essentials....this is why I am willing to debate Bill Johnson on the points I did above.
While on many non-essential, I am willing to hear the other side of the argument. I give grace and I agree to disagree and agree to say that "Wow, God is working through that, despite my understanding or belief."