Impacted by Which Spirit?

I attended a virtual service of Impact Family Church, Austin on Sunday, June 19, 2022. I started with the service for that day and my computer crashed while livestreaming, so I switched to the Sunday before. This was serendipitous if not downright led by the Spirit for the message in the sermon series “Jesus My Healer” for the Sunday my computer compelled me to go was “Jesus My Healer – When Loved Ones Die Unexpectedly.” You would be impacted indeed by listening to his hourlong sermon ( even as a whack upside the head impacts you. It disorients; it confuses; it confounds.

This is your old-school charismatic if not Pentecostal pastors and church. The husband and wife are co-pastors, though in the portion of the archive I perused, I didn’t find one by the misses. In any event, he was dressed in very nice two-piece suit, tie, and a cuff-linked white shirt. In short, he was dressed as one who understood the power, the privilege and seriousness of what he was doing.

He gave five statements made by Christians and even by pastors when loved ones die unexpectedly that he emphatically says are not Biblically true and are false doctrine. Here they are as verbatim:

  • 1) It must not have been God’s will to heal them.
  • 2) It must have been their time to die.
  • 3) God must have wanted them up in heaven.
  • 4) They must not have had faith to be healed. (Remember this one.)
  • 5) They must have had sin their lives or done something wrong.

He answered all five dogmatically with his own error, and it was downright frightening how fasil he was at quoting Scripture out of context and melding it to his own error. For example, he doggedly asserted that while Scripture says it is appointed for a man to die once, that Scripture doesn’t say there is an appointed time for every man to die. He didn’t mention Psalm 136:16: “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.”

While he denounced the error of faith healers in bullet point number 4, that really was the theology he was protecting at all costs. He argues this way: “Just because our sins are forgiven doesn’t mean we will necessarily go to heaven.” So, just as our sins are forgiven only by faith only by faith comes are healing. He repeatedly says, “God’s will is that everyone of us be healed.” And “You don’t have to beg God to heal you. He already has.” He apologized for his repetition by saying, “I don’t want to beat a dead horse.” But he did; he did.

In summary, this is not an evangelical, non-denom, but it is dating if not married to the spirit of our age. This was the last slide in the repeated 4 or 5 slide preservice montage: “Never Forget…. You’re Truly Amazing! We Love You!” And this from their own website: “What is the vibe like? You’re family already. We our Jesus people, not religious people. We serve free coffee and enjoy each other’s company” (!

This accurately sums up the confusing, conflicting, yet caring vibe I got from this pastor’s preaching. He was about people getting the healing that God already gave them. He mentioned Jesus but I don’t recall any mention of the cross or the Vicarious Atonement. He was of a different spirit than the Luther who advised a friend in the midst of deep affliction to embrace the cross and let the nails go in deep. This pastor would see the cross as an evil that God already had delivered you from and wished you to eschew not embrace.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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