The other neighbors warned us about him: “He’s a religious fanatic!”
“Cool,” I thought. ” These days ‘fanatic’ tends to describe anyone who actually goes to church more than once a week. So maybe we simply have a commited, born-again, evangelistic-type next-door neighbor.”
Well, that hope was shot to pieces the first time I met Jack. Actually, Leah met him first. “Fanatic” was a gross understatement. Thus far he’s had visions predicting 9-11, the Iraq/Bush War, and the eventual destruction of the U.S. by nuclear war. He hears voices that often quote scripture-like statements and finds hidden spiritual messages in late-night infomercials. That being said, he is also a really, really nice neighbor.
Jack offered me some CDs and a book on divine healing. Out of kindness and curiousity I accepted them and have listened to most of them. They are by Kenneth Hagin (now deceased) of Rhema ministries. It only takes about 30 seconds to find out more than enough dirt about Hagin on the internet, but Jack warned me about believing Hagin’s critics, “The Pharisees thought Jesus was nuts too!” (By the way, I’m getting sick of everyone using that argument to defend whatever new position or liberty or emergence they create. Make sure I don’t use it.)
That’s the background, here’s the prompt. Though Jack rejects any theological conversation or evaluation, do you have any thoughts on how to handle such a neighhbor/friend? He’s a believer (even used to go to a GARB church!), but that’s where our similiarities end. I honestly would like advise.
Also, here are the basic theological syllogisms of Hagin’s corner of the healing movement. If you have thoughts, I’m interested in them. Maybe I’ll share mine later. (Don’t worry, I’m not into healing now!)
1) Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law – Gal. 3:13
2) The curse of the law is spiritual death, sickness, and poverty – Deut 28.
3) Therefore, we are redeemed from sickness.
Or try this one from the Lord’s prayer:
1) “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
2) There is no sickness in heaven.
3) Therefore, God’s will is never sickness on earth.