Another Thorn In The Flesh


               Please  read the following  article carefully.   My personal
          comments follow.


               One can  only feel sorrow  for Demos Shakarian,  Founder and
          Leader of The Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International.
          For years he has  taught the erroneous charismatic  doctrine that
          healing for the body is included in the atoning work of Christ --
          that a believer may  always obtain healing for their body just as
          an unsaved person may obtain salvation  by coming to Christ.  But
          in 1984,  Shakarian suffered  a stroke  which paralyzed  his left
          side  and now,  two years llater,  he is  forced to  accept God's
          sovereignty and  admit that God  will heal him  IF that is  God's
          purpose.    Shakarian  admits that  his  physical  affliction has
          caused  depression at  times and  that a  "lot of  people in  the
          fellowship can't understand  why God hasn't  healed him since  so
          much of his ministry over the years has focused on healing."

               The Apostle Paul  learned that God  doesn't always heal  His
          children,  His servants.  Often He uses  the "thorn in the flesh"
          to  demonstrate  His  grace  and strength.    Read  2 Corinthians
          12:7-10.  God  can heal anybody, anytime.   But it is  not always
          God's  will to  heal  everybody,  every time.    Those who  teach
          otherwise are unscriptural in their ministry, and will experience
          the same disillusionment of many in the FGBMFI.


                              ************

                                                  ANOTHER THORN IN THE FLESH



                                          By

                                     Phil Scovell





                          Copyright (C) 1997/2003

                            By Phil Scovell

                          All Rights Reserved



          Reproduction of the following is granted by the copyright holder,
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                                                                 ANOTHER THORN IN THE FLESH



                                          By

                                     Phil Scovell



               Here's another one  of these self righteous  unknown authors
          who have taken the opportunity to kick a brother  in Christ while
          he's down.  Listen to what he, or she, says.

               "One  can only feel sorrow for Demos Shakarian, Founder
               and Leader of The  Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship
               International."

          Do you honestly think the writer of this article feels sorrow and
          compassion  for Demos  Shakarian?   Do you  think the  writer has
          spent very much time, if any, praying for him and his condition?

               Something else this writer says which I find interesting:
               "For  years  he  has taught  the  erroneous charismatic
               doctrine that healing for  the body is included  in the
               atoning work  of Christ --  that a believer  may always
               obtain healing for their body just as an unsaved person
               may obtain salvation by coming to Christ.  But in 1984,
               Shakarian  suffered a  stroke which paralyzed  his left
               side and now,  two years later, he is  forced to accept
               God's sovereignty  and admit that God will  heal him IF
               that is God's purpose."

               I do not personally know Shakarian nor have I ever heard him
          speak but if he has been preaching for years that God still heals
          today, I  applaud him loudly.  People such  as the author of this
          critical  piece generally are negative in everything they believe
          and wouldn't  know how  to exercise faith  if someone  paid them.
          They usually haven't experienced an answer to prayer for so long,
          they can't remember when or for what  they prayed.  They are good
          at criticizing others, however, for what they believe; especially
          if it differs from their beliefs.

               He  said this  teaching  of the  healing power  of God  is a
          "erroneous  Charismatic doctrine."  Thank you for letting us know
          that Jesus did  not die for us  physically.  Why, pray  tell, did
          our Lord  do  all  that  physical  suffering?   If  sin  is  only
          spiritual in nature, why did Christ have to physically suffer for
          sin?  What  does the apostle  Peter mean, then,  in I Peter  1:24
          when  he said "Who his own self bare  our sins in his own body on
          the  tree,  that  we,  being  dead  to  sins,  should  live  unto
          righteousness: by whose  stripes ye were healed."   I suppose you
          are going  to tell us  now that  this is metaphorical  and Peter,
          silly old Peter, that dumb  old fisherman, really was just trying
          to poetically  say that Jesus  "healed" us from  sin.   The Greek
          term translated "healed" in  this verse is  (cured).  It is  used
          repeatedly in the four Gospels when referring to those whom Jesus
          physically and bodily healed of physical illnesses.  Tell me that
          Jesus  "cured"  sins?    You  can't be  "cured"  from  sin;  just
          forgiven.

               Notice something else this unknown critic says:

          "The Apostle  Paul  learned  that God  doesn't  always  heal  His
          children, 
          His servants.    Often  He  uses the  "thorn  in  the  flesh"  to
          demonstrate 
          His grace and strength."

          I'm not  sure where this  writer gets his/her information  but it
          certainly isn't from  the Bible.  First, Paul  makes it perfectly
          clear that this thorn in the flesh was a messenger of  Satan; not
          God.  How does this  writer get the idea that "Often He  uses the
          "thorn in the flesh" to demonstrate 
          His grace and strength."  God doesn't need the Devil to  show His
          grace or strength.   He likewise doesn't  need such to teach;  He
          has sent the Holy Spirit to be our teacher; not the devil.

               Let me back up a step and refer to something all skeptics of
          God's healing power make mention of in their criticisms.

          "But in 1984, Shakarian 
          suffered  a stroke  which paralyzed  his left  side and  now, two
          years 
          later, he  is forced to  accept God's sovereignty and  admit that
          God 
          will heal him IF that is God's purpose."

          Again,  I haven't  heard Shakarian  speak  nor have  I ever  read
          anything  he  may have  written.    The  writer of  the  article,
          however, seems  to know  him personally and  seems to  be totally
          familiar  with all  of Shakarian's  new  beliefs.   He quotes  no
          source though.  I wonder if the author  of this piece interviewed
          Shakarian  before  making  these  claims.    I  don't  see  where
          Shakarian is  forced to  believe or  except anything  differently
          from his earlier convictions.  While I'm on this, however, let me
          address  the  question  of God's  sovereignty  since  all healing
          skeptics dump God's  inability to  answer prayer  into the  black
          hole of His sovereign nature.

               To  hear many  speak, one might  think that God  is a random
          wondering  gaseous cloud of anorganic electrons bumping around in
          the vacuum of deep space.  Once and awhile He does something nice
          like  answer a  prayer or  heals  somebody but  otherwise He's  a
          pretty busy  fellow and can't  be bothered with the  little aches
          and pains of His  own creation.  This erroneous  concept of God's
          sovereignty probably comes from when people really need something
          from God and  when they pray for  it once or twice  and don't get
          it,  well,  then,  shoot,  it  must  be  God's  will  (I.E.,  His
          sovereignty).   This  is a  real spiritual  way of  hiding behind
          their true  feelings of  anger and frustration  over the  lack of
          God's personal interest in them.  Since I was knee high, when God
          didn't   answer  someone's  prayer,   it  was  jammed   into  the
          sovereignty of God.  It really is a nice way of saying God is God
          and He can do anything He wants, which is another way  of saying,
          He simply  didn't want to answer your  prayer in the first place.
          The   problem  with  this  philosophy  is   that  it  isn't  even
          Scriptural. It  furthermore leads  to a distorted  view of  one's
          self in the light of Biblical revelation.  Most people who follow
          this unholy interpretation  generally begin to see  themselves as
          less than worthy of God's love and care for them personally.  "If
          I were a better servant of the Lord," one begins to think and, of
          course, launches  off, head first,  into legalism; doing  and not
          doing everything in the book, to please God.

               The sovereignty of God has  nothing to do with what God  can
          and cannot do.  He's God.  The fact is,  however, God has chosen,
          in  His infinite  wisdom, not  to do some  things.   For example,
          since He is God, He could in  fact save everyone in the world and
          secure their home  in Heaven.  He  won't though.  Why?   He has a
          plan and  that plan  is secured  in His  Son Jesus  Christ.   One
          either  comes   to  Christ  in  faith,  confessing  his  sin  and
          sinfulness,  and confessing  Him as  Lord of  their life  or they
          can't go to Heaven.   This is fixed;  forever settled in  Heaven;
          never to  be changed.   I heard  a knucklehead preacher  once say
          that  since God is  sovereign, He could  have us  go through this
          whole thing about salvation, Heaven, and Hell and then at the end
          of all time  say, "April fools.   I  was Just kidding.   All  you
          people in Heaven go to Hell."  I  know how stupid that sounds but
          it simply demonstrates how silly people can become when trying to
          understand  God and  His  sovereignty.   The  sovereignty of  God
          doesn't mean  He can  do whatever He  wants; when  He wants.   It
          doesn't mean maybe He will  and maybe He won't.  It means  He has
          laid down  some eternal laws  which He called  His Word.   He has
          even  personalized His  Word by  sending His  Son which  He, God,
          calls (The Word Of God).   If we live by this Word,  we can trust
          God to perform what He has  promised.  In short, God, being  God,
          has limited Himself.  The  limitations He has placed upon Himself
          is for our benefit.   Interestingly enough, God's own  Word is so
          sovereign in nature that  He has literally placed it's  authority
          and power  above His own  eternal, and  Holy, nature in  order to
          fortify its eternality and finality:   "I will worship toward thy
          holy temple, and  praise thy name for thy  lovingkindness and for
          thy truth: for  thou hast magnified thy word  above all thy name"
          (Ps. 138:2).

               The author of  this worthless criticism of  Demos Shakarian,
          apparently  believes God's  sovereignty is  "Enie, menie,  minie,
          moe."  Some days God heals and some days He doesn't; some days He
          saves  and some days He doesn't; some days His promises are true;
          some days they aren't.  It all depends on God and how He feels, I
          guess, whether  or not  He answers prayer  and stands  behind His
          Word.   The issue which one must  face is not if  God heals today
          but does  God honor  His Word.   No  matter how  you decide,  you
          cannot jam your insecurity into God's sovereignty; it won't fit.

               The  unfortunate part  of this  person's  assessment of  Mr.
          Shakarian's disability  is that he/she is making the same mistake
          that the unregenerate do when  viewing the doctrine of salvation.
          Many men of God have preached strongly against immorality only to
          fall  into the very sin  they preached against.   When an unsaved
          person see  such a thing, it is likely  that they would say, "See
          there.  It isn't true."  Fortunately the Word of God is true even
          if one preaching  it falls into sin.   Furthermore, it should  be
          obvious that the devil is going to attack those taking a stand on
          a  particular issue  more  than  those  sitting on  the  sideline
          criticizing others.   It is of little surprise  to me, therefore,
          that my  brother has been  attacked physically since he  has been
          preaching God heals just like He saves.

               I've finally identified Paul's thorn.  It is people like the
          author of  the article  from which  I've  been quoting.   I  have
          prayed many  times that the  Lord would remove these  thorns from
          the  body of  Christ  but  since He  hasn't,  and  because He  is
          sovereign, I am  convinced they are  given to us  of God that  we
          might become better Christians.
          Author's Note:

               A year after writing this article, I heard Brother Shakarian
          interviewed on  a Christian  television program.   He was  in his
          eighties  and though  his speech  was a  little slurred  from his
          earlier  stroke, he was bright, cheerful, and full of the life of
          God.   He was still preaching that God  heals today and related a
          story where  he had  traveled to a  large conference  for pastors
          overseas.   He had been asked to leave  the meeting to pray for a
          man  on  crutches;  bent  nearly double  from  years  of  painful
          arthritis.    I won't  bore  you  with  the details  but  Brother
          Shakarian prayed  with the man and he was immediately healed.  It
          doesn't sound like God has changed nor Brother Shakarian.


                            End Of Document
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