Healing and deliverance from sins were never supposed to be separate, said Bethel Church Senior Leader Bill Johnson.
Arguing that throughout Scripture (including Mark 2), healing and deliverance always came hand in hand, Johnson said, “We were never supposed to have evangelistic ministry — brings people to Christ — and then over here on the side, in some churches, praying for the sick is allowed. It was never meant to be separated.
“Healing is as much of the Gospel as is the message of forgiveness.”
The charismatic church pastor, whom many consider controversial, spoke during the virtual International Healing Conference this week, which brought together dozens of healing ministries from around the world.
Johnson clarified that “the eternal condition of a soul is the most important thing.” “But there are times Jesus wants to demonstrate His love and His compassion for people by healing the sick, by bringing deliverance, by cleansing the leper.”
Given that he was speaking at a healing event, which featured an online healing rally and healing services, Johnson emphasized that the Gospel of Jesus Christ “is not a philosophy.”
“It is not something that you take an online course for, that you become educated and now you’re an expert in the Gospel. This is something that has to be tasted to be described, it has to be experienced. This Gospel of salvation was always intended to heal us from the inside out.”
As the world is currently suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, the California pastor called it a “privilege” to live through a time of crisis — a time when “the nations of the earth are turning their attention from everything they’ve held dear, everything that’s been secure to them because everything’s been shaken.
“But the Lord doesn’t shake to distress or to cause pain, so to speak. There’s a shaking because we’re standing on unstable foundations and Jesus is calling us to adjust so that we are completely founded on His wonder, His mercy, His greatness.”
Speaking specifically to church leaders who have all been “shaken,” the pastor said he believes God is “stirring up the heart of faith” and courage “to return to a simple Gospel of purity, that holiness before God and power where we demonstrate His love in this compassion for hurting and broken people.”
“It’s time for miracles to come back into the house.”
As of Friday, there are more than 5.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases around the globe and 335,418 deaths. The U.S. has reported the most cases, with 1.5 million confirmed, and most deaths at 95,276.
Johnson urged Christians to stop blaming God when it comes to death and destruction.
“I remind you, Jesus said the devil came to kill, steal, destroy,” he said. “I hear people say, ‘Well, God gave me this cancer to teach me patience.’ No, He didn’t. He doesn’t have cancer to give. What did He do? He came to destroy the works of the evil one.”
He also stated that Jesus still heals today and He can work through Christians. All those who put their faith in Christ have the Holy Spirit — “the death-defying, disease-defying, sin-canceling presence of the Spirit of God — living in them, he added.
“Many of you say, ‘Well, I just don’t have enough faith.’ You don’t have to have enough faith. Just put yourself in the right room, … in the place where Jesus is doing something. He’ll teach you how to grow in faith. Just use whatever you have and direct it towards Him. Don’t measure your faith; that’s the worst thing to do. Just simply turn your attention, the affection of your heart toward this wonderful Savior, this wonderful Healer and together let’s watch what He will do in your life, what He will do through your life.”
The healing conference was initially scheduled to take place in Porto, Portugal, but was switched to an online event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Other speakers and guests included Francis Chan, Benny Hinn, Heidi Baker and Nathan Morris.
Chan said during the conference that he didn't believe in healing and miracles and even ridiculed those who believed they could heal. But after he experienced the power of healing recently, he began to pursue the gifts of the Spirit, he said.