March 2013

Faith Defined

Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Chap 3; part 6:

The most concise definition of faith in the Bible is in Hebrews 11:1 where it states that, “faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. In terms of this, we can understand ‘faith’ as a mental attitude of certainty which acts as the catalyst for receiving and imparting spiritual things. Word of Faith theology, on the other hand, holds that faith is a force. Protagonists of this view teach that faith is a tangible power force which makes the laws of the spirit world function. 
I do not believe that faith is a force, although, as you know, I do contend that there is a form of spiritual energy and that God the Holy Spirit is the source of this energy. The scriptures do not give a name to this energy. Jesus referred to it as “power from on high” (Luke 24:49). John referred to it as the “anointing” (1 John 2:27). Perhaps one could refer to it as holy spirit, with a lower case ‘h’ and ‘s’ as opposed to the person of the Holy Spirit (capital H and S).
The distinction between ‘anointing’ and ‘faith’ is not just a matter of semantics. If the Bible did not consistently use the word ‘faith’ as an attitude of belief and trust, then perhaps we could substitute it for ‘anointing’. However, to use a word such as ‘faith’ to mean ‘spiritual power’, when it is already well used and defined in scripture, is to pervert the meaning of otherwise clear texts.
What then is faith?
The Amplified Bible translates Hebrews 11:1 as, “Now faith is the assurance (the confirmation, the title deed) of the things [we] hope for, being the proof of things [we] do not see and the conviction of their reality [faith perceiving as real fact what is not revealed to the senses].” Many people have written concerning this verse, and so I will only deal with the aspects which are relevant to the proposition that faith is the catalyst for releasing and receiving spiritual energy.
The Hebrews definition concerns mental activity – being sure and certain. So, faith is a mental attitude of certainty. Similes for the word ‘faith’ include belief, trust, confidence, and conviction – all mental attitudes. Faith is an act of the will. The only exception to this which I can find, is the reference in 1 Corinthians 12:9 to the ‘gift’ of faith. My understanding of this is that there are times when the Holy Spirit manifests himself in and through a believer by granting an unshakable conviction, a gift of faith. Not only is this qualitatively different from normal human faith, as I define it, but it is a manifestation, not of the mind of man, but of the Holy Spirit.
Can we develop faith?
Those who understand faith as a force believe that we can develop, build up, our faith. I understand faith, not as a force, but as an act of the will – so you have it or you do not. We cannot have just a little faith for salvation; we either believe, and are saved, or we do not believe.
A few texts tend to indicate that we can increase our faith. Matthew 8:26 asks; “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” I understand this as a description of the disciples’ condition rather than a definition of faith. The Message translation, for instance, reads, “Why are you such cowards, such faint-hearts?” Similarly, it translates Matthew 17:20 as, “Because you’re not yet taking God seriously’. The NIV translates this verse as, “Because you have so little faith.” We are not obliged, in terms of the context or translation conventions, to see in these texts the idea that faith can be ‘grown’.
I see faith as a sort of mental ‘switch’. When the faith switch is on, then we can receive and impart spiritual power; when it is off, we cannot. I think that Jesus was making this point when he said, “I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)  He was comparing the smallest thing in the local environment (a mustard seed) to the largest visible object (probably Mount Hermon). We could therefore paraphrase the text as, ‘I tell you the simple truth; if you had a mere kernel of faith, as small as a mustard seed say, you would tell this mountain, “Move!” and it would move.’

In the next blog post, I will discuss if faith can be activated, stay tuned! 

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Receiving spiritual power

Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Chap 3; part 5:

Jesus received power after being baptised by John the Baptist. As he was praying, the Holy Spirit descended upon him like a dove (Luke 3:22). The first disciples received power from on high discerned as tongues of fire which rested upon their heads (Acts 2:3). Presumably, they too were praying because Acts 1:14 reveals that, “they all joined together constantly in prayer.” The believers in Samaria received the anointing of the Holy Spirit when Peter and John laid hands upon them (Acts 8:17) after praying for them (Acts 8:15). The believers in Caesarea received the power of the Holy Spirit as Peter was preaching to them (Acts 10:44).
From this evidence, I conclude that we receive the anointing the Holy Spirit gives, perhaps among other undisclosed ways, through prayer, preaching, and the laying on of hands. The Samarian believers received the empowerment from above through the instrumentality of physical contact. In the case of those living in Caesarea, the spoken word provided the point of contact and the conduit for blessing.
We can receive empowerment directly or indirectly, in response to prayer or within an environment of worship and the preaching of the Word of God. The biblical witness does not indicate that there are any special procedures or techniques. The account in Acts 8:14-17 says simply that,
When the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had accepted the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them. When they arrived, they prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit, because the Holy Spirit had not yet come upon any of them; they had simply been baptised into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then Peter and John placed their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.
The scriptural witness is clear that a response to the infilling of the Holy Spirit was speaking in tongues. However, at other times people prophesied. In Paul’s case, there is no record of any immediate response of tongues or prophecy. The traditional Pentecostal view is that speaking in tongues is THE evidence of the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’. I do not believe that scripture gives solid support to this view.
The argument concerning whether tongues is THE evidence of spiritual infilling is perhaps the concern of the previous generation. Today, the discussion tends to centre more on the nature and role of faith in receiving and imparting blessing.
Faith, the catalyst to receiving and imparting power
Jesus told his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high. They had faith in his words, and they must have been waiting and praying with faith until they received what he had promised. The Samarian believers received a visit from two great apostles, and heard them praying for them to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. They must surely have had faith to receive. The Caesarean converts were stimulated to faith by the powerful preaching of the Word of God.
The Gospels indicate that faith was a catalyst for receiving spiritual power from Jesus. Luke 8:48 records how Jesus responded to the woman’s contact with his garments with the words, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” There are several other accounts of how Jesus attributed healing to the faith demonstrated by a recipient (Matthew 8:10, 9:2, 9:29 et al.). There are also several recorded occasions where Jesus rebuked people for their lack of faith (Matthew 16:8, 17:20, Mark 6:6 et al.).
Matthew 13:58 records that Jesus “did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.” This indicates that faith is not just a minor part of the equation, but a major component. In the instance cited, Jesus obviously had faith, but the people could not receive the healing power from him because they lacked faith.
Diagrammatically, the process could look as follows. The stars indicate the points where faith is exercised.
The Role of Faith

In response to prayer, the Holy Spirit anoints the believer (minister) with power. Jesus taught that God the Father will give the power of the Holy Spirit to those who ask (Luke 11:13). The one who asks must believe that he will receive what he asks for (James 1:6-8); he must exercise faith. Similarly, he needs to believe that when he lays his hands upon someone in need, then spiritual power will flow from him to her. It is not clear from the scriptural account that the recipient always needs to have faith. In the examples cited above, Jesus indicated that the recipient’s faith was the catalyst for receiving. However, there are accounts where the recipient could not have exercised faith. An example of this is the account of the dead child in Matthew 9:23-25.
In the diagram, the arrow marked 4 reminds us of the fact that the Holy Spirit can, and often does, intervene directly. He does not need us in order to touch the lives of others, but he usually allows us to be part of the process, so that by participating we can grow as children of God.
Models and diagrams are useful up to a point. Whilst they help us to understand some essential elements and relationships, they tend to reduce complex and often holistic concepts to just some of the component parts. Ministering in the power of the Holy Spirit can never be as clear-cut as the models I have presented might indicate. Ultimately, God is sovereign, although he graciously allows us a degree of discretion and participation, so sometimes he intervenes directly. Sometimes he sends an angel. Sometimes he acts through us. Sometimes he fills us with power and allows us to minister as we see fit. The reason I have placed emphasis on the sonship (internal) model, and stressed our responsibility in ministering, is that it is what Jesus modelled for us. As I have already mentioned, when he ministered to people he is never shown as praying for them. He sometimes declared their sins forgiven. On occasions, he did something symbolic. He even used mud, spit, and river water if the occasion demanded it. Sometimes he spoke words of authority, and sometimes he touched. But always, power went out from him and he healed, delivered, and raised the dead. In every case, he evidenced faith, and he often commented on the faith, or lack of faith, of those to whom he ministered. So, in my next blog post we’ll take a closer look at Faith.

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We are storers of supernatural power

Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Chap 3; part 4:

I have already presented three models of how Prayer, Power, and Proclamation might work together but there is a fourth model that comes closer to describing what how Jesus appeared to minister.
Model Four
The Internal Model
Jesus was full of the power of the Holy Spirit and he ministered it to others in accordance with the will of the Father. Peter received power from on high and ministered it to others. Stephen was anointed, as was Paul.
The key element in this model is that we serve not only as intercessors, conduits, or carriers, but as stores of supernatural power. We do not generate this power; the Holy Spirit imparts it to us. However, once we have received it, we have the ability to impart it to others. Acts 6:8 records that, “Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, did great wonders and miraculous signs among the people.” It does not state that God did wonders through Stephen, or that Stephen attested to the miracles which he observed God doing. It states rather that Stephen did great wonders and miraculous signs. Acts 8:6 also records that, “when the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said.” Both Stephen and Philip performed miraculous signs.
Not only does this model conform most closely to the evidence of Jesus’ ministry and that of the apostles, but it is compatible with the concept of ‘sonship’. We are children of God, and as such we are stewards of his resources. God entrusts us with responsibility, possessions, talents, and power.
Luke 12:42-43 records the words of Jesus when he said, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?” The word ‘manager’ is a translation of the Greekoikonomos. Versions such as the New King James translate this word as ‘steward’. It is used again in 1 Corinthians 4:1 to describe us as “servants of Christ and as those entrusted with the secret things of God.” It is also used in 1 Peter 4:10 which reads, “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” The New King James translates this verse as, “as each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.”
The principle of stewardship applies to ministries in general and to such things as financial giving in particular. God entrusts us with ‘talents’ (Matthew 25:14-30), yet surely the greatest thing he gives to us is ‘power from on high’. The Holy Spirit anointed Jesus when he came up from the waters of baptism, and he then dispensed this power in many different ways. Peter received power from on high on the day of Pentecost, and he too dispensed this power to those in need.
The stewardship/sonship model is consistent with the whole idea of human discretion. God grants his children a considerable degree of freedom of choice. Why does he do this? He does it so that we can learn to be faithful sons and daughters. He entrusts us with money, talents, and ministries. He also entrusts us with anointing; with Holy Spirit power.
The concept of stewardship centres on responsibility. Regarding the stewardship of spiritual energy, this model suggests that we are stores of power rather than just conduits. A good analogy is the rechargeable battery. A battery stores electricity and releases it when needed. Once charged, we can operate the battery independently, and we only need to reconnect it to the power source when we need to recharge it. The analogy breaks down at this point, because, unlike a battery, we have the ability to choose when to discharge the energy we store. The point is, though, that if we were not able to store spiritual energy, then we would have no discretion in using or withholding it.
When Jesus sent his disciples out to preach the kingdom of God in the towns of Judea, he told them to, “Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.”’ (Matthew 10:8-9). In this context, our commission is not just to pray for the sick, asking God to heal them, but to heal them ourselves. How could Jesus expect us to fulfil this mandate if he did not charge us with power from on high? In fact, I think this is the very point he was making when he told them to, stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49)
An obvious limitation
Does this mean that the one requiring ministry can only receive as much as you have to give? Jesus received the fullest possible anointing, but what about us? We are just ordinary Joes!
Let me repeat the truth that God can and does work through us, or independently of us. He does not need us as his ‘hands’! He is quite able to minister to whom he will, when he will, and how he will. But, he has chosen to empower his children to minister so that we can grow up to be like Jesus! He expects us to give whatever we have – that is all we can do. Peter said to the lame man, “what I have I give you”. I believe that as we give what we have, we prepare the spirit of the recipient for receiving much more, directly from the Holy Spirit. I call this ‘priming the pump’.
When I was a boy, I came across water pumps which needed priming before they could operate properly. They worked by creating a vacuum into which water flowed. If there was air in the pump, then it would take time and effort to get the water to flow. To make things easier for the next person, users were required to fill a tin mug with water before leaving the pump. The next person would pour that mug of water into the pump, filling up the space occupied by air and thus making it much easier to pump water.
We give the little we have
In response to our prayer requests, the Holy Spirit (see diagram), imparts a measure of power to us. We then minister whatever we have received. This little impartation primes the pump of the person in need, who is then able to receive a powerful input of power directly from God.
Much traditional Pentecostal thinking concerning the anointing holds that believers are ‘baptised in’ the Holy Spirit early on in their lives as reborn Christians. Pentecostals, and many Charismatics, see this empowerment as a once-off experience. At the other end of the spectrum are those who believe that Christians have no ‘power’ within themselves. Instead, they are merely servants of God who act as conduits for his power (Model Two). A third view is that at rebirth Christians receive the indwelling presence of God the Holy Spirit, and that any subsequent spiritual ‘power’ experiences are simply ‘releasings’ of the Spirit (Model Three). These options all contain elements of truth. We certainly need the Holy Spirit to fill us with power from on high. The first time this happens is often dramatic and memorable, and many would refer to this experience as being ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’. Often these, and subsequent experiences, are facilitated through the laying on of hands, and are sometimes accompanied by prophecy or praising God in tongues. Even if we consider ourselves stores of spiritual energy, rather than conduits, we cannot escape the fact that we are, in the final analysis, dependent on God the Holy Spirit. There is no evidence in scripture that we generate spiritual power. The Holy Spirit imparts his power to us. However, once we receive it we are responsible for using it, and like other forms of energy, it depletes. We lose energy by using it for our own benefit, by giving it to others for their benefit, or simply by ‘leaking’. We need to return often to the Holy Spirit to be recharged. If we have not used the anointing in accordance with his will, then he may well refuse to entrust us with more until we have learned to obey him.
As I have indicated already, I have a problem concerning the idea that, based on the belief that the Holy Spirit takes up residence within us when we are born again, any manifestations of spiritual energy are merely ‘releases’. The Holy Spirit is a multidimensional being, whilst we are spatially three-dimensional beings. As I have already stated, he can position himself anywhere spatially, and the constraint of our perception of time does not limit him. In this sense, he can be ‘in’ us as much as he can be ‘with’ us. This is not where I have a problem. My concern is with the notion that we can ‘release’ him at will. We can release any energy which he chooses to give us, but we cannot even dare to think of releasing him as though we, and not he, were divine. The belief that the Holy Spirit is limited by his human ‘hosts’ is abhorrent to me, and is, in my opinion, another manifestation of  prideful sin.
I want to turn your attention in my next blog to the process of receiving power from on high, so keep posted! 

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Prayer, Power & Proclamation Models

Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Chap 3; part 3:

I want to present four ways in which we can try to understand what was happening then (in the time that Peter Ministered), and what can happen now. I have called the four models I have selected, Intercession, Intermediary, Incarnational, and Internal. A model is just a simplified attempt to describe complex relationships. Each of the models has elements which conform to the biblical revelation, but they demonstrate varying degrees of ‘fit’. Models are simply attempts to describe; they are not truth constructs, so please do not treat them as such.

Model One: The Intercession Model

The ‘exploding star’ at the middle-left of the diagram represents the person of the Holy Spirit. The little figure on the left represents the one ministering, and the figure to the right represents the one receiving ministry.
In this model, the minister asks for healing on behalf of the person who requires ministry (intercessory prayer). God responds to this prayer by directly ministering to the person in need. The intercessor observes what God is doing and affirms this to the one receiving the ministry. This appears to have been the expectation of the early disciples when they prayed, “Stretch out your hand to heal and perform miraculous signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30) However, the account in Acts goes on to say that, “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.  They asked God to silence their critics with a mighty display of his power, but instead he filled them with power so that they could testify effectively. He confirmed this by manifesting his power to the disciples, not to people who were threatening the disciples.
Some of those who understand things primarily in terms of this model believe that ‘prayer moves the hand that moves the world.’ It is but a short step from this position to ‘prayer moves the world’. Of course, God can and sometimes does minister directly and in great power, but does this model adequately describe how Jesus and the apostles ministered?
This model probably best describes how the majority of today’s Christians understand ministry. Pray and ask God to intervene, and perhaps he will. Of course, this is sometimes what happens, and we must not deny this. However, there are other ways of understanding anointed ministry.

Model Two: The Intermediary Model

In this model we, the human ministers, serve merely as conduits for the power of the Holy Spirit – ‘blessed drainpipes’. God ministers to the needy through us. He pours living water into the recipients, and we are the conduits. This model is often merged with the previous one. We intercede in prayer for the needy person, and the Holy Spirit then ministers in power through us.
Acts 2:22 tends to support this model, by stating that God (the Father) accredited Jesus by performing miracles through him. God can and does work through human delivery agents. But, once again, does this model adequately describe how Jesus and the apostles ministered? Another way of understanding Acts 2:22 is that Jesus was the full representation of the Godhead to humanity (Colossians 1:19), and as such God was working ‘through’ him in this sense. So, this text does not necessarily support the Intermediary Model.

Model Three: The Incarnation Model

The idea here is that the person of the Holy Spirit resides in all born-again disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we are not so much filled with the power of the Spirit, but we contain the Person of the Holy Spirit. When we minister in Jesus’ name, then the Holy Spirit works out from within us to effect the healing, or whatever else is needed. Some even go so far as to claim that we need to ‘release’ the Holy Spirit. I find this concept bizarre almost to the point of blasphemy! How can we honestly think that God the Holy Spirit is subject to our will, and can only operate if we give him permission?! However, the more common understanding is that as we mature and yield more and more control to the indwelling Holy Spirit, then he works more powerfully in and through our lives.
It is true that Colossians 1:27 speaks of the “glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Firstly, we can equally translate the word ‘in’ as ‘among’; ‘Christ among you, the hope of glory.’  This would indicate the presence of the Holy Spirit in the community of believers.   Ephesians 2:21-22 has, “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
Secondly, the word ‘Christ’ is both a messianic appellation and a word describing the anointing. So, Colossians 1:27 may well be a reference to the power of the Spirit rather than to the person of the Spirit. This would be consistent with such texts as 2 Corinthians 1:21-22 where it states: “He anointed us, set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit , guaranteeing what is to come.” 2 Corinthians 5:5 also states, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit,  guaranteeing what is to come.
The Holy Spirit is, of course, omnipresent and can manifest his presence simultaneously wherever he wants. Conceptually, then, he can be personally resident in every believer. Grudem states that, ‘God does not have size or spatial dimensions, and is present at every point of space with his whole being.’ This is one of the mysteries that we will never comprehend in this lifetime. John 14:17 indicates the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit when it says, “for he lives with you and will be in you.” However, the matter is far from clear. Here Jesus used the present tense for “lives with you” and the future tense for “will be in you.” This suggests that the Pentecost event was both an empowering of the disciples and the coming of the Holy Spirit into the church.  Further, the Greek word ev can mean both ‘in’, as in ‘within’, and ‘on’, as in ‘upon’. ‘On’ as opposed to ‘in’ is more appropriate to what happened to the disciples as individuals on the day of Pentecost. Hendriksen writes concerning the application of John 14:17 to the church, that the Holy Spirit would “enter personally into the church, which would become his temple, his permanent dwelling-place.”
Having said all this, the model of the indwelling presence of the person of the Holy Spirit is probably the most commonly accepted of all the models by the more conservative elements within the evangelical church.

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The person and the power

Series: An edited adaptation of the book Prayer, Power, and Proclamation by C.L.Peppler published by Chrispy Publications in 2009 (ISBN 978-0-620-43583-3). Chap 3; part 2:

Some Charismatics and Pentecostals effectively separate the person of the Holy Spirit from the power that he imparts. As a very new Christian, I attended a public lecture by one of Britain’s great charismatic sons. He taught that the power of God was available for the taking. “Just reach up and plug in!”, he proclaimed. I believe this to be error. God the Holy Spirit is the source of supernatural power, and he imparts it to whom he wills. We do not ‘plug in’ to some impersonal energy field. God the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He imparts spiritual energy to those of his children who ask.

As always, Jesus is our prime example; so we need to start with an appreciation of how he ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus ministered in the power of the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit came upon Jesus at his baptism. This is how Mark records the event: “As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.’” (Mark 1:10-11). All three members of the triune Godhead are present in this scene. Luke records the same event, and then continues with the words I have already quoted: “Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the desert.’”(Luke 4:1)

In Luke 4:14 it states that Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit”. Here the inference is that the Holy Spirit empowered him. Verse 18 records how Jesus took his mission statement from the prophet Isaiah when he quoted, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me.” Once again, the text contains elements of both the person and the power of the Holy Spirit, “the Spirit of the Lord…” AND “…has anointed me”.

The Gospel of Luke contains some significant references to the anointing. Luke 5:17 states that, “One day as he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law, who had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem, were sitting there. And the power of the Lord was present for him to heal the sick.” The Holman’s Christian Standard translation has:“And the Lord’s power to heal was in Him.” Luke 6:19 is even more specific where it records that “the whole crowd was trying to touch Him, because power was coming out from Him and healing them all.Jesus possessed power to heal; he was full of a supernatural energy which issued from him and dramatically affected those to whom he ministered. Luke Chapter 8 records the incident when the woman touched Jesus’ garment and received healing. Jesus sensed that someone had touched him and responded to his disciples’ protestations with the words “Someone touched me; I know that power has gone out from me.” (vs. 46).

Jesus received anointing at his baptism and, presumably, on subsequent occasions when he met with his Father in prayer. He received power at his baptism and somehow stored this power within himself. He then released the power to achieve his purpose of bringing glory to God the Father.
Luke 24:49 records the Lord’s instructions to his disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they had received power from on high. This they did, and the book of Acts records how they went out in the power of the Spirit and ministered supernaturally in Jesus’ name.

This pattern of empowerment, retention, and release didn’t only apply to Jesus, it also reflected in the ministry of his first disciples.

Powerful Peter

At the Gate Beautiful, a beggar asked Peter and John for money, and Peter responded to this request with the words, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6). He did not have money, but he did have something of greater worth that he could give freely to the man crippled from birth. This is a significant text, because it reveals something of how Peter understood the anointing. He didn’t say, ‘I don’t have money but I will pray for you’. Instead, he said “but what I have I give to you.” What did he have? He had anointing from on high, the power that the Holy Spirit had imparted to him! Peter understood that he possessed this power – “what I have”. He also understood that he had the ability to impart this power to others – “I give to you.”

This incident reveals even more. Peter addressed the lame man and said, “In the name of Jesus of Nazareth.” He evoked the name of Jesus to indicate that he was acting under the authority of the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he said, “walk!” He declared, instructed, and proclaimed with authority. He did not pray. He was acting on what he had observed in the life of his master. Jesus prayed often, but he did not pray for the sick. Let me state that again; Jesus did not pray for the sick. He ministered healing. He laid hands on the sick and healed them. He pronounced them well and they became well.

Acts 5:15-16 contains another intriguing reference to the anointing that was upon and within Peter. It records that, “people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by.” Now why would they do that? A shadow is just the absence of direct light, so why would people attribute healing power to Peter’s shadow? The way that I understand it is that a shadow indicates the close proximity of the object casting the shadow – Peter was walking past the sick people, and the power within him was radiating out of him and healing some of the afflicted. Like his master before him, power was coming out from him and healing them!
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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.