Great injustice has been done to the name of Christ by ministers of the gospel who, in ignorance, have spoken against true and faithful ministers of the gospel. I certainly cannot sanction all ministers of the gospel, in any denomination or church grouping that they may find themselves in. There will always be a few bad apples here and there, but I am referring to the group as a whole. If you stay with any group long enough, you’ll definitely find some bad apples. This does not in any way mean that the group as a whole is to be rejected.
Theologically speaking, I’m very happy with the doctrine of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. They believe in healing, the spiritual gifts (all of them, and none of them having ceased), and sound Christian doctrine, including but not limited to the doctrine of the Trinity, and standard orthodox Christian doctrine (e.g. the Nicene creed). There is nothing apostate about them. They are sound in doctrine and in practice. But like any group, not everyone is necessarily going to align themselves perfectly with the written doctrines. So be it. But let’s not throw out the baby with the bathwater.
Now I’ve said all this to tell you that when I first made the decision to be with the Vineyard for those nine months (though I did not know at the time it would be nine months) I did so on account of being very physically ill. The doctors gave me no chance of recovery. I would not die. But, according to them, I would live in misery for the rest of my life. This was the doctor’s firm prognosis. I did not see only one doctor. I saw several. And they offered me no hope at all. Now I love the church – that is, the assembly of God’s people – whether conservative or more charismatic. But a certain group won my heart and won my respect because, in my moment of desperation, when no one else seemed to have the spiritual resources to be able to deal with my complete sense of helplessness, the Vineyard was there to offer solid assistance.
The cost to my making this switch to the Vineyard was a little bit high. But in light of the fact that they offered me the assistance that they did, it was really not high at all. It was incredibly low. For example, if I had not pursued this route, it is highly probable that I would have ended up just like the doctors said, who painted a very bleak outcome for me. Instead, twenty years later, I am completely healed. I am completely free of any restrictions that had previously been placed upon me. My healing did not come in a day. But it started with the Vineyard. It is fitting, I believe, that it should end with the Vineyard, as well. Now when I say, “end,” I am not planning on dying any time in the near future! I am referring to the fact that it is now nearly twenty years later and I have the solid evidence to back up everything I am saying, including the lasting healing to boot. Today I enjoy freedoms I could have only hoped for years ago. Today, I am a testament to God’s ability, power, and desire to heal broken hearts and broken bodies. I can say this with full assurance – He did it with me!
One of the most distressing things about receiving healing such as I have, and knowing the things I do about God’s desire to heal, is the reality of knowing that there are still many many more who are in need of this healing. I am also greatly distressed by certain doctrines that are taught by very well-intentioned but completely misinformed individuals concerning God’s desire and ability to heal today. The trouble is, there is such a resistance in many church circles to even want to consider that God deals supernaturally today with people that many well-intentioned Christians have invented doctrines that “shut out” God from being able to even come close to to healing people. For example, in a large number of church circles (I have been there and I say this with complete confidence), there is a nasty, demonically-inspired doctrine that has been sown into the hearts and minds of Christians that says, “God could heal, but we really should not expect Him to heal.” This doctrine is categorically false. However, because of the lack of healing in certain church circles, and the lack of any real visible evidence of God’s desire to do anything supernatural, this false doctrine has gotten a tremendous grip in the church. Oh, what a shame! It is especially distressing for such a person as I, who has seen the healing hand of God, time and time again.
Why do you think that in some church circles, the people there expect healing? It is because they have seen it time and time again. My revelation is not new. Jesus said, “with God all things are possible” (Mathew 19:26). Even as I write these things, there is doubt in some people’s mind. But if you sit down at your computer, and listen to about 100 testimonies of people who have been healed at www.sidroth.org, it is probable that your faith will be strengthened, and you will start to believe and expect God to do miraculous things in your own life. Now there might be a few of those testimonies that you find hard to believe. That’s OK. Keep watching the video messages. And keep listening to the audio messages. You’ll believe soon enough, and you will go back to the word of God that you thought you were trusting in, and you will find out that it is all there – and it was all written for you in advance, but you could not see it or embrace it because you did not place yourself in an environment where the faith to believe God for your healing was given it’s rightful place.
Immediately prior to joining with the Vineyard for those nine glorious months, I was presented with a 60-page document full of arguments on why I should not join the Vineyard. It is not my intention to make anyone look bad, but the truth of the matter is, this document was given to me by the head pastor of the more conservative church that I was attending at the time. I don’t even want to tell you where that church is, because I do not want to make the head pastor look bad, and I don’t think it’s in my interest (or his interest) to make him look bad, either. He is a man who, in the sincerity of his own heart, did what he believed was right in presenting me with that document. He believed he was helping me. And that’s the way it is with many Christian leaders today in the church. They believe that they are helping people in preventing them from getting involved in organizations like the Vineyard Christian Fellowship. They are incorrect and opposing the very purposes of God when they do this. Sadly, this man today has contracted a crippling disease. My advice to this man, and any like him, would be forsake your pride and fellowship with the Vineyard (or similar organization) for a while.