I am receiving questions from people regarding this subject: How can God use people in genuine revival when the doctrine they teach is wrong? I have studied most of the great revivals of history. I am always fascinated at how God uses His mighty power to flow through flawed human beings. I have the greatest respect for these men and women of God, but at the same time, there is no doubt that God was using them even though much of their doctrine was in error.
It has always been that way. The very first revival in the book of Acts began on the day of Pentecost. When Peter stood up to preach that day, more than 3,000 people were saved. I would call that revival, wouldn't you? After his very next sermon, 5,000 people were saved. In those early days Peter was the most anointed apostle in the land. It was he that spoke judgment to Ananias and Sapphira [Acts 5:1-10], raised a young girl from the dead [Acts 9:36-41], and whose very shadow had enough power to heal the sick if it fell upon them [Acts 5:15].
Yet during this time of tremendous anointing and powerful revival meetings, Peter's doctrine had several serious flaws. For example, if you asked him, "Can anyone but a Jew go to heaven?" he would have said "No." He considered Gentiles to be unclean to the point he would not even enter one's house. He also believed that Christians were still under the Law of Moses regarding the foods they ate. It was twelve years after the day of Pentecost before he had the following vision that revealed to him that the Gentiles could be saved and that God had declared all foods to be clean.
Acts 10:9-16 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, and saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.
After this vision Peter was used by God to preach the gospel to the Gentiles at the house of Cornelius. All of them got saved and were filled with the Holy Ghost. No doubt Peter also began eating foods that he had previously considered to be unclean. That one vision corrected two major flaws in Peter’s doctrine. But the point of this lesson is … for twelve years that false doctrine had not kept the power of God from flowing through Peter in revival.
Truth is vitally important. But a person can be “off” on many points of doctrine yet still be strong in faith regarding the Lord’s power and willingness to use him in revival. Most are familiar with the Lord using Peter to bring healing to the lame man at the Gate Beautiful. The man had a birth defect. We are told he had been lame from his mother’s womb. Yet the Lord flowed through Peter to instantly heal the man so that could walk and jump [Acts 3:1-9].
People began looking at Peter as though "he" had healed the man. Peter continuously gave all the glory to Jesus. On the day of Pentecost, Peter pointed the people to Jesus. At the healing of the lame man, Peter pointed them to Jesus. When brought before the council, Peter pointed them to Jesus. At Cornelius' house, he would receive no worship, declaring himself to be just a man, and then he pointed them to Jesus. Peter had a wonderful relationship with the Lord during those early years, no matter that he was "off" on a few points of doctrine. Peter reveals the true secret of "why" the Lord was able to use him so mightily in revival. After the healing of the lame man at the Gate Beautiful, Peter said,
Acts 3:16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
For years I did not realize that Peter's answer had two parts, not just one. For the longest time I thought his answer was, "The name of Jesus." That's only part of it. Truly, the name of Jesus is above every name that is named. But that truth is energized through faith in His name! Peter had faith! He genuinely believed that the name of Jesus was above every name. He genuinely believed he had been authorized to go forth and use the name of Jesus to take dominion over sickness … even birth defects! True, he was "off" on a few points of doctrine. But he was certainly correct in his belief that the Lord would flow through him to heal. God is able to use people in revival even when much of their doctrine is wrong. That does not mean we must agree with their doctrine. When the disciples found a man who was using the name of Jesus to cast out devils, yet he didn't follow along with them … they made him stop. Jesus told them not to make him stop.
Mark 9:38-40 And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part.
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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