But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned"every one"to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. - Isaiah 53:5-6 (ESV)
To be honest, I had never heard of this Jim Baker, who pastors a church in Ohio. He came across my radar today from an article in Charisma News where he wrote extensively on why prosperity gospel is somehow sound doctrine. It is not. His reasoning was some of the same old tired arguments about needing money to be a blessing. That is not only unbiblical, but it pretends that somehow we will not raise our standard of living with each income raise allegedly pursued for the glory of God. I remember once when someone bragged that Creflo Dollar provided a ton of money to supply school backpacks for many children in the Bronx. Yeah, that is great, but he still was living in a million dollar mansion and flying a private Learjet. Was he a blessing? I am sure those kinds felt so but in the end, he blessed himself just a wee bit more, no? In my review of Baker's page on his false calling to develop an army of Christians who will create wealth, he announced he was proudly endorsed by the likes of Patricia King and Lance Wallnau as well as crediting Bill Johnson and Kris Vallotton as influences. This is enough to conclude that the man needs to be avoided like the plague but in case there was doubt, here is a blurb from his wealth with God webpage:
"My wife and I started leading a church in Powell, Ohio in 2008. We saw amazing breakthroughs in healings"blind eyes open, deaf ears healed, people getting out of wheelchairs, metal dissolving out of bodies, even several dead raisings. Miracles aren't just for Africa! In 2011, the Lord told me to go after finances the way that we went after healing. To me, that was an all-out ballistic assault. I ended up doing an 18-part series on finances and our church got amazing financial breakthrough. About 25% of our people got completely out of debt in 12 months, many including their homes. The Lord handed me an assignment to create a movement of Kingdom wealth-builders who understand that prosperity has a purpose. Prosperity isn't about toys and trinkets; it's about influence and impact." - Jim Baker
An 18-part series? Wow. That aside what caught my eye was the typical Charismaniacal claim to have seen unbelievable healings and even dead raisings. I am sure he got that shtick from Bill Johnson. No proof, just a ho-hum reference like it is a given fact. Doing a deeper dive, it turns out that the wealth scam might not be his most passionate false teaching. Divine healing appears to be. For the uninitiated, divine healing is an unbiblical teaching that confuses salvation with physical healing and demands that God must always heal everybody. This is a dangerous teaching that has shipwrecked the faith of many. I know people who blame God or themselves and never returned to church because they were promised this nonsense only to not be healed. The problem is that this teaching says that if we are not healed, it must be our fault. That somehow, we are not believing enough, and our faith is lacking. I am sure Baker also got this from Bill Johnson as it is a core teaching at Bethel. Of course, that is odd since Johnson wears corrective eyeglasses but a more recent turn at Bethel proved how false this teaching is. Bill Johnson's wife fought cancer and unfortunately lost. Was this due somehow to a lack of faith on her part? I do not even think so. I am sure she demanded her healing right up until she passed away. If this theology is true, then why do any faithful Christians die? So, I decided to listen to one of his sermons, linked above, so you do not have to. This sermon and my review revealed that not only is he a false teacher of this theology, but he is extremely good at it. He seems very down to earth and folksy. Yet he keeps making arguments that no one is making to prop up his teaching. I will paraphrase the lowlights and respond. This goes in the basic order of the sermon. Let's reason again together beloved.
"If you are a Christian then you have the gift of healing." - Jim Baker