OK, the title of this post is a bit corny. What I’m trying to get at is simply that I think those who want to move in healing should learn from Curry Blake before going on to Bill Johnson. I love both people and both people have blessed me and continue to bless me in my journey. However, there are clearly slight differences in teachings and emphases between the two that make me say that one should listen to Curry’s 19 series Divine Healing Technician (DHT) training before reading or listening to Bill Johnson. This is not to say that one is better than the other. At this moment of my journey, I feel both complement each other and it’s not an either-or thing. I’m still learning from both and reflecting upon the implications of both views. But I do feel that Curry’s teachings on healing are more foundational and will inspire greater faith to actually step out and start one’s practical healing journey.
I’ve mentioned a few times already on this blog that I was introduced to Bill Johnson by my cousin (based in Australia) in 2008. Reading Bill and knowing what had been going on in his ministry got me interested in healing. However, it was only in 2010 when I encountered Curry Blake’s teachings that my journey accelerated and I started to pray for the sick. Before that, I read almost all of Bill’s books and I listened to tons of his messages but I still felt I was not yet ready. I thought I would be one day. But I felt I still needed to get closer to God and be led more by His Spirit. However, a few months after first getting to know Curry’s teachings and getting to know others greatly influenced by them, I was praying for people. I still have a long way to go but Curry’s teachings got me started and stepping out and that’s very important. I place a high value on stepping out and practicing because progress and growth accelerates the moment one steps out.
My cousin with whom I wasn’t really in contact during this time dropped me a message recently which confirmed my experience. He wrote:
One of my friends recently introduced me to Curry Blake’s stuff, and I got his DHT and I have been going through it when I do get time. (Work has really been limiting me exploring all this stuff further). What I like about Curry Blake’s stuff is how rooted he is in the Word, and focusing on the fact that you have Jesus and the Holy Spirit and therefore you can do the stuff by virtual of who you are and what you have, and that healing people is your duty. If you don’t heal the sick, you are actually being disobedient!! This point was not as clear to me (to me anyway) when I was going through stuff by Bill Johnson/Todd Bentley/Randy Clark and co., when there was more of a focus on words of knowledge, and healing by the manifest power of God/word of knowledge, rather than by raw faith. This wrongly gave myself and my friends an excuse when we went out on a Treasure hunt, and we went by a person limping etc, to chicken out and not pray for them. We would think –> God gave us a word for a shoulder, not a leg, therefore it must not be the “right timing” for God to heal them, rather than stepping out in faith, and correctly thinking that God wants everyone healed all the time, at any place, as he has already commanded us to go out and heal the sick.
Like my cousin said, Curry’s focus is on healing by raw faith (and authority) and obedience to the Word (our commission). I think that should be the foundation for healing if we’re to get ordinary Christians involved. Words of Knowledge (WOK) and the manifest presence/power of God are all awesome and aids healing greatly, but not everyone is going to move like that in the beginning. Too much focus on WOK and one may feel that they ought not to pray for the sick unless they have a WOK about it. And when you hear wonderful testimonies by those influenced by Bill that include specific leadings of the Spirit through WOK and visions, etc., that result in amazing healings, you kind of wonder whether you can actually pray for the sick and get them healed since you know you don’t get those sorts of experiences. This is how my cousin felt (at least in relation to WOK) and this is also how I felt. Sure, I believed that I ought to be healing the sick, but because I didn’t have such amazing spiritual experiences and leadings, I thought I wasn’t ready yet. That’s why I never stepped out for years.
Let me be clear. I don’t think Bill actually says you shouldn’t pray for the sick unless you have a WOK or leading of the Spirit, or that you shouldn’t expect healing unless you have all that. In fact, I think he would probably believe the opposite – that you should pray for the sick and expect them to be healed whether or not you have a WOK or leading. For example, in a recent sermon (10th October 2010) entitled Being a Bride, Bill said:
So many times people would just tell me they were waiting on the Lord. It sounds spiritual but its usually a laziness that comes out of the absence of faith… The Apostle Paul had a heart for Asia. So the book of Acts tells us that he was going to Asia and the angel of the Lord stopped him and said, “You’re not to go there”. So he went, “Alright, I’ll go to Bithynia.” So he starts to go to Bethynia and the Lord stops him and says, “You’re not to go there”. What does that tell you? It tells you he’s responding to the word that said, “Go”. Many people won’t go till God visits them. How much more does He have to do to make it clear what we’re supposed to do with our lives. I can tell you out of experience there are many times I have to operate out of a gift, not out of the inspiration for a moment. It’s a raw obedience to a call. The Word of the Lord x amount of years ago was this. I feel no anointing, no special inspiration for the moment. But in pursuing His will out of obedience to His declared Word as revealed in Scripture, in this pursuing of the Word comes the presence, the inspiration, the power, the anointing. Oftentimes He affirms those acts of obedience just because we say, “Yes”. We’re basically saying to Him, “You don’t need to give me goosebumps all along the way for me to obey. I will obey you regardless.” (12:50 onwards)
In the above, he’s very similar to Curry in recognizing that we don’t need a leading of the Spirit to step out to pray for the sick – simply because we ought to do it in obedience to the declared Word of God (although I dunno what he meant about him having to operate out of a “gift”). However, this is a very recent sermon and I’m not sure if he’s saying all this to correct the misimpressions he’s given in the past through his past sermons. Maybe or maybe not. I think perhaps he’s always believed the above, but he’s also touched a lot on things in relation to healing like the prophetic and the presence of God. Therefore, while he does believe in the above, the important point I’m trying to make here is that because a lot of the healings in his ministry and those influenced by him come as a result of WOK or some specific leading, many people get the misimpression that one ought to experience those things as normal before one can go out healing the sick with confidence.
On the other hand, no one can listen to Curry and not feel that we should be healing everyone that is sick. Bill moves strongly in the prophetic but Curry doesn’t. Curry goes by the Word of God. He wouldn’t rule out the prophetic – he just doesn’t flow strongly in it and doesn’t depend on it to get him to pray for the sick or to get him to expect healing when praying for the sick. Moving in the prophetic is definitely helpful and it’ll aid one’s healing ministry dramatically I’m sure. The three down sides I think of focusing too much on the prophetic or the tangible presence of God in relation to healing are:
- There could be a tendency for those moving strongly in healing through the prophetic or the tangible presence of God to expect healing when praying for the sick only when directly led by God. Or even worse, to pray for healing of the sick only when directly led by God.
- Even if such people still pray for every sick person (and not only for those for whom they have a leading), because they are so used to healing through the prophetic or tangible presence of God and focus so much on that, they may subconsciously lower their level of expectation of healing when they pray for healing of a person without that tangible presence or leading of the Spirit. For example, Roger Sapp shares here how “most of the healings I had… were related to the WOK. I would get a WOK… and then my expectation would be raised… If I didn’t have a WOK, I didn’t really have much expectation in the area of healing.” I believe WOK is used by God to aid the healer or the recipient’s faith. However, an over-reliance of WOK could actually result in the healer actually lowering his/her faith in the absence of WOK.
- There could be a tendency for believers who don’t move in the prophetic or experience regularly the tangible presence of God to not step out or not pray for healing with expectation because they feel that they need such experiences to pray for healing or to expect a healing.
Please don’t get me wrong. If I could regularly attend any Church in the world to learn from them, it would be Bethel (Bill’s church). I have so much to learn from him and his church. And I would love to attend Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry (BSSM) one day too. But I believe that foundation-wise, Curry’s teachings are much better – and I think a bit more grounded in the Word.
Listen to both, but listen to Curry first. Then step out and start praying for the sick. Continue to listen to Curry and also learn from Bill and others. I believe that as you proceed on your journey, you’ll have lots to learn from Bill. The prophetic and hosting the presence of God are all good stuff (and trust me, I desperately want a more intimate relationship with God and to experience more of the prophetic and His tangible presence), but I don’t think they should ever be the foundation or the predominant emphasis of a healing ministry. In fact, I will also add that these should also never be the foundation or the predominant emphasis of the Christian life in general because we’re called to live by faith, and not by sight or experience. I may be wrong, but that’s where I am at this moment in my journey.