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Book Review: There Is More by Randy Clark

The following review is based on a free copy of the book, There Is More by Randy Clark that I received from Chosen Books, a division of Baker Books in exchange for a book review.

The subtitle of this book is, “The secret to experience God’s power to change your life.”  I must admit that I am always a bit leery when I read a title such as this and I will admit that I am a bit reluctant to read a book that seems to suggest that there is more to what we already have in Christ.

That said, let me give a brief review of this book.  First I will give the positives and then the negatives.

The Positives

I appreciated Clark’s honesty.  He shares story after story about his own move from being a Baptist pastor to being a full-blown charismatic evangelist who focuses in healing, signs and wonders.  He speaks honestly of his struggles with this move.  It was not an easy move for him.

I also appreciated the focus on the Holy Spirit and not upon the works of the flesh.  Clark is quick to make sure his readers understand that all power comes from God.  This power is not found in ourselves or in our wisdom but in the Lord God.  He makes his basis Acts 1:8.

I appreciated Clark’s emphasis upon the reality that God is with us.  He is not far from us (John 1:14).  As Psalm 46:1 says that God is our very present help in trouble (ESV).  Clark shows us that God is not distant and He does care for us.  He longs to be with His children.

I appreciated Clark’s emphasis on prayer.  Oh how we need to pray!  Jesus taught His own disciples to pray (Luke 11:1) and we should seek God earnestly not for things but for who He is (Hebrews 11:6; 1 John 5:14-15).  Prayer is not a religious ritual for the true child of God but is a living relationship with God (Matthew 6:5-8).

I appreciated the desire of Clark to see the people of God hungry for God.  We should long for God (Psalm 42:1).  We should desire to see Him glorified in all that we say or do (Colossians 3:17).  Our passion should be to exalt Him as Lord (Philippians 1:20-21).

The Negatives

Let me say that no book, apart from the Bible, is perfect.  All authors are tainted by sin and by their own views which may or may not be inline with Scripture.  This is why we must judge all things by the Word of God (1 Thessalonians 5:21; 1 John 4:1).  We should not blindly accept teaching just because we believe the person to be a child of God.  We should pray for discernment (Proverbs 2:3 NASB) and allow the Lord to teach us from His Word so that we can know whether something is biblical or not (Hebrews 5:11-14).  Experience is not useful to determine truth since experience is always subjective in nature (Matthew 7:21-23).  Truth must be based on the final, ultimate truth of God’s inerrant and infallible Word (John 10:35; 17:17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).  So, my negatives are to be tested in light of Scripture as Clark’s book should be as well.  I am not the final authority but God’s Word is.

Experience and Truth.  Several times in the book Clark mulls the water by making experience the basis for truth.  At least twice he does this outright.  First, Clark states that his first major involvement with the “laughter movement” came when he went to see Rodney Howard Browne at Rhema Bible Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  Rhema is Kenneth Hagin’s church and Clark admits that he had major doctrinal issues with Hagin but while there, he says, the Holy Spirit rebuked him for his doctrinal differences and rebuked his pride.  He humbled himself and was touched by God.  Frankly, I find this hard to believe that the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth (John 15:26), would lead Clark to a heretical church for a subjective experience and rebuke Clark for holding to firm doctrine when the Spirit has said to do this (Titus 2:1).  The other time that Clark mentions subjective experience over the Scriptures is when he writes of the charismatic renewal in the Roman Catholic Church.  Clark should have rebuked the RCC for denying the biblical doctrines of salvation including justification by faith alone but instead he accepts them based on their common charismatic experience.

Clark spends too much time telling stories of subjective experiences instead of teaching what the Bible says about the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  This book is supposed to be about God and about the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives but most of it is based on experiences from Clark or others but little is based on teaching from the Word of God.

Finally, the topic of impartation.  Frankly, these words have more in common with witchcraft than with biblical Christianity.  The words never appear in the Bible.  You’ll find nothing to suggest the teaching other than isolated events such as Elisha and Elijah.  While the Apostles did lay hands on people for the receiving of the Spirit (Acts 8:17) or for healing, we find Paul writing that Timothy should not be hasty to lay hands on others (1 Timothy 5:22).  Why would Paul say this if he believed like Clark?  The charismatic teaching of impartation seems to flow from witch doctors and Voodoo instead of the Bible.  It is a practice not seen in the teaching of the New Testament nor does any of the NT letters exhort the disciples of Christ to find an Apostle or some other saint of God and ask them to lay hands on them and pray for them to be anointed.  This is merely a creation of bizarre charismatic teachings.

In closing, I would not recommend this book.  There are much better books on the work of the Holy Spirit such as by Dr. Anthony Palma or by Dr. Stanley Horton.  This book focuses way too much on personal experience and not enough on biblical truth.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

03/09/2013 at 11:30 AM

Review of Healing: Unplugged by Bill Johnson and Randy Clark

I will admit from the outset that I am not the biggest Bill Johnson or Randy Clark fan.  For those of you who don’t know much about these two men, both are huge in the charismatic movement with large followings.  Bill Johnson pastors Bethel Church in Redding, California and is a well sought after speaker.  His main emphasis is on divine healing and charismatic personal prophecy.  He claims to have raised the dead and other miracles though he offers no evidence as you can see at this site from a secular newspaper that ran an article on him and his ministry.  You would think that when a secular paper comes to investigate the claims of healings that Johnson would want to present evidence that would show the power of God but he does not and says that faith doesn’t need evidence.

Clark is best known for his days with the Toronto Blessing.  Again, for those unfamiliar with these terms, the Toronto Blessing was a “revival” that broke out in the mid 1990’s at the Toronto Airport Vineyard with Randy Clark.  The “revival” turned bizarre with people barking like dogs, flying around the room like eagles, or roaring like lions.  Along with uncontrollable laughter, the “revival” became known as the Toronto Blessing or the Laughter Revival.  The Toronto Blessing was responsible for many other off-shoot revivals including a laughter revival at Holy Trinity Brompton Church in London, England (an Anglican Church) and the Brownsville Revival at Brownsville Assembly of God in Pensacola, Florida.  I visited the Brownsville Revival on three separate occasions and saw some good and saw much flesh.  Needless to say, Randy Clark has been traveling the world since preaching his “revival” gospel with a focus on healing, signs and wonders, and personal prophecy.

This book, Healing: Unplugged is a book that seeks to get into the minds of Bill Johnson and Randy Clark.  Both men claim to be used by God to do miracles.  Both men claim to have seen incredible miracles.  In this book, Clark first interviews Johnson and asks him questions about his ministry such as how do he get into a healing ministry, what lessons has he learned from his mistakes, what are a few stories of the most incredible healings he has ever seen.  Johnson then turns around and interviews Clark and asks him essentially the same questions.

The book is not that long.  168 pages of actual reading.  I read the book in one day.  The stories are truly incredible.  It is also interesting to read how both Johnson and Clark got started in a healing ministry.  Johnson was raised in the Pentecostal movement so he was always familiar with the teaching of divine healing and praying for the sick according to James 5:13-15.  Johnson does take a swipe at Pentecostals in a way by pointing out that while they believed in divine healing and did pray for the sick, no one ever got healed as far as he can remember.  It was just a tradition that they seemed to follow but never saw actual healings from.

Clark’s adventure into a healing ministry is a bit more unusual.  Clark was pastoring a traditional Baptist church that slowly turned toward the charismatic movement after Clark begin to listen to Vineyard teacher, the late John Wimber.  Clark begin to push his Baptist church toward praying for the sick and actually believing God would do miracles if they had faith according to Mark 11:22-24.  Clark said that soon their Baptist church was jumping and he even begin to invite men such as John Wimber to come and preach to their church about healing and signs and wonders.  I enjoyed Clark’s story because he came out of a non-Pentecostal background and begin to pray for healings.

The problems I have with the book are many.  First, there are only 3 passages of Scripture that are even referenced in 168 pages. Did you read that and catch that?  Here is a book that seeks to build faith in the people reading the book to begin to pursue God for divine healings and miracles yet only three passages from the Bible are even referenced and those only in passing.  None of the three passages are even exegeted.  How can Bible teachers or prophets or healers claim to be speaking for God and seeking to build people’s faith in God yet not deal with the Scriptures?  Romans 10:17 says that the Word of God builds our faith but we don’t find much focus on the Word of God in this book at all.

Secondly, the stories, while incredible, are simply told and we are to just believe them.  In some cases they will even say that a doctor checked out the healed person and verified the healing but nothing is given as proof.  The Bible, on the other hand, is a book that can be tested (2 Peter 1:16-21).  The Bible doesn’t tell us to trust God blindly.  It gives us proofs in the Bible that show us that God is truthful in what He has said (John 17:17).  I don’t doubt that I too have told stories and not given any proof for my story and simply expect people to believe me but in this case, Johnson and Clark are sending this book out to millions of people with only their view of the healings as proof.

Lastly, I found that the book really didn’t do a good job of focusing on Jesus.  The Apostles in the book of Acts always focused on Jesus as the Savior, Lord, and Healer (Acts 3:26).  In fact, Peter (Acts 4:8-9) and Paul (Acts 14:14-18) both clearly told people to look to Jesus and not to them.  The focus of healings, signs and wonders is always to point to the Savior (Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:4).  In Acts 14:3 we read, “So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.” But the focus was entirely upon Jesus Christ and His gospel.  Mankind’s greatest need is not healing of our bodies but our sins forgiven through Christ (Luke 24:47).  This should be our aim: to exalt Jesus Christ so that all may be saved through faith in Him (John 6:37; 2 Peter 3:9).

Overall I do not recommend this book for those interested in divine healing.  A couple of books to look at about healing would be Jack Deere’s Surprised by the Power of the Spirit

Here is the book

and Richard Mayhue’s The Healing Promise.  I strongly recommend Mayhue’s book.

Written by The Seeking Disciple

06/10/2012 at 2:20 PM

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