Lakes Reply to Dr. Elwood Bulgin
By John G. Lake
February 28, 1920
Dr Elwood Bulgin,
Dear Brother in Christ:
It was my privilege to be present at your meeting at the St. Paul Methodist Church at Spokane last Monday night and listen to your sermon. I was deeply impressed by the masterful manner in which you marshalled your facts, and the spirit in which they were presented to your great audience.
Your presentation of the deity of Jesus Christ, and the sharpness with which you brought the facts of the denial of the deity of Jesus by the Christian Scientists, were striking. The masterful handling of the whole subject commanded my admiration, and I believe the admiration of a great majority of your audience.
Men can speak with frankness to each other, particularly when their interest in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ are identical. You have lived, loved, and denied yourself, and suffered for the cause of the Kingdom of Christ in the earth. I, too, have loved and suffered for my fidelity to the vision of the redemption of Jesus Christ which God revealed to me.
For twenty-five years I have laboured, as few men in the world have laboured for so long a period, to bring before the world as far as I could the magnificent truths of the redemptive blood and life and power of the Son of God.
Your methods and my methods have been different. You, in your forceful, philosophical manner, have undertaken to destroy faith in Christian Science through opposition, ridicule, and exposure of what you believe to be its fallacies. On the other hand I have undertaken by specific revelation of the truth of Jesus Christ concerning the healing power of God and its availability for all men today to show the world that there is no need for any man to leave any stable Christian body in order to secure the benefits of salvation and healing specifically declared by Jesus Christ Himself to be available for every man.
Jesus, in contrast with the ancient philosophers and reformers of the past and present, first gave Himself in consecration to God, body, soul and spirit, thereby establishing the pattern consecration for all Christians forever. His baptism was the dedication and commitment of Himself “unto all righteousness.” He undertook to reveal the righteousness of God. Note the nature of this revelation.
Having definitely committed Himself, His body, His soul, His spirit, to God forever, immediately there descended upon Him the witness to His hundredfold consecration. The Holy Ghost came from heaven as a dove and abode upon Him, as it ever will upon every man who will meet Almighty God with the same utterances of real consecration to God, of spirit and soul and body. This reveals the demand of God upon the Christians’ person and conscience, and the answer of God from heaven to this fullness of consecration.
Being thus definitely equipped, He proceeded to the wilderness for testing by Satan to see if this consecration of body and soul and spirit would endure.
He overcame all the efforts of Satan to tempt him in the specific departments of His life; first, the body; second, the soul; third, the spirit. He overcame through reliance on God and His word, and came forth in the power of the Spirit. He announced the constructive platform of His life and ministry, containing the following six planks:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me.”
First- “To preach the gospel to the poor.”
Second - “He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted.”
Third - “To preach deliverance to the captives.”
Fourth - “Recovering of sight to the blind.”
Fifth - “To set at liberty them that are bruised.”
Sixth - “To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”
God’s acceptable year had come. No more waiting for the year of Jubilee and all its consequent blessings. God’s never-ending Jubilee was at hand in Jesus Christ.
He then went throughout all Galilee teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people, and so established forever the ideal of Christian ministry for the Church of God.
Then He empowered twelve men, and “sent them to preach the Kingdom of God, and to heal the sick.” Profiting by their experience, and advancing in faith and knowledge of the power of God, He “called seventy others also.” But in sending forth the seventy He reversed the order of instruction. To the seventy He said, “Go into the cities round about. Heal the sick that are therein, and say to them, the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.” And they returned rejoicing that even the devils were subject to them “through thy name.”
Then came His Wonderful entrance into death, His redemption on the cross, His resurrection from the grave, His interviews with His disciples, His last commission in which, according to Mark, He established in the Church of Christ, to be born through their preaching in all the world, the very same ministry of salvation and healing that He himself during His earth life had practiced. That ministry contained the message of Jesus to all the world and the anointing with power from on High, just as He had received it at His baptism. Indeed He commanded them to wait in Jerusalem until “Ye shall be baptised with the Holy Ghost, not many days hence.”
He declared to them that certain signs should follow, saying, “These signs shall follow them that believe.” Every one, every Christian soul, was thus commissioned by Jesus to heal the sick and sinful from sickness and sin.
“In my name shall they:”
First - “Cast out devils.”
Second - “They shall speak with new tongues.”
Third - “They shall take up serpents.”
Fourth - “And if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them.”
Fifth - “They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”
The same Holy Spirit of God which flowed through Jesus Christ, the anointing that was upon Him and which flowed through His hands and into the sick, was an impartation of God so real that when the woman touched the hem of His garment she was conscious of the instant effect of the healing in her body through it. “She felt in her body that she was healed of that plague,” while Jesus Himself was likewise conscious of an outflow. He said: “Somebody hath touched me, for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.”
Divine Healing is the particular phase of ministry in which the modern Church does not measure up to the Early Church. This failure has been due to a lack of knowledge of the real nature and the real process of Christian Healing. The above incident reveals the secret of what the power was, how the power operated, by what law it was transmitted from the disciple to the one who needed the blessing. The power was the Holy Ghost of God, both in Jesus Christ after His baptism in the Holy Ghost, and in the disciples after the baptism of the Holy Ghost came upon them on the day of Pentecost. It flowed through the hands of Jesus to the sick, it permeated the garments He wore. When the woman touched even the hem of His garment there was sufficient of the power of God there for her need.
The disciples healed the sick by the same method. Indeed, the apostle Paul, realising this law, permitted the people to bring to him handkerchiefs and aprons that they might touch his body, and when they were carried to the sick, the sick were healed through the power of God in the handkerchiefs, and the demons that inhabited their persons went out of them.
Herein is shown the secret of the early Church, that which explains the whole miracle-working power of the apostles and the early Church for four hundred years. The same is evident in branches of the modern Church. Herein is revealed the secret that has been lost. That secret is the conscious, tangible, living, incoming, abiding, outflowing Spirit of God through the disciple of Christ who has entered into blood-washed relationship and baptism in the Holy Ghost.
This is the secret that the modern Church from the days of the Reformation onward has failed to reveal. We have, however, retained a form of godliness, “but have denied the power thereof.”
When Jesus laid His hands on people the Holy Ghost was imparted to them in healing virtue. When the disciples and early Christians likewise laid their hands on the sick, the Holy Ghost was imparted through them to the needy one. Likewise the Holy Ghost was imparted to preachers “for the work of the ministry,” including healing. Primitive Church history abounds in examples of healing in the same manner. Paul specifically enjoins Timothy to “forget not the gift (power) that is in thee, that came through the laying on of my hands.” It was an impartation of the Holy Ghost to Timothy for the work of the Christian ministry.
In the whole range of Church history we have retained the form, but have lost its power in a great degree. The pope lays his hands on the head of the Cardinals, the Cardinal lays his hands on the head of the Bishops, the Bishop lays his hands on the head of the Priest, the Priest lays his hands on the head of the communicants when he receives them as members of the Church.
In the Protestant Church in all her branches, the laying on of hands in ordination for the ministry is practiced. But in the early Church it was not the laying on of hands alone, but through the laying on of hands the impartation of the definite living Spirit of the living God to the individual took place. Through its power in him he was constituted a real priest, a real elder, a real preacher with grace, healing power and faith anointed of God from on High.
God gave the blood of Jesus to the Christian Church. God gave the power of healing to the Christian Church in the Holy Ghost, and as long as they lived under the anointing of the Holy Ghost and exercised the faith of Jesus in their hearts, the healing power of God manifested and is still manifest where this condition exists. Christian Science exists because of the failure of the Christian Church to truly present Jesus Christ and His power through the Spirit and minister it to the world.
Robert G. Ingersoll assailed the Holy Scriptures, laughed at the Christian God, destroyed the faith of men, wrecked their hopes and left them stranded and abandoned amid the wreckage. Through this means he brought the just condemnation of the world upon himself. The world condemns him to this hour in that he destroyed the faith of men without supplying to their souls something to take its place, as he should have done, and as any man who is honourable and true must do.
You recommended Divine Healing in one breath and denied its potency in the next. You have attacked Christian Science, the followers of Dowie, and others and arraigned them at the bar and condemned them, without giving to men a tangible way by which the healing of God might be brought to them. Why do you not study and practice Jesus Christ’s own way of healing and so make your ministry constructive? What are you going to do with the multitude of dying that the doctors can not help? Leave them to die? The doctors have got through with them. And in many instances even though they are still prescribing for them and are perfectly aware of their inability to heal the sick ones and are candid and willing to say so. Dr Bulgin, what have you got for these? What have you given to these?
If a man were walking down the street with a very poor set of crutches and a ruffian came along and kicked the crutches from under him and let him fall, every honest soul would rise in condemnation of the ruffian’s act and demand reparation.
You come to the dying, kick their hope from under them, and let them fall to the ground, and leave them there to die without bringing them the true healing power in the blood and Spirit of Jesus. It is not sufficient to say “I believe in Divine healing.” If they are sick they must be healed.
This must not be construed as a defence of Christian Science. It is not given with that thought, nor in that spirit. It is given rather in the hope that as an influential man in the Christian Church, you may see the weakness of your position and of the position of the Church, and by the grace of God call the Church back again to faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for healing for every man from every disease, as Jesus Christ intended it should be and as the scriptures definitely, positively teach, and make proper scriptural provision for a definite healing ministry.
In the hope of supplying this need of the Church, the Protestant ministers of the city of Los Angeles have agreed in formal resolution to begin the teaching and study and practice of healing, How has this come to pass, and why? They have been whipped into it by the success of Christian Science.
A recent issue of a New York daily paper announces that the pastors of New York have likewise undertaken to teach the people the power of God to heal.
The Protestant Episcopal Church is endeavouring through the ministry of a layman of the Church of England from the old country, a Mr Hickson, to educate their people in the truth of healing through the atonement of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by the laying on of hands and the prayer of faith. In a few days the gentleman will appear at All Saints Cathedral, Spokane, for that purpose, and the sick will be invited to be ministered to in the name of the Son of God and healed through His blood purchase.
The Church of England in England and also in Africa for ten years has been endeavouring to organise societies, not to teach their people Christian Science, psychic therapeutics, or mental healing, all of which belong to the realm of the natural, but to teach and demonstrate the pure power of God from Heaven by the Holy Ghost, purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ, to heal diseases.
Frank N. Riale, a secretary of the Presbyterian Board of Education of New York, with sixty-three universities and colleges under his control and supervision, is the author of a remarkable book, “The Sinless, Sickless, Deathless Life,” in which he recounts in a chapter entitled “How the Light and the Fire Fell” the marvellous story of his own conversion. He was a minister of the Gospel and a graduate of Harvard. He found his Lord at the hands of an Indian in Dakota. He tells of the light of God that came to his soul in sanctifying power through the ministry of a Salvation Army officer, Colonel Brengle. He related his marvellous healing, when a diseased and dying wreck, through the reading of a religious tract on healing and his experience in seeing many healed of all manner of diseases by the power of God. You are a Presbyterian, my Brother. You need not go out of your own Church for the truth of God concerning healing.
The question before the Church, now that the break toward healing has come, and it has come, is who is prepared to teach and demonstrate the truth of God concerning healing? Will it be a fact that in the absence of knowledge of God by the ministry of the Church for healing, will the Church in her blindness and ignorance and helplessness be overwhelmed by Christian Science, New Thought and the thousand and one cults which teach psychological healing?
There is the prophet of God who should come forward, teach and demonstrate the pure spiritual value and power of the Holy Ghost, secured for men because Jesus Christ, the Son of God, gave His blood to get it for them? Is it not time that such men as yourself arise in the dignity of Christ and throw off the shackles of formal religion and by the grace of God enter into the real life of living power through the Son of God in the Holy Ghost, and rescue the Church out of her present degradation, re-establishing forever Divine Healing on its true and scriptural basis, the atonement of Jesus Christ?
Twenty-five years ago the light concerning healing came to my soul, after four brothers and four sisters had died of diseases, and when four other members of the family were in a dying state, abandoned by the physicians as hopeless, and after my father had spent a fortune trying to obtain human help. One man of God who had the truth of God in his heart came to the rescue. All four sick ones were healed. I was an ardent Methodist. I loved my Church. My parents were members of an old Scotch Presbyterian Kirk, The Presbyterian Church had no light on the subject of healing; the Methodist Church had no light on the subject of healing. I received my light through a man who had been a minister of the Congregational Church. He knew God. He knew Christ the Lord. He knew the power of God to save, and the power of God to heal.
When I accepted this blessed truth and saw my family healed out of death, what was the attitude of the Church? Just what the attitude of all the leading Churches has been. When I declared this truth before our conferences, she undertook to ostracise me; and from that day to this many, of her ministry, who have prayed through to God and secured the blessing and power of God upon their soul to heal the sick, have been forced out of her ministry.
Dr Bulgin, is it not time to quit attacking forms of faith, whether good or bad, and turn your attention and the attention of the Church to the only thing that will deliver her out of her present wretchedness and inability to bless, and to bring her back again to Christ, to the foot of the cross, to the blood of Jesus, to the Holy Ghost from on High, to the power of God and the real faith including healing, “once delivered to the saints.” Through this healing ministry the Church at Spokane reports 100,000 healings by the power of God through five years of continuous daily efforts and the kindred blessed fact that the majority of those healed were saved from sin also.
The dying world is stretching out her hands for help. The Church on account of her laxness in this matter opens the doors for the existence of Christian Science and all the thousand and one worn out philosophies that follow in her train. Let the manhood of the Church arise, take the place of the prophet of God, call her back to the ministry of real salvation, a blessed salvation not alone for men after they are dead, or that will give them bliss in heaven when they die, but to a salvation that gives eternal life in Christ, health for the mind, and health for the body, and supplies likewise the power of God for the immediate need, for the need of the sick, for the need of the sinful, the wretched and dying and sin-cursed and disease smitten.
Let the Church return in the glory of God and the power of Christ to the original faith as clearly demonstrated in the New Testament, as perpetuated forever in the Church through the nine gifts of the Holy Spirit, demonstrating beyond controversy that as long as the Holy Spirit is in the Church so long are the gifts of the Holy Spirit, not only present but exercisable through faith. See 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12.
“For to one is given by the Spirit”
First - “The word of wisdom.”
Second - “The word of knowledge.”
Third - “Faith by the same spirit.”
Fourth - “The gifts of healing.”
Fifth - “The working of miracles.”
Sixth - “To another prophecy.”
Seventh - “To another discerning of spirits.”
Eighth - “To another divers kinds of tongues.”
Ninth - “To another the interpretation of tongues.”
The unchanging order of government, spiritual enduement, and ministry of the gifts of the Spirit are further declared as follows; “And God hath set some in the Church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly, teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, governments, diversities of tongues.”
When the Church exercises these gifts then she may condemn Christian Science, Dowieism, or New Thought; then she may condemn every other philosophical cult; then she may condemn Unitarianism, and everything else that you preach against. Though she will not need to. Jesus never did. There were just as many strange philosophies in His day as in ours. The constructive righteousness of Christ, the presence of the living Son of God to save and heal, the revelation to the world of His divine power, will stop the mouths of every ‘ism’ and manifest one glorious, triumphant, all-embracing power of God through Jesus Christ, His Son, and its everlasting superiority. Neither will you be compelled as you are to glorify doctors, medicines, surgery, and so on, when the greatest physicians on earth have deplored their inability to deliver the world from its curse of sickness. Then you can not only teach the theory of the atonement of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ but demonstrate its reality and power to save both soul and body.
All the abstract criticism in the world is powerless to stop the drift from the Churches to Christian Science so long as Christian Science heals the sick and the Church does not. Men demand to be shown. When the authority of Jesus to forgive sins was challenged, He met the challenge with the healing of the palsied man, not with negations and criticisms. He said: “Whether is it easier to say, thy sins be forgiven thee or to say, arise and walk? But that ye may know I say arise and walk.” He was too big for abstract criticism. So must the Christian and the Church become.
This letter to Dr Bulgin was printed in the leading daily newspaper in Spokane, Washington, 1920.
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