(Editor’s Note: Following Friday’s portion of our weekend seminar on ‘Stirring Up The Prophetic’ with Michael Sullivant, I had a brief conversation with a member of Hope Chapel upset about Michael’s methods. I invited my friend to send me a note carefully articulating his concerns so that I could publish it on this blog and, hopefully, engage in much-needed conversation with other Hopeites who participated in these sessions and experienced this technique as well. By my choice this note is published anonymously so that people will feel free to engage in the conversation without feeling as though a personal affront is being made. This blog post should be read along with the next post entitled “On Aligning Spinal Columns” by Michael Sullivant. If you are interested in my view, please read to the bottom of this note. –Geno)
During Friday’s opening session of the Prophetic Seminar, Michael Sullivant stated that God will touch us tonight and give healing through tokens of His touch. Later in the session, he described that his ministry and talks should be titled “Divine Alignment”, and that he has seen thousands of these healings in the past few months.
He then had us all stand up and relax our arms at our sides. Next he had us bring our arms up in front of us at shoulder height, keeping them straight and put our hands together, palm to palm. He had us look at how our finger tips were lined up in relation to each other. And then claimed that if they were not ‘aligned’ we needed to be aligned and that he would pray for healing and alignment. Which he proceeded to do.
He had us repeat the ‘measurement’ and to sit down if we were now aligned. He repeated this process 3 or 4 times until there were only 3 people left. He prayed over each individual for alignment.
He then spoke about the experience and that the touch of God can be subtle and that we might not have noticed or felt it. But because we ‘got aligned’ we can be sure that we experienced God’s touch.
I first learned of this alignment trick from a professional magician in 1998. This magician was an illusionist and member of the I.B.M. (International Brotherhood of Magicians). He is a well known and respected magician who has performed the world over.
He explained that this is a con artists trick used to gain the confidence of the mark. Magicians have used it to set the stage for greater illusions by creating a sense of authority in the audience.
The trick is that because people have a dominate side, muscles tend to be stronger and more tight on the dominate side leading to this supposed un-alignment (which medically isn’t a big deal), and that by showing the un-alignment, just as Michael did, you can use simple suggestion to have the person get aligned. If you noticed during Michael’s use of the trick, on re-measurement after he prayed, he had us pause a moment with our hands a few inches apart. This is were the re-alignment happens as we unconsciously align the fingers before bringing them together. This trick is related to the ‘make a shorter leg grow’ healing that happens on tv a lot. Similar principles apply. There is no shorter leg, just as there is no mis-alignment of the arms. And the healing is an illusion, a charlatan’s trick.
How can a man, who professes to be a prophet of our God, use a charlatan’s trick to demonstrate God’s touch? And then repeat it 3 more times? Even during a Sunday service.
I am very concerned from a doctrinal stance, a theological stance and a scriptural stance. When we focus on the gifts of the Holy Spirit, rather than the Gospel of Christ, we find ourselves on a very slippery slope. We become more interested in the signs and wonders than in the power of Christ. –anonymous
(Geno’s take: I have deep and abiding respect for Michael Sullivant and his long-running ministry. He has served Hope Chapel very well over the past 10 years or so both as a teacher/preacher and on our congregation’s apostolic board. However, I want to discourage the practice of stretching out of arms or legs as some form of diagnostic tool to determine if a person needs an ‘adjustment’ or healing for the back or spine or the lengthening of a limb. Such diagnostics should be left to medical doctors and chiropractors who have been appropriately trained to make such a determination.
Instead, what I will urge whenever we wish to pray for healing is that we simply ask a question like, “Is your back causing you pain? ” or “Have you injured your back recently?” or “Has a doctor told you it is out of alignment?” or even, “Is one of you limbs shorter than another and thus causing you pain?” At that point then prayer for healing should be invoked. That said, I do not think for one minute that Michael Sullivant is a charlatan. And we will not focus on the gifts of the Spirit above the gospel of Christ nor will become more focused on signs and wonders than in the one who empowers them.)