A Questionable Practice

This past weekend Michael Sullivant, a respected, even beloved, teacher/preacher came to Hope Chapel at my invitation to lead us deeper into prophetic ministry as a Body of believers in Christ Jesus.

I believe this was accomplished to a fine degree.  Michael whetted our appetite for things supernatural, things prophetic.  He encouraged us to step into a greater degree of prophetic activity and demonstrated that himself by speaking several prophetic words to people at Hope which bore the ring of truth.

However, he also engaged in what, to me at least, was a questionable practice.  In each of three sessions he asked people to stretch out their arms to see if one was shorter than another and then he prayed for God to lengthen the shorter arm.  On Sunday morning he also added the technique of lengthening legs by having people sit in a chair to determine which leg was shorter and then prayed for an adjustment so that the shorter leg was lengthened to match the longer one.

I believe in seeking God for the healing of our bodies, of asking God to divinely align our spinal columns or granting to us limbs that are of the same length so that our backs will no longer be in pain.

However, I do not believe in the diagnostic practice of holding out one’s arms to determine if one’s spinal column is out of line, nor do I think it of any value to attempt to discover if one leg is shorter than another by sitting in a chair.

Chiropractors and traditional medical doctors have their techniques for determining such things and we should leave these diagnostics to them.  These are the men and women who have studied the body and know how to determine whether one’s body is in need of alignment or whether a spinal column is ‘out of alignment.’

So let’s leave the measuring of limbs to the doctors and pray for God’s healing in our bodies wherever we discover pain or brokenness.

Please take note of the two previous blog posts “On Aligning Spinal Columns” and “A Very Slippery Slope” to discover more about this practice in Michael’s experience and why I want to discourage its practice at Hope Chapel.


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4 Responses to A Questionable Practice

  1. Elwood Fischer says:

    I also had difficulty, don’t need to go back over that ground.
    But I also had this odd idea that maybe we were seeing an Ezekiel-type prophecy, where the messenger does something odd to draw our attention to a larger issue God wants us to see. I’m very grateful that Michael didn’t strip half-naked and throw dirtclods at a picture of the Capital — but maybe it’s not much of a stretch to think there are things within the church and within our culture at large that are not in alignment, and that are therefore causing pain (that would be released if just relaxed a little…). Michael did speak specifically about prophecy getting out of alignment by neglecting it’s true emphasis of Christ and His gospel. Maybe the image bears thoughtful consideration?

  2. Kevin Daniel says:

    Yes, I concur, thank you, Geno, for raising the issues. Thank you Earl for such a God-centered exhortation. Let us not be slack nor quick to cease in the pressing in to such intimacy, especially as it regards seeking spiritual understanding of these and other matters, doing so even with a holy and holy-sized reverence and circumspection.

    What are the verses that tell the weak of faith not to judge the strong nor strong to Lord over the weak; and which exhort us to strive for peace while waiting for the spirit of God to give us wisdom; and which tell us even prophecy will pass away but faith, hope, and love remain (i think the greater context of that one bears more uncouching too, but for now); and a personal favorite the one which talks about the fear (soul-quaking reverence) of God being the beginning of all wisdom (wonder what that looks like on a community-wide basis); or the admonishment to let the fruit of the spirit (love, joy,peace,patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, self-control) RULE in our hearts (and between each other, and rule as a congregation over the congregation). What about this one (which interestingly enough, has all its focus not on the sharing of belief or opinion or right to speech but to consideration of the hearer and on-looker): speak to one another with salt so that it is good for the hearer and encourages those that listen; and, of course, speak to another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

  3. Betsy Cruz says:

    I missed being there during this special weekend for Hope Chapel, and I have no doubt that the Lord used Michael Sullivant to bless Hope Chapel and stir up the prophetic in your midst. But I’m happy to see Hope Chapel think through and evaluate what you experienced in the light of scripture and God’s wisdom.

    Thank you, Geno, for taking the time to clarify your position on what could be a confusing issue, especially for younger Christians. It’s great to be able to read from afar and to know that God has given Hope Chapel trustworthy leadership. Blessings to all.

  4. Earl Proeger says:

    Thank you, Geno for being willing to raise these issues… I had all my red flags fly Sunday morning when Sullivant began his sermon with the arm-length exercises. I think my greatest concern is not the fear of being deceived as much as that the Body would “settle”.

    I have been a skeptic of these practices and public healings for a long time, not because I don’t believe in the power of God to heal, but because of the countless times that I have been in a room where I have experienced nothing miraculous while the stage is declaring presently occurring miracles (as well as the amazing stuff that happened last week, last meeting, or in the last city!). My feeling is that when God does something miraculous, we will know and rejoice and not need to search for subtle clues as to what is going on, and whether or not we might be missing a miracle by not looking closely enough…

    I would hope we would not settle for a substitute for the miraculous and the supernatural, but rather yearn for the genuine touch of God. First and foremost, we should seek holiness and intimacy with God.


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