“Why Do More Miracles Happen in Africa?”

Filed under News, The Kingdom of God on August 31st, 2009 by Daniel Kolenda

Unbelief often infiltrates our hearts in the most covert ways. Sometimes we don’t even realize that it’s there. It is good from time to time to take stock of our own belief system to see what is based on God’s Word and what is simply something that we have heard repeated, even by godly leaders, and accepted as fact.

One of the most common questions that people ask me is, “Why do these incredible miracles happen in Africa but not in the western world?” I have heard very well known and well-intentioned ministers give entire teachings about why God doesn’t do it here. I have even heard one use Reinhard Bonnke’s crusades (where I preach) as an example. Some of the explanations I have heard are actually very rational and really explain in detail why it works this way. I must admit, for a long time I also had various answers to this question. And then one day, it occurred to me…the problem is revealed by the question itself.

Hebrews 11:6 says, “…He that cometh unto God MUST BELIEVE.” Anyone who approaches God with the preconception that God heals there but not here (wherever “here” and “there” may be), has already prophesied the outcome of there own request. You cannot approach God like that. Faith is the fundamental basis upon we can and must approach the Almighty.

Where did we get the idea that God does greater miracles in third-world countries than he does in the west? Many people, in asking this question, have just accepted this notion as fact, but what data is it based on? There is certainly nothing in scripture to support it. I can tell you from my own anecdotal experience, as one who ministers all over the world, that THE POWER OF GOD IS THE SAME in the Western world as it is in Africa, Asia or any third-world country. I just returned a couple weeks ago from a tour in the United Kingdom. We saw incredible miracles in every single service. Tumors were disappearing, deaf ears opening, arms, legs and eyes instantly healed. In fact, given the relative numbers, I would say that in many places in the west I have seen more healings then even in Africa – you can’t tell me that miracles don’t happen in the west!

Psalms 78:40, 41 gives us some fascinating insight on God’s frustration with the Children of Israel in the wilderness. It says, “How oft did they provoke him in the wilderness, and grieve him in the desert! Yea, they turned back and tempted God, AND LIMITED THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL.”

Of course the Children of Israel had seen great wonders and signs unlike any generation of human beings before them. They knew that God was powerful, but they subjected Him to a set of parameters and constraints based on their own experiences. God was provoked and grieved by their limitations and allowed their doubt to become a self-fulfilling prophecy (ie. Ex. 14:11 the Israelites say, “Because there were no graves in Egypt, hast thou taken us away to die in the wilderness?” – Num. 26:65, God says, “They shall surely die in the wilderness. And there was not left a man of them, save Caleb the son of Jephunneh, and Joshua the son of Nun.”)

Even Jesus had a taste of this in His own ministry. When He returned to His hometown Mark 6:5 says, that He was not able to do any miracles there. I can just hear the locals asking each other, “Why do miracles happen in Jerusalem and not in Nazareth?” Their unbelief was literally enough to limit what He was able to do in their midst. Their unbelief had become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The philosophy that God doesn’t do it here, is nothing more than an insidious, demonic doctrine of unbelief, and I, for one, refuse to humor the bogus assumption discretely tucked into the question any longer. How has Satan managed to get us to buy into this baseless lie wholesale? It was in the west that the Great Awakenings took place. It was in the west that people like Smith Wigglesworth, Kathryn Kuhlman, William Branham and all of the great healing evangelists of the 30’s 40’s and 50’s witnessed some of the greatest miracles in recorded history. It was in the west that the Holy Spirit was poured out in Wales and Azusa Street and the Hebrides. The Charismatic movement, the Jesus People movement, the Toronto outpouring and the Brownsville Revival, all happened in the west.

It’s worth mentioning that this is not a uniquely western problem…it is a human problem, a problem of unbelief, a problem of limiting God. You see, for some reason, many have subconsciously bought into a philosophy that says miracles can happen everywhere except here. Those in the west find it easy to accept that something miraculous can happen far away like Africa or Asia. But I have also heard those in Africa and Asia talk about the wonderful things happening in America. The voice of unbelief says that anything can happen…somewhere else. This is not faith and it does not please God.

What other notions have we adopted into our belief system that limit God? Maybe we will find that some of our great questions have a very simple solution, one that we have actually known all along, “He that cometh to God must believe…”

One man told me recently, “I consider myself a ‘Chari-skeptic’.” He apparently took great pride in his unbelief – two sins for the price of one. I know people who feel it is somehow noble and a great service to the Body of Christ to question everything that God does. Every healing has to be verified by a doctor, every manifestation needs a logical explanation, and every miracle must be approached with skepticism and cynicism. Their default setting is to doubt their “beliefs”.

While I am certainly not one who endorses mindlessly swallowing everything that comes down the line, I would like to see a new breed of skeptics arise; skeptics that question uncertainty, doubt doubts and are cynical about unbelief.

Jesus was this kind of skeptic. In Mark 6:6, we read that Jesus “…marveled because of their unbelief.” Jesus couldn’t believe that they couldn’t believe. Why are the unbelievers always on the offense and those with faith always on the defense? Isn’t it more logical to trust an all-knowing, all-powerful, everywhere-present God rather than the six inches of grey matter between our ears? I say we should be skeptical of anything that hints of unbelief.

As mentioned earlier, many people ask, “Why do more miracles happen in Africa than in the west?” My response, “Who says that more miracles happen in Africa?” I’m skeptical about the premise of that question.

Here’s another question I get asked often; “Why doesn’t everyone get healed?” My response to that is the same as the one above: “Who says everyone doesn’t get healed?” A valid question might be, “Why didn’t everyone get healed in that particular setting?” But to just assume, based on your own experience or something you have heard, that in every instance, only a percentage of those sick receive a healing, is in my opinion, founded in unbelief.

Another question I often hear is, “Why don’t miracles happen like they used to?” You see, just like it’s easy to believe that miracles can happen…somewhere else, it’s also easy to believe that something miraculous happened in the past, or can happen sometime in the future. The only thing people have difficulty believing is that God can do it right here, right now…but here and now is all we have.

I think that often these questions, and others like them, are really nothing more than a subconscious attempt to let ourselves off the hook. But Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. His Word, His power and His promises are the same. What’s more, there are plenty of people who are seeing God’s mighty power demonstrated here and now. Bottom line: there is no excuse.

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  1. [...] is the original: “Why Do More Miracles Happen in Africa?” | Voice of Revolution :and-what, belief-system, covert-ways-, Expecting Miracles, good-from, hearts, our-hearts, [...]

  2. Dan,

    Great insights here.  We should not settle for less here in America!

    I do wonder however if the anti-supernatural posture of both the church and the larger society in the West doesn’t contribute to a general lack of expectation and faith here.  It’s a much larger jump to go from a worldview that denies the spiritual world in its entirety, than it is to go from being a witchdoctor steeped in the occult to believing that Jesus rose from the dead and moves today in a manifest way by the Holy Spirit.  I wonder if this general attitude and atmosphere isn’t what people are really referring to when they talk about there being “fewer miracles” in the West?

  3. Marcus,

    No doubt, there is a world of difference culturally and I am not even referring to those in the West, or anywhere else for that matter, who deny the spiritual world (they are a whole separate issue).  But the point is that I find that so many “believers” in the West have just accepted that this cultural difference makes it harder or somehow less likely that they will receive a miracle or healing.  This is simply not the case…unless they believe it is!  If you think it’s less likely that God will heal people in the West, you will pray for them less often and with less faith — which will result in less people who get healed — Its a self-fulfilling prophecy.  And I think it is this cycle of homegrown unbelief that is one of our greatest barriers.

    We have seen people healed on the streets, in restaurants and on their doorsteps in addition to “healing services”.  My challenge to the people of God is to stop making excuses.  Let’s pray in faith, without wavering and expect what God has promised…period.

  4. So, is there therefore now spiritual article condemnation for those who do not receive healing at meeting events in the US or Africa?  It seems the well written article on healing east vs. west, or belief vs. unbelief puts some kind of onus on seeing the whole phenomena differently than it describes.  I recall Kathren Koleman rallies, where some were healed, and some not, in spite of event leadership uttered doctrinal question marks.  Is it presumption to assume that those who did not receive healing were somehow weak in faith, or not getting it right?  How are their needs met, as to their own walk with the Lord? 
     What the article lacks in information as to what faith is, means, and accompanies–where the “only thing that counts is faith expressing itself in love”–may not be apprehended by what is stated as such in its entirety. It seems to lack more information than could have been stated in one paragraph.  So, it is prosey information.  First faith is in our Father, or His Lamb, then it is something else.  –JH

  5. Jabez,

    Can there be a call to not excuse our lack of expectation for healing without it being condemning?

  6. Marcus,  I do not believe any statistically based evidence for establishing “our lack of expectation for healing” has been verified or established, so as to answer your question.  It is also presumptive to assume that we have such a lack of expectation.  I know many believers who have such an expectation, long documented, such as Joni Tada, and have not been healed.  It simply is not a properly established formula, in spite of what is written above, that expectation from God for healing = healing.  The problem with the above closed system analysis is that it lacks establishing its very premises as fact.  No surveys or interviews are given of those present, simply assumptive logic, which seems to prevail in many articles in this on-line “magazine.”  Poor scholarship does not assume reasons either why any tower fell on Jews it fell on in the days of the Messiah.  I could say, if observed, that a certain widow, who put in the Temple offering a few mites, did not give as much as others observed making offerings.  But we all know that Jesus had a different take on that.  The article assumes that it can look into the hearts and minds, when there is no such establishment in its foundations, assumptions, or assertions.  Like I said, substance in the article can fit in one paragraph. 

    Are we sheep to be so fleeced by assumptive and faulty logic, or are we adopted children of God with our own uniqueness, and experience in Christ–some of it extending community wide, and some of it not to be numbered or qualified by the persuasive arguments of religious prose? 

  7. Thank you for your sincere comments Jabez.  However, I think you may be missing the entire point of the article so please let me clarify.  The issue being raised here is not about whether or not a lack of healing constitutes a lack of faith.  Actually, I have a lot of personal experience with people very close to me that have not been healed in spite of prayer and faith on their behalf (as most of us do).  I was merely addressing a question that Im asked over and over in the West, “Why do more miracles happen in Africa”.  My point is that the seeming consensus in the West, that God heals more in other places or at other times, may be a reflection of a problem in our thinking that literally limits God and is displeasing to Him.

    This was not intended to be a scholarly article as I am not a scholar but an evangelist.  I was sharing from my heart as someone who ministers all over the world (especially in Africa) and sees the miraculous constantly in all different contexts.  This is my opinion and you are welcome to disagree with me.

    Bless you!

  8. Daniel,  The question remains, who is the fly on the wall viewing all instances of healing or its expectancy?  Your article does not merely address what you now stated it addressed–outine it, and reread it if you think so. Like it or not there are other questions raised by its statements and assumptive exploration.  Are you now asking us to believe that an Evangelist is immune from the tests and responsibilies of good reporting, adequate research, and is therefore “licensed to kill” objections that his article has raised? What premises do you offer, and not? Your exploration offers information and communication, which undergirds its basic assumed ideal of healing by expectancy from God having cultural contexts in the arena of healing.   The photo used seems to limit such percerptions as you raise, and partially examine, to big meetings where such results are on display as highlighted by cameras and microphones.  Does not God work in quiet places, in prayer closets, and over longer periods of expectancy-with patient waiting-than in such show and tell settings, as to establishing his own results?  One strong objection to many self proclaimed leaders, apostles, prophets, and anointed of God speakers who inform audiences of how to think about God is Jesus’ own words on who will enter the Kingdom of God, be saved, and how that is qualified.

    The qualification of “expectancy” is indeed relevqant to discernment, to the will of God being assumed, or discovered by scripture and adequate testimony, as well as the unlisted advocacies underlying such articles as this one. 

  9. PS  I write my responses here without such an assumed covert inflation of my heart which opens your article as an absolute and emphatic statement about expectancy, healing, and belief.

  10. I can outline the emphatics of the article which differ from your sum and substance remark to which I have now replied.  Here are a few for your consideration as to how I responded to the article and linked other assumed indicators of faith with its assumptions:  
    “Faith is the fundamental basis upon we can and must approach the Almighty”.  Faith in the article’s context is about expectancy and healing in cultural contexts.  ”

    “Their unbelief was literally enough to limit what He was able to do in their midst. Their unbelief had become a self-fulfilling prophecy”.

    “It’s worth mentioning that this is not a uniquely western problem…it is a human problem, a problem of unbelief, a problem of limiting God. You see, for some reason, many have subconsciously bought into a philosophy that says miracles can happen everywhere except here.”

    “The voice of unbelief says that anything can happen…somewhere else. This is not faith and it does not please God”.

    “I say we should be skeptical of anything that hints of unbelief.”

    “The only thing people have difficulty believing is that God can do it right here, right now…but here and now is all we have.”

    “Bottom line: there is no excuse.”

    What are the premises of these statements, and how and where does such logic limit God’s will?  Certainly what you have now written you were writing about has proven to be more, and more presumptive as a result of looking at your own statements.

    Evanglists have the responsibility to preach “him” and not “we ourselves” as to expectancy, the process of waiting on God, and any results–of physical healing or otherwise in the larger arena of what constitutes faith.

  11. Reading your article once more, I feel you have a different notion of faith than is founded in the NT.

  12. I was randomly searching google for the question: “do miracles happen more in Africa”.  And i got lured in by your article. YOU SPENT MORE TIME PRAISING JESUS MORE THAN YOU DID TALKING ABOUT AFRICA! I wanted to know a simple question, and instead of a logical approach you try to answer it by saying its because we don’t believe or have faith in Jesus and the Bible? Self fulfilling prophecy is the emphasis you put on your proof, in favor of the Bible. And i’m going to ask you now, Why doesn’t everyone get healed?!!! Everyone knows not everyone who is suffering gets healed, look at suicide, murders, torturing, wars. People die from tumours, cancers, and babies even die due to cot death. Why? SOME people never recover from these experiences and therefore are not healed. Ill finish by repeating my question: Why doesn’t everyone get healed? And don’t try and give a weak, dead end biased excuse at trying to avoid the question by blatantly saying: “its because people are unbelieving”. Are you saying that a dying cancer patient is secretly being healed till her death? Screaming in agony? Or a dying soldier?

  13. Patrick B., 

    As a reader/repsonder to this article it is unclear what you are asking its author.  Search the planet graveyards, hospitals, hospices, etc. and it is obvious that not everyone is healed.  Can you be more specific in addressing the assertions of the author, and as to how that relates to a world wide phenomena that everyone shall die eventually, and that, in many cases, of illness, disease, famine, epidemics, etc.   And, that being obvious as to the human lot, what are you asking of this author, and of his assertions in his particular position on the subject?

    You seem contempuous of the Bible, and it remains unclear how your own assertions relate to your question, its frame of reference, or its particulars.  In short, you seem to be making a “statement” more than asking a question for an informed answer of the author.

  14. And, Patrick, from my own experience, it remains uncertain that authors of articles here will directly answer questions put to them in this comments section.  In fact, my own experience is that they will pick and choose randomly which questions to answer.  Secondary experience is that they will formulate some particular reasoning as to why they will not answer such questions, and may, in fact, due to totally unclear criteria, ignore feedback’s challenges altogether.  So,  please formulate an article specific question and let’s see what happens.

  15. The third message from heaven… If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.

  16. Patmos Pete,

    It is well to remark that believers in Jesus Christ are not appointed for wrath.

  17. Yes. I believe in incredible miracles that can be taking place everywhere on the earth. No illness is too big for
    God to heal. Saying the opposite is like saying that there is no way Jesus could’ve died for all our sins and proclaimed “it is finished’ on the cross. My nephew, Chase will have a MIRACLE even though the doctors have said he has 2 to 12 months left on this earth. We don’t yet know the biopsy results of the brain tumor done on April 1st, but the location of the tumor is said to be inoperable and growing rapidly. His parents have been given the choice of chemo, radiation, or nothing. He suffered at age 7 with the 1st brain tumor and the effects of radiation and continued to suffer side effects through the years. Please pray for a miracle healing, strength and peace for his parents. Thank you. I believed before the biopsy was done, that the doctors would find nothing there but a healthy, clear brain. My belief went to the next step of believing God is still healing him, but it is not manifesting for our eyes yet. Our God is a healing God!! Thank you for praying!!!

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