An article from Charisma magazine:
While kneeling at the altar, Randy Clark felt a sharp pain in his left eye lasting just a split second.
The unusual pain caught his attention because he had only recently received a ‘crash course’ in different ways to receive words of knowledge—downloads of supernatural information from the Holy Spirit that otherwise would be unknown to the recipient. One way was actually feeling the condition someone was experiencing.
Cautiously, the pastor of the small Midwestern church approached the pulpit microphone and stammered out, “If … uh … some of you … uh, possibly has something wrong with their left eye, well … uh … if you’ll just come forward, we’ll pray for you.”
His confidence was diminutive and his faith was even smaller. At the time in the early 1980s, gifts of the Spirit and healing miracles were foreign territory for this Baptist pastor.
In a matter of minutes, a widow named Ruth approached the altar. Clark and his team gathered around her, praying until, Clark says, “we ran out of things to say.” That night, Ruth was reportedly healed of tunnel vision affecting her left eye.
The miracle was significant, but what happened the following week would ultimately help shape the “consciousness of a generation” of Pentecostals and charismatics as it relates to the move of the Spirit in recent decades.
The following Sunday, Clark gave the church an opportunity to share testimonies. A woman stood up in the back, and in a strong, southern accent, said, “Brother Randy, I think I’m having one of them there things you was just talking about ’cause there’s nothin’ wrong with my right wrist, but it’s killin’ me.’ ”
At first, Clark was concerned that his teaching had opened a Pandora’s box of controversy. Was it just the power of suggestion? No one responded until the end of the church service. Then, right before the benediction, Clark’s best friend’s wife, Barbara, stood and addressed the congregation. With tears streaking down her face, she told of a debilitating pain in her wrists she had experienced for years. After two surgeries, and the insertion of plastic devices, she was about to give up hope. They prayed for her wrists and she was healed, Clark says.
Those services marked the beginning of a ministry that Clark says has now been witness to tens of thousands of miracles God has performed over the last four decades. His driving message: God can use “little ole’ me.” From the very beginning, Clark’s ministry showed how everyday believers could operate in the supernatural.
“In many countries, healing is the main reason for the explosion of charismatic/Pentecostal—and Christian—growth rates,” says Craig S. Keener, a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary and the author of Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. “As of about 10 years ago, it was estimated that perhaps half of all conversions to Christianity were because of experiences with healing. I so much appreciate Randy Clark because he brings together strong dependence on the Spirit with interest in sound biblical and historical teaching. That is a vitally important combination.”
Lending more credibility to this worldwide phenomena, a survey of 1,000 American doctors found 73 percent believes healing miracles actually occur and 55 percent said “they have seen treatment results in their patients that they would consider miraculous.” More than 80 percent of Americans believes in the “healing power of personal prayer.”
“One of the objections people sometimes raise against miracles is that belief in them is unscientific, because science must always find a natural explanation,” Keener says. “What the survey suggests, however, is that a significant proportion of those trained to address natural explanations who work concretely with real human beings recognize that there are times when natural explanations fall short and divine activity is involved.”
These widespread reports of healing miracles come several decades after the great healing revivals of the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s when healing evangelists Oral Roberts, Jack Coe and Kathryn Kuhlman became prominent leaders, notable for walking in God’s extraordinary miracle-working power.
Then, in the early 1980s, Vineyard movement leader John Wimber spoke a prophetic word over Clark—predicting his ministry would help people worldwide operate in the miraculous power of the Spirit.
From the very beginning, Clark’s ministry has demonstrated that everyday Christians can operate in the supernatural. Today, the power of the Spirit is flowing everywhere from mission fields and shopping malls to grocery stores and even aboard airplanes.
“It’s a prophetic sign to the culture that God can use everybody,” says Clark, founder of Global Awakening, his Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania-based teaching, healing and impartation ministry. “That doesn’t mean everybody has a gift of healing, but it does mean that everybody can pray for healing and see healings.”
The Blind See, the Paralyzed Walk
Over the decades, Clark has helped launch the ministries of many prominent Christian leaders, including Heidi and Rolland Baker, whose ministry had a profound impact on Mozambican pastors and others who have reportedly raised more than 400 people from the dead.
“As Rolland would say, ‘If you want to verify it, come to Mozambique and start going out to the villages and talking to the people,’ ” says Clark, who has videotaped interviews with many of those involved in these purported reversals of recent deaths. “Do we have doctors to prove it? No, because there aren’t any doctors out in the bush. But it doesn’t take a doctor to know what death looks like. That’s what I want to get across. There were no doctors to prove that Lazarus was dead either, but we believe it, or the little girl in the room that Jesus raised.”
Since 2001, Clark’s team has recorded more than 350,000 purported healing miracles in 50 nations, including instances of the blind regaining sight, the paralyzed walking and people healed of cancer, AIDS and strokes.
“We’ve seen the blind see, we’ve seen the deaf hear and we’ve seen people walk who were paralyzed, including a paraplegic with a severed spine,” Clark says. “We’ve seen people recover from strokes. We’ve seen people who had only weeks to live to days to live with different things—from AIDS to cancer—get healed.
“But we still see lots of people who don’t get healed. It’s not like everybody we pray for gets healed. But we’re seeing more than we used to and seeing greater kinds of things than we used to.”
Usually, Clark says about 10 percent of the people who attend services “get healed”—though in many meetings the percentages range up to 20-50 percent.
As he saw this wave of supernatural phenomenon unfolding around the world, Clark decided to get his doctorate and build credibility in the academic community.
Dr. Andrew Park, a professor of theology and ethics at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio, recognizes the unique call of God on Clark’s ministry. Clark received his doctorate of ministry at the seminary.
“The church has focused on preaching and teaching, but has neglected healing,” Park says. “Randy Clark has restored Jesus’ instructions by carrying out His three-dimensional ministry: preaching, healing and teaching.”
Now, Clark says he wants to bring “healing crusades” to the United States, combining the “best of Billy Graham” with healing evangelism.
“I know from my experiences overseas that when people see the goodness and mercy of God in healing that it has a tendency to soften them,” Clark says. “This seems to match the biblical emphasis of signs and wonders accompanying the preaching of the gospel.”
Harvard Professor Studying Miracles
As part of his effort to examine the evidence for healing miracles, Clark’s own doctoral dissertation at the United Theological Seminary was an investigation into the effects of prayer on mobility restrictions resulting from surgeries on people in Brazil who had metal screws and plates in their bodies. Following prayer, these people reported their “movements were restored; the pain was gone,” Clark says.
Dr. Martin Moore-Ede, chairman of the Global Medical Research Institute and a former Harvard Medical School professor, wrote in an email to Charisma that GMRI is investigating various reports of healing miracles “through a systemic process of medical evidence-based research.”
Clark’s academic interest in the evidence for healing miracles follows an education in which he waded through the waters of liberal theology prevalent in many seminaries today.
A Dynamic, Trial-Filled Life
Chronicled in detail in the book Lighting Fires, Clark’s early years of ministry saw a collapsed home life, a period of backsliding into sin and the temporary acceptance of liberal theology. In 1971, at age 19, Clark entered into a tumultuous three-year marriage that ultimately ended in divorce.
In 1974, he obtained a bachelor’s degree in religious studies from Oakland City College and began attending seminary. Not long afterwards, he had to quit because of the divorce. The dean of students told him that due to his failed marriage, “you’ll never have a ministry.”
Clark considered himself to be a marked man. Thoughts of disqualification for ministry consumed him. This brought him into a season of bitterness that led to sin—alcohol, sexual immorality and deep guilt over the divorce.
Then everything changed. Clark had a vision of his favorite professor who had suffered much rejection in the 1960s from his church over race issues. In the vision, Clark saw this professor asking him this cutting question: “Randy, do you love the church of God enough to serve her when she hurts you?”
As a result, Clark let go of his feelings of condemnation and unworthiness, and instead believed that—in spite of his divorce, sin and bitterness—God still loved him and had not lifted the call upon his life.
In 1975, Clark married DeAnne Davenport, who is his wife today. Later, he received his Master of Divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky.
In 1984, Clark dynamically experienced God’s power during a Bible conference in Texas, when he heard teaching from key leaders such as David Wilkerson and John Wimber. One night, Clark approached Wimber for prayer. Wimber prophesied over Clark, saying he would go around the world and lay his hands on pastors and leaders to impart and activate the gifts of the Holy Spirit in them. That same year Clark formally left the Baptist denomination to join the Vineyard church movement.
An Appointment with Destiny
As he looks back over the decades of ministry, Clark recalls two pivotal moments. In the early 1970s, Clark says he’ll never forget when he heard the Lord speak to him “so clearly and plainly” that the “issue of my lifetime would be the Holy Spirit.”
This prophetic word is foundational to everything Clark has dedicated his life to. His greatest desire is to see the power of the Spirit restored in today’s church. The incredible supernatural move of God that Clark has witnessed also goes back to the prophetic word that Wimber spoke over him three decades ago.
What qualified Clark to impart gifts of the Spirit to Christians worldwide? Hunger and humility. In humility, he never denied his faults or failures, and in hunger, he always pressed in for more of God. This is Clark’s invitation to every Christian—every “little ole’ me.” The truth is, no human being can qualify himself for service in the miraculous; it’s the Spirit alone that levels the playing field and empowers everyday people to do extraordinary exploits in Jesus’ name.
This is a shortened version of an article from Charisma magazine, the full article may be found here.