The Heresy of Nice

The Heresy of Nice

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected



My roommate just left, and this has made me sad. He is going to an assisted living complex where his developing dementia will be better attended to than I could provide. Actually, all I could do was to help him remember he hadn’t completed some task as in drinking the coffee he left in the microwave, or taking his laundry out of the drier.

I am 80 now and he is a year younger. He was a pilot and did a whole slew of technical jobs in his prime, but in the year and a half he spent in my house his main concern was watching TV and not forgetting his doctor’s appointments.

Bob (not his real name) is in poor health. When he first came to be my roommate, I was sure this would be a great opportunity for me to demonstrate the power of God in healing and to bring Bob to a saving faith in Jesus. That was not to be. He seems to have had a resistance to healing prayer, or a negative faith about it. This was frustrating to me, as one of my spiritual giftings is in the realm of healing prayer.

The contrast between my state of health and his is astounding and mostly due to the factor of prayer. He is frail, often has headaches, or some medical problem actively bothering him. I am in excellent health, exercise and walk almost 2 miles a day.  All of my adult life, especially after I married (I widowed 4 years ago) I prayed for the healing of my illnesses, minor or major. My wife assisted me in that and prayed for me whenever I had a medical problem of any sort, from a worn-out ligament in my knee to sudden food poisoning. I did the same for her. She was diagnosed 30 years ago with a failing kidney and the prospect of going into dialysis “within a year.” We prayed, and when she died, she had not had to go through a single day of dialysis. (I have written about this in my book, Aging Gracefully With the Graces of Healing Prayer).  I must also add that I am careful of what I eat and take 15 or so supplements per day. Bob takes supplements only sporadically.

Bob has a counterfeit faith. He was raised as a nominal Protestant – a Methodist, I think. The only church he now occasionally visits is a Unitarian church where he likes chatting with old friends, now almost all gone. He had imbibed the doctrines of the book A Course in Miracles, which is a spiritualist work. Its prime goal is convincing Christians that Jesus spoke through a medium and was bringing forth a “deeper truth” than He had proclaimed while he was on earth by incorporating the “truths” of the world’s religions. The result is a Buddhist-like passivity which erases Our Lord’s authentic command to pray earnestly that God’s will in heaven be activated on earth, or as Paul put it, to pray without ceasing.  He believes the doctrine of meditative passivity and naturally does not go to prayer over his problems nor seek healing for his ills.

Bob tries to live his life as a good person. I call it the “heresy of nice.” His girlfriend of many years suffers from the same affliction. He believes in God in the deist way – a God who created the universe and is a nice guy who smiles all the time. Bob believes his purpose on earth is to be nice to everyone, and God’s commands in the Bible are important only to the extent that they conform to niceness. For instance, it is nice to affirm a homosexual in his choice, or to the girl in the office that having an abortion is OK.  In fact, he was a really the nicest roommate I have had, which includes three others who were Christian. He paid on time, and did several kind and generous things for me without asking. For instance, my coffee maker broke down after four decades of use and he went out to Goodwill and purchased a much better brand for me. He used our other coffee maker that depended on the individual packets of coffee, which I now cannot afford. So, the coffee maker was for me, not us.

I had several unsuccessful conversations with Bob that he needed a relationship with Jesus. But he was convinced he was in right relationship with God by the fact that he did no evil. When I pressed the argument about Jesus, he got mad – I guess evangelization is not my spiritual gift, although I have brought several other persons to trust in Christ. I still pray for him, that someone with the grace of evangelization complete the seed I planted. I would like to meet him in heaven someday and thank him again for the coffee maker.



William DeArteaga

William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations.

Be first to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.