Jesus Is Victor!
Our age needs testimonies like that of Pastor Blumhardt. He had learned to pray and to grip the promises of God, and he knew that Satan is already a conquered foe – through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
The Life and Ministry of Pastor Blumhardt
Whenever the subject of healing in answer to prayer is mentioned, the life and ministry of Pastor Blumhardt is brought to mind. His remarkable work seemed to prove that “God is still the living God, and now, as well as thousands of years ago, He listens to the prayers of His children” and saves and helps and heals all who put their trust in Him.
Christolf Blumhardt was born in Germany in 1805 and received thorough training as a Lutheran Pastor. Although the Universities were largely discounting evangelical truth and simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, he passed through their courses thoroughly trained but untainted in faith.
It was no doubt a wonderful help to his whole Christian life to work for a number of years in connection with the Missionary Training School at Basel. Here the missionary fervor was implanted and he had the opportunity of seeing the power of evangelical truth.
The marked characteristic of the man at this stage of his experience, was a strong faith in God, a faith that took absolute hold on the promises of the Word and rested upon them in calm confidence. In person he was commanding, yet gentle and winning in manner, while in conversation he manifested an interest in and love for all men. God had wonderful things in store for him, and the call came to a new field.
After a short service as pastor of Iptingen, in 1838 he removed to Mottlingen. Mottlingen is a Lutheran village in the Black Forest of the kingdom of Wurtemberg. At the beginning of his work there he was married to Johanna Dorothea Kollner, who proved to be a devoted Christian wife and helper.
Simple trust in Jesus was held in contempt, but the young pastor boldly began to preach where his Master had begun before him, with that first and most important Gospel to sinners, “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” Soon his earnestness and zeal bore fruit and crowds flocked to hear the simple Word. A revival came on, mingled with conflicts and opposition, but he held steadily onward and endeavored to guide all who believed into the pathway of holiness.
Without splitting hairs over definitions, it may safely be said that Blumhardt was a holiness preacher. He had unlimited confidence in the atonement of Christ for soul and body, and was not at all ashamed to avow his belief and faith.
God often teaches us through some spiritual crisis. Blumhardt learned the way of faith more perfectly through meeting a case in his pastoral experience that did not seem to respond to prayer.
There was a young woman in his congregation who was very strangely afflicted. She seemed to be truly possessed of demons as in great agony she would speak first with one voice and then with a strangely different one. Medical men were sent for and upon examination asked if there was not some one who could pray, as this did not seem to be a case for medical treatment.
This came as a challenge to Blumhardt, and the pressure was increased when some of his members who had accepted his teaching as to the power of prayer, came to him and told him that this was his opportunity. There was no way of retreat—and so he gave himself to earnest prayer.
At first there seemed to be nothing accomplished by his prayers. The young woman became worse. He took the Burgomaster of the town with him on frequent occasions, who witnessed of the raving and the peculiar phenomena manifested by this young woman, but all his praying and visitation seemed to be of no avail.
Jesus Is Victor!
His attention after a time was drawn to that text in Scripture which says that “this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting” (Matt. 17:21). In his desperation he gave himself to prayer and fasting and then called upon the sick one again and, in the name of Jesus, commanded the evil spirits to depart.
She was immediately delivered, and with a supernatural cry which could be heard throughout the village, she exclaimed, “Jesus is Victor!” One of her limbs had been drawn up and was considerably shorter than the other. This was immediately lengthened and she was entirely healed!
Not only was the healing remarkable—but that cry, “Jesus is Victor!” was heard by a dissolute man who was passing near her home at that time. He became thoroughly convicted of his sins and sought out Pastor Blumhardt, and gave his heart to the Lord and spent his time bringing others who were out of Christ to the Pastor.
For months Pastor Blumhardt was busy dealing with seeking souls. Through this answer to prayer, his own confidence in God increased, and God began not only saving souls but also healing the sick in such a marked way that many began coming to him from different parts of Germany. Sometimes large companies would camp on the lawn of his church, and he would preach to them and pray for them.
All the accommodations that he could command were filled with those who were seeking some spiritual or physical blessing. This made him lay the whole matter before the Lord, and as the crowds kept increasing and were coming from other countries, he sought for a larger place where he could minister to them.
At the Baths of Boll there had been erected a large resort which would have been used entirely for pleasure and even gambling. For some reason this project had not succeeded financially and was held by the government, which had it for sale. God providentially worked so that Pastor Blumhardt was able to secure this large place with beautiful grounds.
Here, for many years, visitors came from all parts of Germany, in fact, from all parts of the world. His visitors represented all classes of people, rich and poor, rustics, generals, and many of the nobility. Some came seeking spiritual blessing and rest and many came seeking healing. At least one hundred and fifty would be seated at one meal. Even the rooms that were intended for bathrooms were turned into rooms for the use of those seeking the Lord’s blessing.
The king and authorities sent gifts toward his work because of the beneficent results and the simple Christian faith that was promulgated.
Pastor Blumhardt was gifted as a preacher, and as a musician. His genial countenance, words of hope and spirit of prayer touched everyone who came within the circle of his influence. Mighty works were wrought—so great that many doubted—and others came to see.
A professor of one of the large universities paid a special visit and asked what proof there was that God was so wonderfully healing the sick. Pastor Blumhardt led him to a desk which was filled with correspondence.
He told him he would leave him there and he would have the liberty to examine the letters. This professor was astounded and more than convinced as he read letter after letter telling of the marvelous workings of God in answer to the simple prayer of faith.
Pastor Blumhardt believed the verses in Mark, chapter 16, where it says, “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”
Burden for Fresh Outpouring
Blumhardt felt that the Church needed a new outpouring of the Spirit of Pentecost and that without this, nothing would be durable. He said,
“This led me to pray for a new outpouring of the Spirit, and that without ceasing, the more so, as the signs seemed to indicate that we are not far from the last times. The clearer I begin to see the corruption and manifold defects of present Christendom, the more unavoidable is to me supplication for its renewal, which can only be accomplished through a special movement of the Spirit of God from above.
“After a careful examination of Joel 3 and Revelation 14, I can and must believe that the anti-Christian times, as prophesied in God’s Word, will be preceded by universal revivals. My heart shrinks when I look at the world, but expands when I look upward and into the world of prophecy. Oh, that the abominations and miseries of earth might soon come to an end!”
He was intensely interested in missionary activity, and through him, many gifts flowed into the different missions of the world, and toward the support of the Missionary Training Institute at Easel.
Blumhardt was regarded as a holy, unselfish man, whose prayers prevailed with God. He was a minister of God, unusually rich in the power and love of his Master, and able in a most remarkable manner to apply the Scriptures to the mental and spiritual anxiety of troubled souls, and to every detail in practical life. The later gift was more spoken of than his intercession for the sick.
He made indeed no profession of being able, even through prayer, to bring healing to all the physical maladies that came before him. But he had a childlike confidence in the pity and love of the Great Father to His tempted and suffering children. He taught that there was a divine idea under and beyond this sorrowing life. As the pastor laid his hand gently on the head of a sufferer, and poured forth his prayer, the afflicted felt sure that his heart was drawn out to them. If he charged them to search their hearts, to lay bare and confess secret sins, he never did this as a priest who inculcated confession to himself. Faults to their fellowmen he urged them to acknowledge, and to make reparation as far as lay in their power, but even in this he seemed to carry their cross, and their cross lay on his own heart.
He stood for full inspiration of God’s Word, and had a simple, childlike faith. He lived to a ripe age, and in the year 1880 he passed into the Presence of his Lord. Great has been the inspiration of his life. Two of his sons who stood with him as ministers, were left to carry on his great work.
Pastor Blumhardt’s prayers were often battles against the powers of darkness—but to him and for him— Jesus was Victor!
The age in which we live needs a similar testimony. So much worldliness has weakened the lives’ of Christians and blighted the testimony of many of the churches. God’s arm must be revealed! The supernatural working of God is needed in an age when the truthfulness of the inspiration of God’s Word is doubted.
The Church needs to have ministers and workers who have learned to pray, who know how to grip the promises of God, who know that Satan is already a conquered foe—through the power of the cross of Jesus Christ.
As the day of the Lord approaches, we have a right to expect larger manifestations of the supernatural working of God!
May the record and memory of this life deeply stir us all—and lead us to further heart-searching, and trusting in the cleansing of the precious blood of Jesus, and to a laying hold of the promises of God for the salvation of souls, for the healing of the sick, and for the mighty supernatural workings of our God!
May the memory of Pastor Christolf Blumhardt be perpetuated by many being dominated by the same Holy Spirit that used him; and may God’s saints learn—not only that “with God all things are possible”(Matt.. 19:26), but also—that “all things are possible to him that believeth” (Mark 9:23).