Healing Today

MacArthur’s argument against the gift of healing seen in his book Strange Fire is an interesting one to me. He seems to distinguish between the idea that God can and still does heal today in response to our prayers, and the concept of the gift of healing. (See James  5:14-15).

He does this in several ways. Firstly, he believes that the “Gift” of healing was given exclusively to accredit the Apostles, something which as I said in a previous post, I just don’t see as the case allowing for the lists of gifts in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere which are clearly intended for the whole Church.

Also, if a healing does take place today, who does he think has done it? If it is the actions of the Holy Spirit, why would we not call it a gift of the Spirit?

But MacArthur also seems to believe that the new testament gift of healing was even more dramatic:

No New Testament miracle was ever attempted that was not ultimately a complete success. Some might counter by pointing to the disciples’ inability to cast out a demon in Matthew 17:20, or the Lord’s decision to heal a blind man in two stages in Mark 8:22–26.

But those exceptions only prove the rule—since in both cases full healing was ultimately accomplished. In the case of the dis- ciples, it is significant to note that the failure was caused by a lack of faith on their part (not on the part of the sick child). If modern healers want to find a parallel with that incident, they would have to recognize it is their own lack of faith that is the problem.

In the case of the blind man, Jesus healed him in two stages to make a spiritual point—accentuating the spiritual shortsightedness of the disciples (cf. Mark 8:21). Ultimately, the Lord fully restored the man’s sight. Thus in every instance, both in the Gospels and in Acts, Christ and the apostles had a success rate of 100 percent.

(Strange Fire, page 188)

Again, as I explained yesterday, the fact that there are greater versions of this gift seen in the Bible does not negate that it is quite appropriate to call a modern healing, a gift of healing, in my view. It is hard to see what else to call it!  A lesser form of the same thing can still be the same thing as the greater form. If God is still in the business of performing miracles of healing, even if they are not as dramatic, why shouldn’t he also be giving less dramatic forms of the other gifts?

But, it is very wrong to think that in the NT every Apostle was always able to perfrom miracles of healing at will. If so, then nobody would ever have died, and presumably some of the Apostles themselves would still be alive today!  You simply do not die of old age. Everybody who dies, does so because of some sickness.  Are we to assume that the miracle-working Apostles never prayed for the healing of someone who wasn’t then healed? Or are we to assume that they were just too heartless to pray for anyone they somehow knew wouldn’t recover?

Actually there is a clear biblical precedent that in my view demonstrates this is totally wrong, and incidentally puts pay to any foolish notion that Christians today can claim total freedom from all sickness. We see here in Phillippians that Paul is clear that his friend might have died, but God raised him up. There is no sense here that death was not possible, and it appears that Paul had genuine concern that his friend may not have been healed in response to his prayers:

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious.So receive him in the Lord with all joy, and honor such men, for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete what was lacking in your service to me. (Philippians 2:25-30, ESV)

 We should not attribute to the original Apostles a form of magical healing power that would have led to automatic healings at all times.  Even Jesus didn’t heal every single person he came across who was sick.

Miracles of healing were never automatic.  We can never presume on God to perform them, and it seems that the Apostles even understood that. Their most dramatic healings came in response to a specific prompting from the Lord that was accompanied by an outpouring of power to pray for the sick.

I really do believe that God can heal today. I don’t naively believe every story of healing, however.  And I also recognise that there is no such thing as a faith healer who is 130 years old or more! We live, as did the Apostles, in a fallen world where the power of sickness has not yet been vanquished.  Ultimately the Christian’s healing will be given to him when he meets Jesus. But I believe that from time to time the powers of the age to come burst through into the present world. All these gifts are just a small deposit guaranteeing the vast inheritance that is to come (see Ephesians 1).  That they are small deposits should not in my view devalue them. For the one who has given us this taste of what is coming is faithful and just and will complete the work he has strarted in us!

More posts on healing:

 

 

 

About Adrian Warnock

Adrian Warnock is a medical doctor, a writer, and a member of Jubilee Church, London since 1995, where he serves as part of the leadership team alongside Tope Koleoso. Together they have written Hope Reborn - How to Become a Christian and Live for Jesus, published by Christian Focus. Adrian is also the author of Raised With Christ - How The Resurrection Changes Everything, published by Crossway. Read more about Adrian Warnock or connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.

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  • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111652578841098907328/about Alex Jordan

    Adrian, I believe that MacArthur would agree that healing in answer to prayer today happens by the power of God, and that in NT days the apostles were not healing everyone at will. But he does point out correctly the major incongruence between the incredible miracles wrought by Jesus and His followers and “miracles” today. Many claim to be raising the dead and healing the blind, etc, but where is the evidence? Observation of the present scene contradicts the notion that healing today has continued unabated from NT times in the same form as what we saw then. This is one very good reason to conclude that such healings are not being given by God today in the same abundance or form that they were back then. And the explanation cessationists give for this is reasonable– God gave the miracles to validate the claims of Christ to be from God, and to confirm that His message and teaching was/is true. He continued giving miracles to the apostles and the community of followers carrying on His work, to affirm them as also from God as they worked in the name of Christ. Miraculous healings were withdrawn once this purpose of validation was accomplished…. I am glad you state that we can never presume upon God to heal. But this is precisely what many charismatics have been doing and is therefore why they are rightly criticized! They say that since “healing is in the atonement” it is the birthright of the Christian to be free from all sickness, and that we can expect God to give us “our miracle” on the basis of the promise of healing contained in the provision of the atonement. This is a common teaching among the “faith healers” historically, and continues today. T. L. Osborne, Smith Wigglesworth, Benny Hinn, Todd Bentley, Gloria Copeland, and many others have taught this false doctrine. Since they claim healing is ALWAYS God’s will, if healing does not happen in a specific instance, blame is laid at the feet of the one not healed– usually, for lack of faith. If you concur that healings today are not the same as those of the NT, that healing cannot be demanded but is under full control of God’s sovereign will, and that sickness and death happen to us all, then fundamentally you are in full agreement with the cessationist position, which affirms all these things! Thus far, in my view, you have not “refuted” anything, but rather demonstrate how much agreement you have with MacArthur on the topic of divine healing.

    • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

      Thankfully, I think you are right in that most continuationists completely agree that divine healing is not a matter of faith only, but also a matter of God’s sovereign choice, and that God does relinquish his sovereignty by giving gifts of healing or miracles. Even many leaders let alone congregants in Pentecostal churches would say that faith (of all concerned) is “a” factor but not “the” factor in issues of healing. Charismatics tend to lean even more heavily than Pentecostals that faith is just one factor.

      That said, MacArthur does say some odd things on this subject. Consider this from his earlier (no less insulting) book, “Charismatic Chaos:” The same . . . characteristics of the miracles of healing done by Jesus Christ also characterized the apostles healing.” . . . “The
      apostles were able to heal anyone.” After giving that blanket statement, he then gives examples that seem to contradict it, and then guesses as to the reason:

      “[That said,] In Phillipians 2:25-27 Paul mentioned his good friend Epaphroditus, who had been very sick. Paul had previously displayed
      the gift of healing. Why did he not simply heal Epaphroditus? Perhaps the gift was no longer operational. Or perhaps Paul simply refused to pervert the gift by using it for his own ends. Either way, healing Epaphroditus was beyond the purpose of the gift of healing. The gift was
      not given to keep Christians healthy. It was to be a sign to unbelievers to
      convince them that the gospel was divine truth.”

      So, it’s not without reason that some folks, even many cessationists, think that MacArthur says that the apostles and Jesus, as people who had genuine gifts of healing, could heal “at will” or “anyone” (supposedly contrasted with today’s Christians who cannot do so). He intentionally doesn’t clarify whether Paul couldn’t or wouldn’t heal Epaphroditus or Timothy. Nevertheless, he won’t allow today’s Christians to say that the gift of healing is similarly dependent not only on the faith of people involved, especially the ones praying, but also on God’s sovereign choice as to when, whether or how to heal.

      In sum, MacArthur seems to want to hold up the great number of people that Jesus and the early church healed and say that today’s Christians don’t heal nearly as many, therefore, today’s Christians couldn’t have the same gift. That strikes me as odd because we don’t think that just because someone has a gift of teaching that they should be as awesome as Jesus or Paul. Nor do we think that everyone with a gift of evangelism should be Billy Graham or Peter. But with healing, it’s all or nothing. Superstars or no gift at all. I just don’t see justification for that. Not even the apostles seemed to be equally gifted at everything.

      Beyond all that, while I completely agree that divine healing (by gift or otherwise) means that all Christians will be healthy all the time, I disagree that the only reason God healed, then or now, was “to be a sign to unbelievers to convince them that the gospel was divine truth.” It certainly is such a sign (then and now) when someone is healed in Christ’s name, but it is also (always) an act of compassion, even though this life will end in physical death. What’s more, both those reasons (convincing people of Christ’s power and demonstrations of Christ’s mercy) are still good reasons today.

      • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111652578841098907328/about Alex Jordan

        If the argument being made by JM is that the gift of healing given during NT days was one that allowed people to “heal at will”, I think that is incorrect, since God is always sovereign in healing and His power must be present for healing to occur. On the other hand, those with the gift of healing in NT days did extraordinary miracles– miracles the like of which we are not seeing today. If agreed that the miracles today are not those of the NT, is this not an admission that to a certain degree these special gifts have ceased? It seems charismatics are so desperate to say all these gifts continue that they are willing to argue for healings that are not the NT healings, and likewise tongues and prophecy that are not the equivalent of the NT gifts. But aren’t we under a new and better covenant? Why then should the gifts be lesser? Perhaps we have been provided something that gives us advantages and privileges that have removed the need for miraculous gifts; namely the Word in written form and the indwelling Holy Spirit. Being filled with the Spirit is what we’re commanded to do, so that the fruit of the Spirit is being exhibited through our lives. The Word of God also gives instruction sufficient to equip for life and ministry. It does not seem that sensational miracles must characterize the Christian’s walk; miracles were always rare and special and symbolic. As for healing, we are told what to do– yet with no absolute promise that we will always walk in miraculous health. Yet we can and should pray for healing, always with hope, but also content to rest in God’s answer.

        • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

          I think the need or reason for healing is at least twofold, the first of which MacArthur acknowledges expressly and he may admit them both: signs that Jesus is Lord/Messiah and expressions of God’s compassion. Both of these reasons to heal remain today and God has continued to heal for such reasons. If you prefer not to call such actions by God “gifts” that’s fine by me. I don’t think though there is any biblical reason to say that people who have seen more than one or two folks healed through their intercession absolutely do not and cannot have a gift of healing. Scripture just doesn’t get one there.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111652578841098907328/about Alex Jordan

            But there is astronomical difference between most healings in response to prayer today and the amazing signs that accompanied Jesus and the early Church. I agree that healing today (when it’s legitimate and not the puffed up claims of fake healers) still points people to Jesus as Lord, and to His compassion. But as the SF conference pointed to, it is quite evident that there are many claims of miracles today that are false and/or unproven. Does this mean God never performs a miraculous healing today? No. But the cessationist argument is that the reason we don’t see miracles happening on the same scale has to do with the purpose God had in providing the initial abundance of spectacular miracles– to confirm the promised Messiah and to establish His church. And this argument is not without biblical support. As William Berends argues in his excellent essay on the topic, “some gifts were only of a temporary nature, given for the founding of Christ’s church. Among those ‘gifts’ which were clearly limited to the foundational stage of the church we must first of all include those identified as apostles and prophets (Eph. 4:11). The apostles and prophets were called by Christ to lay the foundation for his church (Eph. 2:20, cf. Mt. 16:18), which is found in the inspired Scriptures, the Word of God (2 Tim. 3:16; Heb. 1:1,2; 1 Pet. 1:12; 2 Pet. 3:16). Once this foundation was laid there was no further need for the apostolic and prophetic offices. The call to apostleship, moreover, could only come to those who had personally witnessed the resurrected Christ (Jn. 15:27; Acts 1:8; 10:41)… it is also reasonable to conclude that with the passing of the apostles those gifts which the Bible identifies as the marks of apostleship departed with them. These marks are listed as ‘signs, wonders and miracles’ (2 Cor 12:12; cf. Acts 14:3). In apostolic times the authority of the apostolic office was not only demonstrated in the miraculous works done by the apostles themselves, but also by the fact that they could confer the gift to do wondrous works to others through the laying on of hands (Acts 8:17; 19:6; cf. 1 Tim. 4:14). Such strong links between the office of apostleship and the more unusual gifts lend strong support to the conclusion of Benjamin Warfield, that ‘the extraordinary gifts belonged to the extraordinary offices and showed themselves only in connection with its activities.” Berends concludes,”the gift allowing some of God’s people to do extraordinary works for God at their will has disappeared, but …God may still use human agents to do wondrous works in extraordinary circumstances.”

          • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

            I hope you see all the assumptions contained in that quote. For instance, Eph. 2:20 talking about the church being built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Jesus as the cornerstone, just doesn’t say anything beyond them being foundational. It is quite the leap to then conclude “there was no further need for the apostolic and prophetic offices” especially when there are multiple other verses that talk about prophecy having other purposes as well, such as building up local churches, and commands to earnestly desire them. Lots of activities are foundational to my marriage, and many (most?) of them continue! Being “foundational” just doesn’t tell us anything about longevity. Further still, healing isn’t among these foundational gifts! Nor is tongues. Further still, I Cor. 13, does speak to the issue of longevity, and it says that gifts of prophecy and tongues, etc., will continue, not until the foundation is finished, but until “completeness” or “the perfect” comes . . . when we will see [God] “face to face” when we “know fully, just as we are fully known.” I just don’t buy that we’ve reached that stage. We’re still seeing “in part.”

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111652578841098907328/about Alex Jordan

            What does it mean then when Paul writes that the apostles
            and prophets are foundational to the church? Does it not mean that what they laid down was foundational to the building up of the universal church? And it seems what they received and laid down as foundational for the church was authoritative revelation from God, truths which once established as the foundation need not be laid down again.

            The basic “foundation” for marriage is that one gets
            married. Does one keep getting re-married?

            Foundational tells us that what the apostles and prophets
            laid down as gifts from God to the church was that which would be built upon. A foundation is “the basis on which a thing stands, is founded, or is supported.” Does this not imply that what they did is already complete?

            Healing is a gift which in this life brings temporary relief
            from illnesses that plague all in a fallen world, and provide a beautiful foretaste of the full healing to come through Jesus. They demonstrate God’s compassion, and point to His power over sin, the ultimate cause of sickness. But the abundant and spectacular healing occurring at the time of Jesus and in the apostolic community were also signs pointing to a greater reality– the kingdom of God, which is already here in part but which has yet to fully be revealed among the people of God. These special gifts that were being given seemed to be part of the foundational period as well, since history and present day evidence shows they did not continue in the same manner as previously.

            That God may today still work miracles and do special healings should not be ruled out, since He may do as He pleases and nothing is impossible for Him. Nevertheless I think it is a mistake to label phenomena not equivalent to the biblical gifts of healing, prophecy and tongues as being the same thing. Especially, the outrageous things produced in some charismatic circles, things which I’m sure you would agree are clearly unbiblical. So I think there is a burden of proof on those in more theologically sound charismatic circles to show that the gifts of prophecy and tongues claimed to be from God are indeed genuinely biblical, when it seems that they generally argue for a form of prophecy and tongues that are not authoritative in the way NT prophecy and tongues were. As for healing we can and should rejoice when God heals and should always keep praying for those who need healing. But I don’t think that answered prayer in this regard— even occasional miracles– may be used to prove we are still living in the age of NT-level miracles, for this is so contrary to evidence.

          • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

            It sounds like, to me, that we are functionally in very similar places regarding how to translate God’s grace and power to heal into practice, namely, to pray for the sick, which is great!

            You mention this, which I’d like to discuss, because I think many people think similarly: You believe that there is “a burden of proof on those in more theologically sound charismatic circles to show that the gifts of prophecy and tongues claimed to be from God are indeed genuinely biblical, when it seems that they generally argue for a form of prophecy and tongues that are not authoritative in the way NT prophecy and tongues were.”

            I too see a burden of proof issue here, but I get there in a different way. Briefly, I see prophecy (from the verses given below and more) as something (usually relatively little) that God reveals to a person or persons that they didn’t know apart from his direct help. For example, the love chapter says “if I have the gift of prophecy, and [even to such a degree that I] can fathom (perceive) all mysteries . . .” So, at it’s base, prophecy is God giving direct insight or direction based on insight that is beyond the person’s natural ability, which is a very broad area, given all our limitations of knowledge. The insight can be concerning which particular godly message or teaching needs to be given to a particular person or people at a particular time, or it can be about the future or past or the present. The woman at the well, for instance, when Jesus tells her about her present and past husbands says in response, “I see you are a prophet!” While that “revelation” was nothing to build a theology on, it had tremendous personal significance. Similar when Jesus said to Nathaniel, “When you were under the fig tree, I saw you” Nathaniel was deeply affected. Further, Paul says that if an unbeliever walks in to a gathering in which Christians are prophesying, “the secrets of their heart will be laid bare” and they will acknowledge God’s presence and activity in the group. Finally, Paul reminds Timothy of the gifts that were given/affirmed when the elders prophesied to him and laid hands on him. More could be said, but I hope you get the idea. Prophetic “revelations” can be small, by that I mean specific to persons and times and not giving any doctrine at all. When people such as myself have exactly these kinds of experiences (woman at well, secrets of unbelievers hearts laid bare, communal affirmation of gifts which prove true and fruitful, etc.), how else should we categorize these experiences when the NT puts them under the banner of the “prophetic”?

            Secondly, and this is also very important to me personally, I grew up in the opposite camp as you: cessationist. We never really talked about it, but no one spoke in tongues, no one prophesied (or at least no one called it that, though I think many did do it). But they taught me, above all, that the Bible was to be trusted to the utmost. If the Bible said it, I should believe it above all others. If the Bible (especially the NT) commanded it, I should obey. If the Bible (especially the NT) modeled or praised some behavior or thinking, I should do likewise. So, as I came across example after example and teaching upon teaching to “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially prophecy” and teachings telling churches–explicit commands!–not to forbid speaking in tongues and so many related things, I wondered and eventually asked what the biblical basis was for “seek not” and basically forbidding tongues. In all the years since then I’ve been given just two (two!) verses. At first I was shocked, especially as I read them. Against whole chapters of explicit teachings from Paul and numerous promises of Jesus himself the justification to do the unthinkable and disregard explicit NT commands was supposedly to be found either in I Cor. 13 or Eph. 2:20. I don’t know what to say except I’m just not so far from my sola scriptura roots to let vague inferences from two verses trump a host of explicit examples and commands in the NT. Because of this, because of all the positive examples and teachings about the Spirit’s gifts in the NT, I see the burden very much on cessationists to produce at least one explicit text that justifies disobeying explicit NT teachings. I just can’t bring myself to do it, especially having now done what Paul says to do and seen unbelievers come to Christ through prophetic revelation–and it wasn’t doctrine that was revealed (we have scripture for that), but the secrets of their hearts, just like Paul said. And I’ve seen the church and individuals built up and encouraged and confirmed in their callings, just as happened with Timothy.

          • https://plus.google.com/u/0/111652578841098907328/about Alex Jordan

            Hi, yes on prayers for the sick we are agreed; but I see that you’re not making the kind of claims often heard from many charismatics who believe in healing for today. They claim healing as a Christian birthright contingent on faith, and pray on that basis, making the whole thing into a kind of formula.

            On prophecy, I see your point, but have serious misgivings about this approach. In OT Scripture prophets were those who spoke for God with 100% accuracy. False prophets were those who spoke inaccurately, i.e., they presumed to speak for God that which was not spoken by God.

            But supposedly a new kind of prophetic practice arose in the NT in which the person receiving prophetic revelation from God may or may not receive and transmit with full accuracy. Thus in practice the prophecies they give may only be “tested” as to their validity on pragmatic grounds (e.g., did it bear good fruit or not). But even this is not really a definitive test, but mere interpretation of ensuing circumstances. I think God has provided something much better– the sure word of Scripture– so we need not stumble around trying to guess whether or not we are hearing from Him accurately. We have indeed heard from God accurately and authoritatively in Scripture– in such a way that we can be fully equipped for every good work and come to full maturity in Christ.

            The view of reformers such as Calvin and Luther was that all believers could prophesy because all have the indwelling Holy Spirit who teaches believers the meaning of Scripture. So they saw prophesying as the proclamation of valid implications and applications of authoritative Scripture, not as special revelations apart from Scripture. So perhaps 1 Cor 14:24 that speaks of the unbeliever’s “secrets of the heart” being disclosed is not referring necessarily to extraordinary prophetic events but rather to the conviction that comes upon a person by the Spirit when the Word of God is preached with accuracy and power.

            When one opens the door to extra-biblical personal revelations I think problems arise because these are neither verifiable nor falsifiable by Scripture– and the charismatics claim in advance that their words may or may not be accurate. So the biblical test of 100% accuracy is discarded. Or the subject addressed by the prophecies are not ruled on by Scripture– e.g., do I start this particular ministry, take this job, ask this person to marry me, etc. — so one can’t really determine if the Word received is from God or not.

            Opening this door has in fact led to all kinds of strangeness and abuses in the charismatic camp as many even claim their doctrines are new “revelation” from God. So again, I must return to asking how when we see the bad fruit that is rampant that the more sensible continuationists seem to downplay the connection between underlying doctrine and excessive, unbiblical practices.

            By the way, I am indebted to Bob DeWaay’s writing on this topic: http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue98.htm, http://cicministry.org/commentary/issue95.htm and would recommend his essays as food for thought. Blessings, Alex

          • http://www.wheretoreach.us/ T Freeman

            Alex,

            Thanks for this. We do have very similar positions on healing. FWIW, I think that faith is “a” factor, which many scriptures confirm, but not the only factor. A healing gift (even Paul didn’t heal “at will”) doesn’t mean God gives away sovereignty on this. God retains sovereignty and sometimes has no plans of healing, except via new bodies in the resurrection, which is where we anchor all our hopes. Please note that this is the standard teaching in many Charismatic camps (Charismatic Reformed folks, Vineyard, Calvary Chapel, even many independents, etc.) and even many Pentecostal ones.

            I’m glad you saw something in my discussion of prophecy. But let’s talk about this in more detail. First, I get (completely) the desire to want to have all prophecies be verifiable by scripture or otherwise. But if we look at the few NT examples I mentioned, no one can help that God chose to act as he did with Nathaniel, the woman at the well, or with Timothy (there are more, BTW). He just did these things and they fall under the banner of “prophecy.” Some are easily confirmed by the people involved (Nathaniel, woman at the well, etc.) but none are “provable” against scripture because they simply aren’t doctrinal. I agree with your concerns about “extra-biblical personal revelations” (which is why teaching and experience and wisdom and community all remain vital), but no one can make God do other than what he decides to do, and the NT says he has acted in these ways and called them “prophecy.” It’s hard for those of us with practically identical experiences to do otherwise.

            But let’s be fair and even consider applying this desire for verification (and the 100% error-free test) to some of the OT prophets and even Jesus and the Revelation. Now, I don’t know about you, but I see a lot of imagery and things that are hard to understand, let alone verify, in much biblical prophecy. I mean, seriously! You can practically pick a prophetic book at random and realize that huge swaths of it are just too apocalyptic, too vague and open to multiple layers of interpretation, to “verify” every word apart from merely trusting that it right because it is scripture and must be. It’s fair to say that even the prophets who received various visions didn’t even understand all the visions they saw, unless God explained it. In a nutshell, I think you are hoping for more from the NT gift of prophecy than we even get from scripture itself (!), and that’s just an impossible standard. I know that God isn’t the author of confusion. But he sure does say some things that are hard if not impossible to understand let alone verify, especially in “prophecy.” This is why Paul’s advice (who was perfectly familiar with OT ways and NT differences, if any) remains the best: “Don’t stifle the Spirit. Don’t despise prophecies, but test all things. Keep what is good. Stay away from every kind of evil.” Again, if our choice is between something hard to do, and overturning chapters of explicit teachings and commands, I just don’t know how we justify excepting ourselves from whole chapters of the NT without equally if not more explicit scriptures.

            In any event, I’m fine if you’re not persuaded by all this, though I thank you for the discussion. What I do hope is that you can see that for many, many “Charismatics” like myself, we don’t hold these beliefs because of some “anomaly” in our thinking, or just because we have friends who are charismatic with whom we sympathize. We don’t hold continuationist theology and practice despite scripture or because we patched some vague, off-topic scriptures together to support our experience or preference. The scriptures supporting our belief and practice are numerous and explicit. That MacArthur and others say that the scriptures are clearly, obviously in support of cessationism and that an honest reading of the scriptures couldn’t be the reason that respectable men and women are continuationists is not only rude but a form of denial and/or selectivity about what the scriptures actually say that is unworthy of a Christian, let alone a bible teacher. Disagree with us, fine. But don’t act or talk like our belief is without ample scriptural basis, or even, from my perspective, mandate.

  • pei-hobbit

    So if I had the gift of healing, how do I know? Do I try to get as spiritual as I can and in tune with the Holy Spirit, and then go out to a hospital and try it on people? Or go to a healing meeting and try? I’m just wondering how a person wants the gift of healing, attains it and then uses it.

  • jasobeam

    Good day

    I refer to your statement in the 2nd last paragraph “Even Jesus didn’t heal every single person he came across who was sick.”

    What an arrogant statement done by a person that believes he know something about this matter. You err a lot, so much so that you don’t even realize that your light is of darkness (Luke 11:35). This you done by contradicting the Word of God.

    Herewith some of the Scriptures that prove that Jesus Christ, the Anointed Messiah, did indeed heal all:

    Matt 4:23-24
    Matt 8:16
    Matt 12:15
    Matt 14:36

    Matt 19:

    John

    Acts 5:16
    Acts 10:38

    Also it is important to include John 20:30-31 and 21:25

    One don’t even have to look at the rest of your letter based on your lack of knowledge and understanding. I must add that this way of “apologetic s” is found throughout the charismatic movement and is another gospel or itching ear doctrines that complies with 1 Tim 4:1.

    I pray you will focus on His Word and live by it in stead of trying to be full of knowledge where there is clear evidence that you rather lack the knowledge and thus become part of Rom 10:2

    Peace

    Jasobeam

  • House of David

    A great deal of what you say in this article is not biblical and is ultimately misleading and misrepresentative of the actual teachings of scripture. Suggest you read your bible more closely and listen to the Holy Spirit more intently before you write such articles. Healing is in the atonement and it is for today, 1 Peter 2:24 is quoting Isaiah 53:5, but looking back instead of forward. Some of the comments below, by readers, reflect the lack of maturity of the readers, and other comments reflect a lack of bible knowledge, but the worst are those that show they do NOT understand the nature and character of God. It is God’s will to save everyone and to heal everyone, but only those who receive Him by faith will be saved, and only those who receive healing by faith will be healed. The fault is with us, not God. He has made His will very clear. He healed everyone who was willing to receive healing, EVERYONE. Jesus Christ is the SAME, yesterday, today, and forever. Period!!!


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