"Faith Healers"

Divine? or Deceptive?

 

By Pastor Larry Jones

 

 

Healing! The very word stirs the heart of a world of people. Every man or woman who has ever been seriously or "pennanently" ill marvels at the possibilities of being healed. In fact, this word, or words similar in meaning in other languages, has captured the undivided attention of forgotten generations in all millenniums past. Because of the hope for healing, ancient and modern literature is filled with tales of miraculous healing experiences in both "Christian" and non≠-Christian writings. The world into which Christ came was filled with stories of miracles of healing. History tells us that although these stories abounded, there were few people who actually attested to seeing or experiencing such miraculous works. The magnetic power of the possibilities or the relief of suffering has kept these stories alive. Did Jesus Christ come to simply add the accounts of His healing to the massive volume of stories already contained in human history? Did He not place unquestionable guidelines upon the exercise of this great power? Did He not place these guidelines so that true Christian healing would be placed an infinity above the records of heathenish healings?

 

There are many men today who claim to have the gift of healing. I will venture a guess that there are more non-Christians who claim to have this gift than Christians. Most missionaries will tell of many people whom they have met in primitive villages who claim to have "the gift." I used to be disturbed by questions concerning these "healers" until I completed an extensive study. I am no longer disturbed by questions of who really has the gift of healing; now I am burdened for so many people who are captivated by a superstitious addiction to anyone who simply claims to have such a gift.

 

History shows in every generation numbers of men who claimed to have this miraculous power. There are claims of everything from simple healing to raising the dead. Otto Weinreich in his treatise on Ancient Miracles of Healing cites many examples of heathenish stories about healing which permeate history. He tells of one recorded in Philostratusí Life of Apollonius of Tyana where Apollonius raised a Roman bride from death just before she was to be buried. I am amazed when I hear modem "faith-healers" claim that these gifts have just come into use in this century like they were in the first century. They have to say this because of their claim that this is the latter day outpouring. The father of the modern charismatic movement asserted the same thing in the 1830ís. His name was Edward Irving. Names such as Mary Campbell, Miss McDonald, and Miss Fancourt have been recorded as the first to claim they were healed in this "latter day outpouring." But history shows clearly they were not the first to make such a claim.

 

Since Ancient and modern history both bear record of many who claim to have had this gift of healing there are logical questions that must be asked. Are all who claim to be healers, both so called Christian and non-≠Christian, of God? Are all claimed healings, both "Christian" and non-Christian, of God? The logical answer to both questions is no. There is testimony after testimony of men who once affirmed they were either healers or healed who later denied it. Furthermore, many people realize, myself included, that heathenish healings are fabricated stories based upon superstition or at best illusions of Satan. The question is then narrowed. Are some, instead of all, so called Christian healers and healings of God? I do not think anyone would be so naive as to imagine that all "Christians" who claim to have the gift of healing really have it. This brings us to the question which this article has been written to answer, Has God given us a pattern in His Word, which will clearly show who does and who does not possess this gift? I believe that He has.

 

God has given us 42 clear examples in Scripture of the exercise of this great gift. Careful study reveals a very clear pattern that definitely shows and exalts the supernatural nature of true Christian healing. Jesus Christ and the recipients of this gift leave absolutely no space for these examples to even be considered akin to the heathenish stories of healing. The standard is so high that the true gift never has and never will be falsely duplicated. Any man that claims to have the gift and does not meet the Biblical requirements of this extraordinary power is, without a doubt, and imposter, and to follow him or to attest to his gifts is a grievous sin against God.

 

Let us now examine every example of healing in the Bible on the following chart. Please understand that we are not dealing with the gifts of exorcism. This is a separate gift used to battle creatures who possess a will. The chart:

 

Using this chart which contains every New Testament example of healing let us examine the clear pattern that is given for true Christian healing. Let us look at the healers first. The first twenty-one examples were of Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, thirty-two out of the forty-two specific instances of healing were performed by the Great Healer. There are only two accounts in all the four Gospels where we read of other men exercising this divine gift. These other men, both in the Gospels and in Acts, were directly commissioned of Jesus Christ to perform this work. Each of these men had the same result that Jesus had. This gift is given by divine appointment and always meets divine standards.

 

The various physical maladies ranged from death to being maimed. I am certain that virtually every illness known to man in this age was healed during this period. Maimed is an interesting word. In many nations that were prone to war, there were men who had their limbs cut off or rendered useless by weapons of war. These people were also made whole. The most striking standards are seen in three other characteristics of Christian healing. The first is the extent of the healing. It was always total! No person went away partially healed or in a "healing process." They were all 100 % healed of the afflicting malady. The second is that the healing was immediate! There was no lapse of days or years and no process of healing. In every case the people were healed instantly. The third is that every person who came to be healed was healed! There are 17 examples of groups of people who came to be healed and in all 17 cases 100 % of the people who came were healed instantly! To further prove this point read each of the passages on the chart that pertain to a group being healed.

 

Let us now look at the people who were healed. They were people from every walk of life. One of the most startling facts is that many of them did not particularly have faith in the healer. In John 9 Jesus healed a blind man whom He met in passing. The blind man did not even know who He was. In verse 25 he said he did not even know if Jesus was a sinner or not. In verses 35 to 38 we find the man did not even know Jesus was the Christ. I believe it was not until verse 38 that the man was saved. In John 4:46 the noblemanís son was never even in Jesusí presence. In John 5:5-9 the man did not even know Jesus was going to heal him or could heal him. A similar instance is shown in Luke 13:12. In Acts 3:2-8 the beggar did not have any idea what Peter was going to do. In Acts 28:8 PubIiusí father lay sick of a fever. Many times a man is delirious from fever or extended sickness. Were people who were delirious, unconscious, or dead healed? The answer is a firm yes. How much reasoning and faith can an unconscious or dead person have? The claim by many modern "faith healers" that the reason they do not heal everyone is because the sick person does not have enough faith is simply a smoke screen to cover the "healer"s" deception. Not one single place in Scripture do we find that someone could not be healed because they lacked faith.

 

The Biblical standard for healers is very plain. If a man has this gift of God, he will always meet the following Biblical requirements.

 

1.    He will meet the Biblical example and heal everyone that comes to him for healing.

 

2.    He will heal any form of sickness known to man.

 

3.    He will heal any illness completely.

 

4.    The total healing will take place instantly without regard for the depth of the afflicted personís faith.

 

The false healer will immediately reject this standard. He will seek out exceptions to the rule and twist Scripture till he conjures up one. This conduct proves he is a false healer! The principle I have just stated was applied to the prophet of God. How many mistaken prophecies could he prophesy and still be considered a prophet? None! In Deut. 18:20≠-22 the penalty for one false prophecy is death.

 

The sad fact is that many will follow these false Christs, healers, or prophets regardless of Biblical principles. What a heinous sin to attribute works of God to Satan, but it is no less sinful to attribute works or claims of a false healer or of Satan to God, or to twist Scripture to meet a false standard, instead of accepting Godís standard of healing. The wonderful truth is that Mark 14:21, 22 tells us none of His elect will be deceived by such a man. Why? Because they hear and heed the voice of the Great Shepherd who in this case clearly speaks to us by His written Word (John 10:4, 5, 26-28). If you are one of those that have been following a professed healer who does not meet Godís standard, you ought to tremble with fear, repent and follow the truth. We want to help, please call us. To examine this truth in a more extensive way you may order a tape I have made as a companion to this article. The address for ordering the tape is at the end of this tract.

 

There are certain supposed objections that some will raise against the truth as stated in this article. I am only able, in the space I have, to deal with two of the more common objections, and these I can only deal with briefly. Should you have questions or objections to be answered I will be glad to either send you further material on this subject or deal with your questions personally.

 

Objection 1 - In Matthew 17: 16 we are told the disciples could not cure the lunatick.

 

Answer - This is exorcism not healing. In exorcism one battles creatures with will and volition. They could resist the disciples. Note: It was not the lunatick who lacked sufficient faith it was the disciples. If this is used as a defense against the subject at hand then the healer is bound by this Scripture to say, when someone is not healed by him, that it is his own lack of faith and not the unhealed personís lack of faith.

 

Objection 2 - In Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4 Jesus could not heal because of the unbelief of the people.

 

Answer - He did not heal any of the antagonistic Pharisees either, but instead called them vipers. He healed no man that held Him in animosity or bitterness. By the way, He did heal people in His home town (Mark 6:5).

 

May God bless and guide you into all truth. For additional copies of this tract, or to receive more information on this subject, write:

 

Grace Baptist Church

2611 Pulaski Pike

Huntsville, AL 35810