September 10, 2008
PLAINER WORDS …THE QUESTION OF DIVINE HEALING
“Unlike so many, we do not peddle the word of God for profit. On the contrary, in Christ we speak before God with sincerity, like men sent from God” (2 Cor. 2:17) NIV
These were the words of the Apostle Paul and could very well be appropriate today as we consider those who preach dishonestly for profit.
Christian radio and television air-ways are teeming with the gospel of “Divine Healing” of the sick in body, mind, or spirit. Many of the air-wave “faith healers,” by implication, impart the idea that they can perform the miracle of healing. Yes, they assert that the “healing”which they preach about is a miraculous healing by God, and “They are simply the instruments through which God works His miracles.”
We're sure you've heard and viewed them. On television, perhaps, you have witnessed the tens-of-thousands who attend their crusades. You've viewed the antics of the practitioners. Frankly, we find some of the antics to be appalling, disgusting, disgraceful, and, even, those of old-time snake-oil salesmen. They are peddlers of the Word of God—that is to say, the Word has been distorted for greedy gain.
The three basic problems which mankind faces have been spiritual, mental, and physical. The First Chapter of Romans points out the cause of wickedness, which has filled our jails; and disease, which has filled our hospitals; and death, which fills our cemeteries. The human race's three problems will be solved when the “Epiphaniea” (see 2 Tim. 4:1) enlightens the world, and the Day of our Lord Jesus Christ is marshaled in.
Today, the problem Christians face is, can we appeal to Him, as our Advocate, and expect Him to heal and cure our sickness.
The question of so-called “Divine Healing” should not be, “Can God heal?” Nor, should the question be, “Does God heal?” Everyone who professes faith in Christ Jesus knows that He CAN and, often, DOES heal in answer to prayer. It seems that the point of controversy is on the matter, “Does the Bible teach that men, today, have the gift of healing, even, as the disciples and apostles had?” Our studies have led us to the firm conclusion that the answer to the question is an emphatic No. Some of our reasons are as follows:
Before Moses received the Law, there is no Biblical record that God gave the gift of miracles to any man. During the era of the Mosaic Law, before the birth of Christ, only a few men were given the power to work miracles. These few included Moses, Elijah, and Elisha.
In the closing days of the Dispensation of the Law, during the ministry of Jesus Christ, God gave the disciples and Apostles the authority, power, and gifts to perform miracles, signs, and wonders—which, of course, included the gift of healing (Matt.10: 5-42 ; Mark 16: 17-18).
Those who were so empowered were to follow certain divine rules and regulations as to WHERE they were to go (Matt.10: 5-6), as to WHAT to proclaim (Matt.10: 7), and as to HOW they were to travel (Matt.10: 9-10).
Why were these men enabled to perform these miracles? The purpose was: (1) To establish the fact and evidence that Jesus was the Christ (Matt. 11: 2-5); (2) To convince the Gentiles (Rom. 15: 18-19); (3) To justify the ministry of the Apostles (2 Cor. 12:12); (4) To confirm the message of “so great a salvation” (Heb. 2: 3-4); (5) To confirm the fact that the Lord was working with them (Mark 16:20). When these purposes were accomplished, then, the miracles wrought by men, through means of divine empowerment, ended. The end is marked by the Apostle Paul's proclamation in Acts 28:28.
The miraculous signs, wonders, and miracles demonstrated by the Apostles and all believers, during the Book of Acts, abounded until Acts 28:28. When every minute detail of the Divine purposes were accomplished during “The Acts of the Apostles,” God suspended His dealing with Israel, and the unprophesied Dispensation of the Grace of God was ushered in. All future prophecies were shelved until the Day of Jesus Christ dawns. Signs, wonders, and miracles were prominent as long as Israel stood before God as a nation, to wit, the Acts Period. When His purpose with the Jew was accomplished, He withdrew them. (Even, as when the pillar of cloud and fire, which was used to lead the children of Israel out of the wilderness, had served its purpose, then, God withdrew it).
Divine healing was a “SIGN.” These miraculous signs of “healing” answered to the Scriptural truth that “the Jews require a SIGN” (1 Cor. 1:22). The gift of “healing” was set aside with the end of the Acts Period, as were all of the other supernatural Spiritual Gifts.
Those who claim to be “Faith-Healers” publicly demonstrate that they are Charlatans. A Charlatan, according to the dictionaries, could be summed-up as “a flamboyant deceiver who attracts the simple.”
“The simple believeth every word: …” (Prov. 14:15).
Bible-simpletons are deficient in Biblical-judgment.
A Charlatan, according to the “Online Etymology Dictionary, 2001” states that, “1611, from It. ciarlatano ‘a quack,' from ciarlare ‘to prate, babble,' from ciarla ‘chat, prattle,' perhaps imitative of ducks ‘quacking.”
Today's Faith-healers are masters of deceit, preying upon the simple, desperate, and gullible. Their fraudulent healing contradicts the elementary principle of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth” (2 Tim 2:15). These “Masters-of-faith,” for the most part, live like kings, but never darken hospital doors where all of the occupants are in need of healing. They could go from room-to-room, ward-to-ward, and lay hands upon the sick and infirmed, freely administering cures. But, in practice, it would seem that hospitals are not the “proper venue” for “Divine Healing.” These “Healing-Masters” capitalize on the masses being “ignorant brethren” (Rom. 1:13) and “silly women” (2 Tim .3:6).
Today, truth declares that if God heals in answer to prayer, He does so, secretly. During this Dispensation, He acts in SECRET, His actions are “unsearchable” (Eph. 3:8).
Today, we are shut up to Philippians 4:6-7 which we are to rely on:
“Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”
In the last several years, I have had three major surgeries and one minor surgery. The first, December 2002, was spinal surgery in which spinal fusion was required. I prayed, extensively, that the Surgeon would be Divinely directed, and the Holy Spirit would fill him with wisdom, skill, understanding, and knowledge in all manner of surgical workmanship (Ex. 35:31). The Lord answered prayer, in secret. Gloria, our children and, yes, many of you, also, petitioned our gracious Lord on my behalf. I must confess and testify that I believe He heard and answered prayer.
The second was open heart surgery (quintuple-by-pass) which was performed on March 29, 2006. From the time of my heart attack, several days, until surgery, I was sedated to such an extent that I was unable to pray. Even though I was “out-of-it,” mentally, I am convinced the Spirit interceded on my behalf. Family, and close friends again, stood-in-the-gap and asked for grace, mercy, and favor as I recovered.
One year later, March 2007, a Colonoscopy showed I had a Stage III rectal tumor. I began 25 radiation treatments, along with 25 weeks of chemotherapy.
The third surgery was to be done upon completion of this treatment. I was, also, taking heavy dosages of alternative therapy. Again, the Lord used the treatments to shrink my tumor down to a Stage II by the time I was to have surgery. The Doctor told me that I might have a Colostomy Pouch after surgery. It would be attached to the left side of my abdomen, and it would be permanent. A Colostomy is attached when there is not enough rectum left for the colon to be attached. However, he said when I awakened after surgery, and if I felt something attached to the right side of my abdomen, that would be an Ileostomy Pouch which would be temporary. After six-to-eight weeks, it would be removed, and my colon would be re-attached to the rectum. On November 26, 2007, I had the tumor removed, and I awakened. The first thing I did, upon regaining consciousness, was to feel of the right side of my abdomen. I cried a “Thank You, Lord Jesus.” I had an Ileostomy!!! That meant the diversion of my bowels into a pouch would be temporary. The pouch would be emptied three, or four times a day.
After about three weeks, I began to have severe diarrhea. My blood-pressure got so low that it became immeasurable, and I began to lose consciousness and fell to the floor several times. Gloria called 9-1-1, and I was taken to the ER at the hospital. There, I learned my kidneys had failed. A doctor in the Emergency Room diagnosed my condition, immediately, and administered the necessary medication to restore my kidney function. The attending physician said that I had been several hours away from being hooked-up for kidney-dialysis. But, my God was merciful, and my kidneys “kicked-in”
I, continually, had the sense of the Lord's presence. Was I hallucinating? I don't believe so. No, He was not, Personally, in my hospital room. But, I sensed His Presence, nonetheless.
About three weeks after kidney failure, I had minor surgery to remove the Ileostomy pouch. It was removed, and the colon was re-attached to the rectum. So, here I stand. But, He Who is rich in mercy, again and secretly, showed mercy upon this most unworthy servant.
Tom L. Ballinger