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HEALING IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Is it a Right or PRIVELAGE?

Posted by Gabriel (G²) on December 21, 2007

For anyone interested, I am writing this post due to the fact that there has been numerous counts of people being healed from ALL OVER THE WORLD…..& yet there are some who seem to not wish to accept it. They may use phrases such as “that died out with the apostles” or “the apostles could ALWAYS HEAL AT WILL….SO UNLESS IT’S HAPPENING LIKE WITH THEM, then IT ISN’T HAPPENING.” & various other phrases.

Also, I write this post due to the fact that a beloved sister in Christ died last November (the DAY BEFORE THANKSGIVING), struggling with cancer for 3 years. Many times, the cancer went away and she seemed as if she was healed.

Other times it came back with a vengeance and people were discouraged. Other times, people said it was simply an issue of her faith (which I COMPLTEYLY Disagree with, to a degree). Yet her perspective was RADICALLY DIFFERENT THAN WHAT MANY WOULD SEE IN other situations throughtout much the CHARISMATIC or WOF movement (i.e. “GOD HAS TO HEAL ME!!!!) She served with passion, and even when in the hospital, was PRAYING FOR PEOPLE STILL.


I thought I post some things relating to the issue of praying for the sick/injured, as well as thoughts on what the WORD SAYS ABOUT FAITH and, specifically, the GIFT OF FAITH when it comes to healing…..epecially in light of the fact that the situation I raised regarding the disabled lady ties in directly with that (though, on a side note, by no means meaning she has let that be a disabilty to her WALK WITH CHRIST)


The information I’m sharing comes from one of the books I studied when I WENT ON MY RECENT MISSION TRIP TO MEXICO LAST JUNE (the place, by the way, where we witnessed many amazing miracles/.healings also to the GLORY OF GOD!!! and got to experience what it truly means to pray for the sick and combines a solid biblical foundatio and practical advice with first-hand illustrations of how healing, as well as other spiritual giftings, would be practically applied in today’s society
The book is entitled A Beginners Guide to SPIRITUAL GIFTS, and it’s by SAM STORMS, who used to be a cessastionist and later came to believe in Spiritual Gifts and how healing is for today

Beginner' Guide to Spiritual Gifts

For more on the Book, as well as solid information on the subject of HEALING, please go here:

http://earnestlydesire.blogspot.com/2007/04/book-reviews.html

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/is-there-healing-in-atonement

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/article/healing-in-acts

http://www.enjoyinggodministries.com/studies/divine-healing/

http://www.layhands.com/HealingTrainingCourse1.htm

http://www.layhands.com/HealingTrainingCourse2.htm

http://www.layhands.com/HealingTrainingCourse3.htm 

http://www.layhands.com/HealingTrainingCourse4.htm 

http://www.layhands.com/ReceiveHealing.htm 

 http://www.layhands.com/ObjectionsAgainstHealing.htm#ClearingOutHospitals

 http://www.layhands.com/EveryExampleOfHealing.htm

http://www.layhands.com/AnointingWithOil.htm 

He’s also a CALVANIST CHARISMATIC, or rather a REFORMED CHARISMATIC like myself who has been on both sides of the fence when it comes to studying the issues of HEALING/FAITH so we can relate (though of course he’ll never know that since I’VE NEVER MET HIM)
Here it is….and hope everyone enjoys:


Quote:
Although the NT has much more to say about faith in general, it doesn’t explicitly refer to the charisma, or gift of faith outside this passage in I Corinthians 12.
Therefore, the best way to identify and define the nature of this gift is to look briefly at how faith is potrayed elsewhere. Generally speaking, the NT mentions three kinds of fiath, or, better still, three distinct contexts or circumstances in which faith is exercised….CONVERSION FAITH, CONTINUING FAITH AND CHARISMATIC FAITH.


CONVERSION FAITH
is the faith through which we are justified. This is the faith identified in Scripture as that trust or confidence or belief in the atoning sacrifice of Christ that occurs at the moment of converion This s the faith Paul referred to in Ephesians 2:8-9…..(also see Romans 1:16-17, Romans 3:28, Romans 5:1, etc). Unlike the charisma of faith, which is restricted to those believers to whom the Spirit wills to give it (I Corinthians 12:11)


CONTINUING FAITH is the faith we exercise daily as we look confidently to God to do in and through our lives all that he has promised to do. This is the faith that is one of the fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). This is the faith of Hebrews 11 (compare with I Peter 1:8 and others). All believers have this faith, but in varying degrees of intensity. Some are more and others less confident in the goodness and greatness of God throughout the course of daily life.
CHARISMATIC FAITH is the faith, noted in several texts, that appears to be spotaneous and functions as the divinly enabled condition on which the more overtly supernatural activities of God are suspended. This, I believe, is the “gift of faith” in I Corinthians 12:9.
Consider these POSSIBLE EXAMPLES of the gift of faith:
Quote:

Mark 11:22-24
22″Have[a] faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23″I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. (Matthew 17:20-21, Matthew 21:21-22)

 

I Corinthians 13:2
2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

James 5:15
15And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.
Charismatic faith, or the gift of faith, like the other charismata, is not given to every member of the body of Christ. However, it would appear that any member of the body of Christ is a potential candidate for the experience of this manifestation of the Spirit. The gift of faith should probably be regarded, more so than most other gifts of the Spirit, as occasional or spontaneous rather than pernament or residential.

This is a special faith that “enables a believer to trust God to bring about certain things for which he or she cannot claim some divine promise recorded in Scripture, or some state of affairs grounded in the very structure of the Gospel.” In other words, it is the God-Given ability, without fakery or platitudnous exhortations, to believe what you do not really believe, to trust God for a certain blessing not promised in SCRIPTURE.
The gift of faith is that mysterious surge of confidence that rises within a person in a paticular situation of need or challenge and which gives an extra-ordinary certainty and assurance that God is about to act through a word or an action.
I believe that there is a close connection between gifts of healings (AS well as the gift of miracles) and the gift of faith, which immediately procedes them in Paul’s list of the charismata.
The role of faith in healing is CRUCIAL AND IT IS MANIFEST IN A NUMBER OF WAYS.
On occasion the faith of the person needing healing is instrumental (Matthew 9:22); while at other times it is the faith of a friend or family member (Matthew 15:28; Mark 2:2-12).
Sometimes the focus of faith is on the faith of the person praying for the one who needs healing (Mark 9:17-24), and on certain occasions, faith apparently plays no part AT ALL IN THE HEALING ( John 5:1-9; indeed, in the Gospel of John, faith is never mentioned as a condition for healing; see also Matthew 8:14-17, and, from G2, especially John 9).
The point is that on some occasions, GOD SIMPLY HEALS BY A SOVEREIGN ACT OF HIS WILL UNRELATED TO ANYTHING IN US.
However, in the vast majority of cases, Jesus healed people because of someone’s faith.
In the case of both Jairus and the woman suffering from bleeding (Mark 5), faith was directed toward Jesus as an expression of need. Again, in Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten lepers. When one returned to say thanks, JESUS said: “Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19).
When Bartimaeus asked Jesus to heal him of his blindness, Jesus said: “Go, your faith has healed you.” (Mark 10:52). In the famous story of the paralytic being lowered through the roof, Jesus healed him when he saw that the man’s friends had FAITH (Mark 2:5)
The author then procedded to go on and describe how he believed that faith for healing operates at any one of five levels (and though there was more information on each of them, I didn’t have room or time, but I’ll give more info if ya’ll like), first of which being:
Faith that God is your sole source for blessing, that he is your hope and he alone (Psalm 33:18-22, Psalm 147:10-11).
Faith in God’s Ability to heal (Matthew 9:28-29, Matthew 8:1-5, Mark 5:34)
Faith in God’s heart for healing, and in God’s Goodness and His desire to bless His Children (Psalm 103, Luke 11:11-13),, the faith or belief or confidence that it’s God’s character to build up, not tear down to bring unity and not disvision, and to create wholeness and complteness and not disintergration and disarray
Faith not simply that God can heal, not simply that God delights to heal, but FAITH THAT GOD DOES HEAL….faith that healing is part of God’s purpose and plan for his people today
And finally, Faith that it is His Will to HEAL RIGHT NOW.
Continuing from that point,
I have in mind the pyschological certainty that healing is what God is, in fact, going to do now. This is probably more of what Paul had in mind when he spoke of the gift of faith in I Corinthians 12:9. It may also be what James referred to as “the prayer offered in faith” (James 5:15)
The prayer offered in faith isn’t one that we pray whenever we want to. It is a unique prayer, divinely energized only on those occasions when it is God’s sovereign purpose to impart a gift for healing. James was careful to place the definite article (translated the ) before both prayer and faith (hence, “the prayer of the faith”).
One prays this prayer only when prompted by the Spirit wrought conviction that God intends to heal the one for whom the prayer is being offered. This is more than merely believing that God is able to heal; this appears to be faith that HE, in this paticular case, is not only willing to heal, but willing to heal RIGHT NOW.
God sovereignly bestows this faith necessary for healing only when he wills. When God chooses to heal, He produces in the heart(s) of those praying the faith or confidence that healing is precisely his intent. The paticular kind of faith to which James refers, in response to which God heals, is not the kind that we may exercise at our will. It is the kind of faith that we exercise only when God wills.
One Sunday afternoon, a couple came to me before the service and asked that the elders of our church anoint their infant son and pray for his healing. After the service we gathered in the back room and I anointed him with oil. I don’t recall the precise medical name for his condition, but at six months of age he had a serious liver disorder that could require immediate surgery if something didn’t change.
As we prayed, something very unusual happened. As we laid hands on this young child, I found myself suddenly filled wth an over-whelming and inescapable confidence that he would be healed. It was totally unexpeted. Not wanting to be presumptous, I tried to doubt but couldn’t.
I prayed confidently, filled with a faith unshakeable and undeniable. I said silently to God, “Lord, you are really going to heal him.”
Although the family left the room unsure, I was absolutely certain God had healed him. The next morning the doctor agreed, for he was totally HEALED….. and is a healthy, happy, young boy today.
If this were an example of the gift of faith working in conjunction with the gift of healing, there is no reason to think that had I prayed for another afflicated infant boy that day he would necessarily have been healed. The fact that I recieved a gift for healing on this one occasion did not GUARANTEE that I could pray with equal success on some other occasion
We should take careful note of the example of Elijah (see James 5:17-18)…..the point of verses 17-18 is to counter the argument that ELIJAH was somehow unique (i.e. that Elijah or Elisha, for example were special, extraordinary, unique individuals who cannot serve as models for us when we pray) or that because of the period in which he lived he could pray with miraculous success but we cannot.
James wanted readers to know that Elijah was just like you and me. He was a human being with weaknesses, fears, doubts, failures—-no less than we. In other words, James said “Don’t let anyone tell you Elijah was in a class by Himself. He wasn’t, for he was just like you. You are just like him. Therefore pray like he did!!”
Don’t forget the context: James appealed to the example of Elijah to encourage us when we pray for the SICK!! The point is that we should pray for the miraculous healing with the same faith and expectation with which Elijah prayed for the end of a three-year drought.
This brings us back to my earlier asserrtion that there is no such thing as a gift of healing. There is no such thing as a gift of healing. I said this both because of the way Paul described this spiritual phenomenon and the misconception surrounding it.
The significant thing about I Corinthians 12:9, I Corinthians 12:28 is that both gift and healing are plural and lack the definate article, hence the translation: “Gifts of healings.” Evidently Paul did not envision that a person would be endowned with one healing gift operative at ALL times for ALL DISEASES. His language suggests either nmany different gifts or powers of healing, each appropiate to and effective for it’s related illness, or each occurence of healing constituting a distinct gift in it’s own right.
I’ve had the opportunity on numerous occasions to meet people who have what appears to be a healing anointing for one paticular afflication. Some are able to pray more effectively for those with back problems while others see more success when praying for migraine headaches.
This may be what Paul had in mind when he spoke of “gifts of healings”
One of the principal obstacles to a proper understanding of healing is the erroneous assumption that if anyone could ever heal, he could always heal. But in view of the lingering illness of Epaphroditus (Philippians 2:25-30), Timothy (I Timothy 5:23), Trophimus (II Timothy 4:20), and perhaps Paul himself (II Corinthians 12:7-10, Galatians 4:13), it’s better to view this gift as subject to the WILL OF GOD, not the WILL OF PEOPLE.
Therefore, a person may be gifted to heal MANY PEOPLE, but not all. Another may be gifted to heal only one paticular person of one paticular disease….
There is no such thing as the gift of healing, especially if it is envisioned as a God-Given ability to heal everyone of every disease on every occasion
Rather, The Spirit sovereignly distributes a charisma of healing for a particular occasion, even though previous prayers for physical restoration under similar circumstances may not have been answered, and even though subsequent prayers for the same afflication may not be answered. In sum, gifts of healings” are occasional and subject to the Sovereign Purposes of God
Few doubt that Paul had a gift of healing, but his prayers for Epaphroditus weren’t answered, at least not at first (Philippians 2:25-30). Clearly, Paul could not heal (note from G2: or for that matter, DEMAND HEALING) at will. Aside from Jesus, no one else could either! And there is no doubt if even Jesus could (John 5:19, Mark 6:5-6). Some would conclude from Pauls FAILURE to heal his friend that the gift of healing was dying out at this juncture in the life of the church.(in spite of the fact that late in his ministry, in Acts 28:9, Paul healed everyone on the island of MALTA who came to him).
It seems better to conclude that healing, whenever and wherever it occured, was subject not to the will of man, but to the will of God. No one, not even Paul, could always heal all diseases. Paul understood the occasional nature of gifts of healings…..
The fact that healing is an expressin of divine mercy Philippians 2:27) means that it should NEVER be viewed as a RIGHT. Healing is not the PAYMENT OF A DEBT….AND GOD DOES NOT OWE US HEALING. WE DON’T DESERVE HEALING.
I believe we should have faith for healing. But there is a vast difference between faith in divine mercy and presumption based on an alleged right.
The Word mercy is the same one used in the gospels to descibe why Jesus healed people while He was on Eathh. God’s motive for healing hasnt’t changed! The primary reason God healed through Jesus prior to Pentecost was because He is a Merciful and Compassionate God.
God is no less MERCIFUL, NO LESS COMPASSIONATE, NO LESS CARING WHEN IT COMES TO THE PHYSICAL CONDITION OF HIS PEOPLE AFTER PENTECOST than He was BEFORE PENTECOST…..
One of reasons some in the Church today DISREGARD healing is because they disregard the physical body. They believe that to focus on the health and well-being of the body (at least to the degree that you would regularly pray for its’ healing.NOTE FROM G2: This is something that those within WOF truly do have right and that we should as Christians be about as well) is misguided
. Our attention is to be more spiritual as we focus on the condition of our souls….but this is little more than a modern version of ancient Gnosticism, for among many of the beliefs of ancient Gnosticism was that the physical body is not the creation of God, It was considered evil. They believed the body is a temporary prisonhouse of the soul, from which all of us will be delievered from death
.
Gnostics tended to go to two extremes as a result of this belief. Some were inclined to deprive the body, to punish it, to treat it harshly through ascetic disciplines such as extended fasting and self-flagellation, while others went the opposite extreme by indulging the body in ALL FORMS of sensual pleasure such as promiscuous sex and excessive food and drink.
The biblical view of the body, on the other hand, is QUITE POSITIVE. God created us as physical beings. We are both material and immaterial (Genesis 2:7). The importance of the body is seen in the fact that our bodies were redeemed by the blood no less than our souls (I Corinthians 6:20). Our bodies are the temple of the HOLY SPIRIT (I Corinthians 6:19). Our bodies are designed “for the Lord” (I Corinthians 6:13). Our bodies are members of Christ himself (I Corinthians 6:15). Our bodies are capable of being sinned against (I Corinthians 6:18). Our bodies are to be used to honor God (I Corinthians 6:20). Our bodies will be resurrected and glorified, and we’l spend eternity as physically glorified beings (Romans 8:11, Romans 8:23, I Corinthians 15:35-49)…..and at the Judgement Seat, we’ll have to give account for what we have done in our bodies.
There’s no escaping the fact that SPIRITUALITY IS PHYSICAL. Although God is Spirit, HE INDEED created the PHYSICAL, Material World and pronounced it Good (Genesis 1:4-25)….AND WHEN GOD CREATED US IN HIS IMAGE, HE GAVE US BODIES. These truths can be seen nowhere better than in the Biblical emphaisis on “the laying on of hands”, for though on several occasions Jesus healed people with the spoken Word alone….in most instances HE DID SO BY LAYING HIS HANDS ON THEM or by TOUCHING THEM OR BY MAKING PHYSICAL CONTACT.
Perhaps the most amazing text if all is Luke 4:40, where it is said that Jesus laid hands on “every one” of those in a VAST MULTITUDE who had come to him for aid. It must have been physically exhausting and time-intensive for him to do so, but Jesus took the opportunity to lay his hands on EVERY PERSON who cmae ot him for prayer.hhh

__________________

Important obsevations that I hope will encourage you to take your hands out of your pockets, fix your faith on the grace and power of God, and pray regularly for the sick…….
First, HEALTH AND HEALING are always portrayed in Scripture as the BLESSING OF GOD. Nowhere in the Bible does God promise sickness or disease as a blessing for his obediant children. Whereas it is true that God can use sickness to discipline us and instruct us (Psalm 6:2-3, Psalm 6:6-7, Psalm 32:1-7, Psalm 38, Psalm 41:1-4, Psalm 88:1-9, Psalm 88:15-18, Psalm 102:1-5, Psalm 102:8-11, Psalm 119:67, Psalm 119:71-75, etc), sickness in an of itself is never PORTRAYED AS GOOD.

Secondly, Whereas all sickness is suffering, not all suffering is sickness. Jesus promised that all who followed Him would suffer persecutio, slander, rejection, and oppression. But He never said that about sickness. Nowhere in the Bible are obediant children of God told to EXPECT SICKNESS AND disease as part of their calling in life. Sickness is not a part of the cross we are called to bear (Note from G2: This is the reason why I believe we can pray for others to be healed and see them healed, as I’ve witnessed, for though not all will be healed, HEALING IS AN OPTION and is POSSIBLE FOR ALL BELIEVERS TO EXPERIENCE)


Thirdly,Contrary to popular thought, SICKNESS AND DISEASE, in and of themselves, DO NOT GLORIFY GOD. Our unwavering faith and loyalty and love for God in spite of sickness and disease do glorify God.


Fourth, We must leave room for mystery in God’s ways. Some things will always remain unexplained, We can’t always expect to understand why some are sick and others are not, or why some are healed and others are not. But most important of all, the fact that many, perhaps even most, are not healed should never be used to justify our disobediance to God’s Word when it comes to praying for them.

Fifth, ‘God’s heart is for healing, , not hurting, My working assumption is that God’s heart is for healing unless I’m shown otherwise by divine revelation or death. What this measn in practical terms is that you should continue to pray for the sick until God tells you otherwise or they die!


Sixth, we must be willing to bear the stigma of perceived failure. We have succedded when we have obeyed the Scriptures to pray for the sick. Whether ot not they are healed rests with God.
Many in the church today say they believe that God still heals, but they live as functional diests who rarely if ever actually lay hands on the sick and pray with any degree of expectancy. One reason is that they often confuse praying expectantly with praying presumptously.
Prayer is presumptious when the person claiming healing does so without revelatory warrant or on the unbiblical assumption that God always wills to heal then and there. Then they feel required to account for the absence of healing by appealing either to moral failure or deficiency of faith (usually in the one for whom prayer is offered..)(Note from G2: This is often the case with many in WOF)
People pray EXPECTANTLY when they humbly petition a merciful God for something they don’t deserve but that he delights to give (Luke 11:9-13)(Matthew 9:27-31, Matthew 20:29-34, Luke 17:13-14). Expectant prayer flows from the recognition that JESUS HEALED PEOPLE because He loved them and felt COMPASSION for them (Matthew 14:13-14, Matthew 20:34, Mark 1:41-42, Luke 7:11-17), a disposition in the heart of God that nothing in Scripture has changed.

Hope that any of this aided the discussion a bit.
Again, I think that it ties in with the theme of the post….and in the case that it doesn’t appear so AUTOMATICALLY, no worries—–I’m WELL ADAPTED AT DISCUSSING AN ISSUE FROM MULTIPLE POINTS AND TAKING TANGETS SEEMINGLY UNRELATED TO THE DISCUSSION AND MAKING THEM TIE IN BACK INTO THE ORIGINAL SUBJECT


Besides, sometimes TRYING TO REACH the END DESTINATION IMMEDIATELY isn’t nearly as INFORMATIVE/FUN AS THE ALL OF THE SCENERY, BACKROADS, AND SIDE POINTS that can come along the WAY IN GETTING THERE……..but my apologies for those who don’t like the liesurely tours through my mind I’m working on it, so please bear with me in patience and pray for me that I’ll improve as time goes on.

Blessings, Alright ya’ll? Later………

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One Response to “HEALING IN THE CHURCH TODAY: Is it a Right or PRIVELAGE?”

  1. […]  https://emissary7.wordpress.com/2007/12/21/healing-in-the-church-today-is-it-a-right-or-privelage/ […]

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