A Question I Was Asked:

Is My Teaching on Healing in Error?

The Question:

I don't agree with your teaching on healing. I was in great pain for a period of time and when I went to take relief, the Holy Spirit said no, you will miss it at the point of total desperation in obedience to the Holy Spirit's command not to take anything. Jesus came to me with His hands behind His back and I knew at that moment He could not do anything until I believed He could. So, His hands were tied. Read Mathew 17 v14-17.
Can you tell me the scriptures were Luke is recorded practicing his profession?
What about Jer 17v 5?
Have you ever laid your hands on people and they have been instantly healed?

UK Apologetics Reply:

This is the second email I have received from a man whose heart is unquestionably 'in the right place,' as we say, but who seems to have become confused by charismatic healing preachers. This man has a very simplistic understanding of healing in which doctors are simply evil and Jesus will supernaturally heal us of most anything without recourse to medics. He believes, I believe in complete honesty, this to be a completely biblical position when, in fact, it is not the correct biblical teaching at all. I don't blame this man for this, in my opinion he has become confused by all of these biblically-distorting preachers.

So I am here asked about four questions.

1. What About Matthew 17:14-17.

Let us look at this:

When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. "Lord, have mercy on my son," he said. "He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him." "You unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me."

I am not sure why this man quotes this particular Scripture at me, obviously Jesus had the fullest measure of faith but the disciples were still 'learners,' at that point. Today, however, it is clearly true that neither Jesus nor the Apostles are walking this earth and we just have to accept this. Can the sick still be healed? Sure, and I myself have witnessed a few very dramatic healings, but are they the the normal? No, they are not and let us not seek to pretend nor to deceive, especially those of weaker understanding. The dramatic first century healings were 'the signs of the apostles,' and we should not expect that in our day. Those arrogantly claiming to be so-called "modern-day apostles," do not measure up to the New Testament's tests of apostleship (check out the further article links at the foot of this page). Today we are encouraged to pray for the sick on an individual basis - James 5:13-14; Colossians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:17. Yes, God will sometimes completely heal but at other times He will not because He may be working things out in a particular way in that person's life, or in the lives of those around that person as He fashions us all for His kingdom. Never forget that even the Apostle Paul was not healed of his 'thorn in the flesh.' See 2 Corinthians 12:7-10.

A year or so back I heard this army of claimed "healers" challenged to go into a hospital of maimed and injured children in Syria, for example, and to heal every single one of them, or, to go into a hospital of recent limb amputees and restore the limbs of every single person there! Do you think any of these outrageous people will take up this challenge? No, neither do I. Yet the very shadow of Peter the Apostle was sufficient to heal every single sick person which that shadow fell upon. See Acts 5:15-16. Yet some of the very sort of preachers which have confused this enquirer have claimed their power to be the same as the first century Apostles!

2. Did Luke continue to be a practicing physician after his calling?
I think I have already answered this. Luke may well have continued to be a physician but probably on a reduced scale. He was, of course, a very able and highly-educated man. His writings are written in elaborate and almost classical Greek (compared to the more regular common Greek of most of the New Testament). My email enquirer possibly believes that Luke would have abandoned medicine when he became a believer because he would have come to see it as evil. But Jesus Himself shows acceptance of the principle that those becoming sick or injured were expected to seek medical help when He stated:

'.....They that are whole need not a physician; but they that are sick.' (Luke 5:31).

It is interesting that Luke himself records this saying of Jesus. Luke had unquestionably practiced his profession but probably had little time for it after becoming the great New Testament historian, writing Acts of the Apostles as well as his own Gospel account.

3. What about Jeremiah 17:5?
Again, I am somewhat at a loss to know why I am asked about this Scripture, but let us look at it anyway:

This is what the Lord says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who draws strength from mere flesh and whose heart turns away from the Lord."

Okay, I have quoted that. We know that all true believers should put their trust in the Lord; no question about it. My questioner, again, is apparently suggesting that to visit a doctor is evil and doubting of the Lord, but on what basis? If we have problems with our cars do we not visit a good car mechanic to get their advice? Or - if Christians - should we refuse to do such a thing in case the Lord thinks we are lacking faith in his ability to 'heal' our cars? No - we get these things diagnosed. There are, in my opinion, indeed many things wrong with some areas of medical science however, it is simply foolish not to get some problem diagnosed and a doctor will usually have vast experience in doing just that. Taking medication? That is a personal choice but just bear in mind that thousands of sincere Christians could not live with the pain of various afflictions without medication: Who are we to judge them?

The Bible shows acceptance of the principle of seeking physical, medical help.

  1. W hen Job was afflicted by boils he seemed to be aware of the principle that the draining sores needed to dry out so he sat in ashes (Job 2:7-8).
  2. Jeremiah refers to the balm of Gilead which was evidently deemed to have medicinal qualities (Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11).
  3. When Hezekiah was seriously ill, Isaiah told him to put some figs to boil, although we cannot be sure in what way this may have been medicinal (2 Kings 20:7).
  4. The therapeutic affect of happiness of mind upon one's health comes out several times (Proverbs 17:22, for instance).
  5. The medicinal use of wine is mentioned in Scripture several times (including 1 Timothy 5:23). Indeed, today pharmacologists recognise how good a small amount of wine is for the digestive system, backing up Paul's advice to Timothy.
  6. The good Samaritan treated the wounds of the injured man with wine and oil (Luke 10:34). Wine is an antiseptic and will tend to coagulate blood, thereby assisting healing. Oil soothes and forms a coating.
  7. The Church at Laodicea is (perhaps somewhat sarcastically) admonished to use their locally-produced eye salve because of their lack of spiritual vision (Revelation 3:18).
  8. Even way back in Genesis it is obvious that the Israelite midwives had developed obstetrical care to a high standard (Genesis 35:17). It has been said that the procedure of Genesis 38:27-30, for instance, would even be very challenging for modern obstetricians!
  9. Mark 5:26 shows that physicians were certainly available within Israel and we also know that Luke was a physician. According to the Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, the rabbis ordained that every town should have at least one physician (Vol 3, page 1430, 1997 printing).

So we see it well established that those becoming sick or injured were expected to seek medical help!

Despite the claims of some biblically-unstudied people there are not too many divine and dramatic healings in the Bible. Those that occur are clustered around the ministries of Elijah and Elishah and, of course, the ministries of Jesus and the Apostles. The miracles served to focus and pinpoint a most vital time in this earth's history:The revelation of Jesus Christ and His power to forgive sin.

4. Have I seen people healed after applying the 'laying on of hands'?
No, because I have never practiced 'the laying on of hands.' However, Yes, I have seen a few very dramatic healings after I prayed privately in the company of very sick people. The most dramatic of these was the case of our son who was very suddenly stricken with meningitis quite a number of years ago. His situation was very serious. I simply sat by his bed and asked the Lord to completely restore him, in an impassioned prayer. Nobody else was in the room. Upon the conclusion of my prayer my son, who had lapsed into a coma, immediately opened his eyes and started looking around the medical room in some astonishment, as if to say, 'what am I doing here?' He left hospital just a few days later with no after-effects at all.

5. Are all 'laying on of hands' 'healings' genuine?
I am here adding a further point which I have not been asked. The record of high-profile big-time "healing ministries" is dreadful. I am told that many apparently receiving dramatic on-stage "healings" lapsed back into their illnesses after just a few hours, or days. This suggests that this was auto-suggestion, or the hypnotic power of the preacher, rather than a genuine divine (from God) healing. In the recent past, at least two of the most high-profile of these ministries were asked to provide solid evidence and follow-up details of some claimed healings but, in my understanding, they failed to provide anything like convincing evidence. However, I would just say that healings are occasionally possible in this scenario because they are according to the faith of the individual, so God - on occasion - could indeed recognise and reward the genuine faith of the individual and allow a divine healing to occur even where the "evangelist," or "apostle" is greedy, conniving and looking for financial profit.

Read On...

This is such a big subject that I am not suggesting that my initial comments here are a complete answer to every facet of this question and I strongly admonish all who are interested to read the linked articles at the foot of this page because they are all very applicable to this subject.

Robin A. Brace. January 25th, 2014.







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