Title & Purpose

Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.

All quotations from the Scriptures will be from the Authorised Version - the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures.

Please see sermons down the left hand column of the Blog about why the Authorised Version is the best and most accurate English translation of the Scriptures

and why we reject the many perversions of the Scriptures, including those so beloved of many neo-evangelicals at present such as ESV & NKJV.

Beware of the Errors in The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible! 
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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement Part 7

These posts stem from a series of fifteen studies conducted, in our Youth Fellowship meetings, at the request of the young people who attend, dealing with the errors of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement

Study 1 - Introduction
Study 2 - The Infilling of the Spirit
Study 4 - The Cessation of New Testament Supernatural Gifts - Part one
Study 5 - The Cessation of New Testament supernatural gifts - Part two
Study 6 - The Errors of Tongue Speaking

Study Seven - The Errors of Faith Healing - Part One
This seventh study brings us to the second major aspect of the Charismatic/Pentecostal Movement. Next to tongue speaking is the subject of faith healing. Does God heal people today from their physical sicknesses and illnesses by the means of a faith healer? Should the Church of Jesus Christ today expect and exercise a faith healing ministry?

The New Testament does speak of the gift of healing: To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret? 1 Corinthians 12:9,30. The Apostles and their immediate successors did have the power to heal people from physical sickness, even to raise people from the dead. Some examples:
1. Peter & John and the man at the Beautiful Gate, Acts 3:1-11;
2. The shadow of Peter passing by, Acts 5:12-16;
3. Peter healing ├ćneas and raising Dorcas from the dead, Acts 9:32-43;
4. Paul healing the crippled man at Lystra, Acts 14:8-10;
5. Paul and the handkerchiefs that were taken to the sick, Acts 19:11,12;
6. Paul healing the father of Publius and others, Acts 28:8-9.
These are all examples of the New Testament gift of healing. The pertinent question for us is: does God heal like this today? Does God work through giving the gift of healing to some individuals today? The simple answer is NO!! We say 'No', for primarily, for the same reasons as given before. Chief among these reasons are that these gifts, such as healing, were sign gifts, given to confirm the authority of the Apostles and their immediate successors and to authenticate their message. 

A closer look at Acts 3:9,10 & 5:12,13 sets forth what was intended in the employment of these gifts, such as healing. In both examples cited the people who observed the gift of healing being exercised were amazed at what happened and they gave a hearing to Peter and John, who subsequently preached the Gospel to these Jews. In the second instance the people were struck with fear and the Apostles were 'magnified' which means 'to esteem highly, to extol'.

In both these examples the occasions of healing are to be viewed as a mean to an end. The act of healing was not an end in itself.

While the Lord does not heal in the fashion of the sign gifts today as He did when the canon of Scriptures was not complete, He still does heal. There is a directive on 'healing' mentioned in the New Testament that has nothing at all to do with the sign gifts of an apostle or their purposes. Its purpose is not to authenticate the authority of anyone. The existence of this directive in the New Testament would suggest that the gift of healing was indeed to eventually pass away as the New Testament age developed. Something else was instituted in its place.

This directive about healing for today is given in James 5:14,15: Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.

There are a number of points to notice from these two verses:
1. The person in question was severely ill and had been so for some time. The type of sickness envisaged is not temporary backache or a bout of flu. The word 'sick' suggests 'feebleness' or 'helplessness'. The picture presented is of one who is bedridden. As we will see the elders are to pray 'over them'. This suggests someone languishing on a bed of sickness unable to get up. If the Lord answers prayer it is said that the 'Lord shall raise them up'. They are unable to attend the regular church meetings, hence the need to call for the elders. The second use of the word 'sick' in v15 translates a different Greek word which has the added meaning of 'mental weariness', 'despondency' and/or 'fatigue'. 
The picture therefore is of one who has an housebound illness, something which has become a great burden and discouragement to them. It is not an 'everyday' affliction or short term illness that is in view. 

For those who have milder illnesses and sicknesses that do not keep them bedridden and don't normally hinder them from attending God's house there is another procedure given by James for them. Having finished with the sick room at home James states with regard to the 'walking wounded' who can attend the public meeting of the saints: Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, James 5:16.

2. It is the individual who is sick that is to instigate the matter. This rules out so called 'faith healers' convening large or small scale healing meetings and inviting all who are afflicted to attend. Healings performed in specially arranged rallies by so called 'faith healers' do not fit into the scheme outlined in this portion of Scripture. It is the person's home that is in view and not some auditorium where the faith healer's supposed gift is on display for all to see and applaud. 

3. It is the elders of the Church who are to be called. It is not a visiting 'faith healer' that is to be sought. The person who is sick is not commanded to call for the well known and gifted faith healer. They are to call for the 'elders' of the local church. It is those who have the oversight of the local congregation that are to take the lead in this matter. 

4. The elders are to pray over the person who is sick, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord, and doing so with prayer. There are no special powers residing in some gifted faith healer who needs to lay his hands upon the sick person. This is not commanded. What is commanded is to anoint the sick with oil, in the name of the Lord and to pray. The elders cannot effect a cure for the sick person, they only can and are to pray to God for one.

Oil is a type of the Holy Spirit in the Word of God. The anointing of oil is a recognition that the Lord may indeed graciously intervene and heal the person who is sick. The point of emphasis is that it is the Lord who does the healing. Their recovery is subject to His sovereign will. It will be solely according to His will and not any supposed powers in a faith healer. There is to be a recognition of, and a submitting to, the will of God. 

It may not be God's will to heal the person who is sick. It may be His will for them to continue in a state of sickness and prove the sufficiency of God's grace during that time of sickness. It may be God's will to take them home to glory. Not every believer is promised a long and healthy life. Christians take sick and die, even those who are young can die. 

We are certainly to pray in faith looking to the Lord to heal. But as with all prayer we must ask according to the will of God. There are times when God answers prayer with a negative. After all He did not heal Paul from his thorn in the flesh, even though he prayed three times to have it removed. 

What is certainly absent from this scene, as recorded by James, is that which features in the testimonies of faith healers, where they tell of entering a hospital ward; or of going to a bedside in some home; or hosting a great healing meeting where they command sickness or death to depart upon their authority. Neither is there here in James' words any calling down of the Holy Spirit to effect some remarkable and immediate cure. 

Instead of invoking the Spirit in some form of manipulation the sick person is simply to be committed unto the Lord in prayer by faith. The teaching of the New Testament is at complete odds to modern day charismatic faith healing. They are simply not the same!

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