Category Archives: Healing

Why doesn’t God heal everyone who is prayed for?

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(Image courtesy Dr. Elroi)

By Spencer D Gear PhD

Is it God’s responsibility to heal all people who are prayed for?

If was he who stated: ‘Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours’ (Mark 11:24 NIV). Isn’t it signed, sealed and delivered – right from the mouth of Jesus?

Then Mark further affirms: ‘And the people who believe … will lay their hands on sick people, and they will get well’ (Mark 16:17a, 18b ERV)

Surely that is what Jesus meant when he taught, ‘Continue to ask, and God will give to you. Continue to search, and you will find. Continue to knock, and the door will open for you’ (Matt 7:7 ERV)?

Since he doesn’t do this in the real world of the twenty-first century, who is to blame?

clip_image004 The person who prayed didn’t have enough faith?

clip_image004[1] The person prayed for had insufficient faith?

clip_image004[2] It is wrong-headed to demand that God must heal when we ask him;

clip_image004[3] Have God’s supernatural gifts ceased?

clip_image004[4] What about false or insufficient teaching on healing?

clip_image004[5] Where does the sovereignty of God and human responsibility fit into God’s will for healing?

This person started a topic:

Me personally, I really don’t think so and I think that it’s a load of manure. The reason why I ask this question is because I just found out about this today after Yoga class and it was being discussed. I only go to Yoga because of the fact that it relaxes my mind and has caused me to become more balanced and flexible. I wouldn’t do anything if I thought somebody believed that they had the power to “heal” me because that’s where I personally draw the line and find it very sacrilegious but that’s just imho. It might just be considered therapeutic but I just would never personally get involved with it.

The topic this person started was, ‘Can God Really Give The Power to Heal Somebody?’[1]

1. Does God heal supernaturally today?

This person doesn’t think so, but mixes her belief with attending Yoga classes that ‘relax her mind’. Really? What is Yoga?

My response was:[2]

Do you believe the Scriptures? They state:

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27 All of you together are the body of Christ. Each one of you is a part of that body. 28 And in the church God has given a place first to apostles, second to prophets, and third to teachers. Then God has given a place to those who do miracles, those who have gifts of healing, those who can help others, those who are able to lead, and those who can speak in different kinds of languages. 29 Not all are apostles. Not all are prophets. Not all are teachers. Not all do miracles. 30 Not all have gifts of healing. Not all speak in different kinds of languages. Not all interpret those languages. 31 Continue to give your attention to the spiritual gifts you consider to be the greatest. But now I want to point out a way of life that is even greater (1 Cor 12:27-31 ERV, emphasis added).?[3]

Do you believe the Bible??

Are you not aware that Yoga is a practice of Buddhism??

Do you understand that Buddhism denies the existence of God??

2. God CAN and DOES heal

Another person responded to the information about and I replied:[4]

Thank you for your encouraging comment about my post. All people don’t have all the gifts because …

?A person has only one body, but it has many parts. Yes, there are many parts, but all those parts are still just one body. Christ is like that too. 13 Some of us are Jews and some of us are not; some of us are slaves and some of us are free. But we were all baptized to become one body through one Spirit. And we were all given the one Spirit. 14 And a person’s body has more than one part. It has many parts (1 Cor 12:12-14 ERV).

clip_image008Paul draws an analogy with the human body which has MANY parts. Then he states why there are many gifts in the body of Christ:

(image courtesy Faith – Grace – Jesus)

‘If each part of the body were the same part, there would be no body. But as it is, God put the parts in the body as he wanted them. He made a place for each one. 20 So there are many parts, but only one body’ (1 Cor 12:18-20 ERV).?

We need many gifts in the body of Christ for it to function properly. This person online wrote:

We read other things 1 Corinthians, like where Paul states boldly to desire the gifts, thereby indicating that we are to desire all the gifts, not just this one or that one. And in Mark it reads, Mk 16:18 “… they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” By saying “they will” it does not exclude any of His followers.[5]

You missed emphasising another guarantee, ‘They will recover’.

Is Mk 16:18 teaching that all those will be healed who have hands laid on them and the prayer of faith is prayed for them?

Jesus’ audience for this teaching was the ‘eleven followers (disciples)’ while they were eating (Mk 16:14 ERV). You have raised some good issues with ‘they will lay hands on the sick’ and ‘they will recover’.

  1. That’s not what I see happening in Christian churches in Australia. Most healing is left to the medical profession.
  2. Is God lying to us when he states ‘they will recover’? God is not a liar (Heb 6:18).
  3. So what is happening here? There is an apparent contradiction of God’s people laying hands on the sick and ‘they will’ recover and practically in the 21st century it doesn’t happen. We can blame lack of faith but there are reasons of more substance than that, based on the text.
  4. Firstly, in Mk 16:18 (SBLGNT) the three words are future tense in the Greek language: epithesousin (they will place) and kalws exousin (they will recover, or ‘they will have/get well’). So they are future statements of what will happen. But it doesn’t happen most of the time people have hands laid on them and there is prayer. How come?

3. The request to heal has a faulty foundation

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There is a fundamental reason that is explained by one of the eminent Greek grammarians of the 20th century, Dr A T Robertson, who wrote of Mk 16:8:

At this point Aleph [Sinaiticus] and B [Vaticanus], the two oldest and best Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, stop with this verse. Three Armenian MSS. also end here. Some documents (cursive 274 and Old Latin k) have a shorter ending than the usual long one. The great mass of the documents have the long ending seen in the English versions. Some have both the long and the short endings, like L, Psi, 0112, 099, 579, two Bohairic MSS; the Harklean Syriac (long one in the text, short one in the Greek margin). One Armenian MS. (at Edschmiadzin) gives the long ending and attributes it to Ariston (possibly the Aristion of Papias). W (the Washington Codex) has an additional verse in the long ending. So the facts are very complicated, but argue strongly against the genuineness of verses Matthew 9-20 of Mark 16. There is little in these verses not in Matthew 28:1 ff. It is difficult to believe that Mark ended his Gospel with verse Matthew 8 unless he was interrupted. A leaf or column may have been torn off at the end of the papyrus roll. The loss of the ending was treated in various ways. Some documents left it alone. Some added one ending, some another, some added both (Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol 1, Mk 16:8).?

This is one piece of information that leads me to conclude that Mark 16:9-20 should not be in the canon of Scripture. That’s why many translations have this kind of statement after Mk 16:8,

Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20…. Some manuscripts end the book with 16:8; others include verses 9-20 immediately after verse 8. A few manuscripts insert additional material after verse 14; one Latin manuscript adds after verse 8 the following: But they reported briefly to Peter and those with him all that they had been told. And after this, Jesus himself sent out by means of them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. Other manuscripts include this same wording after verse 8, then continue with verses 9-20 (ESV)?

4. False doctrine in Mark 16:9-20

The false doctrines in these verses convince me it should not be in Scripture:

  • Baptismal regeneration (Mk 16:18);
  • Drinking deadly poison (Mk 16:20);
  • Handling snakes (Mk 16:20).

So why in one place does the Bible talk about elders laying hands on the sick and in another it reads “they will”? Isn’t it because we are growing in Christ, or at least should be?

The simple explanation is that Mk 16:9-20 is not in the Bible. It has been added by a later person, so we get false doctrine mixed with the truth. I would never use these verses as a foundation for any church doctrine or statement of faith. I wouldn’t preach from them either.

5. The Spirit of God gives you power to heal the sick.

clip_image012You stated online:

If you care to believe it; if you have the Spirit of God you have the power in you to heal the sick. That is obvious, but still it might be hard to believe. So we find a Christian confessing a doubt that God can “Really Give The Power to Heal Somebody”, like in the OP. At this point we have a testimony from a Christian who does not yet care to believe God can really give the power to heal somebody. Happily, our faith grows.

There is only the power to heal given as a gift of healing to SOME people. To those people, those they pray for will be healed. We’ll know them by their fruits. Further, you said:

So we have newer Christian’s (sic) that simply have trouble believing God can heal, even though they believe they have the Spirit of God in them and obviously the Spirit of God can heal people. And we also find pastors and elders, who also believe they have the Spirit of God in them and even believe prayer can get things done, but can’t believe God can use them to heal cancer.

Is it that simple? There are other factors influencing the ministry of healing.

5.1 Not enough teaching

My view is that this is because there is too little teaching on God’s view of healing and the gift of healing. More teaching is needed on:

clip_image014 God’s spiritual gift of healing (1 Cor 12:27-31 ERV)

clip_image014[1] The elders anointing the sick with oil (James 5:13-18 ERV)

clip_image014[2] God’s will and his sovereignty in the world and over people.

5.2 False healers

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We have too many fake healers around us to influence people to become skeptical.

I have a friend who went to a local Pentecostal Church for 3 years. That church laid hands on, anointed with oil, a person with terminal cancer. One person announced and kept affirming he would be healed in an alleged word of knowledge.
The person died of cancer. My friend left that church because of this kind of fake teaching and manifestation.

You stated:

If we are saying that God can’t use people today to heal, how much do we believe in Jesus Christ, when that is exactly what was happening then? Let’s learn our lessons and get on with it.

I don’t think it relates to how much we believe in Jesus Christ but speaks to God’s sovereignty in the giving of gifts. I can assure you I don’t have the gift of healing but people say I demonstrate the gift of teaching. That’s how I understand it as well.

6. Conclusion

We are faced in the modern-day world with manifestations of the alleged gift of healing. It comes mixed with the genuine and the false.

God does not state that everyone who is prayed for will be healed. A wrong verse in the Bible teaches that (Mk 16:18-20).

God does give the gift of healing to some and they will demonstrate that with God healing people. However, that is only one gift of the Spirit.

I consider it is the height of arrogance to claim that God will heal a person when we should pray, ‘According to your will’. When Jesus taught his disciples and us how to pray, he said:

We pray that your kingdom will come—that what you want will be done here on earth, the same as in heaven (Matt 6:10 ERV).

clip_image017 See my article, Does Mark 16:9-20 belong in Scripture?

My conclusion is, ‘No’.

clip_image017[1] Dr. James White admits that 1 John 5 7, Mark 16 9-20 and John 7 53-8 11 ARE FORGERIES

The Last Page of Mark in Codex Vaticanus

This is a hand-made replica of the last page of Codex Vaticanus. The verse-numbers in the margins are not present in the manuscript; I added them for the sake of convenient reference. In Vaticanus the text ends in the middle column, and is followed by an ornamental line and, further down, the subscription “KATA MARKON” (“according to Mark”). The third column is blank….

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7. Notes

[1] Christian Forums.net, 11 January 2019. HeIsRisen2018#1. Available at: https://christianforums.net/Fellowship/index.php?threads/can-god-really-give-the-power-to-heal-somebody.78572/ (Accessed 15 January 2019).

[2] Ibid., OzSpen#21.

[3] The ERV is the Easy-to-Read Version, Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International. Available at: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+12&version=ERV (Accessed 15 January 2019).

[4] op. cit., Christian Forums.net, K2CHRIST#28. Unless otherwise stated, quotes from her post are indented.

[5] Ibid.

Copyright © 2019 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 16 January 2019.

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Should God heal all Christians who pray for healing?

 

Image result for picture God heals

By Spencer D Gear

Is it the will of God to always heal people when we pray for them?

A Christian friend wrote to me asking for recommendations concerning  a situation in which he was asked to pray for healing for a sick person. My friend was impressed in his heart that instead of praying for healing, that he should trust the Lord for what God was doing through the sickness. When this information was revealed to the person who asked for prayer for healing, my friend was accused of this giving an ‘almost heretical response’. Why? It was because my friend had an inner impression that God had a bigger issue in the sick person’s life than physical healing.

There are dangers with ‘impressions’ because they are subjective and I find it difficult to discern if my friend is hearing from God or if this is a personal view. We know that God gives the gifts of the Spirit that require ‘some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching’ (1 Cor. 14:6 ESV). The safety of the church gathering that enables discernment of the manifestation of gifts is much more suitable than to receive a private impression. However, we do read in passages such as First Chronicles 14:10, 14 where ‘David inquired of God’ (ESV) and received the answer that he should go against the Philistines and God would give them into his hands. On another occasion (1 Chron. 14:14), God’s answer from David’s inquiry was that he was not to attack the Philistines.

Does the Bible teach that during the ministry of Jesus there was no person who wasn’t healed by Jesus? Let’s examine the Scriptures with a few examples, but they are enough to cause us to question the ‘almost heretical’ statement that a person does not believe that God always heals.

A few fundamentals are happening with the ‘almost heretical’ statement that are very different from when Jesus walked this earth and contrary to what we should expect from God when we ask for physical healing.

  • The Scriptures do say on occasions that Jesus did heal all who came to him in verses such as Matt. 8:16; 12:15; and Luke 6:19. But there’s another dimension.
  • On other occasions Jesus healed, not all, but “many” who came to him. See Mark 1:34; 3:10; 6:13.
  • BUT, there were circumstances in which Jesus did not heal people. I’m thinking of Mark 6:4-6:

‘Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown, among his relatives and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their lack of faith’ (NIV).

  • What about the events like that at the Pool of Bethesda according to John 5:1-9? Verse 3 says that at that pool ‘lay a multitude of invalids-blind, lame and paralyzed’ (ESV) but only one invalid who had been at that Pool for 38 year was healed. The facts are that Jesus did not heal all who were sick in Israel at the time of his life and he didn’t even heal all invalids at the Pool of Bethesda. It is false information to say that Jesus healed all. He clearly didn’t.

People may ask why Jesus didn’t heal all. My understanding is that healings are pointers/signs to God’s greater healing of the human soul through salvation and God’s ultimate healing of the universe that will happen with a new heaven and a new earth at the end of time.

However, I do need to say that I accept the gifts of the Spirit are available for today’s Christians and one of the gifts is the gift of healing (1 Cor. 12:28-29).  We must not overlook the biblical fact that God’s gifts to Christians function according to the “measure of faith” that God has given to believers:

‘For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you’ (Rom. 12:3 NIV).

According to James 5:14-15, the ministry of healing is available through the local church (and it is sadly neglected in most churches) in the anointing of oil by the elders of the church:

‘Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And 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’ (NIV).

Again, the emphasis is on “the prayer offered in faith” will cause the sick person to be raised up by the Lord.

I do not find any indications that Jesus healed all people. Nor do I find examples in the New Testament where all people were healed whenever there was a prayer for healing. I do find this in James 4:2b-3:

‘You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures’ (NIV).

There are many reasons why we do not receive physical healing when we pray and when others pray for us. The major reason is that God is sovereign and we are puny, fallible human beings who can have the wrong motives.

There is also the further biblical truth that most Christians find hard to bear as stated in James 1:2-4:

‘Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing’ (NASB).

God has a greater plan for our lives than physical healing. The trials of our lives are meant to be considered with an attitude of ‘all joy’ by the Christian because God knows what trials are instrumental in achieving. Difficulties in our lives are are designed for the testing of faith to produce endurance of the faith so that we will be “perfect and complete, lacking nothing” when we face Jesus. This is a hard dose to take for many Christians.

May I say personally that I would not have reached this point of growth in my Christian life if it were not for the many trials of sickness that God has put me through. This has included 3 bouts of rheumatic fever when I was a child, aged 6, 10 and 12, that left me with a leaking mitral valve in the heart. This has resulted in 4 open heart surgeries in my adulthood to replace (3 times) the valve with 3 mechanical ones and one surgery was for a repair around the valve.

As an adult, I have prayed on all four occasions for healing so that I would avoid the surgeries, but God has not chosen to heal me. God has a greater purpose in my life and that is Christian maturity and endurance in my faith.

It is not biblical to demand that God heal others or oneself when you and others pray. Jesus did not do it and there is ample evidence for God’s greater plan of development in Christian maturity.

The demand for God to heal all people can come with a diminished view of what life in the presence of God is all about. For believers, to have a desire to continue to live in this present evil world has some irony about it. Why is not living in the presence of God at death, and living for Him through trials in this life, not the way God plans for all believers?

As I update this article on Saturday, 16 June 2018, I share that on Thursday night last week after I came home from a Bible study, in the semi-darkness I tripped and fell on my side on the concrete floor of the garage. I was so stunned I didn’t know what to do. My medialert did not trigger an SOS as it should do. I eventually pulled myself up and closed the garage door and then it was off to bed.

About 1.30am on Friday morning, I was woken by extreme pain in my left leg. It was so bad I couldn’t stand to walk to the mobile phone to contact our emergency services on 000. I cried out to the Lord for healing of the pain and that no damage was done to my leg.

The pain stopped immediately, for which I praised the Lord with jubilation.

When I visited my Dr this week for an assessment of my leg, all he could say was that it was all clear and I was ‘lucky’ I didn’t have a break or hairline fracture as I also have osteoporosis (brittle bones).

See these related articles:

snowflake-red-smallWere miracles meant to be temporary?” (Jack Deere)

snowflake-red-small St. Augustine: The man who dared to change his mind about divine healing (Spencer Gear)

snowflake-red-small Are there apostles in the 21st century? (Spencer Gear)

snowflake-red-small Are miracles valuable? (Spencer Gear)

’Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer’ (Romans 12:12 NIV).

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date:16 June 2018.

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Augustine’s last illness: A divine healing encounter


(Augustine, image courtesy Wikiart)
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(Saint Possidius, image courtesy Province of St Augustine)

By Spencer D Gear

The ministry of St Augustine of Hippo demonstrates the failure of cessationism in relation to the gifts of the Spirit. The gift of healing was alive and well through Augustine’s ministry. He lived ca. AD 354-430 [1]

Bishop Possidius (fifth century, died ca. 437), Bishop of Calama (in the Roman province of Numidia),[2] was a friend of Augustine of Hippo and wrote in the first biography about Augustine, Life of Augustine (Possidius 1919, ch XXIX), about ‘Augustine’s last illness’:

And it chanced at one time while we were seated with him at the table and were conversing together that he said to us: “I would have you know that in this time of our misfortune I ask this of God: either that He may be pleased to free this city which is surrounded by the foe, or if something else seems good in His sight, that He make His servants brave for enduring His will, or at least that He may take me from this world unto Himself.” And when he had taught us these words, together with him we all joined in a like petition to God Most High, for ourselves and for all our fellow bishops and for the others who were in this city. And lo, in the third month of the siege he succumbed to fever and began to suffer in his last illness. In truth the Lord did not deprive His servant of the reward of his prayer. For what he asked with tears and prayers for himself and the city he obtained in due time. I know also that both while he was presbyter and bishop, when asked to pray for certain demoniacs, he entreated God in prayer with many tears and the demons departed from the men. In like manner when he was sick and confined to his bed there came a certain man with a sick relative and asked him to lay his hand upon him that he might be healed. But Augustine answered that if he had any power in such things he would surely have applied it to himself first of all; to which the stranger replied that he had had a vision and that in his dream these words had been addressed to him: “Go to the bishop Augustine that he may lay his hand upon him, and he shall be whole.” Now when Augustine heard this he did not delay to do it and immediately God caused the sick man to depart from him healed (emphasis added).

This demonstration of the gift of the Spirit of healing is a further acknowledgment that a gift of the Spirit – the gift of healing – had not ceased in the 4th-5th centuries. Augustine was a leader of the Christian church and not some occult practitioner. Augustine, philosopher and theologian, ‘is looked upon by Protestants as one who was a forerunner of the Reformation ideas’ [3].

In the above citation, Augustine’s belief in the continuing gift of healing is demonstrated. For another example of this emphasis in the life and ministry of Augustine, see my article: St. Augustine: The leading Church Father who dared to change his mind about divine healing. In this article, I have shown Augustine’s change of theology in relation to divine healing.

Notes


[1] Donald X Burt 1996. Reflections on Augustine’s spirituality: Saint Augustine – His Life and Times. Villanova University. Available at: http://www41.homepage.villanova.edu/donald.burt/augustine.htm (Accessed 16 October 2015).

[2] Midwest Augustinians 2015. Saint Possidius, May 16 (online). Available at: http://midwestaugustinians.org/st-possidius/ (Accessed 8 September 2015). This article states that ‘he died in exile around the year 437’.

[3] Earl E Cairns 1981. Christianity through the Centuries: A History of the Christian Church. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, p. 149.

 

Copyright © 2015 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 5 May 2016.

Famed heart doctor tells the dramatic story of how a patient of his was ‘raised from the dead’ after prayer

Ribbon Healing Button

Award winning journalist, Dan Wooding, has granted permission for the republication of his article that tells the amazing, true story of a person being raised from the dead by God through prayer of a cardiovascular specialist. The article follows:

 

ASSIST News Service (ANS) – PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609-0609 USA
Visit our web site at:
www.assistnews.net — E-mail: [email protected]

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Famed heart doctor tells the dramatic story of how a patient of his was ‘raised from the dead’ after prayer

(On 22 November 2015 this article was no longer available at this link, but it was available at Breaking Christian News at:  http://www.breakingchristiannews.com/articles/display_art.html?ID=4216).

Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall IV produces evidence at the 4th Annual World Christian Doctors Network conference in Miami, Florida

 

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries


MIAMI, FL (ANS) — The audience of 120 doctors from 50 countries sat in stunned silence as a renowned heart doctor produced evidence of how, after he had prayed for a patient who had died and was being prepared for the morgue, was brought back to life after prayer.

Chauncey_Crandall_CardiologyDr. Crandall
(courtesy https://chaunceycrandall.com/)

Dr. Chauncey W. Crandall IV, who serves at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, made his dramatic presentation on Friday, July 13th at the 4th Annual World Christian Doctors Network Conference in Miami, Florida.

He produced dramatic evidence that was shown on the screen and then, afterwards, agreed to tell the story to ANS in an interview.

Dr. Crandall began by saying that the dramatic incident took place almost a year ago in West Palm Beach, Florida.

“We had a fifty-three year old man who came to the emergency room with a massive heart attack and actually his heart had stopped,” he said. “The medical people had worked on him for over forty minutes in the emergency room and then declared him dead.

“They called me in to evaluate the patient towards the end of his treatment where they had unsuccessfully tried to revive him. The nurse was preparing his body to be taken down to the morgue when the Holy Spirit told me to ‘turn around and pray for that man.’ When the Holy Spirit talks to you, you have to respond. It’s sometimes a quiet voice and this was a quiet voice and to honor the Lord I did turn around and I went to the side of that stretcher where his body was being prepared.

Black with death

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Dr. Crandall making his presentation at the World Christian Doctors Network conference in Miami

 

“There was no life in the man. His face and feet and arms were completely black with death and I sat next to his body and I prayed, ‘Lord, Father; how am I going to pray for this man? He’s dead. What can I do?’ All of a sudden, these words came out of my mouth, ‘Father, God, I cry out for the soul of this man if he does not know You as his Lord and Savior, please raise him from the dead right now in Jesus name.

“It was amazing as a couple minutes later, we were looking at the monitor and all of a sudden a heart beat showed up. It was a perfect beat; a normal beat; and then after a couple more minutes, he started moving and then his fingers were moving and then his toes began moving and then he started mumbling words.

“There was a nurse in the room — she wasn’t a believer — and she screamed out and said ‘Doctor Crandall, what have you done to this patient?’ And I said, ‘All I’ve done is cry out for his soul in Jesus name.’

“We quickly rushed the gentleman down to the intensive care unit, and the hospital was by now buzzing about the fact that a dead man had been brought back to life. After a couple of days he woke up. He had an amazing story to tell after I had asked him, ‘Where have you been and where were you on that day that you had that massive heart attack? You were gone and we prayed you back to life in Jesus name.’

Thrown in the trash

“He said, ‘Doctor Crandall, it’s the most amazing thing. I was in a dark room and there was no light. It was complete darkness and I felt I was in a casket and I kept repeating that I was so disappointed.’ He said the disappointment came from the fact that none of his family, friends or colleagues, had come to visit him. Then he told me, ‘All of a sudden, these men came in and they wrapped me up and they threw me in the trash.’

“Dan, he was in hell that day and as he told me that story, I cried out, ‘Lord, this gentleman needs to accept You as Lord and Savior.’ I then explained the salvation message to this man as he sat in that bed and I held his hand and I cried out, ‘Father God, in the name of Jesus, I pray that this man accepts you as his Lord and Savior right here in the intensive care unit.’ He held out his hand and accepted Christ as his Savior with tears rolling down from his eyes and now he’s a child of God.

“I told him, ‘You never have to be thrown in the trash into total darkness now. The life of Christ is in you and the light of the kingdom of Heaven is on you now.”

I asked Dr. Crandall if there had been any brain damage to the patient.

“No there was no brain damage at all; his brain was completely normal,” he said. “I was most concerned about his hands because his fingers were completely black and he had some numbness in his fingers and his feet, but now that is totally resolved.”

I asked Dr. Crandall if he could give the name of the man and he said he couldn’t as the patient had requested that it would not be revealed.

“All I can say is that he was fifty-three years old and he was a car mechanic,” he said. “He had a family that were believers, but he left them twenty years ago because he didn’t believe in the Lord. His family continued to pray for twenty years for his salvation, and his ex-wife was on her hands and knees praying for the salvation of her ex-husband, who came to know the Lord that day.”

I then asked the doctor if he had seen other similar miracles in his practice.

“I’ve been witness to three cases of people being raised from the dead,” he said. “One other case was when another patient came to the hospital with a massive heart attack. It was on the very day that I received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and I’d been praying for weeks that I would receive this mighty baptism that the Lord can give us. We were working on this patient that came in again with a massive heart attack and who didn’t survive in the operating room.

“All of a sudden, that Baptism of the Holy Spirit hit me and I started speaking in a spiritual language and crying over this patient in the operating room theater who had passed away. And then, within five or ten minutes, the heartbeat came back and life came back to this patient. Once again, the nurses who are not believers looked at me as if to say, ‘There goes Doctor Crandall on another case.”

I concluded the interview by asking Dr. Crandall what he would like to say to doctor’s who do not believe in supernatural healing.

“I would just like to say to my colleagues and physicians out there, that the Lord is real. We’ve seen many miracles and we pray for our patients daily. There is not one week that goes by that we don’t see a mighty miracle in our office. The people need this; they need the power of Christ in their life and they need the power of Christ for healing.

“I would just encourage my fellow doctors to get involved in a church, meet with a minister, and attend a healing service run by people that believe in the power of Jesus Christ. We love our colleagues in medicine we pray for them.”

Background on Dr. Crandall:

Dr. Crandall serves at the Palm Beach Cardiovascular Clinic in Palm Beach Gardens. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in anthropology from Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. and was awarded a M.D. degree from Universidad Centro de Estudios Tecnicos Escuela de Medicina Republica Dominicana. In addition, he has done post-doctoral work as an intern and as a resident in medicine at Yale University School of Medicine; as a fellow in cardiology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine; and as an intervention cardiology fellow at the Medical College of Virginia. He has served as an instructor in the Department of Medicine, Cardiology Division at Beth Israel Hospital, Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York and at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. He also has served as an associate faculty member at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, N.C. and as a visiting professor at St. George’s University School of Medicine in Granada, West Indies.

Dr. Crandall has been in private medical practice since 1995 and holds medical staff privileges at Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center and Jupiter Medical Center. A noted lecturer both nationally and internationally, Dr. Crandall has spoken on topics including heart transplant, interventional cardiology, preventive cardiology and cardiology health care of the elderly. He is married to Deborah Newell Crandall. They are parents to two sons, Christian Pierce and Chadwick Baxter.

For more information on the World Christian Doctors Network, go to www.wcdn.org.

Note to the broadcast media. An MP3 audio file of the interview with Dr. Crandall is available for broadcast from Dan Wooding at [email protected]. If you would like to interview Dr. Crandall, just send me a message at the same e-mail and I will forward your request to him directly.

* I would like to thank Robin Frost for transcribing this interview.

 


Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, “From Tabloid to Truth”, which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. [email protected].

 


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DIVINE HEALING: IS IT FOR EVERYONE?

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(image courtesy ChristArt)

Psalm 103:2-3 (ESV):

Bless the Lord, O my soul,

and forget not all his benefits,

who forgives all your iniquity,

who heals all your diseases,

No other agency on earth has been able to match the Church’s record of success in caring for the sick and afflicted. How many atheistic hospitals do you know about? How many Buddhist hospice’s have you discovered? At a time when Western culture desperately needs the church’s ministry of healing, it is the charismatic-Pentecostals who proclaim it regularly but it is almost absent or invisible in most churches of evangelical persuasion.

Western health-care has become one of the most secularised fields in the modern world.

Yet because of the cross, Pentecost and the gifts of the Spirit, the healing ministry is available in and through the church.

“It is an astonishing fact that the early Church won the population of the Roman Empire to Christ, at the rate of half a million converts every generation, while it was still a persecuted and illegal sect… Theologian John Jefferson Davis tells us: ‘The high moral standards of the church and its demonstrated compassion for the less fortunate were important features of its life that attracted outsiders. . .’

“Less well known today is the fact that the demonstrated ability of early Christians to exorcise demons constituted a powerful weapon in its evangelistic arsenal. . .

“The Church either has the dynamis of the Spirit or she does not. . .

“We must insist that Biblical, orthodox Christianity includes exorcism and healing, in a proper balance with worship and the Church’s ministries of teaching, evangelism, and charity. This is certainly the testimony of the New Testament. And it is witnessed by the historic Church as well” (Chilton 1987:160-161).

I. A BRIEF THEOLOGY OF HEALING

The basis for divine healing is not all that complicated. Read Isaiah 53:3-6 and Matt. 8:16-17.

A. Healing in the Redemptive Work of Christ

Please note that I will not use the statement, “Healing is in the atonement.” This is very deliberate because when we say, “Healing is in the atonement,” we are tempted to put it on the same level as salvation. “Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (I do not believe in limited atonement.) But whoever intercedes for divine healing may or may not be healed. Why is this?

There are two main camps in this discussion:

1. Healing is available on the same basis as forgiveness.

Therefore, all Christians should experience immediate healing for every sickness, the same way they experience forgiveness.

2. Christians are not always healed; therefore, healing cannot be in the redemptive work of Christ.

Both sides are partly right and partly wrong. The problem lies with this kind of misconception: healing in the atonement automatically implies perfect physical health for every Christian who asks for healing. Because many Bible teachers and preachers have adopted this point of view, they have brought confusion, bondage for believers, and have hindered God’s people from receiving the blessing of physical healing.

See my article, ‘Should God heal all Christians who pray for healing?

3. An examination of Isaiah 53:3-12

  • This is a prophetic passage concerning Christ’s crucifixion.
  • Two human problems stand out in this passage: sin and sickness.
  • Verse 3 prophetically refers to Jesus as a man of pains and sickness. (There is no indication in Gospels that Jesus was ever in any kind of ill health until 24 hours before his death. e.g. Gethsemane, Luke 22:44.)
  • Psalm 22:1-2, 6-8, and11-18 further describe the physical and emotional aspects of Christ’s overwhelming pain and sickness in prophetic expectation.

Why did Jesus have to suffer such pain and sickness? Isaiah 53 says that he took our infirmities (sicknesses); it is our pain he has borne. He was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him. By his wounds we are healed.

From this passage it is clear that sin and sickness are borne by Christ on the cross in exactly the same way. I cannot see any other conclusion from this passage.

T.J. McCrossan (1982) in his book, Bodily Healing and the Atonement, wrote:

“In Isaiah 53:4 we read, `Surely He [Christ] hath borne our griefs (kholee–sickness), and carried our sorrows (makob–pains).’ Kholee is from chalah–to be weak, sick, afflicted. In Deuteronomy 7:15 we read, `The Lord will take away from thee all sickness’ (kholee). This word is translated sickness in Deuteronomy 28:61; I Kings 17:17; 2 Kings 1:2; and 8:8. Makob is translated pain in Job 33:19: ‘He is chastened also with pain (makob).’ In Jeremiah 51:8 we read, `Take balm for her pain (makob)'” (1982:17).

When Matthew refers to this passage he uses the words infirmities and diseases (Matt. 8:16-17, NIV; illnesses and diseases, ESV). He then connects the passage with Jesus’ healing ministry while here on earth. They are not griefs and sorrows as in KJV, but illnesses and diseases (ESV).

What does it mean that Christ has borne (nasa) our sicknesses and pains? It is interesting that the same word is used in both Isa. 53:4 and 53:12, “he bore the sin of many.” The Hebrew word, nasa, means to bear in the sense of “suffering punishment for something” (Sipley, 1986:115-116).

A.J. Gordon wrote:

“The yoke of His cross by which He lifted our iniquities, took hold also of our diseases. . . He who entered into mysterious sympathy with our pain–which is the fruit of sin–also put Himself underneath our pain, which is the penalty of sin. In other words the passage seems to teach that Christ endured vicariously our diseases, as well as our iniquities” (n.d., pp. 16-17).

Andrew Murray’s interpretation was:

“It is not said only that the Lord’s righteous Servant had borne our sins, but also that He has borne our sicknesses. Thus his bearing our sicknesses forms an integral part of the Redeemer’s work, as well as bearing our sins” (1934:99).

However, I Peter 2:24 seems to be in the context of bearing our sins for salvation, not sicknesses for healing.

B. Practical Outworking of Healing in the Church

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(image courtesy ChristArt)

1. I Corinthians 12:4-14: “gifts of healings” (v. 9)

The risen Christ has given gifts to his church (Eph. 4:7-16). Healing is supposed to be a normal part (not to be over-emphasised or an exaggerated part), but a normal part of the on-going life of the church.

There’s a controversial passage at the end of Mark’s Gospel. The early church, after the Gospels were written, believed that one of the “signs” of the believing community was healing. Mark 16:17 (ESV) reads: “They will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” Please note, that I do not accept that Mark 16:17 is part of the canon of Scripture.

However, William Hendriksen’s words provide a wise assessment:

“What, then, must we think of Mark 16:9-20, that is, of the ending? It is an interesting summary of some of the appearances of the risen Savior and of his subsequent ascension and session at God’s right hand. As such it is instructive, for it shows us an early church view – how extensively held cannot be precisely indicated – of these matters. To the extent in which this ending truly reflects what is found elsewhere inside the covers of our Bible it can be described as a product, however indirectly, of divine inspiration. Since it would be very difficult – perhaps impossible – to defend the thesis that every word of this ending is without flaw, no sermon, doctrine, or practice should be based solely upon its contents” (1975:687).

God can and does heal in answer to the prayers of the humblest believer.

2. James 5:14-16. “The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.”

In most normal circumstances, God has directed Christians to be healed through the ministry of elders of the church. Compare Mark 6:12-13.

a. God deals with his people through church eldership ministry.

This is God’s usual way of healing. Anointing with oil is part of the regular pastoral ministry of church elders. Some might say,” What if I don’t have the gift of healing?” That is not the issue. If a person has been chosen (ordained?) as an elder, we know he or she has been divinely gifted to engage in a ministry of healing. The gift goes with the ministry of the elders. The Biblical teaching is straight forward: Elders are involved in the healing ministry.

Can God heal in answer to an individual’s prayer? Certainly! See Phil. 4:6-8; I Thess. 5:17.

b. What is the prayer of faith?

1) It does not refer to positive confession (blab it and grab it). This is forcing the hand of God and is grossly presumptuous, manipulative and has occult overtones. It ignores our need for humility and brokenness before God and, even worse, it also ignores the infinite, sovereignty of God.

2) It is not “claiming the promises.”

Many people think you can choose any Scriptural promise, take it to God in prayer, and claim the answer from God. i.e. He must answer our prayers and give us what we ask. Serious problems with this approach include:

  • Is the Scripture really a promise at all?
  • Have we met the conditions God places on it?

3) The prayer of faith is not “obeying the Word.”

It is extremely important to obey the Word of God, but such obedience is not the prayer of faith.

4) Mark 11:22-23 tells us what the prayer of faith is.

How can I have the faith of God? It seems as though it is only by God Himself bearing witness in your heart (inner spirit). If it is God’s faith, it must be God Himself thinking His thoughts through my mind with His own certainty. How does this happen?

I suggest that it happens when my will is in total submission to God and my spirit is open and sensitive to the Spirit of God. It happens in God’s own timing as the elder waits on the Lord. It may happen the first time I go to the Lord; other times it may take many times—persistence. It may happen as I search his word, wait in prayer, or go about my daily duties.

Sipley wrote:

“But when God knows all things are as He wants them, then `a word from Christ’ will be spoken in my heart. I will know what God wants me to do. I will know how God intends to fulfil His promise of divine life in me. I will experience the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, setting me free from the law of death (sickness) in my body. I will not need to try to make myself believe. I will have no doubt. I will be able to pray the prayer of faith for myself or others, and the life of Christ will triumph over sickness in the manner God sees as best” (1986:124).

c. This ministry is performed in connection with confession of sins (James 5:15-16).

It may be sickness because of sin, but not always. See I Cor. 11:30. The effects of unconfessed and unforgiven sin are pervasive throughout people’s lives. People need to confess their sins to the ministering elders and to those whom they have wronged.

God may grace the church with those who are especially gifted in praying for the sick and God uses them for healing. But such a ministry must be carried on within the structure of the local church, never in opposition to or in competition with the local church. There have been gross abuses because of the ministry of “lone ranger” healers or fraudulent healers.

David Chilton says “there is not a shred of evidence, either in the New Testament or Church history, for the independent professional miracle-worker” (1987:165). The freelance healer is not a biblical option. However, a believer may be given “gifts of healings” (I Cor. 12:9, note the two plurals), through gifts of the Spirit in the church. God’s supernatural ways of healing the sick are available today. They are just as relevant as the gift of “faith by the same Spirit,” “prophecy,” or “ability to distinguish between spirits,” etc.

I am reminded of Matthew 7:21-23 (ESV), “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’”

This is a clear indicator that there will be sham perpetrators of God’s gifts during the church age. However, the counterfeit should serve to point to the genuine, just as counterfeit money would not make sense if there were not the real to imitate.

C. Does God always heal?

God does not always answer our prayers by healing the sick. We must always remember that God is sovereign. “He does whatever he pleases (Ps. 115:3). He is not a genie who does as we tell him. He knows that is best for us. He is the Almighty Lord, the sovereign Creator and planner of all that is good. He is perfectly free to answer us in the way he chooses.

“One of the most important lessons of the Book of Job is that the world does not revolve around man and his perceived needs. The world revolves around God and His plans; the universe exists for God’s glory and pleasure. And God’s purposes transcend our lives, our problems, our hopes and dreams. It can be a bitter pill to swallow, but we haven’t gotten to first base yet if we fail to realize that people don’t come first. God comes first. . God’s ultimate answer to Job boils down to the simple fact that God is God, and Job is not (see Job 38-41)” (Chilton, 1987:168).

The fact that I suffer with sickness is no argument against the justice or mercy of God. If he denies my request for healing, I must rest in the knowledge that I am suffering according to His will. The very same Book of James that teaches on healing, also teaches on the benefits of suffering. See James 1:2-4:

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing (NASB).

The modern evangelical heresy that godly people are free from suffering was unknown to the Apostle Paul. Suffering, an evil in itself, can have beneficial, sanctifying effects under the providence of God.

Read Psalm 119:67-71; 2 Timothy 4:20 (“I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus,” didn’t embarrass Paul); Acts 9:16 (fulfilled in 2 Cor. 6:3-10; 11:23-33); 2 Tim. 2:9, 12; 3:12; and I Peter 4:19.

Prayer is nothing more than a request from children to their Father. The power belongs to the Father. The power is not in the request itself or in the person who makes the request.

We must remember the emphasis of Psalm 116:15 (ESV), “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” We will die unless Jesus returns before then.

At some point our prayers will not help because the time has come for our body and spirit to be separated to await resurrection on the last day. God’s ultimate will is not to keep everyone reasonably healthy in this life. Rather, it is to bring all of us, body and soul, into the fullness of the New Creation.

D. What about medicine?

Is it sinful to use “natural” or “human” means to restore health? Certainly not — as long as we do not fall into the same trap as Asa did in 2 Chron. 16:12: He “did not seek the Lord, but the physicians” and so died.

We must realise that all health is given through the work of the Holy Spirit. No doctor has the ability to heal. Dr. Luke is called “the beloved physician” (Col. 4:14). Paul told Timothy to “use a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your frequent infirmities” (I Tim. 5:23). There is no hint here that Timothy was living in disobedience or lack of faith.

We need to use medicine prayerfully. It is Christianity that has brought the blessings of modern science and medicine. Modern medicine has its problems and limitations, but it is light years ahead of anything produced by witch doctors.

George Grant wrote:

“The advancement of modern medicine has a direct correspondence with the advancement of the Gospel. Christian nations are havens of medical mastery, guarding the sanctity of life” (in Chilton, 1987:167).

“Guarding the sanctity of life” is being flaunted today with the promotion of abortion and euthanasia.

For over a thousand years Christian churches and monastic communities were the only agencies involved in ministry to the sick. Christians built hospitals and staffed them. They did this while bathing the ministries in prayer. This is a dilemma for the rationalistic atheist. For Christians, it is just being faithful to God’s word. The godly farmer plants, waters, fertilises, prunes, fights off pests and predators – and prays for God to bring the harvest.

So, we can pray for healing (some may be gifted with a ministry of healings, I Cor. 12:9); the elders can pray and anoint with oil (James 5:14-15); we can take medicine. But it is God who proclaims, “I am the Lord, your healer” (Ex. 15:26). He heals according to His good and perfect will.

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(image courtesy ChristArt

References:

Chilton, D. (1987). Power in the Blood: A Christian Response to AIDS. Brentwood, Tennessee: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, Publishers, Inc., 1987.

Gordon, A. J. (n.d.). The Ministry of Healing. Harrisburg, PA: Christian Publications, Inc.

Hendriksen, W. (1975). The Gospel of Mark (New Testament Commentary). Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust.

McCrossan, T. J. (1982). Bodily Healing and the Atonement. Tulsa Oklahoma: Rhema Bible Church.

Murray, A. (1934). Divine healing. London: Victory Press.

Sipley, R. M. (1986). Understanding Divine Healing. England: Scripture Press Foundation (UK) Ltd.

 

Copyright © 2012 Spencer D. Gear. This document last updated at Date: 14 April 2016.

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