(14)Divine Healing

(A)Devine Healing

(1)Word-Faith preachers claim that physical healing has

   been provided for in the Atonement. Their claim is based

   on the misinterpretation of Isaiah 53:3-5.

(2)Is physical healing guaranteed in the atonement

   (Isaiah 53:3-5)?

1.No. First of all, while ultimate physical healing is in

   the atonement (a healing we will enjoy in our resurrection

   bodies), healing of our bodies while in the mortal state

   (prior to our death and resurrection) is not guaranteed

   in the atonement.

2.Moreover, it is important to note that the Hebrew word

   for healing (napha) can refer not just to physical healing

   but to spiritual healing.

3.The context of Isaiah 53:4 indicates that spiritual healing

   is in view. In verse 5 we are clearly told, [He was pierced

   through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our

   iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him,

   And by His scourging we are healed] (v. 5).

4.Because [transgressions] and [iniquities] set the context,

   spiritual healing from the misery of man’s sin is in view.

5.This text is primarily referring to the redemptive value of

   the atonement. Its major emphasis is on sin not physical

   sickness. The Hebrew word for [heal] in Isaiah 53:5 is

   commonly used elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to

   spiritual healing, not physical (Jer. 3:22 ).

(3)Although verse 4 does indeed appear to be referring to

   physical healing, it is given an important qualification in the

    Gospels. Matthew writes how the sick and demon

   possessed were brought to Jesus and He healed them

   and how this occurred [so that what was spoken of through

   the prophet Isaiah would be fulfilled” (Matthew 8:1-17 ).

1.The healing that Isaiah was speaking was therefore

   fulfilled during Christ’s earthly ministry, before the

   atonement, and so cannot be used as a proof text to

   automatically guarantee a Christian’s healing today.

2.Based on the misinterpretation of Isaiah 53:5 and

   Matthew 8:17, the Word-of-Faith preachers teach that Jesus

   was wounded on the cross so that every Christian who has enough

   faith can enjoy complete physical healing.

 

(B)Denial of Physical Senses

(1)Word-of-Faith doctrine denies the reality of sickness.

   The Word-of-Faith preachers teach that only true reality

   is spiritual, and the earthly senses are deceptive.

(2)Not only the reality of disease and sickness repudiated, but it is

   also maintained that God commands all faithful believers

   to experience perfect health. God never wants His people to

   suffer from illness.

(3)The devil is said to be the culprit behind every form of sickness.

   The devil tricks believers into imagining they are not feeling well

   and to entice them to think or say a negative confession.

   Sickness is an attempt by Satan to rob believers of their

   divine right to total health.

(4)Because Isaiah speaks in the present tense ([we are healed])

   many of the most prominent Faith preachers teach that

   believers should deny the symptoms of sickness, and

   instead positively confess that they are already healed.

   Thus, believers of Word-of-Faith are led to deny that they

   are ill.

(5)The divine healing is inseparably linked to its positive

   confession doctrine. After praying for healing and confessing

   in faith that they will be healed, the sick person does not get

   healed.

(6)According to the Word-of-Faith preachers, it is a mistake to

   examine oneself after praying for healing and that a person

   should accept the testimony of the Bible even if his or her physical

   senses indicate otherwise.

(7)Such denial is probably the most dangerous aspect of the

   Word-Faith movement. The denial of an illness can

   progress to such a point that it becomes terminal.

(8)According to the teaching of the Word-of-Faith preachers,

   healing always comes, and the problem is with our receiving

   not God’s giving. A lack of faith is labeled as the reason why

   Word-of-Faith believers fail to be healed, and enjoy perfect

   health.

(9)These preachers teach that stories about believers not

   healed are lies. These sick followers of Word-of-Faith feel

   that they have not only failed themselves, but God as well.

(10)According to the Bible, Christians often develop

   sicknesses and don’t always get healed, regardless

   of their level of faith. To deny such a fact is a denial of reality.

1.For example, although the apostle Paul operated in the power

   of God to heal the sick (Acts 19:11), on many occasions

   he was unable to heal those closest to him

   ( 1 Tim 5:23; 2 Tim 4:20; Phil 3:25-27 ).

2.In his own life, sickness was still a reality. (Gal 4:13-15) .

   Writing to the Corinthians he explained how his

   [thorn in the flesh] remained even he asked the Lord

   to take it from him three times (2 Cor 12:7-9 )

 

(C)The following are two testimonies regarding to divine

   healing and denial of physical senses.

(1)The first testimony is given by Paul Prather in an article

   entitled [It’s dangerous to rely on faith as a magic

   elixir]at the following website.  

   http://www.rickross.com/reference/fundamentalists/fund192.html

   The following are excerpts from this article.

1.Recently, Time magazine explored the popularity of

   prosperity theology. I have more than a passing interest in

   this theology. I hold it partly responsible for my wife’s

   death.

2.Time highlighted pastors Joel Osteen, T.D. Jakes and Creflo

   Dollar as prosperity theology’s most visible spokesmen.

   It focused on their belief in material riches. However,

   although Time didn’t say so, divine healing is another

   core tenet of this system — thus the alternate name,

   health and wealth.

3.I’ve heard Osteen, to cite one example, preach about

   his mother’s recovery from advanced cancer,

   which he attributes to her unwavering faith.

   When my wife, Renee, was sick, she read Dodie Osteen’s

   book Healed of Cancer.

4.In any case, Joel Osteen, Jakes and Dollar are only

   three representatives of a much larger movement.

   Many lesser-known ministers preach prosperity theology.

   The details of their teachings vary — and some are far more

   radical than Osteen, Jakes or Dollar.

5.Generally, prosperity theology says that whatever

   happens to us is the result of our personal faith

   in God, or lack thereof. If we exhibit enough faith,

   God gives us what we want, whether it’s a Harley motorcycle

   or a miraculous healing from AIDS.

6.Prosperity preachers demand that Christians maintain

   stratospherically high levels of faith, what I’d describe as

   super-faith. They insist that Christians speak only positive

   words; negative words are symptoms of doubt.

7.You might get attacked by a [spirit of poverty], the preachers

   say, a demonic spirit that wants to keep you poor. But if

   you stand firm by refusing to admit you’re poor,

   and if you have enough faith (and, too often, if you send

   that particular minister a sizable offering), God is obligated,

   by his biblical promises, to make you wealthy.

8.Likewise, you might get attacked by sickness. But if

   you flex your faith enough, and continually tell

   everyone you’re well, God absolutely must heal you,

   every time.

9.The subtext is clear: If you’re not healthy or wealthy,

   you’re a weak Christian. It’s your own fault you’re

   suffering — you don’t believe what God said.

10.In late 1996 or early 1997, Renee found a lump in her left

   breast. When Renee found that lump, she decided she could

   overcome it through faith. She would pray for her

   breast and proclaim that she was healed. God had to

   deliver her, she believed.

11.God wants us to have faith, I argued, but he also gave us

   brains and intended us to use them. Sure, we should pray,

   I said. But get medical help, too.

12.She said I was walking in [doubt and unbelief],

   a prosperity gospel catch-phrase.She wouldn’t see

   a doctor — for three years. By then, the cancer had

   spread to both her breasts, her lungs, her bones

   and her liver. It was incurable.

13.For five more years, she talked about the awesome

   testimony she would have when God healed her. Daily

   she watched the Copelands, Dollar or Osteen on TV, or listened

   to their tapes. She enrolled in correspondence courses on

   divine healing.

14.We couldn’t even discuss our situation honestly,

   because Renee thought it was heresy to admit

   she might not get well. It was maddening.

15.I don’t blame the prosperity preachers totally for

   Renee’s death. It’s not their fault she got cancer. And, to be fair,

   prosperity ministers don’t explicitly instruct

   Christians to refuse medical treatment.

16.Nevertheless, having listened to hundreds of prosperity

   sermons, I think Renee’s reactions were predictable. The

   health-and-wealth gospel’s foundational message

   is this: Faith is all you need. It’s very seductive.

17.But God isn’t a cosmic ATM hooked to a bottomless bank

   account. You don’t feed him your password — a few pet

   Scriptures, the right prayer incantation — and withdraw

    heaping stacks of $50 bills. Neither does God grant

   you a miraculous cure any time you want it.

   Maybe it was God who gave us doctors and science.

 

(2)The second testimony is given by Tricia Tillin in an article

   entitled [My Word-of -Faith Testimony] at the following

   website.

   http://www.intotruth.org/wof/mytest.html

  The following are excerpts from this article.

1.I rarely had any physical encouragement to believe.

   Once or twice there were healings of headaches or colds,

   but usually I had to admit my confessions and

   visualisation and affirmations made no difference

   to my material circumstances.

2.That didn’t put me off, though. I knew I had to develop my faith

   by memorising the words of scripture, so I bought

   scripture tapes and sang scripture choruses to help myself

   bury the Word deep in my mind.

3.And healing – my faith was absolute that NO illness or disease

   should come upon a believer who was living in the faith realm.

   I understood perfectly that Jesus had taken all disease at the

   Cross, and therefore we had complete authority over it.

4.Whenever I felt any kind of physical discomfort, prayer

   would be my first port of call, and I despised any who

   turned to pills or the Doctor. Medical intervention

   was a sign of weak faith!

5.It would have done no good whatsoever to point out to me

   that, despite my high level of faith and my profound grasp

   of the scriptures, I had exactly the same amount of

   physical problems as any other Christian in my

   fellowship. It probably puzzled me at the time, but it would

   have done no good to point this out to me. Everything could

   be explained by my lack of faith. I just wasn’t doing it right.

   I had to work harder to know the scriptures and to confess

   them even bolder than before, that was all. If ONLY I could

   get rid of my doubts, and be in perfect faith!

6.Anything that opened me to doubt and [negativity] I ruthlessly

   rejected or destroyed. I would not listen to tapes that criticised

   the Word of Faith message. I would not read the books or

   booklets I was offered about the fallacies of the Movement.

   These, in my mind, were all judgmental and jealous attacks

   written by people who had no understanding of the ways of

   the Spirit. They would only tend to lead me into doubt,

   so I turned off my mind and refused to look at them.

7.One stumbling block to faith, and something we could not

   understand, was the number of friends who genuinely

   prayed for healing and did not receive it, and Jon and I

   also experienced these medical setbacks. There was a cute

   little boy, the young son of a Christian family known to us,

   who was diagnosed with leukaemia. We all prayed,

   and we rebuked the enemy, we took authority, we quoted

   all the scriptures and claimed a complete restoration for this

   little boy – yet he died. How could this happen?

8.My eyesight was very poor, and I couldn’t understand

   how God would not heal my eyesight, despite hours

   and hours of positive confessions. I truly was [in faith]

   for healing, but it never happened. I would walk around

   [by faith] without my glasses, stumbling into things and unable

   to see beyond the end of my nose. My friends even threatened

   to remove my glasses and stamp on them, as this would be a

   positive action reinforcing my faith. But all of this made not the

   slightest difference to my eyes. Where was I failing? According to

   the Faith doctrines, there is no mountain too huge to remove

   by our faith, and whatsoever we say will be given unto us,

   as long as it lines up with the Bible. Healing was a given;

   no disease or bodily lack had the right to afflict a believer,

   so we could confidently expect God to remove our infirmities.

   But as for me, despite my faith, God seemed to have

   let me down. Why?

9.Then there was the problem of illness in the scriptures,

   such as Paul’s thorn, the [many illnesses] of Timothy,

   (1 Tim 5:23) and the sickness of Trophimus

   (2 Tim 4:20).

10.I comforted myself by reading all kinds of explanations for

   the instances of illness in believers, but somehow they never

   rang true. It seemed like the Word-Faith teachers were

   twisting the scriptures to fit their own belief in the

   absolute absence of illness for a believer. Yes, I did believe

   we should pray in faith for healing, and I did believe God had

   made a provision for healing in his Word – yet was it as all-

   encompassing as the Faith teachers said? Were there

   not instances in scripture and in the life of Christians

   where God allowed illness, deformity or weakness

   in a believer’s life for a higher purpose? There did

   seem to be. I just could not square these two ideas.

Summary: Divine Healing

1.The faith movement’s brand of divine healing is inseparably

   linked to its positive confession doctrine.

2.For example, Hagin reflects on the many occasions whereby

   people who have come to him to be prayed for healing and

   speaks of praying over them and confessing in faith that

   they will be healed.

3.However, when the same people come back to him and

   ask for more prayer, he tells them that they have denied

   their healing and the Word of God, nullified his prayer,

   and destroyed the effects of his faith through their

   negative confession. 

4.Hagin teaches that it is a mistake to examine oneself after

   praying for healing and that a person should accept the

   testimony of the Bible even if his or her physical senses

   indicate otherwise. 

5.Hagin claims that if he had a headache, he would not tell

   anyone; and if someone should ask him how he was feeling

   he would reply [I’m fine thank you].

6.Such denial is probably the most dangerous aspect of the

   faith movement. To deny the symptoms of such discomforts

   as common headaches and colds, does not usually bring

   any serious repercussions, but in more serious instances,

   such as cancer (where an early diagnosis is vital in

   combating the disease), the denial of an illness can progress

   to such a point that it becomes terminal. 

7.However, the faith teachers themselves do not regard their

   blend of divine healing as denial. On the contrary, Copeland

   states that healing always comes and that the problem is with

   our receiving not God’s giving. 

8.Concerning the many instances where believers are not healed,

   Copeland goes as far as to say that such stories are lies. 

9.As a result of such teaching, Christians who are not healed

   often feel that they have not only failed themselves, but God

   as well. 

10.But despite the words of the faith teachers, the fact remains

   that Christians often develop sicknesses and don’t always get

   healed, regardless of their level of faith.

11.To deny such a fact not only results in a denial of reality

   but also of what the Bible itself has to say on the matter.

   For example, although the apostle Paul operated in the

   power of God to heal the sick (Acts 19:11), on many occasions

   he was unable to heal those closest to him (1 Tim. 5:23;

   2 Tim. 4:20; Phil. 3:25-27). 20 Not only was Paul at times

   unable to see healing in the lives of his friends but even in

    his own life sickness was still a reality. Writing to the Galatians,

   Paul reminds them how it was because of an illness he had

   suffered that an occasion for ministry among them arose

   (Gal. 4:13-15). Likewise, writing to the Corinthians he

   explained how his ‘thorn in the flesh’ remained even

   though He asked the Lord to take it from him three times

   (2 Cor. 12:7- 9).

12.Probably the text that is quoted most repeatedly by

   adherents of the health and wealth movement as a proof

   text to support their theology of healing is Isaiah 53:5 4-5.

   But it should be noted that this text is referring primarily

   to the redemptive value of the atonement. Its major

   emphasis is on sin not physical sickness. The Hebrew

   word for heal in verse 5 (raphah) is commonly used

   elsewhere in the Old Testament to refer to spiritual

   healing, not physical (eg. Jer. 3:22). Although verse 4

   does indeed appear to be referring to physical healing,

   it is given an important qualification in the Gospels.

   Matthew writes how the sick and demon possessed were

   brought to Jesus and He healed them and how this occurred

   [so that what was spoken of through the prophet Isaiah

   would be fulfilled] (Matt. 8:16-17). The healing that Isaiah

   was speaking of was therefore fulfilled during Christ’s earthly

   ministry, before the atonement, and so cannot be used as a

   proof text to automatically guarantee a Christians healing

   today.

13.Although God does indeed heal today under the New

   Covenant, and does indeed respond to faith, the error of the

   faith movement is that they deny God’s sovereignty and have

   attempted to reduce Him to a puppet who must always respond

   with healing. 

14.In so doing they reject all prayers that are asked in God’s will

   and boldly assert that by praying as such, one is actually calling

   God a fool. 

15.But contrary to what the faith teachers say, Christ Himself

   prayed that God’s will be done (Matt. 6:10; 26:39), as did His

   brother James (James 4:15) and the apostle Paul (Rom. 1:10;

   15:32). It is the faith teachers themselves who are acting like

   fools in that they fail to realise that God, being God, can act

   as He pleases. The truth is, that as a result of the fall, all of

   creation groans under the curse of suffering (Rom. 8:19-21),

   and disease will only be fully defeated in the believers life

   when death is defeated with the coming of Christ and the

   general resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51-55). It is only then that

   the natural body, characterised by perishability, weakness,

   and dishonour will be raised imperishable, powerful,

   and in glory (1 Cor. 15:42-44). 29

 

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