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Signs & Wonders and Healing

Dr. Alex Tang

 

1 Corinthians 1:22

                Jews demand miraculous signs and Greek look for wisdom,                                       

                 but we preach Christ crucified.

Peter Wagner of Fuller Seminary,Pasadena, United States describes Sign and Wonders as the Third Wave of the Holy Spirit. The first wave being the Pentacostal Movement and the second being the Charismatic renewal among the mainline denominations. Like the Jews, our present generation want miraculous signs. They want an experiential experience of God in their lives and they want to see the supernatural acts of God. One of the areas they want to see these supernatural or miraculous acts is in the area of healing.

In this article we shall consider 3 questions on healing and what applications we can draw from them.

1.      Does God heals today ?

2.      Does God heals supernaturally today ? ( Do miraculous healing occur ?)

3.      Does God heals supernaturally frequently today ?

It is important that we understand the biblical concept of healing.

 

1. Does God heals today ?

With the advances of medical and technological sciences, most of us can look forward to be leading a healthy and active life until we are in our 70s. With the advent of antibiotics, infections has fallen from being the leading cause of death. Nowadays, coronary heart problems are the leading cause of mortality and morbidity. And with new knowledge in diet, exercise, new drugs and surgical procedures, even these problems can be kept at bay.

So does God heals Today ?

Yes

·        By creating our bodies with its wonderful inherent healing powers.

·        By giving doctors and nurses the necessary knowledge and talents to carry out the healing act. This is the Science of Medicine.

·        By giving doctors and nurses the empathy that goes beyond the science of medicine – what was called the Art of Medicine

2. Does God heals supernaturally today?

Some Christians would say no:

Theologically

            The argument is that miraculous is for a special function. Its purpose is for authentication of Jesus as the true Messiah or the his disciples as the apostles.

Jesus’ healings were-

·        Undeniable           

·         Instant

·        Spectacular             

·        Authoritative

·        Overwhelming         

·        Without limitations

·        Abundant                   

·        Total

·        Awesome                 

·        Convincing

It proved beyond a doubt that he is indeed the Messiah. The apostles were also authenticated by their miraculous healings. With the passing of the Apostolic Age, many Christians believe that the gift of miraculous healing has ceased.

 Historically

           The writings of the new testament church and earliest church fathers have very little to say about miraculous healing. Many scholars take this to mean miraculous healings has ceased.

On the opposite end are Christians who believe that God still heals miraculously.

 Theologically

When Jesus sends us to make disciples of all nations ( Matt 28 ), he gave us the authority including the authority to heal every sickness and disease ( Mark 10:1)

John 14:12

I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these. Because I am going to the Father.

 Historically

There are accounts of miraculous healings and even raising of the dead. Bede (673-735 AD ) records in his HISTORY OF THE ENGLISH CHURCH AND PEOPLE about Cuthbert, Bishop of Lindisfarne healing a man with a fractured skull sustained from falling from a horse. He also records John, Bishop of Hexham healing a mute . What some Christians believe is that healing is so commonplace during the new testament and early church fathers’ times that is not worth recording.

 

So where does that leaves us ?

The Bible places a significant emphasis on physical healing.

·        One fifth of the gospels ( 727 out of 3779 verses) deals with healing and the discussions surrounding them

·        A total of forty one instances of healing were performed by the Lord Jesus.

·        Ten instances where entire communities or villages were healed.

The healings of Jesus were simply spectacular and dramatic. They were instanteous, complete healing with a word, sometimes over distances with no relapsed. He healed not only functional illness but also organic – cases of paralysis, blindness, leprosy, and mutism. The blind can see. The lame can walk. Withered hands were restored.

The profusion of miraculous healings in Gospels and Acts need to be balanced by the absence of the miraculous in the Epistles.

·        1 Tim 5:23   Paul can only advise Timothy to take wine for his stomach.

·        2 Tim 4:20   Paul have to leave Trophimus at Miletus because he was sick.

·        Phil 2:26      Ephaphroditus, which ministered to Paul in prison, when he was near death, there was no record of Paul healing him miraculously.

But Paul did heal a man from fever and dysentery in Acts 28:8,9.What we can say is that the gift of miraculous healing was on the decline even in New Testament times.

But what of all the healings that is going on in the Signs and Wonder churches like Anaheim Vineyard ( John Wimber’s church ) where there are a lot of  healings . John Wimber in his book POWER HEALING told of weekly healing sessions in his church.

 

3. Does God heals supernatural frequently today?

The major problem with the claims of these healings are mainly anecdoctal. Richard Mayhue in THE HEALING PROMISE reported his investigations into the faith healing movement:

·        No faith healers can come up with consistently verified cases of healing of organic diseases instantly totally, by word or by touch. 

·        No faith healers heals everybody ( hundreds go away as sick or as crippled as they came )

·        Faith healers appears to disallow God’s Own Purpose in allowing his people to be sick

·        Faith healers seems to need a closed environment. Faith healing sessions are often proceeded by a time of worship and prayers. It is often an emotional event with great expectation. It is significant that some healers cannot work outside of this environment. John Wimber writes in POWER HEALING that he would send away unbelieving relatives before he can pray for a person.

·        Faith healers are not known for going to hospital to heal. Oral Roberts and his City of Faith medical centre  depend more on medical science than on miraculous healings.

·        Faith healers get sick and die like everyone else.

·        Many instances of healings can be explained in many other ways . Professor Verna Wright , Consultant Rheumatologist at Leeds University Medical School, has this to say about miraculous healing:

                       1.   The language of doctors – doctors often try to simply their language as they try to explain the medical condition to non medically trained people. This often results in misunderstanding. A lump may be misundertood to be a tumour.

                       2.   How patients perceive their illness- one patient was told she has a minor illness and to come back in 3 months’ time. Outside she told her friend she has only 3 months to live!

                       3.   Difficulty of measuring responses in healing- leg length, it is difficult to measure it accurately.  Often in some areas, it is not possible to precise. Yet there are many claims of leg lengthening.

                        4.  Mistakes in diagnosis – doctors may have made a mistake in diagnosis. An infective enlarged lymph node may be mistakenly diagnosed to be a lymphoma.

                        5.  The variability of disease. -There are a wide variability in the behaviour of diseases. Syphilis (before penicillin ) was called the “Queen of Deception” because it can present in many manifestations. There are remissions even in cancer.

                        6. Power of the pysche- subconscious mind is very powerful and we have barely began to understand it. Psychosomatic medicine is a whole field of diseases caused by the sick subconscious.

                So it appears that miraculous healing is not so frequent as we believe it happen. So, how then shall we live ? Do we still pray for the sick ?

 

4. What is our role in a healing ministry ?

The Lord is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He still heals. He will heal according to His will. So what can we do aside from trusting to doctors and nurses ?

1.      Extend salvation’s hope by sharing the gospel with unbelievers – They will be healed of eternal death, sin’s bondage and physical death when they receive Jesus as Lord and Savior.

2.      Show compassion by coming alongside then with a ministry of mercy – might be in a home or hospital visit, caring for a widow or orphan, spending time with a hurting friend.

3.      Pray for them.

           James 5:14-16

      Is anyone 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. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

                                                                                                                                                          Soli Deo Gloria

 

Note:

Related topic- read or listen to my sermon Gifts of Healing (8 November 2009)

 

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