Faith Healers: Divine or Deceptive?

T-0069-A

 

Healing! The very word stirs the heart of a world of people. Every man or woman who has ever been seriously or “permanently” ill marvels at the possibility of being healed. In fact, this word, or words similar in meaning in other languages, has captured the undivided attention of forgotten generations in all millenniums past. Because of the hope for healing, ancient and modern literature is filled with tales of miraculous healing experiences in both “Christian” and non-Christian writings. The world into which Christ came was filled with stories of miracles of healing. History tells us that although these stories abounded, there were few people who actually attested to seeing or experiencing such miraculous works. The magnetic power of the possibilities of the relief of suffering has kept these stories alive. Did Jesus Christ come to simply add the accounts of His healing to the massive volume of stories already contained in human history? Did He not place unquestionable guidelines upon the exercise of this great power? Did He not place these guidelines so that true Christian healing would be placed an infinity above the records of heathenistic healings?

There are many men today who claim to have the gift of healing. I will venture a guess that there are more non-Christians who claim to have this gift than Christians. Most missionaries will tell of many people whom they have met in primitive villages who claim to have “the gift.” I used to be disturbed by questions concerning these “healers” until I completed an extensive study. I am no longer disturbed by questions of who really has the gift of healing; now I am burdened for so many people who are captivated by a superstitious addiction to anyone who simply claims to have such a gift.

History shows in every generation numbers of men who claim to have this miraculous power. There are claims of everything from simple healing to raising the dead. Otto Weinreich in his treatise on ANCIENT MIRACLES OF HEALING cites many examples of heathenistic stories about healing which permeate history. He tells of one recorded in Philostratus’ LIFE OF APOLLONIUS OF TYANA where Apollonius raised a Roman bride from death just before she was to be buried. I am amazed when I hear modern “faith-healers” claim that these gifts have just come into use in this century like they were in the first century. They have to say this because of their claim that this is the latter day outpouring. The father of the modern charismatic movement asserted the same thing in the 1830’s. His name was Edward Irving. Names such as Mary Campbell, Miss McDonald, and Miss Fancourt have been recorded as the first to claim they were healed in this “latter day outpouring.” But history shows clearly they were not the first to make such a claim.

Since ancient and modern history both bear record of many who claim to have had this gift of healing there are logical questions that must be asked. Are all who claim to be healers, both so-called Christian and non-Christian, of God? Are all claimed healings, both “Christian” and non-Christian, of God? The logical answer to both questions is no. There is testimony after testimony of men who once affirmed they were either healers or healed who later denied it. Furthermore, many people realize, myself included, that heathenistic healings are fabricated stories based upon superstition or at best illusions of Satan. The question is then narrowed: Are some, instead of all, so-called Christian healers and healings of God? I do not think anyone would be so naive as to imagine that all “Christians” who claim to have the gift of healing really have it. This brings us to the question which this article has been written to answer, Has God given us a pattern in His Word, which will clearly show who does and who does not possess this gift? I believe that He has.

God has given us 42 clear examples in Scripture of the exercise of this great gift. Careful study reveals a very clear pattern that definitely shows and exalts the supernatural nature of true Christian healing. Jesus Christ and the recipients of this gift leave absolutely no space for these examples to even be considered akin to the heathenistic stories of healing. The standard is so high that the true gift never has and never will be falsely duplicated. Any man that claims to have the gift and does not meet the Biblical requirements of this extraordinary power is, without a doubt, an imposter, and to follow him or to attest to his gifts is a grievous sin against God.

Let us now examine every example of healing in the Bible on the enclosed chart. Please understand that we are not dealing with the gifts of exorcism. This is a separate gift used to battle creatures who possess a will.

A Chart Listing Every Scripture Where an Example of Healing Occurs
Reference Subject Healer Sickness Extent Time Factor
John 4:46 nobleman’s son Jesus point of death total instantly
Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:30-31;

Luke 4:38-39

Peter’s

mother-in-law

Jesus fever total instantly
Matthew 8:14-17; Mark 1:32-34; Luke 4:40 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 4:23-25 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 8 2-4; Mark 1:40-44; Luke 5:12-14 leper Jesus leprosy total instantly
Matthew 9:2-6; Mark 2:3-6; Luke 5:18-20 a certain man Jesus palsy total instantly
John 5:5-9 a certain man Jesus lame total instantly
Matthew 12:9-13; Mark 3:1-5; Luke 6:6-10 a man Jesus withered hand total instantly
Matthew 12:15 group Jesus varied total instantly
Luke 6:17-19 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 8:5-13; Luke 7:1-10 centurian’s servant Jesus sick total instantly
Luke 7:11-17 only son of a widow Jesus dead total instantly
Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43;

Luke 8:41-55

Jairus’ daughter Jesus dead total instantly
Matthew 9:20-22; Mark 5:25-34;

Luke 8:43-48

a woman Jesus issue of blood total instantly
Matthew 9:27-31 two men Jesus blind total instantly
Mark 6:5 group Jesus varied total instantly
Luke 7:21-23 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 9:35 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 14:14; Luke 9:11; John 6:2 great multitude Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 14:35-36; Mark 6:55-56 group Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 9:32-34 a man Jesus dumb total instantly
Mark 6:13; Luke 9:6 group 12 Apostles varied total instantly
Matthew 15:30-31 group Jesus varied total instantly
Mark 7:32-36 a man Jesus deaf and dumb total instantly
Mark 8:22-25 a man Jesus blind total instantly
John 9:1-8 a man Jesus blind total instantly
Luke 10:1-24 group The Seventy varied total instantly
Luke 13:11 a woman Jesus crippled total instantly
Luke 14:1-4 a certain man Jesus dropsy total instantly
John 11:1-44 Lazarus Jesus dead total instantly
Luke 17:11-19 ten men Jesus leprosy total instantly
Matthew 19:2 great multitudes Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10:46-52;

Luke 18:35-43

Bartimaeus

and companion

Jesus varied total instantly
Matthew 21:14 group Jesus blind and lame total instantly
Acts 3:2-8 a certain man Peter, John lame total instantly
Acts 5:15-16 group Peter varied total instantly
Acts 9:33-34 Aeneas Peter palsy total instantly
Acts 9:36-41 Dorcas Peter dead total instantly
Acts 14:8 a certain man Paul crippled total instantly
Acts 20:9-11 Eutychus Paul dead total instantly
Acts 28:8 Publius’ father Paul fever, bloody flux total instantly
Acts 28:8-10 group Paul varied total instantly

Using this chart which contains every New Testament example of healing let us examine the clear pattern that is given for true Christian healing. Let us look at the healers first. The first twenty-one examples were of Jesus Christ Himself. In fact, thirty-two out of the forty-two specific instances of healing were preformed by the Great Healer. There are only two accounts in all the four Gospels where we read of other men exercising this divine gift. These other men, both in the Gospels and in Acts, were directly commissioned of Jesus Christ to perform this work. Each of these men had the same result that Jesus had. This gift is given by divine appointment and always meets divine standards.

The various physical maladies ranged from death to being maimed. I am certain that virtually every illness known to man in this age was healed during this period. Maimed is an interesting word. In many nations that were prone to war, there were men who had their limbs cut off or rendered useless by weapons of war. These people were also made whole. The most striking standards are seen in three other characteristics of Christian healing. The first is the extent of the healing. It was always total! No person went away partially healed or in a “healing process.” They were all 100 percent healed of the afflicting malady. The second is that the healing was immediate! There was no lapse of days or years and no process of healing. In every case the people were healed instantly. The third is that every person who came to be healed was healed! There are 17 examples of groups of people who came to be healed and in all 17 cases 100 percent of the people who came were healed instantly! To further prove this point read each of the passages on the chart that pertain to a group being healed.

Let us now look at the people who were healed. They were people from every walk of life. One of the most startling facts is that many of them did not particularly have faith in the healer. In John 9 Jesus healed a blind man whom He met in passing. The blind man did not even know who He was. In verse 25 he said he did not even know if Jesus was a sinner or not. In verse 35 to 38 we find the man did not even know Jesus was the Christ. I believe it was not until verse 38 that the man was saved. In John 4:46 the nobleman’s son was never even in Jesus’ presence. In John 5:5-9 the man did not even know Jesus was going to heal him or could heal him. A similar instance is shown in Luke 13:12. In Acts 3:2-8 the beggar did not have any idea what Peter was going to do. In Acts 28:8 Publius’ father lay sick of a fever. Many times a man is delirious from fever or extended sickness. Were people who were delirious, unconscious, or dead healed? The answer is a firm yes. How much reasoning and faith can an unconscious or dead person have? The claim by many modern “faith healers” that the reason they do not heal everyone is because the sick person does not have enough faith is simply a smoke screen to cover the “healer’s” deception. Not one single place in Scripture do we find that someone could not be healed because they lacked faith.

The biblical standard for healers is very plain. If a man has this gift of God, he will always meet the following biblical requirements:

1.He will meet the biblical example and heal everyone that comes to him for healing.

2.He will heal any form of sickness known to man.

3.He will heal any illness completely.

4.The total healing will take place instantly without regard for the depth of the afflicted person’s faith.

The false healer will immediately reject this standard. He will seek out exceptions to the rule and twist Scripture till he conjures up one. This conduct proves he is a false healer! The principle I have just stated was applied to the prophet of God. How many mistaken prophecies could he prophesy and still be considered a prophet? None! In Deuteronomy 18:20-22 the penalty for one false prophecy is death.

The sad fact is that many will follow these false Christs, healers, or prophets regardless of biblical principles. What a heinous sin to attribute works of God to Satan, but it is no less sinful to attribute works or claims of a false healer or of Satan to God, or to twist Scripture to meet a false standard, instead of accepting God’s standard of healing. The wonderful truth is that Mark 14:21-22 tells us none of His elect will be deceived by such a man. Why? Because they hear and heed the voice of the Great Shepherd who in this case clearly speaks to us by His written Word (John 10:4,5,26-28). If you are one of those that have been following a professed healer who does not meet God’s standard, you ought to tremble with fear, repent and follow the truth.

There are certain supposed objections that some will raise against the truth as stated in this article. I am only able, in the space I have, to deal with two of the more common objections, and these I can only deal with briefly.

Objection 1 – In Matthew 17:16 we are told the disciples could not cure the lunatic.

Answer – This is exorcism not healing. In exorcism one battles creatures with will and volition. They could resist the disciples. Note: It was not the lunatic who lacked sufficient faith it was the disciples. If this is used as a defense against the subject at hand then the healer is bound by this Scripture to say, when someone is not healed by him, that it is his own lack of faith and not the unhealed person’s lack of faith.

Objection 2 – In Matthew 13:57 and Mark 6:4 Jesus could not heal because of the unbelief of the people.

Answer – He did not heal any of the antagonistic Pharisees either, but instead called them vipers. He healed no man that held Him in animosity or bitterness. By the way, He did heal people in His home town (Mark 6:5).

May God bless and guide you into all truth.