Dear Brothers in Christ,
Norbert Lieth’s article in the September Midnight Call about healing makes me think that he has an idea that all “healing ministries” are based on unfounded doctrine. The overboard, foolish behavior of some Christians toward healing is not the proof that healing isn’t part of the atonement. Neither is the fact that all Christians are not healed of all diseases a proof. Indeed, all Israel wasn’t healed even under Jesus, either. Those that came to Him by faith were healed. Even some in His hometown weren’t healed because they doubted.
I have pastored a “faith-healing, charismatic” church for nearly 25 years. I can’t speak for others, but I believe that the Cross is the foundation of all belief in receiving healing by faith. That doesn’t mean that healing is “automatic” because of the Cross, but like salvation, it begins there.
Just as it is true that salvation is entered into by faith in the redemptive work of Jesus, so is healing. Salvation is a one-time event because we are dead in our trespasses once, then redeemed as long as we remain in faith. The difference with healing is that we get sick more than once; therefore, we need to apply our faith each time to receive healing. The inability of a believer in Christ to appropriate healing grace in any one event of sickness is not proof that healing isn’t available at all. After all, salvation is offered to all, but “few find it.” Can we then make the assumption that salvation really isn’t offered at the Cross just because many don’t receive it?
I realize that you are obviously “cessationists,” but it doesn’t stop me from appreciating the fact that we share a love for looking for the Rapture from an end-time perspective. In this we certainly can share “unity in the Spirit,” as Marcel Malgo wrote of in that same issue. Remember, there are many “reconstructionists” who think we are the crazy ones for believing in a pre-trib Rapture.
I know that I’m not going to convince you out of your “cessationism,” any more than you would me of my “charismaticism,” only to rejoice that we’ll all see “clearly” then!
-J. Jaehrling, OR
Answer: The article in question targets the misinterpretation of physical healing for Christians, as indicated by the introduction. In that case, parents were found guilty of manslaughter because they refused medical aid for their child. Norbert Lieth clearly stated, “We believe also that God does miracles today and heals people.” That God can and does is not the question; the issue is misuse and misinterpretation of Scripture.
I find it quite interesting that Jesus stated we will do “greater works.” Obviously, it is the preaching and the testimony of believers, which results in the conversion and rebirth of a listener—that qualifies as “greater works.” After all, the people Jesus healed all died. Also, the people healed in your services will sooner or later succumb to an illness and die as well.
First Peter 2:24 actually answers Isaiah 53:5: “Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.” This speaks of SIN. Note, it is written in the past tense—it is done; we are perfected in Him for all eternity, but our body will deteriorate until it loses all vital functions and dies.
I appreciate your kind spirit, particularly the conclusion, “only to rejoice that we will all see ‘clearly,’ then!”