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God Heals - in His way (not our way)

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Question #1:

Dear Bob,

A question on healing:

4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5 KJV

24 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.- 1 Peter 2:24 KJV

The above scriptures are most commonly used by Christians to receive physical healing from sicknesses. It is common knowledge that there are scores of sick people among the Saved who bestow faith on these scriptures yet without the desired healing.

Jesus paid the total price for sin so that saved will have eternal life which is the spiritual healing. The word "healed" denotes either spiritual or physical healing from both languages Hebrew & Greek. The in-depth meaning of the verses also could interpret to mean it is rather the spiritual healing of mankind than physical. Many preachers go a step further to say that it means spiritual and physical healing hence saved should be healed. In the context what should be the true Christian perspective?

Blessings

Response #1:

Good to hear from you again, my friend.

I entirely agree with your perspective. Clearly, in my view, both passages are meant in a spiritual sense – healing our true problem of sinfulness. Physical illness is a result of the fall of mankind and is a symptom of the sin that resides in our bodies, so that Jesus' fulfillment of this passage in Isaiah in a physical way was symbolic of His coming atonement for sin on the cross which would completely fulfill the passage in a spiritual way – by removing the sins of the world.

As to contemporary "pastors", as I often say, God can give any believer any spiritual gift He wishes, including the gift of healing. And God can heal any person whenever He wishes to do so. Problems arise if God has not given a person the gift of healing and said person claims to have it anyway; or if God has not chosen to heal someone and they claim to have been healed anyway; or if a person prays for healing or goes to someone who claims to be able to heal and then gets despondent when not healed (in case that is not God's will at the time).

In my studies of these matters, it does not seem that God is presently giving the gift of healing – or the gift of apostleship or the gift of tongues or a great many such "sign gifts" which did characterize the first generation of the New Testament. There is a very good reason for that: we now have the completed Bible, but to the extent that we are looking to people with special gifts or to dramatic experiences and "on-demand" miracles, to that same extent we will probably not be looking to the Word of truth. However, it is only through learning and believing and applying the truth that believers can grow spiritually and fulfill the purpose that the Lord has for them in this life.

We live in the era of Laodicea and lukewarmness is the order of the day. Christians today tend to be interested in entertainment and experience rather than in doing the hard work involved in actual spiritual growth. For that reason, false teachers are finding many fertile fields in which to work. One of the most productive deceptions throughout the last few centuries in particular has involved "faith healing", because there are few people whose health is perfect and whose loved ones are also in perfect health; therefore almost every Christian has a "need" in this area, and as a result has some measure of vulnerability to a "godly" looking person who claims to be able to meet that need. People will sacrifice a lot to solve health-problems, so that "healing ministries" more than most others are able to garner the allegiance, loyalty, and, most importantly, money from gullible Christians who have not grown spiritually enough to detect the deception and ward off the temptation.

For these reasons, that is always my first question when I hear about such "ministries": "what is the cost?" Unless the person in question is 1) healing all comers; 2) healing for free; 3) not accepting donations; 4) not demanding any sort of loyalty or attendance or membership – in other words, unless the person is healing just as Jesus healed – then we need not even proceed to the next step of asking whether or not the healing is real and legitimate (because if a person is not healing as Jesus healed there is no actual healing taking place).

Here are some links which discuss this and similar matters:

What Type of Healing is being Discussed in Isaiah 53:5?

Faith healing

The Gift of healing

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

"Greater things" and 1st Corinthians 3:8

Yours in our dear Lord who died to take away the sins of the world, Jesus Christ the Righteous,

Bob L.

Question #2:

Dear Professor Bob,

I believe I’m privileged to snatch your much valued time to advice me, re following query on healing.

Mark 11:24 -Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

I have experienced sick people were advised - never to say that they are sick but, that they are healed quoting the above Bible verse. In doing so the sick is said to be complying with the "Word" in anticipating healing. I think if a sick person says that he is healed (say a Cancer patient) he is committing a sin by telling a lie. On the other hand I have not seen those say so have received their desired healing. I think what Jesus means here is to be in Faith & God will give divine healing at His will.

Appreciate your views

Blessings

Response #2:

Good to hear from you again, brother.

I think what you say here makes eminent sense, especially when you say "at His will". For it is what we ask according to the will of God that is answered:

This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
1st John 5:14 NIV

After all, say we pray for something "not so nice", like for everyone in some town we don't like to catch a cold, or worse, or for something impossible, like for all of the grass in the world to turn red instead of green, is there a single person who reasonably expects that such a prayer would be answered – answered precisely in the way we pray it? Clearly, that is not what Jesus means. What He is referring to is legitimate prayer for things that are actually in God's will – and He also is careful not to say that exactly what we pray for will be answered exactly as we have put it and envisioned it and exactly at the time and place of our choosing. God is working everything out for good, and it is under that overall principle of the plan of God and the will of God that all of our prayers have been taken into account.

For he longs for all of you and is distressed because you heard he was ill. Indeed he was ill, and almost died. But God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, to spare me sorrow upon sorrow.
Philippians 2:27 NIV

I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.
2nd Timothy 4:20b NIV

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you . . .".
2nd Corinthians 12:7b-9a NIV

All three of these passages involving the experiences of Paul, the greatest apostles, are more than a little revealing on this score. In the first one, we see that Ephroditus was healed, but not before he became so ill that he almost died – so that even if this healing was a response to prayer it was neither instantaneous nor overtly miraculous (in the way faith-healers claim to operate). In the second one, we see a good friend and traveling companion, Trophimus (cf. Acts 20:4; 21:29), so ill he could not continue with Paul to Rome in his second captivity – so that even someone with the gift of healing at one time and with still unquestionable apostolic authority could not always effect this desired result, by prayer or by personal healing (though faith-healers claim greater powers than those of the apostle). In the third passage, we see Paul, a man who was working for Jesus as no one before or since, slowed down and hampered by a demon-originated illness, praying not once but three times to be healed; but this was not in the will of God for the reasons that the Lord explained and he reports (yet faith-healers admit of no such exceptions). If Paul's prayers for healing of others were not always answered immediately, or at all (after the point when this gift was no longer being empowered), and if that was also sometimes true even in the case of himself where he was carrying out his mission wonderfully well, one would think that those who claim greater powers than this would be forced to admit that according to scripture God does heal miraculously and immediately when that is according to His will, but that such a result is not always how He responds to prayer. As with us, so with Paul, God always answered him – just not always in the way we in our limited human perspective might suppose that He would. We can move mountains through prayer – but literal mountains only when and if it is the will of God for the literal mountain to move. For more on this please see the link: "Moving Mountains: Faith in Matthew 21:21"

Your in Jesus Christ in whose Name we pray with absolute confidence that all of our prayers are heard, then answered in precisely the right way to work out all things together for good (even if not always in the way in which we had expected).

Bob L.

Question #3:

I respect your deep teachings, however in one of your responses you failed to acknowledge that while Christians are possessed by God, they are most often afflicted by demons, such as arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, fibral myalgia, along with the typical neck and back problems. During my many years as a missionary in Central and South America, many Catholics became born again when they asked Jesus to become their Lord and Savior - however many solid believers in Jesus had demonic afflictions which were subsequently cast out. As it is written, "My people perish for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6). Most Christians accepted their afflictions as part of growing old, but demons were generally the cause of their afflictions.

The truth is that most Born Again Christians have very little knowledge on a solid diet of milk from their churches.

I realize you must be a Baptist - great biblical teachings but in error considering that none of the gifts have passed with the Apostles. It is true that "When that which is perfect (teleokis) has come, then the gifts are no longer operative (or necessary). When Jesus returns and puts Satan and his host into a bottomless pit for the Millennium Kingdom, then the gifts of healing and casting out of demons won't be necessary.

If I am wrong, why is it that thousands of people were healed by Jesus through me over a span of thirty years? Was I hallucinating as people got out of wheel chairs and cancers went into remission?

I know I have no power, and I know that only Jesus is doing the healing (even over the telephone) but examine Mark 16:17-18, was that only meant for Christians over the next forty or fifty years until the last Apostle was dead?

Rubbish!

Until the time of the Gentiles is over and while Satan is on the loose, the Holy Spirit works through believers with the authority Jesus gave ALL believers according to Luke 10:19-20, and the signs that would accompany believers as described in Mark 16:17-18 until His return for the rapture of the saints.

In Christ,

Response #3:

Good to make your acquaintance. To answer your question, no, I am not a Baptist. I am, however, a believer in Jesus Christ, part of His Body, His Church.

You have covered a lot of ground here. Let me give you a quick precis on what in my years of study it seems to me scripture is saying:

1) Demons do afflict believers; they are not able to possess them. I have no doubt that much illness and trouble that comes our way is of demon origin – believers are opposed by the evil one in every way in which the Lord allows (see the link: in SR 4: "Satan's Tactics"). However, I find no evidence that exorcism is a "gift" (see the link); I also find no justification for those who are not apostles attempting to carry it out. All believers are free to pray for themselves and others, and our Lord most certainly answers prayer, but the special power over demons which our Lord possessed and which He personally bequeathed to the twelve (and the 72) is not something I find in scripture ever being given to or practiced by anyone else (it is not listed as a gift anywhere in the Bible). Furthermore, since believers cannot be possessed, then exorcism would be of no use for us in any case; and since unbelievers are delivered when they are saved, it seems clear to me that giving the gospel is the superior way to proceed (especially since none of us has the power of exorcism), because that would result in liberation from possession in each instance.

2) God does heal. And He does answer prayer for healing. Most of us need His healing from time to time, mortal human beings that we are. If you have a special prayer gift in this respect, I certainly praise God for it. I would be reluctant to accept that it is the "gift of healing" mentioned in scripture, however. By that gift I mean not the willingness to intercede in prayer for the sick – something we all can and should do (though some will have more success in this than others) – but the gift of being able to lay hands a person and heal said person in each and every case (as practiced by our Lord and His apostles). Such a gift would carry with it an incredibly large responsibility – which no doubt explains why it is not being currently given. Few of us, after all, have the spiritual maturity, exceptional humility and doctrinal clarity not to abuse such a gift, without all of which things such a gift would tend to arrogance and confusion, and could do more harm than good, both for the possessor and for the healed. Someone who could heal anyone by touch would be regarded as so close to Christ that every word the person said would be taken as the absolute truth. I don't think I've every met anyone who could handle that responsibility.

3) For that and other reasons (see the links below), the so-called "sign gifts" were discontinued during the apostolic age, as 1st Corinthians 13:8-11 indicates, the "perfect" being for purposes of the gifts, the Bible which takes away the need for supernatural communication outside of scripture: we now have God's complete message to His people (see the link).

4) The gospel of Mark ends with verse 13; it is not part of the Bible (see the link)

5) There is no "rapture" – if by "rapture" you mean a resurrection of the Church preceding the Tribulation: our Lord raises up His Church when He returns at the second advent (that is the only parousia in scripture; see the link).

I certainly applaud your service for our Lord in leading many to Christ, and also rejoice in any and all of our brothers and sisters who have been relieved of disease through your efforts in prayer. Nothing is impossible for the Lord; He works miracles every day. But that does not mean He is giving particular gifts if He is not giving particular gifts. Ultimately, that is an issue of fact, not of faith. Either a person has gift X or he/she does not. Failing to fulfill God's purpose for one's life by not growing up spiritually and progressing to the point where true ministry in concert with one's gifts takes place is a tragedy. However, assuming to oneself a gift that one does not actually have is spiritually very dangerous.

Here are those links:

When is the Rapture?

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

Are Miraculous Spiritual Gifts still in Operation Today?

The Gift of Healing.

Faith Healing

Third party reports

Scripture versus Personal Experience

More on third party reports

Prayers for Binding

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob Luginbill

Question #4:

Thank you for responding I will continue, my studies for this weekend on Mark chapter 9:14-29. What I'm working on is this in Matt. 10:1 Jesus gives them power over unclean spirits to cast them out and heal all kinds of sickness and all kinds of diseases. And in Luke 10:1 He appoints seventy to do the same and later they returned saying Lord even the demons are subject unto us in His name.

Now back to Mark what I'm researching on is the faithless part. In my KJV, The Thompson Chain-Reference Bible, the cross reference on the side says powerless and another place says powerlessness. I was told by the same elder who is pushing for the quantum teachings that when God gives you the power He never takes it back. I mention for some reason they were not able to do it when Our Lord Jesus said "O faithless generation". I look that up and found Apistos: meaning unfaithful, faithless and other things. To me I see they had no faith at all to do it . Because I seen in Matt.17:20 Our Lord Jesus says it was because of their unbelief. If they did have faith size of a mustard seed they could have said to this mountain to move. Mountain to me represents the demon they could have moved with faith. What power did they lose if any? I kind of sense they allowed fear in that cause and doubt. When I see this it seems to tell me they had no faith. And then I study on the chapters like Matt. 10:1, Luke 10:1 where they had the power. Where did the power go? Could help explain if possible before Sunday? Thank you

Response #4:

Sorry for the delay in response. Saturday is my posting day so I usually don't get to emails. Hope your Sunday lesson went well in any case.

I would certainly agree that whatever God gives us does not depend on us. However, we have to participate in whatever gift He gives us for true effectiveness. For example, we know that every believer receives at least one spiritual gift when saved (1Cor.12:7) – but not everyone who is given the gift of teaching, for example, ever even gets around to teaching. And even many of those who do don't prepare adequately enough to be effective at teaching, and even those who do acquire the skills necessary for effective teaching do not always follow through the way they should. Further, the Holy Spirit is the one who empowers every good action by believers, but the Spirit is not a dictator; the Spirit leads – but we are free to accept or reject His perfect leadership. Further, the more truth we know and believe, the more potentially effective we can be for the Lord in carrying out any ministry with any gift. That is because the truth of God's Word in our hearts, put there by the Spirit when we hear it and believe it, is the capital the Spirit uses, or the fulcrum which the Spirit uses for leverage. Spiritual babies, obviously, are not going to be as useful to the Lord for anything as are "the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil" (Heb.5:14).

So when it comes to these believers you ask about who were unable to throw out that particular demon, it should come as no surprise that the Lord explains to them when they ask Him why "because you have so little faith" (Matt.17:20) and "this kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting" (Mk.9:29). If these men who had been following Jesus for several years by this point had believed everything He had told them, they would have been better able to carry out the ministry entrusted to them; and casting out this particular type of demon was not "an easy lift", so that they were not going to be able to accomplish the exorcism by half measures and with weak faith.

This is a good lesson for us all. We who believe in Jesus Christ have all been given the Holy Spirit – and His power is unlimited. We also have received other gifts. God is not the problem. We are the problem We do not access His power as we should. To do so takes effort. It takes growing in the Word of God every day, and building up our faith as we do so. When our faith and hope and love grow, when we mature spiritually, when we have come to know and believe a goodly amount of God's truth from His Word, we become more useable to Him in every way. That is when we begin to experience His power most noticeably – not in the performance of astounding miracles (these are in abeyance at present), but in a closer walk with Him and the ever increasing effectiveness of ministry for Him that closeness brings.

Apologies again for missing Sunday morning – but I hope this is helpful to you in any case. Here are some related links you may find helpful:

Moving Mountains: Faith in Matthew 21:21

Can you explain "help my unbelief!" in Mark 9:24?

Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Master,

Bob L.

Question #5:

Thank you. Things went well the night before while I was studying Matt.17:20 and pondering: "this mountain is unbelief"; "once this is removed nothing is impossible"; "this kind (meaning 'unbelief') goeth out but by prayer and fasting".

I shared that Sunday morning and explained that I did not say God removed the power but it was weak and their unbelief hinder them. And that is why they where powerless.

Another part I'm studying is on Hebrews 13:5 " I will never leave nor forsake you" I been hearing this from the same person. But I'm reminded in my spirit Numbers 32:15, 2 Chronicles 15:2, Deuteronomy 31:17 and several other scriptures on if we forsake Him, He will forsake us. But then again it was said by the same person that those scripture don't apply to us today. I have been studying on where God forsakes when we forsake Him as believers for three months now. And also the way God killed His people (children) that where disobedience and made Him angry and how He destroyed them when the murmured and complain and done things they weren't suppose to. And again I was told those punishments applied to them in their time in their circumstances in what they where doing. And that does not apply to us today and God would never do that to us today we are children of God. And that the Hebrews people where His people and not His children like we are today. I groaned in my spirit how can this person say that. So thank you for keeping in touch. I am thankful for all your input . God Bless. I'm thankful for the Lord allowing me to make contact with you.

Response #5:

You are most welcome,

The false doctrine of "once-saved, always saved . . . no matter what" is indeed a gross mis-reading of the Bible (it sounds to me as if that is at the root of this person's misunderstanding of things). Here are a couple of pertinent links on that:

The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security I

The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security II

The False Doctrine of Absolute Eternal Security III

Yours in Jesus Christ in whom alone we are safe and sound,

Bob L.

Question #6:

Dear Dr, Robert,

A Christian well known to me strongly believe there is "Saving Faith" & " Healing Faith". He also believes that Gifts of Holy Spirit in Apostolic era still prevails. In his own words writes –

Do any of the healing done by Js. was dependent upon 'saving' faith? One who is saved if he does not believe the power of God to heal, or that God does not heal today then it is unlikely that he would receive healing. Similarly an unsaved person may receive healing when he believes he will receive and that is what I understand from the scripture. I also believe that the gifts of the HS will remain till the Lord comes. Faith embraces everything that the scripture teaches on that subject and not any particular aspect of it., I believe every word of the scripture to the best of my understanding and I know that you too are the same. So God bless you and guide you in your search.

I believe as Ephesians 4:5 reads There is one faith.

Appreciate your views in Biblical terms

Blessings

Response #6:

Good to hear from you. This is a standard thing one hears from those who want to say that the "sign gifts" of the early days of the apostles are still in force today. Clearly, all Christians understand and believe that anything is possible for God. We all understand and believe that God can give such gifts if He chooses, and that He can heal anyone He pleases however He pleases whenever He pleases. The question in terms of the gift of healing is thus a factual one. If God has given a particular Christian the power to place his/her hands on someone and heal them by touch through such a miraculous gift, then we should all rejoice that He has done so. However, if God has not done so in the case of a particular person, yet said person makes that claim, then said person is a liar. Christ told us to be innocent as doves but wise as serpents. Just because we are Christians does not mean that we are to believe human beings whenever they makes some claim. That is not faith. We are to believe God. That is faith. And we do believe He has the power to heal – we pray for brothers and sisters every day for their healing. And we do believe that He could, if He so desired, give a gift of healing (or tongues, or miracles, or powers, etc.) to any Christian to whom He wished to do so. But just because a Christian (or seeming-Christian) makes such a claim does not make it so. It is the height of arrogance and nerve for a person who does not actually have the gift of healing to claim that he/she is not able to heal us "because we have no faith"! We have unlimited faith in God. We know from God that human beings are only to be trusted after very careful inspection of their character – and even then not with the unlimited trust we place in the Lord.

I have never seen any convincing evidence of actual sign-gifts in operation in our day and age, and I know of absolutely no convincing evidence of such since the early apostolic days. Is this not odd if such gifts really still are being given by the Lord? That would have to mean, according to your correspondent, that no one (or virtually no one) has had faith of consequence since even before the apostles passed from the scene – and that strains all credulity, not to mention contradicting abundant evidence to the contrary. On the other hand, there are very good reasons to take what Paul says in 1st Corinthians 13:8-11 at face value and understand that such gifts have been discontinued (we are no longer "children" as a Church, but "adult" and no longer in need of "childish things"). These gifts were special inaugural ones necessary for "jump starting" the incipient Church: before it had grown up enough not to need them, it needed this healthy pablum, but now it needs solid food (and that is what God gives us in the Bible). Now, these gifts are not only not necessary but actually would constitute a great distraction for Christians from doing what they really ought to be doing, namely, growing and progressing in the faith through mastering the truths which scripture contains and setting themselves to live by them – spiritual maturity instead of infancy. Indeed, even though there are no such gifts being given today, the mere possibility and the unsubstantiated claim of them has fueled many false ministries and movements, and has proven to be the wreck of many Christians' spiritual growth and, in some cases, even of their faith.

But you, dear friend, are cleaving to the truth, and I know that the Lord appreciates and honors that. Keep on fighting that good fight of true faith.

Here are a few links where these matters are discussed further:

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

The danger of believing 3rd party reports (leads to other links)

Are Miraculous Spiritual Gifts still in Operation Today?

Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #7:

Hi Dr. Robert,

Thank you for your much explanatory reply that strengthened my confidence of knowledge gained through scriptures. My urge to seek the truth in ‘word’ is remembered in my daily prayers amidst the backdrop of pulpits callout many different interpretations misleading and as you say even effecting faith.

Blessings

Response #7:

You're very welcome.

There is indeed much confusion out there in the church-visible today and not many answers. Just what I suppose we should expect from this era of lukewarmness we find ourselves in.

Keep searching out the truth, my friend. In this there is great eternal reward.

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #8:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

I was listening to several pastors discuss the topic of whether the spiritual gifts during the time of the apostles (healing, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc.) are still active today. John MacArthur wrote a book called "strange fire" which discussed the danger of the charismatic church and their false prophecies, false tongues, etc. He also discussed several theologians who are revered today that have sound doctrine for the most part, but stick with the belief that the gifts that were given to the apostles were still active today. He even claimed that there are apostles in the secondary sense. His premise was that Peter quoted from the book of Joel where Joel prophecies about miracles and being filled with the spirit in the "last days", and that the last days refers to the time of Christ even until today. So this must mean that the apostolic gifts are still around today. John MacArthur argued that the problem with this is the false prophecies and false healings in the charismatic church and how it leavens the lump. John also discussed false conversions by those repeating a "sinners prayer" and how church music stirs up emotions, and emotions can deceive people and create false converts. He also said that those who claim to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit are in actuality not. Otherwise they would fall flat on their faces in worship. He argued that music and surrounding environment creates emotions mistaken by those to be the presence of God. I tend to disagree because I spend ALONE time with God. Without music, no sound, and just meditating on scripture alone. Do the spiritual gifts at the time of the apostles still exist today?

God Bless you and your ministry,

Response #8:

Good to hear from you, my friend. These "sign gifts" were only meant to bridge the short gap between the first Pentecost and the time when the incipient Church could begin to rely upon the teaching of the apostles and the New Testament which was coming into being. Just as babies need milk until they are weaned to solid food, so once the Church had gotten to a point (through the completion of the canon of scripture and the building up of a cadre of teachers) where it no longer needed milk, God ceased that flow – in preference for solid food (cf. 1Cor.3:2). There are only twelve Apostles (capital 'a'). Sometimes the word is used in the NT for missionaries, and there certainly are gifts connected to missions, but I would reject using the word "apostle" today since it could be misunderstood as having something to do with THE apostles (that gift is not being given). There is no active prophecy or tongues or healing today. The reason is that the Spirit is not giving those gifts – the "perfect" New Testament is now available (1Cor.13), and we can certainly understand why: if the Spirit continued to give such gifts it would detract from Christian attention to the Bible and have them running off to other things which are emotionally "more fun". Indeed, they are doing that anyway, even though the "gifts" in question are not even real! If MacArthur thinks that sign gifts are around but ought not to be utilized, that strikes me as very bizarre, actually (if I am understanding your report of his position aright). If they were real, then we should honor them. It is because they are not real – since the Spirit is not giving them – that the false practice of pseudo-sign gifts is so dangerous. As to music, I'm not sure what the question is, so I will give you some links on that as well:

On gifts and related issues:

Spiritual Gifts and Spiritual Growth

"The persuasiveness of tribulational false signs"

"Great Miracles"

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

The Gift of Tongues: Part 1

The Gift of Tongues: Part 2

All Things Charismatic.

The Holy Spirit: Pneumatology Questions I

Dreams and Visions II

And on music:

Music and the "worship" service (in 'prayer: the persistence and power of')

Problems with Christian music

Negative effects of bad Christian music

Emotionalism in music

More negative potential of bad music

The unknown hymn

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #9:

Hello Dr. Luginbill,

Thank you for your response. I was listening to an audio of a Christian apologist and his interpretation of 1 Cor.13. He said that most scholars interpret the "perfect" to means when Christ returns. The verse he used was the passage where it states that When Jesus returns, we will see Him as He is and be like Him, and that is what is referred to as the perfect. Because we will be glorified and the need for the spiritual gifts will no longer necessary at that time. Is this a wrong exegesis on that passage?

God Bless,

Response #9:

I would say that referring this statement to Christ is a correct application – or to Christ's return, or to the Millennium, or to the eternal state, or to the New Jerusalem, etc., and possibly even a correct partial interpretation. What is not correct is to claim that this does not refer to the Bible – for that is the main interpretation of the passage. The "perfect" here is in the neuter gender, and that conceptualizes it (we would expect masculine if Christ Himself were meant first and foremost). That most perfect "thing" is the "mind of Christ" (1Cor.2:16; cf. Col.2:3) who is Himself "the Word of God" (Jn.1:1-2; Rev.19:13), namely, the holy scriptures through which we grow to spiritual adulthood and are able to leave the partial things of spiritual immaturity (including temporary gifts) behind (1Cor.13:11; 14:20) – as God, more to the point, has left them behind, no longer giving these sign gifts to His Church once the Bible had been completed.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #10:

I stumbled upon your site and must say I am very impressed by your straight forth explanations. I have not found answers as straight forward as yours before. I know that these are true because you back up everything with the bible.

I have a question on tongues, I had been in a group where everyone was encouraged to speak in tongues. I got caught up in it and knew it wasn't right after I started to research into it more, my question is this, I have stopped this a few years ago and do not hang with this group anymore, I have to say there was a lot of other weird stuff going on, healing sessions, falling on the ground, etc.

I would go to these healing sessions and think I was healed but I knew deep down inside I wasn't, then I would feel like I didn't have enough faith because my disability didn't go away, I'm sure you have heard this all before, anyways, I want to know if I have sinned by doing all this stuff when I knew it was wrong.

One of the people that spoke in tongues said that some of my tongues were from God and some were not – that they were from the devil. This really freaked me out and I can't get this thought out of my mind. Am I possessed now that I did this?

I would greatly appreciate your answer.

Thank you.

Response #10:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thanks much for your encouraging words.

As to your questions, first, the gift of healing has not, in my interpretation of scripture, been given since the early days of the Church, and was discontinued even before the apostles passed from the scene. Consider what Paul says in his last letter:

Erastus stayed in Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick in Miletus.
2nd Timothy 4:20 NIV

Why would Paul not have healed Trophimus if he still had the gift of healing by touch (as he certainly once did, e.g., Acts 28:8)? And if Paul could not always (or at least not forever) touch and heal, why would we imagine that contemporaries who are not nearly up to his standard of spirituality have this power? The gift of touch-healing was an evangelical tool designed to provide a hearing for the gospel in the earliest days of the Church – as was the case with the other so-called sign-gifts. Once that purpose and that need passed, so did the gifts. It is classic cult behavior (not to mention the cruelest sort of arrogance) to claim that if a person is not healed, then said person doesn't have enough faith! There's nothing like this in the Bible (i.e., a person not healed because of lack of faith), because the reason for the gift is to create an opening for faith in the good news. When the disciples ask Jesus after descending from the mount about their failure to be able to cast out the demon from the young man (Matt.17:20), the problem is indeed lack of faith, but it is THEIR lack of faith, meaning the disciples, the agents of the gift, that Jesus criticizes. So if a healer cannot heal, it is the healer's lack of faith that is the problem, not the person being ministered to. But in any case, as I say, this gift is not in truth being given today, so that all such performances are merely theater for the sake of money and aggrandizing the persons doing the fake "healing". Here are some links on this:

Faith Healing

The Gift of Healing

Healing by Touch

The Course of Jesus' Ministry

All things Charismatic.

Does God use disease to discipline us?

Nimrod and Christmas trees, Tongues, and Healing.

Combating Legalism VI.

As to tongues, it is very clear from scripture that these were actual human languages given by the Spirit, also for evangelization purposes. There are no true tongues that are not human languages given by the Spirit. There are no "tongues of angels" given to human beings; nor are there any "demonic tongues". These are the sorts of things that proponents of false tongues resort to when people have serious questions about their practices (as in "what language are you speaking?" or "why can't I speak in tongues?", etc.). If you have not already done so, please consult the most current postings on this:

The Gift of Tongues, part 1

The Gift of Tongues, part 2

No Christian can be demon possessed. The Holy Spirit, for example, is resident in all who genuinely are believers in Jesus Christ, and we can rest assured that He will not share His residence in the believer with a demon. Demon possession follows free will assent on the part of the unbeliever in question, not necessarily a "yes / no" question and answer, but a giving of oneself over to satanic influences (through drugs, Satanism, the occult, and all manner of twisted evil activity), that gradually breaks down the will to resist. Here are some links on that too:

Bound by Satan

SR 4: Demon Possession

Fallen Angels, Demons, Nephilim, and the Devil's Methodology

The Demon Possessed Girl in Acts 16:16

Keep seeking the truth and running the good race of faith in Jesus Christ our Lord!

In Him,

Bob L.

Question #11:

Dear Robert,

First I would like to thank you for your prompt reply, so I thank you sir.

I must say though, that I am blown away by all the information you have on your site, but most important how it is all backed up with scripture, so refreshing to see, straight forward and anyone can see if they go to their bible that the truth is there, something we (including me) have at times not done and listened to "people" instead of going to the bible, the enemy can really play with us if we don't keep in the word.

I especially like your conversations with people asking questions, it is very helpful to realize that we all have questions and certainly shows how we can get caught up with emotions if we aren't careful and we need to test everything with the word of God in the bible to see what is truth and what is just us wanting it to be truth. (articles on healing, tongues, demons)

Thank you again for all your help and all the articles you have sent me. I see I have ALOT of reading to do! Can't seem to stop reading, yesterday night I spent 4 hrs.! This is like when I first got saved and couldn't put the bible down, the Holy Spirit was teaching me so much but then somewhere along the way I got hooked up with a group, then everything became confused, God's word is soothing and not confusing. Thank you for bringing this all back to me.

I love the fact that you put everything in a simple way that can be understood, again, God's way is straight forward and that is what you do. You had mentioned in your article in healings that you had crushed your ankle 30 yrs. ago. I too have done a damage on my ankle that has caused me r.s.d. and mechanical damage that has totally changed my life. My whole life was around trying to get healed from this horrible disease and damage, I would go to countless healings, then feeling guilty because I felt I had no faith because I wasn't getting the healing but it took me 15 yrs. to realize that God's grace is sufficient for me, that when I am weak, then am I strong. These healing sessions are all about the money and what-ever else they are into.

I think back now how I got so caught up in this stuff and tried to "convince myself "that I was getting healed, if God wants to heal anyone physically or mentally he will do it, then yes, that is a miracle!

With your permission I would like to know if I ever have questions again could I e-mail you.

God bless you thru His precious son Jesus Christ for your work.

Response #11:

You are most welcome, and you may certainly email me any time. I appreciate your good words and your very perceptive "post mortem" of your own experiences. I think this speaks volumes about your personal spiritual common sense and your growth in the Spirit and the Word of God. The truth has a way of cutting through confusion like a laser beam. We Christians just have to get to point of wanting it and being willing to receive it, believe it, and live by it once we've got it.

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Savior who is the truth itself.

Bob L.

Question #12:

Hello,

I love your encouraging article. If you have time can you answer me a question. I have been believing for a physical infirmity to go. I have been believing God for 5 years, but things got worse – and in spite of doing everything I could do to live in a healthy way. My faith was shaken. It is going on the 6th year of believing and this looks no better but I am still standing.

I did break down and go for help and received an antibiotic which did not work. Anyway, I am still believing but it looks not good. Do you have any hand hints to help me. I am in great pain.

I have been talking to these mountains and fasting as well. The last time I wrote somebody was about a year ago for help and they never wrote me back. I guess if you do not write me back you have no encouragement for me either.

Thank you.

Response #12:

Good to make your acquaintance, and thank you for your positive words of encouragement.

I'm no medico, but I certainly do appreciate (unfortunately from personal experience) the difficulty that comes with such problems. The Christian life is all about faith, but that does not mean that the Lord does not use nor expect us to make use of legitimate material means when they are available. If I want to open a walnut, praying for it to open is probably not going to work; that is because the Lord has supplied me with a hammer and expects me to use it. Using this tool is, moreover, not a spiritual problem – as long as I do not worship my hammer, or attribute my possession of it to my own talents, that is, as long as I am duly appreciative that the Lord supplied the walnut and the means to open it.

In my opinion the same is true of all things medical. If there were no doctor available, then we would do the best we could and trust the Lord to heal. If there is a doctor, hospital, medicine available, then we ignore the means provided by the Lord at our peril. Making use of them is no problem, just as long as we do not worship them, that is, rely on the doctor/hospital/medicine instead of the Lord. He provided the test (illness) and He provides the solution; our part is to trust Him to get us through the test, being grateful for the means (whatever the means), and giving Him the praise for deliverance even though we are grateful for the means – be it a hammer or a doctor or a dentist. So my own advice on this point, for whatever it is worth, is to embrace whatever means the Lord has provided. If the hammer is less than satisfactory, try a nutcracker. If the dentist doesn't help you, try a different dentist, or an oral surgeon, or an emergency dental clinic, etc. I have no expertise in these things, but in my view it is not a compromise of faith to seek to solve problems that come our way, as long as 1) it is done in a godly way and 2) we never lose sight of the fact that the battle belongs to the Lord and that deliverance comes from Him.

It is true that we all have burdens to bear for which there are no obvious solutions and which may only be solved by patiently waiting on the Lord for deliverance. In the physical realm, one thinks of Paul's "thorn in the flesh". But God does heal; God does deliver. Our part is to trust Him whatever approach we decide upon as to the specifics. In the end, we know that He is most definitely "working all things out together for good for those who love Him" (Rom.8:28). Jesus died for us; so the impossible thing has been done and we do have eternal life through the One who rose in the flames of the burning bush until He had rescued us. Having done the most for us, He will surely take care of all the little things too – and next to salvation, everything else is microscopically "little". Of course, it often does not seem like that to us at the time. We have to be careful to have faith and act faithfully at every step in a serious test like the one you report, confident that our Lord is with us, is for us, and will see us safely through. Job gave up at the very last minute; so did Elijah. If great believers like that can falter, we need to take all steps to be resolute in our faith. We do what we can that is good and righteous and in no way sinful to cope with the troubles that come our way, and then, after we . . . "take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, [i.e., all that is in your power to do] to stand [i.e., waiting on the Lord's deliverance]." (Eph.6:13).

I will most certainly say a prayer for your deliverance.

In hopes of that mountain moving soon through goodness and grace of our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #13:

Consider this link: I'm not sure I agree with this minister at all! If our car breaks down, are we to go to God and pray that it miraculously repaired, because God doesn't use auto mechanics? Anyway, this should be an interesting read: Doctors Verses God for Healing

Response #13:

Well put! There's no end to the nonsense one can find on the internet, after all.

It's possible to trust in God and still go the Doctor when you're sick. The world is full of material means which the believer uses without compromising his/her faith. If we take a wrong-headed view of this issue, maybe we will conclude that using a bridge to cross a river is wrong because we lack faith that God will part the waters for us. We live in an age where God's miraculous workings are deliberately hidden from the world to a very large degree – in order for faith to become the issue rather than what see, hear or experience. But we know He is here, everywhere, and even within us in the persons of the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Yours in Jesus our dear Lord,

Bob L.

Question #14:

What is your opinion on healing, do you believe Christ still heals people?

Response #14:

Christ indeed heals Christians all the time in response to prayer; people who claim that they can mediate the power of Christ and heal other people (through whatever means) are dissembling since this gift was "done away with" in the first century (e.g., 1Cor.13:8).

Question #15:

Such interpretation of Mark 8:23-25 crossed my mind, and then laying His hands on him, He asked him, "Do you see anything?" And he looked up and said, "I see men, for I see them like trees, walking around." Then again He laid His hands on his eyes; and he looked intently and was restored, and began to see everything clearly.

Pulpit Commentary:

And this he did that he might administer his power in increasing measures, as the faith of the recipient waxed stronger; that so he might gradually kindle greater hope and desire in him. It may be that the spiritual condition of this blind man was one which specially needed this gradual method of treatment. Our Lord was a wise and skillful Physician. At first he healed him in part, as one who imperfectly believed; that he who as yet saw little with a little sight, might believe more perfectly, and so be healed at last more perfectly; and thus by this miracle Christ teaches us that for the most part the unbeliever and the sinner is by degrees illuminated by God, so as to advance step by step in the knowledge and worship of God. "By this miracle," says Bede, "Christ teaches us how great is the spiritual blindness of man, which only by degrees, and by successive stages, can come to the light of Divine knowledge." The experiences of this blind man in gradually recovering his eyesight show as in a parable the stages of the spiritual change from absolute darkness to glimmering light, and thence to bright and clear vision. Cornelius a Lapide says, "We see an example of this in children and scholars, who must be taught and instructed by degrees. Otherwise, if the master, impatient of delay and labour, seeks to deliver all things to them at once, he will overwhelm their mind and their memory, so that they will take in nothing; as wine, when it is poured into a narrow-necked vessel, if you attempt to pour in the whole at once, scarcely any will enter, but almost all is wasted." A Lapide adds the well-known Italian proverb, "Piano, piano, siva lontano."

The growing faith seems like a reasonable explanation to me, consistent with the rest of the scripture, as our Lord performed miracles where there was faith (Matthew 9:27-30), and didn't perform them against unbelief (Matthew 13:58). And so this man could have had a glimmering faith which warranted partial healing, and when this was performed, he came to fully believe and his sight was fully restored.

Let me know your thoughts.

Response #15:

I'm not sure I'd agree. Clearly, our Lord did many miracles in many ways, and while we have been blessed to be told some things, as John says, "there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written" (Jn.21:25 NKJV). Some miracles took great effort. In "Sunday school" I imagine we all have an idea of our Lord blithely waving His hand and having any sort of miracle He desired take place without any trouble. But how about this:

Then they brought to Him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech, and they begged Him to put His hand on him. And He took him aside from the multitude, and put His fingers in his ears, and He spat and touched his tongue. Then, looking up to heaven, He sighed (literally, "groaned"), and said to him, "Ephphatha," that is, "Be opened." Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was loosed, and he spoke plainly.
Mark 7:33-35 NKJV

But Jesus said, "Somebody touched Me, for I perceived power going out from Me."
Luke 8:46 NKJV (cf. Lk.6:19)

What our Lord did in healing the sick took effort. It was tiring. And sometimes it was very much "hands on" as in the case above. The difficulty level sometimes had to do with the problem in question or the demonic opposition too, after all (cf. Matt.17:21: "this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting"). We are not privy to know why some things could be done at a distance, some things only in person, and why some things required more effort. But I don't see any indication of lack of faith being the problem. And, after all, with our modern perspective we are blessed now to understand that it really is harder in some cases to restore those who have a complete visual or aural deficit: there is a perceptual problem as well as a physical one. This incident you asked about, Mark 8:23-25, demonstrates our Lord healing both aspects of the man's blindness, and also, more importantly, reminds us of just how difficult our Savior's life and ministry were – so we won't take that for granted. It started hard (His preparation), got harder (His ministry), and had to push through the hardest resistance (His "passion") for Him to be in a position (on the cross in the darkness) to die for our sins (words cannot express what He did for us in atoning for our sins).

Question #16:

NIV SB: Mk.9:2 their faith. The faith of the men who carried him as well as the faith of the paralyzed man. your sins are forgiven. See note on Mk 2:5. In this case, perhaps there was a relationship between the man's sin and his paralysis (cf. Jn 9:1–3).

Would you agree that there was a relationship between the man's sin and his paralysis?

Response #16:

I would not rule it out (based on: Jn.5:14); but I would not be dogmatic about saying so (based on: Jn.9:2). We don't know the circumstances.

Question #17:

Dr Luginbill,

My family member has serious illness and another family member wanted her to be sprinkled with oil in a ceremony along with several others. What is your thoughts on this? I have different thoughts but I value your opinion. Thanks,

Response #17:

I'm very sorry to learn of this. I have had loved ones with similar conditions who were healed through regular medical practice. It never occurred to me to do anything like what you relate. I certainly did pray for them, however.

The practice you allude to is undoubtedly an attempt to duplicate the on mentioned in the book of James. James is perhaps the most misunderstood book in the Bible, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that he was writing to a Jewish audience which was steeped in the Law. I don't think his comments in chapter five about prayer and anointing can be understood outside of that context (e.g., Mk.6:13 shows that this was a Jewish custom associated with healing – but not of any import in that context without the gift given by Christ). Oil was used for its medicinal properties in the ancient world as well, so it's association with healing is not a surprise. It's a bit like us praying for someone to be healed after an auto-accident but not neglecting the first aid. So, not to put too fine a point on it, having people pray for you and yours is a wonderful thing, but the oil doesn't add anything. In fact, to the extent that anyone imagines the use of oil to have spiritual or even magical properties, well, that could comprise the prayer as trusting in works over faith through a misinterpretation of scripture.

The passage in James, moreover, is meant for those who are being disciplined with disease because of sinfulness, and in such cases the elders of the church are told to intervene in the way stated in hopes of rescuing the individual in question from this "sin unto death". In other words, being sick has nothing in particular to do with the passage in James.

I will certainly say a prayer for loved one!

In Jesus our dear Lord and Savior, the One who hears all of our prayers without any artifice,

Bob L.

Question #18:

A mild rebuke to your recent posting on healing centers. You wrote: "Finally, as to your question on healing centers, I completely agree there as well. There is nothing in the Bible about this, obviously, while there is much about praying for each other and God's promises to answer prayer."

Don't forget James, which calls the head pastor of a church a healer: "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." (James 5:14)

Response #18:

In addition to the important points that anointing with oil in this way was ancient "first aid" therapy, and that it would have been rude and odd in a Jewish context (James' readers) to withhold the oil (analogous to us withholding the band-aid or antibiotic cream), I would also like to point out that the situation in James is different from what the reader addressed in several other important aspects: 1) James tells the elders to go to the sick, not the sick to go to some center; 2) it is a local church based approach, not a para-church, multi-church, extra-church approach that we find in scripture; 3) the person in question in James is suffering judgment for sin (in the context: NIV v.15: "If he has sinned, he will be forgiven"; and more critically, NIV v.16 "Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed" [n.b., sins "to" each other, should read "sins against each other"]; NIV vv.19-20: "My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save him from death and cover over a multitude of sins").

In sum, as I say in the context of the posting, of course God heals, and of course we should pray for healing; the unique situation in James is focused on petitioning the Lord to relent in a case of the sin unto death. So I don't think the two situations are really parallel – except only that they both deal with healing.

In Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #19:

Dear Robert,

First I would like to thank you for answering my questions. I just can't believe how much knowledge you have and how much everything I read from you just "screams the truth from the bible." I feel very blessed to of found your site, you are truly being used by God for His missionary.

Please excuse me if I am bothering you with these questions. If I am just let me know and I will understand, I know you are a very busy man and I would not want to cause more work on you with my questions, I seem to have many.

So the question I would like to ask you is about healing sessions. I see these healing rivals popping up all over the place. I know of a few people that do these healing sessions. I know this is a learned thing because they actually go to classes for it, they told me this, I don't know if I am right here and I know God can use anyone of us to heal people if He chooses to but there seems to be a lot of people that claim this. I think these people really want to help others but isn't this from the devil because I know it says that the devil will deceive many people in the end times? Would this be one of those things that he is doing to deceive people? These people say that these are all signs of Jesus bringing His flock together. They say that there will be wonders and miracles in the world – please what are your thoughts on this?

Thank you very much.

Response #19:

It's a pleasure to hear from you again. I am encouraged to see that you are continuing to grow in God's truth, and that your "spiritual common sense" is likewise wonderful. Indeed, "healing sessions" would be something that just by the name and idea I would hope any discerning believer would give a wide berth. That is because, as is obvious on the face of it, the gift of healing is not being given at present. That was, along with many other such "sign gifts", an apostolic gift given to those in the early days of the Church responsible for putting it on a sound footing until such time as the New Testament had been written and a cadre of teachers of the Word of God developed. Even in Paul's time, it seems a time came when healing became not "automatic"; otherwise, why would he have "left Trophimus sick in Miletus" (2Tim.4:20)?

It is difficult to know what the people who organize these sorts of things have in mind without actually going and quizzing them – and I would imagine that the substance as well as the "scriptural support" would vary from "session to session" and from "healer to healer". What we can say is that no one is likely actually to be willing to go to such a "session" unless they require healing – and unless they expect to be healed. By definition, that is the implicit promise of a "healing session", and therein lies the problem: without possessing the gift of healing (which no one alive today does, in my view), there can be no guarantee of healing. Cannot believers pray for each other to be healed? Indeed they can (Jas.5:16). Does not God heal our diseases? Indeed He does (Ps.103:3). God does heal and God does answer prayer, but He does so in His time and in His way and in response to prayer that does not require any sort of "healing session".

Since no "healing session" can actually be confident of bringing on a miraculous healing of those who attend at the time they attend, there is tremendous pressure, even among the spiritually honest, to "fake it", both on the part of those "healing" and those "requiring healing". And if there is any dishonesty at all, any inclination to stretch things a bit for the sake of "building the faith" of those who attend (translate: bring them under the dominance of this person/group through false miracles), then spiritual disaster awaits any and all who are caught in these toils. We all have aches and pains, most of us of any age have some serious ones as well, and there are many among us (most all at one time or another) who are very seriously ill and who would benefit enormously from miraculous healing. God does heal. God does heal miraculously. And God does honor the prayers of those who belong to Him and who ask Him for such healing. But that does not mean that because someone, Christian or not, proclaims a "healing session" that God is going to do so for that person in that setting at that time and in that way. In fact, since this seems to be a case of trying to force God to act "in our way at our time", often with a willingness to fake it if He doesn't, I would be more than skeptical of having anything whatsoever to do with any such enterprise.

We do live in the last days, and when our Lord returns there will be an outpouring of the Spirit with visibly miraculous effects as in the early apostolic days. But until then, there is no prophetic indication that things are going to change from what we now see, namely, God's emphasis since the days of the apostles on the gifts related to learning and believing and applying the truth of His scriptures – and all erroneous behaviors which focus instead on gifts which are not actually possessed by the people who claim to have them always do a disservice to this proper emphasis of the Church today. There is one exception:

The coming of the lawless one (i.e., the beast, "antichrist") is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
2nd Thessalonians 2:9-10 NKJV

The only thing worse than a false miracle is a "miracle" performed in the power of Satan. So the question is for any and all such persons involved in these questionable activities: "do you really have this power from God?" If we determine in the Spirit that the answer is "no", then we should stay far away, no matter how emphatically they say "yes".

For more on these and related subjects, please have a look at the following links (and do feel free to write me back about any of the above):

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

Are Miraculous Spiritual Gifts still in Operation Today?

The Gift of Healing

Faith Healing

Sin and Salvation (see #7 for an explanation of James 5:14-1)

Third party reports I

Third party reports II

Third party reports III

Third party reports IV

Yours in Jesus Christ our dear Lord and Savior,

Bob L.

Question #20:

Dear Prof Robert Dean Luginbill, Ph.D,

The saying ‘Faith is released by speaking words’, is termed by some preachers to describe that sick people remain sick though ‘saved’ because of their inability to release their faith and be healed. They say God has put authority under us to move mountains therefore we should exercise it for the purpose. Also that commanding with God’s word will remove whatever obstacle that blocks us.

I am of the opinion this kind of statements lead to discouragement of believers when they realize that their desires have not materialized even after faithful prayers.

Appreciate your views.

Blessings

Response #20:

Very good to hear from you again.

I entirely agree with your appreciation of these things. None of what you report is biblical. In fact, one can barely even see the biblical reference behind these false statements, the truth being so far removed from the verbiage in fact. There is no such thing in scripture as "releasing faith", for example.

Christians do become ill (Paul certainly did). God does answer our prayers. But it is not always His will for us to be healed of every disease/condition we have immediately or sometimes "ever". If it were, then there would be no sick Christians (and there are no Christians I have ever met who have absolutely nothing wrong with them whatsoever) – and none of us would ever die physically. There are many false teachings out there in the church-visible in these latter days of Laodicea (see the link).

Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
1st John 5:14 NKJV

When it comes to something like illness, where we are all very vulnerable, this is a typical place false teachers like to exploit the easily manipulated. After all, everyone wants healing. And when the healing doesn't materialize and the person who had sought it has the ill-manners to ask the false teacher "why?", then, obviously, it has to be the sick person's fault, not the false teacher's fault. If the false teacher were to acknowledge that it was his fault, then money would soon stop flowing in. It doesn't matter to a false teacher either that the person requesting healing / praying for healing isn't healed, nor does it matter to him if the person gets discouraged when being blamed for having not enough faith. The only thing that bothers a false teacher is being cut off from the money of the overly gullible. Faith is trusting the Lord and believing His words. Putting one's faith in a false teacher instead is always a mistake. Here are some related links at Ichthys:

Faith Healing

Moving Mountains:  Matthew 21:21

The Gift of Healing

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

Does God use disease to discipline us?

How to recognize false teaching

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Question #21:

Dear Dr Bob, thank you for the quick and comprehensive reply that confirmed my views as well. I am a born again Christian confined to a wheelchair. Many Christians around used to indicate indirectly my lack of faith in healing is the problem for not getting healed. I want to tell them that it is they who lack faith. I have Joy within me and know what my destiny is. I also preach & share gospel with others and distribute tracts etc. I need to give a clear answer to stop these false teaching.

Blessings

Response #21:

Dear Brother,

Good for you! I know that I will also be cheering for you before the judgment seat of Christ when you receive your crowns of victory on that great day of days. In our lukewarm day of Laodicea, there is a sick and completely wrong-headed notion holding sway that the rich, successful and worry-free Christians are the "spiritual ones" whom the Lord is "blessing most of all". But what does scripture say? It says the Lord is on the point of vomiting them out . . .

. . . because you say "I am rich and have become wealthy and know no lack". And you do not realize that it is you who are the one who is wretched and pitiful and poor and blind and naked.
Revelation 3:17

I have rather a good number of contact from serious Christians all over the globe who are truly interested in the Word of God and living for Jesus Christ (unlike the show most Laodiceans put on), and I can tell you that most of them are very hard-pressed financially and almost all of them have serious health issues to contend with – and they have plenty of faith.

That said, there is no reason why we cannot pray for each other and expect deliverance – just the perfect deliverance at the perfect time – from our merciful Lord Jesus Christ. Those He loves He tests and tries that our faith may grow stronger and our witness more powerful – but He does answer, in the perfect way, at the perfect time. To that end, I have added your name to the Ichthys prayer request list, and promise to pray for you myself as well.

"Your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus" (Rev.1:9 NKJV),

Bob L.

Question #22:

Dear professor Robert,

It's well known that many preachers quote Isaiah 53:3-5 as evidence that God brings about physical healing subject to one’s faith. Don’t these verses relate to spiritual healing?

Appreciate your brief answer.

Blessings,

Response #22:

Good to hear from you – and apologies for the delay (a lot is going on at the moment).

I think your instinct is exactly correct, namely, that this passage does not give any indication that faith (which is spiritual) brings healing; of course God does heal. Of course often we have to wait on deliverance. So what I take you to be referring to is the misuse of passages like this by charlatans who claim to be able to heal people by touch (or whatever gimmick), and then blame the person's "lack of faith" if their touch doesn't heal. And their touch does not heal. Those who claim it did/does are only prevaricating (perhaps being planted in the audience to gin up the crowd), or being swept away by emotion to convince themselves that "they are healed" – the pain/problem will come back when the adrenaline leaves. God can heal anyone at any time for any reason. But it is a fact that physical troubles are part and parcel of the testing of the Christian life, and for anyone to suggest that a Christian can be healed through someone's touch "as long as they have enough faith" is really unforgivable. The gift of healing by touch was an apostolic one and it passed from the scene before the apostles did. Making this claim and using circus-like techniques to back it up does have the potential of drawing crowds, however, and also of bringing in a lot of money (which, in my opinion, explains 99% of this sort of operation). Here are some links where this topic is discussed further:

Faith Healing

Healing and Isaiah 53

The Gift of Healing

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams

Jesus' Healing by touch

Disease and divine discipline

Healing and other questions

Demon Possession and Healing (in SR 4)

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #23:

Dear professor Robert,

Below is a devotional reached me through a friend. Below that you will find my advice that is explanatory. I would appreciate your views in brief to make sure the correctness of my thinking. Forgive me for taking your valuable time but this is very personal to me as a situation come across often.

Dear Friend,

If you are trusting the Lord for healing today, it is so important for you to know that God wants you healed and well. Calvary's cross is the proof of God's love for you, as well as His desire for you to be whole. So important are your health and healing to Him, that God sent His own Son, Jesus, to pay the heavy price for you to be whole. So today, if you—or someone you love—is dealing with a sickness or an infirmity, be encouraged to know that Healing is for you! Healing does not come by you doing more. Healing comes by you resting in the finished work of Jesus.

At the cross, Jesus bore every scourge and every stripe so that you don't have to. His body was broken so that yours can be whole. And by His stripes, you have been healed (see Isaiah 53:4-5, AMP)! My friend, Jesus has already provided the physical health, wholeness and restoration you need. When you pray for physical healing, understand that the work is finished—your healing has been provided for. Healing is something to be received from Jesus. There is a story in the Bible that I want to share with you today. A woman had an issue of blood, and for 12 years she went from one doctor to another, trying every possible cure there was. Unfortunately, all of her efforts were fruitless. She spent all her money, but her condition only grew worse (Mark 5:25-26). Can you relate to that? Have you found yourself frustrated even though you've tried to do all the right things, say all the right things, do your best and yet your best efforts have been fruitless? You're still sick. Still tired. Seemingly out of options. If that is you, don't be discouraged. This woman received a breakthrough, and I believe the same breakthrough is available to you today. The secret is found in this verse, "She had heard about Jesus, so she came up behind him through the crowd and touched his robe" (Mark 5:27, NLT). And a miracle happened. The moment her fingertips made contact with His linen prayer cloth, power immediately infused her body. The bleeding that had been her constant companion for 12 long years ceased instantaneously, and she was completely healed. Now, what do you think this woman heard about Jesus? While the Bible doesn't go into detail about what she heard, I believe that she must have heard story after story of how Jesus healed the sick everywhere He went, how He didn't despise even the unclean lepers who came to Him, and how good and gracious He was to those who were down-and-out. Do you see this? She heard about a good God! At the end of the day, it wasn't about her at all. It was all about the Savior. The woman had a huge estimation of Jesus because of what she had heard about Him. She knew that Jesus was both willing and able. Faith arose in her to believe, and she pressed through the crowd. She touched the hem of His garment. You see, my friend, you don't have to try to talk God into healing you. He doesn't need convincing. He loves you more than you know. He wants you to be well more than you want to be well. He gave His back for the scourging, that by His stripes you and your children might be healed. You don't need to persuade the Lord! You need to persuade you! Healing is for you! I want to share a powerful testimony about a little girl from Texas who was healed of serious digestive problems that were affecting every area of her life. This little girl's name is Isabelle*. Isabelle was allergic to almost every kind of food you could think of. These allergies caused a number of medical problems for her—skin problems, abdominal pain, restless sleep and constant vomiting, just to name a few. Her parents met with every doctor and specialist they could find. There were times when Isabelle's symptoms would subside, and the family felt like they had solved the problem, but the symptoms would always come back stronger than before. It got to a point where Isabelle's parents were spending $1,200 a month just on a special diet for Isabelle to keep her healthy. After listening to my teachings on healing, Isabelle's parents decided to take the Holy Communion together as a family. Soon after, Isabelle's healing breakthrough came. Said her mother: We started partaking of the Holy Communion, believing that when Jesus died on the cross, He bore our sickness and disease just like the Bible says, believing He has already released the healing for anything that comes against us. One week later, Isabelle was able to eat anything she wanted. Wow! To this day, Isabelle is walking in her healing. Her symptoms are gone. Her pain is no more. She has received the healing power of Jesus in her life—all because her parents heard about Jesus—how He is willing, able, and how He has done it all at the cross. Just like this precious little girl and her family, I want you to embrace this truth: Healing is for you! Today can be the day you begin to receive your healing too. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (see Hebrews 13:8). This means that just as He healed the woman in Mark 5, just as He healed little Isabelle, Jesus can also heal you. Receive His love. Receive His goodness. Receive His healing today, because it really is for you! In His grace, P.S. Today, there is no symptom in your body that is too insignificant for Him to care about, and no condition that is greater than what His finished work has accomplished for you. * Isabelle's name has been changed to protect her privacy and that of her family.

Friend's comment:  "This man has twisted the gospel to mislead the believers. Jesus and Apostles performed miracles primarily to convince the believers who God is. It does not mean healing is not taking place now. Healing is possible to God at any time under any circumstances at His will. Sickness and trials would prevail in this world accursed with sin until the last enemy ‘Death’ is defeated. As Joseph Prince says Calvary’s cross does not signify Gods purpose for all the believers physical healing but purpose meant for man’s spiritual healing. All the believers should be free from sickness if what he says is true. No one should grow old or die. What a blunder? Bible says the tent (body) our spirit dwells in is subject to decay without any exemption. This was planned that way by God Himself. (2 Corinthians 5:5). Also (Isaiah 53:4-5) talks about spiritual healing again. These preachers not only defy scripture teaching but drag others also into their off track. Be careful of this deception that Jesus has forewarned 4 times in Matthew 24."

Response #23:

Apologies for the delay. For some reason these messages were not forwarded to my inbox (it seems to have something to do with implanted images or html).

As to the substance, I would certainly agree that our God is a God of mercy and of healing, and also that He is able to do absolutely everything. However, we do find great believers in the Bible who were sick and were not miraculously healed. Paul himself underwent many great troubles in this respect, and it clearly was in the will of God.

And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. And He said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2nd Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV

I am sure that we all know good Christians who have suffered with illness and ailment in spite of their wonderful faith. So while I would never want to downplay our Lord's ability to heal us or His goodness and mercy towards us, I would also be reluctant to say anything that might wrongly be taken to believe that if a Christian is sick or disabled it can only be because he or she lacks enough faith to be healed.

There is plenty more to say, but your friend has said it admirably well at the end your letter. So I will leave you now with a few links below, and invite you to write me back if you have any further questions.

Here are a few links where this subject is discussed at Ichthys:

Healing, Miracles, and Dreams: Sorting the Wheat from the Chaff by biblical Means

The Gift of Healing

Faith Healing

Yours in our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,

Bob L.

Question #24:

In regard to Matthew 9:5 you wrote: Saying "your sins are forgiven" is only possible if they have been actually propitiated and cleansed away in the righteous judgment of God. The only way Jesus could say this was through His pledge and determination to go to the cross and die for them. He could heal the man without dying for him; He couldn't forgive him without suffering spiritual death for his sins.

I understand your response, but I'm still unsure as to why our Lord uses the healing, which is the easier of the two, as the proof that He can forgive sins. I suppose someone could say "Yes, I can see that you can miraculously heal, but that still doesn't mean that you're God-man capable of forgiving sins".

Response #24:

I'm sure that this was the thinking of those who opposed Him. But consider what the man healed of blindness says:

"Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing."
John 9:31-33 NKJV

The reverse logic is that since only God could do what Jesus was doing in healing, and since therefore what Jesus did was empowered by God Himself, that therefore Jesus' ministry most certainly was of God, and that therefore the words which the miracles were meant to attest to were also the truth.

In Jesus Christ our Lord,

Bob L.

 

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