I’ve been a “Charismatic” my entire life. I’ve seen the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly. I’ve seen the awe-inspiring and the cringe-worthy. I’ve seen the real and the fake.
Today, I’m trying to sum up some of my observations, because I believe a healthy approach to supernatural healing is profoundly important for the future of the Church.
Let me open with a big fat clarification that many of my observations are cumulative generalizations based on a wide range of experiences. I am not attempting to judge the heart of specific individuals or ministries, and no, I am not subtly referring to ________ who you personally dislike.
With that said, let’s get started.
1. I have zero doubt supernatural healing is real.
If you haven’t witnessed this firsthand, it can be hard to believe. If you haven’t had a doctor look at you and say, “I have no clue how this happened,” it can be hard not to ignore such accounts.
My father had a golf-ball sized tumor in his neck simply disappear after it was prayed for. I’ve been a part of communities where cancer getting healed, backed up with medical verification, was a fairly common occurrence. While it’s not an everyday or even every-year occurrence, I have seen enough black-and-white, indisputable healings to remove any question from my mind that it’s possible.
Supernatural healing does happen, and it’s probably not as rare as you think.
Since this article isn’t particularly positive towards the “healing movement”, I would like to offer a quick defense of the existence of legitimate healing. The common question that comes up is, “Well if people were really getting healed, wouldn’t these occurrences be world famous?” There a number of reasons this isn’t the case:
- When doctors see stuff they can’t explain, their first impulse isn’t to write a dissertation on miracles. For most to even bat an eye, they would need to see the exact same inexplicable event occur many times.
- When you hear a bunch of other people claiming they’ve been healed, your first impulse isn’t to report on it. If you believe healing is possible, you might mention it. But if you don’t, you will immediately write off whatever you’ve heard, and the same goes for everyone else in the world.
- Even if a reporter was to witness supernatural healing first hand, it would be career suicide to report on it. No one else is going to believe it was legitimate, and honestly, even after directly witnessing healing, you probably wouldn’t be convinced it was real.
- In an age where Criss Angel can “fly”, recording something on video offers no more evidence than showing someone a video of Bigfoot.
Apologetics for legitimate healing aside, let’s now look at why a lot of healing testimonies AREN’T legitimate.
2. Most healing “testimonies” are pure speculation.
Unfortunately, many Charismatic communities give skeptics all the ammunition they need, and this is true even in places were legitimate healing is taking place.
I spent 3 years at a fairly popular ministry school, and about 95% of the testimonies told by students sounded something like this:
“So I went up to this stranger and asked if he had pain in his body. He said, “Yes, I have pain in my ____.” So I prayed for him and the pain left, and I’m just so excited about God completely healing him.” *clap, clap, clap
Now, I have zero problem with praying for pain to leave someone’s body. I do it all the time and will even share a pain-relief testimony later in this article.
But here are a few of the issues:
- What was the underlying condition? Did that get healed?
- Did the pain stay gone or was it just temporary relief?
- Why is it ALWAYS a stranger, giving no opportunity for accountability or follow up?
- Why, in 3 years of ministry, was pain relief 100% of all student-given testimonies?
Having someone tell you, “Pain left a part of my body,” and then reporting that as “he was completely healed” is pure speculation… at best.
After 3 years of this, I find myself far more skeptical of healing testimonies leaving the school than I was when I entered, and this is coming from someone who fully believes in the legitimacy of supernatural healing.
And what’s worse…
3. Those praying often don’t truly care about the people they’re praying for.
At first glance, this may seem harsh, but let’s just stop and be real. Let’s ask our testimony-sharers to answer these questions:
- Who is the person you just prayed for?
- What is the most pressing issue on their heart?
- How did God want to minister to them?
In many cases, the testimony-sharer can’t answer a single one of these questions? In many cases, they really don’t want to know, because the answers wouldn’t make for a great “testimony”.
All too often, when the gifts are involved, there seems to be a template-approach to ministry, coupled with a complete indifference towards those being ministered to. Sure, people will make an emotional show of it, but at the end of the day, if you can’t answer the most basic question about a person, did you really “minister” to them?
4. Healing anointings have nothing to do with holiness.
I bought into this lie pretty hardcore. It was how I was taught. “Your holiness qualifies you to be used of God.”
I spent years doing all the right things and wondering why I wasn’t seeing manifestations of supernatural power in my life.
And why shouldn’t I have bought into this idea? The guy telling it to me was one of the most supernatural ministers I’ve ever seen. We are talking crazy stuff… dude-seeing-through-an-eyeball-less-socket crazy… 13 year cancer-free zone crazy.
But as anyone who has been very long in Charismania can tell you, the annual “famous supernatural pastor falls” event makes it pretty clear that holiness is NOT the standard by which God doles out anointing, and even just having this perspective leads to dysfunction.
Can you imagine the pressure of telling everyone they need to be holy to be used, and then finding yourself face-to-face with your own issues. Where do you turn? When everyone expects you to be holy – when you’ve convinced yourself that is what qualifies you – where do you go when you realize it wasn’t true?
Vulnerability is the key to sustainability. It’s the key to wholeness and community and joy.
You don’t need to wait to reach some holiness standard to be used of God. Our God is a God of the journey, not the destination.
5. Healing anointings have nothing to do with theological accuracy.
On a similar note, I’d like to point out that just as one’s healing anointing doesn’t confirm his or her personal “holiness”, it also doesn’t confirm theological accuracy.
Again, I bought into this one, because when two guys are arguing and only one is doing miracles, siding with miracle dude seems like the natural choice.
If only discovering theological truth was as easy as finding the craziest miracles…
Needless to say, when you have hundreds of healing evangelists all disagreeing on the nature of God, it becomes readily apparent that the anointing has little to do with theological accuracy.
6. That said, healing anointings are real… and powerful.
Despite everything I’ve just said, Paul wasn’t kidding when he said God’s gifts and callings are irrevocable. There are some people who are simply called and gifted.
I’ve encountered these people. I’ve served with them. What would constitute the craziest moment of my life is an average Thursday for them. My intro to healing prayer was praying for a few headaches. Their’s was healing an entire deaf/mute school (that’s a real example). In all honesty, these people didn’t do anything to earn this special anointing. It just is what it is.
Some steward it well. Others don’t. I can tell you that Jesus wasn’t joking when He said to whom much is given, much is required. There is much required from these individuals as well, and I’ve come to appreciate, at times, that I don’t have the same weight on my own shoulders.
7. Supernatural healing is not limited to the “anointed”.
While anointings, giftings, and callings are real, I want to be clear that no one is restricted from being used by God to bring healing.
1 Cor 12:31 tells us to “eagerly desire the greater gifts.” I’ve seen people who didn’t even know God ask Him to heal their friend’s arm and then watch in amazement as it happened. I’ve completely failed at trying to give a word of knowledge for healing and then seen God show up and heal the person anyway.
There are no restrictions. God is not limited to our giftings. He really likes demonstrating His love to people, and anyone interested in partnering with Him in loving people can see healing take place.
Furthermore, God is bringing the Church into a new paradigm that replaces “the man of God” with “the people of God”. The Kingdom of Heaven was never be designed to be carried by a handful. It’s time for the Church as a whole to understand the Kingdom and bring the world into abundant life.
And this is precisely why I believe a healthy perspective towards healing is needed. The problem is…
8. No one seems to actually understand healing.
The Evangelical Church and its Charismatic offshoots are rather famous for claiming to have the final word on virtually everything. And yet, within this assurance of total certainty, there seems to be a uniform acceptance that supernatural healing is beyond our understanding.
In Evangelical circles, divine healing is typically viewed as the sovereign act of God, if it’s believed in at all. God moves according to His will, and we have little-to-no influence in how He chooses to interact with humanity. We can pray, but God’s decision to heal or not to heal doesn’t have much to do with our participation.
In many Charismatic circles, the opposite could be said. We are commissioned to bring the power of God to the world. God always wants to use us to heal, and when it doesn’t happen, it’s because there are shortcomings on our end. These shortcomings might involve our level of faith, level of holiness, level of passion, level of perseverance, etc. – no one really knows – but as we grow in these undefined areas, we will see more healing take place through our ministry.
In either paradigm, healing is regarded with uncertainty. And unlike virtually any other area of theology, uncertainty towards healing is vigorously defended.
9. And apparently, you shouldn’t try to understand it either.
I remember at one point a famous teacher told me that trying to understand God was the same as trying to control God. This comment was made with a particular emphasis towards the supernatural.
When I mentioned on Facebook that I was writing an article along these lines, the most “liked” comment I received stated the following:
I don’t think there is any one avenue in which healing is delivered. It comes from many different places. The only theology a person should have regarding healing, is that God still heals today. As to why or how or when? It’s never up to us. I have prayed for a deaf man to be healed, and though I can honestly say I wasn’t sure if God would heal him, he still got healed. I’ve also had complete faith God would heal another man I prayed with whom a heart murmur and he was healed. I’ve also been healed during a service when no one was praying for my specific ailment. I’ve prayed for many other healings, and also seen nothing happen. Since healing is in his presence, it seems to occur at His prerogative. Knowing when healing is going to happen comes then, when you know his heart.
In many ways, this is a fairly healthy perspective. But what is most interesting to me is the actively expressed view that “the ONLY theology a person should have regarding healing, is that God still heals today.”
Just like the teacher I mentioned before, this individual was expressing a belief that one SHOULD NOT seek to understand healing.
Why is that? We don’t typically have this stance toward other areas of our theology. Why healing?
10. Prayer for healing doesn’t seem to have a predictable result.
For the free-thinking Christian, discovering theological truth looks a lot like the scientific process. It involves a number of steps:
- Observe and encounter God as He works in your life and the lives of others.
- Look to Scripture to help you interpret your observations and experiences.
- Refine your conclusions through feedback from friends, fathers & mothers, and the Holy Spirit.
- Continue to observe, interpret, and refine.
And just like the scientific process, we end up with working theories – conclusions about who God is and how He responds to the situations we encounter.
Many of our conclusions are not practically testable. For example, when we conclude that “God is forgiving”, we measure the practical accuracy of this by the peace in our spirits when we ask God for forgiveness. This is hardly a legitimate test, but like so many aspects of religion, it aligns with our belief system, our personal reality confirms it, the similar realities of others affirm it… and at the end of the day, it works for us.
The difference with healing is that it IS practically testable.
We pray for someone, and they are either healed or they aren’t healed. Unlike most religious activities, this provides us with immediate feedback to factor into our belief system, and we aren’t used to dealing with that.
To make matters even more complicated, prayer for healing doesn’t seem to yield predictable or consistent results.
We pray a certain way for a certain condition, in a certain frame of mind, and that condition is healed. We repeat the process with similar parameters and nothing happens. We never know what will happen the next time we pray for someone, and as a result, most have concluded that the nature of healing can’t by understood.
Furthermore, trying to isolate a more specific understanding could destroy our mainstream approach to evangelism.
11. Our approach to evangelism requires we remain ignorant towards healing.
In both Evangelical and Charismatic circles, evangelism often looks remarkably like business sales.
- Establish a need – “You are headed straight for eternal, fiery torment. You need help”
- Pitch the main benefit – “By accepting Jesus, you can avoid eternal, fiery torment.”
- Sweeten the deal – “But wait, there’s more. God answers prayer (for healing, finances, relationships) so you will have a better life.”
- Always be closing – “Would you like to pray this prayer and avoid fiery damnation?”
- Don’t waste too much time on any one pitch – there are too many souls that need saving.
In this context, healing ministry tends to be part of the salvation sales pitch. It tends to be less personal and more “how can we reach the most people”.
There are upsides and downsides to this perspective, but regardless of one’s opinion on the matter, it makes sense to have an “I don’t know” theology on healing when our goal is maximum reach and “results aren’t guaranteed”. It makes sense to keep our expectations of healing vague when we can’t predict the outcome and salvation is the primary objective.
12. Uncertainty is needed to sustain healing ministries.
For “healing ministries” specifically, uncertainty is a MUST.
Think about it. These people are praying for thousands at a time. It’s simply not sustainable to worry about any one individual. There is no time to focus on why some are healed and some aren’t. If you have to worry about those who don’t get healed, you will burn out quickly.
For those in this style of ministry, the best option is to simply continue praying and trust God with the results. Some of the most powerful, legitimate healing ministries I’ve encountered use this approach.
On the one hand, it makes sense. I get it. And while I would never speak ill of these ministries, at the same time, this perspective of uncertainty doesn’t seem to be what we see when we look in scripture.
13. The Bible suggests that healing faith is related to understanding authority.
As a research-prone sort of chap with a longstanding fascination of physical healing, I’ve paid particular attention to discussions on healing within the Bible. The most profound account, in my opinion, is that of Jesus’ with the centurion in Luke 7.
2 And a centurion’s slave, who was highly regarded by him, was sick and about to die. 3 When he heard about Jesus, he sent some [b]Jewish elders asking Him to come and [c]save the life of his slave. 4 When they came to Jesus, they earnestly implored Him, saying, “He is worthy for You to grant this to him; 5 for he loves our nation and it was he who built us our synagogue.”
6 Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, “[d]Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; 7 for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just [e]say the word, and my [f]servant will be healed. 8 For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, ‘Go!’ and he goes, and to another, ‘Come!’ and he comes, and to my slave, ‘Do this!’ and he does it.”
9 Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, “I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith.” 10 When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health.
Jesus marvels at the centurion’s faith, but what we see in the centurion is not the “blind belief” many Christians think of as faith, but rather, a deep-seated understanding of authority.
The centurion is not saying, “Jesus, I believe in you, and I believe you can heal.” He is literally saying, “I understand how authority works, and I recognize that you have authority over my servant’s physical well-being.”
14. This revelation of authority led to me seeing more healing.
The more I dwelt on this account of the centurion, the more I came to believe that there was power to heal in a revelation of Christ’s authority. As I began to meditate on this, it began to take root in me and affect the way I did ministry.
The most notable incident involved a longtime missionary I was working with named Denny. He and his wife Danette had spent decades on the mission field and were the epitome of servant-leaders. However, for the last 4 years, Denny had been experiencing sharp, constant back pain as the result of a minor back injury. The underlying injury had healed on a functional level, but there was still lingering pain, as is so often the case with back injuries, that the doctor’s couldn’t really do anything about.
When the call for healing prayer went out one Sunday night, Denny stood and I walked over to pray for him, aware of his back pain from previous discussions. People around the room prayed for those standing for around 2-3 minutes, and then the service continued onward.
The moment I laid my hands on Denny’s back, however, something clicked in my spirit. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but I had a profound conviction that this back pain was unacceptable and had zero authority to be there. From our previous conversations, I knew Denny had always enjoyed being an athlete, but had been unable to engage in his favorite activities because of this pain. I was angry about this, and I was aware that I had the authority to command this pain to leave. It wasn’t in question. I knew this pain was going to leave.
Accordingly, when the rest of the service moved on and nothing had changed in Denny’s back, I kept praying, because I knew he was about to be healed of this pain. Denny and the others praying for him were willing to keep it going, so we went outside and continued praying. Around 20 minutes later, Denny was running laps around the church with no pain. And even more importantly, as of the last time I checked with Denny, the pain has never returned and he has resumed his enjoyment of athletic pursuits.
Why am I telling you this? Because I am convinced there is a connection between healing and authority, and I want to continue pursuing that understanding with your help.
But going back to our discussion of healing ministries…
15. Jesus would make a terrible Charismatic healing evangelist.
In more “progressive” Charismatic circles, there is this idea that Jesus is our model for the Christian life – that Jesus was the example of what is possible when a man or woman is in right relationship with the Father and Holy Spirit.
Jesus had a 100% healing rate. He didn’t try to heal people. He healed them. But what did he do with this profound ability?
He went about His Father’s business.
In Charismania, if you have a noticeable healing rate (let’s say 50%), you’re next step is to proclaim yourself a healing evangelist and spend the rest of your life visiting churches and praying for thousands of people. Imagine what would happen if someone had a 100% healing gift.
I can guarantee you “going about the Father’s business” would be the LAST thing on their mind.
I don’t say that as a judgement of character. The motivations might be 100% pure. But in the Charismatic community, we’ve re-defined “the Lord’s work” as “the use of spiritual gifts”. If you have a gift, it needs to be used for massive outreaches, television appearances, and conferences.
Jesus would be terrible at filling this role. Today’s leaders would lament his “wasted talent” and “unused giftings”. I mean think about it – a man with a 100% healing rate who didn’t spend a large percentage of his time healing people.
And this makes me think…
16. We need to re-evaluate our definition of “successful ministry”.
A sold-out conference. A bestselling book. A megachurch.
These are what we call “success” in American Christianity. But what do any of these things actually accomplish? What is the ROI of these events? What is the meaningful impact? What is the lasting benefit?
Every year, Christian leaders bemoan the supposed disintegration of the world’s moral fiber. They decry the lack of impact the Church is making, and then they continue speaking at the same conferences, running the same TV programs, and collecting the same paychecks they have for the last 20 years.
“Ministry” is from the Greek word diakoneo, meaning “to serve” or douleuo, meaning “to serve as a slave.”
Why is being a sought-after itinerant, best-selling author, and conference keynote speaker the pinnacle of a career allegedly devoted to “serving”.
Is this really “the Father’s business”? Or are we simply slapping the Father’s name on our own businesses?
17. I don’t think physical healing is always God’s priority.
So what does it look like to be about our Father’s business? And how does this apply to healing?
While I would tend to agree with the perspective that it’s always God’s heart to heal, I’ve come to realize that physical healing is not always His priority.
I believe that Jesus came to give us abundant life. He came to rewrite mankind’s paradigm of God by introducing us to the Father. Physical health and wholeness is an important part of living life abundantly, but it’s not the only part, and I would even go as far as saying it’s not the most important part.
This is where “the Father’s business” comes into play. Too often, we enter a ministry scenario with an agenda. We are there to minister in the way we want to minister or the way we feel best equipped to minister.
But this isn’t the model we see from Jesus. Jesus did what He saw the Father doing. Jesus partnered with the Holy Spirit in prioritizing what the Father was prioritizing, rather than simply following a ministry template. And just like Jesus, we should approach ministry and life in general looking for the Father’s priorities.
NOT looking for a step by step path that we are supposedly supposed to follow but simply looking to partner with what God is doing in people’s lives, rather than trying to dictate what WE want God to do in their lives.
18. Physical healing is often a quick-fix rather than a permanent solution.
I’ve seen people get supernaturally healed of cancer – complete with medical verification – and then relapse and die. I’ve seen God supernaturally restore relationships and then watched them implode a few years later. I’ve seen drug addicts supernaturally delivered without a single withdrawal only to fall back into addiction down the road.
Healing and deliverance are rarely long-term solutions. They are gifts. They are often quick-fixes that give us the freedom to address deeper problems. And they are meant to facilitate a more complete wholeness.
In the charismatic world, we often make supernatural gifts the point. We have elevated these momentary touches of God into our basis for ministry. Meanwhile, our kids grow up disillusioned, our marriages fail, our pastors fall, and we have virtually zero lasting impact in the communities our plentiful testimonies come from.
We need to shift our focus.
19. We need to create environments that support lasting wholeness.
If you treat your body like crap, it will break down and develop problems. God can step in and heal you of one or more of those problems, but if the way you treat your body doesn’t change, you will simply develop new problems.
You can be a lousy husband and destroy your marriage. God can step in and supernaturally turn you and your wife’s hearts towards each other, but if nothing changes in how you go about being a husband, it won’t be long before you once again destroy your marriage.
You can have a negative belief system that leads you to hate yourself. God can step in and give you a revelation of your worth, but if you don’t change your internal and external environments – the beliefs you have about yourself, the way to talk about yourself, the way the people around you talk about you – you will drift back into hating yourself.
We need environments that support wholeness. We need environments that support physical well-being – environments that don’t view our bodies as just something to shed on our way to “heaven”. We need environments that support emotional intelligence and healthy relationships. We need environments that support healthy belief systems – that teach us to view ourselves as sons & daughters made for joy rather than miserable sinners made for submission to a control freak.
I’d much rather live in an environment where people didn’t get sick then one where they continuously cycled through sickness and healing.
2o. We can’t be afraid to love.
“Desire earnestly the best gifts, and yet I will show you a more excellent way…”
We all know where this is heading. It really is all about love. And love looks like something.
We can’t be afraid to love. When you are looking at the boy in the wheelchair, love looks like something. It might look like being bold enough to pray for healing. It might look like simply talking with him, discovering his heart and passions. It might look like hearing God’s heart for him and declaring that over him.
As you grow in relationship with Holy Spirit, you will get better at discerning which of those is best in the moment, but honestly, you really can’t go wrong if you are there to love.
We can’t be afraid to love. We can’t be afraid to engage. It’s really easy to not engage. I know. I’ve been there. After spending 3 years constantly engaged, I’m very much enjoying a season of rest and allowing myself to be be ministered to.
But I can’t stay here forever. Not because I’m obligated to accomplish something for God. Not because souls need to be saved from a fiery doom.
I need to engage because love looks like something, and I was made to love.
I’m not the only one with observations on healing.
Well… that’s 4,500 words of my perceptive, but I’m not the only one with something to say on this topic. It’s your turn! Let me know what you think in the comments below.
What do you agree with? What do you disagree with?
Do you think we need to do a better job of verifying healing claims? Consider supporting this Kickstarter project by our friend Elijah Stephens. He’s looking to find if legitimate evidence exists to support the idea of physical healing.
If you’d like to read more from Brazen Church, enter your email below to receive a single, non-clickbait email whenever we publish something especially interesting.
lance Pemberton says
Jacob McMillen says
Heather G says
I absolutely love your write up. All too often the emperor has no clothes when it comes to all the games that go on in the charismatic world in regards to healing. But if you say that, everyone points a finger at you and accuses you of not believing in healing. Your article nails it on the head – you can passionately believe that God heals people, and even be stepping out in prayer for that, while being disgusted at the whole healing movement in general.
By the way, thanks for mentioning #3 about people not caring about people. Too often praying for someone to get healed is an ego trip. I wrote a post about that a while back.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks Heather! We really need a church culture that allows people to question.
And your article is a SPOT ON analysis of the “1-to-10” method:
“There are people in churches and groups I have been in that have never been interested in knowing me, or being friends with me. But when they host an Avon party or an Amway party or some other sort of “get everyone who has a checkbook to come to your party” type party, they never fail to invite me.”
I can’t think of a better analogy than this. Great article!
I love this Jacob. Answered a lot of my questions.
Jacob McMillen says
Paul Russell says
I have seen and been part of praying for and seeing healing and i have experienced healing 3 times latest is that,. I am 6yr alive from stage 3c colon cancer doc gave me little chance of being here! God makes the rules.
I agree 100% with ur writings there are no rules or requirements there is no formula, no amount of reading and learning… there is the simple request to God in Jesus name knowing the answer can be yes or no…or something completely different!
Never chase mericals or signs but seek humble love and servanthood and when u ask belive and God will answer one way or the other.
Jacob McMillen says
Well said Paul, you make some excellent points. No formulas. Just serving and love. Thanks for sharing!
Peter Hartgerink says
I liked this very much. I have prayed for the sick on and off for over 25 years. I have seen some healed and many not. I have seen a lot of the unverifiable type of testimony you describe. It is usually the result of a genuine eagerness to see God move but it doesn’t actually help our credibility. I liked your observations on authority as a key to healing, on love as the true test of valid ministry, and on wholeness (which is broader than physical healing) as the real goal. I would add that in the NT healing miracles are signs pointing to the Age to Come when not only sickness but death itself will be banished. A lot of the problems with healing ministry are related to pride and presumption. But we can’t bring in the restoration of all things (of which healing is a sign). Only Jesus can do that. As you said, if we understand His authority we will be more effective, but truly understanding His authority means submitting to Him as Lord, and looking to His coming Kingdom, rather than trying to promote our own ministry.
Jacob McMillen says
Well said Peter, and thanks for the kind feedback. One of our writers, Josiah Pemberton, will be publishing a piece soon discussing Ages and the Age to Come. I haven’t jumped into that realm of teaching just yet, but everything Josiah has mentioned thus far is incredibly intriguing. Do you have any recommendations for study in that area?
Samuel Nicolosi says
Martin Trench, who co-authored a book with Harold Eberle entitled “Victorious Eschatology,” has a great 6-part teaching on the “ages” the Bible references and what the “age to come” is. I highly advise your thoughtful consideration of it, as it is a paradigmatic shift.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Samuel! Thanks for the link! Martin Trench and Harold Eberle are exactly the teachers Josiah has been getting me into over the last two years. My wife and I were actually discussing some of the ideas from this series with some friends tonight, but I didn’t realize the full thing was online. So cool! I’m going to start reading through it!
Samuel Nicolosi says
Jacob, there are a couple of FB theology groups of which I am a part, that may interest you. They are safe but closed spaces in which people ask blunt and provocative questions about eschatology, theologies, etc, and I have benefitted greatly from them. Those forums are where I first learned about an optimistic end-time view, of the Ages, and so on.
Martin Trench and Jim Wies are in these groups and actively engage–I will try to find you on FB and befriend you, so that I can recommend your name to the group moderators, if you are so interested?
Incidentally, Trench’s teaching on the ages raised good questions for me and also led to wonder about something. I have heard Rick Joyner and others constantly go on about “the end of the age” and I’ve come to believe that they misread the end of the age (Trench says we are passing from the Pisces Age to the Age of Aquarius) as the end of a previous age: that of the Temple System at 70 AD, about which Matthew 24, Luke 19, and Books of Revelation and Daniel prophesy. I have yet to put that question to them, but once I learned about optimistic eschatology, it left me wondering what the prophetic movement was seeing, which I respected but could no longer agree with/embrace their eschatological views (mainstream futurism and dispensationalism).
I apologize for digressing from the main article. Perhaps I should stop & just ask you to email me, and I can chat with you that way? firstname.lastname@example.org
Excellent points. In fact, I’m thrilled to see this. I’ve been waiting for a long time to find an intelligent, charismatic approach to Christianity. Too often it seems that you can have one or the other, but not both. I’m going to be pondering this for a while.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Trevor, glad to have you! That’s exactly our goal – a real, intelligent approach to Christianity that isn’t afraid to ask questions.
Peter Dawson says
Excellent article. Picking up on Peter Hartgerink’s important comment, I would like to see a discussion of miracles are ‘for validation of anointed ministry’ and ‘signs of the coming kingdom’. I think you are on the right track when you say it’s more than just about the healing, we need to discern God’s will. I think there are 2 contexts for miracles – Body ministry & evangelistic – so this may help explain a difference in perspectives.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Peter, thanks for commenting! Well said. I think we see from Mark 16 that signs should follow those who believe – not the “anointed” believer, but rather, the “normal” believer.
Just to clarify, I’m not really an advocate of “God’s will” in the micro sense, in that I don’t think God is looking for our conformity to a micro-managed existence. Rather, when I mentioned partnering with Holy Spirit, I’m referring to getting insight into the journey God is on with the person we are ministering to, and then partnering with that. So its less, how can I obey God’s will, and more how can I bring my strength and gifting to what God is already doing in this persons life?
This is a bit of a tangent, but your comment made me think about it, so I wanted to elaborate 🙂
That is exactly where I am in my process of pursuing bringing encounter to people – sometimes healing is the encounter, sometimes it’s something else supernatural – but the point is – how can I colabor with the Lord to reveal His heart in the way the person needs it the most in that moment?
I really enjoyed the article!
I’m trying to find the name of the author !!!
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Luke, I’m the author of this article. We keep the author tags fairly subtle, but you can find the author’s name just above the comment section. Thanks for reading!
Hi there Jacob. Thanks for your valued insights. After losing a child to brain cancer I began searching for truth on divine healing. I soon discovered that I was completely ignorant of some of the essential truths relating to God’s will to heal and the believers authority. Both were major game changers for me . The latter really helped me I believe to go from zero healing testimonies in 15 years to thousands over a period of a few years. Over the years I have learned ( and continue to grow in understanding) many things relating to the subject of your article. One of the major things I have learned ( which you covered) was that it was often easy to operate in authority without really loving the other person – truly caring for their entire being when possible. Father has been thankfully working on this and it has made a difference. The other thing I really have tried to do is to as best as possible authenticate a healing before posting / sharing. Check in with those prayed for days/ weeks later to establish their well being. I don’t always get this right but it’s something I try do.
Another helpful thing to ensure my heart is always pure is to not post testimonies on social platforms for weeks and even months. Are we looking for the number of likes and shares as our measure of success and acceptance? Our objective is His pleasure not mans approval.
I also love the principle of being real with people – be vulnerable about your struggles / your failures. If we create perceptions that you never have failure or never struggle with doubt etc….that’s deception. I for example have seen dozens of people healed of ringing in the ear but still struggle with this problem myself. It has completely stopped three times when other people have prayed for me but has come back each time. Has that stopped me from believing in Gods will or from reaching out to touch others with Gods love – never.
I also agree with your statement of making healing a formula – a ten step program rather than walking in step with the Spirit. Look there are some basics that should hopefully get one started but growth comes from truly knowing Him and hanging out with saints who are already experiencing success with healing the sick / setting people free.
Mostly I 100% agree how vital it is to genuinely love people the way Jesus did.
Trust my little input has helped.
Much love Kevin
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Kevin, thanks for sharing! I couldn’t agree more!
There are absolutely some fundamental shifts in our perspective of God that facilitate the supernatural in our life. And I really appreciate your desire to love and hold youself accountable rather than simply grasping at testimonies. We need more of that.
My biggest hope for this articles is that it frees people to believe in what they know to be true while questioning what seems off – particularly in the context of the supernatural.
Matt Madigan says
Super helpful and refreshingly honest.
Jacob McMillen says
Paul Frala says
I enjoyed your article. I have been involved in praying for the sick for over 30 years and much of what you say is true. I have trained thousands over the years and and I tell them your number one goal is that the person you are praying for walks away feeling loved. Your job is to protect and care for them.
Several things that I have learned that have demystified the healing ministry for me is one is By Jordan Sang in his book “Miracle Work” came up with this equation that makes sense POWER= Faith + Gifting + Authority + Sanctification.
Also one of keys as you mentioned in your article, you need to find the root cause I have found that 60% of most healings involve un-forgiveness or some other root like generation sin, trauma, believing lies or curses/demonic.
Keep up the the good work we need to make praying for others more common place. We all get to play. Not just for the professionals.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing Paul!
“We all get to play. Not just for the professionals.”
Thank you for this post. I have been asking God for ALL of the gifts and have been disappointed that healing never seemed to be one. Then yesterday God brought me to Hebrews 12:12-13. The verses are talking about strengthening my body so that I can strengthen (heal) others. Then I came upon your post today and what hit me again was that it’s not about healing people for the sake of healing. It’s being in tune with God’s agenda. Listening to the Holy Spirit and loving on people, showing them the love of Christ, and it may or may not involve prayer for healing. It may be healing that you spent time getting to know someone, listening to their story, it may be healing that you invited them to dinner or heard their hearts. This has given me a better, wider perspective on healing and has been an encouragement. Thanks again and blessings on your ministry.
Jacob McMillen says
Well said Deborah! You hit the nail right on the head! I’m glad this article was able to help confirm some of the things God was already showing you – that is so cool 🙂
And thanks for the kind words as well! Blessings to you and yours!
Karen Moroney says
Spot on about authority and love – Jesus said Christians would be known by their love – no substitute – pray in love.
Jacob McMillen says
Samuel Nicolosi says
Jacob, I have really loved this article and it’s given me a lot to ponder. I will be re-reading it several times over the coming weeks, so that I can think through some of the insights you offer. I love the tension between His heart/will to heal and His in-the-moment priority, which may or may not coincide with His general heart’s disposition.
What I walk away thinking about, having read this, is two-fold:
1) Healing is a Person, Jesus, and not a formula or even a result of a prayer equation (1+1=2). When someone is healed–I don’t fully get how this works–but they have touched Healing Himself and the result is a transformation in their bodies or minds.
2) We are not dealing with an equation when we try to connect another with Jesus for healing, but rather we are dealing with the whims and wishes of a Person–what Christ wants in that moment. Recalling for me the tension of will/priority, when we are praying we are not exercising a spiritual law (as if an equation) but rather engaging the law of a Person’s nature and what He wants.
I think we stumble over the fact that healing ministry does not a scientific method nor is it a dependable, 100% reliable & predictive thing–despite that we want it to be. Our cultural bias for empiricism–provable data because predictable methods–catches us out. We want faith to be formulaic when I think faith is the interpersonal dynamic that resides between us and Jesus, which brings me back to what you said about authority. (You can see the intimacy someone has with another, and thus the authority to speak for another, versus one who does not have these on board and attempts nonetheless to speak like they are a higher authority’s intimate–think the difference between an cubicle worker versus an office manager, when it comes to relations with the CEO.)
I would hazard a guess that when you connected with His authority to heal that man with back troubles, what you connected with was the strength of your understanding of His heart in that moment–you had authority over something because you had authority with Him, from knowing Him (He showed you something about Him and He caused you to believe Him).
I hope this response to your article makes sense? I may be rambling because I am tired…what I am trying to say is that to the degree that we actively and dynamically KNOW HIM, not a formula but HIM, to that degree we have authority.
At any rate, this article of yours has me thinking…thank you!
Jacob McMillen says
Makes perfect sense Samuel! Thanks for commenting!
I agree with everything you said, 100%. One thing I left out of this article actually goes right along with how you are describing my experience. When I read certain sermons from John G. Lake, I feel like my Spirit is literally being lifted into a higher reality – where I see the world different, my understanding of authority is increased… and it feels like faith.
I don’t really know how to describe it very well, but it made me think of this when I read your comment: “what you connected with was the strength of your understanding of His heart in that moment–you had authority over something because you had authority with Him, from knowing Him.”
It’s a knowing of Him, in part, but I think it’s more than that, and since you are familiar with Martin Trench’s discussion of ages, I’ll go there. I think it’s an understanding of God but also an increased understanding of reality itself – the reality he has created. I think our physical reality is much more complex than we realize and much more susceptible to change than we can fathom. We see evidence for this in scientific discovery, whether it’s the creative power of sound or the varying reality of light photons, and I think mystics and ministers have tapped into various aspects of understanding this reality in the past, while the world at large won’t progress into this understanding until the Age to Come.
That’s something I’m meditating on right now. I’m far away from reaching the point where I’d write on it, but I was just discussing this today with friends, so your comment triggered it again.
I appreciate your thoughts and feedback!
Good article Jacob. In relation to points 17 and 18, I once had the honour of praying for a friend who had a severe migraine headache that wasn’t responding to painkillers. Her husband asked me to pray for her and I prayed and meditated on God’s word for an hour, until I was ready to proceed. I knew that I was operating under God’s authority so I walked in, laid my hands on her and said, “Be healed in Jesus name” and walked out. I sat chatting with her husband for an hour, all the while glancing towards the door, wondering why she wasn’t joining us. Her husband went in and found her asleep.
I visited her the next day and she told me that the moment I spoke those words, God showed her that she was holding on to forgiveness towards her sister. She immediately forgave her and her migraine started easing off. In this case the migraine was simply the physical manifestation of a greater issue, and once she dealt with that, her healing was possible.
It was a great lesson for me too, of the power of forgiveness and importance of it in all our lives.
Yours in Christ.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing Ezekial! The unforgiveness theme seems to come up pretty consistently with healing. I think there are some places where the mental, spiritual, and emotional environments we create for ourselves directly impact our physical well-being.
Someone once described himself as a charismatic sitting on his hands. He shared their beliefs, but was just more conservative in his approach. That’s about where I am, too. I enjoyed this thoughtful and insightful article. Supernatural healing always gets my attention because I’ve been sick for the last 12 of the 26 years I’ve known Christ. Well, I’ve had one thing or another since before I knew Christ, but the big storm came 12 years ago. I don’t even have a diagnosis. I’ve grappled with it on every level a person could, and I’ve been prayed for countless times, although not by anyone who actually has the gift of healing, and I’ve been anointed a few times with the prayer. I always have to go back to the month before it started when the Lord told me 3 times to be strong and courageous. So I can only surmise from that that He has a purpose. That my illnesses is there by divine choosing. But I always hold onto the hope that I’ve learned what God wanted me to learn, and I don’t want to be sick and in pain one second longer. So I read when I come across a biblically-grounded explanation of healing to see if there’s some new insight about what I can do (or shouldn’t be) in order to not get in God’s way of healing. I’ve prayed for healing of my mind, heart and body all these years and I don’t intend to give up. I have grown immensely through it, and for that I am very grateful. Thank you for your service to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing Dorci! I don’t want to presume to give you advice, but it sounds to me like your belief system might be keeping you in your condition. When we believe that what we are experiencing is the will of God, it essentially gives us “faith” to stay in that condition.
I don’t believe God gives us sickness, intentionally keeps us sick, or withholds healing simply to teach us a lesson. I think if you will ask God to show you how He views you and views your condition, you might hear Him speak something different to you that will give you a new perspective on yourself. He’s a really good Father!
If you don’t resonate with that, no problem at all. I really appreciate you sharing! Blessings to you on your journey!
The reason I believe God sometimes allows sickness, at least for a time, are the examples given in scripture: Job, Paul, and Lazarus to name a few. I would be more than willing to pray as you suggested, though. Thank you.
Jacob McMillen says
And just so you know, I’m not suggesting that’s an unreasonable thing to believe based on scripture. I just wanted to suggest an alternative view. Blessings!
It is good to see people thinking about these questions.
Addressing #8 – 13; you might want to check out Berkeley Psychic Institute or one of the many offshoot institutes where people have been seeing all this quite clearly in detail and doing it since the early 1970’s. When you can hear other people’s thoughts, heal yourself and others, and see beyond the many layers of people’s lies, personalities, pictures, and foreign energies that seemingly compose them and, rather, peer directly into their souls, then many miracles end up being quite boring everyday occurrences. You are a spirit in a body.
One of my friends had a tumor removed from her abdomen. She showed her doctor the before and after MRI’s and he shrugged his shoulders; didn’t even care. Many top healers have gone way underground and you have to know a friend of a friend to see them. This is because the AMA jailed these healers in the past. The answers to your questions are already out there. Question is: how far down the rabbit hole are you willing to go in order to see them?
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Yosh, thanks for commenting. That’s an intriguing story, and I’d be interested into looking into it more if you have some links you can direct me to. On the one hand, the idea of people being able to really see into people’s souls makes a lot of sense to me – it’s a lot like what Christians would call the “prophetic” – but the rest of your comment sounds more like conspiracy-theory rhetoric. Not saying it is – I’d be interested to look into it further – but obviously, anyone can write a comment about anything.
Ian William Gould says
On reading the comments from yosh they spoke into where i find myself, the greatest gift i believe the Father gave us was our imagination, that realm where we can see that which we cant see but the Father will reveal. I have been saved now seven years, i was 47 when it happened and i consider myself lucky in that i have had no religious baggage to deal with and in the time i have been saved the Father has dealt with my heart He has also protected me from receiving any religious spirit, for initially it was all about me and in my immaturity what i could do to bring people to salvation through my own actions. Many years ago someone said to me “you will be an intercessor” at the time i thought not, whats the point in that, but now has Jesus shows me more of who He is, that He is alive for my life, He is my High priest and He is the one truly saved, healed and delivered and it is only through Him that those things will manifest in anyone’s life that I sense a strange strange thing happening in myself when i pray in that i sense i become one with that person in spirit, I am sensing and experiencing now as i write to you, your picture with the beard is on my heart but i sense your whole being. I have been praying for some with cancer and I believe the Lord has been showing me that it is a mal function in the body a lie within the system for whatever reason it as gone wrong and only the truth of the Lord entering that area will bring healing. I am also cautious in my approach not to step on the Fathers toes for only He truly knows our hearts, I think we have to be careful in our attempt to good works that we are not eating from the wrong tree by leaning on our own understanding when we adhere to certain teachings and formulas. So now i believe prayer is the most vital element, first for ourselves and then for others Jesus spent His life in prayer in order to only do what the Father showed Him, for me now the past seems to have diminished, i still know where i came from but it is not in the forefront of my thoughts and my thoughts about the Father also seem more natural has they become part of who I am, I have definitely decreased and He has increased, all growth is reduction. I believe we should pray and be asking the Father to fulfill His promises that are in the Son and for Him to complete the work He started, that we are the vessels He is the source so tht He can be the all and in all.
I write from my heart through which I hope the Father speaks, I hope this makes sense and helps.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing, Ian. You make some great points!
Jim Wright says
Thanks, Jacob. My own experiences have been very similar to yours. I wonder if some of the “Charismaniac” problems are perhaps an over-reaction to criticism from conservatives? The more people deny that God heals today and the more they draw attention to abuses, the more Charismatics become defined by their differences to conservatives and the more highly they value the differences. The more Charismatics criticise conservatives for having a relationship with a book instead of with Jesus and for being stuck at the cross and paying little attention to the risen Lord the more conservatives become defined by their focus on faithful bible teaching and preaching about the atonement. If we stopped taking cheap shots at each other we might become a bit more comfortable in our own skin and feel less need to draw attention to what makes us different to other Christians.
Jacob McMillen says
I think you’re on to something Jim. And I completely I agree we need to stop taking cheap shots all around and embrace each other as brothers and sisters, regardless of our theological disagreements.
Healing is on my mind A LOT since I was diagnosed with terminal, inoperable, untreatable Stage IV cancer 7.5 months ago, and given 3-10 months to live. I’m doing well, and without spelling it all out here, let me just say that God is sustaining me, I’m living a full life, I have improved, and I know that this in and of itself is a miracle. Still …. my diagnosis remains the same from the doctor’s perspective. I have not been fully healed. Do I pray for that? Yes. Do I believe for that? Yes. But there is SO much that I don’t understand …. there is the reality I fight in my mind that “I could be wrong”, etc. So many swirling thoughts, so much I don’t understand. But the bottomline is this for me, and God has spoken it to me from day #1 of my diagnosis: “You must want God to receive all glory in your healing more than you want the healing itself”. I believe that is some sort of a “key” to receiving. I can’t prove it, but my spirit has always felt it. And I am blessed to say that it has been how I have strongly felt from the very first day. I would imagine that many people want to be healed as their first priority rather than their second, and that is understandable and normal. Wanting His glory in the healing more than wanting the healing itself isn’t always (because we are human) our first conscious thought and desire. I don’t think I’m more special or more holy or more anything because I started there instantly. I just know that in my spirit it is whispered over and over that being at “that point” is central to an ultimate manifestation of healing in my life … and very possibly in the lives of others. I DON’T KNOW. I’m learning and wondering and searching just like everybody else. I loved your article. Very balanced and insightful. Thank you!
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Lucy, thanks for sharing and for the kind words. It’s easy for me to write an article on this topic, but living through a situation like yours is a whole other deal. I commend you on your courage and faith.
It’s my personal belief that God isn’t really too concerned with extracting glory from our lives, but rather, He truly delights in our delight. I believe the paradigm of God as Father is the truest one, and that anything that contradicts with this view robs us from delighting in Him as a child delights in his or her father.
I know He is with you. I know He loves you and cares about even the littlest things that are important to you. I’m praying that God would you touch you afresh – body, soul, and spirit – with His ridiculously love and that your body would come into alignment with the Kingdom of Heaven.
Myself and the entire Brazen Church team are standing with you.
Chase Andre says
Great insight! I appreciate the balance between “Yes, absolutely healing happens” and “Avoid the hype.” Thankful I came across the blog. Looking forward to more content like this! Peace.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks Chase! Glad to have you a fellow appreciator of balance 😉
Very interesting article. It’s great to see other fellow Christians trying to approach their faiths in an intellectual manner. I personally don’t know any charismatic Christians, but as a (current) skeptic of miraculous healing, I was wondering if you had any insight on how you might differentiate a healing between that of a miracle and that of a placebo effect or natural remission (in the case of cancer). Since cancer remission occurs so often in people that are nonbelievers and even laboratory mice, the scientific world would rather believe that it was a natural phenomenon, instead of having to invoke God into the equation. There was also a comment above that touched on the issue of psychosomatic problems, in which the person’s migraine eased after she had come to terms about forgiving her sister. Therefore, emotions can also play a major role in a person’s health.
So in other words, have you ever witnessed something so miraculous, beyond our knowledge of our laws of physics or logic, something that the scientific world could not simply dismiss as extremely improbable or purely psychological? I would personally love to believe in the miraculous (which would make my faith so much easier!), but I have yet to witness one for myself. Thank you!
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for commenting! First, let me directly answer your question by giving you an example. As I mentioned in this article, my Dad had a golf-ball sized tumor sticking out of his neck. He was prayed for and it disappeared. This is probably the only one for which I can think of no possible alternative explanation.
There are a lot of elements of “the faith” that require faith to truly believe, and I’ll be the first to admit that most of the “healings” I’ve seen fall into this category.
For these, there’s a bit of a cumulative/probability factor at play. Yes, any one of those cancer attacks could have naturally receded on their own, but when every single person walking into the church is having their cancer disappear, I’m not sure that believing our congregation is simply 1-in-a-million lucky is any less of a stretch than believing that God had something to do with it. I suppose it’s a bit of a Life of Pie situation in some ways.
I’ll also add that I am HUGE believer in scientific and psychological discovery, and I actually believe that much of what we think of as supernatural in the charismatic world is really just pieces of reality that we don’t know how to access “naturally”. For example, the Bible says to pray with the laying on of hands, and 2,000 years later, science is discovering the metaphysical affects of putting your hands on someone for just 20 seconds. I think the separation between sacred and natural is contrived by religion.
I also think “mystics” throughout history have been people who tapped into to some of these undiscovered layers of reality, and I think humanity is headed there as a whole. That probably sounds a little ridiculous, but check this out if you are interested – http://martintrench.com/the-ancient-biblical-teaching-of-the-ages-series/
As a final note, I’d add that some of the best people I know claim to have seen many indisputable healings like you asked about. A guy I ministered with for over a year told me about seeing a guy in India’s eyeball grow back and a guy missing his thumb had it grow back.
I didn’t see these personally, but either some of its true, or half of the most dependable people I know are complete liars. This isn’t evidence, but you can imagine how it would influence my perspective.
While I applaud the fact that you claim to be skeptical, the evidence here doesn’t actually show that to be true. First off, a skeptic would not start the discussion with the premise that they “know” anything to be true. A skeptic should always start the inquiry with a simple answer: “I don’t know”. This is because to answer it any other way is to show bias. Bias will kill your search for the truth. Since you went to school for this topic, it will be hard for you to remove your bias, but you really should. This is like having Jenny McCarthy write a blog post about how she doesn’t have any science behind her, but she knows without a doubt that vaccines cause autism.
1) As to the statement that people don’t report miracles, this is fallacious. Many people report “miracles”. The problem isn’t that they are reported, the problem is that they get explained away by naturalistic explanations all the time. Recently a young girl claimed that she was healed of her cancer by prayer. Turns out she was also on chemo. You know how many people die because they think that prayer will save them instead of modern medicine? Neither do I, but I’d wager it is a lot more than those that claim they were successfully healed of a serious condition without the intervention of modern science.
2) Here you make a good point. Most supernatural healing claims occur with minor aches and pains, not serious diseases. No one has yet come forward that had some supernatural force give them back a lost limb.
3) This is irrelevant. If God can heal people, the intent of God is important, not the person asking. If God only heals people that have been prayed for by honest, well-meaning people, then that is an attestation to his own moral failings, not the people requesting the healing.
4) This directly contradicts statement 3. If the holiness of the person requesting the healing could be summed up as the fervor and desire to have the person healed and the level with which they cared for the person, then clearly their holiness is important. If someone could be said to be capable of caring for the most common person and capable of putting all of their heart into the healing action, then clearly this would satisfy your test in statement 3. So, do the qualities of the healer matter or not?
5) What does this say about the belief you hold? If the worship of any particular God or doctrine is not the deciding factor in whether or not you can heal someone, how do you know it is actually God? If a Hindu Yogi can heal just as easily or well as a practiced Christian evangelist, then doesn’t that make it less likely that God is the cause? Might it not just be that having a nice person beside you, keeping you happy is enough to improve your health outcomes? By saying that the scripture is irrelevant, you are admitting that there is a distinct possibility the effect is a placebo. Similarly, if you can’t predict who will be healed, what value is that to us? The value of a theory is its ability to predict the results. If a theory cannot predict anything, it is functionally useless.
6) Please tell me about this healing of an entire deaf/mute school. Where did it take place? Who did it? Were all of the people healed? How long did it last? Are they all normal now? Were they all Christians? Have doctors studied this phenomenon? Can it be replicated in a laboratory environment? This is a pretty extraordinary claim, so I think people are only right in asking that you provide them with suitable evidence in order for them to believe it, don’t you?
7) None of this makes sense. Once again, you are essentially saying that the religion of the “healer” is irrelevant. Then how can you know it is God behind it? Every religion says that they can heal through prayer, so what makes yours the one that is true? Give me a way to measure your truth against theirs, and if it pans out I will willingly accept that you are correct. This reminds me of a parable: Ten men enter a dark room. There is no light in this room, none whatsoever. There are ten chairs. Each man sits in a chair. Under the chairs, there are ten cups. In these cups there are a variety of metals, bronze, lead, copper, iron, silver. But only one cup has gold in it. Each of these cups weighs the same, is shaped the same and in all ways feels and is the exact same. But one of them has gold in it. After the men pick up their cups, they are allowed time to pass them back and forth. They each take each others cups and try to determine whether or not the cup they have in their hand has gold in it or not. There is no way for them to determine which cup has gold in it. After time has passed, each of them holds on to one cup, having made up their minds. Then, they are asked which one has the cup with the gold in it. They all exclaim that they have gold in it. This is the issue with your claim that God does the healings that can’t be explained. How can you know it is your God? How can you know that your cup has gold in it when billions of others claim the same thing for different cups?
8) What about medical doctors? Considering the fact that they are the ones that create the most predictable outcomes, your statement that no one understands healing is incorrect, isn’t it?
9) Might the reason for this claim by the teacher be because of statement 8? If no one understands it, might the teacher not be accepting that fact and stating that understanding it is impossible? However, I think the more rational explanation is that rational inquiry into supernatural beliefs destroys those beliefs. Try and find someone who has survived the outsider test for faith and you will likely come up short. Similarly, if you spent the mental effort to remove your bias and understand supernatural healing, you might end up like Doctor Harriet Hall.
10) Are you sure that is similar to the scientific method? Here is the scientific method for you: observation, hypothesis, testing, revision. In observation, you simply notice a phenomenon. You see that phenomenon as something that should be studied. In hypothesis, you ask a question about that phenomenon, you pose a question and a possible answer if the question is right and a question if the answer is wrong. The hypothesis needs to be falsifiable. Falsifiable means that you have to have a way of figuring out whether or not your hypothesis is wrong. For example, if your hypothesis is that “Bob is nice”, you need to have a way to disprove that statement. Thus, a falsification might be that Bob does something mean. Then you test the hypothesis. If all of the testing accords with the hypothesis, you can keep it. If something does not accord with that hypothesis, then you either adjust the hypothesis (if the difference is minor), or you throw the whole thing out. Then you start over again. The difference between this and your method is that you are using the opinions of other people to change your mind. Data has no opinion. Data just is. If the data shows that your hypothesis is wrong in that it was falsified, you don’t reinterpret the hypothesis, you either change it or your throw it out. The problem is that your hypothesis is not based on your observation, it is based on doctrine. If you can’t change the hypothesis, it serves no purpose in science.
11)So, you preach an “I don’t know” theory yet you have zero doubt that supernatural healing is real? Isn’t this contradictory? Shouldn’t your actions follow your beliefs? Have you ever heard of cognitive dissonance?
12) Uncertainty is key, yet you are absolutely certain. Seriously? And now you are saying that healers shouldn’t be questioning why some are healed and others are not? Isn’t that what you were suggesting in comment 9? Weren’t you saying that the teacher who says that it is unexplainable was doing you a disservice? Now you are saying that people shouldn’t want to understand and be able to explain why some are healed and others are not?
13) Doctrine and dogma are not evidence. Give me something I can test. Even Jesus’ existence is a live issue in this modern era of Biblical study.
14) I thought you said that the “healer was irrelevant”? If other religions can heal people supernaturally, what does that say about Christ’s authority? Are you saying that other religions use a proxy for Christ? A Buddhist would have a hard time agreeing with that.
15) Did Jesus have a 100% healing rate? How do you know that he did? If you were writing a book about your deity’s life on Earth, would you write down all the times that he failed? How can we know that he had a perfect score if we don’t have his whole life? Secondly, might not the motives of these healers be indicative of their moral corruption? Shouldn’t the bar for acceptance of a supernatural healing be exceptionally high based on the ridiculousness of the claim? That is, shouldn’t we only accept those who have a 100% healing rate? Shouldn’t only those that can demonstrate their ability to heal in a double blind laboratory setting be the ones allowed to actually do so?
16) I agree with this statement entirely. Success should not be determined by the ability of the ministry to make money. Success should be determined by the ability of the ministry to stand up to rational, critical dialogue on the claims that are being made. If you believe 100% in supernatural healing, I suggest you take “The Million Dollar Challenge”. If you succeed, I and many others will declare you the most successful healing ministry in the history of the world.
17) God has priorities? Isn’t God all knowing and all powerful at all times? Can’t he do everything at once? Can’t God rub his tummy and pat his head at the same time, to use a crude analogy? Why would he need priorities? Doesn’t the concept of priorities suggest that he has limited time? Isn’t God outside of time? Can’t he literally do anything he wants all the time? If God is who you say he is, then his having priorities suggests that he has limited power. If someone is worthy of healing, God can just heal them and it shouldn’t affect anything that he is doing elsewhere. By saying that he has priorities, you are showing that God is anthropomorphic, and is more likely a construct of our mind. If God is something that you understand, then you wouldn’t have used that word.
18) What does this prove? Does it prove that supernatural healing is different from modern medicine? Or does it prove that supernatural healing is likely the exact same? A psychologist could use therapy to repair a relationship, but they do not give out guarantees. An oncologist could heal a person of cancer through chemo, only to have that cancer return and kill them later on. If God is all powerful, why can’t he just eliminate cancer altogether? Why create cancer in the first place? If God wants people to heal, then why doesn’t he heal them forever?
19) In order to live in an environment where people didn’t get sick, you would need to live alone and never get cancer. Because people are what make us sick. People and animals. Sickness is perfectly natural. All we can do is try to reduce the likelihood of sickness and ameliorate its effects. I agree that wellness should include numerous factors. But let me ask you this, are the most religious countries the healthiest or the sickest?
20) Duh. Who says you need God to love, though? And if there is someone that says it, can they back it up with evidence?
All in all, this post was interesting, if only to see that your ability to think critically has been severely hampered by your belief system. Step outside of it and you might actually learn something. I know I did.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Bob, I appreciate your thorough commentary, but it sounds like you are mistaking this post for a dissertation on the evidence for healing.
This is simply a collection of observations targeted at people with a similar set of experiences. I have zero interest in trying to convince anyone that miracles are real. My only goal in writing point #1 was to preface to a mostly miracle-believing audience that my purpose in this article was not to invalidate belief in healing.
If I was trying to prove something, I wouldn’t be picking a topic like miracles and I wouldn’t be creating new questions and rabbit trails with each subpoint.
nice. Bob helped me realized that IAM your targeted audience. Someone who grew up in the church and is finding a gap between what I’ve been taught, what I believe, and what I have experienced.
Jacob McMillen says
Indeed! We see a lot of truth in the person of Jesus but feel like the dogmatic narrative that gets propagated by mainstream Church not only misses the point, but is completely opposite in many ways to the reality we see in Christ. Like you, we grew up in the Church and have found a gap… so we wanted to create a safe place to discuss this, dismantle the lies, and find the real Jesus. We’re glad to have you with us!
If you ARE interested in a “dissertation on the evidence for healing”, as Jacob says, might I recommend Craig Keener’s excellent two-volume work, “Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts.” You said, “A skeptic should always start the inquiry with a simple answer: ‘I don’t know’,” but your comment suggests you come to this conversation with a certain viewpoint already arrived at (and, to be fair, you never claimed otherwise). I am in the same boat. I already have a strong bias, and while I have no mind-blowing personal experiences of instantaneous healing, my investigations into the subject have led me to a philosophical position opposite to your own.
An interesting read. I was wondering, regarding the question of evidence for miracles, whether you have looked at the Vatican miracle commission? It is composed of scientific and theological experts and has very strict criteria for determining when a miracle has taken place (e.g. doctors have no explanation for what occurred). Just a thought.
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Matt, I have not checked that out, but it sounds intriguing. I’ll have to look into it. Thanks for the pointer.
I didn’t realize how hungry I was until I read all three articles that were written as well as all the perspective comments that followed. Wow! Hungry, Hungry Hippo. So glad to have an outlet that engages intellect and spirit. Truth and grace. Some of us are deep thinkers more naturally than others and its nice to have an outlet to discuss and comment without all the slinging and slashing, digs, and chops that seem to take place in many of the blogging sites I’ve seen. You three have built something unique here. These are some of the words that came to my mind that describe my experience or how I felt after reading these articles: Permission to ask, think, engage, question. Safe to interact, participate, disagree, point out criticism. Willingness to accept, consider, weigh, discern what is being said. RealizATIONS of authenticity, truth, struggle, and insight. I do believe this is what you are after!
Jacob McMillen says
That is EXACTLY what we are hoping for! Glad you found the blog and are joining the discussion! I think “safety to ask” and “permission to think” sum it up just right haha.
Hi Jacob, I’m wondering why you didn’t go for the stronger answer on when talking about the lie that “Your holiness qualifies you to be used of God.”
Isn’t that part of the bigger lie we believe that ‘our holiness/actions/character qualifies us to be children of God’? When really, though our holiness matters, we are adopted into God’s family though we were far off, and enemies of God. Our father doesn’t give us the gift of his spirit (through which he heals) because we deserved it, but as a grace-gift to give glory to himself!
Jacob McMillen says
Hey Fiona, that’s a great point, and I couldn’t agree more! The reason I didn’t go there in this article is because there is a very solid, Biblical-evidenced case to be made for that argument, and I didn’t want to intermix that type of discussion with this article, which was less of an argument and more a collection of thoughts.
If you look at some of our other articles, when we are looking to make a case for something, we try to really make a solid case for it, addressing as many of the common objections as we can and creating the type of article that would cause someone who disagrees with our conclusions to think twice about them.
For the purposes of this article, I was more hoping to identify those on a similar journey, validate some of their questions and share some of my observations on healing specifically. But I’m glad you brought that up for anyone reading through the comments, because it’s absolutely true.
Acts Of Holy Spirit says
Hi, appreciate your article. May I offer … Each healing I received over the years was unique. I am moved to share of some of them at this time.
When I was first born of the Holy Spirit in 1978, I discovered I had a Tubular Pregnancy. According to Father’s unfolding plan for me, I found myself visiting a Charismatic Church (had asked the Holy Spirit to lead me to the Church of God’s choice, rather than going to where I thought I needed to go, because I was not raised in a Church). The Pastor spoke of healing, so I asked the person who invited me there to pray for me. They asked me if I had asked God myself. It never occurred for me to do so. They told me to go home, and to read the Gospels, noting in particular all of the times Jesus healed and then to ask God for myself, first. If I still needed them to pray, I could ask again the next time we met. After reading the Gospels, (asking the Holy Spirit to teach/speak to me.) I thought, “Of Course, God made this body He can heal it.” So I prayed:
“Father, I have surgery scheduled, and I am afraid. You know all the facts. You made this body, so I am asking You to heal it. I am going to pray and yield to the words of Your Spirit praying through me, with the gift of prayer, while I wait for Your will to be done.” Fully expecting to be healed or for something to happen to tell me why not, I waited upon Him as I prayed in the Spirit (with an awareness I had a prayer language which empowered HIM to pray the perfect prayer through me, in my behalf).
As I prayed, I tried to quiet my mind so I could listen for His voice … eventually I noticed a quiet voice speaking from deep within repeating, “Go off of the pill.”
When it finally registered I responded, “Go off of the pill?”
To my amazement the voice of Father’s Spirit answered, “I am the Creator of life and death. I desire for you to trust me with your entire life, including birth control. You have no need of it. You know you are not the one in control now, having surrendered your life to me for My eternal purpose and plan. It would be foolish to continue. IF I desire a life to come forth it will, if this is not my plan, it won’t. Trust Me and obey.”
His Spirit reminded me of my previous pregnancies and the ways in which they had been conceived, as well as their outcome. Through the eyes of hindsight, I saw the still born death of our twins and our failure to get pregnant quickly, when we tried again afterwards. I was reminded of our failure to prevent the conception of our daughter through birth control, when we wanted to wait.
I recognized as well, I had always wanted His will to be done, on some level deep within. Surrendering to this awareness, I came to a new level of deep peace, joy and faith within.
When I surrendered to HIS will completely … instantly the excruciating pain left.
Upon examination, the Doctor found no sign of a pregnancy, and was dumbfounded, so I shyly spoke of my experience. His response surprised and encouraged me, “This has to be a miracle! If I had misdiagnosed you, a tumor or cyst of that size upon bursting would have sent poison throughout your body and you would be dead. I am beginning to have a lot of women come into my office saying they too have been healed after prayer. Who am I to say you are wrong. I myself, have no other explanation.”
The second time, I was scheduled for Surgery for a Herniated Disc. I asked God to heal me and heard, “Be obedient to what the Dr said, and you will not need surgery.” The Dr had told me not to go up stairs or lift anything over 5 pounds for two weeks in a effort to get some of the swelling down, so he could do surgery. I was obedient, did not need surgery and have never had a problem in that area since.
After that, I went forward in a Church to have hands laid on me to have my eyes healed, (was legally blind and dependent upon corrective lenses due to a childhood disease). The Pastor had given a Testimony of ‘claiming the healing of his eyes and how it instantly came in while doing so’. So, after I did not receive my healing from the laying on of hands via the Elders, I decided I needed to claim my healing too, just as the Pastor did.
I took off my glasses and walked around without them, claiming my healing until a day finally came when I decided this was not working. I went to God and asked Him why. “as I was told there must be a secret sin in my life preventing it’s manifestation.” I decided to pray in the Spirit and seek the mind of our Lord by listening like I did for the first healing. Nothing came. After a while, I fell asleep doing so and woke up with Ephesians 6 in my mind and realized I did not have peace, it was then I heard: “The Spirit of the Lord came unto Ezekiel. The Spirit of the Lord came unto Isaiah. The Spirit of the Lord came unto Jeremiah, but the Spirit of the Lord did not come unto you and tell you to take off your glasses and claim your healing. You cannot ride on another’s coat tails. Put your glasses back on. If I heal your eyes it will be in my timing and the way I choose. Be at peace.”
Later I asked Him why He allowed all of that to take place, since I was seeking to walk in His Will and HE had led me to that Church and He said, “I needed to expose, rebuke and deliver you from an aspect of your Adamic Nature which wanted to be God and could be deceived. An inherited trait that is not apart of the New Creation you are.”
Over the years I have been healed in other unique ways (Spirit, Soul and Body) and HE has moved to me pray for others with no particular formula. He had not always answered my prayers directly, as I always go to HIM first. For example, I prayed for the healing of a Torn Rota-tor Cuff, but it did not manifest. The Dr gave me a exercise program I needed to do for months, because I could not afford the Surgery. Severe pain would wake me up at night. Immediately I prayed for the discipline to exercise as required, (reminding Him of how I am when it comes to exercise). A couple of days later, my Husband woke up ‘finding himself praying for me to be healed’, which was out of the norm for him. The same day a friend I had not heard from in years called to say, “Are you alright? God woke me up with a prayer for you this morning, that you would receive your healing.”. Within days my frozen shoulder and all of the pain was completely gone and I had full use of my arm. What should have taken months took days.
On a more recent occasion, I was in a car accident, which left me with a hole 4 inches deep, which needed to heal from the inside out. I could not see the area, so my Husband was needed to stuff a gauze into it, for what we were told would be months. My HUbby told God, “I can do this, but if you have a plan B, I’d appreciate it.” as he lovingly, but excruciatingly for him, tended the wound. The next morning when he was unable to get the Gauze in, we went back to the Dr see what he was doing wrong. We were just as shocked as the Dr to discover the hole had closed up by 3 inches over night. This UVA Physician brought in other Dr’s on his staff and they all marveled at my Husbands Prayers and the obvious answer. My Dr kept repeating, “I have never seen anything like this!” In the end he summed up our office visit with “Even if you were a young woman in perfect health and the prime of your life, (I was 62 at the time), it would take at least 3 months for this the close up. I have ‘never’ seen anything like this! It should have taken you at your age, months and months and months. I have NEVER seen anything like this.
As far as praying for others… (I am led to continue), I always seek the mind of our Lord as to the will of our Father before pray. I have prayed for others and been given a word of Knowledge as to HIS will and prayed as led. On one early occasion I knew a woman was going to be healed. She had terminal cancer. BUT it never manifested. I went to her and apologized for giving her false hope as she was dying. She told me, “But I was healed! I knew it was my time to go home, but I did not want to do so with hatred in my heart towards my Father and as you prayed in the Spirit it was lifted.” Since then I have learned to wait upon Him for further insight before praying.
On another early occasion, I was in a church conference and the Teacher was talking about the gift of healing. Afterwards she asked if anyone had pains in their body now that they did not before they came here.
I said. “I have a ear ache and I never get ear aches.”
She said, “Are you hearing any thoughts or seeing any pictures.”
I said, “Yes, I am seeing two trees along side an canal. Why?”
She asked if anyone here had a middle ear infection. One woman did, so she had me come up and pray for her. Then she kept me there and had others come up and asked me to pray for them one by one. As I did, I closed my eyes and saw dark places of energy inside of their bodies and mentioned them. Each person said that was where their pain or sickness was located. Sometimes I would get a word with the picture. As I prayed, I laid my hands over that part without touching their body and sensed energy passing through me. They each fell out under the power of the Holy Ghost.
I could go on and on… but I will stop for now. I can offer more if you want to read more at a later date. The point I want to make is, each healing, (spirit, soul and body), has been unique and a form of training. I am very aware, each of the healings which took place were according to the will of our Father in the moment. Each time, I found myself doing what HE was doing through me, because I was given eyes to see or a word of knowledge as to what He wanted to do or was doing in that present moment. So, while I do not have a formula I follow, I do follow HIS leading of the moment and am only moved as HE moves through me, with an awareness, like our Brother Jesus, the works I do are HIS, not mine.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing! There definitely seems to be a unique story with every healing, which suggests that’s God is inviting us to partner with His unique workings rather than follow some form of ministry template.
I agree with you 100 percent that healing comes in the power of love. I witnessed one true miracle by my prayer and knowledge that Christ has the power to heal. My dog was dying. In holding her lifeless body in my arms I prayed. Jesus if your in the healing business now would be the time. I love this dog and I sure would like to keep her for all the joy she brings to me and my husband. As soon as I sat her down with my hands still on her I felt something from the center of my belly coming up into my throat and I had no idea what was going to come out but this is what did come out, “life, life, life! In the name of Jesus I speak life into your body; you shall live and not die by the blood of Jesus Christ.” I opened my eyes and her hair was not dull and dried out. I let go of her and she jumped four or five feet in the air. She was looking towards me but she was looking in the air above me. Her ears were totally up her eyes were shining and she looked like she was seeing A vision of Heaven. The vision close up and see looked at the door and then me. I knew what she wanted; to see my husband. When I opened the door she was like speedy Gonzales when I caught up to her she was running so fast around my husbands chair three times and jumped in his lap. My husband said what is this I know you were dying what happened. Then I told him what Jesus did.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing, Nancy.
Thanks so much for your thoughtful commentary! This organizes a lot of thoughts I’ve had on this and other things over the years. I’ve attended many different churches due to frequent moves at varying levels of charisma. Growing up I found lots of the women in children’s ministries participated in what I call “magical” Christianity. If something remotely conveniant happened, like they got the last can of beans they wanted at the store, they would claim it was a gift from God and was evidence of their strong faith and Gods participation in their lives and their knowledge of His specific will. It made me think that I was a bad Christian because I didn’t see that sort of thing happening to me on a regular basis. Thankfully I spoke to my father about it when I was 13 and he set me straight and helped me to understand that my actions in service to God and His love for me are more important than any random event happening to me. Since then though I’ve never really liked the way we pray in Church. Asking God for a series of blessings and putting our will before His. I always thought we should be asking for help in doing His will and we can ask for things we want but it should be in an attitude of submission to His will primarily. And by His will I mean His stated purpose for us in the Bible. I personally beleive most people who go around stating they know God wants them to do this specific thing or make this specific decision are over stepping. They are not leaving room for their own human imperfection and they risk closing themselves off to good advice because how could we ever question their actions since theyre God ordained. Anyway, thanks again. I love when Christians use their brains!
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks for sharing, Charity. I share your annoyance with Christians attributing every minor convenience to divine intervention on their behalf. I also agree that believing God wants to micromanage our lives often leads us to reject wise counsel, because we think God is telling us to do ______.
On the one hand, we each have to work out our own salvation. We have to sleep in the beds we’ve made. But on the other hand, if we are too arrogant to invite counsel into our lives, we are far more likely to make poor choices in the long run.
I think in the end it really boils down to heart posture. If we are humble and actively seeking counsel, than we can be more confident in our decisions when we absolutely know God is leading us in a counter-intuitive direction.
Great observations… thanks.
Resonances for me:
Authority and the “s” word…submission.
True servant heart.
Caring for the one and not the many.
Always looking for the Father’s Will regardless of mine.
Sovereignty of the Father.
Seeing the NEED of the human condition and how wide the chasm between holiness and sin.
My observation: individually, if we are brave enough to focus on something like supernatural healing but rely on our own ability, we will go only so far before WE become the gate. In our own ability, no matter how great we are destined to fail the work of the Father because we are flawed. I would offer that community can be the answer. Getting to the “why” of supernatural healing can be part of the process of working out the “how” of building a true loving community of people. Having been a part of such a community (which failed because of our flaws) I can say with certainty that it (community) still offers many keys to the quest of understanding the true nature of the Father.
Jacob McMillen says
Well said, Jack. Healthy community is crucial to pretty much EVERYTHING.
I am a long time Vineyard pastor – and I am very familiar with their classic theology and prayer model, as well as their newer school of kingdom ministry. I also have done some work with churches associated with the Bethel ministry methods too. The points you make in your post mirror what I have seen and what I wish had been discussed more openly within these churches. However, my experience is they leave little room for doubt, mystery or God’s sovereign will – and that is unfortunate – because it causes many problems when things don’t follow the script.
I have taught many people how to pray effectively for healing and deliverance and many of my students have told me about miracles God has performed through their prayers. Yet not one of the literally hundreds of people I have prayed for over the years was instantly healed. It is difficult at times to understand. It has not prevented me from continuing to ask for healing every time I pray for someone, but it has caused me to move to a faith community where they are more comfortable with the ambiguity and mystery of how God works, and less focused on the mechanics.
Jacob McMillen says
That’s a fantastic observation, Jeff, and one I really should have included in this article.
So often, God answers healing prayer by noticeably speeding up the natural healing process, triggering a healing process that shouldn’t be happening, or causing something that should heal improperly to be restored to perfect form. I’ve had a similar experience to yours in seeing many things happen over time rather than instantly.
I think my focus was on the moments surrounding healing prayer, which is why I forgot to mention this. I am REALLY glad you commented, because this is such an important piece to understand when going after healing.
Josef Raskinen says
Well done! Keep on praying, thinking, discussing, and reading – I am interested to read more about what you observe and discover!
Jacob McMillen says
Virginia Knotts says
I enjoyed reading this. I need to keep reading this . I want to learn about myself to see why i have a hard time to be healed.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks Virginia, we’re praying for you on your journey!
Jay Cap says
You did an amazing job on the article. I really liked the authority piece, as it pertains to healing. I to have seen many people go out trying to heal folks on the streets without love being the motive or objective. I do believe that the true test of valid ministry is love. One of the things that God spoke with me before entering into full-time ministry was that I had to preach the Whole Council of God. (Wholeness) Yes healing, which is my major gifting, but also relationships, purity, grace, revelations, stewardship, discipleship etc… Thanks for sharing.
Jacob McMillen says
Thanks Jay! “Relationships, purity, grace, revelations, stewardship, discipleship”… these are all so essential to wholeness. Well said!
So perfect, so perfect!
1 Cor 13 LOVE. It is and should be the route of all we do. If it is not present we fall short and leave God’s love short of its potential and how He wants to work through us.
Really enjoyed the article Jacob. I agree with most, if not all of what you said. I would like to point out that Christians in general should all be participating in “healing ministry,” not just those “called to do it” for “full time ministry.” It should be a part of who we are as His people. I think you agree with that, but from reading the article I’m not sure that was clear. I love the point that healing is NOT the end of an encounter with anyone, or really the primary purpose. Pointing to the direction of the Father is, and revealing He wants a more intimate relationship with each person we pray for. You did not mention, and I wonder about your thoughts, healing (and “signs and wonders”) being used for the purpose of evangelism; I currently think the most use for healing should be for evangelism…even though I have been healed of things and have seen many Christians healed of things (I know you couldn’t write about everything, or to add more to your already 4,500 words!) because we know as being a part of the Kingdom there is authority over the flesh. And isn’t “Authority” THE word when we are learning to grow in our Father’s business?!? Love that. Glad I was turned onto your website, you guys are really thoughtful in your pursuit of who God REALLY is.
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Randy Walterman says
I am new to Brazen Church and really appreciate what you are doing. I grew up in a Pentecostal minister’s home and then as an adult served at several Pentecostal churches. The last Pastor would have people come up during a service to hlep him pray for someone with a “big” physical need like cancer. But he would say, I don’t want any of those, ‘If it be your will’ kind of prayers. You must believe that God is going to heal this person.”
I could never do that. I have seen too many not healed. I think we can only pray in faith if God has quickened to our spirit that He will heal. Otherwise we are just engaged in supplication.
My wife passed away a year ago from cancer. I prayed and prayed. After she passed, I realized that God’s mercy took many different forms. Sometimes His mercy heals. other times His mercy walks alongside you in the pain.
I was fired after 21 years as an associate pastor for coming to believe that hell is not endless, meaningless torment, but a corrective place. The Father will not lose any of His children. Love will triumph.
Keep up the good work.
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I love the way you process. I have long wondered if anyone has properly looked at how our spirituality is related to the scientific method. I’ve been thinking about this since I went to the school, too. It’s the very thing we actively do, and yet understanding and science itself are almost pejorative in our culture- as if understanding God is limiting him. (I think he used the word “understand,” right?) Now, I bet you and I both took the teacher to be mean that in more of an ultimate sense, but still, I would argue back that it is only through SOME kind of understanding that relationship with God is even possible. Otherwise, meaning itself wouldn’t , well, mean anything.
If nothing else, I so badly wish that our culture would divorce the fear of understanding masquerading as wonder and awe, thinking falsely that to know is to become familiar and to diminish.
We desperately need a Church whose wonder is bigger than their ignorance. We need a Church whose faith doesn’t crumble when their hypothesis fails. Man, there are so many more angles of this to talk about, but I won’t keep going here.
Oh, and Samuel Nicolosi’s comment plus your reply to him are spot on about authority and understanding. Love it.
Gary W. Martin says
This was very well written and you covered a lot of ground. The Apostle Paul was granted special miracles while he was in Corinth; it was not the norm. Jesus could only do a few miracles except heal a few sick because of prevalent unbelief (Mk.6:5); however, on another occasion, “the power of the Lord was present to heal” (Luke 5:17). During times of revival healing is more common place (John Wesley). God’s name “Jehovah Rapha” declares who He is to us – The LORD that Healeth”. And, “According to your faith, so be it unto you,” has not been revoked. Is it possible that in our North American society, self-indulgent and unbelieving, the church full of sin and worldliness, back-biting, secret sin and hypocrisy, there is little genuine faith; little of the power of God? God gives the Spirit to those who obey Him. I have read many books about divine healing including John G. Lake, Wigglesworth, Bosworth, Andrew Murray, Benny Hinn, Morris Cerullo and many others; “Jesus is the same, yesterday, today, and forever”. Faith is not mere intellectual assent, or name it and claim it. Genuine faith is from the Spirit of God. It does not take a lot to move a mountain or to raise the dead, faith the size of a mustard seed, Jesus said. But it must be genuine; the real deal. It is a gift, Yes! but it is not come by easily. The call to full discipleship still goes out to “forsake all, deny oneself, take up the cross and follow me”.
“If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple”. So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.
And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.
God hasn’t moved; we have. Greater things than these shall ye do.” I believe the key is found in prayer, seeking God with all of our hearts until He answers by fire; like Daniel who did not give up. But we are too stubborn, complacent, worldly and self-indulgent to do this. And I am speaking about myself. God grant us the grace to seek you, for your power to be restored to your church, for sin to be broken and removed; for love to once more flood the hearts of your people that the world may know that we are your disciples. Thanks for your article.
For a moment I thought that the things you wrote under point 9 was your own standpoint, I was shocked because of the ignorance. But re-reading it, I discovered this was someone else’s standpoint that you don’t seem to agree with. It confused me for a moment because I didn’t expect such ignorance and over-emphasis on ‘God’s sovereignty’ from you, but I was happy to find out you don’t actually believe this.
One point I would challenge you to re-think, are your thoughts about Jesus His ministry; that healing wasn’t a large or significant part of what He did. Consider these passages that give some clue about the size of the number of people He healed:
Acts 10:37-38: ‘’you yourselves know what happened throughout ALL Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing ALL who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.’’
Matthew 4:23: ‘’And He (Jesus) went throughout ALL Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing EVERY disease and EVERY affliction among the people.
Matthew 9:35: ‘’And Jesus went throughout ALL the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing EVERY disease and EVERY affliction’’
Matthew 12:15: ‘’But the Pharisees went out and conspired against him how to destroy him. Jesus aware of this, withdrew from there. And MANY followed him and he healed them ALL.’’
Personally, one particular recourse has been extremely helpful to me in ministering healing. This is the complete Bible teaching on Divine Healing from Curry Blake, who claims around 95% success rate in healing and has trained 10’s of thousands of people to heal the sick. He was prophesied by John G. Lake to follow up his ministry, and now leads John G. Lake ministries; the oldest healing ministry still in existence and the ‘largest’ ministry in impact (measured in number of people trained to practice divine healing). You can find this completely Biblical teaching series here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxDPENVTZXQ&list=PLC97D5F644BB65F38
Be blessed my brother in Jesus’ name!
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Amber Nicole Ellis says
Hi My Name is Amber Nicole Ellis I Need Prayer Become I Am Sick And I Don’t Like Be Sick All day alone I Need feel Better become my family Maybe Need My Help But I Can’t Help My Famiy If I Am Sick All Day Alone So I Need a Miracle Prayer And So Pease Keep Me In Your Prayer MayBe Your Prayer Help Me
Your comment about an understanding of authority was very interesting. I have had a very similar experience – I used to have RSI in my arms, and it was preventing me from doing things I wanted to do. One day I was getting frustrated over it and had this sudden conviction that actually it wasn’t OK, the pain had no right to control my life and what I could do and it had to leave. So I started praying in that vein – telling the pain it had no right to be there. And over the course of a few months, it gradually went.
Your comments on an understanding of authority were very interesting. Having it expressed in words like that is new to me but I have had a very similar experience – I used to have RSI in my arms and it was preventing me from doing things I wanted to with my life. One day I was getting frustrated about it and from that came a sudden conviction/understanding that it wasn’t OK, I wasn’t meant to be subject to a pain that controlled my life and it had to leave. So I started praying in that vein, basically telling the pain it had no right to be there and to go. And over the course of a few months, it gradually went and hasn’t come back.
David McKay says
I think you’ve missed an entire day mention of the healing ministry of the church. When people act with the presumption that they’ve been gifted/anointed by God and thereby approach people living with disabilities with offers of prayer and healing they are engaged in a form of social violence. Two examples from my own life situations: 1) the so-called “healing-evangelist” who approached me with the line “Jesus healed me Jesus can heal you too” before even learning my name or finding out the nature of my health concern; 2) the stranger who prayed over me for less than three minutes and then announced the reason I wasn’t healed was my lack of faith. These two events were memorable but not unique.
I think people who accuse the sick person of not having enough faith have not read their Bible’s closely enough. When a man whose son was not healed by Jesus disciples came to Jesus with is complaint, Jesus told his disciples off, not the man or his son (Matthew 17:14-21; Mark 9:14-29; Luke 9:37-42). And then he healed the son even though there is no indication in the narrative that either the son or his father had any more faith than before.
Sandy Cliff says
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