MY ANSWER TO THIS ARTICLE FOUND ON

https://studygrowknowblog.com/2012/06/17/todays-new-age-faith-healing-evangelist/#comments

 Comments in purple by Paul Christensen M.A. MDiv.

(Original article in black print)

Today’s New Age Faith-Healing Evangelist!

June 17, 2012 at 3:56 PM 2 comments

I picked up the mail today and there was a flyer advertising an event called “Miracles Happen.”  It advertised a miracle service coming to my area in Georgia in which one well-known woman evangelist was going to teach people “how you can lay hands on the sick and see them recover!”  The flyer went on to say, “Enjoy an in depth hands on training and equipping with a Miracle Service!  Reignite your passion to win the lost, rediscover what God has called you to do AND fulfill the God-given assignment on your life!”  The evangelist being highlighted was Joan Hunter, “daughter of Charles & Frances Hunter, author of Supernatural Provision.”

I just turned 55 and when I was in my late teens (in some ways, it seems like yesterday), I was involved somewhat in the Charismatic Renewal that swept parts of the world.  Looking back, I cringe now at some of what I saw, was taught, and even some of what I believed.  Before I go any further, I’m not knocking you if you are still involved in aspects of the Charismatic Movement.  That’s your choice and while I disagree theologically with it in its entirety, I hope that have thoroughly searched the Scriptures to determine the truth of it.

It is interesting that the author has not put his name to this article.  Also, there is no room for comments other than those who support his article.  At once the impression is that the article is one-sided and the author and the owner of the blog site are not prepared to have a reasonable debate about the issues this article put in front of us.  Although he might not be knocking those in the Charismatic movement there is a comment in the comments section where the writer accuses Charismatics as being demonic.  That is a bit of a contradiction to what the author is saying in the above paragraph.  As a matter of interest, I have searched the Scriptures very thoroughly and although I have issues with some of the theology, I would not say that it is totally unscriptural.  By the way, I have an MDiv, so I know what I’m talking about.

Because of my involvement with Charismania, all of the famous authors and speakers of that time were known to me.  Frank Foglio, Demas Shekarian, Charles and Frances Hunter, Harold Hill, Jamie Buckingham, and a slew of others were household names.  I still have many of their books I frequently use for reference.  We tended to gobble up what they wrote and to my chagrin, I often placed their words above God’s Word.  So intent was I in learning something “new” and “mysterious” and “supernatural” that I was willing to set quality study to the side and absorb the new teachings of the previously mentioned authors.  I’m not saying that this was their “fault.”  It was simply the way (and most of us then) approached these new teachings.

I spent 12 years in the Charismatic movement during the 1970s and 80s and I am very aware of the names the author mentions.  I am sad to say that he is correct in the way that some just accepted the teaching of these big names without checking them through the Scripture.  I got into trouble in the latter years of my involvement with the Charismatic church I was involved with because I could see contradictions between some of the teachings and the Scriptures and I made my views clear.  Mostly they fell on deaf ears and I was sidelined from taking a significant part in the spiritual ministry of that church while I was there.

I recall the excesses in that movement.  I recall the dubious theology and doctrine.  I recall being taught how to speak in tongues.  I remember being taught that God always wanted to heal His children without question.  Those who were not healed lacked faith.

I believe in the gift of tongues because there is no evidence in Scripture that it was meant to pass away.  Mark 16:18 applies just as much today as it did in the Early Church.  The reason why the supernatural gifts ceased was the fault of church leaders who allowed a decrease in the standards of holiness and dedication required for the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the Church.  Also, in the fourth century, the Church was corrupted by the large influx of pagans into it when Constantine closed the pagan temples and required that everyone joined a Christian church.  Then the ideas of Plato and Aristotle corrupted the theology and these pagan philosophers did not believe in the supernatural.  Therefore the Church started to depend on the wisdom of man rather than the supernatural power of God.

I take issue with those who accuse people who were not healed not having enough faith.  I believe that God is sovereign and it is His prerogative to heal people.  It more depends on the person ministering healing to have the required faith.  If a person is not healed there are a number of factors:  God has not decided to heal the person at that time; the person ministering did not do it in the right way (ie: how Jesus did it); or he asked God to heal the person instead of knowing that God has already provided healing through the Atonement;  failed to command the healing; or the person receiving the healing expected instant results and took the attitude that he or she was not healed because the instant results did not come; the person was prayed for once  instead of being persistent and kept on getting prayer time after time until the healing came.  The Scripture says that we should pray and not give up.

I understood that every day life, as a King’s Kid (as Harold Hill used to say) could be and should be one of excitement, laughter and praise for all that God is and all that He has done.  There’s really nothing wrong with that, at least on the surface (especially where praise is concerned and in fact, I’m not sure I do that enough).  We should always be filled with praise even when circumstances make it appear as though things are not good.  Nothing beats praise.

Correct.  No argument with that.

The Charismatic Movement emphasized that without a “baptism in the Holy Spirit,” life as a Christian was often merely humdrum.  One author described it like this (referencing the ministry of Charles & Frances Hunter), “Before their baptism in the Holy Spirit, they had laid hands on the sick with occasional results…After their baptism, it was not unusual for person after person to exclaim that his or her pain was gone, injured body parts were healed, or that sores and growths had shrunk or disappeared.” [1]

The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the reception of the power of God for service.  This is what the 120 received on the Day of Pentecost.  Paul said that his preaching was not in the enticing words of man’s wisdom but in power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit so that people did not depend on the wisdom of man but in the power of God.  Although the Holy Spirit comes into a person at conversion, this may be the Holy Spirit indwelling a person, but it is not the enduement of power.  The enduement of power is a separate thing and must be received if the person is to be able to fulfil Mark 16:18.   Of course, what many Charismatics demonstrate what they believe is the baptism with the Spirit is just religious hullabaloo.   They make a lot of noise, song and dance, but when it comes to healing the sick and casting out demons they cannot do it because all they have is froth and bubble and not the genuine power of God.

Shortly after Charles and Frances Hunter met and married (and were ostensibly baptized in the Holy Spirit), they “began leading large-scale crusades known as ‘healing explosions,’ which hundreds of thousands of people attended around the world. In 1990, they started the World Evangelistic Census, a campaign that mobilized people to evangelize door-to-door. Millions reportedly came to Christ through the outreach.” [1]

What I am very glad of is that the Hunters were both such ardent evangelists, even if I do not agree with their doctrinal beliefs regarding the Holy Spirit.  What frustrates me though in general, is when I come in contact with or hear about ministries that focus primarily on physical healing.

True, who wants to be bedridden with some physical ailment?  Who wants to be sick?  No one that I know of and certainly not me.  I cannot help but wonder whether or not God often uses sickness as part of the tribulations Christ said we would experience in this life, in order to become more ardent followers of Him and to appreciate the fact that like Paul, we will grow to become content in all things (cf. Philippians 4:11).

What impresses me about the ministry of Charles and Frances Hunter is that they point people to Jesus.  They don’t claim to be automatic healers.  They maintain that it is Jesus who heals the sick.  They say that faith and believing is the portal to the supernatural.  They base most of their teaching on Scripture and bring out the principles of it to increase the faith of their hearers.  They hold to the Scripture, “Faith comes by hearing the Word of God.”

I don’t believe that God uses sickness for any reason.  There is no sickness in heaven.  Sickness came into the world after the disobedience of Adam and Eve, when Satan became the god of this world.  Although not everyone who is sick is possessed of a demon, the origin of sickness comes from the devil.  God will not use anything of the devil to work with believers.  Sickness is a real part of life for those in the world because they are still in the kingdom of darkness, but believers don’t have to be sick because healing has been provided for them.  The problem about healing is mainly because the Church is divided and unbelieving.  Where there are denominations who do not fellowship with each other, the healing ministry will always be hindered.  Many areas of the Church are depending on the wisdom of man and therefore are listening to the world, flesh and the devil instead of the Spirit of God.  While we have a dysfunctional Church, there will always be a problem with the healing ministry, no matter how believing and faithful to God’s Word we are in our attempts to get sick people healed.

I think too many within Christendom wind up giving a false impression of healing in Scripture.  First of all, Jesus healed to verify His deity.  Second, He sometimes healed from a distance.  Third, He did not heal everyone.  Sometimes it was because of their lack of faith, but other times, healing for them was not meant to be.

Jesus did not heal people to verify His deity.  There is no Scripture to support this.  Jesus healed because He was moved with compassion for the sick.  He did show the disciples of John the Baptist that He was the Messiah through the evidence of the lame walking, blind seeing, lepers being cleansed and the good news being preached.  He quoted from the book of Isaiah to show how and why He was anointed by the Holy Spirit.  At no stage during His ministry did He say that He was God.  It was Peter by revelation who stated that Jesus was the Son of God.

It is true that Jesus did not heal everyone.  But the Scripture says that He healed all who came to Him.  Not all came to Him for healing.  At the time when a leper asked Jesus whether He was willing to heal Him, Jesus unhesitating said that He was quite willing.  No one is meant to be sick.  Those who remained sick during Jesus’ time did not come to Him for healing.

Job was not healed until the entire debate between Satan and God had run its course.  Look what he went through!  Who among us could stand under that type of constant supernatural pressure?  Certainly no one without God’s help.

The author cannot compare the healing ministry of Jesus and the Church with the experience of Job.  The sickness was put on Job by the devil for a particular purpose, and Job was healed at the end.

To presume to believe that God without question wants everyone healed every time in this life is to miss some important lessons given to us by God.  I myself suffer from an immune disorder; something the doctors call Lichen Planis Pilara.  Though it is not fatal, it tires me out and there is no cure.  It’s more of a great annoyance at times.

There is no support in Scripture for everyone to be healed every time.  Although healing is provided for believers in the Atonement, we don’t always take advantage of it.  There may be many reason for this.  The main reason is that in our Western society we are indoctrinated with Plato and Aristotle who taught that the only reality comes through our senses and that the supernatural is not real.  Third world countries don’t have this philosophy, and therefore there are more testimonies of healing in those societies, because they have a firm cultural belief in the supernatural which we don’t.  This is why we have so much difficulty to have sufficient faith to believe God and keep on believing until healing comes.  It is a cultural thing with us.  Along with a dysfunctional Church and an unbelieving society, it is no surprise that not many get healed.

Fortunately, I’m not bed ridden, however, there are times when I have little inclination to do anything due to a severe lack of energy.  Does God want me healed?  Absolutely.  Will it happen in this life?  I have serious doubts and I’m okay with that because I belong to Him.  I am His, bought with a price.  If He wants me to suffer from something, He obviously has a reason for it.  Here though, is where many faith-healers would enter to emphatically deny that God wants His children to suffer from poor health of any kind.

Jesus said that if we say to this mountain and do not doubt in our heart, we will have what we say.  The key is that we do not doubt in our heart.  The author has doubts, which are understandable, but while he has those doubts, he will never be healed.  James talks about the same thing, that a doubting person is double minded.  He believes in some of the things of God but has difficulty believing in others.

When my sister was on her death bed, I pleaded with God to heal her.  Others joined me in that prayer.

The thing about Jesus is that He never asked God to heal people.  He healed them with a command.  All the author has to do is to study the instances where Jesus healed people.  By pleading God to heal is demonstrating unbelief because he did not believe that God had already provided healing and that Jesus’ command to us was to heal the sick, not ask God to heal them.  It is no surprise that the person did not get healed.  If we are not prepared to do things God’s way, then we are not going to get God’s results.

 God said “No.”  He took my sister home after two weeks in the hospital and she is so much better off than had He let her remain here.  She is perfectly fine, completely free of sin, pain, and suffering.  She is with the Lord.  What could be better than that?  Nothing.

I concur that she is in a much better place, but she went before her time.  She went when the devil wanted her to go rather than what God wanted. She went before her time because of the ignorance of Scripture and the unbelief of those around her trying to pray for her healing.

I believe it is wrong to teach people how to heal others.  I believe that healing can be part of God’s plan but it is not a guarantee.  I simply don’t see that in Scripture, though I am aware that others do see it.

All the Hunters are doing is to show us from the Gospels how Jesus went about healing people, and that they shared what they had learned through their success and failure in the healing ministry.  They said that if others had a better method that worked by all means do it, but if what they did failed to work then they can try the methods they were teaching.  After all, they had nothing to lose.

Can you really teach someone how to lay hands on a sick person so that they will recover (or improve their chances for recovery)?  Forgive me, but it would appear then that the actual “healing” is the result of laying hands on someone rather than the fact that God has healed that person, if He decided to do that.

Mark 16:18 is quite clear.  “They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”  So the laying on of hands is a definite factor in divine healing.  Jesus touched people whom He healed.  Jesus gave the instruction for believers to heal the sick.  Jesus demonstrated how it was to be done.  When believers did it Jesus’ way, people got healed.  Because of the weird and wonderful ideas about healing, people need to be taught how it was done through Scripture.  The person ministering doesn’t have any power.  He or she uses his faith to minister the healing, and the power of God does the actual healing.  The Hunters accept and teach that.

Should we have seminars on healing?  I don’t think so.  I think we should have seminars on giving ourselves to God in greater measure.  I think we should have seminars and conferences on how to become better evangelists so that we can spread the gospel far more effectively.  Even there though, we need to be careful that spreading the gospel does not simply become formulaic.

I think we should have seminars on healing.  Giving ourselves to God in greater measure is an essential part of it.  You will find that as you listen and view the Hunters’ teaching you will see that all these aspects are there.  The way the Early Church spread the gospel was through signs and wonders.  The Scripture is very clear about that.  5000 people came to Christ in Acts 3 because Peter and John got a lame man walking. In every instance where many people came to Christ there were signs and wonders.  Many stories where pagans came to Christ in the first and second centuries included the miraculous that convinced them that Jesus was more powerful than the pagan gods they worshipped.  We need the same today to show that Jesus is still more powerful than the neo-pagan gods and occult powers that infect our societies today.

As one who was caught up in Charismatic “madness,” my heart goes out to those who are still caught up in it and still being taught things that are – from my current perspective – unbiblical.

The majority of Charismatic people are solid Christians who love the Lord and they just get on with finding God’s will for their lives.  It is accepted that there is a certain degree of madness and over-enthusiasm among some groups but the majority of Charismatics view them as the “lunatic fringe”.  It is sad that a relative minority of zealots can cause the whole movement to be tarred and feathered.  I think it is unfair to generalise and say that all Charismatics are “mad” because of just a few who have gone overboard.

I will say that there was one demonic aspect that infected the Charismatic movement in the 1970s and 80s and that was the Shepherding/Discipling movement that demanded that individual believers be placed under the direction of a discipler and those who refused were viewed as being disobedient and rebellious.  This “doctrine of devils” caused a lot of unnecessary harm in the lives of good people and did a lot to discredit the Charismatic movement during that time.  Happily that evil doctrine has been largely rejected by most Charismatics, but I have not seen that any of the founders have ever apologies for the harm they have caused to the body of Christ and to innocent believers who were sucked in to that evil.   I believe that believers should be disciple, but only on a voluntary basis and with those whom they respect and trust.  The disciplers would not be controlling and only be dealing with the spiritual welfare of those they mentor.  The subjects’ private lives would be forbidden territory for them.

As I said, God does want His children healed and one day, I will be completely healed in so much that I will no longer have the sin nature within me.  Once that is gone, the source of the problem that has created everything else will also be gone.  That is what will separate me from this life and the next.  Though I enjoy eternal life now, I am still “sick” because of the sin nature, which even though Jesus overcame and conquered, remains with me until the day He physically removes it after my death.

Although there is truth in this, the instruction of Christ to His disciples (including us) to “heal the sick” involves this present life, and it is to be connected with the preaching of the gospel.  In Samaria, the people listened to Philip’s teaching only after they witnessed the signs and wonders he performed in the Name of Jesus.  The same would be true today.  Mere words do not convince most unbelievers.  But when they see signs and wonders that show that  God is real and involved with us, then they will listen to the preaching of the gospel.

It is the sin nature which is the reason for all of my ills, as well as the ills of all people.  It is the sin nature that has caused the earth to become corrupted.  But one day, God will fix it; all of it.  Until then, should I insist (even through some type of conjured up faith) that I do not have to put up with sickness?  Is sickness ever part of God’s picture?

I don’t agree with the author’s theology here.  We don’t have a sin nature.  To say that we have is to deny that we have been completely born again of the Spirit of God.  God does not see us as sinners.  We are clothed with the righteousness of Christ.  Christian living is not a battle between two natures.  The Scripture tells us to reckon ourselves as dead to sin.  This does not involve a battle.  It involves a position of faith.  True, sin and sickness abides in our bodies which will die or be glorified at the coming of Christ, but the Atonement deals with both.  This is seen in the Lord’s Supper which we observe on Sunday morning.  The body of Jesus was broken for us so that we can be made whole in our bodies, and the blood of Jesus was shed so that we are cleansed from sin.  Our standing with God is not dependent on the state of our physical bodies.  It is dependent on what Jesus did for us on the Cross of Calvary.   

Faith is not “conjured up”.  It is securely based on the Word of God. If something called "faith" is conjured up, it is not faith but presumption and acting on presumption instead of faith firmly grounded in God's Word has caused many problems in churches today.  If the Scriptures says that the signs that follow believers that they will lay hands on the sick and they shall recover, then we base our faith on what God has told us in His Word.  If we base our faith on God’s Word when we accept Christ as Saviour, why not base our faith on the same Word when it comes to healing. A lot of healing failures have come about because people have gone ahead and tried to minister healing on the basis of presumption instead of waiting on God to hear His voice for that particular person and particular time. This was Ahab's sin.  He got impatient when Samuel delayed his return, and went ahead and performed the sacrifice on the basis of presumption instead of waiting for Samuel to return and do it.  He lost his kingdom and his life because of it.  Therefore we need to know that when we do something for God we are sure that what we do is firmly based on Scripture, and might I say, not isolated verses out of context.  Should we pick and choose which Scriptures we should believe and should not believe?  If we pick and choose, would that not make us double minded and hypocritical in our religious observance? 

I see that Joan Hunter has continued where her parents have left off.  One of her books is titled How to Receive and Minister the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and another is Healings, Miracles, & Supernatural Experiences.  There are a plethora of books out there by numerous authors that deal with these types of things and unfortunately, the ones I have read remind me far more of the New Age Movement than anything that is solidly based on a biblical foundation.

I have read the Handbook of Healing and watched the 14 video set of the Hunters’ ministry on healing and I absolutely disagree with the author.  They base everything they teach on the Scriptural foundation.  It has nothing to do with the New Age Movement.  Obviously the author has a defective understanding of the New Age Movement.  New Age is totally humanistic, it does not glorify Christ in any way.  It denies the existence of Christ and is largely based on occultic ideas and practices.  The Hunters’ ministry is absolutely nothing like the New Age Movement.  The author’s views are closer to the New Age Movement in that he denies the supernatural in his Christian experience, or appears to anyway.

As human beings, we tend to place a great deal of emphasis on being physically healthy in this life.  I’m not saying that if you are a Christian, it is wrong to ask others to join you in prayer that God might choose to heal you.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with that at all.  Like Jesus though, we need to be sure to understand that God always has the option to say “no” should He choose to do so.  We need to be prepared to hear that option from God.

There is absolutely nothing in the Scripture where God has ever said “no” to anyone who has come to Him for salvation or healing. To say that God says "no" to healing or anything else that we need in Christ is presumptive and insults and grieves the Holy Spirit.  Jesus healed all who came to Him.  On one occasion He made is abundantly clear that it is His definite will that people be healed.  What stops healing is that people through ignorance and unbelief will not come to God for healing and will not persist in prayer and faith until the healing comes.  Don’t blame God for our own unbelieving attitudes!

The idea that learning how to place your hands on someone so that the chances of their health improving are far better than merely asking others to join you in prayer may be a great way to have people join you in their seminar or conference where books can be sold, “love” offerings taken and all the rest.  Unfortunately, there is nothing I can find in the Bible where Jesus pulled His apostles or disciples aside and showed them the “correct” method of laying on hands so that results were more or less, guaranteed.  This is absurd, frankly.  It’s actually offensive to me, especially considering the fact that I was once involved in the Charismatic Movement.  I know the teachings.  I witnessed the excesses.  I saw it.  I now avoid it.

Laying on of hands for healing or anything else is not a “Charismatic” thing.  It is the Bible.  Jesus touched people when He healed them, and Mark 16:18 shows that all believers can lay hands on the sick and expect them to recover.  Mark 16:18 does not tell us that these signs follow Charismatics only.  Jesus taught His disciples how to minister the good news to sinners.  He demonstrated how to perform the healing ministry as part of that.  Peter and John took the lame man’s hand in Acts 3 (laying hands on him) and said, silver and gold have we none but such as we have we give you.  In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.”  They lifted him up and the guy walked away.  In His demonstrations to His disciples Jesus showed the correct way of ministering healing to the sick and the casting out of demons.  He expected his disciples and every other believer who followed to do the same, and so they did right up to and including the fourth century A.D.

I also know the teachings of the  Charismatic movement.  I had twelve years in it. I also have a library of hundreds of books.  I also know the excesses and I left because of the shepherding/discipling movement that had taken over the church.  But a few years later, God showed me the good part of the Charismatic movement and that the signs and wonders, healings and deliverances were biblical and not exclusively Charismatic.  I am on the leadership of a Presbyterian church, but I still firmly believe that signs and wonders need to be part of evangelism and church growth if it is to be successful.  Churches that embrace it are growing not only in numbers but in faith and commitment to Christ.  Churches that deny it are failing and dying.

Yes, miracles happen, every day.  The thing we often forget is that the greatest miracle occurs when a person comes to true faith in Jesus Christ.  Throughout the gospels, though Jesus performed one miracle after another, He did not focus on them as if they defined His ministry.  His teachings, actions, and words together defined His ministry.  His relationship to the Father under girded it.

The author is correct about this.  Jesus said not to marvel that they could cast demons out but rather marvel that their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.  But Jesus did not stop healing the sick and casting out demons.  John says at the end of his book that these accounts of the miracles of Jesus were not all the miracles that Jesus did, but these are recorded so that we might believe that Jesus is the Son of God and that we have absolute faith in Him.  In John’s opinion, the miracles of Jesus were vital in that and were an essential part of getting people to believe in the risen Christ.

When the 72 returned after being sent out by Jesus, they marveled because even the demons were subject to them.  Jesus’ response to this was that they should not be excited about that, but instead should be excited about the fact that their names were written in the Book of Life (cf. Luke 10).  Obviously, Jesus was saying something about the actual importance of eternal life there, vs. physical (or even supernatural) experiences.

See my previous paragraph.

I wish there was a greater emphasis on witnessing to the lost and equipping the saints for evangelism and growth in the Lord.  Miracles are nice, but they are the exception to the rule (with the exception of the greatest miracle of all when another lost soul receives eternal life).  I believe God is far more concerned about the spiritual welfare of people than in their physical welfare.  This does not mean that He will not provide for us or meet our needs.  It means that we often place more emphasis on the physical than we do the spiritual and it should be reversed.

Signs and wonders and the preaching of the gospel go hand in hand.  Without the demonstration of God’s power through healing and deliverance,  all that is left is the enticing words of man’s wisdom.  Paul said that his preaching was with the demonstration of the Spirit and the power of God so that people would not trust in the wisdom of man but in the power of God.   Paul founded strong churches in Corinth and Ephesus by signs and wonders, and casting demons out of pagans.  At Athens where he just preached a sermon without signs and wonders, only a couple of people came to Christ.  Paul learned that lesson, and that is why he told the Corinthians that when he came to visit them he wanted to see more than words, but the power of God.  He said that the kingdom of God was not in word but in power.  That power was the healings and deliverances that accompanied his ministry.  The Samaritans would not have responded to Philip’s teaching about the gospel if there were no signs and wonders accompanying it.

Can you be taught to lay hands on the sick so that they will recover?  I just don’t see that in the Bible.  Can you pray for someone so that they will recover?  Yes.  Are they guaranteed to recover?  No.

What the author is saying is in direct contradiction to Mark 16:18.  That verse says that “they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover.”  Not "might be" or ungaranteed, but shall recover.  Note that recovery takes time.  Instantaneous healing is a miracle.  The author obviously is basing his opinion of what he has seen and experienced in his senses that in what the Scripture actually says. That is also presumption instead of faith.   You either believe the Scripture or you don’t.  In this case the author has decided not to believe the Scripture, and Scripture says that without faith (based on Scripture) he cannot please God.

While I am very glad that there is at least an emphasis on evangelism with Joan Hunter (and a few other ministries like hers), the truth seems to be that all too often (based on my own personal involvement and study of aspects of the Charismatic Movement), healings, spiritual experiences, and the like are the things that are emphasized.

I disagree.  What is being emphasised is to have complete faith in Jesus Christ for everything, healing included.  I have an extensive collection of the Hunters’ videos and healing is only a part of what they teach.  In actual fact, salvation, Christian faith, healing, deliverance, or any other part of Christian faith is a spiritual experience because they would be non-existent if the Holy Spirit was not here.  Before the Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost, the 120 were a frightened group of people cowering in an upper room for fear of the Jews.  When the Holy Spirit came they changed completely.  They had a spiritual experience.  Paul talked about getting the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.  That is a spiritual experience.

It is disheartening to hear of people who teach or have been taught that God wants everyone healed (or wants all of us to materially prosper).  When that does not happen, then of course, the blame is placed directly back on the person for their “lack of faith.”  This is adding insult to injury.

The Hunters never blamed people of having a lack of faith when they did not get healed.  They accepted that not everyone got healed.  They supported going to the doctor and the hospital, using common sense if healing did not happen.  I think the author should take more time to watch the 14 video set more closely than to make a judgement like that.

There are a few times in Scripture where we are told that Jesus could not do many miracles in a certain place because of the people’s lack of faith (cf. Matthew 13; Mark 6).  In those cases, the people essentially chased Jesus away!  They were not coming to Him pleading with Him to heal them and simply lacked a strong enough faith.  They didn’t even want Him to be in their area!  The text tells us that they did not believe.  Right, they did not believe that He was who He said He was!  He scared them tremendously and they did not want to have to deal with Him.

It was once in Jesus home town where the people knew Him too well in the flesh.  They could not believe that the person who had grown up with them could be the Messiah.  It says that He could do no mighty works but He healed a few people.  The author should read the Scripture more closely instead of reading things into it that aren’t there.

Throughout the gospels, even the smallest amount of faith was rewarded with some type of healing by Christ, so it doesn’t seem to be that people lacked faith – the ability to trust Christ for healing – so much so that they lacked a general faith in who He was in the first place.  There is a huge difference there.

The people that Jesus healed were unconverted Jews.  Most did not exercise any faith.  They just obeyed Jesus when He told them to take up their bed and walk, or go and wash in a pool.  Others were healed on the way to show themselves to the priest on the instructions of Jesus.  Jesus raised a 12 year old girl from the dead.  She didn’t have any faith obviously.

I look at the people in my local church, people that we love and people who love God.  These people are servants.  They love the Lord and they show it through their actions, whether it is joining with someone in prayer, preparing meals for people who are laid up and can’t do it, or in any numbers of other ways that these people show their love.

When illness happens, the first thing we naturally do is cry out to our heavenly Father.  That is natural and I want to be clear here in stating without equivocation that this is what children do with their earthly parents, so why would we shrink from taking these same type of concerns to our heavenly Father?  We should go to Him in prayer immediately.

But Jesus never demonstrated crying out to the Father for healing for anyone.  He healed them, and He instructed His disciples to heal them, not pray to the Father for healing.  If we are not prepared to follow what Jesus said and did, then we will never see the power of God in action. 

As far as the people in my church, when there is sickness, yes, the first thing they might ask for is that God would heal.  However, there is always the addition of “yet not ours but Your will be done.”  It seems ironic that in a church where people obviously love the Lord and want what’s best from Him, there are a number of people fighting cancers and other forms of sickness.  What I have found is that even though these wonderful Christians really want healing from God, they have come to understand that whether or not He provides healing in this life (through prayer, doctors, or a combination of both), they always come to a point of being able to see God’s hand in the situation even if He chooses not to heal.

Jesus demonstrated that it is His will to heal in that He healed all those who came to Him.  If we pray “if it be thy will”, then God will hold off and say “Keep praying until you know what My will is, because you won’t get anyone healed while you don’t know it.”  So the prayer should be, “I know that it is your will to heal the sick, but is it the right time for this person to be healed right now?”  There is a timing in God, and we need to be sensitive to it.  Although these wonderful people want healing from God, if they choose to ignore the Scripture and the examples of Jesus, then they are wonderfully unbelieving religious people who will never get healed until they know and believe what the will of God actually is concerning their healing.  There is a place for prayer and it consists on asking and waiting on God an indication of His will for them.  But if those people have closed minds to the probability that God can and will heal them in the here and now, they will never hear His voice because they won’t be listening for it.  Their own religious attitudes will get in the way.

We need to get our priorities straight as Christians. Would you be a better witness for Jesus if you were in perfect health?  If you had a million dollars, would that translate to more souls saved through your efforts?  There is no direct connection there and it is clear that the miracles that Jesus performed that were related to health (and even resurrection of the dead, as in the case of Lazarus) were completed in order to verify the deity of Jesus.

It will be interesting to know what Scripture the author is depending on here.  He does not quote any references to give his views credibility.  I can only conclude that the statement is merely his own opinion which is questionable and unproven.

Yes, certain apostles like Peter and Paul also had miracles done through them, but these were – I believe – more to call attention to the fact that God was with them.  Peter did not raise anyone from the dead.  He prayed that God would raise Dorcas from the dead (cf. Acts 9).  Peter prayed first and after realizing what God was going to do, told Dorcas (Tabitha) to rise up.  He didn’t go into that room and command her to rise.  He prayed first and gained knowledge through the Holy Spirit that God intended to raise her back up from the dead.  How did Peter know that God intended to raise Dorcas from the dead?  He knew through prayer.

The author is contradicting himself!  He says that Peter did not command Dorcas to rise from the dead, and then he says that Peter went in and told Dorcas to rise up.  It is true that through his fellowship with God sensitivity to the voice of the  Spirit he knew that he could tell Dorcas to rise up and that is what he did.  He followed the command of Jesus to “heal the sick and raise the dead”, and that is what He did, and the power of God worked through him to achieve it.  Luke wrote these things to show that because an ordinary man like Peter could raise a person from the dead, so can we.  Jesus said, “the works I do, you shall do also, even greater works.”  Possibly the author doesn’t believe that Scripture either.

This is slightly different from when Jesus raised the little girl in Mark 5 (or with Lazarus in John 11).  In both cases, Jesus referred to the little girl and Lazarus as having fallen asleep.  He explained literally what He meant by that phrase to His disciples.

Lazarus was certainly dead and was decomposing after having been dead for four days.

With respect to Lazarus, Jesus prayed prior to commanding Lazarus to “come forth,” but as noted in the text of John 11, He prayed this for the sake of those listening so that they would believe that the Father had sent Jesus (cf. John 11:42).  Jesus – as the Author of Life (cf. Acts 3:15; Colossians 1:16) – can take life or give it as He wills.  None of His followers can do that.  No so-called faith healer can do that.  None of us have the capacity to do that.  The miracle of life is something God reserves for Himself.

But Jesus commanded His disciples (representing us) to “raise the dead”.  This has happened with Christian believers in third world countries.  There is the movie about a South African potato farmer who raised a woman from the dead who was struck by lightning.  This was a real event, documented by his friends and neighbours.  Don’t tell me that the woman was just stunned.  She was really dead according to those who felt her pulse and had been for some time.  St Benedict raised a worker who had been crushed and killed by a collapsed wall while building the Monte Cassino Monastery.  The worker was just a mangled body when he was brought down to him. After prayer, the man rose from the dead and went right back to work.  That was fully documented at the time and the documents are in the Vatican archives.  There have been many testimonies of people being raised from the dead in third world countries as the result of Christian ministry.  Obviously the author hasn’t read of those accounts, which I have.

Peter prayed for God’s will and may have prayed that life would return to Dorcas.  God answered that prayer, which is why Peter knew to speak to her.

The author is bringing his “maybe” into the account.  The reference does not mention anything about Peter praying for Dorcas.  All he did was to tell Dorcas to rise up, and she did.  The author is misrepresenting Peter through his own guesswork.

Many miracles were performed through Peter and Paul and with good reason.  Both of these men were very important individuals within the chosen few.  The book of Acts spends the first dozen or so chapters highlighting the work of the Holy Spirit through Peter.  The second half of Acts highlights the work of the Holy Spirit through Paul.  Each of them had specific callings and ministries to certain groups of people.

Signs, wonders and miracles were performed by all the Apostles, and including Stephen, Philip, and many other apostles and evangelists in the Early Church period.  Well past the First Century there are many accounts of signs and wonders being performed by many of those who spread the gospel around the pagan world.  All the church historians right through until the Fourth Century record speaking in tongues, casting out of demons, healing the sick, and other significant miraculous events. Also right through history until the present day there are regular accounts of the same things happening before the Pentecostal and Charismatic revivals.   I have an account of a Methodist Holiness evangelist who had regular miraculous healings taking place in his ministry in the late 19th Century.  When Jesus said, “these signs shall follow those who believe”, most believers up until the 4th Century  and many beyond took that literally an performed signs and wonders in their ministries.  John Wesley had 250 documented healings as part of his ministry.  Even his horse got healed of lameness on one of his ministry trips.  Thank goodness that horse had faith to be healed!

To show that God was with them both, the Holy Spirit worked through them miraculously.  This does not somehow translate to all believers in Christ who come after Peter and Paul; that we will somehow gain this same ability.  Yet, many believe that it does.

Wrong!  Obviously the author is not a student of Church history.  See my previous paragraph that proves to make a complete monkey of his statement.

Only so many people were used by God to author parts of His holy Word, over a period of roughly 1,600 years.  The Canon is closed and has been for some time.  Yet, I know of people who believe that they are also apostles, equal in authority to the original twelve and that when they write, their writings are as inspired as the Bible.  This is obviously and patently false, but their egos say otherwise.

It has nothing to do with the Canon.  When Jesus told about the signs following, He did not say that the signs will follow until the Canon of Scripture is closed.  The Canon of Scripture is an invention of man.  A group of religious men decided what was the Word of God and what wasn’t.  Neither Jesus or Paul had any concept of the Canon of Scripture.  Jesus gave authority to 72 disciples, and in effective that authority is conferred on all believers.

I know of no one in all my 50 years of Christian life who has said that his or her writing is equal to Holy Scripture.  All the books I have from a wide range of authors from the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements all base their writing on the authority of Scripture.  They do not say that their writing is actual Scripture.   The author must have met some lunatic fringe impostors who gave him that wrong impression.

Yes, the Bible says through Paul that to some God gave the gift of apostleship, while to others, evangelism, etc., (cf. Ephesians 4:11).  It is funny how many people tend to believe that God is still giving the gift of apostleship today.  I don’t believe He is doing that.  In fact, I have a difficult time believing that Matthias was chosen by God to replace Judas (cf. Acts 1).  I believe that the man who was chosen to replace Judas was actually Paul and he was directly chosen by Jesus Himself, just the same way Jesus chose the original twelve.  I realize that there are those who would disagree with me and that’s fine.  I could be wrong about it, but it simply makes sense to me that Paul is the man, not Matthias, for a variety of reasons.

Although the original 12 Apostles were special and had a distinct ministry as the pioneers of the Christian faith having been directly trained by Jesus, there were other apostles around at the time.  Barnabas was an apostle.  Paul says of himself that he was appointed “out of time”.  He did not have direct contact with Jesus in the flesh.  Matthias was chosen as the result of the Holy Spirit’s leading, so he was one of the pioneer Apostles.  In the five-fold ministries, there is no mention that others could not be apostles and that the ministry of apostleship was to be limited to a select few.  The author is basing his argument on silence and not actual scriptural statements.

So the question surrounding the main issue of this article is whether or not God uses people to heal today, as He did during the first part of the first century of the Church?  I believe we have established that God can and does heal today.  To me, that is not even a question.  However, the idea that people can be taught to some how learn the proper method of laying on of hands in order to nearly guarantee positive results is quite a biblical stretch, as far as I’m concerned.

 I note that the Hunters never said that their method was the only one.  They stated repeatedly that their method worked for them and it might work for others, but if their method did not work for some others, then to try something else because God is not limited to just one method.  God is sovereign, He can heal people any way He likes and so one method might work for one and another method might work for someone else.  It would be good if the author did his research properly before making generalised statements that are not accurate.

 In fact, I simply do not see it as being biblical at all.  Others of course, disagree with me and a stable of books have been written on the subject, both pro and con.  It is up to you to study the Word yourself to determine what God says on the subject.  It will not do to choose a side based on what a person teaches, which is reflected in their own choice in the matter.  You must even take my words and compare them with Scripture to determine whether or not what I am saying coincides with God’s truth as revealed in His Word.

The laying on of hands and the anointing of oil are certainly Scriptural ways of healing the sick.  Mark 16:18 affirms that, and the scripture in James where it talks about the ministry of the elders in relation to healing.   If what a person teaches lines up with Scripture then I can accept it.  If it doesn’t line up with Scripture then I view it is just that person’s opinion, just like a lot of stuff in this author’s article.

This world is headed for judgment and it is going to be severe. I fear that too many Christians are concerned with physical healing, material wealth, and spiritual experiences, rather than ensuring that as many people as possible hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  He came to heal us first and foremost, spiritually.  The final culmination of that healing occurs after this life is over when the sin nature is eradicated and we receive our eternal bodies that will match and perfectly fit our eternal spirit.

He could be right here in general, but he is generalising.  I don’t think that this is particularly relevant to the healing ministry.

These bodies that we currently reside in our corrupt.  They are dying.  We will get sick in this life.  Some will succumb to illnesses like cancers and other things that will wind up taking physical life from us.  In many cases, this is how God has designed our passage from this life to the next.  It is merely a doorway through which we cross.

Although people are sick and will die, I do not believe that it is the will of God that a person should die of a disease that the devil puts on him.  God kept His people healthy in the wilderness even though they were disobedient to Him.  Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Elijah  all died of natural causes and not through disease.  A king died of a foot infection because he failed to trust God for his healing.  In the Corinthian church people were sick and died because they did not have the full appreciation of the body and blood of Christ in the Lord’s Supper.  It seems that Christians dying before their time of sickness and disease is the work of the devil in God’s view and something that He did not design.  It is a contradiction to say that God uses the devil’s methods to get people from this life into glory.  Again, the author is ignoring the clear statements of scripture.

Some people will die instantly in a car accident, or from a heart attack.  Others will linger for a time before they pass on.  However, barring those who are alive at the Rapture, all of us will pass from this life to the next through the door of death.

That is quite true.  But it is not a reason to discount the healing ministry.

Some believers will experience trials and tribulations related to their health for long periods of time before the Lord takes that person home.  For others, the battle with a terminal illness will be shorter.  We can and should always pray about these things.  Just as sure as we should always pray, we should always arrive at a point where our desires match God’s.  Just as Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane that only the Father’s will would be accomplished, and just as Paul learned over time to be content in whatever set of circumstances came his way, so to should we learn and understand that the most important thing we have going for us is our spiritual health and that only comes when we receive the only salvation that is available; through Jesus Christ.  Aside from that, we actually have nothing, even if we think we have everything (our health, prosperity, family, etc.).  All of these things pass like vapors.  The only thing that will last is eternal life in Christ.

It seems that the author is quite prepared to allow good people to become sick and die than ask God for a greater faith and insight into His Word to be able to minister healing to the sick and dying.  He seems to be resigned that  God is not powerful enough or willing enough to heal sick and dying people.  I think this author need a good dose of compassion for the sick and dying that will drive him to his knees to seek God for an infusion of the power of the Holy Spirit to be able to engage in a healing ministry that will glorify Christ and show his church that God is vitally concerned with relieving the suffering of the sick and dying.

My life – your life is so short here.  It is truly like a vapor – here today and gone tomorrow.  What does a man gain if he gains everything he thinks he needs but loses his own soul to eternal death and destruction (cf. Luke 9:25)?

Look around you.  Ask yourself this question:  who needs to hear the gospel of Jesus today?  Could it be that God can (and will) use your less than perfect health to create within you the character of Christ as you submit your will for His?  The more you have willingly given yourself to Christ, the more of His character will be seen in and through you.  Could this be the very thing that God wants to use in order to draw more people to Him, while perfecting you?

I would rather be able to have the power of God work through me to heal the sick and dying, because this will show more of the compassion of God and love of Christ to sick and suffering sinners and be more likely to win them for Christ than to be weak and sickly and have just words to share with them.  Peter and John said, “Silver and Gold have we none, BUT SUCH AS WE HAVE we give to you.”  They did not say to the lame man as the author might say, “You poor man, your lot in life is to suffer and then you will die and go be with the Lord.”  They had more than that.  They had authority to use the power of God to get that guy up and walking, and that was what improved his life no end.

If we are truly owned by God (cf. 1 Corinthians 6:20), then we are no longer our own, right?  If we are no longer our own, then we take what our Master provides for us, correct?  Since He paid for us (not merely for our freedom, but for us), then we really have nothing to say about it, do we?

The most important thing we can do is submit ourselves to Him.  He will take care of our true needs.  He will deal with our personal cares.  He will deal with our health issues as He sees fit.  We need to understand and accept His will in these matters.  Moreover, we need to be about our Father’s business, just as Jesus lived for the Father.  If we are truly concerned with following our Lord, then the most important thing we can do is introduce the lost to the Giver of Life.

God is dealing with health issues as He sees fit.  He is raising up ordinary believers and equipping them with healing and deliverance ministries so that they can go a preach the gospel with signs following.  That is the difference between a genuine Christian believer and a religious person.  The genuine Christian believer knows the awesome power of the Holy Spirit to heal and deliver people and they are learning to use it to great effect.   The religious person is merely content to give homilies with nothing else and wonders why people don’t want to listen to him.  He wonders why his church is declining and the Sunday services are more like funeral services than celebrations of the love and grace of God in healing and setting the captives free.  When Jesus spoke about His anointing, He did not say that the Holy  Spirit anointed him to just sing a few hymns, give an intellectual sermon about religious topics, get full of tea and cake after the services and then go home and live a normal life.  No. His anointing was to set the captives free, preach the good news to the poor and bring people out of prison (of sickness and disease).  The Scripture says that Jesus was a good man who went around doing good, healing all those who were oppressed of the devil, because God was with Him.  How do we know that Jesus is with us?  When we do the same.

 

A fellow called Cliff Truman made the following comment in relation to the above article:

Praise God for those who have been freed from the demonic, deceitful charismatic movement. I was a missionary in South America for 40 years and saw how this devilish movement destroyed churches and denominations and missions.

Of course there is another side to the story.  The Charismatic movement went into countries where the churches were dead, depending on the wisdom of man instead of the power of God.  They were the traditional churches that had Sunday services more like funeral services than anything else, and the members went to church out of a sense of religious duty.  What the Charismatic movement offered was that God is a real Person, who has given us the Holy Spirit to heal the sick and to cast out demons.  Many of the traditional churches were so infested with demonic influence that they were more ruled by demons than by the Holy Spirit.  This was because the church observances of these traditional churches were mixed up with the pagan worship that existed in those communities.   When members of those churches had their demons cast out of them and they came into a new freedom in Christ, those traditional churches no longer satisfied them, so they left and joined the Charismatic ones that were on a stronger Scriptural basis and were free of the pagan rituals that existed in the traditional ones.

Satan is working as never before as we near the end of this age of the Church. New Age contemplation, yoga, wild contemporary so-called “music” is misleading millions of professing Christians.

This happens more in the paganised traditonal churches in South American culture and the non-Charismatic churches around the western world.  Charismatic churches are well known for their strict adherence to Scripture.   Many traditional churches do have New Age teaching, yoga and liberal theology that denies the virgin birth, personality of God and the Resurrection of Christ.  Charismatic churches view New Age and yoga as demonic, and in all my experience with Charismatic churches I have seen no acceptance of these things at all.  As for wild music.  I have never been in a Charismatic church where this has happened.  I don’t know where Mr Truman has got his information from.  Probably the lunatic fringe videos on Youtube. I wonder if Mr Truman would say that spectators who yell like Commanche Indians at a football match would be possessed of demons while those who get a bit excited at what Jesus is doing in our churches instead of just sitting their pews like wooden indians are demon possessed.  He seems to implying that in his comments here.

May the Body of Christ soon be complete and raptured, which will

usher in the tribulation after which our Lord will return in glory, and us with Him!

I wonder if you would be included in the rapture if you are accusing millions of good believers in the Charismatic movement of being demonic.  I think you should be very careful about what you say because when you come up before the Judgement seat of Christ you might get a rude shock!