Apologetics Index

Divine Healing According to the Bible and Experience

Divine healing according to the Bible and Experience

By David Kowalski

God can and does still heal. While we are not guaranteed healing in this life, we are guaranteed it throughout eternity.

Estimated reading time: 44 minutes

My introduction to divine healing

My introduction to divine healing came several years before I was saved. A prestigious doctor at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans had diagnosed a blockage in an artery in my neck when I was a teen, saying that it would eventually require surgery. Not long after this, I was sitting in a room watching television while my mother was at a prayer meeting, asking God to heal me. I was a godless rebel, entrenched in sinful ways and adhering to mystical, pantheistic beliefs. Nevertheless, as I sat by myself, I felt something grab my neck in the afflicted area, after which I sensed a warm power flowing into my neck. I did not know how I knew, but I knew this was the activity of God (my mothers’ – not my New Age force), and I knew He was healing me, after which I said, “But God, I don’t even believe in you!” Several years later, I was wonderfully saved, and not long afterward, I had my neck rechecked at the same clinic. The physician I spoke to was mystified because there was no trace of the previously diagnosed condition. He said the first doctor “must have been mistaken.”[1] This experience introduced me to a subject I would subsequently spend many years studying in the Bible.

Almost no Christian doubts that divine healing played a prominent role in the ministry of Jesus and of the New Testament Church.[2] Acts 28:1-10 reveals that healing was a prominent part of the apostles’ ministry even in their later years. Acts 6:8 and 8:5-7 show this ministry was not limited to the apostles. Even the profoundly flawed Corinthian and Galatian churches experienced miraculous healings.

The Bible nowhere states that divine healing will cease after the first-century apostolic age. After speaking of the temporary nature of spiritual gifts needed in this age, Paul, in 1 Corinthians 13:10 & 12, lets us know exactly when these gifts will cease:

But when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away … For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Very few people now assert that “the perfect” refers to the canon of Scripture since we still see dimly and do not yet know as we have been fully known (I have not met any believers who claim to). The passage indicates that gifts will persist in this life. In 1 Corinthians 1:7, Paul also tells the Corinthians they “are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The gifts are given to believers who are still waiting for the return of Christ.  

Through the years, there have been scandals and heresies among continuationists (those who believe the spiritual gifts have not ceased), but to reject the ongoing reality of those gifts on those grounds is both an ad hominem and a hasty generalization. The harshest critics of these scandals and heresies have been other continuationists.[3] In the 19th century, A. J. Gordon (a healing continuationist) offered criticism of this kind regarding the healing movement popular then: “But we are offering no apology for fanaticism and providing no place for it in connection with the doctrine we are defending.”[4] Contemporary Pentecostal scholar Gordon Fee says, “The selectivity of these evangelists allows them to espouse a view not taught anywhere in the New Testament, but also carefully to avoid to avoid hundreds of texts that stand squarely in opposition to their teaching.”[5] Scandals (many could be cited[6]) and heresies have also been part of cessationism (Jehovah’s Witnesses are strict cessationists, for example), but this gives no grounds for arguing that their theology about the gifts is wrong.

Cessationists often argue that their position should be adopted because it is safer than the dangerous one of continuationists since continuationism sometimes leads to extremes and abuses. To avoid all dangerous activity, however, we would never get out of bed. Driving to church on Sunday is dangerous since we might be involved in an accident. Nevertheless, going to church on Sunday is beneficial. Safety is not the grounds for determining correct doctrine and practice. Scripture must be our arbiter of truth, and biblical wisdom should guide our practice.  

As noted above, Scripture says the gifts, which include divine healing, will continue until the return of Christ. However, many believers who assert that revelatory gifts have ceased do believe that divine healings have continued (though not as the kind of gift mentioned in 1 Corinthians and provided for only in the sovereignty of God and not the atonement).[7] Excluding the extreme, odd, and even heretical methodology found among some extremists in the healing camp, the fundamental healing methodology employed by continuationists and cessationists[8] is the same – we pray for the sick to be healed.

This agreement on methodology makes theological differences about divine healing mostly academic but still impactful. We must always guard against the common tendency to jump from one theological extreme to another rather than comprehensively pursue the whole counsel of God. Many errors are born from an overreaction to a different kind of error. Thus, we will look more closely at the Bible’s teaching about divine healing.

The Start and Finish of Our Need for Healing

The need for healing came into God’s good creation when sin entered, and it brought consequences such as a cursed earth and physical death. We are told the good news in Revelation 21:4 that God will ultimately bring in a completely new order in which there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain! The chart below briefly overviews the fall, its effects, and its cure.

The need for healing came into God’s good creation when sin entered, and it brought consequences such as a cursed earth and physical death. We are told the good news in Revelation 21:4 that God will ultimately bring in a completely new order in which there will be no more mourning, crying, or pain! The chart below briefly overviews the fall, its effects, and its cure.

The chart shows that not all of the effects of the atonement are received at the same time. We may, thus, encounter confusion if different parties think of different elements of the atonement when they speak of it. In this article, we will follow the definition of atonement given by Wayne Grudem, which adopts a broad view of “atonement” that includes the punctiliar (one-time) act of penal substitution and the multiple effects or benefits resulting from that. Additionally, we will recognize different stages or timing for applying the benefits flowing from penal substitution. Grudem explains:

We may define the atonement as follows: The atonement is the work Christ did in his life and death to earn our salvation. This definition indicates we are using the word atonement in a broader sense than it is sometimes used. Sometimes it is used to refer only to Jesus dying and paying for our sins on the cross … since saving benefits also come to us from Christ’s life, we have included that in our definition as well.”[9]

D. A. Carson summarizes the implications:

The issue is not “what is in the atonement,” for surely all Christians would want to say that every blessing that comes to us, now and in the hereafter, ultimately flows from the redemptive work of Christ. The issue, rather, is what blessings we have a right to expect as universally given endowments right now, what blessings we may expect only hereafter, and what blessings we may partially or occasionally enjoy now and in fullness only in the hereafter.[10]

Some errors respecting divine healing in the atonement result when we treat one aspect of this work outside of its larger context, try to apply it in a manner that will only be realized in the consummation of the kingdom when Christ returns, or delay all implications until that time. We will use the light of Scripture to examine some of these errors that misinterpret or misapply Biblical teaching about Divine healing.

Redemption from the Curse of the Law

Galatians 3:13, “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree,’” is sometimes claimed as a promise of divine healing. Kenneth Hagin, for example, makes this claim,[11] and it has been cited as a basis for healing by C. J. E. Lefroy.[12] The assertion is expressed succinctly by F. F. Bosworth:

Every form of sickness and disease known to man was included, and many of them mentioned particularly, in the “curse of the law” (Deut, 28:15-62, and other scriptures). Now, in Galatians 3:13 we have the positive statement that “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us, for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone that hangeth on the tree.’” What plainer declaration could we have than that Christ, who was born under the law to redeem us, bore its curse, and therefore did redeem us from all sickness and disease.[13]

However, this interpretation of Galatians 3:13 is hard to maintain under close inspection. Gordon Fee disagrees with it:

The first set of texts may be quickly set aside. This is a typical example of a totally faulty “concordance” interpretation, which finds English catchwords in various texts and then tries to make them all refer to the same thing. There is not even the remotest possibility that Paul was referring to the “curses” of Deuteronomy 28 when he spoke of the “curse of the law.” And “redemption” in Galatians has to do with one thing only: how does one have right-standing with God – through faith (= trust in God’s gracious acceptance and forgiveness of sinners) or by the works of the law (= acceptance by obedience to prescribed rules)? Thus, the Holy Spirit could scarcely have inspired a meaning of the text that is so totally foreign to the point is making in this context in Galatians.[14]

Fee’s comments are convincing, but even if we were to allow the curses of Deuteronomy 28 to be considered part of the law’s curse from which we have been redeemed, this would not eliminate the original cause of sickness. Disease and injury originated with the fall, which occurred long before God pronounced the curses of Deuteronomy 28. Stating that we are free from the curses of Deuteronomy 28 does not address the physical consequences of the fall; it would only liberate us from the extraordinary judgments of which God spoke in Deuteronomy 28. Additionally, the mention of the curse of one who is “hanged on a tree” spoken of in Galatians 3:13 does not match the context of Deuteronomy 28, referring instead to Deuteronomy 21:22-23.[15] Joe Magliato tells a humorous fictional (but theologically possible!) dialogue about freedom from the curses of Deuteronomy 28 (vs. 22 in particular, which specifies mildew as part of those):[16]

Friend: Marge, do you know you have mildew in your shower?

Marge: Oh! I’ll have to take care of that tomorrow.

Friend: Don’t you know that mildew is part of the curse of Deuteronomy?

Marge: Curse? What curse?

Friend: The curse of the law. It’s all in Deuteronomy 28. But you have been redeemed from the curse.

Marge: I have?

Friend: Yes, you don’t have to put up with that. Rebuke it!

Marge: Rebuke what?

Friend: Rebuke the mildew.

Marge: The mildew?

Friend: Yes, all you need to do is to claim your freedom from the curse and believe the Word. If you have enough faith, you won’t have mildew in your shower. Don’t you have faith?

Marge: Why sure I do! At least enough to handle mildew.

Friend: Maybe you have a secret sin in your life. Is there anything you are hiding?

Marge: Well, now that you mention it, I did get angry with Bob for knocking over my new geranium pot the other day. But do you think that would be part of the curse?
Friend: What do you mean?

Marge: Well, Bob got so angry when he knocked over the pot that he cursed. Does that count?

Friend: You’re not taking this seriously, are you?

Marge: I sure am. It cost me $5.95 for a new pot of geraniums.

Friend: Let’s believe God to remove the mildew by praying in faith.

Marge: Why pray? I’ll just use “Fungus Sure Shot” first thing in the morning.[17]
Magliato, The Wall Street Gospel, 9-10

Even if Deuteronomy 28 had been referred to in Galatians 3:13, all we could have been assured of regarding illness is that the Lord would not “make the pestilence stick to you until he has consumed you off the land that you are entering to take possession of it” (Deuteronomy 28:21). Galatians 3:13 does not guarantee the believer a sickness-free life.

Satan’s Defeat

In Bodily Healing and the Atonement, T. J. McCrossan expresses the frequently professed view that all sickness is of Satan, and since Christ has defeated Satan (Col. 2:13-15, Heb. 2:14), perfect healing may now be claimed:

Again, all saints should expect God to heal their sickness today, because all sickness is the result of Satan’s work when he introduced sin into this world, and Christ was manifested to destroy Satan’s work.

While McCrossan traces the demonic nature of sickness to Satan’s influence in the Garden, other teachers maintain that the demonic nature of sickness is always due to direct demonic causation. In his book The Troublemaker, Kenneth Copeland conveys the common idea of the movement he is part of – that all disease and poverty come directly from the devil, saying, “Trouble isn’t born by the Spirit of God – it is born by Satan”[18] and in The Force of Faith, Copelandopines, “Suffering is the result of the attack of Satan.”[19]

Acts 10:38 is often said to be evidence that the devil directly causes all sickness: “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.” Kenneth Hagin declares, “This scripture makes it clear that the people Jesus healed were oppressed by the devil.”[20]

Acts 10:38 is a comprehensive description of Jesus’ healing and deliverance ministry in one verse, speaking of all who were oppressed, conflating rather than separating deliverance and healing (the only verse that does). In the Gospels, however, the two are plainly treated as separate acts:

That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. – Matthew 8:16

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. – Matthew 10:1

“And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases.” – Luke 9:1

Even if we were to agree that Acts 10:38 makes no distinction between the oppressed and sick, it is, as one verse alone, insufficient grounds to make this an absolute doctrine. If we say that a doctor cured all of his patients’ headaches caused by brain tumors, we are not thereby declaring that brain tumors cause all headaches. At most, Luke tells us in Acts 10:38 that Jesus healed people Satan afflicted. Satan’s defeat brings hope for all who are afflicted by demons, but it does not eliminate the root of all sickness.

Common sense experience tells us that not all afflictions are directly caused by demons. If one accidentally cuts their finger with a knife, they will not rebuke the devil to receive healing for the cut (though they might pray for healing). This lesson was driven home to me many years ago when, after a young girl had apparently broken her leg at a church outing, believers gathered around her and rebuked the devil (a demon of brokenness?).

The Atonement

In Isaiah, we are told how the new order will be inaugurated:

Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned—every one—to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. – Isaiah 53:4-6

Edward J. Young comments that our traditional translation of “healed” in verse five is not the best choice of words: “Actually the verb is impersonal, and we may best render, and by his stripes there is healing to us, or healing was imparted to us.”[21] Stanley Horton notes that the Hebrew word Young translates as “to” can mean “for.”[22]

This prophesied savior will bear our sins and liberate us from sin’s consequences. Verse five above prophesies healing for us as a result of his sufferings. Some commentators have limited the application of this verse to a healing of our ways for two reasons. First, some of the uses of rapha (healing) in the Old Testament (including in Isaiah) speak metaphorically of the healing of the ways of a people:

And the Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing, and they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas for mercy and heal them. – Isaiah 19:22

Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow. – Isaiah 30:26

Secondly, when Peter mentions the fulfillment of the passage in Isaiah 53, the context indicates a healing of our ways:[23]

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. – 1 Peter 2:24-25

The biggest obstacle to the interpretation that the healing of ways is the sole meaning of the passage in Isaiah 53 is its reference in Matthew 8:16-17 which clearly refers to physical healing:

That evening they brought to him many who were oppressed by demons, and he cast out the spirits with a word and healed all who were sick. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah: “He took our illnesses and bore our diseases.”

Just as the Hebrew rapha can mean healing of ways or bodies, so also can the Greek iaomai, found in 1 Peter 2:24 mean either kind of healing. The healing described in Matthew 8:16-17, however, is unquestionably physical, and the less ambiguous word therapeuo is used there.

Consequently, an observation of the dual uses of rapha in the Old Testament, combined with the dual citations of Isaiah 53:4-6 in the New Testament, leads to the conclusion that holistic healing – a healing of both the ways and bodies of God’s people was prophesied by Isaiah.

Many commentators dismiss the passage in Matthew 8:16-17 as one with no reference to the cross nor any present application to believers since Matthew says it is fulfilled in Jesus’ pre-Calvary ministry. They postulate this even though Peter’s reference to the fulfillment of Isaiah 53 is post-Calvary. This dismissal of Matthew 8:16-17 also ignores how Matthew uses the term “fulfilled” (though the word is grammatically past tense). In Matthew 12:15-21, Matthew speaks of another “fulfillment” that includes future reference and implications:

Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah:

“Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,
    my beloved with whom my soul is well pleased.
 I will put my Spirit upon him,
    and he will proclaim justice to the Gentiles.
He will not quarrel or cry aloud,
    nor will anyone hear his voice in the streets;
a bruised reed he will not break,
    and a smoldering wick he will not quench,
victory; until he brings justice to
   and in his name the Gentiles will hope
.”

Even in English, a verb in the past tense can have future implications. For example, if one announces they have “bought a house,” this does not exclude the need for future payments.

Matthew’s quote here from Isaiah is from Isaiah 42:1-4. Ray Ortland comments on this passage that “The Servant of the Lord now appears, who will build a whole new world (42:1–9).”[24] H. N. Ridderbos says this prophecy is “a reference to the great future of the Kingdom of God.”[25] W. E. Vine says of verse four, “From this prophecy momentarily leaps forward to the effects of Christ’s Second Advent in His Millennial reign.”[26]

Considering the sum of the passages leads us to agree with D. A. Carson, who says of Matthew 8:16-17,  “Jesus healing ministry is itself a function of his substitutionary death, by which he lays the foundation for destroying sickness … Jesus’ healing miracles pointed beyond themselves to the cross.”[27] Henry Frost concurs that the prophecy’s fulfillment goes beyond the immediate context of Jesus’ healing ministry:

It appears, therefore, that Isaiah 53: 4,5 was written with a double prophetic outlet: first to an atonement for sin, healing of disease, before and apart from the atonement, undoubtedly as an evidence and proof of Christ’s messianic claim.[28]

Thus, the healing prophesied by Isaiah is holistic, of both the ways and bodies of men and women.

In the Holiness and Pentecostal movements of the 19th and 20th centuries, advocates of divine healing generally acknowledged (with varying nuances) that healing is provided for or comes through the atonement. However, one difficulty this acknowledgment has posed for both advocates and opponents is that the English word “atonement” is rarely, if ever, found in our English translations of the New Testament. Though in Romans 5:11, katallagēn is rendered as “atonement” in the King James Version (the only place “atonement” is found in the New Testament of the KJV), the word has been translated as “reconciliation” in modern translations.[29]

The KJV translation ‘atonement’ results from the fact that, at that time (1611), the term was equivalent to “reconciliation.” The Oxford English Dictionary says that atone originally was ‘short for the phrase “set or make at one”’ and that the noun was formed by a combination of the phrase “at” “onement,” the latter being a common phrase in the 16th century. Numerous examples are given of the use of atone and atonement in the sense of ‘reconcile’ and ‘reconciliation’ (1:539).[30]

The NIV translation of 1 John 4:10 presents another verse that can include a version of the English “atonement:” “This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.” While this is a respectable translation of hilasmos, echoed in some other translations, it is a minority view since most translations translate the word as “propitiation” (the turning away of God’s wrath).[31] In this article, we will consider both translations legitimate since there is some overlap in meaning or effect between “atonement” and “propitiation.” The bottom line remains the same – “atonement” is rarely, if ever, used in our English translations of the New Testament.

Though the Hebrew kippur is often translated into the English Old Testament as “atonement,” the work of Christ on the cross is more multifaceted than the Old Testament sacrifices since it addresses the guilt of sin and its many consequences. The terms involved describe the objective and subjective effects of the cross and consequently overlap in meaning or effect at times. Therefore, the word “atonement” has made its way into our theological and popular vocabulary, but not all believers speak of precisely the same dynamic effects of the cross when they use that word. We choose between varying degrees of dynamic inclusiveness, and this article will reflect Wayne Grudem’s broad view mentioned earlier.

As noted previously, the benefits purchased in the atonement are varied and are dispensed at differing times, so how we associate divine healing with other benefits inevitably affects our theology of healing. Some healing proponents have included healing in a narrow view of the atonement and concluded that believers are as healed now as they are forgiven, maintaining that we not only have the privilege of healings but now can live in perpetual “divine health.” Since we are completely forgiven, they say, our bodies are now completely healed, and any indications we have to the contrary are “lying symptoms.” They claim the truth is that we are already well and must stand on that “truth.”[32] Kenneth Hagin says, “[God] has done all He is ever going to do about healing you.”[33] He adds,  

Once I say that God has heard my prayer, I never go back on it. I do not care what I see, what I feel, or what my senses tell me. I stay with it, take hold of it with the tenacity of a bull dog, and I do not turn loose of it.[34]

Faith teacher Jerry Savelle writes,

Divine health is something we already possess. When symptoms come, it is nothing more than the thief trying to steal the health which is already ours. In other words, divine health is not something we are trying to get from God; it is something the Devil is trying to take away from us…When the Devil tries to put a symptom of sickness or disease on my body, I absolutely refuse to accept it.[35]

Divine health is something we already possess. When symptoms come, it is nothing more than the thief trying to steal the health which is already ours. In other words, divine health is not something we are trying to get from God; it is something the Devil is trying to take away from us…When the Devil tries to put a symptom of sickness or disease on my body, I absolutely refuse to accept it.[35]

Healing evangelist Jack Coe (1918-1956) dogmatically preached absolute divine health guaranteed for all believers in this age, even telling Christians to forego medical treatment and instead trust God. David Edwin Harrel relates that Coe “Taught that the day would come when those who consulted physicians would take the mark of the beast and that men were clearly looking to the wrong source for healing when they consulted doctors.”[36] At the age of 38, though, Coe contracted polio and died while seeking medical help at Dallas‘ Parkland Hospital on December 16, 1956.

The exceptionally unorthodox healing evangelist O. L. Jaggers (1916-2004) went as far as to claim that “An exact formula has been given to us as to how to attain physical immortality in this World!!!!”[37] Jaggers died in January of 2004.[38] Some participants in the mid-20th century Latter Rain movement (a precursor of the New Apostolic Reformation[39]) believed they (as the “Manchild”) would achieve a resurrected state before the return of Christ.[40]

Kenneth Hagin had a series of heart problems over the years (four cardiovascular crises, including one full-scale heart stoppage and another episode persisting for six weeks).[41] While seeking medical help in a cardiac intensive care unit, Hagin died in a Tulsa hospital on September 19, 2003, after collapsing at home.[42] In 2022, Kenneth Copeland admitted to having a pacemaker.[43] More examples could be given.

While it is commendable that these men had the humility to seek medical help, this pursuit did not harmonize with much of their teaching. To suggest that we are just as healed as we are forgiven is to espouse an extreme form of realized eschatology[44] in which we essentially have glorified bodies in this life (regardless of any “symptoms” to the contrary), a teaching against which we are strongly warned in Scripture:[45]

Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. – 2 Timothy 2:15-18

The New Testament reveals that life between the first and second comings of Christ will be one in which we wait for the consummation of the kingdom when we will receive perfect, glorified bodies:

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.” – Romans 8:18-25

For we know that if the tent that is our earthly home is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For in this tent we groan, longing to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed by putting it on we may not be found naked. For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1-8

And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment” – Hebrews 9:27

In referring to sick believers, Paul and James, inspired by the Holy Spirit, both speak of the Christians mentioned below as not only having symptoms but also being actually sick. The Holy Spirit said the cause of their symptoms was a physical reality (a Divine negative confession?):

I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus. – 2 Timothy 4:20

I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, for he has been longing for you all and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. – Philippians 2:25-27

No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments. – 1 Timothy 5:23

You know it was because of a bodily ailment that I preached the gospel to you at first” – Galatians 4:13

Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” – James 5:14

With these things in view, R. A. Torrey (a believer in present-day healing), in his book Divine Healing, remarks as follows:

When do we get what Jesus Christ secured for us by His atoning sacrifice? The Bible answer to that question is very plain, and the Bible answer is, when Jesus Christ comes again…We get the first fruits of the atoning work of Christ, the first fruits of salvation in the life that now is, but we get the full fruits only when Jesus Christ comes again. But while we do not get the full benefits for the body secured for us by the atoning death of Christ in the life that now is, but when Jesus Comes Again, nevertheless, just as one gets the first fruits of his spiritual salvation in the life that now is, so we get the first fruits of our physical salvation in the life that now is. We do get in many, many, many cases physical healing through the atoning death of Jesus Christ even in the life that now is.[46]

Pentecostal leader Donald Gee adds,

Doctrines of Divine healing that leave almost no place ideally in the life of the Christian for physical pain and infirmity are grasped at with avidity, but this is wishful thinking which neither Christian experience, nor the Bible when sanely interpreted, can transmute into sound doctrine that will stand the strain it is inevitably called upon to bear in practical living. No wonder we are surrounded with our “problems of Divine healing.” We make them for ourselves by formulating imperfect doctrines.[47]

Though we wait for the fullness of our inheritance, the Holy Spirit acts as our guardian, occasionally dispensing foretastes of that inheritance. Though we are, as Hebrews 9:27 says, appointed to die physically, the Bible teaches that God graciously makes repairs along the way in gifts of healing (1 Corinthians 12:9, James 5:14-15). God treats our bodies as we do our cars. The day we buy one, it is destined for the junkyard. That car will progressively age and deteriorate, but as the owner, we will occasionally make repairs at our discretion.

As #12 of the Assemblies of God’s fundamental truths says, “Deliverance from sickness is provided for [not guaranteed][48] in the atonement, and is the privilege of all believers.”[49]  As already conceded, if some cessationist Christians prefer to say healing is only provided for in the sovereignty of God, this makes little difference in our experience (healed is healed), even if those believers tend to downplay healing and lessen our expectancy of its occurrence.

Healing Through History

A close look at history shows that miraculous gifts of the Spirit did not cease in the first century, nor as some claim, in the fourth. In the second century, Irenaeus was a highly credible witness who tested all things and said, “Others have foreknowledge of things to come: they see visions, and utter prophetic expressions. Others still, heal the sick by laying their hands upon them, and they are made whole.”[50] Other second-century believers, such as Justin Martyr, echoed Ireneaus’ claim:

Some [of you] are becoming disciples in the name of Christ, and quitting the path of error; who are also receiving gifts, each as he is worthy, illumined through the name of this Christ. For one receives the spirit of understanding, another of counsel, another of strength, another of healing, another of foreknowledge, another of teaching, and another of the fear of God.[51]

Sam Storms quotes (as does Ronald A. N. Kydd) many early Church fathers who say similar things and shows that later Church leaders maintained a similar testimony.[52]

Divine healing and other gift manifestations did not cease in the fourth century, as some people conclude from reading early comments by Augustine and Chrysostom. Though Augustine made some cessationist-sounding statements early in his life, he later became a full-blown believer in Divine healing and other gifts. In chapter eight of The City of God (Book Twenty-Two), he revels in the accounts of the many Divine healings he has witnessed:

“For even now miracles are wrought in the name of Christ

[Twenty-One accounts described]…

Even now, therefore, many miracles are wrought, the same God who wrought those we read of still performing them, by whom He will and as He will[53]

Chrysostom’s early reference to a cessation of gifts[54] does not support the idea that gifts ceased in the fourth century. First, Augustine, Martin of Tours,[55] and Pachomius[56] all testified to the working of miraculous gifts in the fourth century. Additionally, like Augustine, Chrysostom later recounted witnessing miraculous gifts.[57] Even cessationist Conyers Middleton (1683-1750) conceded this:

From these testimonies, one would necessarily conclude, upon the authority of St. Chrysostom, that miracles were ceased in his days: yet in other parts of his works we find him in a different story, and haranguing on the mighty wonders, which were performed among them every day.[58]

Accounts of Divine healing between this period and the Protestant Reformers seem fewer, and the related ones are often associated with saints, relics, and “holy locations.” These phenomena seem to have contributed to the early cessationist stands of the Protestant Reformers, who were, by responding with Scripture alone (insisting it was sufficient), reacting to the Roman Catholic insistence that they provide miracles to verify their ministries. Though Calvin remained solidly cessationist (even denying the possibility of Divine healing), Martin Luther did not reflect the same posture. In The Pagan Servitude of the Church, Luther dismisses Extreme Unction as a sacrament, but he comments on the need to pray for the sick and the efficacy of such prayer. He writes,

But in Extreme Unction as practiced in our day, there is no prayer of faith. No one prays in faith over the sick, confidently expecting their restoration. Yet James describes that kind of faith in this passage (in James 5) … There is no doubt at all that if, at the present day, this kind of prayer were offered over the sick, i.e., by the older and graver men, men saintlike and full of faith, as many as we desired would be healed. Nothing is impossible for faith.[59] 

There was an unending line of Protestant healing continuationists, including Richard Baxter, the Moravians (including Zinzendorf), Johann Albrecht Bengel, the Scotch Covenanters, the Huguenots, early Baptists, many Methodists (Peter J. Bellini, as well as Kimberly Ervin Alexander, thoroughly document John Wesley’s position that would today be called continuationist [despite his seemingly conflicting comments]),[60] Edward Irving (and the Irvingites), Thomas Chalmers, Horace Bushnell, and many early missionaries.[61]

Russel H. Conwell’s biography of Charles Spurgeon includes accounts of spiritual gifts in Spurgeon’s ministry – accounts that are strangely missing from more recent biographies of Spurgeon.[62] Though these and other gifts were manifested, Conwell seems most impressed with the prolific healing ministry evident in Spurgeon’s ministry:

Thousands of cases [of divine healing] like those we have related [in Spurgeon’s ministry] might be gathered, and a great number of them have been collected, showing the wonderful agency of some Divine power exercised in answer to prayer.[63]

Divine healing ministries proliferated in the 19th-century Holiness movement, largely inspired by the healing-home model pioneered by Dorothea Trudel.[64] These minsters include (but are not limited to) R. Kelso Carter, R. L. Stanton, Charles Cullis, Andrew Murray, A. B. Simpson, A. J. Gordon, and Carrie Judd Montgomery.

The twentieth-century Pentecostal movement perpetuated this healing movement and inherited most of its theology on that topic. The post-WWII healing revival of figures such as William Branham, A. A. Allen, Jack Coe, T. L. Osborn, and Oral Roberts brought healing to some seekers, though it also brought some errors (such as Branham’s[65]) and scandals. More contemporary ministers in the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements have also brought errors and scandals into the Church. Still, finding some bad apples does not mean all apples are bad. Much good has resulted from the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements. We must distinguish between the good and bad as well as the true and false, rejecting the bad and false while holding fast to what is good and true.

 The Prayer of Faith

James 5:15 tells us that the “prayer of faith” will result in healing for the sick, which leads us to look for precisely what expression of faith James speaks of. Faith is not a power independent of God; it always receives grace from above. Grace is more than forgiveness of sins. It is called poikilos (manifold, various, many-faceted, multicolored) in 1 Peter 4:10 and is the unmerited favorable working of God in various ways (1 Co. 15:20, 2 Co. 1:12, Eph. 4:7, 1 Pe. 4:10).

Gace giftings will vary in specificity and temporal application. Grace to occupy a ministry office is perpetual or lasting, while grace to minister a particular gift of the Spirit that flows from that office is momentary or temporary. The river of grace that flows from God’s throne divides into various streams as it approaches our lives, and each of those streams is received by a different function of faith, which works in different ways as it believes different kinds of revelations and receives different expressions of grace.

As established earlier, in this life, healing grace is specific and temporary rather than universal and eternal (reserved for glorification). It is at least interesting to note that Paul mentions gifts of healing immediately after speaking of faith as a gift: “To another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit” – 1 Corinthians 12:9. This “gift faith” differs from faith as a fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Faith, as a fruit of the Spirit, trusts God’s goodness and providence while it receives abiding gifts such as justification. Faith as a gift receives more specific and temporary expressions of grace – such as healing. Siegfried Schatzmann notes, “Faith as a gift of the Spirit seems to be an attendant charisma”[66] (one that attends and receives the other gifts).

Faith that receives healing is a spiritual gift that cannot be worked up. Though A. B. Simpson was at times overbearing in his approach to healing, he balanced this approach well in his booklet Himself, in which he says of faith for healing:

That is it. It is not your faith. You have no faith in you, any more than you have life or anything else in you. You have nothing but emptiness and vacuity, and you must be just openness and readiness to take Him to do all. You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, “I live by the faith of the Son of God.”[67]

Charles Price was a healing evangelist mentored by Amiee Semple McPherson. Like Simpson, he could sometimes be a bit overbearing in his healing ministry, but like Simpson, he balanced that with great eloquence in his classic book, The Real Faith:

One of our chief difficulties is our failure to see that faith can be received only as it is imparted to the heart, by God Himself. Either you have faith, or you do not. You cannot manufacture it…you cannot work it up.[68]

Genuine instruments of God used effectively in praying for the sick understand that the prayer of faith does not result from a natural production of mental and psychological certainty. The real faith comes from above, and we are not the ones dispensing it from the throne. We must always trust (faith as a fruit of the Spirit) that God is a healer, and we must respond actively to those who ask for prayer, but the “prayer of faith” that heals the sick involves a supernatural gift of faith that receives a genuine and verifiable[69] gift of healing.

Why Are Not All Healed?

We have seen that in the New Testament, some people (we do not even know if the people healed on the island of Malta became Christians) were healed, while some believers, such as Trophimus and Timothy, were not. This fact has led to much speculation and debate, but Scripture does not explain this perplexing fact. Honesty compels us to admit, as do the following Pentecostal authors, our incomplete understanding in this age:

But healings, even if they are not routine, are an announcement that Christ did triumph at the cross and that ultimately he will restore all things. Rather than complain when all are not healed, we should rejoice when any are healed! (Willian Menzies and Robert Menzies)[70]

The sovereignty of God is difficult to understand. Why does He heal some and not heal others? I do not know. But this is not for me to figure out or question. (Thomas Trask)[71]

Why are not all healed?’ The only honest answer I can give is: I do not know. And I am afraid of those who claim they do know. For only God knows, and who can fathom the mind of God? Who can understand His reasoning? (Kathryn Kuhlman)[72]

Because He has done such miracles for the good of His people in the past, believers should trust Him for their future even if it involves a delay or no miracle at all. Ultimately, God will totally restore all creation to complete harmony with himself and resurrect believers to eternal fellowship with himself, and the wolde universe will be full of His glory. Truly, His name shall be called “Wonderful.” (Roger Cotton)[73]

Conclusion

Max Turner summarizes the biblical teaching on healing this way:

The witness of the New Testament writers is that God will indeed grant miraculous gifts of healing, and that these are joyful experiences of and pointers to the wholistic nature of God’s eschatological salvation, the first fruits of the consummation to come.[74]

The Divine provision for healing has been made. Divine application of that provision is made in the timing of God and only by His power. Though we must not presume, we can pray to the compassionate One who has our best interest at heart and answers prayer. Though we are not in control, we trust the One who is, and our hope of glorification and reward will be soon realized regardless of temporal circumstances. We have been given the downpayment of the Spirit that guarantees the rest of our inheritance will be given to us. This is the hope that is “a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul” (Hebrews 6:19). Though this life is “just a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14), our “hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5 NASB). While we are not guaranteed healing in this life (though we are sometimes blessed with it), we are guaranteed healing throughout eternity.

Believers are plugged into the atonement, but healing only comes by the hand of God.


© Copyright 2024, David Kowalski. All rights reserved. Links to this post are encouraged. Do not repost or republish without permission.


Footnotes

[1] Another brief testimony of healing I experienced: Obedience and Enablement

[2] See Craig Keener, Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, Two Volumes (Ada, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2011), passim. Also see Craig Keener, “Craig Keener | Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts” [YouTube]

[3] In addition to many articles (such as mine: Resources for Studying the Errors of the Word-Faith Movement and Magic Then and Now), see such books as Charles Farah, From the Pinnacle of the Temple (Plainfield, NJ.: Logos International, n.d.);Dave Hunt and T. A McMahon, The Seduction of Christianity (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1985); D. R. McConnell; A Different Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988) [I highly recommend this book]; Robert M. Bowman Jr. The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Baker Books, 2001); Gordon D. Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels (Beverly, Maine: Frontline Publishing, 1985); Joe Maglioto, The Wall Street Gospel (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1981); Larry Parker, We Let Our Son Die (Irvine, Calif.: Harvest House Publishers, 1980); Judson Cornwall, Unfeigned Faith (Old Tappan, NJ.: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1981); G. Richard Fisher and M. Kurt Goedelman (with Wave Nunally), The Confusing World of Benny Hinn (St. Louis, Mo.: Personal Freedom Outreach, 1985); and Arnold Prater, How Much Faith Does it Take? (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers), 1982.  

[4] A. J. Gordon, The Ministry of Healing, p. 6

[5] Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels, 8.

[6] See, for example, Decades of Sexual-Abuse Coverups in the Southern Baptist Convention

[7] For example, cessationist Richard Mayhue affirms the possibility of contemporary Divine healing, as does David Cloud. The following materials address the cessationist/continuationist controversy, mostly from a continuationist perspective:

Wayne Grudem, “Should Christians Expect Miracles Today?” in The Kingdom and the Power: Are the Healings and the Spiritual Gifts Used by Jesus and the Early Church Meant for Today? Eds. Gary S. Greig and Kevin N. Springer (Ventura, Calif.: Regal Books, 1993), 55-110.

Jon Ruthven, “On the Cessation of the Charismata

The Remnant Radio, Responding to The Cessationist Documentary [YouTube playlist, 10 parts]

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HkRvAdDONlU&list=RDCM

The Remnant Radio, Response to Todd Friel [YouTube]

The Remnant Radio, with Sam Storms [YouTube] – Note: these links for reference only. We do not recommend Sam Storms’ teachings.

Is there a God? Ten Healing Miracles

Craig Keener, “Stories of Healings, Resurrections, and Miracles: With Dr. Keener

[8] This excludes the “positive confession” error of extreme and heretical continuationists, as well as the five-step method of the Vineyard churches, which seem mostly common sense even if they are a bit introspective.

[9] Wayne Grudem, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Inter-Varsity Press: 1994), 568.

[10] D. A. Carson, “Healing – Already But Not Yet

[11] Kenneth E. Hagin, Redeemed From Poverty…Sickness…Death (Tulsa, Okla.: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1978); 3, 14-17.

[12] C. J. E. Lefroy, “Healing in the Atonement” in The Question of Healing, ed. Gilbert W. Kirby (London: Victory Press, 1967), 31.

[13] F. F. Bosworth, Christ the Healer (Old Tappan, NJ.: Fleming H. Revell, 1973), 31. (on page 148 Bosworth says many of his most significant ideas are borrowed from E. W. Kenyon.)

[14] Fee, The Disease of the Health and Wealth Gospels, 18.

[15] For a clear, brief commentary on this passage see Why is there a curse associated with hanging on a tree?

[16] “The Lord will strike you with wasting disease and with fever, inflammation and fiery heat, and with drought and with blight and with mildew. They shall pursue you until you perish.” 

[17] Magliato, The Wall Street Gospel, 9-10.

[18] Kenneth Copeland, The Troublemaker (Fort Worth, Tex.: Kenneth Copeland Publications, n.d.), 16.

[19] Kenneth Copeland, The Force of Faith (Fort Worth, Tex.: Kenneth Copeland Publications, n.d.), 28.

[20] Hagin, Redeemed From Poverty…Sickness…Death, 19.

[21] Edward J. Young, The Book of Isaiah (NIC) vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing, 1972), 349.

[22] Personal correspondence, July, 1990.

[23] Keith Warrington says this speaks of healing “of suffering related to persecution not sickness,” but this is inaccurate since the context speaks of the believers’ ways rather than their suffering, and since persecution persisted at the time Peter wrote those words – not having been “healed.” See Keith Warrington, “Healing, Gifts of” in Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity Stanley M. Burgess ed.(New York: Routledge, 2006), 235.

[24] Ray Ortlund,Invitation to Isaiah: The Servant of the Lord will Renew the World 42:1-9

[25] H. N. Ridderbos, Matthew, trans. Ray Togtman (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan Publishing, 1987), 235.

[26] W. E. Vine, Isaiah: Prophecies-Promises-Warnings (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan Publishing, 1971), 106.

[27] D. A. Carson, “Matthew” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Volume 8 (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan    Publishing, 1984), 205-207.

[28] Henry W. Frost, Miraculous Healing (Grand Rapids, Mi.: Zondervan Publishing, 1972), 59.

[29] Romans 5:11, Bible Hub

[30] Ralph Earle, Word Meanings in the New Testament (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1986), 162.

[31] See 1 John 4:10, Bible Hub 

[32] This notion combines the approach to healing taken by the 19th-century Holiness movement with the concepts of New Thought mind science (which taught spiritual techniques for manifesting a higher reality that purportedly already existed), which came into the Church largely through the writings of E. W. Kenyon (1867–1948). Kenyon’s writings were important to and even plagiarized by later participants in healing ministries. See D. R. McConnell, A Different Gospel (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1988). See also, The Word-Faith Movement.

[33] Kenneth E. Hagin, How to Write Your Own Ticket With God (Tulsa, Okla.: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1979), 18.

[34] Kenneth E. Hagin, Right and Wrong Thinking (Tulsa, Okla.: Kenneth Hagin Ministries, 1966), 20.

[35] Jerry Savelle, If Satan Can’t Steal Your Joy…He Can’t Keep Your Goods (Tulsa, Okla.: Harrison House, 1982), 9.

[36] David Edwin Harrell Jr. All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America (Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press, 1975), 101.

[37] O. L. Jaggers, Life and Immortality in the Bok of St. John (Los Angeles: O. L. Jaggers, 1959) 83 (cited in Harrell 1975).

[38] O.L. Jaggers, Healing as a means to an end

[39] See Holy Pivec, “The New Apostolic Reformation: Influence and Teachings

[40] Latter Rain leader Sam Fife (among others) taught that the “Manifested Sons” (adherents to that “revival”) would bring in the Kingdom and overcome death prior to Christ’s return. See Ken Sumrall’s quote from Fife’s magazine (The Word, 1969, issue #4, p. 8) in Ken Sumrall, Manifestation of the Sons of God…Truth and Error (Pensacola, Fla.: Ken Sumrall, 1972), 22.

[41] See the documentation in Hank Hanegraaff, Christianity in Crisis (Eugene, Ore.: Harvest House Publishers, 1993) 237, 402-403.

[42] Kelly Kurt,  “Rev. Kenneth E. Hagin, founder of international ministries dies,” Tulsa World. Associated Press. Retrieved 3-16-2024. [Archive.Today]

[43] After Preaching for Christians to Expect Divine Healing, Kenneth Copeland Admits Pacemaker. See also Kenneth Copeland Gets a Pacemaker

[44] What is realized eschatology?

[45] Nevertheless, wording of this kind has been spoken and written by healing evangelists in the Holiness and Pentecostal movements. Some of these evangelists, however, seem to have been simply parroting the terminology of their time, something that becomes evident from a consideration of their complete body of work. As Church historian Gary McGee used to say, “Everyone must be judged according to their time.”

[46] R. A. Torrey, Divine Healing; 45, 46-47.

[47] Donald Gee, Trophimus I Left Sick (London: Elim Publishing, 1952), 15.

[48] When speaking of Jack Coe (who had been dismissed from the Assemblies of God for misleading the public), David Cloud claims “Coe’s false teaching that healing is guaranteed in the atonement is shared by the Assemblies of God.” “Provided for” and “guaranteed” are not synonyms, however, as Assemblies of God leaders have always maintained (See Cloud’s misstatement in Is Healing in Atonement?).

[49] Assemblies of God, Statement of Fundamental Truths, Position Paper: Divine Healing, Our Core Doctrines: Divine Healing

[50] Irenaeus, Against Heresies (Book II, Chapter 32)

[51] Justin Martyr, Dialogue with Trypho (Chapter 39)

[52] Sam Storms, Spiritual Gifts in Church History [1] [2] [3] [4] – Note: these links for reference only. We do not recommend Sam Storms’ teachings.

See also, Ronald A. N. Kydd, Charismatic Gifts in the Early Church (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1984), passim.

[53] Augustine, The City of God (Book XXII, Chapter 8)

[54] John Chrysostom, “Homily XXIX, 1 Cor, xii. 1,2” – I liken this to a modern believer bemoaning the absence of revival in his or her church.

[55] Saint Martin of Tours, Who Raised Three People from the Dead

[56] St. Pachomius

[57] John Chrysostom, “Homily 38 on the Acts of the Apostles

Cessationist Charles Sullivan concedes there was much evidence that Chrysostom was a practicing continuationist.

[58] Conyers Middleton,  A Free Inquiry Into the Miraculous Powers, Which are Supposed To Have Subsisted in the Christian Church, From the Earliest Ages Through Several Successive Centuries, Upon the Authority of the Primitive Fathers, 103.

[59] Martin Luther: Selection from His Writings, John Dillenberger, ed. (New York: Anchor Books, 1962), 354. See also “We have prayed three people on the brink of death back to life”

[60] Peter J. Bellini, “Wesley, the Almost Charismatic”. Kimberly Ervin Alexander’s similar historical observations can be found in “Three Hundred Years of Holiness and Healing.”

[61] A. J. Gordon relates this history well in Chapters 4-9 of The Ministry of Healing, and The Remnant Radio discusses the continuationism of some Protestants not mentioned by Gordon.

[62] Though Conwell (below) relates many supernatural anecdotes from Spurgeon’s ministry, he does not mention Spurgeon’s prophecy of a coming Spirit-empowered revival that is quite striking. See Charles Spurgeon, “The Power of the Holy Ghost” (fifth paragraph from the conclusion).

[63] Russel H. Conwell, The Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon: The World’s Greatest Preacher, 185. Also see the helpful video by The Remnant Radio, “The Healing Ministry of Charles Spurgeon

[64] See Biography of Dorothea Trudel

[65] See William Branham, by David Kowalski and What is Branhamism?

[66] Siegfried Schatzmann, A Pauline Theology of Charismata (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1987), 37.

[67] A. B. Simpson, Himself, 13.

[68] Charles Price, The Real Faith (Plainfield, NJ: Logos International, 1972 [first published 1940]), 11.

[69] Verification of divine healing is crucial! Publicized but unverified accounts have brought much reproach on the gospel in general and legitimate divine healing in particular (for an extreme example of this, see this expose of T. B. Joshua. Bogus healing claims have especially been a disgrace within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements (I know of several such false claims myself and could provide more links). We must clean our own house before we critique others’. Genuine healing can withstand medical evaluation and the test of time.

[70] William W. Menzies and Robert P. Menzies, Spirit and Power: Foundations of Pentecostal Experience (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2000), 168.

[71] Thomas Trask, “Defining Truths of the Assemblies of God: Divine Healing

[72] Kathryn Kuhlman, God Can Do It Again (Old Tappan, NJ.: Spire Books, 1969), 250.

[73] Roger D. Cotton, “Wonderful – God’s Name,” in Signs and Wonders in Ministry Today Benny C. Aker and Gary B. McGee eds. (Springfield, Mo.: Gospel Publishing House, 1996), 32.

[74] Max Turner, The Holy Spirit and Spiritual Gifts (Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson Publishers, 1998), 260.


About the author

David Kowalski

David Kowalski has worked as an English teacher (Abeka), high school administrator (ACE), in-school-suspension teacher (public school), Associate Pastor (two Assemblies of God churches), Senior Pastor (two Assemblies of God churches), and Bible College Professor (Global University).

He currently provides Thesis and Dissertation Editing Services.

David’s articles at Apologetics Index include:

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Category: Divine Healing
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First published (or major update) on Monday, March 25, 2024.
Last updated on April 11, 2024.

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