Scriptures

Miraculous Spiritual Gifts Of Faith, Healing, And The Working Of Miracles

Introduction

Thaumaturgic gifts

Gifts involving ‘miraculous powers’. ‘Thauma’ meaning ‘wonder’, thus, acts which produce wonder.

a. Powerful faith.

b. The gift of healing.

c. The Working of miracles.

a. Powerful faith.

This would not be the faith of Romans 5:1. This is a miraculous faith that enabled one to ‘remove mountains’, 1 Corinthians 13:2 / Matthew 17:20 / James 5:14+15.

b. The gift of healing.

I want us to consider the gift of healing and the claims of those who profess to exercise this gift today.

1. I would like you to think about the confusion, which we find in the religious world, on the subject of healing.

2. Then, I want you to think about the unscriptural, false and misleading claims that are often made by so-called ‘faith healers’ today.

3. Then we shall see what the true gift of healing meant in New Testament times.

4. Finally, how the gift was received and how long it was meant to last. Let us clearly understand what we are talking about.

We are talking about healing, not from the medical standpoint, but from the religious standpoint.

The religious world uses different names. It is sometimes called divine healing, or spiritual healing or faith healing. In fact, none of these descriptions is really accurate.

a. For instance, to call it divine healing is much too vague and too loose a description because examples of ‘divine healing’, that is, example of people being healed by God, can be found in the Scriptures centuries before spiritual gifts were bestowed. Elijah and Elisha and others healed people miraculously.

b. And to call it spiritual healing misses the point, because the ailments which the gift of healing dealt with were unmistakably physical, not spiritual.

c. And as for faith healing.

When so-called ‘faith-healers’, fail to heal the sick people who come to them, they always claim that the failure occurs because the faith of the sick person is not strong enough, or that they lack faith altogether. But the gift of healing had nothing whatsoever to do with ‘faith’ healing. Healing was bestowed whether faith was present or not.

So what precisely are we looking at? We are not asking if God can heal because we know He can. We are not asking if God does heal because we know He does. We are not asking if God heals in answer to prayer, because we know that James 5:15 tell us to pray for the sick. We are not discussing healing in response to faith which is, in fact, very closely related to healing in response to prayer.

What we are asking today is, are there people who possess the gift of healing, which was bestowed by the Holy Spirit in New Testament times? This is something I would like you to think about. Do today’s so-called ‘faith healers’ possess and demonstrate the gift of the Spirit, the gift of healing?

You know, it is positively amazing how many confuse the gift of healing with faith healing, when the two are very different indeed. For example, I have a report concerning a healing campaign, which featured a man named Theo Jones.

At one of his meetings, well! Let the report speak for itself.

‘There was a totally blind woman led in by her husband. You are not believing, sister,’ Jones warned her. ‘Your faith is weak’, the blind woman was hustled off the platform immediately.’

Now, I imagine you know what that really meant!

Faced with a real physical problem and not some psychosomatic, or neurological, or undiagnosed, or unproven ailment, Mr. Jones was absolutely ‘powerless’, and therefore tried to cover his impotence by brazenly accusing the poor woman of not having sufficient faith. The element that was lacking in that case was not faith, but power. The man had no power.

Note in James 5:14-15 and Matthew 17:14-20, it’s about the person doing the miraculous healing and not the person needing healed.

If we turn to Acts 5:12-16, we see the miraculous power in action. Many wonders and signs were done among the people by the hands of the apostles. They carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on bed and pallets, so that, as Peter came by, his shadow might fall on some of them. Furthermore, people of the area around Jerusalem,

‘brought the sick, those afflicted with unclean were ALL healed’.

If we look at Acts 19:11-12, we see that the same thing happened in Paul’s ministry. God did extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs and aprons were carried from him to the sick and the diseases left them.

You see that when a person possessed the ‘gift of healing’ it didn’t matter if the patient had great faith, or faith, or little faith or no faith at all! But the power which the Spirit of God had granted.

I repeat that, what produced the ‘healing’ was ‘gift possessed by the healer’, and it didn’t depend on the faith of the sufferer. This is why we say that ‘faith’ healing and the ‘gift’ of healing are very different matters.

Needless to say, when people are suffering severe illness they are understandably willing to try anything in order to obtain a cure. And the trust and confidence they demonstrate in so-called ‘faith healers’, who mercilessly take advantage of them, are really pathetic.

Putting it bluntly, most of what passes as ‘faith healing’, in modern ‘faith healing campaigns’ is fraudulent and false. Some of the people who conduct the campaigns may be sincerely mistaken in their belief but the vast majority of faith-healing cases have proved to be frauds.

People who are prepared even to lie in order to create a reputation for themselves. And, at the same time to make money for them under the guise of running non-profit making organisations, whose assets run in millions of pounds. My friend has in his possession, a letter sent by an organisation calling itself ‘the Osborn foundation’, of Tulsa Oklahoma.

It enclosed a piece of burlap, cloth, which, the letter said, had been ‘prayed over’ for seven days, by Osborne and his wife, and on receipt of ‘seed money’ they would spend more time in prayer, for whatever was asked for by whoever sent the ‘seed money’ to them. To crown this fraud, the Osborne’s had the audacity to claim that they had sent the letter under the impulse of the Holy Spirit.

Do you think that this man and his wife are exceptions? Nothing of the kind! Some time ago a friend of mine cut an article out of a magazine called ‘Coronet. It reported that such men as Jack Coe, Asa A. Allen, and the even better known Oral Roberts have all built up vast personal fortunes out of their so-called ‘healing’ campaigns.

I recall that a few years ago, Roberts hit the news headlines because he announced to the world that, if he did not receive the money that he needed for one of his projects that he was building by a certain date, ‘The Oral Roberts University’, the Lord would take him’.

Another fraud, Orval Jaggers opened a brief case on a plane, and a stewardess caught sight of bundles of dollar notes. Thinking that they might have something to do with a bank-robbery which had recently taken place, the pilot, radioed ahead, and the police were waiting for Mr. Jaggers when he stepped off the plane. It took him two hours to convince the police that the 70,000 dollars in the briefcase were what he had taken in from his latest campaign.

Similarly, A. A. Allen, the magazine reported was driving home from a ‘healing campaign’, with money in the boot of his car, when he was stopped by the Police and arrested for drunken driving. He had to deposit $1000 in bail, which, I might add, he forfeited because he did not turn up at court.

He was excommunicated by the Pentecostal church of which he was a member, and his private secretary signed a sworn statement, which declared that not one of Allen’s alleged cures could be verified, despite his claims that people had been instantly healed.

Let me also mention at this point, that in the ‘faith-healing’ business, most of these men began in the so-called Pentecostal church, and today most of the religious bodies which hold such campaigns have originated, either directly or indirectly from that religious body. The men whom I have named, Coe, Jaggers, Allen and Roberts, ALL began in the Pentecostal movement and were either disfellowshiped, or left to start their own organisations.

Oral Roberts, who began in Oklahoma City with $30 and went on to make a fortune of millions, decided to move up into a higher social class and joined the Methodist church. The Methodist Church in the U.S.A. seemingly attracts people of a higher social class than in this country.

At least 60 of these ‘faith-healers’ have set up their own organisations, and some have made extremely grandiose claims for themselves. One black ‘healer’ from Detroit, gave him the title, ‘the Rev. Dr. James F. Hones. DD., Universal dominion ruler, internationally known as Prophet Jones’.

I believe that I could keep you entertained all day, telling you about these frauds, confidence tricksters, who can still be heard on American Radio and T.V. Here is a final example which would be hilarious, if it were not so tragic. My friend took it from an ‘associated press report’. From Washington DC, August 4th 1951. It concerned a meeting in Fairmont Heights, Maryland. And I quote.

‘A coffin was lowered into a grave, after a tent-meeting revivalist told his audience that the doomed man would be raised from the dead.’ As the earth was shovelled onto the coffin, someone saw the corpse crawl out of a tunnel just outside the tent. The corpse escaped during the ensuing riot’.

Some years ago, the British medical association, which, as you know, is the highest medical authority in the land, conducted a two-year long study of all kinds of healing, at the request of the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. A special committee of eminent medical men was set up to conduct the investigation, and their report was published in a special report, during their Annual Conference. This is that report which was cut out of the British Medical Journal.

1. It states that 3 prominent RC doctors were invited to be on the committee, but they declined. Probably because they knew that they would be expected to investigate the alleged miracles, which are reported from Lourdes.

2. Most of the ‘cures’ of organic diseases claimed, are explained in the view of the Committee, by mistaken diagnosis, or prognosis, alleviation or remission, spontaneous cure, or combined treatment. Some cases, which were said to be epilepsy, appeared to be cases of hysteria.

3. As for the ‘miracles’ of Lourdes. An authority in Lourdes, known as the ‘Bureau Des Constatations’ investigates cases of so-called ‘miracles’, in order to exclude psychogenic and hysterical conditions and here follows a quotation from the Bureau.

‘In spite of the immense pressure of popular enthusiasm, the number of miracles actually attested and registered over the years, has been exceedingly small (not even one a year), and every attempt is made to emphasize the spiritual value of the pilgrimage, rather than such healings as may be claimed’. There is much more in this report, as you see, but here is the conclusion.

‘As far, then, as our observation and investigation have gone, we have seen no evidence that there is any special type of illness cured solely by spiritual healing, which cannot be cured by medical methods which do not involve such claims’.

The report continues,

‘The cases claimed as cures of a miraculous nature present no feature of a unique and unexpected character outside the knowledge of any experience physician or psychologist.’ And the last word, ‘The Committee finds no evidence that there is any type of illness cured by spiritual healing ALONE, which could not have been cured by medical treatment, which necessarily includes consideration of environmental factors’.

c. The working of miracles.

This individual ‘produced,’ ‘miracles’, ‘dunamis’. ‘Dunamis’ is power, might, strength, then, generally strength, or power, ability to do a thing. In Matthew 22:29, the Word of God said,

‘You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God’.

The word translated ‘power’ is the same, translated ‘miracles’ in 1 Corinthians 12:10.

Jesus tells us that these powers include healing the sick of diseases, Mark 6:5 / Luke 9:1, inspired teaching, Luke 1:17, removal of unclean spirits, Luke 4:36, raising the dead, John 11 and so forth.

 

DAILY BIBLE VERSE

"I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life."

John 5:24

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