Tuesday, May 6, 2008

On Healing Revivals, Signs and Wonders, etc.

Last lord's Day we were in a church where we have preached (not a Reformed church), only to hear an announcement concerning the Florida 'healing revival'. We are inclined to scepticism by nature, holding a science degree from Liverpool University, and therefore take all claims of supernatural events with a pinch of salt (before conversion, we read a great deal about the UFO phenomenon). What is more, we are deeply concerned about announcements of divine healing without medical evidence. It tends to bring the Gospel into disrepute, and there is no Biblical warrant for such things. The Apostles did not hold healing meetings, they healed incidentally as they preached the Gospel.

In 1 Corinthians Paul says:
"For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.
Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:
But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men."

God showed signs and wonders in Egypt, yet we read of none converted through those signs and wonders, they only condemned. What is more, it is a fact that the great revivals of the past have all be centered on the preaching of the Word, of proclaiming Christ Crucified, not the healing of sickness. On the other hand Mary Baker Eddy, founder of the Christian Science cult (neither Christian nor scientific), built a movement of thousands on the basis of claims of miraculous healing.

There is no promise in the Bible that we ought to always expect to be healthy and wealthy as Christians. On the other hand, Paul says:
"There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."

Otherwise what do we say to men like the blind preacher George Matheson? To those Christians we know 'In age and feebleness extreme'? To the suffering? That their not being healed is their fault? No, listen to Paul: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me."

Our words are these: Beware of wildfire. 'Prove all things', 'believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.'

I do not want to see good men and women hurt by this thing, and so I give these few thoughts out of a love for Christ and His Church.


Machine Gun Kelley said...

Wow.... I only live a few hours north of the Flordia line and have not heard of this "healing revival."

Even as a former Pentecostal minister, I take a dim view of such "services."

A few years back in a town not far from here, there was a minister promising healings for a fee of something like $2500!!!

Highland Host said...

Obviously it's not as big as it's billed, then!!!

Machine Gun Kelley said...

Obviously it's not as big as it's billed, then!!!

Or else I'm just so far removed from the Pentecostal world that I've heard nothing of it...

If I hear anything, I'll email you.