Is faith healing real?
Faith healing, is it real? Is it the ultimate answer to long life, or is faith healing just sleight of hand and a lot of hype? We do not believe it is the ultimate answer to long life nor do we believe it is sleight of hand. Here is my journey from disbelief to faith.
When Shary and I started going to church back in 1977 we attended Forest Grove Baptist Church and loved it. They had Bible classes for every age. The first class we attended was a class that focused on what the Bible said about raising children. We had one daughter at the time, we were miserable and so was she. The class was awesome, it is a big reason we have thirteen children instead of one. We then took a class on marriage, it is the reason we have been together for 45 years instead of 5. But… that church did not believe in faith healing and neither did I.
When we moved to Astoria, Oregon, we had a lot of friends who attended the Philadelphia Church. It was a Charismatic, Full-Gospel church that believed in faith healing. We started attending, but I was not convinced.
We were very poor at that time, I was planting trees for a living and it was tough. In that job you get paid by how many trees you plant, and there were no paid sick days. On a Friday I started having flue symptoms and by Sunday I was deathly ill in bed. Between services, a group of men from the church came to the house and said they were in a big hurry to get back to the next service. Could they pray for me? They said it probably wouldn’t work but were willing to give it a try. I got out of bed, every move I made hurt, they surrounded me, prayed a quick prayer in Jesus name and left. I slowly started to walk back to bed, because a minute ago any movement was agonizing. Then I noticed that there was no stiffness, all the pain was gone; I had been instantly healed. Since then I have literally seen God heal people thousands of times. Have I seen God heal every time we pray? No, but I will discuss that next week, stay tuned, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
For six months I have been making the case that divine health is God’s plan for you and I. I’ve been showing you what you need to do to appropriate divine health. Some people who have embraced faith healing have argued, “We don’t need doctors nor do we need to go back to the law to find Biblical principles for healthy living. We believe in faith healing; every day we go to the cross and claim healing, ‘by his strips we are healed’.” In response to this, I would have to point to the apostles Paul and Peter. Paul healed people by faith, but he also obeyed the Law of Moses. Peter believed in faith healing and he also obeyed the Law. Jesus healed people by faith and he obeyed the Law of Moses. Jesus was not willing to eat shellfish, seagulls or any other thing the Bible forbids, just to prove he could heal himself. The Devil tried to get Jesus to jump off the pinnacle of the temple in order to prove how strong his faith was, or prove that God can heal and protect.
“Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. ‘If you are the Son of God,’ he said throw yourself down. For it is written “’He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’” Jesus answered him, “It is also written Do not put the Lord your God to the test,’” Matthew 4:5-7
Just because God could send angels to protect Jesus, didn’t mean that Jesus should do something foolish or against the word of God just to prove he had faith. To disobey God’s word concerning divine health and then expect God to heal us is foolish at best, and disobedient at worst. One pastor put it this way “who gave you permission to disobey the commandments of God”?
Just because God is in the faith healing business, does not mean we should disobey his commandments concerning divine health.
I have seen high profile “Faith healers” who ignore God’s advice about health. When they get sick they sneak off to Allopathic doctors. Then they begin to build hospitals and train their faith disciples to be Allopathic physicians. They do all of this without first following God’s instructions to see if the promises of God concerning the law are true. To jump from faith in God, to faith in Allopathic doctors, seems to be quite a leap. Why not faith in all of God’s word? “All scripture is God breathed and useful”
Then, there are those who deny faith healing altogether and believe that it passed away with the apostles.
Jesus gave us this command.
“He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands’ and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all’ they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well. After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.” Mark 16:15-20
Jesus said these signs will accompany those who believe. Are you a believer? If you are, then you are commanded by Jesus to lay hands on the sick, and when they get healed it will confirm to unbelievers that God’s word is divinely inspired. (If you would like a list of scriptures that reinforce this truth, make a comment in our comment section, and I will give you a list of more than twenty-five passages from the Old and New Testaments that tell us miracles help people believe the word of God.)
So, if we teach divine health, why do we need faith healing?
After giving a talk at a large hospital in Harare Africa, a nurse approached me. She had been prayed for the year before, and had been healed of a serious, lingering disease. She asked me, “If, as you say, we obey all God’s commandments, he will remove all sickness from us, why then do we need faith healing?” The answer is quite simple. Who other than Jesus ever obeyed, or will ever obey, all God’s commands? No one! Jesus is the only person who never needed faith healing. The rest of us need it in the worst way.
Occasionally I will disobey God and go for weeks without a day off. Or I will eat foods the Bible says not to eat, like cake and ice cream. We have 22 kids, counting spouses, and we have 40 grand-kids, so, we average a birthday party almost every week. And you think I can resist all that tasty food? Yes, I know it is not good for me, but hey, I’m weak. I believe that without Divine healing we would find ourselves in a very sad place.
We need faith healing because people have accidents!
First of all, no one but Jesus has listened carefully to, paid attention to, and kept all God’s commands and decrees. Secondly, people have accidents. Until we get to heaven and see Jesus face to face we will always need divine healing. Paul had to heal a boy who fell asleep while listening to Paul preach on and on, this is so typical of us pastors. The boy fell out of an upper story window and died. It was what we call “faith healing” that brought that boy back to life.
I would like to say, “Every time I pray for people they get healed”, but that’s simply not the case. Some Christians would say that if you pray and the person doesn’t get healed it is because you didn’t believe or you didn’t have enough faith. I would agree that if you don’t believe and if you have no faith that you can’t expect God to answer any prayer, but…in Mark 6:4-6 it is recorded that even Jesus couldn’t do many miracles because of the people’s lack of faith. Jesus said…
“Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith. Matthew 13:57-58
Even Jesus did not heal everyone.
Just because people don’t get healed every time we pray for healing, does not mean that faith healing is somehow illegitimate. Jesus did not heal everyone he prayed for. The Bible says some did not get healed because of THEIR lack of faith. Jesus would not let the scoffers in when he prayed for the little girl who was dead. He first removed all the doubters and only let her parents and his closest disciple in the room. Then he prayed for her and raised her from the dead. I believe that the people he let in believed with their hearts and souls because they loved the little girl so much.
So, how much faith do we need for divine healing to work?
”I (Jesus) tell you the truth if you have the faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, move from here to there and it will move” Matthew 17:20
Mustard seeds are some of the smallest seeds in the world; yet they can grow into a large bush, big enough for birds to live in. Thank God, Jesus didn’t say that we need coconut seed faith.
One of the greatest miracles, I have had the privilege to witness came with faith the size of a mustard seed. Our church had a large choir of about sixty members. Shary and I sang in the choir when it was performing the “Alleluia Chorus” written by Bill and Gloria Gather. We traveled around our small community singing in many different venues and had a great time glorifying God and seeing people drawn closer to Him. Our church is fairly demonstrative in worship; we often lift our hands praising God. Sometimes we praise God in English and occasionally we praise him in tongues (See Acts chapter 2). The Pastor from Lewis and Clark Bible Church asked us if we would come to their church and perform. But; he requested we refrain from lifting our hands or praying in tongues, since this was not something their church believed in. We discussed it as a group and agreed that if it would be a stumbling block to their church, we could refrain; no lifting hands, no speaking in tongues, not a problem.
In the musical, the Gaithers had masterfully inserted places for testimony with the songs. One of the best was the song “The Longer I Serve Him The Sweeter He Grows.” Orby Galloway was a part of our choir and a pastor from another local church in our area. Orby was in his late 60’s and very feeble. Orby was so feeble that he had to be helped up on the platform; and those who sang with him had to listen carefully, slowing down and speeding up to match his feeble yet anointed singing. Did I mention he had a bad heart? Well he did; and according to doctors it wasn’t going to serv him much longer. When Orby sang “The longer I serve him the sweeter he grows”, he would share how his wife had recently passed away and how he loved her and Jesus. He testified that he was looking forward to heaven, seeing Jesus face to face and being reunited with his wife. Every time he sang and testified, people were so touched, there wouldn’t be a dry eye in the place.
After the performance, we were invited to punch and cookies in the basement of the church. As I headed for the king’s dainties, (cookies and punch) I heard a scream. I looked over by the stairs and saw Orby lying on the floor. We all rushed to him, the choir surrounded him. Someone went to call an ambulance (this was before cell phones). People were weeping and praying all around us. I knelt on one side of Orby and our pastor knelt down on the other side. Orby was having a hard time breathing, people where praying all around. Then it happened, our worst fears, I heard Orby breath out a very long last breath and then lay still. It was at this point we forgot our promise; many of us began to pray in tongues and lift our hands to God. A woman in the choir who was a nurse checked for a pulse on his neck. Another man who had been a medic in the military checked for a pulse on his wrist. They both agreed he was gone. Not really thinking about what I was doing but simply doing, I laid my hands on his chest and said “Dear God, if this is Orby’s time to go home to be with you and his wife, let him go in peace, but if you have more for him to do, please bring him back.”
I confess that I only said it as a sort of a last rights kind of a prayer. My faith was no bigger than a mustard seed. When I had spoken my last word over him, what a surprise, he sat up and asked us what we were all doing. We tried to tell him how serious his condition was and that he should lie down till the ambulance came. He said he didn’t want to lie down because he felt fine, that is when it became a little comical. He got angry about the ambulance because he said there was nothing wrong with him and he couldn’t afford an ambulance ride. We assured him that we would pay for the ambulance and he should be quiet and lay down like we said. He would sit up and we would gently push him back down. We fought about this till the ambulance arrived. A few days later we got the report from the hospital. Something miraculous had happened. Orby’s EKG indicated that all the old scar tissue on his heart was gone and that he had what seemed to be a brand-new heart. The rest of the story is that Orby’s new heart gave him a new lease on life. He remarried and lived another 20 years, preaching and teaching in his own church and occasionally at ours. It never hurts to pray; even mustard seed prayers can surprise us.
Is faith healing just for especially gifted people?
In James chapter 5, we are told “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well” It also says that we don’t have to be anybody special, because – “Elijah was a man just like us, he prayed and it did not rain then he prayed again and it rained.”
Jesus said that whoever believes the gospel and is baptized will be saved, and signs and wonders would accompany those who believe. If you are a believer then you have the backing of God when you pray in Jesus name. Jesus also said that when people get healed it would make God’s word more believable.
A few years ago, I was witnessing to a group of teens who quite frankly didn’t believe that there was a God and didn’t believe a word of the Bible. So, I told them about a young man that they all knew, and how God had healed him.
The story went something like this. A young high school student named Kelly had found out that his girlfriend had cheated on him. He was very upset and decided to get drunk. He figured that this was the best way deal with the problem, but he went a little too far. He consumed a large container of hard liquor with only a little bit of help from his friends. He said that before he passed out he lost feeling in his mouth and throat. When they got him to the hospital he was in a coma and the doctors said he probably would not live and if he did survive, he would have brain damage. At the hospital we met Kelly’s mother and a friend in the cafeteria. Shary and I prayed with them that God would heal Kelly, in Jesus name. When we entered his hospital room, he was sitting up in bed talking normally.
At this point in the story one of the teens I was witnessing to challenged me. She said that it was impossible for anyone to drink that much hard liquor and live. Fortunately, a boy next to me confirmed my story, saying he had watched Kelly do it. To add to the seriousness of this event, a girl from the same school at the same location had recently died doing the same thing. All of a sudden, I had about six very attentive teens hearing and receiving the Good News about Jesus Christ. Kelly is now a father himself, and sends his little girl to our Christian school.
Not only has it been our experience that prayer works, but it has been proven through numerous, scientific, double blind studies.
God confirms his word by signs that accompany it!
God’s word is also confirmed by the very fact that it is so scientifically and medically accurate.
Next week we will discuss; what to do you do when God doesn’t heal you? Why not? What does it mean?
I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. Anyone who breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:18-19
Our purpose for writing each week is to obey Matthew 5:19, providing you with biblical advice on the care and feeding of your body. We do it because this advice is so rare. We also do it, because we see thousands of good Christians, whose lives have been cut short, simply because they were never taught what the Word of God and the Law of God had to say about health and wellness.
If you believe God knows best, join us and the Wellness Gospel team; register for our weekly newsletter, then spread the word by sharing this with your friends on social media and may God bless you richly.
If you want to keep improving your health, and enjoy this kind of biblical scientific information, then I would like to recommend three must-read books.
- “None of These Diseases” by S. I. McMillen, M.D. and David E. Stern, D http://tinyurl.com/hh7ezs2
- “Let’s Play Doctor” by Dr. Joel Wallac
- “God’s Guide To Biblical Health and Healing” by Rev. Chris & Shary Schauermann http://tinyurl.com/zvkbfau
You can get all these books at Amazon.com or simply click on the URL under each book title.