In this two-part series, we will explore debunking eleven primary arguments against divine healing. Click here to read part one. The following are the last six arguments:
6. The book of Job
Some point to Job's sickness as a way to say that sometimes it's God's permissive will to allow a person to be sick. The book of James carries over the book of Job into the New Testament age which shows that God's sovereignty—even in regard to sickness and allowing adverse circumstances—can still providentially take place for His glory. That being said, we have to must remember several things:
a. Job was eventually healed and did not stay in his miserable condition.
b. It says in Job 42:10 (KJV) that "God turned the captivity of Job" when it described his healing and restoration. Luke also says that Jesus came to make the captives free (4:18).
c. It is clear that the physical infirmity and attacks Job received came from the devil—not directly from God, and Scripture says that Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8; Acts 10:38) through a better and more excellent covenant founded upon better promises (Hebrews 8:6).
Consequently, the use of the book of Job only leaves room for us to believe that in God's sovereignty, He sometimes allows adverse circumstances in the believer's life, but it does not in any way undo faith in Jesus to eventually bring healing and restoration after an initial test.
7. There have been many phony healing evangelists
There have also been many phony pastors and teachers, as well as bad policemen, politicians and medical doctors. Does that mean that we do away with everything related to them? This is a foolish argument indeed.
8. We don't know if it's God's will
As already said previously in this article, I have found that if you do not start off believing that it is generally the will of God to heal the sick, you will not have a foundation of faith on which to build upon to see any results.
That it was assumed it was generally the will of God to be in health was shown in the fact that it was even included in a common greeting from the apostle John to Christians in the first century (3 John 2). James clearly states that it is the prayer of faith that heals the sick (see James 5:15). Jesus healed all who were sick who came to Him, as we see in numerous passages, including Matthew 8:16, 17; Matthew12:15, 14:36; Luke 4:40, 6:19; Acts 10:38 and many more.
That it was God the Father's will to heal the sick was made clear by Jesus when He said that the works He did was done by the Father in Him (John 14:10) and that if someone saw Jesus they saw the Father (John 14:7-9).
Scripture says that Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever (Heb.13:8). Consequently, to start off saying we don't know if it is God's general will to heal is not founded upon Scripture.
Furthermore, Matthew 8:16,17 connects the prophetic messianic passage in Isaiah 53:4-6 with Jesus taking upon Himself our sicknesses and diseases and the Apostle Peter looking back on the cross says, "by His wounds we were healed" (1 Pet. 2:24, MEV). Hence, not only did Jesus heal all who came to Him, but these passages indicate healing is not only through the cross but in the cross—part of the finished work of Christ.
Of course, certain things like unforgiveness, sin that has not been repented for and unbelief can hinder a person from receiving answered prayers (Mark 11:24; John 5:14; Matt. 13:58). The confidence we have in Him is that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us; however, there are some who have gone too far in their disobedience and have sinned the sin unto death (1 John 5:14-16); in which case we cannot pray in faith for their restoration.
Some also were sick and died because of causing division in the church (1 Cor. 11:30, 31) and Paul said he was going to hand an unrepentant believer over to Satan for the destruction of his flesh so his spirit can be saved (1 Cor. 5:1-5).
Consequently, although our default position should always be to assume it is the will of God to heal the sick we should also be open to the promptings of the Lord to disclose to the recipients of our prayer anything possibly hindering them from being healed. The need for discernment in regard to the above is especially the case when praying for believers who are held to a higher standard than those not yet part of the family of God.
9. Jesus only healed to prove His divinity
At times, Jesus did miracles to reveal His divinity; however, he was also motivated by compassion to heal the sick—in which case He even told some people not to tell anybody what He did for them but to keep it a secret (Mark 1:40-44).
10. The supernatural is only for the time of the apostles
The verse cessationists use to back this view up is found in Hebrews 2:1-4 (God testified about the gospel with supernatural signs worked by Jesus and the apostles, but nowhere does it imply that He stopped testifying with said miracles after the original disciples passed away).
This view, primarily purported by cessationists, is quickly fading because 70-80 percent of the growth of Christianity in Asia, Latin America and Africa is through those with a Pentecostal experience (they practice the supernatural gifts of the Spirit, which include divine healing; 1 Cor. 12:4-8). In other words, if the devil is the one behind speaking in tongues, prophecy and supernatural healings, then Satan is divided against himself globally and his kingdom cannot stand!
Consequently, any denomination or believer who is involved in missions in the above continents will probably either believe in supernatural healings or resign and come home. Also, the theological basis some give that believe the gifts of the Spirit ceased with the death of the original apostles has no merit.
My reasons for rebutting this point can fill up numerous books, however I will just cite a few here:
a. Jesus commissioned 70 to heal the sick not just the original 12 (Luke 10:1-9).
b. The book of Acts said the apostles and believers (including non-apostles Philip and Stephen as shown in Acts 7 and 8) used healings as a testimony that Christ was risen (read Acts 3, 4, 14 and 19). If the apostles and early church depended upon miracles to demonstrate the truth of the gospel, how much more do we in this day and age need the same power to witness for Christ.
c. Church history and extra-biblical documents (like the first century document "The Didache") illustrate that there have always been streams of healing and supernatural gifts after the time of the original apostles, from the early church till the present time.
d. Scripture teaches all believers to pray for the sick and move in the power of God, not just the apostles (Mark 16:15-19; James 5:15; Gal. 3:5).
e. The ministry gift functions, which include apostles and prophets, will continue in the church until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ (read Eph. 4:11-13). A state of maturity in the church, all honest people should be able to say, does not yet exist today in the body of Christ; hence, we still need apostolic and prophetic leaders in the contemporary church age.
f. Cessationists cling to a passage in 1 Corinthians 13:8-12 that says tongues will cease when that which is perfect comes (they claim the perfect here is referring to the complete canon of scripture which supposedly ends the need for the supernatural gifts of the Spirit).
A few things to take note are this:
- Most scholars and Bbible commentaries in church history indicate the "perfect state" to refer to heaven, not the completion of the canon of Scripture.
- If tongues ceased already, then the context demands that knowledge will also not be needed (truly we still need knowledge in this day and age).
- Paul, referring to himself, says in verse 12 (ESV) "then I shall know fully, even as I have been full known." Since the apostle Paul was not alive when the canon of Scripture was completed (he died before the apostle John wrote the book of Revelation) he could not be talking about the completion of the Bible. It has to be talking about when he sees Jesus face-to-face in heaven (much more can be said about this passage).
11. Not everyone keeps their healing
Although it is true that not everyone keeps their healing, it is also true that not everybody who makes a commitment to Christ stays in the faith. (See Mark 4:1-20.) Does that mean that salvation is not true because there are some who backslide? The same way, just because some do not keep their healing doesn't nullify the fact that God still heals today.
Dr. Joseph Mattera is an internationally known author, interpreter of culture and activist/theologian whose mission is to influence leaders who influence nations. He is renowned for addressing current events through the lense of Scripture by applying biblical truths and offering cogent defenses to today's postmodern culture. He leads several organizations, including The United Coalition of Apostolic Leaders (uscal.us). He also has a blog on Charisma News called "The Pulse." To order one of his books or to subscribe to his weekly newsletter go to josephmattera.org.
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