There are more people than ever today who are seeking to minister divine healing in the name of Jesus to others. A few are very high profile, masters of media as it were, television evangelists such as Benny Hinn, but the majority are regular folk who faithfully serve a supernatural God. We serve a living God. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever, according to Hebrews 13:8. There are many many people now who effectively minister divine healing – even in public places – far from the controlled environments of mass crusades and media cameras where only successes can be seen and failures can be edited out. And I thank God for this growing army of believers who are doing these things – whether they be pastors who minister in churches or others who are taking the opportunities to minister from time to time.
Some people who apparently move in divine healing or create meetings in which God seems to move in this way come under criticism for various excesses. Some of these criticisms may indeed be valid, especially those which relate to self-indulgent opulent conspicuous consumption in the name of "being blessed". But there are also criticisms against the ministry of divine healing which could be levelled against almost anyone today who practices this ministry at all, and I want to examine these criticisms a little and also ask some questions about the people making them.
I'm of the view that Jesus Christ made provision for the healing of the sick today. I have gone into detail about my reasons for this belief in other articles on this website, so I refer you to those. People who seek to be involved in helping people to RECEIVE what God has offered and worked along this line often come under criticism because there are some people who do not receive. It doesn't always seem to work. Not everyone gets healed, it seems. So in comes the criticism.
You get those people who believe that "the age of miracles has passed" is a verse in the Bible. You get those who believe that the instructions in the book of James about anointing people with oil and praying the prayer of faith were really nothing more than exhortations to avail oneself of the best medical science of the day. You get people who believe that sickness is the will of God if it happens, but attempting to drive out the sickness in the name of Jesus is of the devil. You get people who believe that sickness is Paul's thorn, or that the sick are just like Job – even though in both these cases the problems were caused by Satan himself. You get those who say that healing promises were only for Old Testament people or the Jews, that in our "better covenant" with "better promises" God no longer wants to look after our health. You get the objection that if people are being healed today in the name of Jesus it must be the work of the devil – a "lying sign or wonder". All these objections can be answered and have been answered in other place on this site, as well as in the writings of others. Some will go to great lengths to attack healing ministries based on the mistaken notions mentioned above, thinking they are doing God service.
But most of the time people love to find and harp on the cases where people were not healed, even godly people, and harp on these cases in an attempt to prove from personal experience that attempts to minister like Jesus Christ in the area of divine healing are misguided and destructive.
Should We Despise the Days of Small Beginnings?
In the ministry of Jesus as recorded in the gospels we see a growing flow of divine healing. One of the first recorded incidents was the healing of Peter's mother-in-law where she had a fever, Jesus touched her, and she was healed and began serving them. Not much of a miracle one might say, but I am sure people were happy about it. Towards the end of Jesus' ministry, blind eyes were opening more often and then there was the raising of Lazarus from the dead – someone who had been dead 4 days! The miracles of Jesus generally grew in power over time.
Today some of us are taking steps to walk as Jesus did in this area. We may not do it as well as Jesus did. We are learning. Some results occur. We keep on wrestling with demonic powers that oppose these things. But then we have the critics on the sideline. These people may be Christians, but they are completely unwilling to enter the fight for people's healings. They seem to believe that the Scripture says, "If you ask anything in my name, really believing, you will receive – unless its healing". They point out the failures or where prayer was not answered. They point out the occasions where people thought they were healed and then later relapsed. They find fault with those who are seeking to be like Jesus at least in this respect. They work hard to interpret the Scriptures in such a way as to destroy any kind of confidence that God will do anything for a sick person – unless by a sovereign act which may or not be God's will. At the same time, they are usually quick to recommend medical treatment without asking whether in doing so they may be fighting God's will in seeking to remove the sickness. Such people may say that healing and miracles stopped when the 12 apostles died, as if that was a verse found somewhere near the end of the book of Revelation.
These people sometimes pretend to be compassionate and "pastoral" but they are the kinds of "pastors" who do not bother to equip themselves with the power of the Holy Spirit so that they can REALLY help people as Jesus did. Their specialty is to destroy faith and sow doubt concerning God's healing ministry through the Body today. God is not pleased with such pastors when it comes to this matter. While we do need to be empathetic and considerate we do also need to be bold and realise that we are called to imitate the one whom "God anointed with the Holy Spirit and power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil" (Acts 10:38).
Its SO EASY to sit back and pump out words, and more words – and call that Christian ministry. Christian ministry is not about agreeing to a set of verbal propositional statements. It is about BEING the Body of Christ in the world today. If you cannot join in with the stated purpose of Jesus Christ to destroy the works of the devil, at least please refrain from hindering those who do seek to do so.
Should We Despise Healings if Amputees are not getting their Limbs growing back?
Some atheists are totally unmoved by any reports of divine healing, even if there is medical documentation to support the claim. Brushing aside every good report, they say, "Why won't God heal amputees? If God is doing these things, why won't he do something for the poor old amputees? Doesn't he love them?" This question is supposed to silence all proponents of divine healing. After all, if God is powerful enough to do it, and wants to do it, why haven't we seen it? I am no fan of Benny Hinn, but one video made by Christians I recently watched which was criticising Benny Hinn along this line, saying that if the healings were genuine then amputees ought to be getting healed. I find this kind of attack to be malicious and ungrateful in the extreme whether it comes from atheists or Christians. This criticism could be applied to virtually anyone who seeks to minister divine healing at all.
There was an occasion in the Jesus' ministry where it was reported that He healed maimed people, which means people who had lost part of their bodies or whose bodies were severely damaged in some way got their bodies restored.
"And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and put them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them"
This is a special occasion the ministry of Jesus. It is not something that happened all the time. Jesus ministered wherever the Father sent Him. In the same way, ministers of healing today may not always have the leading, or the gift of special faith or the opportunity to pray for maimed people to be miraculously restored. You cannot do these miracles as a matter of course.
There have been incidents reported in the 20th century where people have had limbs restored. For example, it is reported that a man with no feet was healed through the ministry of Smith Wigglesworth, who told the man to go out and buy a pair of shoes. I have heard of small cases of missing body parts restored such as a portion of a missing finger in the ministry of Charles and Frances Hunter. If someone has heard of seen of other examples in our times, please comment below and let us know. Obviously these miracles are quite rare in our days. They might have been rare in the days of Jesus also, as its only reported once that it happened. Why is this?
One reason is that the LORD God hides Himself to a certain extent. He does not give himself out cheaply to casual enquirers and skeptics. We might also ask why God does not write the gospel on the sky. God also does not write the gospel on the sky in the English language because people would believe in Him out of FEAR and not because they really WANTED to know and respond to God's love. In the same way, if an unbeliever is confronted with a miracle such as a person growing a totally new leg before his eyes, it would be almost as if they would be FORCED to believe in God. God is not interested in forcing everyone to believe. Many times He hides a little so that only those who care enough to seek Him will find Him. On rare occasions God does do creative miracles of healing and it usually happens in the presence of believers. This is up to God. We cannot tell the Lord of the Universe what He must do.
God is a Person and a Great King, Lawgiver and Judge. He doesn't have to step into the test tubes of sneering atheists who demand He does certain things or THEY will not believe. Neither is he obligated to heal anybody according to their agenda or timing. This is especially true of Christians who do not believe that He will heal them or that He has made any promises along these lines.
The ultimate healing of our bodies will take place only at the resurrection of the righteous. Until then, we, the people of God, get given plenty of smaller healings if we are willing to seek God and put ourselves in places where people are believing and expecting the Spirit of God to do these things. And at times when we devote ourselves to the matter we see major miracles. God however has not bound Himself to manifest the healing of a person AT A PARTICULAR TIME. There are quite a few reports of miraculous healings in which a person had to wait for months or years and then it suddenly happened. The reason for these delays could be many, we often do not know. Our job is to approach it from the positive side, taking hold of God's Word, seeking out God's spirit and driving out demons wherever we can. When the Body of Christ does this consistently, many healings and miracles tend to take place.
Be Like a Father, not like an Elder Brother
When my daughters each started walking, I rejoiced in it, even though they fell over sometimes. I didn't sneer and criticise them when they fell over. A father likes to so his children learning to do the things he does also. In healing the sick Jesus said he was only doing what He saw the Father doing (John 5:17). The elder brother on the other hand might not rejoice as much in the younger sibling, for various immature reasons.
Once my daughters started to walk, there were risks that they would use their new-found abilities to go somewhere they shouldn't like the edge of a staircase and hurt themselves. But that fact did not inspire me to cripple them or damage them in order to prevent this. In the same way, just because there are ways to make mistakes and do damage to oneself and others while seeking to minister healing in Jesus name does not mean we should seek to destroy and tear down this kind of Family Ministry activity. The things we do in the spiritual world are often incredibly stupid and we really need God to help us to be more like Jesus in every way, by depending on the Holy Spirit and by letting the Word of God live in us. It is stupid to tear down ministry activity of which the Bible speaks. Instead, let us become acquainted with what the Word of God says on the subject, and seek to live in that promise and that reality instead of in the reality of humanistic religion, doubt and unbelief.