Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I am Bothered Response

Here is the response from my pastor friend to the Faith and Healing document. It is hard to read because of the format. I just don't know how to change that.

Hi Philip

Hi Philip! I have included some comments in italics through this document.

Healing Conference 2006

Fair Haven Ministries, April 21 & 22


These theses below began in 1964 when in a college ministry I first saw the connection of Mt 8:17 and Is 53:4,5. Since then I have been examining scripture, teaching, and testimony on healing, as well as applying it in my own family. It is only recently, 2002, that this began to churn and burn like a caldron in my soul to the point of putting them in writing. It is believed that Jesus bore 39 lashes at the whipping post. Millions have been healed through the applied benefit which those 39 lashes provided. May these 39 theses become useful to all who read them, to thereby be better equipped to benefit from the 39 stripes Jesus bore for you.

Wendell Guth , 238 Sandcastle Dr. , Holland, MI 49424 Copyright, 2002: Copying for ministry use requires no permission. Only publication for sale requires permission by author.

I. Jesus---Healing's Anchor Point

1. CLEAR STUFF VS MUDDY STUFF All interpretation of scripture regarding healing should be made by weighing it with the life, ministry and teaching of Jesus in the four gospels and by the reflected attitude of the God-head towards sickness and disease in Jesus' ministry. This is where we see the will of God towards healing more clearly than any other place in scripture. If we let the clear interpret the obscure, we will not get hung up on passages of scripture that otherwise might cast doubt on God's willingness to heal. Acts 10:38, Mk 1:23-28, Lk 7:21-23

The issue is not that God is unwilling to heal. The point is that Jesus’ healing and miracle ministry was a signpost to the future healing and wholeness and shalom that would mark the eternal kingdom that is coming. If Jesus would have come to restore everything now, he would have set up a healing clinic. He didn’t. He preached, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is coming." We read in Luke 4:25ff, Jesus says,

25 I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. 26 Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. 27 And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian."

Healing now is a sign of the future.

In John 6, Jesus rebukes the crowds because they are focusing on the sign. His goal is to draw them to the message of eternal life through him.

26 Jesus answered, "I tell you the truth, you are looking for me, not because you saw miraculous signs but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. 27 Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. On him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."

2. A TRUE PICTURE Jesus is the visible expression of the invisible God. He did on earth what the Father told Him and what He saw the Father doing. He healed the sick, cast out demons, and raised the dead. Therefore, it was God's will to heal the sick and diseased in body and mind. This truth is the cornerstone of understanding all of the New Testament teaching on healing, and interpreting all scripture regarding this subject. It is absolutely the single most important thing to understand in the study of divine healing and wholeness. Without this necessary foundation erroneous interpretations and teachings will occur producing ineffective or even non-existent healing ministry in the church. Col 1:15, Heb 1:3a, Jn 5:19, 8:38, 14:10

The biblical truth is distorted. It should say, "... God’s will is to heal the sick..." The point is, that will happen universally in the coming kingdom. It will not necessarily happen now.

3. AUTHENTICATOR OR REVELATOR The miracles and healing ministry of Jesus are not primarily given to authenticate Jesus as divine. They are provided to reveal to us God the Father's will and attitude toward sickness, disease, and sin's consequences. The authentication of Jesus' divinity is a by-product of His obedience to the Father's will. Acts 10:38, Jn 6:38, Mk 1:40-41

This is a twisting of biblical truth. John always uses the word "signs" to refer to Jesus’ miracles. The miracles are significant, not as an end in themselves, but as a signpost to the coming kingdom. The climax of Jesus’ ministry in John is the raising of Lazarus. Read John 12:9-11. Notice two things. 1. After his resurrection, life for Lazarus was not better but worse than before! He was in danger of his life! 2. Jesus (or Elisha) never raised someone for their own benefit. It was always for the benefit of those who were left behind! The bereaved parents of the little girl, the widowed mother from Nain who had lost her only security in life, Mary and Martha who had lost their brother in a male-dominated society.

Matthew 5-7 is "the sermon on the mount," Jesus’ teaching as Matthew has organized that. Matthew 8,9 is a collection of Jesus’ miracles. Matthew 8:23-27 describes Jesus’ stilling of the storm. I would challenge these people to use their faith and stop a few of the hurricanes and tornadoes around! That would really be appreciated! But this isn’t the point. The point is, "Even the winds and the waves obey him!" Jesus is Lord of all. And in the coming kingdom, all the destructive forces will also be subdued and ruled by Jesus! But at this point, these are signposts.

4. THE NON-ABSENT HEALER There is a faith disconnect evidenced by the heart response when facing the question, "If Jesus were here, and I asked Him to heal me, would he?" Ninety-nine percent of Christians would probably say, "Yes!" but tacitly focus on…"IF". But scripture speaks clearly that He is with us now! He is the eternal "I AM". We need to retrain our hearts to fully absorb the reality of our mental and theological profession until our expectations rise to the level of those healed in Galilee. Mt 28:20b, Heb 13:5b, Jn 8:24,28

These are the kinds of diabolical half-truths that undermine and destroy faith. Yes, Jesus can. But will he? Jesus/God can heal the whole creation. With one word! Just like he created. Why doesn’t he? That is the big problem of sin and evil. Why doesn’t he? Doesn’t he want to? Of course, he does. And he is busy about that right now, and has been through the ages. Restoration will come at Jesus’ return.

Joni Eareckson and many, many people have firmly believed that God would heal them if only they had enough faith. They had faith! But healing didn’t happen!

Rev. Bas Nederlof, a retired CRC pastor (1986) told me in the late 1970's of his experience in The Netherlands with this teaching. He said the preachers would roll into town proclaiming Psalm 103:3, "... who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases..." They would ask their listeners, "Do you believe the first part? ‘who forgives all your sins?’ Then you also need to believe the second part, ‘who heals all your diseases.’" Nederlof went on to say, "After they left town, we had to come in and pick up the pieces. People’s faith was battered.

Shortly after I came to Rocky Mountain House in 1991, one of the pastors came to visit me. C. L.. In his early 50's. He and his wife used to be members of our Church. He was a Dordt graduate. He and his wife J., daughter of pastor J. V. W., became the pastors of a group that broke away from our congregation in 1986. Clarence asked me to get S. to come back to our church because she was disruptive to their worship. S. was a woman in her 30's who had had a brain infection, and which, together with an overdose of medicine had destroyed her capabilities to function normally. She was mostly in a daze and smoked a lot. She would wander in and out of the services to have a cigarette. She didn’t make any noise. She just got up and walked out. That was disruptive, said C..

I told him I was surprised by his request. Pushing someone away. And what about healing her? C. told me, she doesn’t want to be healed. She refuses healing.

In the continuing conversation, C. told me, "Christians don’t die young, Phil." I responded, "I hope nothing ever happens to you C., where you won’t be able to be healed." C. rejected the possibility.

About a year later, C. was diagnosed with ALS – Lou Gehrig’s disease. Mercifully, he died within a year and a half. C. and his wife and congregation seemed to remain in denial through this whole time. At the end, they said he "released his body to God," or something to that effect. In other words, it was his decision to die young! Members of the our church were formally disinvited from attending the funeral. Those who went (family members) said the service was bizarre. Death and grief was denied. The whole service was presented as some kind of a victory celebration.

Six months later, C. & J. 22 year old engaged son, a vibrant Christian young man, was instantly killed in a head-on car accident. After that, I and we were able to make some inroads back into the fellowship with this congregation.

It is not true that people are guaranteed healing in the here and now if only they have enough faith. It is not true that Christians do not die young. Children with the faith of children die. And what is young? Is 65 young? 70? 75? 90? 900? We were created to live forever! When is it good to die? And have we ever seen genetic defects healed? Are people healed of Down Syndrome?

5. A SHODDY BODY--NOT! Jesus reflected the will and compassion of the Father toward hurting mankind by healing their bodily diseases. He ministered to the whole man spirit, soul, and body. He obviously valued the body and its welfare significantly. Even though we must acknowledge the higher value of the spirit and soul, God does not devalue the body and neither should we. God created man in a body and said it was good. Gen 1: 26-28, 2:7 Jesus took on the form of man in a body. Jn 1:14 The Apostle Paul refers to the body as the temple of the Holy Spirit. It is obvious the high value that God places upon mankind's physical body. I Cor 3:16-17, 6:19-20

Agreed! That’s why Christians proclaim, celebrate and anticipate the resurrection of the body! That’s why we look forward to living a renewed creation, not as disembodied spirits in heaven but as physical beings on a new earth. That’s why we need to look to Genesis 1,2 for an idea of what eternity will look like! That’s why we need to take care of our bodies. But it doesn’t follow that we will receive this wholeness in the here and now.

6. EVERY TIME/ NO CHANGE Jesus always healed those who asked. Jesus never told anyone that they could not be healed. Jesus never told anyone that they had to suffer ill health in order to mature spiritually. Since God is immutable and Jesus is the same yesterday and forever, we must conclude that it is still His will to heal anyone today. He is no respecter of persons. There is no verse in the New Testament that states or makes a clear implication for a discontinuation of the healing ministry. All that Jesus did was expected for and offered to future generations. Mal 3:6, Mt 28:18-20 , Mk 10: 46-52, Mk 16:15-20, Jn 14:12, Heb 13:8

It is apparently true that Jesus healed all who asked. But why did he hide himself from the people and why did he challenge the request for healing from the Syro-Phoenician woman? Mark 7.

24 Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; yet he could not keep his presence secret. 25 In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an evil spirit came and fell at his feet. 26 The woman was a Greek, born in Syrian Phoenicia. She begged Jesus to drive the demon out of her daughter.

27 "First let the children eat all they want," he told her, "for it is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs."

28 "Yes, Lord," she replied, "but even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs."

29 Then he told her, "For such a reply, you may go; the demon has left your daughter."

30 She went home and found her child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.

The apostle Paul asked for healing from "a thorn in his flesh." It was not granted. Why not?

The Bible talks repeatedly about suffering to enter the kingdom. Not health and wealth.

7. DUPLICATION COMMANDED Jesus sent out his fledgling disciples to minister a model of His ministry by commanding them to preach, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In so doing he clarified a chosen pattern of ministry for the church for all times. Mt 10:1,7-8, 28:18-20, Mk 16: 15-20

Is that so? Continuing history does not describe continuing healing. Can it be said that the miraculous signs of healing and other miracles are for immature faith? Is God wanting to lead us beyond the signs to living by faith in his Word?

8. WHO NEEDS ADVERTISING?! His healing ministry produced a rapidly escalating awareness of His ministry resulting in evangelism and teaching. This also occurred with the Apostles in the book of Acts. It was the first century marketing arm of the church and still performs that function even today. Where this healing gospel is being taught and preached, particularly in the 3rd world, the benefits of this provision are being experienced in dramatic numbers and impact. The result is a great interest in the good news. Mt 4: 23-25, 9:1-8, 18-38, Acts 3:1-4:4, 9:32-43

That’s great! But where is this really happening today? We do see occasional signs and wonders. Remember R. H.’s story of their friends in Morocco. The atheist wife woke up with crosses all over her body. And when her atheist husband said, "I will not believe Jesus is Lord until I see it with my own eyes, the words began to appear on her arm, "Jesus is Lord." It happens today. But it’s not a formula. And as this example shows, it wasn’t triggered by faith. Or even by a request! Other than the assumed prayers of the Christian Moroccan friends, praying for their salvation.

II. Foundations and Connections

9. PERFECT START--PERFECT FINISH Mankind was created without sin and without sickness, perfect in God's sight. Mankind will become perfect and whole in heaven. God's attitude toward wholeness in every sense is in clear evidence by the testimony of the beginning and the future of mankind. Gen 1:27,31, Rev 22:3-4

Excellent. Although they are wrong in saying that "Mankind will become perfect and whole in heaven." It will happen on the new earth. Revelation 6:9-11describes distress in heaven, and the urging to wait until the time of full redemption.

10. HE IS HEALER! JEHOVAH RAPHA, or Jehovah our Healer, is one of the eight compound names of Jehovah. When God Himself gives Himself a name, there is profound significance to that name. It reflects an intentional facet of His splendor and character, which is eternal and therefore unchangeable. HEALER is a part of who He is as much as Savior, Creator, Father, Love, Provider, Shepherd, Righteousness, Peace, Rock. He does not willfully operate in a mode contrary to His character or nature. HEALER is who God is. Therefore He loves to heal sick mankind. . . always has. . . always will. . . has never changed His mind. Having said that, it must be acknowledged that this same passage, as well as several others in the Old Testament, indicate that God will use sickness and plagues as punishment to an individual or a group of people who are in rebellion and unrepentant sin (e. g. the Egyptians, Canaanites, and later Israel). But it is for punishment, seldom if ever for discipline (i.e. remedial), and God never delights in using it. Ex 15:26

In John 9, Jesus and his disciples come on a man born blind. He is not blamed for his blindness. But he is blind because we are living in a world broken by sin. Once again, if their premise is correct, why doesn’t God/Jesus just heal everybody now? Universally? He can. We agree He desires wholeness. God is working on his own schedule and with his own reasons for delay.

11. OLD COVENANT HEALING?--YOU'RE BLOODY RIGHT! Healing promises to the Israelites were provided in the Old Covenant, a blood covenant, that should make much of current Christendom envious, if we understood its full provision. In Deut 7:14,15 for keeping the covenant the Lord promised, "there will be not male or female barren among you or among your cattle. And the Lord will remove from you ALL sickness". Note the all inclusiveness of this promise! The writer of Hebrews expressly states that we have a better covenant with better blood. And certainly we do. We understand the salvation-of- the-soul component of the New Covenant very well, but are so deficient in our understanding of the healing component, that it is rendered opaque, obscure, and ineffective in much of Christendom. Heb 7:22, 8:6, Eph 1:18-23, Col 1:9ff

This has been called the "deuteronomic" perspective. Live right and you will be blessed. The book of Job especially addresses this issue in the light of people’s experience, and brings more light to bear from God’s side. This is called a "theodicy" – God/justice argument. Job suffered sickness. He did not suffer on account of sin. There are more things going on than meets the eye.

12. NO HALF WAY GOD Jesus did not come to provide a partial, but a complete salvation for spirit, soul, and body. All of the consequences of man's fall were paid for by Christ's suffering. It should be no surprise that God in His wisdom and sovereignty should provide anything but a complete and thorough salvation… not for half of the sicknesses, nor for half the people. I Th 5:23, Col 2:10, Jas 1:4

Amen! The question is, when will that happen? The Bible makes clear that it will happen to all God’s children in Christ when Jesus returns. And even if people should experience partial or temporary healing in the here and now, eventually they will age and die, barring Jesus’ prior return, and full, never-ending healing will finally happen in eternity.

13. THE GREAT HYPERLINK The quotation of Is 53:4 in Jesus' healing ministry found in Mat 8:17, "He Himself took our infirmities, and carried away our diseases," clearly signifies that the passion passage of Is 53 is not limited to spiritual healing or man's eternal salvation alone. Therefore, the latter part of verse 5, ". . by His stripes we are healed", applies to the whole man including the body. The benefit to the body is not limited by time and scope anymore than the spiritual benefit.

See above.

14. A DONE DEAL The testimony of Isaiah in 53:5b affirms an accomplished truth. . . . We are healed. Sickness and disease were dealt with at the whipping post for all mankind, forever, for all who will in faith receive. I Pet 2:24b states that "by His stripes you were healed," (past tense). Therefore, we need to see ourselves in the same manner that God views us, healED, even though our bodies may not have yet experienced a visible manifestation. In so doing we enter into agreement with His Word, and therefore into agreement with the Lord, Himself. This is the hard part, and where the enemy attempts to get our eyes on circumstance and off God's faithful Word. Remember, the just shall LIVE by faith (spiritual sight) not by [natural] sight. We need to continue to believe in the Word and confess its reality even though the physical manifestation lingers. Eventually the Word will prevail. Ro 1:17, II Cor 4:18

Uh, why are they allowing a delay in God’s response? Why wouldn’t healing be immediate after we ask? They are also drawing a line in the sand!

Rev. H. W. told the story of an incident in his congregation in Calgary, AB. A lady with cancer asked him to come with the elders, anoint her with oil and pray for healing. Henry and the elders came as requested. He made it clear to his parishioner that this was not a formula and healing was not guaranteed, etc. She said she knew all that but wanted to do what the Bible said. They did. And she was healed! Henry went on to say that he and the elders did the same with many others, and they were not healed. He concluded, "We decided to err on the side of obedience." God is sovereign. We pray. We plead. We cry. And God answers as only a heavenly Father knows best. The Psalms catch up many of the prayers and groans of God’s troubled people. Actually, most of the psalms were written by a few people. Why didn’t God answer more quickly and permanently? These are Bible people! These are our models! These prayers were included in the Bible for our identification and use!

My dad was diagnosed with cancer at age 57. He died 11 months later, shortly after his 58th birthday. Near the end of his life, he told me, "I can’t believe how close God has drawn me to himself through this whole experience!" We prayed for healing. God did not hear that prayer. God wasn’t punishing my dad for some sin. Jesus paid for all his sins. But God, in his sovereign love and grace, was working in my dad’s heart and life. God’s ways are higher than our ways, and his thoughts than our thoughts. Isaiah 58.

15. SO WHAT'S THE TRUTH? God's testimony and declaration are Truth. Our present manifestations of sickness and disease are true facts, but not the Truth. Truth is eternal and unchangeable while facts are temporal and subject to change. Truth has the inherent capacity to change facts. Facts must submit to Truth when the light of the Truth is clearly seen and believed in the heart. Faith must persist until the heart has been fully persuaded by the Truth rather than by the facts. Head knowledge and head belief alone are insufficient to produce the Truth's paid benefits to our lives. Truth is apprehended in the heart alone. Jn 14:6, Ps 119:160, II Tim 2:15

A good theological statement. But what’s the point here?

16. A NEED TO KNOW God's people are destroyed from lack of knowledge more than from lack of faith. If you do not know that you were healed at the whipping post 2000 years ago, you cannot have faith in the reality of that truth. Faith can only believe what the heart can see. Hosea 4:6

We know that our sins were paid for by Jesus’ sacrifice. We were "healed" from our sins. We also will be permanently healed from all our diseases when Jesus returns. In the meantime, we pray for healing from sicknesses and diseases, and where healing happens, however it happens, it is to be credited to Jesus. At the same time, neither the Bible nor experience in any part of the Christian church has seen universal healing by all who came.

17. THE SOUL SOLUTION III Jn 2 says, "I pray that you may prosper and be in health even as your soul prospers. " Since God is interested in the wholeness of the whole man, and since our soul gets "kinks" which affect our body, He will pursue the healing of the soul (mind, emotions, will) so that the body is free to be healed and remain healed. This can happen quickly, but often does not, dependent upon a multitude of factors. Consequently, the virtue, patience and an open, listening, and willing heart, are invaluable assets and frequent necessities to bring about God's perfect will and healing. Fear, bitterness, unforgiveness, self hatred, guilt are some examples of "soul kinks" that are directly linked to sickness and must be dealt with vigorously.

3 John 2 is not a statement from God; it is a prayer and desire of the apostle John. The two ought not be confused. I can desire and pray that you be healed, but that doesn’t equate my prayer with God’s will. The statements are a twisting of scripture.

The person writing this (Wendell Guth) must be a healthy person. And spiritually arrogant and self-deceived.

I wonder where the word "kink" is found in scripture. I’d like to do a little exegetical study of that word in Greek or Hebrew.

18. MEDICINE THAT WORKS Ultimately God would prefer us to walk in divine health rather than being dependent on miraculous intervention to extricate us from our own failures or outward attacks. How do we do this? Pro 4:22 refers to the Word "…as health to all our flesh. " The Hebrew word for health is "Marpe", also translated as healing, remedy or cure. By praying and meditating specific healing promises concerning our body, regularly and frequently, we are allowing the Word to become to us for what it was designed and capable of doing. . . . becoming a source of healing, remedy or cure. By the Spirit it will quicken (make alive) our mortal flesh. Millions will testify of the benefit of this applied truth!

Oh, good! Exegesis! Whoops. Proverbs are not mathematical axioms or formulas or iron-clad promises. They are proverbs. They are generally the way things are. They are wisdom. "Millions will testify ... ?" Got a list of names for us? This is a cheap way of presenting an argument. Again, the book of Job (theodicy) focuses on the issue of righteousness does not equal shalom. Generally, the most closely someone aligns their lifestyle with God’s Word, the better things will go. It’s like "following the directions of the manufacturer." But what about Joseph in Egypt and in prison? Eventually things worked out.

But sometimes things do not work out in this life. There’s a huge difference between the old and new testaments in this regard. The people living in Palestine during the intertestamentary period had learned their lesson about serving other gods. When the Romans and especially Antioch us Epiphanies sought to force them to bow to idols, etc, they steadfastly refused. There are countless historical examples of Antiochus’ brutality and the Jews’ faithfulness. But they suffered nonetheless. Astute observers of life noted that sometimes bad people lived rich and healthy lives to the end, while godly people suffered sickness, poverty and oppression. An honest assessment would never conclude that justice eventually happened. At least not in this life. When these people studied the old testament scriptures, (Psalms 23, 73, 139, Job, Daniel, etc.) they began to see hints of a resurrection and an afterlife. When we come into the new testament, it is the Pharisees (spiritual descendants of Ezra, the second law-giver, after the exile) who had concluded that there was going to be a final judgment and eternal life. This was in opposition to the Sadducees, who did not believe in the resurrection, etc. (Strikingly, they were also the ones who typically had it good in this life, economically, politically, etc.!) Jesus would confirm the theological conclusions of the Pharisees.

All this to say that healing and shalom is not promised to us!

Although God may provide a miraculous healing at an early time in our faith walk, as we mature in our understanding of His Word, He expects us to begin to live in Divine Health by means of the continual application of the Medicine of His Word through study, meditation, and speech while living a life of obedience. Josh 1:8, Pro 4:22

What’s this "Divine Health?" It sounds like Christian Science. And yes, the proof texts do teach that following God’s word will bring "prosperity, success and health." But, I am afraid, not in the way these people are claiming.

19. HEALTHY HABITS We need to live a healthy life-style that is consistent with our faith. Mistreating our bodies by bad nutrition habits, inactivity, and stress work in opposition to God's plan for divine health.

Hmm. I kind of agree. But where do we find this in "the Word?" I can’t think of anywhere in the Bible that addresses "bad nutrition habits, inactivity, and stress." In fact, stress seems to be fairly universal for God’s people! Think of Abraham, Joseph, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Daniel, Mary & Joseph, Paul, Peter, ... Could this be a bit of bad pop psychology injected into this teaching?

20. TONGUE POWER OR TONGUE POISON Our tongues, our speech must become conformed to the Word of truth rather than what we see, feel, and experience. "Death and life are in the power of the tongue…" Pro 18:21. We program our faith system with it, good or bad. We can build up or tear down family members or friends with our tongue, and we can do the same to ourselves. Therefore, we must learn to guard our speech so that we build up our faith confessing the Word of God, rather than destroying it by focusing words upon our circumstance. Pro 18:4,7,20-21, Jas 3:2-12

Agreed. But that does not directly address the issue of healing from physical sickness or disease or disability or some genetic condition.

21. USE IT ALL Scriptural healing does not invalidate natural or medical healing or vice versa. All should be viewed as valid and useful instruments in God's symphony of wholeness. After all it was not the devil that inspired the Church of Jesus Christ to start hospitals throughout the world. It was the eternal compassion of a sovereign, merciful, Heavenly Father who has always desired complete wholeness for all His children. However, our order of action in any illness should be to petition the Great Physician first and the family physician second. Reversing that order is displeasing to God! Jas 1:17, II Chr 16:7-12

Sure, this is a good statement. But isn’t it inconsistent with what Guth is teaching? Why have hospitals if good prayer can do the healing? And haven’t there been a lot of advances in the field of medicine? Why bother to set up hospitals or do medical research when it all falls short anyway, compared to what God can do? Why go to a hospital which has limited knowledge, when we can go to God who can do everything perfectly? Why say hospitals are a good thing, when they obviously fall very short, more so in the rest of the world than here, and certainly in all centuries preceding? It is nonsense and dishonest to condemn people for not being healed because of lack of faith, while at the same time commending hospitals which can give only limited medical treatment. Going to a hospital 20 or 60 or a hundred or a thousand years ago, or in a third world country, are all very different experiences.

22. MANY MEANS There are many means to minister healing: 1) Laying on of hands- Mk 16:15; 2) Anointing with oil- Jas 5:14; 3) The prayer of faith- Jas 5:15; 4) The prayer of agreement- Mt 18:19; 5) Speaking the Word- Mt 8:1ff; 6) Confession of sins (eradicating "soul kinks") and petition- Jas 5:16, Mt 7:7-12; 7) Corporate intercession- Act 12:5ff; 8) Claiming a specific promise in faith- Heb 4:1-3; 9) Communion; 10) Acting as though the Word is totally true - Jas 2:14ff; 11) The name of Jesus- Acts 3:16; 12) Combinations of the above

There’s that Greek word "kinks" again!

23. A BIG FIGHT As believers in battle with the enemy of our souls, we may experience attacks against our spirit, soul, or body. Healing is not automatic just because we believe God will heal and wants to heal us. It is something the enemy does not want for us. Anything good that God wants for us will be resisted by the enemy. He fights to maintain "his ground". We must fight for it with the Word, with faith, with persistence and resistance to the onslaught of the enemy's attacks. We both need our own faith and knowledge to resist the enemy, but frequently we also need the assistance of other believers' faithful prayers to assist us in overcoming the evil one. Eph 6:10ff; Heb 3:12-14, 4:1-3; Jas 4:7, 5:16; I Pet 5:8,9

This is good talk. But the problem is that it comes out of the premise that total healing in this life is what God desires and what we must expect. The devil is real (Rev. 12), but he is on a chain (Job, Rev 21).

24. A SOVEREIGN WILL--AGREE WITH IT God's sovereignty does not negate the concept of His intent to heal all His children. Rather it supports it. The sovereign God has revealed His will to us on certain issues in His Word. He then intends for us to believe His Word rather than our observations, feelings, circumstances, or facts. If we do not, then we doubt and grieve Him. Since He has revealed His sovereign will clearly on healing in Christ's life and ministry, He does not need to continue to prove it again and again. His Word does not change. If we are not receiving all the benefits that He has promised, it is not God's fault. We need to then dig deeper into His Word until the reality of His Word overwhelms the doubts and fears and our present circumstances, and causes them to conform to His sovereign will revealed therein.

Today the Body of Christ contains countless living examples of those who, in the face of horrendous, death threatening disease and accidents, tenaciously held on to the Healing Word, refusing to give in to doubt, pain, and overwhelming evidential symptoms, some for days and some for years, until the Truth of God's healing provisions overwhelmed the facts and visible circumstances resulting in a manifestation of healing. Unfortunately this kind of knowledge and Word-based tenacity is seldom found in much of mainstream or even Pentecostal believers today. Let us renovate our thinking and belief system with the New Testament paradigm of healing and restoration as practiced by Christ and His disciples, rather than by traditionalism, western patterns of criticism, and our own self-limiting observations and experiences. Is 55: 10-11, Ro 3:3-4, 4:18-20, 10:6-8, Heb 11:6

Yes, there are psychosomatic illnesses, and physical symptoms on account of spiritual problems, etc. But not all sickness or disease or deformity is a result of unconfessed sin or unclaimed promises or lack of faith or the refusal to name it and claim it (blab it and grab it.)

III. Errors, Red-Herrings, and Deficiencies

25. EXPERIENCED ERROR Doctrine toward healing should never be determined by experience. God's Word alone should determine what we believe and that in spite of what we see, feel, or hear. Experience can only validate the truth, it can never nullify it. Ro 3:4, II Cor 5:7

True. The problem here is that unsubstantiated, unbiblical claims are being made and presented as biblical, and reality is being denied, and in a way that undermines and destroys faith. At the same time, "reality checks" in the intertestamentary period led people to realize, by the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, that more was going on than they realized and their understanding of reality was limited. The was "progressive revelation" under the leading and inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In the new testament, the Bereans are commended for searching the Scriptures. Acts 17:11.

26. NO OFFENSE Most believers have had Godly friends and relatives die from sickness (myself included) and desperately wanted that person to be healed. Obviously it could be easy to offend anyone who has experienced this pain and hurt, or even cause unnecessary guilt, by posturing a belief system that God does want wholeness for all. Let there be no offense but only comfort in the knowledge that those who have died in the Lord are very well off indeed. But above all may we not offend the Sovereign, Holy God who through His infinite plan and mercy has allowed His Son to carry our sicknesses and diseases, so that by His stripes we are healed. We do so by failing to receive that benefit and thereby waste the horrible event that procured it. May our past pain motivate us to dig deep into God's healing resources, know them, believe them, and become healing agents to others who now suffer.

?? My parents believed in Jesus. Hundreds of people in many churches prayed for them, when they suffered from cancer, along with themselves and our family. My dad was 58 when he died, my mom was 65. Yes, I am offended because this is a vicious, unbiblical attack on our faith, and our trust that God works all things for good, for those who love him. Was it better that they continue living? We believe God is sovereign and loving. Our comfort is that "We can be patient when things go against us, thankful when things go well, and for the future we can have good confidence in our faithful God and Father that nothing will separate us from his love." (Lord’s Day 11)

27. THE ERRONEOUS ROMAN CONCLUSION Because God does work all things for good to those who have been called according to His purpose, and because He has used even sickness and disease to bring about wonderful things for His kingdom, we have erroneously concluded that He did in fact plan these events. But this flies in the face of Jesus' ministry to the sick in the gospels. Praise God, that He can and does out-trump the devil regularly as He promised. But praise God even more that He has planned something better by out-trumping him 2000 years ago at the whipping post, where "He took our infirmities and carried away our diseases" so that "by His stripes we are healed. " Ro 8:28, Mt 8:17, Is 53: 4-5

My dad said that God had used the last year of his life when he was battling cancer to draw him to Himself as he never thought possible. In this time, God also used my dad to speak to many other people from his dying/death bed. In a similar way, Joni Eareckson states that she believes God actively allowed the accident that paralyzed her as a teenager to happen, in love for her and others, because she sees the ministry God has allowed her to do. Are these people denying the sovereign, loving and providential power of God and the testimony of ("millions" of) godly people and proclaiming that it would have been better if people would have avoid these pains and just lived happy, stress-free, active and nutritional lives? Joni Eareckson describes her life before her accident as very superficial and disconnected from God. Once again, I believe this teaching is spiritual arrogance and ignorance.

Rocky Church has a Friendship ministry to some thirty handicapped adults from the community. I don’t know why God allowed these people to be born severely handicapped, mentally and physically. But I have seen so much joy and childlike faith, and I have seen "normal" people being blessed by ministering to these handicapped people. It is the abortion industry, Hitler and the attitude that abnormal people ought not to be allowed to live that has brought hardness, callousness and death into life. Etc.

28. SUFFERING WHAT? The word suffering has created confusion. In the KJV NT there are 69 uses of "suffer, or suffering"; 40 times in reference to persecution; 24 times as "permit or bear"; none of the 5 remaining verses link sickness with suffering [only one could be construed in its context as possibly related to sickness (I Cor 12:26)]. Suffering in the New Testament was not referring primarily to sickness, but to persecution. If it did, it would contradict the purpose and plan of God revealed in the healing ministry of Jesus. Yes, someone who has suffered from sickness can grow and deepen in their faith, but that does not in itself validate that God brought it on. Neither does illness-induced chastisement, though it may prove beneficial, validate God as the source. God certainly can use any tool that He is handed, even a hammer, and perform transforming surgery. But the tool He loves best is the scalpel of His Word in conjunction with the conviction of the Holy Spirit to conform us into His image. Heb 4:12, Jer 23:29, Ro 12:1,2

The story of Job might be something to consider. And Hezekiah in the old testament. And why didn’t Paul just heal Trophimus rather than leaving him behind sick? 2 Timothy 4:20 Yes, Jesus healed sick people. Sickness is here because of the sin of Adam. That doesn’t mean sick people are to be condemned for being sick/faithless. John 9. It is just to say they are sick! And Jesus can heal them. And if they believe in him, someday he will! For all eternity!

29. NO MUG-WHUMPING PLEASE It is inconsistent to confess that God has brought a sickness in order glorify Himself, while at the same time seeking medical solutions for healing. Our confession and actions should be consistent. If one truly believes it to be the will of God to be ill, any healing attempts then would logically be interfering with God's will. This is a form of double-mindedness which produces instability and wavering, the opposite of faith. We become "Mug-wumps", i. e. we have our mugs on one side of the fence and our wumps on the other. Doesn't it make sense to quit straddling the fence and harmonize our belief system with our actions? Then we will go to the doctor with the expectation that God wants us well. Consequently we then cooperate with both his effort and God's in our behalf. That is consistency of faith and action. Furthermore, God is glorified by healing the sick! Jas 1:6-8, Mt 9:8, 15:31, Lk 7:16, Acts 4:21

I need to do some more exegesis on the Hebrew word "mug-whumping." This is some new territory for me. It is not "inconsistent" to accept sickness as a way God is discipling (not necessarily disciplining us.) Hebrews 12. God is sovereign. God uses all kinds of ways to work in our lives. We may not understand or appreciate his ways. But it is his work nonetheless. And condemning his working is blasphemous and arrogant. As Jesus prayed in the garden, "Lord, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless, not my will but yours be done." We pray. We plead with God. And then we trust that He will lead and work as only we know best. Lots of times, more important than "prayer changes things," is prayer changes us!

30. NO IFS Presuming a submitted life, the prayer, "If it be thy will" excerpted from the prayer of Gethsemane does not apply to the prayer for healing. If God has already expressed His will in the Word of God regarding healing, we need to pray accordingly. One would foolishly pray, "Oh, Lord give me my neighbor's wife. " God has already expressed Himself on the subject of adultery. Nor do we need to pray, "Oh, Lord, is it your will that I pray for my enemies?" When God has made His will plain in scripture we can pray in confidence according to His will by naming the promise that applies. God has expressed His will concerning healing already and we should be quick to get in agreement with Him! He gave us the Bible to learn His will!

"God works in his mysterious ways, his wonders to perform," wrote William Cowper, plagued with depression. He tried to commit suicide several times. He pleaded with God to heal him. But it didn’t happen. Or, at least, it didn’t stay. But Cowper continued to persevere in his faith and he wrote a hymn that has caught up the struggles and hopes of millions. (Really). Did God use his sickness? Did God use blind Fanny Crosby with her thousands of hymns? Etc. God teaches us when he walks us through the valleys. And he teaches others through people who have gone through the valleys. Again, look at the psalms.

31. A PROMINENT PRESUMPTION It is a false presumption to believe that we must be sick in order to die, as if God is unable to deliver us from our body without the aid of sickness. That is a lie from the devil himself designed to induce an absence of resistance for his purpose to steal, kill, and destroy. In Ex 23:25,26 God told the Israelites under the Old Covenant,

"And you shall serve the Lord your God , and He shall bless your bread and your water; and I WILL TAKE SICKNESS AWAY FROM YOUR MIDST. There shall be no one miscarry or be barren in your land; I WILL FULFILL THE NUMBER OF YOUR DAYS. "

It is clearly inferred here that: 1) you can live and die without sickness; 2) God's desire is full days without sickness; 3) Sickness will reduce your days. Why not believe to die healthy in spirit, soul, and body? Deut 34:7, Jn 10:10

Yup. And then there’s Job, which was included in the Bible to address the experience and struggles of many devout believers. That’s in the Bible too.

32. A THORNY THORN Paul's Thorn in the flesh is sadly taken out of context, misquoted and misapplied. The thorn is expressly stated as a messenger of satan. The reason given is that Paul might not be exalted (present passive subjunctive) The exaltation is not of Paul, himself, otherwise the verb tense would be active. Satan did not want Paul to be exalted by God (just the opposite of most interpretations). God did not say "No" to Paul in verse 9 as in the Living Bible, nor does it start with, "But He said to me…" as in the RSV, but rather, "And he said to me…". He was giving Paul a clear reminder that His grace was sufficient to deal with and overcome the situation. In other words, He was reminding Paul that he had a mighty weapon called grace, that Paul knew well, but had been under-utilizing in this present circumstance. And since grace is best used in weakness, Paul could say whenever the enemy throws his best shot, "I am strong!!!" This truth has given the devil headaches for 2000 years. He should consider us most dangerous when he has been so foolish as to jab us and weaken us with a "thorn"…if we recognize and act upon the reality that God's grace not only enables endurance, but does in fact produce healing strength. This passage was not inserted to justify sickness or continual weakness, but to specify a means for overcoming them. II Cor 12:7-10, Jas 4:6-10, I Jn 3:8b, 4:4

Yup. And it also tells us that God allows sickness or other debilitating things in our lives in ways to stretch our faith and to bless others.

33. PREACH IT AND TEACH IT! The pulpits of the land are deficient in teaching the truth regarding healing, and therefore people continue to walk in darkness regarding this precious, Heaven-ordained, costly gift to mankind. If there were more teaching on God's plan to heal, there would be increased faith to claim the benefit. How God must grieve over this deficiency when He clarified His intent to heal and then made such costly and painful provisions for its efficacy and proclamation! Ro 10:17

How God must grieve when the preachers of "name it and claim", health, wealth and prosperity, "blab it and grab it," cause people’s expectations and hopes to rise, only to have them crushed, not only with respect to their physical healing, but now also with respect to their "lack of (healing – and saving!) faith." Hebrews 12 teaches that God disciples ("disciplines" – both words have the same root and they have to do with conforming a person according to a model or example, in this case, Jesus) people through painful things in their lives. Hebrews does not specify what God uses. Experience (testimony, reality, ...) is that God uses many things.

IV. Sources of Sickness and Disease

34. A CURSED CURSE Sickness and disease are part of the curse of the law, but "Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us. . " Incorporated within the law were the admonitions to live a healthy life style, including eating, work, resting, and trusting. Common sense here should still prevail. Deut 28, Gal 3:13

"Common sense"? Where does that come from, biblically referenced? I have discovered that there is less and less "common" sense around. Common sense is not so common. Because common sense is based on God’s Word and walking with God. I don’t see the Bible enjoining us to use our "common" sense. I see the Bible enjoining us to study God’s Word and to "fear" God. (Proverbs 1:7, etc.) Thorns and thistles, and pain in childbirth are also results of the fall. Does Guth pray away the thistles in his lawn or does he use weed killer? Does he have something to say to farmers too about prayer vs. herbicides and pesticides? Did he or his wife pray away the pain in childbirth?

35. OPPRESSIVE OPPRESSORS Satan and demons are frequently involved in initiating sickness and disease and are tenaciously, reluctant to release their victims. Often it is the godly, the righteous, and effective who are in his sights because of the damage they are doing to the kingdom of darkness. He seems to delight in a continual harassment of those who have become objects of his focus. Whereas, Christ delights in delivering His children from the snare and bondage of satan. But our deliverance is dependent on our knowledge and faith-action in who we are in Christ, the dominion provided to us in Christ, and the authority of His Name. We must cooperate with His provision by tenaciously resisting satan's shots with the greater provision provided. Luke 13:16, Acts 5:16, 10:38

36. OPENING A DOOR YOU DON'T WANT Disobedience and sin sets us up to become vulnerable to the wiles of the devil, which may include a bodily attack. When we are in sin, we are not operating in faith, thereby walking exposed. Confess sins quickly, particularly unforgiveness, and believe that He has forgiven them. However, it should not be construed that all sickness is a direct result of sin. Nevertheless even the New Testament contains inferences of sin bringing bodily disorders and even death.

Examples are King Herod (Acts 13), Ananias and Saphira (Acts 5), Elymas the magician (Acts 13), the incestuous Corinthian (I Cor 5, II Cor 2) and Saul on the Damascus road. The scripture states or infers that the latter three were healed. Those believers who are earnestly seeking to follow the Lord and do His will should be assured that God is eager for them to know wholeness in spirit, soul, mind, and body. Consequently they should not live under condemnation from self or others because they are sick. Rather they should continue to diligently pursue their paid for benefit in the joy of knowing that God is truly all for them having it. Jn 5:14, I Jn 1:9 Heb 4:1-3

And Romans 1:27, I think. But while we do indeed believe God desires our healing, the constant question is when? In this life? Later? In eternity! To teach that full healing ought to be expected in this life is untrue and can be undermining to people’s faith. And then to fudge on this teaching by saying that sometimes healing can be delayed but we need to keep praying and trusting, is deceptive. I would say, yes, it’s true that we may keep on praying for healing, and that God may delay it. In fact, he may delay healing until we are raptured in glory! But this isn’t what Guth is teaching.

37. FOIL FEAR Fear is one of satan's favorite tools to bring sickness and disease. He plants it in the mind; it filters quickly into the heart and germinates to produce a reality of the thing feared. The roar of the lion creates terror in its intended victims. Satan goes about as a roaring lion, whom we are admonished to resist. Fear is to be resisted and treated like a venomous viper. Kill fear before fears kills you! Satan is a deceiver and master "symptomizer"; he will put a symptom of disease on you as "fear bait" to see if you bite, take it and claim it. Don't! Instead reject it in the name of Jesus, take a big bite out of some healing promises, and claim your position of having been healed by Jesus' stripes! Ro 8:15, II Tim 1:7, I Pet 5:8-9, Job 3:25, I Pet 2:24


V. Conclusion

38. A CHARGE TO KEEP The early church was the healing agent to a sick, diseased and hurting world. Much of the church today is as sick as the world. How then are we able to fulfill this un-revoked charge to the Church? The church needs to set aside fear of healing ministry, pride, prejudice, and traditionalism and begin a serious study of healing from a biblical perspective. It should begin proclaiming its precious, heaven ordained truths until faith begins to arise in the hearts of God's people. Then healing blessings will once again flow in notable measure. Mt 10, Acts 9:32-43

God’s people through the ages have always prayed for healing. What the church has also done through the ages, as acknowledged above, it build hospitals. Because Jesus heals. God desires healing. God works through means. Sick people who are helped and healed in the name of Jesus, also through means, like Doctor Luke and hospitals, are often more open to receive spiritual healing and the gift of eternal life. Sick and poor and needy people are often more receptive to the gospel than the well. James 2:5. Is that why God allowed so many people to be sick? So they would be receptive to the ministry and message of Jesus?! Luke 5:31, 10:9

39. HIS PROVISION--RECEIVE IT Since God reflected His desire to heal all who came to Him for healing through Jesus' ministry, we must conclude that He still wants to heal everyone who is sick. We may not know why the healing manifestation does not occur in everyone's lifetime, even though it is provided. Some have waited for years, and others for their entry into His presence, but in all cases the provision was made by God, Himself, 2000 years ago. It is His gift to all mankind. Without that healing payment how could the curse be lifted? Thank God that it was! Thank God He bore our sicknesses and carried our diseases and by His stripes we were and are healed! JEHOVAH RAPHA!

Is this their great disclaimer? Are they saying, everybody will be healed – some in the here and now, temporarily, and some in eternity? Are they admitting God is sovereign and we do not know why God does not heal everyone, immediately, and continuously? Yes, all healing comes to us because of Jesus. And yes, we do not know why some people are healed now and some are not. Yes, we need to examine our hearts and lives. Are we sick because of unconfessed sin? Are we sick as a consequence of our sin? Are we sick because of an unhealthy lifestyle? Etc. But people also just get sick because we live in a broken world. And God uses sickness, along with everything else, to bring people to saving faith, to stop people in their tracks, to stretch and deepen them as his children, and to bring them closer to himself.

Conference Partners: Fair Haven RC, Mars Hill BC, First RC of Byron Center, Healing Rooms of Grand Rapids/Grand Haven/Grandville/Kalamazoo, West Michigan Prayer Center, Reformed Church in America Ministry for Prayer, Reformed Church in America Coordinator for Church Multiplication, PRMI, Beechwood RC, Sunshine CRC, PrayerFire Ministries, Resurrection Life Church Grand Haven.


Here are some of my reflections and reactions. It was a good experience for me to go through this. I hope it’s beneficial and encouraging to you! Bless you, Phil! You and your family have been and are a real inspiration to many people, as you express your faith and wrestle honestly in very real and challenging circumstances.

Your friend,



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