I have been around long enough to see a lot of teachings come and go. A senior pastor of a large church once said very sadly, “I have seen too many people that we have prayed and prayed for, get put in the ground, to preach on healing any more.” I think that at least partially we all sometimes feel this same discouragement. At the end of the day we all seem to conclude, “Well, we must let God be God”, as we go back to the church after the funeral service and eat macaroni salad.
There is no question that Jesus healed the sick while He was here on the earth. Acts 10:38 states, “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him.” (KJV) The question, which needs answering, is “Does our Lord Jesus still heal people just as frequently as He did when He walked the earth? If so, where are all the healings? If He is not healing in the same proportions, then why not? Multiple teachings have been promoted though the years that make some extreme assumptions. Those assumptions often lead to disappointing results, results, which seem to go unexplained and are quickly swept under the rug. In looking for an answer, let’s always look instead to the Word of God. 2 Timothy 3:16: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.” (NIV)
Let’s look at a three-fold formula which I believe can be used to put any teaching to the test in order to see if it lines up with the word of God. Number one is that any teaching, which is truly birthed of God must be in agreement with what the Bible teaches. Secondly No teaching, which is birthed of the Spirit of God ever, misrepresents or belittles any Bible character that the Bible itself holds in high regard. A popular internationally known charismatic faith teacher of the 1980’s used to say frequently “Bless God, Paul’s faith was not what it aught to be!” He was misrepresenting a highly honored individual who wrote over half of the New Testament because the things Paul said in the scriptures did not line up with this individuals faith formula. Statements like this should be an immediate red flag to anyone putting someone’s teachings to the scriptural test. Number three, every truly Holy Spirit inspired truth that is ever revealed is taught by both word and example in the scriptures. You can easily find both the doctrinal instruction and examples of the application in God’s Word!
A teaching concerning perceived faith and divine healing surfaced in the 1980’s. It’s was called “Principles of Positive Confession.” Like most false teachings, it sounded totally believable when it first came out. The roots of this teaching went back farther than anyone realized at the time but the basic concepts were founded on single scripture passages taken out of context. One of the initial scriptures used was Proverbs 18:21: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.”(KJV) Its’ proponents taught that if you verbalized negative statements that you were giving the devil the power to bring those negative things to pass in your life. However, if you spoke scripture promises and positive utterances, then miracles from God would be released to you. Eventually millions believed divine healing would be manifested if they spoke exactly the right words. For them, speaking correctly was to quote a Bible verse taken out of context and claim it as their own. If you encountered one of these believers and they were coughing and sneezing and you showed compassion by offering to pray for them, they would often scold you, saying saying, “ I do not need prayer. I am healed bless God!” They would quote Romans 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.”(KJV) The movement’s teachers taught them that when they spoke the promise out loud, they then could hear it with their natural ears and the faith that it generated would release the power of God to perform the needed miracle.
However, in the original Greek, Romans 10:17 does not say “Faith cometh by (natural hearing) and (natural hearing) by the Word of God. According to “Vines Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words”, the Greek word that refers to the ability to naturally hear is AKOUO, and the word (hear) meaning “to receive” found in Romans 10:17 is AKOE. In other words, what the verse actually says in the original language is “Faith cometh by receiving and receiving comes by the Word of God.” Simply put as you read and study God’s Word, your faith will grow. Speaking God’s Word out loud does not produce a guarantee of a healing or any other miracle. Asking for God’s perfect will must be applied in any situation and be trusted to be done concerning divine healing or any Heavenly interventions. Name it and claim it proponents believe a “little God” theory that is another false doctrine.
The bottom line is that in all things, as we pray, we must ask, that as Jesus did, “Father God, not my will but thine be done.” The prayer of true Biblical example is then to simply trust that His will-will indeed be done, and it’s ultimately the best eternal plan for all involved. We must always understand that the most perfect healing of all is when He chooses to take that loved one home to be with Him forever in Heaven. We will always mourn their loss, but have the assurance we will see them one day, never to be separated again. Instead of putting faith in faith, always put faith in God! He still is in the miracle working business today.
Like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, lets search the Scriptures to prove what we hear is true doctrine.
Rev Nolan J Harkness is the President and CEO of Nolan Harkness Evangelistic Ministries Inc. since 1985. He spent most of his adult life working in youth ministry. He also felt the calling of Evangelist/Revivalist and traveled as the door was open holding evangelistic meetings in churches throughout the Northeast. His website is www.verticalsound.org.