March 14, 2003 (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143, email@example.com»>firstname.lastname@example.org; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)
The following is a small section of our Advanced Bible Studies Course «Defense of the Faith.» This course deals with many of the heresies and false groups that challenge Bible-believing churches today. The introductory section contains an extensive survey of what the New Testament says about false teachers and a study on biblical separation. The next section is on the Roman Catholic Church. This is followed by a section on three of the major cults, Mormonism, Seventh-day Aventism, and Jehovah’s Witness. The next section contains an extensive study on the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement, its history and doctrine. The final section covers Modernism and New Evangelicalism. Each study is comprehensive and thoroughly-researched by the Way of Life Director, who has built a large library on these topics and has done first-hand research in many parts of the world. «Defense of the Faith» is 355 pages and is available for $19.95 plus S/H from Way of Life Literature.
A central teaching of the Pentecostal-Charismatic movement is the false doctrine that physical healing in this present life is promised by the atonement of Jesus Christ.
«When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He redeemed us from the curse of the lawpoverty, sickness and spiritual death. For spiritual death, Jesus gave us eternal life, for sickness, divine healing and health, and for poverty,
wealth» (Rodney Howard-Browne, The Touch of God: A Practical Workbook, Vol. 2, p. 55).
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?
1. Isaiah 53:5 is explained in 1 Peter 2:24. The healing spoken of in Isaiah 53:5 is spiritual healing of the soul from sin.
2. The healing ministry of Christ was to authenticate His Messiahship (Lk. 7:19-23; Jn 5:36; 6:14; 7:31; 9:30-32; 10:37-38; 11:42; 14:10-11; 15:24; 20:30-31; Acts 2:22).
3. The healing ministry of the apostles was to authenticate their message. These were the «signs of an apostle» (2 Cor. 12:12; Acts 2:43; 3:1-8; 4:33; 5:12; 9:36-42; 19:10-12; 28:8-9).
4. Even in the first century all Christians did not have the gifts of healing and miracles. When Dorcas died, the believers called the Apostle Peter from another town, and he raised her from the dead (Acts 9:36-42). When the apostles died, these sign gifts ceased.
5. The Pentecostal-Charismatic healers cannot heal in any fashion like Christ and the Apostles.
a. J.H. Montgomery, former editor of Oral Roberts’ Abundant Life magazine, testified: «I make the following statement after serious thought and consideration. I first attended a healing campaign in 1949, and in the intervening years between then and now I have attended a great many of these great meetings. … But I have yet to meet one man or woman who had the power of God to perform miracles as Jesus performed them» (Montgomery, The Enemies of the Cross).
b. William Branham is exalted as one of the greatest of the Pentecostal faith healers. Alfred Pohl worked in one of Branham’s healing meetings in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and he testified that none of those who were proclaimed healed were actually healed. I interviewed Pohl personally on Feb. 21, 1990. He told me that Branham would tell the sick people that they were «healed» but that they would still be sick for a little while longer! A local newspaper challenged the host church that if they could provide even one confirmed case of healing that they would report it on the front page. I asked Pohl if they could find one, and he replied, «Not one.» He told me that a Pentecostal radio pastor’s wife was supposedly healed of cancer at the Branham crusade, but she died soon thereafter. Brother Pohl described the day that pastor returned to Pohl’s office, downcast and deeply troubled, and asked this question: «Tell me, how is it that my wife who was healed ten days ago is now in the grave.»
c. Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare Pentecostal Churches, taught that healing is promised in the atonement. Arno Gaebelein examined McPherson’s healing claims and published his report in the 1925 book The Healing Question. He did not find genuine healings. McPherson’s biographer Daniel Epstein, though extremely sympathetic to her, admitted that those healed were «mostly diseases of the immune system, or attributed to hysteria.» He admitted that she was «not credited with raising anyone from the dead, correcting a harelip or cleft palate, or restoring a missing limb, digit, or internal organ» (Epstein, Sister Aimee, 1993, p. 112).
d. Smith Wigglesworth is upheld as one of the great Pentecostal prophets and faith healers. he taught that God promises perfect physical wholeness, that the Christian has the power to command things into being, and that the Christian can operate in the same sign gifts that Christ exhibited. Even so, very few of those who sought Wigglesworth’s healing ministrations were ever healed. His own wife died six years after he became a Pentecostal, and his son died two years after that. His daughter, who assisted in his meetings, was never healed of her deafness. For three years he himself suffered with gallstones. We who understand that physical healing is not PROMISED for this present time know that such things are part of God’s sovereign plan and we are not confused by these events. God often heals in answer to prayer, but He does not always heal. According to the doctrine that physical healing is guaranteed in the atonement and is a part of the Gospel, though, such things should not occur. Those who hold this doctrine tell us that sickness is never a blessing of God, that it is of the devil, that it has been defeated on the cross. According to his own doctrine, Wigglesworth’s daughter should have been healed of her deafness and he should have been healed of his own sicknesses. His wife should have been healed of the sickness that took her life when she was but a young woman, and his son should have been healed of the sickness that took him away in childhood.
e. Kathryn Kuhlman is another of the acclaimed entecostal faith healers. In his book Healing: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle, Dr. William Nolen dedicates an entire chapter to his experiences investigating Kuhlman healing crusades. Though sympathetic to Miss Kuhlman as a person, Nolen was unable to document medically even one case of physical healing, though large numbers of them were claimed. At the time of his investigation, Dr. Nolen was chief of surgery at Meeker County Hospital in Litchfield, Minnesota. A reporter who covered a Kuhlman healing crusade in Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Music Hall in 1948 testified: «For every one who has proclaimed a cure, a score more have faded off into the darkness, as miserable and heartsick as when they came» (Wayne Warner, The Woman Behind the Miracles: Kathryn Kuhlman, p. 145). Kurt Koch was a renowned evangelical researcher into the occult. In his book Occult ABC he describes his research into Kathryn Kuhlman’s healing ministry. He carefully followed up on a list of 28 cases of alleged healings in the Minneapolis, Minnesota, area. The following is the summary of his findings: «Ten had not been healed, seven had experienced an improvement in their condition, eleven had diseases in which the mind can play an important part. In the whole of this extensive report, there is not one clear case of healing from an organic disease» (Kurt Koch, Occult ABC, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publishers, 1981).
f. Jack Coe was one of the well-known Pentecostal faith healers of the 1950s. He claimed that consulting physicians was connected with the mark of the beast (Simson, The Faith Healer, p. 164). In February 1956, at a healing crusade in Miami, Florida, Coe laid hands on a little boy who was stricken with polio. The boy’s mother, Ann Clark, was told by Coe: «If you believe Jesus heals the child, take the braces off, and leave them off.» She immediately removed the braces from the boy’s feeble legs, but as he attempted to take a step, he collapsed to the floor. Believing the false teaching that Coe and the other faith healers preached that God had promised her boy’s healing through faith, Mrs. Clark determined not to put the braces back on. Soon the boy’s legs began to swell and she took him to a doctor, who ordered the braces to be put back on. Her letter to Jack Coe, seeking his counsel, was ignored, so she contacted the police and Coe was charged with practicing medicine without a license. After a highly publicized trial, the judge dismissed the case. Mrs. Clark’s sad experience reminds us that the path of the Pentecostal movement is strewn with this type of heartache because it promises things which God has not promised. Though he taught that healing was guaranteed in the atonement and warned his followers against using medicine and consulting physicians, Coe went to the hospital when he fell ill WITH POLIO only a few months after the aforementioned trial. He succumbed to this disease a few weeks later, and it would be difficult not to see the hand of God in such a remarkable coincidence. After Coe’s death, his widow published a series of articles exposing the fraud of key healing evangelists.
g. Charles Price is another of the famous faith healers of the first half of the twentieth century. Following a Price crusade in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1923, a group of physicians, professors, lawyers, and ministers followed up on the healings. Of the 350 people who had claimed to be healed, they could not find any physical change in the conditions of 301, 39 had died within six months of the meeting, five had become insane, and five appeared to be cured of «nervous disorders» (D. Richard Wolfe, «Faith Healing and Healing Faith,» Journal of the Indiana Medical Association, 53, April 1959, cited from Eve Simson, The Faith Healer, St. Louis: Concordia, 1977, p. 166).
h. Oral Roberts is one of the most renowned faith healers of Pentecostal history. In 1955, Presbyterian Pastor Carroll Stegall, Jr., examined Roberts’ healing claims and found them to be entirely bogus. After attending several of Roberts’ healing campaigns and doing follow up interviews, Stegall testified, «I have never seen a vestige of change.» He went further and said, «So far from curing, they often kill. Far from blessing, their arrival in a city is rather a curse, a misery, a racket, a destruction of faith in simple people» (cited in Oral Roberts: An American Life by David Harrell, Jr., 1985, p. 164). Many people have died right in the Oral Roberts healing meetings. In a 1950 crusade in Amarillo, Texas, the tent was blown down and some 50 people were hospitalized. In 1984, Roberts’ 10th grandchild—the son of Richard and his second wife Lindsay and the only heir to be named after him—died two days after birth (Oral Roberts: An American Life, pp. 343-347). And yet Oral teaches, «Sickness is not part of God’s plan and not devised by God’s will» (Abundant Life, Sept. 1976).
i. Kenneth Hagin, Sr., is another of the famous living faith healers who claims that sickness is never God’s will. Some years ago he claimed that he hadn’t been sick in 60 years, but actually he has had several cardiovascular crises, one lasting six weeks. Heart disease is a sickness, dear friends!
j. Morris Cerullo also teaches that healing is promised in the atonement and at his healing crusades he proclaims that «it is God’s will to heal every person» (Calgary Herald, Calgary, Alberta, June 6, 1987). But when Andrew Fergusson, General Secretary of the Christian Medical Fellowship, examined a Cerullo healing crusade in England, he could not find verifiable cases of healing EEvangelical Times, Sept. 1992).
k. Charles and Francis Hunter, the «Happy Hunters,» conduct healing crusades and teach that every Christian has the authority to lay hands on the sick and heal them. They teach that wholeness and healing are a guaranteed part of the Christian life. While conducting a healing crusade in the Philippines, Frances Hunter ended up in the doctor’s office after contracting conjunctivitis, or «pink eye.» She testified, «I could not get rid of it in spite of all the healing teams over there.» So she went to a medical clinic for help. On another international healing crusade trip, Mrs. Hunter had to be brought back to the States in a wheelchair!
l. One of the most famous of the current healing evangelists is Benny Hinn. The Dateline program on NBC asked Hinn’s ministry to provide confirmation of the 56 cases of healing that were claimed at one of his crusades. Hinn’s people could only come up with five cases of what they called «irrefutable and medically proven miracles.» When Dateline researched these five cases, it found that only one of the people involved could provide medical records, and her doctor suspected that the woman never had the Lou Gehrig’s disease she claimed to have been healed of (Charisma Online, Feb. 20, 2003).
6. Today, God does heal in answer to prayer according to His sovereign will (James 5:13-15),
a. This passage says nothing about someone with the gift of healing but refers to the elders of the church.
b. This passage does not describe a public healing meeting but a private situation.
c. I believe in divine healing through prayer. I have experienced such healing, and I know many Christian friends who have experienced the same.
(1) On a trip to the States in the 1980s I experienced a wonderful healing. I had contracted a severe amebic dysentery in Calcutta just before embarking to the States. The first two days were miserable and as the dysentery was showing no sign of abating, I was planning to go to a doctor as soon as I could reach the next city. I stopped that night at the home of a pastor friend in a remote part of Wyoming and we talked into the wee hours of the morning. Before we retired, he prayed for me to be healed of my sickness. He didn’t rebuke the devil or demand that God heal. He simply prayed for me and we submitted ourselves to His will. When I woke up after a few hours of sleep to continue my trip, I discovered to my great joy that the Lord had completely healed me.
(2) The following is the testimony of my friend Paul Timmerman. He experienced a miraculous healing when he was co-piloting seaplanes in the Coast Guard: «Hello, I’m Paul Timmerman. I give the following as testimony of the great power that our God has to heal a person. I personally have had several instances of divine healing in my life that were just plain miracles, that could be explained no other way. These were attested to by federal medical personnel and flight surgeons, and the healings that I have had are a matter of my own military record.
«The one that I would like to share for this moment happened in 1971, when I was serving with the United States Coast Guard. I was stationed at Port Angeles, Washington, [at the] Coast Guard Air Station there, flying sea planes and single engine helicopters at that time. While stationed there, I developed a very sore wrist condition, whereby the use of my hands was badly impaired, and I had growths on the insides of my wrists that started growing up and came about a half an inch high or so on each wrist. It would keep my wrist from moving, became very painful, and the doctors checked it out, and, after X-raying and all, said that it was a tissue growth called a ganglia. They tried several different medical ways to remove them, and to stop the growth of them, and to give me back the use of my wrists, and these methods failed. So they sent me to a specialist at the Army hospital, Madigan General Hospital, Fort Lewis, Washington. There the medical staff again X-rayed and examined my wrists and set up the date for surgery because there was no other alternative that they had at that point to remove the growths that were quite visible, and very sore, and hindering the use of my hands. They set up the surgery date, and the day before my surgery I had to report in to the hospital for prepping, for pre-surgery examination. And the surgeons examined again the X-rays and my wrists, and saw the extent of the damage, and prepared me for surgery for the following day.
«However, that evening, after the doctors left, I was in my hospital bed there waiting, studying my Bible, and just relying on the promises of the Lord, and I turned sincerely to the Lord and asked Himknowing full well He had the power to heal through surgeons or through divine healingand I just asked Him to work a miracle, and take these away, that the name of the Lord Jesus Christ would be magnified and glorified throughout that hospital, due to the miracle that had been worked.
«In the morning, much to the surprise of the doctors when they came in, the growths were completely gone from my wrists. I had full use of my hands, my
wrists. And to this day, almost 20 years later, I have never had a reoccurrence of this phenomena on my wrists. The doctors then were totally baffled by what happened, thinking perhaps they had the wrong patient or whatever. I simply witnessed for the Lord Jesus Christ and told them that I had asked the Lord to work a miracle a night before if it be His will, knowing full well that He could, and that He had decided that it was for the glory and honor of Jesus Christ that He did. And He healed me that night, and like I say, it has never reoccurred. I went about the hospital just praising the Lord Jesus Christ and glorifying His name, telling others about Him, witnessing to the great miracle that took place there. And the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ went throughout that hospital to many military men, and the doctors, of course, had nothing to say but that they certainly had done nothing to change that, but that condition was totally healed.»
(3) The following is the testimony of Evangelist Al Lacy, which he gave on May 8, 1996, at the Bible Baptist Church in Oak Harbor, Washington. At the time this miracle healing occurred, Brother Lacy was a pastor: «My wife had a rare disease which destroyed her kidney and it had to be removed. Eight years later, the same symptoms were discovered in her remaining kidney. The doctors said that two-thirds of the kidney was dead. They said she had one year to live. One and a half maximum. She was too weak for a transplant. (That was in the early days of kidney transplants.) I called the 27 deacons of the church, and they anointed her with oil and prayed over her. The Lord stopped the disease right there and she has lived 21 years as of this telling.»
(4) An example of divine healing among ancient Baptists is found in the ministry of Owen Thomas, who pastored the first Baptist church in Delaware. Thomas was born in Wales in 1676 and came to America in 1707. He took the pastoral care of the Welsh Tract church in 1740 and continued in that office until 1748, when he resigned it, to go to Yellow Springs, where he died, November 12, 1760. Pastor Thomas left behind the following note: «I have been called upon three times to anoint the sick with oil for recovery; the effect was surprising in every case, but in none more so, than in the case of our brother Rynallt Howel: he was so sore with the bruises which he received by a cask falling on him from a wagon, that he could not bear to be turned in bed: the next day he went to meeting» (David Benedict, A General History of the Baptists in America, 1813, Vol. 2, Chapter 1).
7. The New Testament tells us that healing is not always God’s will:
a. THE CASE OF TIMOTHY. 1 Timothy 5:23 tells us that Timothy was sick frequently, and the Apostle Paul instructed him to use a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities. God did not heal Timothy supernaturally or permanently from his sickness, nor did he instruct Timothy to curse his illnesses or to exercise «the word of faith.»
b. THE CASE OF TROPHIMUS. In 2 Timothy 4:20 we learn that another of Paul’s coworkers, Trophimus, was left behind in Miletum sick. He was not supernaturally healed.
c. THE CASE OF PAUL. In 2 Cor. 12:7-10 we read of a situation in which the Apostle Paul was afflicted with some sort of infirmity. The Greek word translated «infirmity» in this passage is also translated «weakness» (v. 9), «sickness» (Matt. 8:17; Jn. 11:4), and «disease» (Acts 28:9). Three times, he asked God to take away this problem, but the Bible says God refused to do so. He was told that this infirmity was something God wanted him to have for his spiritual well being. Upon learning this, Paul bowed to God’s will (2 Cor. 12:10). This is a perfect example for Christians today. We should pray for healing and release from trials, but when God does not heal, we must bow to His will and accept that sickness or trial as something from the hand of God. This is not lack of faith; it is obedience to the sovereignty of God.
8. God’s choicest servants throughout church history have suffered many sicknesses:
a. William Tyndale, the translator of our English Bible in 1524, was arrested by the Roman Catholic authorities and put in prison to await his martyrdom. While there, he wrote the following letter:
«I believe, right worshipful, that you are not aware of what may have been determined concerning me. Wherefore I beg of your lordship, and that by the Lord Jesus, that if I am to remain here through the winter you will request the commissary to have the kindness to send me from the goods of mine which he has a warmer cap, for I SUFFER GREATLY FROM THE COLD IN THE HEAD AND AM AFFLICTED BY A PERPETUAL CATARRH, which is much increased in this cell. A warmer coat also, for this which I have is very thin. A piece of cloth, too, to patch my leggings. My overcoat is worn out. My shirts are also worn out. He has a woolen shirt, if he will be good enough to send it. I have with him also leggings of thicker cloth to put on above. He also has warmer night caps. And I ask to be allowed to have a lamp in the evening. It is indeed a wearisome to sit alone in the dark. But most of all I beg and beseech your clemency to be with the commissary that he will kindly permit me to have the Hebrew Bible, Hebrew grammar, and Hebrew dictionary, that I may pass the time in that study. In return may you obtain that which you most desire so only that it be for the salvation of your soul. But if any other decision has been taken concerning me to be carried out before winter, I will be patient. Abiding the will of God to the glory of the grace of my Lord Jesus Christ, whose Spirit I pray may ever direct your heart. Signed William Tyndale.»
b. Many of the famous hymns were written by sick people.
(1) Charlotte Elliot was sick all her life.
(2) Fanny Crosby was blind from birth, blind for 95 years. She wrote,
«Saved by Grace» and «Safe in the Arms of Jesus.» She testified:
«O what a happy soul am I!
Although I cannot see
I am resolved that in this world
Contented I will be.
How many blessings I enjoy,
That other people don’t.
To weep and sigh because I’m blind,
I cannot, and I won’t.»
(3) The following had tuberculosis all their lives and died of it:
William Bradbury, who wrote «He Leadeth Me»
August Toplady, who wrote «Rock of Ages»
Philipp Doddridge, who wrote «Oh Happy Day»
Sarah Flower Adams, who wrote «Nearer My God to Thee.»
(4) Isaac Watts, who wrote
«When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,»
«Marching to Zion,»
and «Joy to the World,»
suffered all his life.
(5) «Joseph Scribben, who wrote
«What a Friend We Have in Jesus,» had tragedy and sickness all his life.
(6) Frank Graff, who wrote
«Does Jesus Care,» was sick most of his life.
c. Robert Murray McCheyne and David Brainard were two men who were known as the holiest men of their time, but they both died with lung trouble at the age of 30 (Paul Locke, What the Bible Teaches about Healing).
9. Romans 8:22-25 reminds us that we will not receive our glorified state until Christ returns. Until then, we are subject to the trouble and death of this sin-cursed world.